Today we will be looking at our Vendor of The Months “Synergy / How to Grow a Moustache” after shave “Tombstone” This is a newer offering from HTGAM, capturing the essence of the west or, old west as hopefully we still don’t have gunslinger and outlaws roaming Tombstone. So when reviewing an aftershave we all have different criteria we look for so YMMV, and I will try to cover all the big points we look for when looking for that perfect finish to our hopefully perfect shaves ! So lets jump right into it !
Packaging The packaging of the after shave is standard issue for this particular brand. It comes in a 3.5 ounces brown glass bottle with a screw top lid. First I want to point out the brown bottle. Sounds like a no-brainer on the surface but the darker bottle does not allow sunlight to penetrate the bottle, remember HTGAM uses natural EO (essential oils) and FO (Fragrance oils), and can deteriorate from sun exposure so these brown bottles actually protect your liquid gold. Okay that out-of-the-way, and thanking my brewing background for that knowledge let’s move on. Those that remember the first generation HTGAM after shaves will remember the flow issues … you couldn’t control it ! This has been improved quite sometime ago, and a flow restrictor has been put in place to control the flow ! This was a big deal for me as I hate to waste good things, and referring to the earlier offerings that was always a big complaint of mine. Corrected ! The only downfall I will give the packaging is that it is glass….. later on I will get into attributes and the packaging; if not careful it can slip, you have been forewarned, be careful and your fine….,and in fairness I have never slipped, fumbled or, dropped a bottle, but the potential is there.
Contents and Fragrance First and foremost this is an alcohol based aftershave. This is also a strong alcohol aftershave ! not for the weak of skin or, heart by any means. This is easily one of the more WOW type burn aftershave out there, and I do not have sensitive skin, and actually enjoy the burn, sicko that I am ! There is more though as Douglas Smythe the blend master behind HTGAM and Synergy would never just through alcohol at us ! too simple number one and number two and just a guess he probably has issue with it as his aftershaves traditionally where alcohol free, but the market spoke and he delivered. So what else is in there ? Glycerin which I have spoken about before which actually is hygroscopic and pulls water into the skin while soothing it. Menthol which has a chemical reaction within the brain that sends a cooling cold signal to your skin to trigger the nerves to sense cold, much like hot peppers are not actually “hot” that is a chemical reaction that tricks the brain. Alum ! This is my favorite aspect to HTGAM aftershaves is they contain alum a mild styptic or, blood clotting agent. Now if I have a weeper or, nic I always will reach for an alum block first that is 20+ years of conditioning. I will say though that there has been times I have been in a rush like today ! and I used my alum block for a tiny nic and it closed it off about 75% then I splashed on some of this and the alum in this actually contained the weeper from continuing the flow. Could it have stopped it from the start ? I don’t know, I don’t get cut or bleed often, but alum is not ONLY for blood it also soothes the face and acts as a mild antiseptic. Finally there are essential oils and fragrance oils…… in this particular scent there is gun powder, leather, tobacco, geranium, bergamot, and rose.. if you want my opinion I also pick up on soil, ozone, tanning oil which I believe are synergistic of the other scents mixed together. Is this scent for everyone ? no. Of all the HTGAM I would personally say Tombstone is the wildcard of the fragrances for his aftershaves… as far as fragrance it’s always subjective, but I personally feel Tombstone is a love it or, hate it scent. It took me a few uses to really like it and then eventually I found myself smelling the bottle just to smell it. Don’t pretend you don’t do it too !!! don’t judge me 🙂 !
Performance Yes there is an actual performance level to after shaves ! I was shocked by this too actually. I have been wet shaving or, heck just shaving for 20+ years, and I always thought an aftershave hurt and smelled good or, bad. That was it no more or, less….I was wrong ! I learned, and became educated. This thing called growing up and life experience coupled with just being passionate and learning about products has taught me a lot. It would be easy for me to call out a bunch of aftershaves that do not work for me, and as always YMMV. But an after SHOULD close the pores down acting as an astringent or, a toner (there is a difference), enhance the shave by delivering comfort in the form of either soothing irritation or, by adding in moisturizing qualities to replenish your skin. Most do not realize how hostile the act of shaving actually is to your epidermis despite all the precautions we take. Think about it your taking a super sharp blade to your face ! just read that sentence it’s terrifying ! but Tombstone I find zero bad to say about. Actually I could blanket that to all HTGAM aftershaves, though I prefer his alcohol based ones. There is alcohol there is your astringent. Is alcohol drying ? some yes… some no it depends on the type used but even if it is that is ok alcohol is an astringent and actually kills bacteria during the drying process, that’s ok by me. Secondly Glycerin to soothe the skin, I used the word hygroscopic up a bit in this article. Hygroscopic means it pulls surrounding moisture into your skin. There is some moisture for you. Alum and menthol, that is your comfort and functional antiseptic and styptic, and finally essential and fragrance oils. Think of baby oil, I always recommend shaking your aftershave before use to mix these oils. I have found each HTGAM blend to vary greatly in menthol, oils, and scent. Tombstone falls lighter on the oils than let say Al Fin but you still have a silky feel on your face from the oils added… again condition that freshly shaved face. Didn’t you hear ? you just brought a sharp blade across your face !
Conclusion Tombstone by HTGAM in a few words this is a masculine scent in the sense of old school and old west. Dominant are the gunpowder which in a million years I never thought I would enjoy the smell of gun powder considering my background, and leather. Not your Prada or, Coach handbag leather but your horse saddle that has been in use for a decade and absorbed your sweat, blood and tears type of leather. Finally I pick up on the Geranium flower. It works very well with the other dominant scents and is not a flowery floral aroma but a compliment to the gun powder specifically acting I believe as a neutralizing fragrance. The bottle also speaks about Tobacco and Bergamot and Rose. I do not pick up on those as prominent scents, but above I did mention a few notes that I believe are synergistic. Some of those other scents are just “in the blend. The performance is outstanding and comprehensive is a good word to use here as it covers so many things a shaver needs from astringency, styptic use, menthol for comfort, and Glycerin for moisture working alongside with those essential and fragrance oils to make your skin feel great. Finally the packaging, it’s glass and oil on your hands and glass can be tricky this is my only concern, but as I said I have never had nor heard of any problems with slipping I only bring it up as a possibility. So at the end of the day is Tombstone from HTGAM your type of aftershave ? I don’t know but I will say it’s worth a try, I can only say what y my first hand use led me from its okay to a fragrance I look forward to and darned if I don’t smell like the old west !