Price – The Saint Charles Shave shave crèmes are competitively priced. While not the cheapest shave cream on the market, this product still represents a great bargain when you consider its high quality.
Scent – I’ve been fortunate enough to try 4 of the 5 scents that Sue currently has available (Very V, Bay Rum, Fairway, & Lime) and have been very pleased by all of them. I know that Sue holds each product she develops under a very extreme level of scrutiny before ever releasing one to the public, and it certainly shows in each of the fine scents that she is marketing. While I would like to claim the Very-V scent as my number one favorite, every scent I've tried is so very titillating that it is nearly impossible to pick one over the other. Very-V is likely the most unique of the scents available but all are excellent.
Packaging – While SCS’s presentation of clear plastic tub with black lid is not as regal as some of the offerings available on today’s market, it certainly outclasses the craptastic PVC tubs put out by the 3 T’s. In my mind, SCS has found a nice balance between an attractive presentation and a low price point.
Moisturizing Properties and Latherability – You may want to fasten your seatbelts at this point as, in my mind, this is where things really begin to get interesting.
Several months ago Sue welcomed me into her group of product testers and brought me up to date with her top-secret project of developing a Luxury Shave Crème. Along with the rest of the team, I watched this product go through many permutations along its journey to becoming the astonishing product that is now available to you.
Despite the many tweaks that Sue’s shave crème formula has endured, the crème’s properties of moisturization and lubrication have, since day one, been like nothing I have ever used before. This unique blend is fantastically slick and leaves the skin so conditioned that on many occasions I find an aftershave balm unnecessary and simply finish with a spritzing of witch hazel.
On the topic of latherability, this product can be a little bit deceptive. Keeping in mind that as a tester I have created 30-40 lathers with this crème (that is 30-40 with the current formulation), I will boldly say that it can create the best lather that you have ever used. Now, I realize that there will be some folks ready to argue after reading this statement, but there is a secret to making this product really perform for you and ironically, it is the very thing that makes our little hobby so special – WATER!
This crème is devastatingly hydrophilic or water-loving. From my findings, the amount of water that I use to create a meringue-like lather from any of the 3 T’s is simply not enough to satisfy the thirst of the SCS crème. I actually got as scientific as to measure out the water necessary for lathering several different brands of shave cream and found Sue’s products to require anywhere from 2 to 3 times as much water. This can be a difficult discovery to make because the early consistency of the lather will lead you to believe that it has too much water in it (i.e. a little bit runny). I encourage you, however, to continue to add water and watch as after several additional teaspoons of water have been added, the crème will actually firm up and create those beautiful meringue peaks that we all love so much.
This lather is from about a half an almond sized dollop of cream and a few teaspoons of water (what is normally left in a moderately sized brush after a shake). Notice how the cream appears a little bit runny and does not have much volume.
This is after slowly adding in 3 more teaspoons of water. See how the lather is building in size and beginning to thicken up.
This is after adding in 2 more teaspoons of water. Things are really starting to shape up nicely now. Additionally, despite the massive influx of water, rubbing the lather between finger and thumb shows no loss in slickness.
Here is a pic of filled brush and bowl next to an Aristocrat razor for scale.
Finally, here is a close-up of the lather-filled bowl. Notice the nice volume, the peaks, and how the crème glistens with moistness.
Overall – I will boldly say that the SCS shave crèmes are better than anything that I have previously used. Yes, they are even better than my beloved Taylor’s Lavender and Avocado (please, no booing or throwing of vegetables). When properly lathered, these crèmes can consistently provide you with a BBS shave and highly conditioned skin. When you combine the outrageous performance of these crèmes with their unique and wonderful scents, I think you will be hard pressed to find another product that can hold a candle to them.
For comments on this review, see this thread.