My Facebook feed was hit by a Barberry Coast ad for shave cream the other week. I haven’t heard of them, but the cream was called Havana. I love Tabac as a scent so I followed the link to see what I’d find. The comments were interesting, and while I am a dedicated Truefitt & Hill 1805 user (and sometimes a Taylor of Old Bond Street user), I eventually caved and decided to try it out.
I just had a two-pass shave with my Gillette Fatboy, my favorite silver tip brush, a brand new Feather, and my Moss Scuttle. Here is my quick, but informed review.
The description from the Barberry Coast’s site:
The Miracle Working Shea Butter rich formula keeps skin smooth and supple. Full of highly effective natural and organic soothers, moisturizer and anti-oxidants — aloe, sunflower and sweet almond oil, white and green teas, lavender and comfrey – skin will transform into it’s own best defense against harsh environmental factors while staying soft and bump free.
Scented with our wildly popular Havana fragrance – an intoxicating blend of opulent tobacco leaf, and crushed cocoa beans that is reminiscent of old Havana charm and glamour. Creamy island vanilla laced with natural oils of patchouli and Peruvian clove.
We promise NO harsh, harmful or toxic ingredients such as Parabens, Sulphates, Dyes, Phthalates, DEP (Diethyl Phthalates) or any petroleum or coal tar ingredients such as Toluene which is found in most synthetic fragrances. Chronic exposure to these are linked to anemia, lowered blood cell count, liver or kidney damage and reproductive issues.
The tub is this nice textured black plastic thing. They call it frosted black plastic. It’s nice, and not as wide as other cream jars. Opening it up, I was delighted to see how close to the top it was filled. To the very top. Given the smaller circumference, this makes sense in order to provide their promised volume. Psychologically it made me felt like I was getting more than I paid for. The cream is slightly spongy too in vertical spring when brush loading. Nice.
Lathering was surprisingly easy. I didn’t need to add a lot of water, so I don’t know how much it can take. Even with a scuttle (normally I need to use a bit more water because of the heat). It might even be quicker to whip up than 1805. That’s a good thing. I had a nice meringue in under a minute. It held up well waiting for my second pass as well. So far so good!
How can I say this… it felt almost as if I pre-treated with an alum block before shaving. A little harsh. A lack of glide that I was expecting. Not to say there was none, but my blade would grip a bit more than with my 1805. Enough to pull a little and produce a squeegee on glass sound on my skin. The lather would rinse easily enough. I didn’t get cut or anything like that, but the shave was below that of 1805 and TOOBS.
Scent is very subjective. I smelled almost no tobacco, mostly vanilla. The smell was weak. I was expecting to smell it while it was on my face. It’s very faint. In the tub I can’t really smell it either. It smells a little like some kind of oat-based cereal with vanilla soy milk. It’s odd and is nothing like tobacco. I use Tabac, I have Alt-Innsbrück. I know what it is supposed to smell like. This misses the mark. That said, there is nothing to interfere with your aftershave if you use one :-). The reviews for Havana on the manufacturer’s website almost scream fake to me given the comment on the scent. For me, there really is almost no scent at all.
The price was $28. Amazon has it a lot cheaper, but I ordered directly from the site. If you’re going to try it, go through Amazon to save some money. If I spent the Amazon price, I would have been a little happier. I had high expectations going in. I feel with a formulation tweak to provide more glide while shaving, paired with a little more scent, I might go for this as a day to day cream.
I just checked the Amazon price for 1805 ($43.84!!) Good thing I bought several tubs when it was cheaper. So – don’t compare this to 1805. Compare it to Taylor of Old Bond Street cream. TOOBS is a lot cheaper than Barberry Coast creams. Even through Amazon. Is it as good as TOOBS? No, I don’t think so. You can get TOOBS for $14 with free Prime shipping. That’s huge.
Barberry Coast – I like that you’re out there and you do have a decent product. If you put in more effort into your creams, I think you have a good chance. As it stands now, I can’t say I would replace my daily creams with yours yet.