Euxesis – a Victorian shaving cream

No soap, water or brush required – sounds like the brushless creams of today, or possible the canned goo that the multinationals sells. It is, however, the tagline is taken from an advert in the British Navy and Army Illustrated magazine, from 1899… singing the praises of the Euxesis shaving cream.

The name Euxesis might come from the greek root “eu” – meaning good – and “xesis” meaning to scrape… so the name might mean “good shave”. The word was made up by Solomon Morgan Lloyd – the man whom allegedly invented the brushless cream – some time before 1850 if my light research is to be trusted. I have not uncovered any patents in his name covering shave creams, so he might have bought the idea of someone else.

There is also some speculations online that Euxesis also inspired the creation of the Burma-Shave shave cream, although I’ve not uncovered firm proof of that.

Taken from Navy and Army Illustrated 1899

Judging by the sources, Euxesis wasn’t a shaving soap, but was instead:

…an emulsion of some one of the expressed oils, together with an certain amount of perfumery; that it is not saponified, is not soluble in water, and does not possess any of the properties of a soap.

Treasury Decisions Under Customs and Other Laws, Volume 34

A lot of the early advertisements I can find online is aimed at British military personnel, which makes sense seeing as how a soldier of the Empire might find himself serving far away from the comforts of home, but a British gentleman wouldn’t dream of giving up the trappings of civilisation – so shaving was a necessity, even if you’re serving somewhere where heating up water for your morning toilet were a senseless waste…

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