Rapha Shaving Cream and Post Shave Lotion


When I was new to shaving, which is to say in high school, my skin was awfully sensitive to the cruelty of dragging a blade across my skin. My neck was seemingly perpetually red and inflamed, swatted honey bee-angry. In my senior year my mother discovered a shaving cream made by some company better known for women’s cosmetics than men’s skin care, a concept which was at that time still exceedingly novel and prone to suggestions that the user may not have been the most manly among men.

Fortunately, my shaving cream wasn’t subject to public scrutiny. It stayed in a medicine cabinet I shared only with my sister.

I’d forgotten that I ever used the stuff until recently when I opened a tin of Rapha’s Shaving Cream. The consistency was that of buttercream frosting—creamy and with a stickiness that showed an affinity for skin. The moment I dipped my finger in the tin, I was transported back to 1982. Actually, the experience was kind of eerie. I even recalled how my mom told me the stuff was expensive, but if it helped, she’d keep getting it for me.

I don’t recall how long I used it; I don’t recall the brand or when I stopped using it, but it was some time in undergraduate school. My strongest memory of the stuff, aside from its consistency, was how much happier my skin was as a result of using it. Generally speaking, I think almost all shaving creams are created equal, if inferior. Foam or gel, it’s all about the same.

The Rapha Shaving Cream, which at $20 for a 4-oz. (125ml) tin is even more precious than some Napa Cabs, takes that man-care shaving cream and goes it at least one better. Frankly, it smells more amazing than most embrocations. The aroma comes from a complex blend of ingredients but what hits you when you open it is a lovely blend of lavender and conifer.

While I don’t suffer skin irritation the way that I used to, there’s no doubt that my face is happier when I use this stuff. Same for the insides of my thighs when I shave my legs with it (which I’ve done all of twice). Shaving my face with this is plenty; my household really can’t tolerate me being that amazing.

Were I English, or at least based in Europe, I’m aware that the price on this stuff wouldn’t seem outrageous; the exchange rate skews the cost from merely expensive to ungodly.

A word to our friends in Rapha’s product management: Can you please change the color of either the Winter Embrocation or the Shaving Cream? Identical black tins, both residing on my bathroom sink, is a disaster in waiting.

Which brings me to the Rapha Post Shave Lotion. At $27, it’s even more expensive than the  shaving cream, but given that the pump bottle is 5 oz. (150ml) and how little you use following each shave, it’s a good deal better value. It also can’t be mistaken for an embrocation, so there’s that, too.

The Post Shave Lotion benefits from the same minty-lavender aromatics and can calm anything from the angriest razor burns to crazed meth heads. I would even nominate this stuff as a possible hostage negotiator.

Using these two skin care products reminded me what a peasant I am at heart. I absolutely love both of them, but my sense is that together they make me more terrific than I deserve to be. Of course, if I needed to charm the wallets out of a Wall Street board room, this stuff would rate as a daily necessity.

I’m being silly here, but that’s truly the point. I can’t explain it, but I get a bit giddy when I open the tin and prepare to shave. And that’s why I’m writing; I hadn’t planned to review these products and ought to be embarrassed to reveal that, but I really don’t care. These products are my new definition for luxurious.

Pardon me, I haven’t shaved yet today.



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  1. LesB

    ” In my senior year my mother discovered a shaving cream made my some company better known for women’s cosmetics than men’s skin care, a concept which was at that time still exceedingly novel and prone to suggestions that the user may not have been the most manly among men.”

    This brings to mind the saddle I saw at Helen’s in Santa Monica a few years ago. It looked just like what I was looking for, even the color scheme, and so after much inspection, I bought it. Good decision, as it has been comfortable and sturdy.

    So recently I needed some info about the saddle so I went to the web site of the brand: Terry. And, Egad! The site is all pink, and they supply cycling gear exclusively for women!

    The worst part of a bike to get the gender wrong! And why was it so comfortable for me, being the wrong gender for the saddle?? Wondering if I was anatomically incorrect somehow.

    Upon further research at the site, I was relieved to find that although they deal in exclusively women’s cycling gear, the one exception is that they do have a line of men’s saddles — and mine is one of those.

  2. Andrew

    Is rapha a real company or just something made up to provoke the commentariat? I’ll stick with my $2 can of cvs shaving cream, thanks.

  3. Alan Geiger

    Andrew, you must have been reading my mind. I use $2 Barbasol, because I’m worth it. Commentariat! I love it!

  4. Campbell Macmillan

    ha.. I have accidentally shaved with the chamois cream. The tins are identical at 5am. Rapha stuff is expensive, but you should treat yourself every once and a while.

  5. Brian

    Is anything Rapha makes priced in this stratosphere? If I used that shaving cream it would last me a month. My wife would lose it if I tried to use that stuff daily.

    1. Author

      Brian: As I mentioned in my review, Rapha suffers the the PR black eye of producing stuff while based in the U.K. As a result, their pricing is tied to the Great British Pound. The exchange rate between the pound and the dollar is terrible, has been for a while. Were Rapha an American company their stuff would only seem kinda pricey.

      No matter what anyone says about their products, this stuff is truly amazing.

  6. nuovorecord

    The true disaster-in-waiting is the Winter Embrocation and Chamois Cream being packaged in identical tins!!!

    I love Rapha’s shave cream. It’s one of the finest I’ve used. I know a lot of guys do just fine with a can of Barbasol or Foamy, but I hacked my face to bits on a daily basis using that stuff. I finally wised up and began shaving with a double-edge safety razor, and lathering up with a brush and bowl of cream. Rapha’s cream works great for this. Well worth every penny…or shilling.

  7. Wsquared

    Wretched excess. I have used Nivea shaving cream for years. It’s imported from Germany and costs about $3.00 at your local supermarket.

  8. The_D

    The next time my valet uses embrocation in lieu of the clearly labelled cream with which he’s to be shaving on my nether regions, I shall have him flogged with my Rapha Gentlemen’s Riding Crop ™.

    Jeeves, in the event someone is reading this to you, learn to read my exclusive toiletries, you simpering buffoon!

  9. Clausen

    Priced about right with other high end shaving creams. Until you have used the good stuff, You don’t know what your missing.

    PS. I would not waste it on my legs.

  10. LesB

    The guy says that (mistakenly) using the embrocation as a chamois cream made him “ride like hell”. Hmm.. I see yet another form of doping here.

  11. Steevo

    +1 for Nivea (the stuff in the squeeze tube). I actually prefer it to Clinique (same price as the Rapha and nicer), though I still swear by Clinique after shave.

  12. AusTex

    While I have no doubt the Rapha Shave Cream and the affiliated products are good like Musgo Real and others its just shave cream. It won’t help you ride faster although it may put a spring in your step. The spring however might be due to the fact you have less money in your pockets, I’m not sure.

    I’ve tested many and still keep returning to Nivea so now I’ve stopped trying because it’s just shave cream.

  13. Chuck

    Normally I’d agree with those who say that this stuff is over-priced and that a $2 canister of generic shave cream would do the trick just fine….but I just happened to receive a tin of this for my birthday and I have to say it really is phenomenal. The smell is intoxicating, and the texture is like no other product I’ve found. Of course it won’t make you faster, but it does make your legs feel great after using it! At $20 it’s pricey for shaving cream, but it’s in the realm of affordable luxuries that are fun to treat yourself to every once in a while. I will continue to only dream of $2000 wheels, but for now I’ll take the occasional forday into the high life by buying this stuff every now and then.

  14. Sam

    If their shaving creams are as good as the soft shell or chamois, I’m sure it’s worth every penny. Ive never been let down by anything from Rapha and it costs just as much as Assos or Pearl Izumi PRO.

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