I started shaving a long time before I got into traditional wetshaving. But even back then, when my razor of choice1 was a Gillette Sensor, I realized very quickly that canned goo was bad. So I did what any self-respecting 18 year old did… I wandered into a Body-Shop and bought a tub of their Maca Root shaving cream and a brush.2
Compared to Gillette’s canned goo, it was night and day. It made shaving tolerable, but not great. So over the next few years I shaved when I had to, dabbled a bit in electric shavers,3 tried growing a beard a few times, and generally managed. But whenever I was using the Sensor, I made sure to have some of the Maca Root shaving cream around.
Then, back in 2010 and at the suggestion4 of my wife, I procured a traditional safety razor, some blades, a boar brush, and some shaving cream. And that was both the start of a delightful new hobby, and the last I saw of the Body Shop shaving cream for a long while.
Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago. The local Body Shop was closing, and I swung by to pick up some odds and ends on sale. And right there, among other things on clearance, was an old friend. Well… an old acquaintance. The tub had gotten a facelift, but it was still Body Shop’s Maca Root shaving cream. With aloe, which it may have had back in the day too, without me remembering it.
So of course I had to pick one up. I had to find out if it still could cut the mustard compared to my somewhat excessive collection of other soaps and creams.
I mean, I know it was better than canned goo. That is a low bar to clear though. Most things, including olive oil, is better than canned goo.5
One thing I recalled from the old days; this is a cream for face lathering, not for whipping up in a bowl. And a thing I had forgotten; this is a cream that requires a very good rinse of the brush after shaving.
The good things first:
The cream lathers up well. Plenty of lather to be had without6 a very heavy load. Nice coverage, and it don’t collapse on shaving. Plenty of cushion, and it carries the stubble away nicely. And it don’t leave my skin dry, unlike canned goo.
And it smells nice. Which is admittedly subjective, but still a good thing. It’s not overpowering, but a nice and clean scent. It doesn’t interfere with any aftershaves because the scent doesn’t linger.
The less good things?
Well, it’s a very sticky lather. Not only does it take some work to rinse the brush, but getting the razor clean enough to put aside takes some work too. And the stickiness also means that there is very little slide.
With most of my shaving soaps and creams, the lather will lubricate, so the razor glides easily across the skin. Not so with the Maca Root cream – it doesn’t hinder the razor, but it don’t aid it either. Less of an issue for a cartridge user,7 but when you’re using vintage GEMs and EverReadys with wide heads, it is noticeable.
So… is the Body Shop Maca Root & Aloe a good choice for a wetshaver? Well… maybe. It isn’t bad, by any stretch. It just isn’t great. The stickiness and lack of cushion is a definite let down, and the ingredient list is long and complex.
Even so, I enjoy having a tub again. Although it may be another decade until I get one again.
- “Choice” meaning “it was affordable and I didn’t know jack”.
- In hindsight, it was a pretty bad brush. But not horrible.
- Several of different types, without finding one that I liked.
- One of the main reasons was that I was going on an overseas deployment.
- Depending on your skin, shaving with just water may be better than canned goo.
- Caveat: I got reasonable soft water in my tap.
- Who often, in my opinion, shaves with excessive force and pressure.