Anybody ever tried Magic Shave on their face?
July 9, 2010 8:28 AM   Subscribe

Looking for anecdotes and experiences from men using Magic Shaving Powder depilatory cream

I hate shaving, and my workout routine has switched my showers from early morning to late evenings, so I often forget to shave. Ingrown hairs are also a problem for me, especially with the 500 blade razors that give the closest shave ever. Previously I would just use a beard trimmer without a guard and always have a five o'clock shadow, but now I work at a place with stronger appearance guidelines where I need to be clean shaven, so that is out. I am hoping I can try this depilatory and be good with once a week or so.

I searched previous posts, and only found one instance where someone suggests using it on "sensitive areas" (genitals), so it must be fine for my face, right?

I'm a white guy in my early 30s with medium beard growth, definitely not light but not extremely heavy.

My one concern - the cans all say "Formulated for black men to help stop razor bumps." WTF?
posted by I am the Walrus to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I have no experience with this product, but that last sentence probably refers to the tendency for darker skin to keloid [Warning: moderately disturbing medical photo] during scar formation. Smooth shaving seems to be a serious problem for a lot of men of sub-Saharan descent, since ingrown hairs can produce significant and disfiguring growths. I am not sure whether it's also true for shaving the legs, but I have known a few men who have worn bears in defiance (well, approved defiance, I suppose) of dress codes for this reason.
posted by GenjiandProust at 8:35 AM on July 9, 2010 [1 favorite]

"Formulated for black men to help stop razor bumps."

Yeah, due to the way their type of hair grows, it requires a different shaving technique to prevent constantly getting bumps/ingrowns, which is a risk. This is also why there is some argument as to whether it is better for black guys to shave against the grain, rather than with.

Honestly? I wouldn't use haircare product not formulated for your type of hair. Or, rather, formulated specifically for a type of hair you do not have.
posted by griphus at 8:49 AM on July 9, 2010 [1 favorite]

In high school, I was in a program where one of the staff members was a black man who used said powder. One of the kids was out of razors, so tried to use the powder. His face got all red and uncomfortable, and it didn't do a thing for his very thick growing hair. I know Dave would said "don't do it dude".
posted by nomisxid at 8:58 AM on July 9, 2010

It's been a while, and I no longer have the book, but is this the same product referenced as being used by Martin Luther King at the Lorraine on the morning of his death in Gerold Frank's 'An American Death?' That's the only anecdote I can think of associated with it. Granted, it is my understanding that Dr. King was black, but if it's the same product, he used it twice a day without apparent harm. I'm guessing it's Nair Lite.
posted by umberto at 9:13 AM on July 9, 2010

I used this for about a month. I'm a white guy with thick, dark, curly facial hair. Razor burn was a serious problem for me which is why someone recommended I try this depilatory cream. Even if it works for you, it wont be a once a week thing. The cream should dissolve the hair down to the surface of the skin, but within a day or two of growth you'll look like you need another shave.

When it worked, my face would be completely smooth. However, the results were unpredictable. Sometimes it would seem to just thin out the hair, leaving most areas clean but with some stubborn hairs remaining. A quick painless shave with a razor would finish the job. Occasionally I would use the cream and look the same afterwards.
posted by Amaterasu at 9:15 AM on July 9, 2010

On a certain message board I've seen numerous women rave about this stuff for getting rid of buttcrack hair. That's a delicate area if there ever was one.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 9:26 AM on July 9, 2010

Building off of what nomisxid said, it depends on how sensitive your skin is.

While it won't burn, it could end up getting red or blotchy -- I'm sure I would if I used it because I have super sensitive skin.

I know someone (white with similar characteristics to you) who used in jail (because you couldn't get razors, naturally) and most of the other guys (mainly black) used it. He found it to be helpful but even though he hates shaving, now that he's out, he wouldn't use it because of how it (only sometimes) it would make his skin look blotchy.

He doesn't shave every day for the same sensitive skin reason, and it sounds like if you do, so you might have better luck.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 9:36 AM on July 9, 2010

Middle-aged white woman here. It nicely takes care of my unwanted facial hair. I have fairly sensitive skin and have had no major problems. Just don't leave it on too long, though. I've had blotchy patches occur when I did that. It went away in a few hours.
posted by pentagoet at 10:07 AM on July 9, 2010

If the powder doesn't work for you, try using an old-fashioned single blade safety razor, soap, and brush. It's a lot more fun, and for me, reduced ingrown hairs by about 90%. There are a lot of web sites catering to enthusiasts of this kind of shaving like Badger and Blade.
posted by zsazsa at 10:20 AM on July 9, 2010 [1 favorite]

I've never tried it. Spreading a highly alkaline substance that's powerful enough to dissolve hair all over the face... just doesn't sound like a good idea [1] [2].

I used to hate shaving and had chronic problems with razor burn on my neck. Like Zsazsa, the solution that worked for me was going back in time to single-blade safety razors. I did some research, found Badger and Blade, and after some practice I have no more problems.
posted by kprincehouse at 10:54 AM on July 9, 2010

Yeah, I was going to tell you about Badger and Blade and double-edged safety razors. I guess I'm late to the party, but I'll add this: it completely changed the way I shave, much to the joy of my sensitive face and neck skin.
posted by willpie at 12:44 PM on July 9, 2010

I tried it once in college after seeing it in a black friend's room. I went out and bought some thinking I'd never have to shave again. It worked so-so, still had to touch up with a razor. And it made my face kind of red and splotchy and burny, like I had a rash.

Then again, I have kind of sensitive skin so it might be fine on you. If I were you I'd test it on one small area of your face on a weekend before going all out.
posted by Alabaster at 4:42 PM on August 9, 2010

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