Category Archives: Creams & Soaps

Reviews of shaving creams and soaps.

Review: Al’s Shaving Products – Calypso Shaving Cream

Als Shaving Products - Calypso Shaving Cream

Als Shaving Products – Calypso Shaving Cream

If you’re reading this, then I have no doubt you’ve heard of Al’s Shaving Products.  They’ve been around for a while, and the big guns in the shaving world, folks like Mark H. (Mantic59), and Michael Ham (LeisureGuy) have given them great reviews.  So who am I to judge?  I figured it was time to find out.

I ordered a sample pack from Al’s website and it arrived fairly quickly.  In the sample pack was an assortment of 7 small tins with creams in it.  They are all very interesting and very pleasant scents.  Highlights for me include Goodfellas, Al’s take on barbershop, Calabria, a citrusy-musky treat for the senses, and of course, Calypso, which is Al’s take on bay rum.

Let’s talk scent.  Here is how Al describes it on his website:

Calypso can be described as cool, refreshing, bracing. There is also a warm, friendly, honest feel to this fragrance and one that is extremely natural. On top of this, there is also, strangely, a shadowy, deep, mysterious, spicy quality. The scent itself may be relatively simple but its impression is complex

Indeed!  It is a very warm take on bay rum.  And it seems to be built more on the middle and base notes, so you get a lot more of the spicier, sweeter, and more complex side of bay rum.  Another thing to note is that once you get water involved the scent opens up, in the same way a great scotch will often open up a little after adding a splash of water to it.  Really nice indeed.  And the scent is quite present throughout the shave.  It’s not light in any sense but also not strong enough to anger my sensitive skin.  A very nice balance.

As for the lather, this does produce as advertised.  It is often referred to as the bomb because very little of the product is needed to achieve the explosion of lather you will get when lathering this up.  Seriously, I used a small amount of cream, and after a 3-pass shave I squeezed out my brush and scooped the leftovers from my mug and had a tennis-ball sized dollop of lather in my hand.

As for the performance, this is a very slick lather.  Not as cushioning as, say, Taylor of Old Bond Street’s cream, but where it might lack in cushion, it makes up for in slickness.  And let me just say that Taylor of Old Bond Street is so good at being cushioning, that it’s almost unfair to throw this comparison around.  As for the lather life, it did feel slightly thinner on the 3rd pass, but still provided an ultra-slick layer of glide for my razor (a Merkur Futur set on 1 for the last pass).

The price for a tub of Al’s is a little higher, but the soap is a little more dense, and you also need less of it to get the same, or more, lather out of it.  It really is as advertised, a lathering beast!  A very excellent-smelling lathering beast.

  • Scent – 5
  • Lather Performance – 4.5
  • Lather Life – 4.5
  • Overall – 4.5

Review: Elvado MoBay Rum Shaving Soap

Elvado MoBay Rum Shaving Soap

Elvado MoBay Rum Shaving Soap

I’m a lucky guy.  The parade of products here in the shave den of this creaky old pirate ship is unstoppable.  There seems to be a never-ending supply of soaps, creams, lotions, splashes, and definitely scents.  Even narrowed down to one category, like bay rum, there is a seemingly endless range of variations.  I feel a mixed emotion.  I feel sad for the guy out there that never tried anything else because he likes the one product he uses.  I also feel a bit of jealousy that he found something he loves so much that he doesn’t need to try anything else.  But I think we can all agree that we feel nothing but pity for the guy who gets his lather out of a can.  Yeah, it sucked being that guy.

Well, where was I.  Oh yes!  I’m a lucky guy.  Why?  Because I have yet another bay rum shaving soap to review!  Today, and actually for the last few days, I shaved with Elvado’s MoBay Rum Shaving Soap.  Elvado’s soaps are certified vegan products made with no animal testing.  So you won’t find any tallow here, gents.  However, this is a quality product.  I have been schooled lately on how non-tallow does not mean non-performance.

So lets just dive right in here.  This soap comes in a nice 3.5″ plastic tub that makes it great for loading your brush.  Not too big, not too small.  Actually there’s no such thing as too big.  But there is too small, and this ain’t it.

The scent is just wonderful.  This is yet another new take on the bay rum scent.  As I have said many times in several different reviews, bay rum is one of the best mediums to get inside the crafter’s head.  There is no definitive bay rum scent, so it’s up to the guy sitting at the desk with beakers and test tubes, and little droppers full of essential oils to craft his (or her) definition of “bay rum”.  And this one is great.  It’s seductively spicy, and has a great lime top note.  A classic lime top note jumps out to greet you and then introduces you to the rest of the lineup that is fairly reminiscent of what you would expect from a West Indies Bay Rum.  It’s a great scent that carries through the entire shave and stays with you a little while longer.

The lather is one you would expect from a veggie soap.  I have come to expect a certain consistency with veggie soaps, like a thick lemon meringue type of lather.  Tallow soaps lean to more of a yogurt consistency.  I like a balance between the two in general.  So I have played around with this soap for a few shaves, and found that my best lather came from face-lathering with a boar brush.  I tend to get an uber-thick application of lather that is far more cushioning than I get from my badger brush with this soap.  As for slickness, there is no argument.  This is a very slick soap, and when I get the lather right, I get great shaves.  BBS.  I did notice that the lather seems to be breaking down somewhat by my third pass, but comes back to life with a little refresher on the puck and some water.  This is a thirsty soap, and water does it good.

I did find at the end of my 3-pass shaves that my sensitive skin was starting to tingle a bit.  It’s most likely from the essential oils, because it is well-scented, and the ingredients are so good for your face.  The good news for me was that I also have the aftershave, and this helped calm things down.  I’ll save the AS for another review, as I think it is also a great product, deserving of it’s own entry here in the diaries.

  • Scent – 4.5
  • Lather Performance – 4
  • Lather Life – 3.5
  • Overall – 4

Review: Barrister & Mann – Seville Shaving soap

Barrister And Mann - Seville Shaving Soap

Barrister And Mann – Seville Shaving Soap

Recently, I’ve been doing several writeups on the new generation in shaving products.  Not your traditional names like Taylor of Old Bond Street, Truefitt & Hill, or D.R. Harris.  True, those guys have been around for a long time, and theres a very good reason for that.  But there is a new crop of shavemakers that truly deserve some high-end recognition because their products are just outstanding.  And recently I have added a new favorite to my list:  Barrister & Mann.

I recently ordered a sampler pack of their soaps, which also came with a sample of their awesome Kyovu aftershave.  The aftershave will get a separate review another time because it’s that good.  For today, I want to tell you about the first soap in their sampler that I have tried, Seville.  Oh man is it good.

This is a tallow soap, which is a breakaway from what seems to be the normal in the new generation of soaps and creams.  Most of them are vegan, or at least non-tallow soaps.  And they’re good.  They’re really good.  And this soap is on par with them all the way, and meets the demand of those shavers out there who prefer tallow soaps.

The scent is a blend of everything that is right in the world.  I have been a bay rum guy for a long time, but this scent is muscling its way into the #1 spot in my routine.  It’s an amazing barbershop scent that just leaves me floored with how good it is.  It’s a blend of bergamot, lemon, patchouli, oakmoss, lavender and rosemary.  I’m sure most of you are scratching your heads trying to imagine the scent, and thats why I almost hesitate to list it.  When lathering, shaving, even rinsing, the scent is the right blend, at the right strength.  This is one of those rare scents that simply take you away from the daily grind and make shaving something you want to do.  When you hear dorks like me say “the zen of shaving”, it’s scents like these that make up the zen part.  Have I mentioned yet that I like this scent…. a lot…?

As for performance, this stuff is right up there with the best.  I used my Duke 2 badger brush and built up a substantial lather, that was exquisitely thick and creamy.  It whips up super easy compared to other tallow soaps, that can sometimes flatten.  It does exactly what you’ve come to expect from a quality soap, giving your face an ultra-slick and cushioning layer of protection.  The razor glides with ease right through the whisker, leaving your skin feeling untouched yet as smooth as it can get.

One more thing to mention, their prices are outstanding for the quality inside of these products.  This is one of the better price-to-value ratios in the market.  Once you try them out, you’ll feel like you just ripped them off.  In my opinion, you did.

I say it all the time:  I’m a lucky man.  And I’m lucky now because I still have an entire sampler pack of Barrister & Mann soaps to go through.  And one of them is a bay rum.  Oh yeah.  Life is good.  Barrister & Mann is great.  Get some.

  • Scent – 5
  • Lather Performance – 5
  • Lather Life – 5
  • Overall – 5

5’s are for those things that just seem impossible to prove.  The scent is great, the lather is great, super slick and super protective, and is easy to whip up.  The lather lasts wonderfully for a full three-pass shave and then some.  I can’t think of any way to improve it.  How can I not give it a full 5.  Nice work guys.  Nice work.

Review: Schaf Skin Care For Men

Schaf Skin Care

Schaf Skin Care

Recently I have been noticing that I have sensitive skin.  There are just some soaps and creams out there that have been leaving my face itchy and irritated.  I’m shaving great now that I’ve found a better go-to blade for my Weber DLC.  With Gillette 7 O’Clock Yellows, I feel I have found gold, and have sent nicks for a walk on the plank.  But yes, sadly, I am noticing the issue with sensitive skin.  Tabac is an emotional example.  How I love the scent of that soap.  Too bad I just can’t use it.  It leaves my skin itchy every time.  I love the strong scent, but it’s the strong scent that hates my face.  Sad face.

Well I have a new addition to my shave den and my shower that is the answer to sensitive skin.  Enter Schaf Skin Care.  All in all there are four products available, and each of them are fantastic.  These were designed by Peter Schafrick, who was tired of all the products with all the harmful toxins and strong scents that cause irritation, and decided to make his own line of products that are simple, mostly natural, and fragrance-free, leading to an irritation-free morning ritual.

First up is Scrub:  To be used every other day, this scrub is made up of volcanic rock and ground apricot seeds, loosely bound in a foaming gel.  It feels fantastic and is easy to use, leaving your face feeling completely rejuvinated.  I probably like the scrub the most out of all these products.

Cleanse is a gentle facewash that is lightweight and rinses clean.  And it’s packed with goodness like chamomile, aloe, cucumber, and Japanese Green Tea extracts.  It gets rid of dirt and oil, leaving your face cleansed but not stripped.

Next comes the meat of the lineup, the shave cream.  I had a little trouble at first getting a good lather going, but I have found after much use that ideally you want to use as little water as possible, and lather directly on your face, instead of a mug or bowl.  I put a couple of squirts out of the can (yes its in a can, but its pump-action, not pressurized goo) right onto my brush, and face lathered and got a very slick lather.  I can’t say the lather is on par with some of my favorite creams out there, but it is a very slick lather providing a great glide for my razor.  I ended each shave baby-butt smooth and with zero irritation.  And the lather also rinses very clean very easily.  No soap residue here.

Last, but definitely not least, is Hydrate, a post-shave moisturizer loaded with fantastic ingredients like avocado oil, organic coconut oil, sunflower oil, pumpkin seed oil, vitamin e, aloe, and on and on and on.  The “final touch” is an ingredient called “Matrixyl 3000”, which according to the Schaf website, is a “proven anti-wrinkle peptide that defends against the signs of aging.”  I can tell you this:  It doesn’t feel oily or greasy at all.  A little goes a long way, and it absorbed into my skin almost instantaneously, and my face looked great every day I used it.  No joke.

At the end of the day, you really should check out the Schaf website, read the story of how this all came to be, check out the ingredients lists on all the products, and decide for yourself.  There is high attention paid to making sure the ingredients are as natural as possible and organic when they can be.  The ultimate goal is to provide non-irritating and non-toxic products for your entire morning routing, and I think Peter has nailed it.  This is great stuff, and if you have sensitive skin like me, you’ll love it too.

Review: HowToGrowAMoustache.com – Bay Rum Synergy Shaving Soap

HowToGrowAMoustache.com - Bay Rum Synergy Shaving Soap

HowToGrowAMoustache.com – Bay Rum Synergy Shaving Soap

I am a lucky man.  I do love starting out reviews saying that.  So why am I so lucky this time?  Because had it not been for the off chance of just checking out traditional shaving, I would not have had as good a shave as I did today.  Let me tell you about a moustached man named Douglass Smythe.  Or maybe I should tell you about his website.  Or his Synergy Shaving Soap.

If you’ve been doing any research or reading online on any or the more well-known shaving blogs, you may have come across Douglass and/or his blog, and/or his shaving soap.  As a man amongst pretend-ship-sailing-men, I can tell you without a shred of doubt that Mr. Smythe has created one hell of a product.  I’ve been using this Synergy Shaving soap for a couple weeks now.  And I’ve been wanting to tell you about it, but I’ve been out plundering the wilds of the Caribbean Islands…. That, or my new job’s hours have been keeping me on my toes.  It’s one of the two…

Ok, first things first.  And the first thing is value.  This is now the largest tin of soap in my shave cave.  It’s a massive puck.  8 oz of soap in a wide-mouthed tin that is just fantastic for loading your brush.  And it’s priced so low comparatively, that I can’t think of a soap that offers this good a value.  And it’s not that this stuff isn’t a good performer.  It’s a great performer.

Alright, so I’ve come to discover that Synergy Shaving soap loves water.  And as Douglass has pointed out, it loves hot water.  I actually submerge the entire puck and tin (along with my Duke 2 badger brush) in hot water for a minute before shaving.  By the way, the labels on the tin are vinyl, meaning they won’t fade or crinkle up when they get wet.  Nice touch there, Douglass.

So yes, the hot water really awakens the soap, which responds with an explosion of lather on my brush.  I load the brush until the soap gets tacky, then I move to my mug (I really like using a mug/bowl).  As I said, this stuff loves water, so I add it quite liberally when building the lather, and also between passes.

The smell is fantastic.  It’s a bit strong when you first open up the tin, but as you’re lathering on your face, it really ends up being just a great scent at the right strength.  It remains that way all the way through the shave.  I have had issues in the past with some strongly-scented soaps (like Tabac) causing a problem for my sensitive skin.  I was worried that this soap may give me the itchies, but I am happy to report that my skin loves this stuff!

Performance.  Alright, so here we have another vegan soap.  I have been seeing more and more of these lately, and they have really been giving tallow a run for it’s money.  I’ve been a big tallow soap guy since I started traditional shaving.  But lately I have been reaching a lot more to non-tallow soaps and creams.

So this lather is not a tallow lather.  It appears, when lathered up, to be a little on the fluffier side, rather than a thick-yogurty side.  Adding a little more water brings it closer to that yogurt consistency we look for when building a lather.  Moving the lather to my face, all “this isn’t tallow” worries are instantly quelled.  This lather is amazing.  When lathered on the face, it is very thick, and incredibly slick.  This is a fantastic shaving soap, providing a great cushion for my razor.  It also rinses clean off my face and off my tools.  The lather does need a little refreshing between passes, which I’ve noticed with other veggie soaps, but a little bit of water brings it right back to life.

I’m very impressed with this soap.  And considering it’s size, I will be for a long time.  If you haven’t yet, check out HowToGrowAMoustache.com.  The soaps are fantastic, but you also should check out Douglass’s blog and podcast if you haven’t already.  When you hear his interviews and read his articles and how-to’s, you’ll see that this is a man who really just wants to make quality shaving products.  Synergy Shaving Soap is a home run.

  • Scent – 4.5
  • Lather Performance – 5
  • Lather Life – 4
  • Overall – 4.5

And how silly of me.  I totally forgot to talk about one of the best parts – the natural ingredients, most of which are organic:

Ingredients: Kokum Butter, Organic Mango Butter, Organic Cocoa Butter, Organic Avocado Oil, Organic Pumpkin Oil, Organic Castor Oil, Coconut Oil, Palm Oil, Organic Neem Oil, Safflower Oil, Glycerine, Purified Water, Sodium & Potassium Hydroxide,Soy bean protein, Chaulmoogra Oil, Aloe Extract, Maca Root, Yellow Dock Root, Essential Oil

Beat that.

Review: L.A. Shaving Soap Company – Santa Monica Bay Rum Shaving Soap

Los Angeles Shaving Soap Company - Santa Monica Bay Rum Shaving Soap

Los Angeles Shaving Soap Company – Santa Monica Bay Rum Shaving Soap

I am a lucky man.  There are so many people in this world using the foam in a can to shave with, people who are literally cheating themselves out of experiencing pure bliss in the morning in the form of traditional shaving.  And one of the most pleasurable aspects of the traditional shave is the old badger brush and shaving soap combo.  And today I am lucky because I have found an amazing soap:  Santa Monica Bay Rum Shaving Soap, made by The Los Angeles Shaving Soap Company.  The only thing that John from the LA Shaving Soap Company could have done to better this bay rum experience is deliver it in a pirate ship.  Let me explain.

First off, we’re going to talk scent.  Because this soap’s scent profile is totally unique, and includes a “generous dollop of dark rum”.  [The pirate in me just yo-ho-ho’d.]  I would think that many soap makers might shy away from adding rum to their product, in the worry that it might adversely affect the latherability of the soap.  In this case it did not, but we’ll talk lather later.

The scent blend contains West Indies Bay, Vanilla extract (hell yes), Orange extract,  Balsam Tolu, Clary Sage, Sweet Myrrh, Lemon extract, Anise extract, and Ho Wood esxential oil.  So in essence we have plenty of eye-opening citrus, which is balanced with a hint of sweetness from the vanilla, and slight wafts of floral and woody notes.

Overall the scent comes across similarly to other bay rum soaps (like Mike’s Natural Soaps, and Taconic), but leans in the direction of a spicy and slightly sweet profile.  All in all, it smells awesome in the container, awesome when being whipped into a lather, and awesome on your face.  Not too strong, and not too light.  It’s hard to imagine it getting much better than this.

This soap, which actually is soft and more of a soap/cream combo (often called a croap), is made by a vegan, and as such contains no tallow.  But considering the lather I got from both shaves I have had thus far with this product, you wouldn’t know it.  This is one of the best non-tallow soaps I have shaved with.  The lather was ultra slick and very thick and cushioning.  It lathers up really easily too.  You shouldn’t have any problems at all getting an amazing lather.  Now I have gotten thicker lathers from tallow soap.  But for a non-tallow soap, as I said, this is one of the thickest I have come across.

I did a 3-pass shave.  The lather got better and better and better with each pass too.  Thats one of my favorite aspects of a great soap/cream.

  • Scent – 5
  • Lather Performance – 4.5
  • Lather Life – 5
  • Overall – 5

Lather Performance gets a 4.5 only because personally I prefer tallow soaps, and the thickness you get from tallow.  But, as I said, this is one of the best-performing non-tallow’s I have tried.

If you want to up your shaving experience, check out the Los Angeles Shaving Company.  Their bay rum is great, and I’m really looking forward to trying out their other scents too.

Review: Castle Forbes – Lime Oil Shaving Cream

Castle Forbes - Lime Oil Shaving Cream

Castle Forbes – Lime Oil Shaving Cream

Yo Ho!!  I have travelled around the US, visiting almost every state, and I am back, freshly shaved, and ready for some reviews!  As I said in my last post announcing my trip, I was hoping to write a couple reviews and articles.  As it turned out, my time was extremely limited, so I was not able to write a single lick.  My apologies to all of you who were holding your breath: you may now exhale…

So first up in my line of reviews-to-be-written:  Castle Forbes Lime Oil Shaving Cream.  This shaving cream is a virtual juggernaut in the shaving forums.  People love this shaving cream.  It’s consistently well-reviewed, and it’s price tag suggests superior quality.  Well, as far as I am concerned, this is my proof of Rule #1 in the shaving world:  YMMV (your mileage may vary).  I have tried and tried and tried but I cannot seem to get this stuff to like me.  Let me explain.

Before I get into what I don’t like with this cream, let’s talk about what I do like.  Lime.  Of all the lime-scented products I have tried, this one is probably the sweetest.  I don’t know if it’s pure lime essential oil (the product’s name suggests that it is), but this stuff smells exactly like a lime Lifesaver candy.  It doesn’t get any more lime candy than this stuff.  I have a hesitation to use the word “candy” because I don’t want to come across like this stuff is childish or whatever, but honestly it sure does smell like lime candy.  Me personally, I like candy, so the scent is delicious.  But it’s also pretty simplistic.  After having tried so many complex versions of lime (like Captain’s Choice Lime Aftershave, or Truefitt & Hill’s West Indian Limes Shaving Cream), I find myself wanting a little hint of spice somewhere in the mix.  Regardless, if you like lime, you’ll love the smell of this stuff.  And the lime lasts, too.  It stayed with my shave the entire way through.

Alright, the lather.  So I’ve tried this stuff four to five times now, and I cannot get lather of the quality that I get from giants like Taylor of Old Bond Street or Truefitt & Hill.  Just can’t do it.  And I’ve gone through message board posts, Amazon.com reviews.. You name it, I have tried it.  Face lathering, mug lathering.  Use the brush to sweep out cream from the container, or put a pea-sized dab on my brush and then lather.  Too much water, too little water, and in between.

On a consistent basis I get a lather that is “good” when it comes to slickness and “ok” when it comes to cushion.  I have a hard time getting a thick layer of lather to stay on my face.  (I use a Simpson’s Duke 2 Best Badger brush).  The lather seems to be a bit better on my second pass, but seems to be failing by my third pass.  Don’t get me wrong, the lather is passable.  I had a very good shave today.  But I believe I may be somewhat spoiled by the amazing lathers I have gotten out of other creams and tallow soaps.

I also cannot honestly finish this review without mentioning one ingredient in this cream:  Triethanolamine.  Triethanolamine as been shown to be a toxin with possible links to cancer.  Now, I’m sure their customers are not dropping like flies, but I don’t understand why they have not removed this ingredient and substituted it with something else.  It’s possible that the amount is so negligent that there isn’t a concern, but it’s there.

So that is my feeling about Castle Forbes Lime Oil Shaving Cream.  It’s got a great lime scent, and has some decent slickness, but I feel the lather is not as great as some other brands out there.  It also has a hefty price tag, but that is balanced by the fact that you get a very decent amount of shaving cream.  This tub will last you a long time for sure.

  • Scent – 4
  • Lather Performance – 3.5
  • Lather Life – 3
  • Overall – 3.5

By the way, if you want to scold me for technique or if you want to tell me how you get a great lather from Castle Forbes Lime, or even if you want to agree with me so I don’t feel so left out, just post a comment below and let me know!  Thanks for reading 🙂

Review: Klar Kabinett Shaving Soap

Klar Kabinett Shaving Soap

Klar Kabinett Shaving Soap

Klar Kabinett.  For those not well-versed in the ways of wet shaving, you might mistake this for a pack of butter, or maybe some old… cabinet cleaner?  Then you dig a little deeper, and find that this is a very special soap indeed, one that is loved by many traditional wetshavers.  Like my review for Art of Shaving’s Lavender Shaving Soap with tallow, this one is a little unfair because Klar Kabinett is about to become a thing of the past.

Klar Kabinett comes in two 250g sticks, very much like a pack of butter.  Considering that most shave soaps come in 100g pucks, to get 500g of a quality shave soap for almost the same price is pretty astounding.  Add to that the fact that Klar has discontinued the Kabinett soap, this is a steal.  I just purchased one of the last pucks available from Fendrihan.com only a couple weeks ago.  I say this confidently because they are now out of stock, as is all other wetshaving suppliers that I know of.

So this review may be one for the archives, which is a shame because it really is a great shaving soap.

The scent is straight up rose.  There may be other background hints of other scents; my untrained nose picked up hints of eucalyptus and maybe geranium.  But all in all its a very light, powdery rose scent.  It’s extremely subtle, and probably on the too-light side.  But then again, it may be just exactly right.  Its very light when smelling the bar, but comes more to life when mixing up the lather and while shaving.  All in all a very pleasant and soft rose, that gains strength as you use it.

The lather is exceptional.  It doesn’t need much water either.  It was extremely slick.  In fact as I was rinsing my face between passes I was amazed at how slick my face felt while rinsing.  And it provided great cushion as well.  And the super rich lather lasts and lasts.  With a very average amount of loading the brush, I got enough lather to last two 3-pass shaves.  I could have kept on going and going….

Today I shaved with the first DE razor I ever bought: my Merkur 34HD, loaded with a fresh Personna Medical Prep blade.  I had a completely nick-free and super smooth shave and my skin feels great afterwards.

  • Scent – 4
  • Lather Performance – 4.5
  • Lather Life – 4.5
  • Overall – 4

500g of this soap is going to last me for a very very long time.  That to me just screams value.  It’s a fantastic soap, and if you are a true fan of rose, you need to keep an eye on the B/S/T boards on Badger & Blade and hopefully someone might want to share some.  Good luck, gentlemen.

Review: Taylor of Old Bond Street – Eton College Shaving Cream

Taylor of Old Bond Street - Eton College Shaving Cream

Taylor of Old Bond Street – Eton College Shaving Cream

I am continually impressed by Taylor of Old Bond Street.  I picked up a tub of TOBS Eton College Shaving Cream recently, and have been using it the past few days.  I would love to be schooled enough about Eton College to go off on some literary journey about the history of the school, a campus where the children of dignitaries around the world were educated shoulder-to-shoulder with young English royals.  And perhaps they all loved citrus so much that Taylor of Old Bond Street crafted this citrusy fragrance just for them.  But I don’t know about any of that.

What I can talk about is the lather.  I have reviewed several of TOBS’s creams, and mostly have the same things to say over and over again.  And the lather of Eton College is no different.  This stuff lathered up just the same as many of the others I have reviewed, using a very small amount of cream to whip up a very rich, thick, slick, and cushioning lather.  And it lasts and lasts and lasts.  After my third pass I had enough lather for at least another full three-pass shave.  Fantastic.

The scent is mainly citrusy.  It’s a very light and brisk cologne scent.  Off the top you are hit with a decent lemony-orange flavor, with floral notes backing them up.  This is all over very slight woody/patchouli basenotes, which bring the cologne feel into the scent.  Those basenotes are not very strong.  Actually the entire scent is not very strong in this cream.  Overall it smells like a light citrus-fronted cologne.  If this sounds like something you’d like, I am quite sure you’ll love this stuff.

Personally I am not so much a cologne guy.  I have found some exceptions to that rule as I go along on these reviews, but I don’t think Eton College is for me.  I can’t say a single bad thing about the lather, but the scent broaches too much on the cologne edge for me to stick with this cream.  I’d probably personally stick with TOBS’s Grapefruit and Jermyn Street shaving creams.

Review: D.R. Harris – Windsor Shaving Soap

D.R. Harris - Windsor Shaving Soap

D.R. Harris – Windsor Shaving Soap

Not too long ago I ordered a few samples from Garry’s Sample Shop (that is an unrequested plug for Garry, who runs a wonderful service).  It was in this sample pack that I requested some D.R. Harris soaps.  Well for the past couple days I have really been enjoying one of them, D.R. Harris’ Windsor Shaving Soap.

The lather whipped up nice and thick.  This is one of the last major English soaps to still use tallow in their ingredients.  Tallow provides a rich creamy lather which has only been matched a few rare times by non-tallow creams/soaps in my experience.  And, as expected, this lather got better and better with each pass.  I tell you there is some magic that happens while the brush/lather are resting as you shave each pass.  The lather was better-than-moderately cushioning and slick as I shaved, shaved clean and rinsed clean as well, leaving a hint of the very nice Windsor scent behind.

Windsor is a great fresh morning scent, perfect for your shave routine.  As D.R. Harris describes it, Windsor starts “with citrus overtones, maturing into a warm, leathery scent with notes of black pepper and vetiver”.  To the guy who doesn’t know what that means, that “fresh then warm” description is right on.  That vetiver is what warms it up on the tail end of the scent.  As I said it’s a great scent for the morning.  As I went through the shave I felt the scent was light, and perhaps it is best left that way.  Too much stronger and it would be a bit overpowering.  Any lighter and it would smell like soap.  So I think the gentlemen at D.R. Harris have done a find job.

All that said, I think I prefer the fougere (citrus/fern) scent of D.R. Harris Arlington over the leathery scent of Windsor.  You may disagree.  And that’s cool with me.

  • Scent – 3.5
  • Lather Performance – 4
  • Lather Life – 4.5
  • Overall – 4