Feb 162011
 

Papershowerb As travelers we can't always rush out and have a hot shower whenever we feel like it.  So here is an interesting product with an innovative twist for cases when you need either a little or a lot of remedial cleaning.

You're probably familiar with various types of disposable moist towelettes, wetnaps, and such things (and in case you're not, there's even a website devoted to the topic, http://www.moisttowelettemuseum.com/).

All these types of products have a slight limitation.  They can certainly dislodge dirt or sweat or whatever from one's face (or other regions) but they don't necessarily remove it – they spread it about as well as remove some of it, and obscure it with an alternate scent.  What is needed is a second product, paired with the Wet Nap type product – a dry towelette, to wipe off and dry your skin after you've washed it with the first wet towelette.

Well, goodness gracious me, human innovation knows no bounds, and a dentist, no less, applied his full medical expertise to the topic and came up with a new product now known as a 'Paper Shower'.  This is a twin sachet pack containing in two separate but joined together pouches a wet and a dry towelette.

I'm not joking about the dentist applying his dental knowledge – when opened up, the wet towelette has an odor vaguely reminiscent of a dentist's office (they are described as 'unscented' and other than this vaguely medicinal smell have no other noticeable odor).  And lest the association with a dentist's office should tempt you to use it to, ummm, clean out your mouth, the packets contain the helpful warning 'Do not place in mouth'.

Each of the towelettes measure about 9" x 12" when unfolded, and are made of a thicker type of papery/cottony sort of substance than a typical wetnap, and definitely much thicker than a paper tissue.

They are light – each Paper Shower duo-pack weighs 0.8 oz.

It is probably just as well that a dry towelette comes along with the wet one, because in testing, it seemed that using the wet one and not the dry one left a sticky sort of residue on my hands.  Maybe that was the DMDM Hydantoin (one of the listed ingredients – a chemical commonly found in shampoos and skin care products that releases formaldehyde as a preservative/anti-microbial agent).  Or perhaps the urea (found in urine and to a lesser extent in sweat) that is also included?  Or the (oh boy, I hate typing these two!) polyoxyethylene sorbitan monolaurate (a wetting agent) or the 2,5-dioxo-4-imidazolidinyl (another formaldehyde releasing preservative)?

You get my point.  There's lots of stuff as well as just plain water, alcohol, glycerine and aloe vera in these towelettes.  Hopefully all good for us, but one wonders why they also have the admonition on them not to flush them down toilets after use?

Like all such towelettes that contain volatile substances that start to evaporate as soon as you open them, they are cold to the touch and even colder when applied to one's face.  How about a self-warming moist towelette?  That's definitely a product I'd pay extra for!

The wet towelette comes with a good 'load' of moisture on it, and the dry towelette does a good job of drying that part of the liquid that hasn't already soaked into your skin or evaporated away.  Both are reasonably lint free, unlike some airline towelettes that when you rub them on your stubbly face after a long flight, leave behind an assortment of white paper fluff on your face.

The Paper Showers come in a bewildering range of different prepackaged quantities (6, 12, 18, 24, 30, 36, 42, 48 or 54 per pack), and are available direct from the manufacturer's website.  In addition, packs of twelve can be purchased from Amazon for $14.50 – 10c more than direct from the manufacturer, and the manufacturer offers free shipping, so it is far from clear what Amazon's value proposition here might be.

If you do visit the Amazon site, it is interesting to note what is clearly one of the most egregious examples of deceptive shill reviews – seven glowing reviews appeared on the same day, one more two days later, predominantly from reviewers with no previous reviewing history, and with some common spelling weaknesses.  Since this rush of reviews in November, there has been only one more review subsequently.

As for the shill reviewer who referred to them as being 'honestly underpriced' – well, I've some very honestly underpriced ocean-front property in Arizona she might like to make me an offer on as well.

To talk more about the price for a minute, you can buy individually wrapped moist towelettes for as little as 1c each when buying in bulk.  You can buy Kleenex brand 'Splash 'n Go' wipes – each about half the size of a Paper Shower towelette – in packs of 35 for $3.90 on Amazon.  You can buy paper towels in various sizes and quantities for little more than a penny each.

To pay about a dollar or more each for these products is nothing like 'honestly underpriced'.  It is very expensive.

They are, of course, single use, and probably not something you could share between two of you either.  And if you were wanting to do something more like a 'whole body wash', you'd probably want to use two or three or more of these, rather than just a single one.  $5 for an emergency freshen up?  That's starting to get pricey, isn't it.

On the other hand, they are conveniently packaged and we are all used to paying extra for convenience.  At half the price, I'd probably buy some to keep in my travel bag for 'special emergencies', and at a quarter the price, I'd definitely buy them for more regular use.

This is a reasonably good product, but the deceptive product reviews on Amazon leave one with a bad taste in one's mouth, and its high price interferes with its broader acceptance/use.  If you can see your way past these issues, you'll probably be pleased with them as part of your travel kit.

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