Shaving Soap Review: Derby Lemon Shave Cream

Posted: October 23, 2016 in Shaving Articles

Ease of Lathering:
This is a cream, so the ease of lathering is very good. It produces voluminous lather with a very limited amount of swirling around. The stiffness of your shaving brush should have no great impact on this, as it doesn’t have to “dig in” to the surface of a soap to lather up. With creams, I bowl-lather. My technique is to put a small amount in the lathering bowl (about as much as you’d put on a toothbrush), then swirl it up with a damp brush. I add water as required, and look for a thick, whipped-cream consistency. This is easy with most creams that are formulated correctly. Derby is perfectly satisfactory in this regard.

Good protection provided by this soap. It creates as much lather as you need, and reaching the water content level is not very difficult. There’s no reason you shouldn’t have a thick and protective lather for every pass.

Residual Slickness:
The Derby cream leaves plenty of slickness for most purposes. I wouldn’t say that it’s quite as slick as some of the very rich soaps I’ve used, but it will give you a good shave. With the amount of lather you can make, however, don’t be stingy. Dab a bit more on your face if you want to take another pass across your skin. There’s no reason to save it for the sink drain. If you are spoiled by a very rich soap that features tallow and perhaps lanolin or argan oil, you might not have quite the same amount of slickness than you might expect, but again, just put a bit more lather on your face, and you should be just fine.

One of the things you may sacrifice with a budget soap is scent. Not the case here. The lemon Derby cream smells good, with a clean and natural-smelling lemon aroma. It isn’t a powerful smell, but it’s pleasant. The scent isn’t going to linger for a long time, so it shouldn’t clash with other products you might use afterward. Other citrus scents mix well with this one. I frequently use a lime pre-shave with this one, finishing with Thayer’s Lemon Witch Hazel. I can tell you that this is the best scent in the Derby cream line. The Menthol cream smells weird, and the Lavender is very faint, at best. If you want to get a Derby cream, my strong recommendation is to get this one.

The Derby creams, provided you can get them without insane markup, are really inexpensive. I only shelled out about four dollars per tube for mine. As such, excess complaining is probably not warranted. I find that they create a lot of lather from a small dab of cream. Perhaps not quite as much as the Taylor of Old Bond Street creams, but they are about a third or a quarter of the price. Great value. There are a lot of inexpensive soaps and creams out there, but if you’re looking for a nice lemon cream, this is a good option.

This is a nice quality cream. A value conscious shaver could do a lot worse. It’s certainly leagues ahead of every canned cream and gel you could find. If you like the lemon scent, this will probably suit you just fine. The other creams in the line work just as well, but don’t smell that great to me. Especially the Menthol, which smells kind of bad to me. As an aside, it has no real menthol feel, either. (Bronx cheer)

This is not as “clean” a soap as the artisan offerings you’ll find. It has Parabens in it, as most of the budget products seem to do. If this is a problem for you, there are certainly other soap lines that have a more natural ingredient list. They’ll cost you a bit more, in many cases. In the end, most soaps you’ll find produce a lot of shaves per ounce, so it’s up to you to decided what price point you’re comfortable with. If maximum value is your motivating factor, a cream like Derby can still give you great shaves. Even if you have no need to pinch pennies, it’s a nice option for a citrus shave.

Finally, if you don’t like to use a brush or wish to have something travel-ready that can be applied with your hand, this should work just fine in that regard. That, of course, goes for any shave cream of this type. It does use more product without a brush, and so using a cream that’s quite expensive tends to be a poor value choice. At the cost of Derby (provided you can get it at without an import fee), using a little extra is nothing to be concerned with.


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