5 Face Freezers

Freeze Your Face!

As the heat of the summer approaches you may want to consider a mentholated shaving cream or soap, something that’s cooling to the skin.  Proraso (and it’s clone, C.O. Bigelow) is the classic–and perhaps best-known–cooling shave product (reviewed HERE) but there are others.  Here are five face freezers.  I’ll rate them by “ice cubes” with Proraso getting three ice cubes as a baseline to go by.

Derby Menthol

Derby Menthol

Derby Menthol was a disappointment in terms of cooling when I tried it.  The lather is good and it performs well enough (and it’s inexpensive) but the cooling effect is almost non-existent for me.  It is unscented as far as I can tell.  I give it half of a melted ice cube.

Ingredients: Aquz, Stearic Acid, Glycerine, Potassium Hydroxide, Coconut Oil Fatty Acid, Propolyne Glycol, Soldium Hydroxide, Boric Acid, Parfume, Menthone Glycerine Acetal, Cetylsteryl Alcohol, Sodium Isostearoyl  Lactylate, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Potassium Chloride, Sodium Silicate, Allantoin, PEG-2M, Mythyl Paraben.

Ingram’s Menthol


Ingram Menthol and Lanolin Shave Cream is another mild cream in my opinion…I give it one ice cube.  I’ve always had trouble getting lather out of Ingram, too.  It’s acceptable if I use a little more cream than I use with other products but it’s never been what I would call generous (YMMV of course).  It is inexpensive though and available from more than one source (particularly in the UK).

Nanny’s “Ice & Slice” (With Goat Milk)


Nanny makes two versions of “Ice & Slice,” one using Bentonite clay and the other using Goat’s Milk.  Since my skin can be somewhat sensitive to Bentonite and it’s derivatives (like Kaolin) I tried the goat’s milk version.

Ice & Slice is not specifically marketed as a “face freezer” but rather as a citrus-scented shave soap that also has a cooling effect.  And in this respect I think it succeeds: there’s a mild, pleasant lime (essential oil) scent.  Although the lather is perhaps a tiny bit thinner than others I’ve tried (due to the goat’s milk?) it provides adequate cushion and lubrication.  I give it two ice cubes.

Ingredients: Potassium palmitate*, potassium stearate, aqua, potassium cocoabutterate, potassium shea butterate, potassium cocoabutterate, potassium castorate, sodium palmitate*, sodium stearate, sodium cocoabutterate, sodium sheabutterate, sodium castorate, sodium cocoate, glycerine, stearic acid (vegetable),. Essential oil of lime. Bentonite clay, Menthol. Tocopherol. limonene, citral, geraniol. *Sustainably grown in Columbia and organic.

Queen Charlotte Soaps “Vostok”


Available as a cream or soap, QCS’s Vostok is a heady concoction of menthol and peppermint.  Maybe I shouldn’t say “heady”–the scent (of the soap I have anyway) is actually rather mild to my nose.  But it is definitely a face freezer!  I start feeling the icing-down process as soon as I start lathering and by the time I’m finished with my shave my face I have quite a bracing feeling going on!  Four ice cubes!  Performance is excellent and it leaves my skin feeling nicely moisturized.

Ingredients (soap): saponified tallow, water, saponified castor oil and shea butter, glycerin, saponified stearic acid, cocoa butter, and coconut oil, essential oil(s), saponified avocado oil, palm oil, and olive oil, aloe vera extract, kaolin clay, lanolin, vitamin E., menthol crystals.

Ingredients (cream): Water, saponified stearic acid, glycerin, saponified tallow, palm oil, olive oil, and coconut oil, aloe vera extract, essential oil(s), kaolin clay, phenoxyethanol (and) caprylyl glycol, vitamin E., menthol crystals.

The Shave Den “Subzero”

(Sorry, no pretty picture here…I got a sample puck.  Use your imagination.)  TSD’s “Subzero” is another mint ‘n menthol product, though to my nose the mint is a different variety than QCS’s and perhaps a bit stronger.  I can get an exceptionally close shave with this shave soap.  Subzero gets four ice cubes from me.  This soap is also available with double menthol!

Ingredients: Glycerin, Aqua, Olive Oil, Bentonite Clay, Sodium Borate, Sweet Almond Oil, Sodium Palmate, Sorbitol, Sodium Cocoate, Palm Acid, Coconut Acid, Pentasodium Pentetate, Tetrasodium Etidronate, and fragrance

Of course, I haven’t even mentioned cooling aftershaves…that’s another post.  Have you tried a “face freezing” shave cream or soap?  What did you think of it?




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  1. Brian says

    I find that Kiss My Face Cool Mint is quite a bit more chilly to me than Proraso. The price is right and it responds very well to a variety of lather techniques.

  2. Ian says

    I haven’t tried any chilling creams or soaps, but I used to do something interesting. Before I switched to cold water for the entire shave, I would shave with hot water then take a wash cloth that had been soaking in ice water and apply that to my face and neck. It felt really good and refreshing after a hot shave and it worked better than just splashing cool tap water on my face.

  3. travis says

    i have some my time soap, with menthol at level 10. its by far the coldest i have found. i give it a ice cube tray for rating. i then use osage rub with it

      • Bit2 says

        You need to check on “Awakenings” at Mama Bear’s!

        Plus I like to load the brush with Mama Bears “Awakenings” or any of her “Ice” soaps and then add a little Shave Den’s sub Zero in Double Menthol for a superb Ultra Lather. You remember that don’t you?

        THAT makes the face Freeze!!

  4. HeinzvonBiboo says

    I checked out TSD’s shaving soap but it doesn’t mention menthol in the ingredients list. Was it a different soap?

    • Ryan Foster says

      Menthol or double menthol can be added to any of The Shave Den’s products. Only subzero comes with it automatically. Adding menthol to it makes it “Iced Subzero.” JoAnna refuses to sell subzero with double menthol added. There is such a thing as too much menthol.

  5. Tero says

    What does “cushion” mean when talking about shave soap/cream lather?

    I have understood from other sources it is somehow related to protection from the blade, but that hardly makes sense, as a layer of lather (consisting of tiny bubbles) can hardly do anything againts a blade that is sharp enough to cut human hair. Maybe it means something else?

  6. BlueyM says

    Italian made Valobra Menthol shaving soap gives a nice cooling effect.
    If Proraso rates three “ice cubes”, Valobra rates about one and a half.

    Inexpensive at about $12 for 150 grams. Easy lathering, nice manly scent.

  7. Bhorsoft says

    I’ve tried C.O.B., Derby, and Vostok. Of the three, the Vostok is definitely the freezer champ. Follow up with some O’ Rub and your eyes will be watering from the cold!

  8. almightywhacko says

    You should give The Strop Shoppe’s Peppermint shave soap a try. It felt like I had dipped my face in a bowl of ice water. My face even felt cold after a hot shower!

  9. Gairdner says

    I enjoy my Ingram’s and find it very cooling. I face lather it and am certainly no expert but I seem to get a lather that I like. Love to stick my face in a basin full of cold water afterwards. Not been DE shaving that long so haven’t tried any others but as my wife can pick this up in Edinburgh for £1.31 a tube, I’ll continue to use it. Thanks for your shaving guides, inspirational as always.

  10. Jeff says

    QCS Vostok cream or soap, TSD Iced Subzero cream or soap, Palmolive Menthol cream, and Godrej Menthol Mist cream are about the most potently-menthol shaving items to be found. All of them smell great, lather beautifully, perform awesomely, and provide such menthol power as well as great skincare.

  11. Larry says

    I love Vostok. Even if I don’t need a shave, a lather with the soap and cold water rinse is a face freezing waker upper any time. As shaving soap and cream they are tops. Usually takes a few hours until I can feel my face.

  12. says

    Hello Mark,

    I did a little research on the Derby Menthol Shaving Cream, and its a fact that it doesn’t contain real menthol at all. I actually think Derby didn’t even aim to produce a cooling shaving cream, and they only named it ”Menthol” because of the mint scent I think.

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