So I got some SMN "Crema de Barba"... Close to $60 after taxes. I tried it, horrible results. No matter how I tried, I couldn't get as thick or creamy a lather as the Gold Daches shaving soap I'd been using... But that wasn't the main issue. The lather was creamy enough, I suppose- I would have liked it thicker- I don't like when you can see the pink of the skin through the lather- it should paint your face a solid white in my opinion. The SMN also felt great on- tingly and very refreshing... But I digress- the main issue I had with it was that it made my skin incredibly "tacky", for lack of a better word. The razor couldn't glide properly, and skin seemed to want to get bitten... A few nicks, with a nice beauty right under my nose.
Here's the rub- they seem to be a terrific company in terms of customer support- I phoned the store and told them my experience, and they offered to allow me to exchange the tub for something else... I chose the pre-shave cream, and tried it today... Again, felt great on- that tingly, refreshing feeling- almost like an invigorating numbing, if that makes sense. It certainly felt as if it was capable of making my whiskers softer... Anyway, lathered up with the always flawless Taylor of Old Bond Street sandalwood, and had at it... Again, the extremely tacky skin issue! Terrible bite under the nose! It was so bad that I washed my face after the first pass and lathered again... The second pass with just the TOOBS was lightyears better, but my skin was still slightly burnt and bit from the first pass.
I know people love this stuff... But in my estimation, this tacky issue supersedes any positive qualities the products may have... I feel that it's nice if a product smells great, has ingredients that invigorate or refresh the skin, etc. etc... But what's actually important is how they inform the glide of the razor during the shave... And to my mind, "tacky" is the exact polar opposite of that. Terms like "lubricated", "smooth", "moisturized", etc. etc. seem more inline.
Again, they were super nice to allow me to exchange one product for another... But at the end of the day, I'm out $60 for two products that for me, at least, were just awful. My upper lip hurts. Ha.