A brushless cream from one of the big names in men’s grooming.
Used with: Rapira Swedish Supersteel (4th shave)
I squeezed a reasonable amount — about what I would use if lathering with a brush, a bit less than an almond-sized amount — into my hand and massaged onto my wet face, as per the instructions. It’s quite thick, not runny like the Boots brushless I tried. The coating stayed opaque, making it easy to see where I had applied. The razor tugged a fair bit on the first pass. I got a bit of clogging, but nothing too difficult to dislodge, although I could probably get away with less cream. Slickness felt pretty good. I picked up a couple of small nicks but they sealed themselves before I finished. My neck wasn’t especially close, but the only real roughness was limited to the usual trouble-spots. There was a bit of stubble left on my chin WTG but otherwise my face was fine. It wasn’t particularly rough ATG but there was plenty of resistance. Post shave feel was okay, but no more. It has what I assume is Dove’s signature fragrance. It’s insipid but not unpleasant. I only picked it up at the start. A pretty good shave.
Used with: Feather Hi-Stainless (2nd shave)
I used a slightly smaller amount of cream, again smoothed over a wet face. It didn’t stay opaque this time, which made shaving a bit of a gamble. The blade tugged a bit on the first pass and I had some clogging (stubble more than cream). Slickness felt okay and was excellent when I applied some water for subsequent passes. I didn’t pick up any nicks, which is quite impressive for a blade with a reputation for sharpness. My neck was generally smooth, with only a hint of roughness, though my jawline still wasn’t great. I didn’t go fully ATG on my top lip, afraid of irritation, but this meant it was rough WTG along with an area of chin. The rest of my face was good though. ATG was fine except for resistance in the odd area and, obviously, my top lip. Post shave feel was okay, but not especially soft and rather dry. I got a whiff of the fragrance at the start but don’t remember it thereafter. A good shave.
Used with: Personna Med Prep (1st shave)
I used a small dollop of cream, which made it hard to see after application. It still managed to clog the blade on the first pass though. Slickness felt good. I did pick up a couple of nicks on my top lip, but I suspect these were more a case of re-opening ones from my previous shave. Regardless, they were sealed by cold water. My neck wasn’t particularly smooth, but neither was there much real roughness. Even my usual trouble-spots (such as my jawline) were pretty good. WTG on my face wasn’t as smooth as usual, with some resistance to be felt. ATG was a similar story; no particularly bad areas, but nowhere even in the realm of BBS. I also had some irritation on my top lip. Post shave feel was average, being neither soft or moisturised. I don’t recall the fragrance at all, at any point in the shave. An average shave.
Used with: Gillette Stainless (3rd shave)
I squeezed some cream into my hand and then smoothed over my stubble. It was translucent to the point of making it hard to see where I had shaved and where I had not, yet still clogged my razor a bit. Hair clogging the razor was a bigger issue later though and I had to use a small brush to clear it at the end. Slickness felt okay, it’s good when water is applied but didn’t work for as many passes as some others. That said, I didn’t pick up any nicks. The finish on my neck was pretty good. It could have been smoother but the only hint of real roughness was in the usual trouble spots. Pretty good WTG on my face. ATG was generally good too, though I did have an area with more resistance than I’d have liked. Post shave feel was very average. I did pick up the fragrance at the start this time and, when I hunted for it, during the shave. A good shave.
Used with: Van der Hagen Ice Tempered Stainless Steel (2nd shave)
I had a reasonable amount of cream but it still vanished within a few seconds of applying. There was enough to clog my razor though, although much of it was hair on subsequent passes. I had to clear the blade manually when I finished. I had painful tugging on the first pass. Slickness, at least on the first pass, didn’t feel great, but I didn’t pick up any nicks. My top lip was left with some mild irritation. Apart from the usual trouble-spots, my neck was pretty good. WTG my face was also good. ATG wasn’t bad either, but there were some areas of resistance, though no out-and-out roughness. Post shave feel was pretty poor, being very dry. I don’t recall the fragrance, but it’s quite subtle at the best of times. A good shave.
I don’t expect brushless creams to match products designed to be used with a brush. Partly this is because I know I’m not going to be able to do the same number of passes, but the brush adds something too.
That said, I was pretty impressed with this. Slickness was good enough to prevent me picking up nicks (I don’t think I’m any less gung-ho with brushless products), with a splash of water allowing me several passes. This meant I could work on problem areas to get the desired result.
Post shave feel was a bit of a let down, as it failed to provide a soft or moisturised finish. The fragrance — which seems to match some aftershave balm I have, so I assume is common to their range — was pretty weak and insipid. It won’t offend, but it won’t be creating any zealots either.
The price point is good, and being available in supermarkets means anyone should be able to pick it up. For me that puts it ahead of the likes of Kiehl’s, while the consistency meant I didn’t need to use as much as the Boots’ cream. Although the latter had a better fragrance.
If you want something that lets you shave without worrying too much about the ritual, this does the job. It won’t provide the same luxury as a traditional shave, but beats canned goo and bettered my expectations.