In 2004 I was on a routine visit to a local cigar lounge that specializes in high-end collectables and luxury items. The tobacconist told me about a new line of men's grooming products by The Art of Shaving that was now being offered. I went home and told my wife about the products and the benefits of wet shaving that were explained to me. For Valentine's Day, she surprised me with the lavender starter kit that comprised The Art of Shaving cream, pre-shave oil, aftershave balm, and a small pure badger shaving brush. The Art of Shaving Lavender Shaving Cream was my first traditional shaving cream, but do I still use it today?
The Art of Shaving opened their first store in 1996 and within a few years quickly become a popular brand available on the shelves of high-end retail stores throughout the country. The Art of Shaving products serve as an introduction to wet shaving for many men, including me, who had only ever been exposed to canned creams and gels their whole lives. Their "4 Elements of the Perfect Shave" system, inspired by traditional British wet shaving using a brush and cream, provide men an easy-to-follow guide to achieve barbershop quality shave results every day. Their shaving products are available in essential oil based fragrances of lavender, lemon, sandalwood, as well as an unscented version.
The Art of Shaving Lavender Shaving Cream is a glycerin-based traditional style shaving cream that is marketed for men with normal to sensitive skin. Lavender essential oil is well known for its healing properties and is often used in various skin care preparations, making it an ideal choice for a shaving cream for sensitive skin. The lavender used in The Art of Shaving cream is pleasant and subtle, not synthetic smelling or overbearing in strength. In comparison to shaving creams, such as Geo. F. Trumper and D.R. Harris, the texture of the cream is slightly denser, but still soft enough to lather easily using any shaving brush.
The shaving cream can be used easily with any lathering technique, such as directly on the face or in a mug/bowl of your choice. When I first started wet shaving back in 2004, I successfully used this cream in the shower by simply wetting the brush and dipping the tips into the cream and building the lather directly on my face. Since then my shaving routine has changed and I find shaving easier and more enjoyable at the sink after my shower; however, that goes to show how easily this cream lathers without requiring any extra steps or special techniques. The lather is rich and hydrating without any excess bubbles and holds up well on the face without drying down or becoming runny.
Although The Art of Shaving recommends the use of cartridge razors, such as the Mach 3, this cream provides great shaves with double edge safety razors as well as straight razors. The cream is slick and protective enough that it is useful on its own without the application of pre-shave oil that is recommended in the "4 Elements" guide; however, for men that have extremely sensitive skin, the addition of the pre-shave oil combined with this cream does work well if you choose to use it.
I have had the opportunity to try many other brands of shaving since my first experience in 2004 with The Art of Shaving, but their lavender shaving cream still has a place in my rotation. There is also an added benefit that if you live in a major U.S. city, there may be a retail store, such as Saks Fifth Avenue or Nordstrom, that stocks the brand so that you can purchase it locally without having to mail order. The cream is available in a 5 oz tub for $22 or a 2.5 oz tube for $14.
I had always considered shaving to be a daily chore, not really knowing there were any alternatives to cartridge razors and foaming gels. The Art of Shaving Lavender Shaving Cream was my "gateway drug" that opened the door to traditional wet shaving and a more enjoyable morning routine.