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C.O. Bigelow Premium Shave Cream Review

Claimed as the “oldest apothecary in America”, C.O. Bigelow has been around since 1838 and is based out of New York City (source).  

In this review, we will be taking a close look at their popular shaving cream.  

Commonly known as the Proraso-clone given that it’s made in Italy by Proraso, the C.O. Bigelow Premium Shave Cream offers a nice shaving experience.  

Related: Proraso Shaving Cream Review

Let’s see why:

Review Disclosure

A few quick notes before we jump into the review:

  • This isn’t a sponsored post.  I am not being paid by C.O. Bigelow to cover this shaving cream.
  • C.O. Bigelow has no knowledge of this post prior to publication.
  • I paid for this shaving cream out of my own pocket.
  • This article contains affiliate links to help cover operational expenses (i.e. buy additional products to review, hosting costs, salary, etc.).
  • Tools of Men is independently owned and operated.
C.O. Bigelow Premium Shave Cream for Men with Eucalyptus Oil, 5.2 Ounces
  • Creamy, softening lather formula protects all skin types, cools the skin and gives a truly exceptional shave
  • Gives a close, comfortable shave and helps prevent razor burn and skin irritation

Packaging of the C.O. Bigelow Premium Shave Cream

Packed in a cardboard box, C.O. Bigelow does a good job at protecting the product prior to arrival:

Once removed from the container, we can see that the shave cream comes in a nice bright green tube:

As far as a few notable specs of this shave cream, you will find the following:

It is 5.2oz / 147g in size making it not travel-friendly nor TSA compliant.  

This shaving cream relies on the following ingredients:

Here are a few notable ones worth mentioning:

  • Coconut oil
  • Eucalyptol
  • Eucalyptus Oil
  • Glycerin
  • Camphor

The coconut oil, which sits rather high on the comedogenic scale (rated 4 out of 5), may not be the best ingredient for those men prone to acne or have oily skin.  However, there is some debate on whether or not the comedogenic scale is even trustworthy or credible to begin with – so take it for what it’s worth and test accordingly prior to extended use.

The two ingredients in this shave cream you will instantly notice will be the Eucalyptol and Eucalyptus Oil – both of which do an incredible job at providing an invigorating and bright scent (more on this in a minute).

Glycerin and camphor are included to increase lubrication while reducing irritation.  

Lastly, this shave cream can be used as either a hand or shave brush lather.  

What type of lather can you expect with this shaving cream?

When it comes to lathering up with this shaving cream, here’s what you will find with both a hand and brush lather:

Hand Lather

By applying just an almond-sized amount to the palm of my hand:

And then adding just a little bit of warm water and rubbing my hands together:

You will see that the C.O. Bigelow shave cream develops nicely into a slick and rich lather.  

I found during this process that the shaving cream was silky smooth and had no clumps or inconsistency.

Brush Lather

When starting up a brush lather, I loaded about an almond-sized amount into the center of a pre-soaked and wrung synthetic shaving brush:

Related: Maggard Razor Shaving Brush Review

Then by simply going in a circular motion on the palm…

…for about 20 to 30 seconds, the lather was looking like this:

Here’s a closeup of it on the shaving brush as well:

So, a few things to note about the lather when whipped from the shaving brush:

  • The C.O. Bigelow lather had an incredibly nice cushion to it.  When closing my hand like a fist, I could really feel the cushion that it provides.
  • Like the hand lather earlier, the shaving brush lather made a decent and slick lubricated base.
  • The smell for this lather was a bit stronger when compared to the hand lather.  Through aeration of the shaving cream, it provided an invigorating eucalyptus scent.

What should you expect when shaving with C.O. Bigelow Premium Shave Cream?

Now that you have a good idea of the lather expectations for the C.O. Bigelow shaving cream, let’s switch gears and give this a go with a safety razor.

Related: What is a Safety Razor

For this demonstration, I’m going to use the shave cream with my current razor, the Merkur 38C ‘Barber Pole’ safety razor.

To start, I went ahead and wet my face with warm water and then began to work the shaving cream into my face with a shave brush.

Note: The shaving brush was reloaded with new shaving cream for this test.

I noticed on the first application that the shave cream was a bit dry.  Therefore, after adding just a few drops of water, it was able to activate quite nicely and get whipped up into the following lather:

Now when making the first pass, the razor blade was able to glide rather effortlessly:

When working the troublesome neck area – the shaving cream provided a nice base that allowed for the razor to get to work and remove the tricky neck hairs with ease:

As a final inspection on the first pass – the shaving cream performed quite well:

Here’s another view:

Now there are a few things to note here about the shaving cream:

  • There was absolutely no irritation to speak of.  Thanks to the inclusion of menthol and other ingredients outlined earlier, the skin felt really cool and tingly (in a good sort of way).  If you use this first thing in the morning, it’s a great feeling to begin your day with.
  • The scent of the shaving cream was invigorating and not too overpowering.  Personally, I think this unique scent can complement most colognes.
  • After loading the shaving brush once (almond-sized amount), I was able to easily get two passes out of this shaving cream.
  • When paired with a safety razor, it performed quite well.  

Note: I did a second pass with the razor; however, I accidentally cut myself near the Adam’s apple that I am excluding from the pics above.  I am confident that this isn’t indicative of poor shaving cream, but rather my poor technique.  You can view this in full detail of the video review.

Overall Assessment:

Like Proraso, the C.O. Bigelow shaving cream is both invigorating and makes for a cool and comfortable shave.  If you like a bright start to your day and want a classic Italian-made shaving cream, then this one is worth picking up.

What does C.O. Bigelow smell like?

C.O. Bigelow emits a bright, eucalyptus scent that is very clean and fresh.  While not smelling like traditional hand soap, the freshness aspect here is similar.

If you have ever used Proraso before, then this shaving cream will smell identical.

Related: Proraso Pre-Shave Cream Review

What shaving tool can you use with this shaving cream?

Given that this is a traditional shaving cream, it can work with the following tools:

  • Disposable razor
  • Cartridge razor
  • Safety razor
  • Straight razor

Where can you Buy C.O. Bigelow Shaving Cream?

Given that C.O. Bigelow is a premium type of shaving cream, chances are that you will not find it in stock at your local drugstore or grocery store.  However, if you live in a larger city, you may find it at a specialty grooming store or apothecary.  

Furthermore, if you want to pick up this shaving cream online, you can find it available at the following online retailers:

  • Bigelow Chemists (Direct)
  • Amazon
  • West Coast Shaving
  • Nordstrom
  • Mr. Porter
C.O. Bigelow Premium Shave Cream for Men with Eucalyptus Oil, 5.2 Ounces
  • Creamy, softening lather formula protects all skin types, cools the skin and gives a truly exceptional shave
  • Gives a close, comfortable shave and helps prevent razor burn and skin irritation

Final thoughts on C.O. Bigelow

The C.O. Bigelow shaving cream makes for an enjoyable shaving experience.  The nice, bright notes are a welcome way to start the day – especially in contrast to heavier fragranced shaving creams like Taylor of Old Bond Street Sandalwood Shaving Cream.

Made by Proraso in Italy, this shaving cream provides a comfortable and cushioned lather that will work well with your favorite shaving tool.

Adam Williams

As the lead editor of Tools of Men, Adam is an expert in all things men's grooming related. When you don't find him reading up on the latest grooming trends, he likes to go jogging, attempt to distinguish the differences between IPAs, and play sports with his kids.