Borrowed From the Boys

Barbasol Shaving Cream

It recently dawned on me—while in the shower, as most things do—that one of the products I’ve been using the longest, I hadn’t read about in a magazine. I found it in my father’s medicine cabinet when I was fifteen: Barbasol shaving cream, the original “Beard Buster.” I gave the stuff a whirl after running out of my mango-shortcake-whip-cream-whatever girlie shaving cream (they’ve gone a little nuts with those, no?) and never looked back. Actually, Aveeno’s Positively Smooth Shave Gel is pretty great…but it’s—gasp—$5. And guess how much that no-frills can of Barbasol on the shelf below it will set you back? $2.79. That’s weeks of smooth legs (or cheeks) for less than a cappuccino. In fact, the bottle doesn’t even have a cap. But, boy, does it have pedigree: a former MIT professor created the cream in 1919 as a non-lathering alternative to the standard soap-and-brush routine. Today’s Barbasol is an ultra-thick, surprisingly luxurious foam. I imagine that the fragrance has stayed the same, which is to say…classic barbershop; predictably old-school but not overpowering. There are a few spinoffs with slight variations—“Sensitive Skin” with aloe; “Pacific Rush” scent if you feel so inclined—but I’m sticking with the original. Sometimes, dad knows best.

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  • Jenna

    A few years ago before I moved in with my boyfriend, I was taking a shower and realized I forgot to make a well-needed trip to the drugstore down the street. I saw the Barbasol on the shower floor and used a dollop... I haven't bought women's shaving cream since.

  • atb

    This made me smile! Throughout my shaving, um, career, I've mostly used glycerine soap (lathers surprisingly well) or body gels - this saves not only money, but shower space, as well. However, when I first began shaving my little girl legs, I was presented with a can of Barbasol & used it for years until I mastered the fine art of not knicking the dickens out of said legs. I am now feeling so nostalgic for the fragrance & feel of it, I just might pick up a can!

  • Lorien Olsen

    I also have never given in to these tactics shaving cream companies use to lure girls in. They are just overpriced, small quantities in pretty cans.

    I have used Barbasol and Noxema men's shaving cream for years. It is the best (although I do agree with you about Aveeno, that smell is to die for). Why pay more than $2.79?

  • Michelle

    After years of doubtful glances from roommates and my Kiehl's loving boyfriend someone seconds my love for Barbasol. Thanks Emily!

  • Colleen Welsch

    Good call on that one! Sometimes men's products smell so much better

  • Anonymous

    i've used men's shaving cream for years. if it's good enough for their face it is surely good enough for my gams.

  • Alb6371

    That's so funny, I did the EXACT same thing back when I was a freshman in high school and I've used Barbarsol ever since. It really is great, and cheap too!

  • Kath

    This is what I have been using forever!! I feel special. But I also found EOS (evolution of smooth), and I swear it takes linger for hair to grow back when using it.

    • Anonymous

      Interesting.... I bought/have EOS, and I find it to be a major pain. You have to use so little or it gums up your razor.... you can't even use boiling water to get off the product residue. I think I am going to go back to Barbasol, my dad used it, too!

  • Kat

    You should give dad's razor a whirl as well - in my experience, mens' razors start out sharper, and stay that way a lot longer than the women's version. Really, I think hair removal for women may be one of the industries that offer the least value for money in general.

  • Guest

    I remember Barbasol! I used it for years: right up until I decided to wax instead.

  • Anonymous

    I love men's shaving products, including Barbasol. The smell reminds me of handsome, bearded men for some reason, which is kind of ironic. I have also been using the original Mach3 razor since I was in high school... so much closer than any women's razor. But every now and again I purchase Aveeno's shaving cream - my boyfriend used some when he ran out of some other Gillette gel, and now he specifically requests it when we run out of shaving cream!

  • Joy Of Stranger Sensibilities

    Mmmm I'll be sure to check this out. Thanks for the great tip!

  • 4jsc

    Agreed. Barbasol always reminds me of my Daddy! And, men's razors are indeed way better value than women's. They work better and last longer.

  • Mrs. Singh

    I have been using this forever!!! I love it and I also got my husband to use it, too and he loves it. I always have 2-3 cans as backup. Barbasol stands in my shower next to Sunday Riley and Cle de Peau skincare! LOL

  • Serdane-elie
  • Elenor

    Aesop have an amazing shave serum - moroccan neroli. it give such a close shave on the legs and underarms. i have found anything else dries out my skin as they usually contain silicone.

  • The Blossom Shed Beauty Blog

    I love this - I think the can looks all chic and retro too, and there's something sexy and tomboyish about using it:) I can't use men's razors though - I need about 4 blades and a steel cage over the front not to completely shred my skinny shins - I stick with the idiot proof, girly pink ones.

    The Blossom Shed Beauty Blog

  • Chloe

    I love mens shaving cream and razors! They seem to make better mens shaving products! They all seem to work better than the women's products!

  • sashi

    hello, I have a shaving tip from an exboyf ironically , but he's a Dr. so very knowledgeable about the body hahaha! Anyway, this truly works because I used to slice my shin ALL the time and he said put your foot down flat, not arched up like in a heel. It moves the position of the bone and you will not cut it. Where else could I share this little piece of advice hm?! Happy new year Emily, everyone

  • E.E.

    I always buy men's shaving cream. The girly stuff is super expensive and it doesn't lather as well. This stuff rules.

  • Mrsnics

    My husband likes Barbasol and I've used it some and i agree it is a great product and without all that gross fruity scent they like to put in for girls but i have trouble with the metal base leaving rust stains on anything it is placed on . Maybe this is due to hard water or something but find it too annoying to put up with . I go for Aveeno which doesn't rust, has a lovely scent and the hubby likes it too ( oh and the Positively Smooth is supposed to inhibit hair growth...who knows... but can't hurt trying) only trouble is lately the cans (like the last 2 i've tried) have had some kind of jet propelled trigger system where way too much product shoots out and gets everywhere. What's up? Anyway i haven't given up on it yet, it's too good. Oh, and thank you so much for reviewing shave cream! I requested it a while back when you reviewed your favorite razor and i was so curious what you used it with. Love the balance of the practical standbys and the fancy shmance on this site---a girl needs both!

  • kelly francis george

    The original beauty authority "Heloise" (ask your mom) recommended using it in the shower on your face to close pores and refresh your skin. I've never tried it but I bet the minty tingle in the morning is delicious. As for shaving, hair conditioner works too.

  • Jenesaisquoifashion

    I use the same kind! The girly ones don't lather as well and are expensive. Glad I am not the only one!

  • Hannah

    Another great one is the Ultra Moisturizing Shave Creme from Eos for only $3.49! My boyfriend steals it from me all the time...

  • Fabsbabs

    I swear by Nivea for Men shave gel. Lovely scent and white and navy packaging is pretty nice too. At least it's not pink and fruity-floral-cocktail inspired like women's products. Gag.

  • Sarahcmoran76

    This is so funny. Both my husband and I use this. I borrowed it from my dad too. It's cheap and it's fantastic. I love it!

  • Jennifer Eliuk

    I too have used Barbasol, borrowed from dad! Haven't used it in a while, I fell in love with the shave lotion from Kiss My Face, however money is tight these days so when I run out, I'm going to give dad's old standby another run. Thanks for the reminder!

  • Rkirkpeterson

    love this post.

  • Sadee Says

    I have always used this and love it!

  • Aaron


  • chelsea_46

    This is a brilliant post!!!... definitly one to try!!

  • Anonymous

    I made my dad go out and buy it for me! And then I saw it on the Evan Almighty movie. It's good!

  • Cassandra

    I've been using Barbasol since I started shaving, my older sister started buying it because it cost less money and she didn't care for those ridiculous scents and I've been using it ever since.

  • Elle @ Chellbellz

    This took me back to childhood, my grandmother used this when i was younger, and i used to spray it in my hang and play with it more then anything, and then my uncle would let help him shave by putting it on his face and guiding my hand with the razor. LOL, i'm on a budget these days and this girly stuff shave gels do nothing by mess up my skin too many scents and stuff.

  • Emilyvannah

    I have been doing this for the past couple of years. I love it! It used to make me so mad when I'd spend the money on the "gel" shaving products then feel like half of the product is in the bottle when I can't get anymore out. Never happens with Barbasol. =]

  • Nerissa

    Tried them all and Barbasol is the best! I'm faithful to the end.

  • Auburn Not Red

    Barbasol is the only shaving cream I use. It cost a little over a dollar and I get the green can with aloe because it doesn't have that I'm-using-a-man's-shaving-product smell.

  • Claudia Garza

    my sentiments exactly! It's weird that I haven't seen this in any recent magazine until now! thanks for sharing. Ive known about this for a long time now and once I tried Beard buster I never looked back, especially because its great for sensitive skin and thick cream great for its super cheap!