IMPERIAL Barber Grade Products – Offering an Impressive Shave Suite
A bit over 4 year ago, when I was first exploring pomades and undergoing my spiritual conversion, one of the pomade that greatly contributed to this process was the one from IMPERIAL. This pomade was so good that it got a little spot of its own in my overall chart and scale of hair styling products. It offered both a fresh and timeless aroma while rendering superior styling hold.
At the time it was still somewhat of an adventure to get a hold of pomades and I had noticed that they also made a number of other men’s grooming essentials. A mental note was made to come back to this brand and really explore what they had to offer. If these other products were anything like their pomade, there would certainly be something to talk about.
This opportunity came a few months ago and I placed an order for the full IMPERIAL shave suite. Shout out to Tim at IMPERIAL Barber Grade Products. Thank you for making this happen.
Way back when I first encountered the IMPERIAL brand, I assumed that it was one of these brands that had survived the test of time. Like Murray’s, Royal Crown, Brylcreem or DAX. As it turns out IMPERIAL was founded in 2009 by two Master Barbers; Scott Serrat and Pedro Zermeno. These Barbers had a desire to elevate the Barbering tradition by offering products they could stand by. As mentioned above, their pomade is a winner. The pitch for the product line is: Paraben Free, Gluten Free, Vegan Friendly, No animal Testing and No synthetic Fragrance.
In the shaving space, IMPERIAL offers the full range of products to achieve that perfect shave and you will find:
- Pre-Shave oil and Beard Conditioner
- Glycerin Shaving soap
- Bergamot Aftershave Splash
- After Shave – Balm & Face Moisturizer
As you know, I thoroughly enjoy working with the full product line of a given brand. This allows to truly appreciate the vision and results that the Designers had in mind when developing their product line. When a brand only has a shaving cream for example, no matter how good it might be, you are left with no other option but to use someone else’s after shave which may or may not work well with the shaving cream. Here, the guys at IMPERIAL did not beat around the bush and have a full product range.
Spoiler alert: We of course tried all 4 products together and got a phenomenal shave!
First off, I haven’t used a pre-shave oil in a number of months. Basically, I don’t enjoy the feeling of oil on my face all that much. This deprives me of all of the qualities of oils. Oil is usually thick and can act as an excellent protective barrier as well as a natural lubricant for the shaving process. The IMPERIAL oil is in a small bottle with a convenient drop counter. I gave myself 3 drops which I distributed in my hands before applying to my mug. The oil is thick but easy enough to work with and to apply in your mug. It also rinses off the hand surprisingly well. The last thing you want is to have that razor slip in your fingers while shaving. It offered a nice warm feeling without being overly vicious. I thus enjoyed working with this oil. Important to note, it is essentially unscented.
Onto the shaving soap. This was officially my first “glycerin” soap. Glycerin soaps are far from rare, but there aren’t many in the shaving space that I am aware of. The shape of this soap is the traditional rectangle bar of soap. In that sense it might be a bit different than the standard puck (round) shape one finds in shaving soaps. To make sure it would fit in my shaving soap cup I simply cut the bar in half.
I used my preferred synthetic hair shaving brush along with hot water and the magic happened after a few swirls in my shaving bowl. The soap was nice and thick. It was easy to apply and distribute on my face and worked very well with the pre-shave oil. Often enough it is hard to gauge the ratio of water to use to get a good lather. This is also compounded by the retention qualities of the brush hairs as well. I found that soap wasn’t fussy at all.
As an observation, shaving soap tends to dry out fairly fast and needs to be touched up a few times during the shave. The combination of the pre-shave oil along with the Glycerin soap made for a considerably moister layer and for a very comfortable working surface for the blade. I will go as far as to say as this was one of my favorite shaves.
Whatever was being accumulated in the razor was a breeze to rinse out between passes. Whipping off the leftover after the shave with a wet wash cloth was again, perfectly comfortable.
At this point, I inspected my work without any interference from the soap. Very nice! No nicks or cuts and a very smooth result. So onto the aftershaves!
- State: Out of the shower
- Razor: Rockwell 6C – plate 2
- Blade: VOSKHOD Teflon Coated
- Pre-Shave: IMPERIAL pre-Shave oil
- Shaving Soap: IMPERIAL Shaving Soap
- After-Shave 1: IMPERIAL Bergamot Splash
- After-Shave 2: IMPERIAL Moisturizer
The Bergamot aftershave is somewhat of an unexpected player. It’s a non-alcohol splash essentially composed of which hazel. As you may know which hazel is a natural rock star that tames down any irritation on the skin? The reason the aftershave came as a surprise is because it presents itself in an old-school manner with the slightly green-blue colouring. I was totally expecting the cooling-burn effect which did not happen. It was a perfectly smooth and fresh feeling. For its usage of which hazel as the main ingredient, this after shave fits in what I like to refer to the new-school aftershaves.
A few minutes later once the splash had evaporated, I tried a small dab of the after shave moisturizer. Again, a perfect product! It absorbed quickly, left no greasy residue and made my skin feel nimble and comfortable.
A bit to my surprise, these products and specifically the aftershave splash, have nearly no scent. Yes, there is bergamot but it is ever so discreet. There is also an element of lemon in there somewhere. Mrs. Style4men.ca being asthmatic, scents and fragrance are always a risky proposition. In this case, I got no complaints.
Over the last few months I have been fully embracing the authentic aftershave experience. This repeated usage of old-school alcohol based aftershave has dried my skin a bit. Using a smoother shaving solution such as a pre-shave oil, glycerin soap and which hazel after shave followed by a cream moisturizer is a welcomed approach for my mug. I will go as far as to say that my skin looks healthier with a nice and healthy glow.
Considering these 4 products being applied on my face, I was concerned that the initial comfortable feeling would pass and that my skin would be either irritated or dry over the course of the following hours. Nope! In fact, that nice soft skin feeling lasted pretty much all day. Impressive!
On the topic of there being 4 products, yes, I hear you back there! Four is a whole lot more than 2 (a shaving cream and an after shave). You might be thinking that you are competing for bathroom sink space with the Mrs. and then there is the time aspect to using 4 products. If you are serious about shaving like it’s 1918, you are probably already placing your order with IMPERIAL. For the others, it’s a question of experiencing the difference and achieving that perfect shave. The addition of the pre-shave oil and the after shave moisturizer added about a minute and half to my routine, but added a number of hours to my mug feeling good. Shaving in this manner is also about slowing things down and embracing the simple moments of life. And perhaps equally as important; taking some pride in taking care of yourself.
These products are as close to “natural” as can be. With the above stated pitch: Paraben Free, Gluten Free, Vegan Friendly, No animal Testing and No synthetic Fragrance. This will address a number of concerns. After a week of using these products, I have encountered no redness, irritation or rash. If anything, it is been more the opposite, where my skin as been feeling and looking better. IMPERIAL earns bonus points from us for keeping their ingredient list composed of more natural players than anything else.
Use these links to shop for these products: