Grooming

A Review of Castle Forbes Shaving Cream & Bluebeards Original Wash

As a bald guy, hair products aren’t really my specialty. I mean, what do I know about them – I have no hair, right? What I may lack in pomade and shampoo knowledge, I make up for in shaving expertise. Being bald isn’t a choice (genetics), but looking good bald absolutely is. [there’s no reason to sport an unruly Caesar haircut, gentlemen] This is why I shave my head two or more times each week. Because of that, I know a thing or two about a good shaving cream, and a bad one.

The guys at MenEssentials sent me two products to try out, and they couldn’t have arrived at a better time. I received Bluebeards Original Beard Wash, and Castle Forbes Shaving Cream (lime essential oil scented). I was using Trader Joe’s Honey Mango shaving cream for months because it smelled and worked well enough. The Castle Forbes cream, however, made me realize what I’d been missing.

What is the Best Beard Wash?

As we’ve seen in earlier posts on Instagram, I’m a big fan of Billy Jealousy’s Beard Wash. It isn’t especially fragrant or filled with space age oils from the farthest reaches of the earth, but it definitely softens my scruff and makes me feel clean. No complaints here.

Enter Bluebeards Original Wash

bluebeardsoriginalwashWhen I received the bottle, I was prepared for the same experience – no frills, get the job done, soften the scruff, etc. I got that, yes, but I also noticed something else: this stuff is built like a cleanser, and less like a shampoo. Opening the cap and putting a little on your hand, you’ll immediately see the consistency is like a shower gel, golden in color, and fragrant with lemon, lime, and ginger. There are other notes in it, but these are the three that stood out the most to me.

In the shower, I get my face wet, put a quarter-size amount of wash in my hand, and apply it to my beard. Then, per the instructions, I lather that bad-boy up, and enjoy the suds and refreshing scent. Because it’s formulated for course body hair like beards, I apply any extra to my chest hair for good measure.

The Verdict: Unexpectedly soft hair from an equally scentful lathering experience. The two details I really like about Bluebeards Original Wash are as follows:

  1. It softens the scruff so it feels more like short hair, rather than beard. We all know the difference. A soft beard feels wonderful and a beard trying to be soft feels like burlap trying to be flannel.
  2. The light citrus scent and shower gel texture make this wash feel like it’s removing grit and grime, rather than applying something to soften said grime. My beard feels soft and also squeaky clean.

The crew over at Bluebeards did a great job with this wash. I’m a convert. If you’d like to pick up a bottle for yourself, you can get it from MenEssentials for less than $15.

Shave Your Head with Lime?

I know, what a ridiculous thing to say! Stay with me though. I promise this will all make sense in a minute. After running out of my favorite –Taylor of Old Bond Street– I became comfortable with my lady’s Trader Joe’s cream. Again, it’s not bad, but it’s nothing special. It’s certainly better than any of those aerosol shave gels and creams. If you’re using an aluminum can of “foaming shave cream” for your shaving needs, it’s time to get out of the house more. You deserve better. Throw it out and get with the times!

If you're using a can of 'foaming shave cream' it's time to stop. Your face deserves better. Click To Tweet

The absolute first thing I noticed when I opened the Castle Forbes Shaving Cream container was the scent. Holy crap, it smells delicious. The lime is sweet and invigorating, and it hits your senses like a cold rag on a hungover forehead – yeah, it is that good. Resist the temptation to taste it though. You’re a grown up and grown ups don’t do that. Stay strong.

Castle Forbes Shave Cream ReviewThe very next item of business with this shave cream is the consistency. It’s in a jar, rather than a can or tube, and it looks and feels like whipped frosting. If you use a brush for your straight or safety razor, you can easily dip the brush into the jar, or remove a little and put it into a bowl. I don’t use a brush for my head, so I took a quarter-size portion onto my fingers and lathered up my scalp.

Soon, I smell delicious!

I’m not kidding. I found myself in the shower admiring how fantastic my head smells. But enough about that – let’s get to work.

The shaving was wonderfully smooth. Because it’s not a foam, the cream applies very cleanly and doesn’t distort the lines I want to follow. The razor slid magnificently across my skin and left me with a smooth, shiny dome with just a hint of lime. Immediately, I noticed that I didn’t need to double back on my strokes. I shaved across one section, and because the razor wasn’t clogged up with foam like the other stuff, the blade kept contact with my skin. It was a one-and-done operation.

The next detail is the finish. My skin was so moisturized from the whole ordeal, I could have skipped the aftershave. Since initial testing at the beginning of this month, I have, in fact, skipped the aftershave and gone about my day. No worries or razor bumps to be found.

Best Shave Ever?

I can’t say whether it’s the best shave ever, but I can confidently say I will be sad when the cream runs out. I’ll have to get myself a new jar, but this time I might give the Sandalwood scent a go. The combination of the Bluebeards Original Wash and the Castle Forbes Shaving Cream made for a fun, and wonderfully aromatic experience. My whiskers came out smooth and conditioned, and my scalp was shiny and soft. That made for quite a sharp and dapper start to the day.

Make sure you head over to MenEssentials and see what they have to offer. With nearly every grooming item under the sun, you’re guaranteed to find what you’re looking for! Also, the team over there is great at answering questions and helping you find the best grooming product for your skin and hair.

Have you used either product? What are go-to products for beard and shave care?
Please share in the comments below so we can connect.

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The Author

Blake Hammerton

Blake Hammerton

Blake Hammerton is the founder and coach at The Sharp Gentleman, and helps men earn more respect while gaining confidence in who they are. He is a certified relationship coach and loves writing about men's fashion, style, character-building, relationships, travel, adventure, and more.

  • I shave my head every third day and my face every other day.
    I have horribly sensitive skin. The best thing that worked for me? I replaced shaving cream with conditioner.

    No. Other. Cream. On. This. Planet. comes even close to smoothness, lubrication and hydration.

    Don’t believe me? Give it a try…

    • Hey Andpet,

      I’ve certainly taken the Conditioner route and had wonderful results. It’s always a safe option to have on standby. I guess my skin isn’t as sensitive as I thought, because I don’t really get too many irritations. There are two things that I would suggest: try a conditioning oil before you move to your shave cream (assuming you give a shave cream another shot), and two, get an electric razor for your face. Shaving your face every other day must be irritating your skin. Stubble hasn’t had a chance to graduate to hair, and it’s already meeting the razor’s edge again.

      My friends that shave daily, or every other, do it with electric razors because they’re self-cleaning (prevent breakouts) and they don’t irritate the skin even on daily use. I don’t mind a little head stubble, but any time I’ve shaved too close together consecutively, my scalp is angry as hell. I think it just has to do with the time between shaves.

      Good luck!

  • Chemicals: I like what you wrote here, but I have a question that I didn’t see the answer to: What about all the chemicals in those ingredients? Being aware of what we put both in and on our bodies, are you at all concerned about the long term effects?

  • rz300

    I never really understood the importance of a good shaving cream until I actually decided to grow my beard out a little more than usual. This was a while back, but I remember really struggling with the stuff that I had so I had to make the switch. This certainly sounds like a smooth and interesting option, so thanks for sharing.