So, since I’m a guy and since I shave with a blade, I’m always looking for a better shaving experience; a better razor, better shaving cream, better after-shave, etc. I’ve reviewed a few razors in the past: Gillette Mach 3 (thumbs up), Gillette M3 Power (thumbs down), Gillette Fusion (neutral), Gillette Fusion Power (thumbs up), Schick Quattro (thumbs mostly up), some crappy knockoff brand from Wal-Mart (thumbs way down). I’ve never, however, reviewed any shaving creams.
I’ll set the stage first with a little bit of historical information about my shaving cream past, since that will, no doubt, be of great interest to you… and important in establishing a modicum of credibility for my conclusion.
I’ve been shaving now for roughly 25 years, almost always with a blade, but occasionally with an electric shaver (I’ve never found one that I liked). I’ve used powdered shaving cream, shaving soap, Edge gel (various flavors), Barbasol foam (surprisingly good), depilatories (never again), Gillette’s gel stuff, my wife’s gel stuff (smells nice, but that’s about it), regular soap, and Gillette’s Complete Skincare MultiGlide Shave Gel.
The MultiGlide Shave Gel is what I’ve been using for the past few years and it’s very, very good; better than any other shaving cream I’ve ever used. It’s very slick and stays slick the whole time you’re shaving, even after multiple shaving strokes (hence the term “multiglide”, I suppose). It usually costs a little over $5.00 for a 5.9 ounce tube. Great stuff and I highly recommend it, despite the high price. Sadly, as I recently found out, Gillette seems to have discontinued it.
I’ve found something better.
I have a coworker who shaves his head. Bear with me. It’s relevant. As often happens, I found myself in a discussion over shaving methodology and the various implements and concoctions involved. Since he shaves his entire head from the neck up pretty much every day, I asked him what razor he used (I think it was the Gillette Fusion) and then asked him what shaving cream he used, poised to recommend the Gillette Multiglide should he respond with anyting other than that.
He replied, “Some cheapo hand lotion I got at SaveMart.”
I was stunned into silence.
After a brief moment of incredulity, I got him to elaborate. He was having problems with regular shaving cream because his skin would get really dry and tight after shaving and he’d have to put moisturizing lotion on all the time. He did some research on the web, including posting messages on some shaving forums (Shaving forums?! Who knew!?) and repeatedly had people tell him to just use cheap hand lotion as his shaving cream. So he did… and it worked… really well!
I was skeptical. How could cheap hand lotion be better, or even moderately comparable, to my beloved MultiGlide Shave Gel? I let it go until a few days later after I’d gone to find more of my MultiGlide Shave Gel at multiple stores with no success. I asked my coworker friend what kind of hand lotion… specifically. He said, “I don’t know. It’s the cheapest stuff I can find in a big 32 ounce bottle at SaveMart. Queen something or other.”
I just said, “Hmmm…”
The next morning, there was a huge bottle of hand lotion sitting on my desk at work. Now normally, if one guy at work gets a gift of a big bottle of hand lotion from another guy, it might be considered worthy of an eyebrow raise or a few off-color comments… or an uncomfortable queasiness on the part of the recipient. However, in this case, my reaction was just “w00t!” I asked him how much I owed him and he said not to worry about it since it was only a couple bucks.
I skeptically tried it the next day, leaving my tube of MultiGlide sitting untouched on the shower shelf. I was amazed. Not only was it very slippery on my face, but it stayed slippery just like the MultiGlide, and I had no irritation whatsoever while shaving. My neck around the collar line usually gets a little red after I shave, but with this lotion, it didn’t. Not only that, but after shaving, my skin wasn’t dry or tight. I didn’t even have to use any after shave lotion.
So this cheap hand lotion outperformed my $5.50/5oz MultiGlide stuff! That couldn’t be! I assumed it was a fluke. I tried again the next time and got the same results… and again… and again. I was sold. I bought a small plastic bottle at the dollar store so I wouldn’t have to keep the giant 32-ounce bottle of hand lotion in the shower. The remainder of my MultiGlide Gel has remained untouched since then.
Now the technical specs. I was using a Gillette Mach 3 razor. I have not tried the cream using any of my other razors yet. When I apply the lotion to my face, instead of making sure my face is very wet (like you’re instructed to do with most shave creams), I found it works better if I get all the excess water off my face first. I use roughly the same amount of the hand lotion per shave as I would of other shave creams.
Now, if you can’t find that brand, it’s not a big deal. A few weeks ago, I was at my mother-in-law’s house and needed to shave but didn’t have any of my lotion with me. I found some Avon hand cream and used that instead… with the same results. It seems that my coworker’s claim of “whatever is the cheapest hand lotion I can find” is true.
So I’ve gone from a shaving cream that cost roughly $1.00 per ounce to a shaving cream of equal or better quality (actually better, I think) that costs about $0.09 per ounce. Plus, I don’t have the cost of after shave anymore. That’s a pretty significant difference, I’d say.
So if you’re skeptical, give it a shot with a small bottle of some cheap stuff. Borrow it from your wife or girlfriend if you have to. But even if you get a huge tub-o-lotion, you’ll only be spending a couple bucks and, believe me, you’ll be impressed.
Sorry Gillette… I’ll still use your razors, though.