Jiva Apoha Sundara (Handsome) Oil

As a beauty writer, I am often tempted to write an open letter to men. While they don’t crickets to rockets, how they manage to squirm over the suggestion of a beauty product remains a mystery. Sure, we women get overzealous with our plucking, threading, peeling, popping and more, but imagine if we had to angle a razor to our face and that on a daily basis? The aftermath would be a sheer mess to say the least.

That tortuous, time-consuming daily regime – shaving. I mean, sure it’s exfoliating on some level, but let’s get real. Men take that to a whole other concept as seen by those white chucks of tissue dotting the chin line trying to cover up some inadvertently earned blood-speckled scrapes. There’s no shame in admitting that even after 20+ years of practicing, a guy can’t get it right. But, it’s not just the wayward nicks, here. Modern men (the term ‘metrosexual’ is so 5 years ago) are slowly graduating from those bargain bin, full-of-sting aftershaves to high-tech skincare treatments to help turn back the time.

Taking the cue from their dazzling better halves, serums and moisturizers rank high on their desire to find something gentle on irritated skin but hardcore in its potency. Jiva Apoha Sundara Oil ($55) is so money; a treatment that delivers on both.

Gritty skins need soothing. It’s just that simple. And, considering how the nicks, cuts, and razor burns leaved delicate skin exposed, Sundara oil is a part serum/part shaving oil, which can actually help provide a steadily smooth shave when used with a razor as a second skin contour. The serum brings plenty of anti-aging effects with Sesame Seed oil, replete with lecithin, minerals, proteins, and amino acids. While this and the Vitamin E speak to fine lines, the Neem oil is what men’s tougher skins will appreciate.

Neem – an ancient Ayurvedic remedy used to treat a variety of skin conditions - is considered to be anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiviral, and antiseptic. In India, the oil is considered a cure-all with its ever-changing functionality due to 31 potent compounds. And, it’s these miracle yet microscopic skin saviors that go send any minor cuts and nicks straight into retreat without scarring.

The best part of this oil is how men can actually use it in two ways – not only condition the skin after a slick shave, but also during one. Sundara can be applied on the face to lube up skin and give a closer cut when shaving with the grain of hair. And, because the oil is clear, blemishes escape unscathed, as a gent can shave around them instead of fumbling around with globs of foam. Still snagged the skin? Not to worry as the oil can soothe the cut with a dab of the oil, which works smartly better than a scrap of tissue that will simply re-open the cut once you tear it off. Just splash the cut with frigid cold water to tighten up the capillaries first.

Neem is never the focal point of this composition. At first whiff, the warm base of Sandalwood impresses right away, but soon thereafter you’re surprised by the juxtaposition of three uncommon essentials – Clove, Fennel and Cardamom creating a spicy vapor permeated ever so slightly with Lemon. There is an intensity with this blend’s medicinal tinge, though it will fade comfortably into skin as none of the essentials will surprise with any unwanted pungency. Fennel's striking sweetness (which can be easily mistaken as Anise) rises atop here. The result is definitely not raucous, but rather comforting to scrappy skin that men (and even women) will welcome if the co-mingling of mesmerizing spices is your sort of thing. Absorbing quickly, Sundara will leave delicate traces of the irresistible blend.

That’s the thing about Jiva Apoha. There is also something harmonious and emotional about the brand’s absolute commitment to blending the unexpected and the concept of turning the mundane — an everyday moisturizer — into the sublime. Here, the 100% pure essences show how face oils truly have limitless possibilities giving banal skincare creams a run for their money and merit.

Price: $$$
Scent Classification: Spicy
Viscosity: Slightly viscosity (4/10)