If you’re a regular reader of the Monkey, you’re probably used to us reviewing packs, boots, tools and knives. Well, while those are certainly the bread and butter of our outdoors reviews, today we’re going to take a bit of a detour and take a look at area we haven’t really addressed before: field hygiene. Read on to see what we thought of On the Job hand antiseptic and moisturizer and Salon Grafix Invisible Dry Spray Shampoo.
Lets face it, when we get out in the woods our level of hygiene tends to plummet compared to our day to day showering, hand washing etc. Its the nature of where we are and what we’re doing. It’s some of the fun too! If you don’t come back from a camping or backpacking trip a little grungy then you aren’t going to feel like you left at all! Still, there are limits to what we need to endure these days, if not for your own sake, then for the sake of your camping partners, or the guy you have to ride home with after the trip. In more recent years two items have made a big difference in field sanitation and you’ll see them being used heavily in camp sites as well as with military folks deployed in the field these days: baby wipes and hand sanitizer. Both are quick, easy, and convenient ways to keep the funk away and keep the germs from spreading. They do a good job and they’re staples of my kit any more but they don’t do the whole job. The two products we had a chance to use recently take things one step further and are still easy to pack and convenient to use.
I don’t know about you, but I tend to have dry hands by nature. As I get older the issue seems more prevalent too. Now, I’m not looking at having baby soft hands or anything but dry hands aren’t always conducive comfort when working with your hands a lot, and when they get really bad you can end up with cracking and even bleeding. Add in a lot of rough work with rock, wood, cuts from your favorite camp knife, bow saw or what have you and your hands can get to be a real mess in the field. Then add in the fact that you aren’t a couple steps away form a sink with soap and running water and you start to run the risk of infection. You can certainly use the aforementioned hand sanitizer, and I recommend it, but that too can dry your hands out further as its generally alcohol bases. Enter the On the Job antiseptic and moisturizer hand lotion. I know what you’re thinking. Hand lotion on Woodsmonkey? What kind of crack are these guys smoking? Trust me, I resisted the notion of hand lotion for ages and just sucked up the cracked and injured hands because I always figured hand lotion was just for chicks. Until it got really bad in recent years anyway! When I did start using hand lotion I had a tough time finding ones that weren’t girly scented or didn’t leave your hands greasy. If you’re working with tools, be it saws, axes and knives in the field, power tools at work, or even firearms like in my day job, you don’t want a greasy film n your hands. You need to be able grab stuff without worrying about whether its going to slip around in your grip due to some greasy hand cream. You also don’t want the other guys around work or the campsite ripping on you for your greasy paws and florally smell either. So, when I first got wind of the “On the Job” hand lotion I paused and took a closer look than I might have a few years ago.
On the Job hand lotion is a formula designed for guys, or at least for folks who work for a living. It isn’t a cosmetology product designed to keep you pretty so if you’re a hand model, keep looking. It is designed to take care of hands that tend to see a lot of rough work. It’s non-scented, absorbs into the skin quickly and non-greasy. These were all pretty important things for me. It also has the added bonus of being an antiseptic so it helps relieve pain from minor cuts, scrapes or burns and aids in healing. If you’ve ever seen my hands after a day in the workshop or a trip to the woods you know I generally need all the help I can get. On the Job comes packed in a 2.03 oz pump applicator that kind of looks like a big stick of deodorant. Oval in shape and about 6 1/2 inches tall. It works via a pump applicator and it comes out in two parts. Kind of like a two part epoxy actually. The lotion activates when you rub it it into your hands, thus mixing the two components. An applicator runs for $8.99 and is available inline from the manufacturer. They also make a number of other products designed for skin and hand care as well so be sure to check those out if you go and look for the hand lotion.
I used the On the Job hand lotion for a bit over a month at work, around the house and on an extended camping trip. I have to admit, I’m sold. It definitely works as advertised. No fru-fru smell, it absorbs quickly, and it works well. The antiseptic properties are a nice touch because I tend to end up with a lot of nicks and cuts working as a cutlery journalist and an all around knife geek. The folks I let try it tended to concur with my opinion as well once they got over their initial skepticism. Lets face it, guys don’t generally get too excited about hand creams. But, the proof is in that it works and that once folks used it, they wanted to know where they could get some. Hands on use and word of mouth are often the best sales boosts for a product and for something like this, which literally is a product for your hands, that really is the case. Try it out yourself and I suspect you’ll be sold. About the only thing I might like to see is a smaller container, maybe a 1 oz size, that you could drop into a jacket pocket, work bag, or would fit better in a daypack or backpack. The current size is great for your workshop, around the house, or a base camp, but might be a bit big for when you’re on the move.
Now, baby wipes can take care of your major funk, and between the hand sanitizer and the On the Job lotion you can take care of your hands pretty well, but what about that nappy noggin you’re carrying around on your shoulders? Enter the Salon Grafix Invisible Dry Shampoo. Now, I’ve tried some various dry shampoos in the past. They worked but I never found one that really grabbed me. Even with keeping the funk down with baby wipes on a trip, the one thing I’m generally really itching to do when I get home is hop in the shower and scrub down my scalp. And I don’t have much hair. It’s been a couple decades since I kept much hair on my head, between the military and police work, but I still can recall the sort of nasty, greasy feel that a week in the woods can leave you. So for you all with hair, this one may be an especially good product to consider. The Salon Grafix shampoo comes in a thin, 7 3/4 inch high spray can with a protective cap. If you’re totally 80’s, think hair mousse or gel. If you still have hair maybe folks still use that stuff. I have no idea. Anyway, that’s about how big it is. Application is simple. Hold the can about 6 to 8 inches away from your skull and spray in short bursts. The company recommends covering your clothing before doing this. Honestly, I’m not sure why other than to just keep any of it off the clothes you plan on wearing. I listened to them and draped a camp towel around my shoulders before I did it. Everything seemed fine.
Once you have your hair helmet covered with the spray, let it sit for about a minute. Pop quiz: since this stuff is invisible, how can you tell if you have your hair covered with it? Good question! You pretty much have to guess. Spray down your head good and you should be alright. The next step is to use a brush and brush it all out. When you do, any grease and funk in your dreads should come with it. Even if you didn’t totally get everything when you were spraying the dry shampoo on, when you brush it out you’re probably going to work it through the rest of your hair when you brush it out. Even with as short as my hair is, I could definitely tell a difference in the before and after of using the shampoo. With more hair, I’m sure the feeling is even more pronounced and more welcome. It’s a pretty easy way to keep your hygiene up, and keep yourself feeling better while on an extended trip in the bush. I think most of us start feeling pretty grungy after a few days and being able to clean up while we’re out there generally refreshes you and keeps you going. The longer you stave off that “I have to get my filthy self hosed off somewhere” feeling, the longer you can stay in the field. The longer we’re in the field the more we aren’t at work or doing honey-do lists at home, so that’s a good thing! Keep in mind too guys, that while we may not have much hair, or care if we’re all that funky at times, if we camp with our wives, girlfriends, or daughters, this is a product they might well appreciate too! They might be more conducive to camping trips, or at least longer ones, if they can keep a little cleaner while they’re out there. The Salon Grafix Dry Shampoo retails for about $8 and is available online and locally at a variety of stores. A quick search showed it popping up on Amazon, through Target stores, and at various drug stores.
When you’re a kid, you may not care so much about hitting the woods and coming back one big stinky, dirty, ball. As you get older, though, I think most of us tend to prefer some semblance of hygiene even in the woods. Its certainly healthier for us, and it generally makes for a more pleasant trip for ourselves and the folks who have to be around us. With some of the stuff that’s out there now, including the On the Job hand lotion and the Salon Grafix Dry Shampoo, there’s absolutely no reason why a stay in the woods can’t be a pleasant and healthy one for everybody involved!