Barbasol is one of the best-known and historied shaving brands. Like with most products, there are some people who love it, and some who hate it. Is it actually any good, or are people just used to keeping it on hand?
Barbasol was originally invented as a time-saving and cost-saving alternative to traditional lather methods and remains an easy and effective shaving cream. Its convenience led to its first spike in popularity, but its reputation has suffered from a shift in shaving culture that focuses less on cheap ease and more on luxury and nostalgia.
Your choice of cream can mean the difference between feeling clean or feeling icky after a shave, so read on to understand if Barbasol is worth your time.
Is Barbasol shaving cream any good?
According to its official website, Barbasol was created in 1919 by Frank Shields, who was an MIT professor. It was the first shaving cream sold in a can, originally packed by hand in Indianapolis.
Design and marketing have been part and parcel of the Barbasol story since the beginning. And while the celebrity endorsements for Barbasol have dropped from baseball legends to somewhat obscure gold-medallist swimmers, the red, white, and blue cans have great brand recognition. Then there are the sports sponsorships and scholarships the company supports to consider. It’s such a big part of American culture, it’s central to the plot of Jurassic Park.
But people do not buy Barbasol for its history, but rather, for its utility. If you are looking for a no-frills and long-lasting can of lubrication for your razor, then Barbasol is it. Barbasol is not the best at being a shaving cream, but it is good if you value affordability and convenience.
It is easy to find many rankings and ratings for Barbasol compared and contrasted with other cream and gel options, but hard to find such lists that place Barbasol on top.
Barbasol shaving cream vs. other brands
As the original canned shaving cream, Barbasol lives off name recognition. It may not be the flashiest, most luxurious, or even most effective game in town, but it’s probably the only one lots of men have ever used.
Let’s take a look at what makes Barbasol, well, not special, but Barbasol:
- Ingredients – The main components of Barbasol are water, stearic acid (a fatty substance that’s the base of many soaps), triethanolamine (to raise the pH), sodium lauryl sulfate (‘SLS’, for foaming), and a mix of fragrances.
- Performance – Using a can of Barbasol is designed to be simple and reliable, which the products often live up to.
- Cost – Consistently low cost is a major selling point, although Barbasol is sometimes marked up on Amazon, so it is better to be bought in person.
- Value – A 7 oz. can of Barbasol can last for hundreds of shaves, which translates to multiple months, creating a hard-to-beat return on investment.
- Availability – Barbasol is distributed throughout the U.S. and can be found in major retailers and some convenience stores and even service stations.
Is Barbasol cream available everywhere?
A major factor in shaving cream sales – especially the travel size – is availability when you forgot to pack your regular can. Is it easy to pick up a replacement can of Barbasol on the go?
Barbasol can be found across the United States in most supermarkets and convenience stores. It can also be delivered through online retailers to stateside and international locations.
Realistically, it might be more difficult to find a store selling shaving cream that doesn’t have Barbasol available.
Who makes Barbasol shaving cream?
Perio, Inc. is the parent company producing shaving cream for Barbasol and Pure Silk brands. The cans of cream are produced in Ashland, Ohio.
In 2016, about a quarter million cans were being produced each day.
Is Barbasol owned by Gillette?
While Gillette is a large organization whose products may align with Barbasol, it does not own the original.
Barbasol was spun off from Frank Shield’s original company, before being sold to Pfizer, which then sold it to Perio, Inc., a smaller business that currently owns the brand and makes the cream in the U.S.
The best Barbasol shaving cream
Barbasol shaving cream is not just one product but a whole range of different styles and sizes.
Some of the more popular Barbasol options include:
- The Original
- Sensitive Skin
- Pacific Rush
Want to know what makes each of these unique? Keep reading!
The original thick and creamy recipe is marketed as having a ‘barbershop’ smell. Even shavers who prefer a non-aerosol lather confess to keeping a can of this stuff as a backup for guests or just in case.
There are multiple instances of high praise for the people who use it as their go-to cream. A Google reviewer, for example, said Barbasol “has actually cut down on the bleeding, but also has decreased razor burn.”
Barbasol for Sensitive Skin
The difference from the original formula lies in the added extracts from aloe, thyme, and willow bark.
This distinct fragrance and skin feel has a wide appeal that led a commenter on Barbasol’s webpage to say, “I know this is a ‘men’s’ product but I absolutely love this for shaving my legs!”
Pacific Rush (Menthol + Caffeine)
If you’re addicted to the cool and refreshing feeling of menthol on your skin, then Pacific Rush Barbasol might be for you.
While it shouldn’t be used as sunburn relief, as some suggest, it could become your go-to choice.
This shouldn’t be conflated with other menthol options or even the previous version of menthol Barbasol. As one Amazon commenter put it: “I was fooled by the color of the can into thinking this was the old Barbasol menthol I used to use and love, but couldn’t find anymore.”
Barbasol shaving cream alternatives
There are many reasons to search out alternatives to Barbasol, ranging from pursuing luxury to testing out a more direct competitor.
Here are some of the more popular Barbasol alternatives:
- Gillette Foamy Shave Cream – A near imitation of Barbasol in terms of convenience, this brand is consistently affordable but not as cut-rate.
- Cremo Shave Cream – A thicker, slicker, and slightly more premium variant of shaving cream which comes in a diverse range of formulas that has quickly grown in brand recognition.
- Taylor of Old Bond Street – If you want to gain entry into the world of people who discuss cream fragrance and skin feel at length, then you’ll need to get some TOBS cream, which makes up for its expense with the feeling of luxury and good branding.
- Aveeno Therapeutic Shave Gel – Although we haven’t mentioned it yet, Barbasol and all the other major shaving cream producers, like Gillette, now also produce aerosol shave gels. What sets Aveeno’s therapeutic gel apart from these is its use of oat flour as an active ingredient, meaning it is popular with sensitive skin shavers.