I love the name of this men's skin-care line. Its masculine appeal is irrefutable, and one could suggest the "Brave" element responds to most men's fears about admitting they use grooming products, because to admit as much means acknowledging they really do care about how they look (but we knew that all along, right?). I wish my fondness for this line's name extended to all of its products, but that is not the case. Brave Soldier is the brainchild of dermatologist and outdoor enthusiast Dr. Ezra Kest and athlete/cyclist Jeffrey Neal. These two men (pardon the pun) joined forces to design a selection of products geared toward the needs of those suffering from road rash. Never heard of it? I hadn't either, at least not until I was researching this line. It turns out road rash is what happens after a cyclist or adventurous outdoorsman crashes and scrapes their skin over concrete, rough gravel, or rocky terrain. The skin is left raw and reddened, and the healing is often uneven and scar-producing. Dr. Kest has a keen interest in how skin heals from wounds, and out of that interest, combined with the perceived lack of products to help road rash heal, Brave Soldier came to be. A small, but relatively comprehensive line, Brave Soldier has products for cleansing, shaving, moisturizing, and protecting skin from the sun. The major problem in this (and countless other) male-oriented line's products is the needless inclusion of irritating ingredients such as menthol and essential oils. Specific to this line are the use of the aforementioned ingredients in products designed to help skin heal or to soothe skin after shaving. With some minor improvements, Brave Soldier's products could be as compelling as its name. As is, men (and the women who shop for them) are advised to proceed with caution.
Shower Shave for Body and Face ($15 for 6 ounces) is ais essentially a shower gel that can double as a shaving gel. The formula also contains several anti-irritants, plant oil, and silicone to protect skin during shaving, and (this is a welcome shock) it contains no menthol, peppermint, or other needless irritants that make shaved skin tingle. The company's claim that this product raises "active cell metabolism" is a bit bizarre, but that's a minor glitch for one of the more impressive shaving gels around. The tea tree oil in this product contributes to its somewhat medicinal scent, and the small amounts of skin-constricting herbs are unlikely to be a problem in a rinse-off product like this.
Code Blue ($18 for 4 ounces) may make you shout "Code Red" after you apply it because the inclusion of witch hazel and alcohol along with eucalyptus and peppermint oils makes this one irritating aftershave. Code Blue also contains 2.5% lidocaine, a topical anesthetic that unfortunately won't prevent the problematic ingredients from causing irritation. What it will do is prevent your skin from feeling irritated, which is deceptive and counterintuitive, because while the lidocaine relieves shaving discomfort, the eucalyptus and peppermint oils go on causing more discomfort.
Solar Shield SPF 28 ($18 for 4 ounces) is an excellent in-part zinc oxide sunscreen that is also water-resistant. It contains a few emollient ingredients (including kukui nut oil) that make it best for someone with normal to dry skin not prone to breakouts, and also includes antioxidants. This is a gentle, intelligently formulated product for men or women.
Brave Shave ($15 for 6 ounces) would have been a great moisturizing shaving cream for those with dry or sensitive skin, but the formula includes menthol, and that is neither a brave nor a healthy skin-promoting ingredient.
Source: Paula Begoun