Pre-Shave Oils: A Comparative Test

#1
As you may already know, I’m a big fan of pre-shave oil and use it regularly as I find that it really makes a difference in achieving an irritation-free shave.

I’ve recently bought a few products I’ve not tried before and have not, as yet, come across a comparative comparison of either these products or those I have been using for sometime. Given this, I thought it would be an ideal chance to undertake one.

I have, therefore, been comparing these products over the last couple of weeks. The products I’ve tested are:



BBA Shave Oil
T&H Ultimate Comfort Pre-Shave Oil
Le Pere Lucien Pre-Shave, Post Shave and Beard Oil
Osma Pre-Shave Oil
TOBS Sandalwood Pre-Shave Oil
e-Shave Lime & Verbena Pre-Shave Oil
Simpsons Pre-Shave Oil
Floid Pre-Shave Oil
Capt Fawcett Beard Oil


None of these oils were given to me to test. I purchased them all from well known vendors (apart from the the Capt Fawcett Beard oil which was a Christmas present).

I’ve listed my conclusions on each oil below and have given each one a score out of 10.



1) BBA Shave Oil

This is a great product. The ingredients list include Prickly Pear oil, Hemp seed oil, Dragon’s Blood and Argan oil.

It is a thick oil which is absorbed easily into the skin, smells pleasant and is a pleasure to use. have given this a score of 10/10.


2) T&H Ultimate Comfort Pre-Shave Oil

Another great product. This is bar far the thinnest oil used in the test and it lists Sunflower seed oil, Avocado oil, Jojoba seed oil, Kukui seed oil, Aloe Vera leaf extract, Coconut oil, Sweet Almond seed oil, Arnica flower extract, Bergamot peel oil, Mandarin Orange peel oil and Grapefruit peel oil.

This oil is also easily absorbed into the skin, has a nice citrus smell and performs excellently. I have also given this a score 10/10.


3) Le Pere Lucien Pre-Shave, Post Shave and Beard Oil

I like this oil a lot. The ingredients include Inca Nut oil, Plum Kernel oil, Sunflower seed oil and Vitamin E.

It is a thick oil that is absorbed into the skin and it performs well. The smell is quite herbaceous and complements the traditional shaving soap in the Le Pere Lucien range. This is another oil I have given a score of 10/10.


4) Osma Pre-Shave Oil

This is another oil I like a lot. It’s ingredients include Sunflower seed oil, Sesame seed oil, Olive oil, Soybean oil, Castor oil and Vitamin E.

It’s a medium consistency oil that does not get absorbed into the skin. The smell is very nice and it performs well. I have given this a score of 8/10.


5) TOBS Sandalwood Pre-Shave Oil

I like this oil. It lists Castor seed oil, Mineral oil (Liquid Parafin) and Grape seed oil amongst the ingredients.

It is a thick oil which doesn’t get absorbed into the skin and the smell is okay. It performs well and I have also given this a score of 8/10.


6) e-Shave Lime & Verbena Pre-Shave Oil

I have been using e-Shave pre-shave oil for quite sometime, but this is the first time I’ve tried this scent. The ingredients include Peanut oil, Sweet Almond oil, Castor oil, Safflower oil, Grape seed oil and Vitamins A & E.

This is a medium thickness oil and has a pleasant lime scent. It smells far nicer than the Orange Sandalwood and Green Tea pre-shave oils which are also offered in the e-Shave product line. The oil doesn't get absorbed into the face and whilst it does it’s job more than adequately, it doesn’t feel as good in use as the better performing oils. I have given this a score of 6/10.


7) Simpsons Pre-Shave Oil

I’ve been using this oil for sometime and I believe that Simpsons doesn't make it anymore. It lists Grape seed oil, Sweet Almond oil, Isopropyl Palmitate, Tocepherol Acetate, Avocado oil, Sunflower seed oil, Wheat Germ oil, Jojoba seed oil and Starflower oil amongst the ingredients.

It’s a medium consistency oil and doesn’t absorb into the skin. It does a pretty good job but does smell like an industrial mineral oil. My main issue with this oil, though, is the tube it comes in.

Whilst this tube is great when used for Simpsons AS Balm, it has a clear problem when being used with an oil, namely, it leaks when it is not stored in a vertical position. This, of course, is far from ideal and together with the smell, led me to give this a score of 5/10.


8) Floid Pre-Shave Oil

This, for me, is something of a Jeckyll and Hide oil. It’s ingredients include Olive oil, Rice, Bran oil, Rosemary leaf oil, Tocepherol Acetate (Vitamin E and Acetic Acid), Balsam Copaiba resin, New Caledonia Sandalwood oil, Eucalyptus oil, Menthol, Clove oil and Tea Tree oil.

The main smells I could detect were Clove, Eucalytus and Tea Tree. It is a thick oil which does not absorb into the skin.

I really struggled with this oil. I could detect the Menthol when it was applied, however, on the two occasions I used it, I suffered significant irritation afterwards.

Personally, I’ve given this oil a score of 4/10 because of the problems I had with it. However, if it hadn’t irritated my skin, I would have scored it a lot higher (7/10) as I liked the smell and consistency of the oil itself.


9) Capt Fawcett Beard Oil

I included this oil in the test as a control, in order to see how the other products tested against an oil which has been specifically formulated for beards.

This is a nice oil and it’s ingredients include Sweet Almond oil, Jojoba oil, Vitamin E, Atlas Cedarwood oil, Black Pepper and Patchouli.

It’s a thick oil (the most viscous of those I tested) and partially absorbs into the skin. It smells great, and I originally concluded that it was not suited to being used as a pre-shave oil. I have, though, re-visited this oil and have noted that in order to get better results, it is important for the skin on my face to be totally dry before application and to use the smallest amount possible. When these conditions are met, the outcome is much better. I have subsequently re-scored it as being a 6/10 oil.


Final Thoughts

All of the oils I tested work adequately in helping provide protection against irritation. It is clear from the results that not all pre-shave oils are necessarily equal for a number of reasons.

I would not hesitate in recommending the BBA, T&H, La Pere Lucien, Osma and TOBS oils as they were the best performing oils in this test.
 
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#6
I've been testing out some more pre-shave oils over the last few weeks.



The oils are:

Saponificio Varesino Pre-Shave Oil
Zirh Prepare
Merry Band Lime & Peppermint Natural Shave Oil
Murdock Pre-Shave Oil
G Baldwin & Co Green Tea & Frankincense Soothing Shaving Oil
Bath House Cuban Cedar & Lime Shave Oil
Art of Shaving Unscented Pre-Shave Oil

None of these oils were given to me to test. I purchased them all from well known vendors (apart from the Zirh prepare which was a gift from @Dobbo25).

I’ve listed my conclusions on each oil below and have again given each one a score out of 10.

1) Art of Shaving Unscented Pre-Shave Oil

This is another nice oil. It's ingredients list Castor seed oil, Olive Fruit oil, Lavender oil, Clove Leaf oil, Australian Sandalwood oil and Pepper Seed oil.

It is a very thick oil and has a very nice scent (which surprised me somewhat as it's supposed to be unscented). It absorbs nicely into the skin and is a joy to use. I have scored it as being another 10/10 oil.


2) Murdock Pre-Shave Oil

Another 10/10 oil which I like a lot. The scent is heavenly. It is another thick oil which absorbs into the skin. It's ingredients include Sweet Almond oil, Wheat Germ oil, Olive Fruit oil and Vitamin E.


3) Saponificio Varesino Pre-Shave Oil

This thick oil has a very interesting method of delivery. Unlike other oils, it uses a roll-on mechanism in the same way that an underarm deodorant does. This enables the correct amount of oil to be deposited on the skin. I still needed to massage the oil in afterwards though.

It's ingredients include St. John's Wort oil, Sweet Almond oil, Avocado oil, Wheat Germ oil, Evening Primrose oil, Grape Seed oil and Shea Butter oil. It performs very well, absorbs into the skin, and is another oil that I've given a 10/10 score to.


4) Bath House Cuban Cedar & Lime Shave Oil

This is another thick oil has the nicest scent of any of those I've tested, and it is a very nice oil to use. It absorbs into the skin and whilst it doesn't list the ingredients in full, it mentions that Sweet Almond oil, Apricot, Glycerine, Lime oil, Bilberry Extract and Vitamin E present in the blend.

I've also scored this oil as being 10/10 as it performs very well in use.

5) Zirh Prepare

I've scored this as being an 8/10 oil. It is a medium / thin oil which absorbs easily into the skin.

It works well in use and, whilst it doesn't state any ingredients on the bottle, a quick look on the Zirh website indicates that it contains Jojoba Esters, Rice Bran oil, Tocopheryl Acetate, Grape seed oil, Safflower Seed oil, Argania Spinosa Extract, Papaya Fruit extract, Mango Fruit extract, Banana Fruit extract, Passion Flower extract, and Sweet Almond seed extract.

The main issue for me with this oil is that there is very little, if any, scent to it. It is virtually odourless and this is what has kept me from giving it a higher mark.


6) Merry Band Lime & Peppermint Natural Shave Oil

This medium viscosity oil has a very nice scent and works well. It doesn't fully absorb into the skin and lists Grape seed oil, Vitamin E, Peppermint, Lime and Scots Pine oil as the ingredients.

I've given this oil a score of 7/10 as there was a problem dispensing it. The aperture of the plug the use to stopper the bottle was not wide enough to allow the oil to pass through easily. A little bit of surgery courtesy of a Swiss Army knife sorted this issue. I would have scored this oil a little higher had this problem not have occurred in both the bottles I purchased directly from the manufacturer.


7) G Baldwin & Co Green Tea & Frankincense Soothing Shaving Oil

This is another nice smelling medium thickness oil which has a pleasant scent. Like the Merry Band oil, it doesn't fully absorb into the skin and works well in use.

I was unable to read the full list of ingredients as the label has clearly designed for a larger bottle as it has overlapped half of the ingredient list when it was stuck on. From what I can tell it has Argan oil, Shea Butter oil, Marula, Clove, Mandarin, Geranium, and Clove oil as part of the ingredients. I have given this oil a score of 7/10.



I would, in addition to the products already mentioned in my first post, recommend the AoS, Murdoch, SV, Bath House and Zirh oils as they are all great performers.

I have a few more pre-shave oils on the way (American Crew, Anthony Logistics, Musgo Real, Sweyn Forkbeard, Recipe for Men and Bluebeard's Revenge) and will update the thread again (for what I suspect will be a final time) once I've tested them out. :)

 
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