A brushless cream from an American apothecary
Used with: Super-Max Stainless (2nd shave)
When I bought it, the lady serving me said I only needed a five pence piece-worth of cream. I used a little more than that but not much. It also states ‘no water is needed’ but I don’t think that means apply to a dry face. I washed my face before applying. The only thing that helped with glide was water. I had immense trouble telling where I had shaved and where not, but proceeded with a single WTG pass. It clogged my razor a bit but not much. I then applied some water, which suggested good slickness, and shaved ATG, plus some touch-ups. My neck wasn’t particularly close or smooth and had some areas of significant roughness. I could feel some stubble WTG on my face. ATG wasn’t as bad as I’d feared, but still had some roughness and plenty of resistance. Post shave feel was average. I got some of the fragrance at the start, something akin to a skin cream. I don’t remember any cooling from the menthol. A passable shave.
Used with: Personna Platinum Chrome (1st shave)
I wet my face and then applied a tiny amount of cream. It was hard to tell where I had applied it but I guessed and went for it. Not the most pleasant experience but it worked. I massaged my face with some water for the second/touch-up pass and slickness was much better. My razor got clogged throughout and despite some vigorous attempts to shake it loose I had to use a brush to clean the blade when I was done. My neck was pretty good. Nowhere felt especially close but there were no significant rough patches either. I felt some areas on my chin and around my mouth, but the rest of my face was good WTG. ATG was similar; nowhere that close but nothing too hideous either. Post shave feel was good. I got a little of the medicinal scent at the start but it soon vanished. I also registered a very slight cooling effect from the menthol. This followed a shave from the day before so I wonder if a lower amount of stubble helped. A pretty good shave.
Used with: Lord Super Stainless (3rd shave)
I wet my face and applied a small amount of cream. Once again, impossible to tell where I had applied. I got some tugging on the first pass but not as bad as I’d thought (considering it had been an electric shave the day before). My razor did clog slightly but not as much as previously. It cleaned out without much effort too. My neck wasn’t especially close, but the only real roughness was a small area low down. My chin wasn’t great WTG, but the rest of my face was good. There was plenty of significant resistance ATG though. Post shave feel was soft but a bit dry. I got a quick whiff of the medicinal scent as I applied it but I don’t remember it after that. A pretty good shave.
Used with: Bolzano Superinox (4th shave)
As before, I wet my face then applied a small amount of cream, which promptly vanished. First pass was fine, minimal clogging and no tugging. I applied some water before the second pass and slickness was good. I did pick up a few nicks on my neck, but they were sealed as I washed my face down. My neck was passable, with only one patch of real roughness. WTG my face was smooth. ATG I had some resistance but it was generally pretty good. Post shave feel was nice and soft. The fragrance was there as I initially applied it, but then disappeared. No bad thing. A good shave.
Used with: Rapira Super Stainless (4th shave)
After wetting my face I squeezed out a pea-sized amount of cream and rubbed over my face. It never feels like it’s doing much, i.e. adding a slick layer, and the first pass didn’t feel particularly smooth, but I had minimal clogging. I was guessing where I had already shaved though. I apply with my left hand and don’t wash it off after I apply so I can scoop up some water and use that to help slickness for my second pass, which generally feels well lubricated. I picked up a solitary nick. My neck didn’t feel especially smooth but neither were there any particularly rough areas, even my usual trouble spots were good. There was a small area on my chin that felt rough WTG, but the rest was smooth. ATG offered some resistance but nothing too rough aside from that same area of chin. Post shave feel was decent, soft but a touch dry. I thought there was a subtle cooling from the menthol, but I could have imagined that. I don’t remember the fragrance at all, not even when applying it. A good shave.
This was another attempt to find a decent brushless cream as an alternative to using my electric shaver when I’m short of time. Kiehl’s is well known and I’d seen this recommended in quite a few places.
The company has been around since 1851, starting as an apothecary. They’re now owned by L’Oreal and offer a host of long and oddly-named shaving creams, both for brush and brushless.
This version contains menthol and camphor (they also offer unscented). I got a subtle fragrance, but to my nose it was more medicinal than anything else, like something you’d use to treat nappy rash or eczema. Not a good fragrance but I only ever got the briefest hint as I applied the cream before it vanished.
I didn’t get much of a hit from the menthol either, but thought I got a slight cooling sensation on a few of the shaves.
I was told to apply a small (‘five pence piece’) amount of cream by the sales assistant. That certainly seemed to be enough, though not sure I would do so without applying some water first, despite the bottle suggesting no water is needed.
In fact, slickness seemed to benefit enormously from a drop of water and applying some for my subsequent passes provided the best results.
Obviously this didn’t benefit from the usual number of passes and numerous touch-ups, but I only really skipped one pass. It also lacked the brush to help stand the bristles up, etc. So it’s probably unfair to hold it to the same high standard.
It therefore comes as no surprise that it didn’t achieve the same heights as traditional soaps and creams, but I was still quite impressed. I never got a great shave but was generally able to get a pretty good one — at least as good as my electric shaver, and the results lasted longer.
Dropping a pass, not having to build a lather and savings in clean-up made it faster too, albeit not as quick as an electric shave.
It’s not expensive, but it’s towards the higher end of the price spectrum. The fact that you can use so little for each shave means it goes a long way though, so it does offer good value. They also offer a smaller size that would be good for travelling.
I didn’t get the greatest shaves from it, but I wasn’t expecting to. What I did get was a faster shave that still offered good results. Which is what I was looking for. While it won’t compete with the best, I’d say this was a reasonably competitor to a number of creams and soaps that do require a brush.