I agree with most of what you said . The thing with not knowing where you shaved with brushless creams is an easy problem. Wet and use your other hand , and feel wear you need to shave . This also keeps your skin slick and you know what needs to be shaved. Lack of residual slickness is because of not adding a little more water .Creams like Cremo have residual slickness if only you add some wetness.So Im guessing were talking whats commerically available in supermarkets, not artisan soaps. For that, Id have to go with good ole Barbasol or Gillette Foamy.
Im not a big fan of brushless creams or gels. I dont like the brushless stuff because theres no lather and I cant tell where I havent shaved yet and I dont like gels because they tend to gum up my razors.
With Barbasol/Foamy, its dirt cheap, lasts a long time (a golf ball sized amount per pass is plenty for me) and if you add a bit of water to it you can get lots of slickness out of it.
I get Pro Shave from online barber supply sites. It has a good amount of slickness and a menthol kick. I have read other people say it's similar to old Noxzema brushless shave cream. Cost $5.45 for 8oz tub and about $20 for their huge 48oz tub
I just started using Pro-shave as a pre-shave and after shave touch up. Also a great after-shave face cream. If you've never tried this buy some--it's cheap. This stuff is a hoot. Smells like a mild VapoRub, too.
With canned foams, I kind of just go by residual slickness. They all have excellent foam and cushion. In fact if using a cart, I need to thin them down. They are fine straight away for DE or SE.
I prefer ones in which the foam leaves enough residual slickness that I can make a touchup here or there over an area that was just shaved and let the razor glide without the application of additional foam. Some brands leave the skin almost grabby. The Noxema in the Red can falls into that camp for me. Prorasso and Foamy are better. Gotta give one of my flavors of Barbasol another try, I can't remember how it did.
Hmmm, I don't have any of that flavor, but I do have the stuff in the Yellow can that the Purple can seemingly is the replacement for. I'll give that a try. I was a bit skeptical that some of the higher dollar soaps were actually better than the cheap ones, but having tried a few there are some improvements over most of the cheaper soaps.The Barbasol extra moisturizing has a post shave feel that rivals many artisan soaps, although not the best artisan soaps.
Absolutely! Shavers come from all over the world. Some are quite young, some are quite old. Thus, there are large differences in skin type: dry vs oily, thin vs thick, taut vs saggy, sensitive vs tough. Likewise, there are large differences in beard hair type from very fine and sparse to very coarse and thick. A teenager just learning to shave is going to have needs and preferences that differ greatly from an old man who has been shaving for 50+ years. The best you can hope for is to find reviewers whose needs and preferences are similar to yours and rely on their comments.I find that lack of agreement over which are the better soaps/cremes is similar to the lack of agreement over which are the better blades, and DE and SE razors. There is a reason why we see YMMV so often on the shaving forums!
I do enjoy reading the various opinions and comments, but I have found what is best is a very individual and subjective determination.