I was sent an e-mail by an interested reader telling about The Total Shaving Solution, available from Little Big Man Enterprises. Total Shaving Solution (referred to from here on as just TSS) is a shaving oil using a proprietary blend of natural essential oils with menthol. It does not contain soaps, alcohol, salts, dyes, artificial colors or propellants. A "hers" version is available that is slightly less mentholated.
Because of the enthusiasm of the e-mail, I decided to try the product. Little Big Man offers a "free" sample ($2 postage, with $2 coupon toward future purchase). At the time, I purchased an inexpensive 0.33oz bottle for $4, though it appears now that it is only available in a 1.25oz bottle for $12, which is a better value anyway.
The package arrived quickly. The 1/3oz. bottle is very tiny, but the instructions say to use only three drops per shave, so even this size will last a while.
I decided to do an experiment to see if I would like TSS. The idea was to shave with the oil alone, use the oil as a pre-shave, and compare with just cream alone.
I found I did not like shaving with Total Shaving Solution alone. I tried it twice but found cream alone to be a better choice. The shaving tips on the Little Big Man web site speak about the ability to shave against the grain without harm using TSS, and I found that to get a close enough shave I had to shave against the grain, which I prefer not to do. I should add that my beard comes in fairly thick, such that I need to shave every day.
I then tried TSS as a pre-shave, and here I was much more pleased with the results. I applied TSS per the instructions, and then applied my shaving cream (I used Cyril R. Salter Sandalwood cream as my standard) over it. The pre-shave did seem to keep my face a little more moist during the shave, and I enjoyed the cool menthol feeling.
However, in comparison to shaving with just the Salter cream alone, I can't say the TSS/Salter combination seemed to shave any closer, so I really don't find it necessary. Also, at least for my face, I didn't find any appreciable changes in skin condition using the essential oils found in TSS, though perhaps it would take a more prolonged use to notice any differences.
Bottom Line: While I wouldn't call TSS a "total solution" for me, I will probably use TSS in the summer months along with a cream to give me the added cool menthol touch. For the rest of this winter, however, I think I will stick with quality creams alone.
All that said, I can recommend the Total Shaving Solution, and others may find they get a good shave using TSS alone.
Note: Total Shaving Solution is produced in Peoria, IL by Total Solutions, Inc., founded by Robert Hamilton. They are not directly related with Little Big Man Enterprises operated by Daniel Farago, who also sells other products such as electric razors and a unique Bikini Razor.