Saturday, March 18, 2017

Canned Foam vs Soap Sample: Part 1 of 2

Since I've started using a brush and shaving soap/cream I’ve gotten away from using the canned shaving cream.  I moved away from the canned foam because I kept cutting and gouging myself; I felt I wasn’t getting the slickness or protection that I wanted. It’s been awhile since I’ve used a canned shaving cream, so I wanted to revisit to see if the slickness of a canned shaving cream was truly an issue or if my technique back then was just bad.  I never measured how many shaves I got out of a can so I wanted to weigh that too.   On top of it, I wanted to compare this to how my experience with the canned foam compared to a my shave was with a soap.  Specifically, I wanted to compare how a sample sized shave soap matched up to the shave quality and cost of a can of shave foam for my shave routine.
I generally don't see SOTD pics with canned foams
Part I: Canned Foam
One the last foams I can recall using came from the dollar store.  I recall the slickness was poor and I wound up cutting myself badly when the razor got stuck and dug into my head.   Some of the shave gels that I saw on the shelf were kind of pricey.  Rather than purchasing the cheapest or most expensive cream I decided on middle of the road priced can of moisturizing shaving cream; which cost me roughly $3.50 (including tax).

I used a number of razors over the course of this little experiment that varied in terms of aggressiveness:  Merkur 34C, Merkur 37C, iKon Short Comb, iKon Tech, Dovo Shavette, as well as my HeadBlade Sport.  Blade-wise, I used a number of wet shaving favorites: Crystal, Shark Super Stainless, and Feather Stainless Steel Razorblades.  The idea was to see how protective the lather was with razors with varying degrees of aggressiveness as well as blades with different levels of sharpness.

Some of the wet shaving tools for this experiment
For my first shave I used my Merkur 34C razor and Crystal DE Blade. To soften the stubble I prepped my head and face with a hot shower.  I dispensed an amount about the size of a grape of the blue gel and started to apply it to my head and face for the first pass.   As it changed from the blue gel to the white foamy lather, it seemed grow a bit dense and thick.  The slickness was decent and it and it did the job.  I added a little more to my head for my head shave polishing pass and my second face shave pass.  Turns out that I got a decent shave; no irritation or cuts. I felt that the cream protected well. 
A typical application size for me.
Many of the shaves felt the same.  The only times I felt it didn’t protect was when I used the Shark Super Chrome Razor Blade with the Merkur 37C.  In this case, the head shaves fared well, though my upper lip did get a bit irritated when shaving my face.  Admittedly this is the area where my skin is a bit sensitive and where the individual hairs grow kind of thick. I’m not certain if I may have shave over exuberantly or if the gel may not have offered the protection needed for this blade.  Either way, it was only during this time when experienced irritation when using the canned shaving cream.

Midway through this experiment I tried to see if there were things that could enhance the shave.  A few times I tried adding a little a more water (just a few drops) to the cream on my hand to see if it would fluff up a bit more.  The consistence thinned out a bit and I felt that the slickness was compromised.  Fortunately, I did not experience any nicks, cuts, or irritation.
The canned foam did provide a protective lather.
While it worked and allowed the blade to glide over my skin, it didn’t feel as slick as previous shaves.  I also tried using a preshave oil and even a shave brush just to see if it would make a difference.  The preshave oil didn’t really do anything or, at least, I didn’t perceive any noticeable difference. The brush also proved to be of little value. The gel foamed as I lathered with the brush and the slickness as well as the protectiveness didn’t feel as if it was compromised.  While this essentially worked, there was no enjoyment of using a shave brush with the canned foam.  The only benefit was that I didn’t have to wash the shaving cream both of my hands after applying to my head. 
A shave brush wasn't particularly helpful.  Although I didn't to wash shaving cream from my hands after applying to my head.
My concerns were that my skin would feel dried out or I’d get a lot of cuts or experience terrible irritation. That wasn't the case.  I applied the foam generously on my head and face; I re-lathered between passes when I felt I needed to. As a result I was able to get 19 shaves from the can.   I probably would have been able to get 20 if I didn’t drop a good sized dollop on the floor.  Including that lost 20th application, each shave used about 17.5 cents of cream ($3.50 / 20 shaves).  I concluded that my poor experiences with the canned foam were most likely due to bad technique.  I have to admit, using the canned shaving cream wasn’t terrible.

What about the experience with the shave soap?  Well ... that will be the topic of our next post.

Stay tuned ... 


  1. Your website has neither phone number nor physical location, Google Maps phone number is defunct, and your Navi address goes to a private residence. I have spent half a day trying to spend money in your store and I am not able.

    1. We are just a blog. We are not an online store; do not have a bricks and mortar retail presence; and unsure why our url is affiliated with a physical address. We do not have any products listed for sale. There are plenty of online wet shaving retailers. A few off the top of mind that might be worth checking out:

    2. Thank you for your reply. Google Maps absolutely has you as a brick and mortar in Raleigh. A shame, because I was looking for high quality double edge safety razor blades. Thank you for your reply!