Shaving cream is great for convenience and moisturization, but shaving soap creates a much better lather and can help you achieve your closest shave. Is it possible to find a product that embodies the best qualities of both?
Croaps are a combination of shaving cream and shaving soap that last longer than shaving cream but lather much better than shaving soap. While not an officially marketed format, the signature near-perfect lather has the texture of a hard cream or soap. Croap is too thick to be squeezed out of a tube but easier to lather than a hard soap.
Read on to find out more about this shaving product, how to use it, and some popular product recommendations!
Croap – a mixture of shaving cream and shaving soap
Shaving soaps are typically hard in texture while shaving creams are soft and creamy. Just as the name is a portmanteau of cream and soap, croaps are a happy medium between the two textures.
Croap is a combination of shaving cream and shaving soap. Think of croap as a moldable soap. Croaps provide the travel convenience and longevity of hard shaving soap with the quick lathering action of shaving cream.
To understand the distinctive nature of a croap, it’s helpful to know a little soap chemistry. Shaving soaps are made through the process of saponification. Saponification occurs when a form of lye is combined with high stearic acid fats and oils. The type of lye, potassium or sodium, used in a higher concentration will affect the consistency of the final product.
While both potassium and sodium hydroxide can be present, croaps typically use a higher amount of potassium hydroxide which produces a softer soap than its sodium hydroxide counterpart. Croaps also contain more water resulting in a partially liquified soap.
You may even already be using a croap without realizing it as many Italian shaving soaps are actually croaps.
How do you lather croap?
Croap is typically sold in a bowl or tub since it is too thick to be squeezed from a tube. A boar, badger, or synthetic bristle brush is used to build the shaving lather.
Because of its unique consistency, croap can be lathered directly on your face, in a bowl, or in your hand. The combination of cream and soap ingredients produces a super lather that lasts throughout an entire shave.
Let’s look at different ways to take advantage of a croap’s fast and easy lathering appeal.
On your face
Croaps are very versatile when it comes to lathering up. Working up the lather on your face eliminates the need for an extra bowl or mug.
A lather can be built directly on your face by dipping the brush tips in warm water, squeezing out the excess, and loading the croap, straight from the container, onto the bristles. Apply the croap to the damp face and build lather to the desired consistency by moving the brush in a circular motion. If needed, you can paint a little water onto the face to continue building the lather. This will produce a rich, creamy lather.
Many shavers prefer to build the croap shaving lather directly on the face because it exfoliates, massages the skin, and softens hair prior to the shave.
In a bowl
It can take one to two minutes of brush rotations to build a lather when using shaving soap in a bowl. The softer consistency of croap reduces this time by about half according to experienced users.
A croap lather can be worked up in a bowl by dipping the brush bristles in warm water, squeezing out the excess, and loading the croap onto the brush. Next, transfer the loaded brush to a bowl and rotate in a circular motion until a creamy lather is achieved. Apply lather to the face for a stable and slick shave experience.
Many shavers prefer the traditional bowl method to build a croap shaving lather because it’s easier to control the cream to water ratio.
In your hand
Another great way to build a croap shaving lather is directly on your hand. This hand method is convenient while traveling since it eliminates the need to pack a bowl.
Apply a little warm water to the hand, dip the brush bristles into warm water, squeezing out any excess before loading the brush. Working in a circular motion, build lather onto the hand. Once soft peaks are formed you are ready to paint the lather onto the area to be shaved.
Many shavers prefer to build a croap lather directly on the hand because it allows them to see the actual consistency on the skin.
The best croaps to try
“Croap” isn’t a common term used on packaging so chances are you won’t have luck using a search engine to find some to try. We’ve scoured some popular shaving discussion boards to find some highly-touted croap products.
Let’s take a closer look at these top croap choices:
- Cella Milano Crema de Barba
- Proraso Shaving Soap in a Bowl
- Razorock Santa Maria del Fiore
Cella Milano Crema de Barba
The Italian Cella Milano Crema de Barba is the gold standard in croap consistency.
Cella combines coconut oil, tallow, stearic acid, potassium hydroxide, sodium hydroxide, and water to give a perfect combination of stable lather, slickness, and moisturization. Both men and women enjoy the “almond” or “chocolate covered cherry” smell, the “crazy lather,” and how long it lasts.
This $14 product is often used to illustrate what a croap is to those wanting more information. Some shavers claim the company even coined the term.
Proraso Shaving Soap in a Bowl $10
Proraso shaving soaps “in the tub” are another benchmark croap product, and, with a $10 price tag, are a great choice for beginners and croap lovers alike.
Water is the first ingredient followed by stearic acid, coconut oil, potassium & sodium hydroxide, and glycerin. Shavers like the speed of loading the brush and the resulting “lather that holds to the face well.” The low price point for a superior croap led one reviewer to state it’s “pure luxury at an everyman price.”
Fans were pleased with the green (refresh), red (moisturizing), and white (sensitive) versions, however, the green menthol scent seems to be the favorite.
Razorock Santa Maria del Fiore Sapone de Barba
Razorock is another Italian croap brand that users rave about. I’ve personally used several varieties of these soaps and they are always fantastic latherers, smell great, and last a reasonably long time
Razorock combines stearic acid, water, coconut oil, potassium & sodium hydroxide with lanolin. Eucalyptus and menthol provide an earthy backdrop to the tobacco-vanilla scent. The large 8.5 oz size provides longevity and excellent cost per use despite the $20 price.
Shavers like this “firm cream” for its “excellent cushion and slickness.” One reviewer said the “thick lather just explodes from this soap.”