After years of annoyance, I have ditched my blue shaving gel for a new type of shaving cream, and I am a happier man. The new stuff is Cremo Astonishingly Superior Shave Cream. It helps my razor glide smoothly across my face, resulting in a nice, close shave. It has a light, pleasant citrus scent. It is reasonably priced.
Most importantly, it does not cause my curses to echo off the bathroom tiles because ridiculous blue shaving gel is spewing everywhere.
In my youth, after reading one of Esquire magazine’s frequent articles on the art of shaving, I became a blade adherent. At first, I shaved in the shower using ordinary bar soap, because I also read somewhere that Albert Einstein never used shaving cream. He reportedly felt that requiring a separate soap just for shaving was too complicated. Also, Einstein never wore socks.
However, there is no mirror in the shower for obvious safety reasons, so you cannot see what your razor is doing. Soon, I moved my shaving to the sink — before showering, which steams up the mirror — and, Einstein be damned, I added shaving gel to the ritual. After all, he was clearly wrong about socks.
Canned shaving foam always seemed excessive to me. How are you supposed to find your face beneath a pile of that airy stuff?
In Anglophile Roger Ebert’s autobiography Life Itself, he writes about his fetishistic delight in traditional British shaving paraphernalia. Inspired by reading Esquire founder Arnold Gingrich’s memoir Toys of a Lifetime, Ebert switched from lime Barbasol shaving foam in a can to D.R. Harris Arlington Shaving Soap.
The Einstein in me will never have time for a shaving mug and a brush and a verse of “God Save the Queen.” Edge shaving gel (or the similar Gillette product) seemed modern, quick, and compact. A small amount of the stuff rubs into a lather on the wet face, and shaving is accomplished. Plus, my dad had used it.
Over time, though, problems became apparent.
For one thing, the can is stylishly slim and tall — meaning it is also prone to tipping over and causing minor chaos, not what one needs while passing a sharp blade over one’s throat. The can also gets a little rusty over time, which is ugly. Lubricated by the gel, the more modern label sleeves can slide and transfer their ink to your hands or fabrics.
Worst of all is the blue shaving gel itself. It spews from its nozzle irregularly, and ends up on towels, the wainscot, and all over the inside of the medicine cabinet. It oozes from the nozzle unbidden. It fills the inside of the can’s preposterously stubborn and slippery cap as you try to wrestle it off with wet hands, then explodes like blue vomit over everything in the bathroom.
I knew there had to be something better — and last week, Amy found it.
She phoned me from the shaving products aisle to check on my shaving gel needs, and I asked her to scan the shelves for a new solution. In a few seconds, she had spotted something called Cremo Shave Cream. I Googled it, and quickly scanned the Cremo Company’s story, as well as that of inventor Mike Boone. Cremo’s amusing promise to “astonish” me, the technical reasoning behind the cream, and their clean and classic graphic design all impressed me.
“Let’s go with the Cremo,” I told Amy.
Life is so much easier now. I squeeze a small dab of Cremo from its plastic tub, and apply it to my face, pre-moistened with “the hottest water you can stand.” The stuff is white and wonderfully slippery with a texture somewhat like Noxema cleansing cream, but without the eucalyptus. It rinses away easily, leaving me with a smooth, close shave. There are no nicks, no blood is spilled, and no mess of blue gel or foam to clean up.
Eventually, I’ll be buying another tube, but this first one seems like it will last awhile.