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Rockwell shaving cream, at least the old version, is middle-of-the-road


About five months ago, @JTshaves generously sent a sample of Rockwell Razors shaving cream for evaluation. (Thanks, Jeremy!) I finally got around to evaluating the cream, which has changed in formulation since it was purchased. Below is the optimum lather table and review of Rockwell shaving cream from my lather optimization guide in the ShaveWiki. Overall, Rockwell shaving cream is a middle-of-the-road product. The slickness was found to vary quite a bit, while being fairly good overall, cushion/protection seemed okay or pretty good, post-shave moisture was found to be pretty good, and post-shave comfort was considered okay because of some low-level irritation. It is entirely possible that the latest formulation of Rockwell shaving cream might be an improvement over the version that I evaluated. That would certainly make sense.

Optimum Lather Table

PRPerformance Ranking
PDPurchase Date (YYYY-MM-DD)
SCMSoap/Cream Mass (g)
WMWater Mass (g)
TMTotal Mass (g) = SCM + WM
WSCRWater-to-Soap/Cream Ratio = WM / SCM
SCITSoap/Cream-Incorporation Time (s)
LBTLather-Building Time (s)
SCPSoap/Cream Price (USD)

1Nanny's Silly Soap (NSS) Original Shaving Soap2017-04-231.209.6010.80830450.15
2Declaration Grooming (DG) Shaving Soap, Premium Bison Tallow Base2017-08-110.818.919.721120600.15
3Proraso Single Blade (PSB) Shaving Cream2018-01-120.957.608.5583600.07
4Barrister and Mann (B&M) Shaving Soap2017-10-190.718.529.231225300.12
5Oleo Soapworks Shaving Soap, Canard Base / West Coast Shaving (WCS) Duck Fat Shave Soap2018-11-230.759.009.751240600.12
6Cold River Soap Works (CRSW) SELECT Shaving Soap2017-12-150.869.4610.32116600.15
7Stirling Soap Co. Shave Soap2017-08-140.539.019.541720300.04
8Saponificio Varesino (SV) Shaving Soap2017-12-010.648.328.961390900.15
9Barrister's Reserve Shaving Soap2017-060.9611.5212.481245600.15
10Rockwell Razors Shaving Cream (Old Version)2018-05-
11Proraso Red Shaving Soap2017-11-270.828.209.02105750.06
12Martin de Candre (MdC) Shaving Soap2018-05-310.707.708.401145600.16
13Mike's Natural Shaving Soap2017-090.759.009.751260600.07
14Arko Shaving Soap2018-04-040.517.147.651475750.02
15Barrister and Mann (B&M) Latha Shaving Soap (Discontinued)2018-01-300.759.7510.501310300.07
16Floris Shaving Cream2018-020.986.867.8471600.29
17The Art of Shaving (AOS) Shaving Cream2018-01-
18Mystic Water (MW) Shaving Soap2018-01-270.709.109.801330300.07
19The Sudsy Soapery Shave Soap, Vegan Base2018-02-050.468.288.741810600.05

Rockwell Razors Shaving Cream (Old Version)

Top label, bottom label with ingredient list, and close-up of cream in small jar​

Version Name: Barbershop

Purchase Date: May 5, 2018. A sample was received on July 30, 2018, from @JTshaves, who generously donated the cream for evaluation. The sample was then placed in a small jar and photographed. Photographs of the original container were taken by Jeremy.

Review Period: December 21 to 24, 2018. 4 optimization shaves and 0 ranking tests.

Manufacturing Location: Canada

Ingredients: Water, Stearic Acid, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut Oil), Myristic Acid, Glycerin, Potassium Hydroxide, Aloe Barbadensis, Fragrance, Sodium Hydroxide, Menthol, Sodium Borate, Phenoxyethanol, Allantoin. (The formulation significantly changed sometime after the product was purchased.)

Appearance: Pearlescent off-white

Scent: The scent is officially described as being "reminiscent of the classic barbershop designed for the modern gentleman" with "notes of Leather, Neroli, Anise, Lilac and Cedar". Personally, I don't care for the scent, but I don't find it offensive.

Optimum Lather Overview: Sheen is matte to okay. Lather has stiff peaks and little yogurt-like behavior of "stringiness". Adhesion and application are okay to pretty good. The scent is relatively weak. Slickness ranges from okay to very good, being very good and good for significant minorities of the time and pretty good and okay for smaller portions of the time. Cushion/protection is okay or pretty good. Post-shave is pretty good with respect to moisture and okay with respect to comfort because of some low-level irritation.

Optimization Details: Optimization involved shaves with water-to-soap ratios of 6, 8, 10, and 7, in that order, with corresponding building times of 90 seconds, 60 seconds, 75 seconds, and 60 seconds. In general, increasing the hydration led to more slickness and a drier post-shave. A water-to-soap ratio of 7 seemed to provide the best overall performance. The lather-building time of 60 seconds also seemed best to build a stable lather without increasing the aeration and decreasing the slickness.

Ranking Details: Ranking tests were not considered necessary to fairly place Rockwell above Proraso Red and below Barrister's Reserve. Post-shave irritation was more dominant with Proraso Red, which provided a similar overall performance level, but with somewhat less balance than Rockwell. Barrister's Reserve was better in slickness and cushion/protection.
Another nice summary!

Interesting that they changed formulas as it doesn’t seem this version was out in the wild very long? They did the same thing with their razor blades. After mostly awful reviews, folks said they were improved after Rockwell quietly changed the packaging color (and the blade I assume).

Anyone have any experience with the newer cream or with both?
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