Elements of Classic Style and Culture in the American South
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Italian Shaving Cream
Shaving is one of the more mundane of a man's daily chores. Over the years I have tried a number of different shaving products. I used an electric razor for a while, but found that it did not provide a very close shave and tended to roughen my epidermis. I have tried numerous gels and foams from the grocery store aisle. They all seem somewhat lacking. I went through a phase where I used a bristle hair brush and bar soap, mostly because I thought it was cool. The coolness wore off quickly when I discovered the method was time consuming and messy. A few years ago I received as a gift a shaving kit from The Art of Shaving. The kit consisted of a jar of pre-shave oil and a tub of cream. It provided a great shave, but I found the two-step process to be a pain and the price of the products to be inflated.
Recently I found shaving Nirvana in the form of Italian shaving cream with Eucalyptus oil and Menthol. The Eucalyptus oil provides a slick coating that really helps prevent razor burn. The Menthol adds a fresh minty aroma. I first discovered this shaving cream at Bath & Body Works branded under the name of C.O. Bigelow. After becoming hooked on the product it disappeared from my local Bath & Body Works; however, I was still able to order it from them online. Concerned that it might be discontinued, I did a little research. I noticed on the C.O. Bigelow box that the shaving cream is "made exclusively by Proraso for C.O. Bigelow." I discovered that Proraso markets what appears to be a similar shaving cream. That made me wonder if it is the same product marketed in different packaging.
Last week I placed an order from Amazon for tubes of both the C.O. Bigelow and Proraso shaving creams so that I could do a side-by-side comparison. Upon receiving the shipment, I was happy to see that the Proraso box indicates that it has been made in Florence since 1926 (so hopefully it will not be discontinued any time soon).
Both shaving creams are packaged in 5.2 oz toothpaste-style tubes. An examination of the contents of each tube reveals shaving creams that are indistinguishable to me in look, feel or aroma. For what it's worth, an examination of the boxes reveals that the Proraso contains three ingredients not found in the C.O. Bigelow: amyl cinnamal, eugenol (clove oil), and geraniol. Both tubes were reasonably priced; the C.O. Bigelow was ten dollars and the Proraso eleven.
For a wonderful close shave I would heartily recommend either of these Italian shave creams.