Welcome to round 6 of the Great Shaving Cream Investigation! This is the final regular round of the series, with just a single champion meets the underdog round to go. I’ll keep it brief, as I know you are quite desperate to know the outcome of this latest round. Am I right or am I right?
To look back at the previous five rounds, take a peek here:
- Read here for the great introductory post
- Round 1: Billy Jealousy vs Gentleman’s Tonic
- Round 2: Kiehl’s vs Body Shop
- Round 3: Mitchell’s vs Lucky Tiger
- Round 4: Taylor of Old Bond Street vs Somersets
- Round 5: Arko vs Proraso
So, what do I bring to the Laboratory of Close Shaves this week? Well, last weeks offerings were quite exotic, with Proraso from Italy and the most delightful Arko from Turkey. This week we have upper-crust British brand Truefitt & Hill meeting eco-friendly Weleda. Again the different formats, one being a frothing soap, the other a cream in tubular form. Will products 11 and 12 bring anything to the game that I’ve not already experience from the previous 10?
To repeat, The Rules are as follows:
- A fresh blade is to be inserted into the safety razor to ensure optimum cutting ability (Japanese Feather brand is used).
- A hot shower to provide equal skin softening to both sides of face and ensure relaxed and stress free setting for tester.
- One side of face is available for each product, with equal amounts of stubble to be removed due to symmetrical nature of testing-ground.
- Focus is on how well the cream lubricates, i.e. how easily the razor glides over skin and how my skin feels afterwards, i.e. is it silky smooth and pleasant, or as if someone has run a wire brush over my facial features.
Points will be given based on how I feel the products work for me, how they look and feel, and may be biased by less scientific aspects such as “smells really good” or “my, this is really runny and poorly composed”.
Up first: Truefitt & Hill 1805 Luxury shaving soap
Even while sitting on the shelf you can give Truefitt & Hill credit for getting one or two things right. One is the name, it smacks of upper-crust Britishness to such an extent that you just know that they must have been in business since men started growing beards, or else they have a really clever marketing team. I imagine the desire to remove beards happened around 1805, when Truefitt & Hill claim to have first set up shop.
This is the only product in the test that was sponsored, though not by the company itself. I happened to ask the owner of Barbershop.no, Norwegian super-supplier of shaving goods, what he recommended, and he was quite clear on this being his favourite, and donated a soap and brush to the good cause.
As mentioned, this is a piece of soap, needing water to be added and a brush to froth it up. Handily the soap comes in a very nice little wood bowl, perfectly complimenting the nice smell of the piece of soap. The packaging is all very elegant and well designed, obviously designed to signal that this is a quality product. Quite different to a few of the other products tested!
Second out: Weleda shaving cream
The second of todays products is from possibly Swiss/German company Weleda. I say possibly, as it’s a little tricky to actually pin them down, and their website is more about how eco-friendly, ethical and sustainable they are than any mention of specific products. Now, I’m all for eco-friendliness and using good ingredients, hence why Weleda was included in the contest.
Initial impression though is not super-positive. The packaging is extremely lacklustre and boring, possibly even the worst so far. The cream itself immediately reminds me of Kiehl’s, which does not put me in a good frame of mind. Still, the proof is in the smoothness of the cheeks, so we’ll see how it fares.
I was rather amused to see that Weleda do a homeopathic range as well, in addition to keeping to anthroposophical principles of spritiual science. The best homeopathic shaving cream joke wins an almost full tube of shaving cream?
The shaving process
So, another good warm shower to moisten my face up and prepare for another shaving showdown. Products placed at the ready, a fresh blade in the razor.
For the Truefitt & Hill it’s out with the badger brush again, suitable moistened with appropriately warm water. A good whisk around and it’s lathering up nicely. Wise to how this works, I kept going a bit longer before brushing it onto my face.
Excellent coverage and a solid lather, indeed. And it smells nice. Not quite as manly as the Arko, but still a nice, fresh soapy smell. Ensuring it is evenly and properly distributed is key, as is keeping the brush ready at hand to add more underway.
And yes, the blade does glide well. Better than the Arko? Impossible to say, though I am a little tempted to say not quite. A re-match may be required, will this investigation never end?
The Weleda is very similar to the Kiehl’s when out of the tube as well. More like toothpaste than a cream intended to lubricate the path of the lethally sharp piece of Japanese stainless steel moving over my skin.
It obviously needs water to make it work, so I make sure that it gets the help it needs. It does apply easily and stay in place. At this point I’m not expecting greatness from the Weleda, and it doesn’t disappoint in this respect. That is, it performs as poorly as expected. It does not lubricate very well and it smells unpleasant.
Both soap and cream were easily rinced off the face though, which is as it should be.
So, what is the low-down?
To me there mainly two aspects that define a decent shave: the success hair removal, and how my skin feels in the hours after. As mentioned further up, points are given based on several other factors as well. This is important to do, according the the Charter for Really Good Reviews, OK?
Truefitt & Hill luxury shaving soap:
- Lubrication 8/10
- Consistency 8/10
- Smell 7/10
- Packaging 9/10
Good lubrication and consistency, much like the Arko. The smell is almost up there with Arko, but only almost. Arko is just that much more evocative and manly, and I did just re-smell both to ensure my assessment is totally accurate and on the nose. Soap is a little more fussy to use than the more easily applied cream in a tub or tube, but the packaging of this one is so nice that I’m going for a full 9 in this respect.
With regards to the ingredients, while it reads like a chemistry experiment of epic proportions, I can’t actually see anything there that is objectionable. And hence, no deductions.
This works out to a total of 32 of 40 points for Truefitt & Hill, putting it in the lead with Arko!
Weleda shaving cream:
- Lubrication 5/10
- Consistency 5/10
- Smell 3/10
- Packaging 2/10
With a lubrication that is no more than so so, and a consistency that is no more than barely acceptable, there has to be a penalty when it comes to points. Given that it smells like something that would reduce itching in your nether regions, it doesn’t give a very uplifting experience when applied to your face either.
Add in the incredibly unattractive packaging and we’re onto a pretty poor show all in all.
Which is sort of a shame as well, as I believe that Weleda are a company that mean well and would save the world if we’d only buy loads of their weird spiritual science and odd theories.
The ingredients list doesn’t appear to include any bad ingredients. It is odd to see perfume listed though, as I can’t imagine what that smells like in this case.
All the good intentions in the world don’t help though if the best shaving cream you can make is as poor as this.
The end result is 15 of 40 points for the Weleda.
The ranking list after round 6:
- Arko Shaving Soap 32
- Truefitt & Hill luxury shaving soap 32
- Lucky Tiger “Liquid Cream Shave” 31
- Body Shop “Maca Root Shaving Cream” 30
- Taylor of Old Bond Street Shaving Cream 30
- Proraso Extra sensitive 27
- Mitchell’s Wool Fat Shaving Soap 26
- Billy Jealousy “Hydroplane” 25
- Gentleman’s Tonic “Classic Shave Cream” 16
- Kiehl’s “Ultimate Brushless Shave Cream Formula #31X” 15
- Weleda shaving cream 15
- Somerset Shaving Oil 13
For round 7 I will be Arko up against the dirt cheap own-brand, off-brand aerosol shaving cream from my local supermarket. This will be the last round! And after this I’m not shaving for at least 7 months.