What’s Alum? A Review of The Art of Shaving Alum Block

Background

The Art of Shaving is a retailer of upscale shaving products that was founded in Manhattan in 1996 by Eric Malka and Myriam Zaoui. It was purchased by Proctor and Gamble in 2007 and its headquarters are now located in Miami, FL. Alum is a compound in which aluminum and a monovalent cation (usually potassium) form a salt with sulfate; it is an astringent and helps stop small nicks and cuts from bleeding. Alum is an acidic compound; it has antiseptic and antibacterial properties and can help decrease the incidence of post-shaving irritation. When used in wet shaving, alum comes in the form of a block or other solid that can be directly applied to the skin afterward.Alum-Block-Case

Specifications:

Type: Solid block.

Texture: Smooth.

Color: Whitish; translucent.

Scent: Unscented.

Finish: Smooth; leaves skin with a “tight” feeling.

Price: Inexpensive ($5.43 per ounce); lasts a long time.

Rating: 5/5 (Ideal)

Retailer: www.amazon.com

Product Overview

The Art of Shaving alum block is packaged in a clear plastic case that is well-suited for traveling. Inside the case is the product, which is a translucent, whitish crystalline block. This unscented product is to be used after you have finished shaving, when your face is still wet. Alum helps to stop small nicks and cuts by constriction of blood vessels; it has antiseptic and antibacterial properties and helps to reduce irritation caused by shaving.Alum-Block

Instructions for Use

  • Rinse your face with cold water after shaving.
  • Wet the alum block with cold water; this will make it somewhat slippery.
  • Rub the block over the freshly shaved skin of the face and neck.
    • Application of the product may cause a brief stinging or burning sensation in places that were cut or irritated by the razor; these are places to which you may need to pay more attention during your next shave.
  • Allow the product to stay on the skin for 30-45 seconds.
  • Rinse your face with cold water again and then pat dry with a towel.
  • Shake excess water from the alum block before placing it back into its case.

Positives:

  • Inexpensive.
  • Solid product; no mess.
  • Easy to use.
  • Stops bleeding from small cuts and nicks.
  • Antiseptic and antibacterial properties.
  • Helps to prevent razor burn and post-shave irritation.
  • Acidity may help to normalize skin pH after washing with alkaline soaps.

Negatives:

  • It can be difficult to find, but you can usually find it online if all else fails.
  • Must allow the product to dry after using.
  • Causes a brief burning/stinging sensation when applied to broken or irritated skin.
    Alum-Crystal

My Review

To me, this is truly a great product; it is inexpensive, easy to use, and effective. I have always suffered from post shaving irritation in the form of ingrown hairs and razor bumps since I started shaving, and I have had no such problems since I have been using this product. It also works very well for stopping small cuts/nicks from bleeding; I personally can’t say that I have experienced any downside to using it.

Comments

If you have any experience with this particular product, or if you use alum as part of your shaving routine, please let me know in the “Comments” section below.

2 Replies to “What’s Alum? A Review of The Art of Shaving Alum Block”

  1. Hi Ian,

    Thanks for a well-written and informative review. This looks like a great product. I like the fact that it is affordable and can be easily carried when traveling.

    Regards,
    Joonas

    1. Hi Joonas,

      Thanks for your comment. I had heard of alum before, but it was always in some sort of powder form, and we used it when we bit our tongue or cheek.
      I had never heard of an alum block before, and it’s really simple to use and works really well. I was actually surprised at how well it works because
      I generally have a pretty good amount of irritation after I shave for some reason, and I really haven’t had any since I started using this after I shave.

      Ian

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