You know Bath & Body Works, right? That place in the mall you go to when your mom’s in town, or alternatively the place you go to get your mom a gift basket when you’re stumped for holiday ideas? Welp, that place isn’t all fragrances and moms in yoga pants – it’s also the home of some pretty legitimately awesome stuff for guys too, apparently. At the very least, we can vouch for C.O. Bigelow Shave Cream, which has some serious staying power as a wet shave accessory. We decided to try it out, and we’ve got some thoughts on it. Read on!
What to Look For in a Shave Cream:
It can be hard to know what the best shave cream is going to be the for you. This choice is made even harder when you consider the overabundance of products available with each one claiming to be better than the rest. We can relate to this dilemma, so we are going to give you some advice that will help you out the next time you are standing in the shaving cream isle or when you are perusing online.
One of the first things that you should consider when you are looking to buy a new shave cream, is what ingredients it contains. It’s best to look for a product that contains mostly natural ingredients rather than being loaded with chemicals that don’t provide much (if anything) for your skin. Keep an eye out for shave creams that contain natural oils (coconut, avocado, almond and jojoba) and natural essential oils (we know that sounds redundant, but trust us, there is a difference).
Contrary to the impression given by the actual word “oil”, these ingredients aren’t actually oily at all. They actually tend to evaporate upon contact with your skin. As far as the essential oils are concerned, they should be 100% all natural and made from the concentrated essences of plants, roots, fruits or flowers. It’s common to see shave creams that contain essential oils like Sandalwood, Cedarwood, Cypress, Bergamot, Lemon, Lime, Patchouli, Eucalyptus, Peppermint, Vetyver, Lavender and Rose. Many of these essential oils also offer up skin nourishing qualities too. You’ll want to essential oils to be blended into a base that is all natural as well.
For those of you that have sensitive skin, you may want to keep an eye out for a shave cream that has aloe vera as a key ingredient. There are some shave creams available that offer a base that is made of aloe vera and they are said to work extremely well. Aloe vera has amazing healing powers and its use dates back to many ancient civilizations, including the Romans, Persians, Indians and Greeks. The ancient civilizations would often use the aloe vera as a first aid type ointment for wounds, burns and various other skin related conditions.
There is a reason that we keep emphasizing the importance of finding a shave cream that contains natural ingredients and we can assure you that there is a method to our madness. Synthetic shave cream ingredients are not biodegradable and they do not work as a team with your body’s natural functions and cycles. If you’ve ever had a weird skin reaction after using a shave cream, we’d bet money that it had many man-made ingredients that didn’t flow well with your body.
You’ll probably want your shave cream to have a pleasant smell since you are slathering it all over your face on a near daily basis. There are also certain skin types that may benefit from certain essential oils that are responsible for the great smell. They essentially pack a one two punch! Here is a breakdown of the scents and the skin types that will benefit from them:
- Lavender, rose or scentless shave creams are great for those with sensitive skin and have issues with razor burn, rashes or other irratation.
- Lemon, lime and bergamot is often used by shavers that have thinner skin that is easily cut and nicked
Cedarwood, peppermint and sandalwood smell great and have the added benefit of being great cleanser, especially for skin that has frequent breakouts.
Pros and Cons of C.O. Bigelow Shave Cream:
C.O. Bigelow is essentially an offshoot of Proraso, which is a company that makes its own other formulations of shaving cream. The big difference between Proraso and Bigelow is that Bigelow doesn’t have as much menthol, but it still has the eucalyptus oil that makes both products such stellar ones. Proraso is pretty hard to find anyway outside of Italy, so it’s probably a good thing that C.O. Bigelow can be found in such ubiquitous strip-mall locations , and even online.
Enough of the setup, I heard you thinking to yourself – how well does it work? Well, I’m happy to say that it works just great. I’m not normally a shave cream guy, mostly going for shaving soaps whenever I can help it. I’m not opposed to shaving creams, though, and so I thought I’d give this a go to see how it worked out. The cream itself is nice and slick – it makes a lather really quickly, so it fluffs up pretty nicely in my shaving bowl within about 30 seconds. One thing in particular that I like is the variability in the density of the cream depending on how much you work it – it’s a bit more malleable than a lot of shaving creams I’ve tried, that pretty much tend to stay in one density.
Actually applying it, C.O. Bigelow shave cream is quite nice, too; the bit of menthol that’s in there really wakes your skin up, without being too strong a kick. I can’t stand when menthol-heavy shave creams make me feel like my face is on fire, so this was a welcome shift. My skin itself also turned out to really take to the cream, as well, since it absorbed the essential oils and ingredients within the cream easily and left no redness or irritation when I was done shaving. All that was left was the residual menthol burn, which made me feel particularly refreshed. It was nice; nothing special, but definitely a worthwhile experience.
That lack of a ‘wow’ factor is really my only con; it did its job and was fairly effective at it, but it didn’t really dazzle me like I kind of wanted it to. This is the kind of shave cream I would normally write off in any other circumstance, but it was simply so effective at its job, and it cost very little (being a product offered at Bath & Body Works, notable for their deals), so it’s a nicely efficient product with greater than average value.
What’s The Audience for This Product?
Given that I’ve mentioned that the C.O. Bigelow Shave Cream is a good, but not completely outstanding product, there are still quite a few people I’d recommend it to. First of all, I think first-time wet shavers might benefit from this shave cream more than most. There’s a smaller barrier to entry being a cream as opposed to a soap, which usually takes a lot more finagling and manipulation to make into a lather. Furthermore, it’s a much milder cream than you’d expect, and it’s appropriately moisturizing, so you won’t have to worry about getting that strong kick from the menthol.
On top of everything else, it’s just a great deal for the price. A 48 gram tube can run you normally about $5, or $10 for a 150ml tube. That’s an awesome bargain, and it’s fantastic for those who are strapped for cash when their normal shave cream runs out, or if they want a cheap backup in case they need it elsewhere. It definitely gets the job done, so there’s no reason to be scared of spending a few bucks on it – its biggest crime is simply that it’s not a crazy high-end shave cream that will blow your mind.
In the long run, I’d say I could definitely recommend the C.O. Bigelow cream. It’s a wonderfully efficient and understated shave cream that will give you a pretty good shave at a really low price. It’s easy to find given its rather ubiquitous nature, and I find that its shiny, attractive green packaging makes your shave kit feel legitimately authentic along with the rest of your shaving accessories. While you might not be paying an arm and a leg for this, it definitely feels high quality (at least higher than you paid for).
Whether you want a travel size supplement to your existing shave kit, are just starting out for the first time with these particular aspects of wet shaving, or just need to pick up something at Bath & Body Works so your mom doesn’t feel like she’s spending money all alone, I’d say the C.O. Bigelow cream is right for you. The all-natural ingredients (including coconut oil) make your skin feel like a million bucks, and won’t burn you if you have sensitive skin. Just grab a bottle, put it in your travel case, and the next time you go on a business trip you’ve got a nice, inoffensive shave cream to use.