This week, the men’s apothecary Alford & Hoff debuts a $32 tube of “Performance” shaving cream at Bergdorf Goodman. That’s a lot to pay for a faceful of oat extract and pro-vitamin B5—the equivalent of nineteen cans of Barbasol. But is it worth it? We asked a batch of men to grab Gillette Mach 3 razors and test the pricey cream, plus seven other shaving lubes, as well as that green-striped $1.69 can of Barbasol. The upshot: Expensive doesn’t necessarily mean baby-butt smooth, but trust any product that calls itself “Beard Destroyer.”
Schiuma Da Barba Shaving Foam, $25
Many barbers warn men off foams, but our shaver loved this. “It’s much lighter than gloopy Edge gel.” One drawback: an overly cologne-y scent. Santa Maria Novella/Lafco New York (285 Lafayette St., at Jersey St.; 212-925-0001).
Despite its “soothing aloe,” the grandfather of cheap shaving creams caused one sensitive face discomfort. “My chin was visibly red.” Worse yet, “it had that antiseptic smell.” Various Duane Reade stores.
Jack Black Supreme Cream Triple Cushion Shave Lather, $12
Oily, thick, and funky, “like something you’d wash your floor with.” On top of that, “there was an unpleasant whiff of turpentine.” Saks Fifth Avenue (611 Fifth Ave., at 49th St.; 212-940-2039).
Grooming Lounge Beard Destroyer, $18
As promised, it destroyed our tester’s week-deep scruff. “It’s more like a lotion than a shaving cream. Very smooth, no irritation.” Kings Pharmacy (5 Hudson St., at Reade St.; 212-791-3100).
The Alford & Hoff Shave: Performance Cream, $32
“I used it sparingly and still had a good shave,” said our tester. “The slightly spicy smell was nice, too.” Bergdorf Goodman Men (745 Fifth Ave., at 58th St.; 212-339-3312).
Shiseido Men, $22
The thin cream disappears from the tube too fast, but the texture makes for a great shave. “Some lathers can be a bit oily, but this pretty much has the right consistency.” Macy’s (151 W. 34th St., at Broadway; 212-695-4400).
L’Occitane Cade, $28
On the plus side, the wild-juniper scent wasn’t overpowering. On the down side, “there must be something astringent in the cream, because it burned like hell.” L’Occitane (92 Prince St., at Mercer St.; 212-219-3310).
Lab Series Maximum Comfort, $20
The subject liked the “fresh medicinal scent,” but not the “numbing sensation above my lip. A little disturbing, actually.” Thumbs up for post-shave smoothness. Bloomingdale’s (1000 Third Ave., at 59th St.; 212-705-2923).
Dermalogica Soothing, $16
The summer-friendly cream left a “cool sensation” upon application—“similar to applying Mentholatum to your face.” The shave was close and nick-free. Bluemercury (2305 Broadway, nr. 83rd St.; 212-799-0500).