There are better things to degrease your chain with than Skin Bracer by Mennen, although it is a sort of solvent. Few other solutions will leave your chain smelling better, and there’s something oddly satisfying about the emerald green liquid that just begs you to use it for stuff other than splashing it on your face after a shave.
It’d make horrible brake fluid, not viscous enough. Perhaps a saddle polish.
My dad had a bright green bottle of Skin Bracer in his medicine chest, and I can’t shave my face without thinking of my dad. As a kid I’d watch him shave with that sort of kid-awe that couldn’t quite comprehend grown-ups and their bizarre rituals. Later, he bought me this shaving cream he liked, and it had a particular smell, his smell, and while I didn’t really like the way it worked for shaving, after he died I kept using it, because it reminded me of him.
I also bought a bottle of Skin Bracer for myself and began using it occasionally. Using it just a splash at a time, it threatens never to run out.
In the interest of completeness, I have to tell you that Skin Bracer tastes like alcohol and batteries, like lemon and pennies. Smell is integral to taste, but the intoxicating aroma of the stuff means nothing about its flavor in this case. It is the color of Midori or lime Jell-o, but tastes like neither one.
Bracing isn’t really something the skin is calling out for, if we’re honest.
As a cyclist, I have long experience with actual skin bracers, like cold wind, needling rain, slant-wise snow. And oddly, for the all the time my skin has spent bracing against the aforementioned attacks, it is not more taut than it was before. If anything, it is more slack, my eyes crow-footed with loose skin beneath, my cheeks riven. I am weathered, if delightfully aromatic.
The proper way to apply Skin Bracer, if you’re not old enough to remember the commercials, is to shake a little into your palms and then slap your face vigorously. The high alcohol content leads to rapid evaporation and a sharp, cooling sensation. It’s not unlike rolling downhill in a snowstorm. If you have managed to cut yourself while shaving, you get to find out exactly where those cuts are, and like that snowy descent, it’ll bring tears to your eyes.
I am tempted to believe that Skin Bracer is a uniquely masculine product, but I think this is just a preconceived notion. Like a Slinky, it’s probably good for a girl or boy (or anyone in between). Would any cyclist who shaves their legs dare apply the Bracer’s fresh scent to their calves and shins? Only if they wanted to smell like the breeze through the trees in the Garden of Eden.
Skin Bracer is like the anti-embrocation. Where embro coats, soothes and warms, Skin Bracer is gone in a nonce, leaving behind a signature sort of cold sting. Maybe it would be an effective embro-removal solution, one that leaves you in sweet-smelling tears.
Like many of my predilections, Skin Bracer isn’t really related to cycling, but because I love them both so much my brain strains at ways to combine them. In this way, I conflate the uses of Moone Pies, the color olive drab, Evel Knievel, cedar trees, abandoned buildings, and vintage after shaves with the inherent joy of cycling, all of them redolent of depth and bombast, discovery and mysterious joy. Regardless of its tenuous connection to the thing you and I have in common, you will read this not-review and wonder what Skin Bracer smells and feels like, and the next time you’re in a drug store maybe you’ll espy it on its dusty shelf and think, “Aw, screw it. It’s cheap.”