I’ve mentioned St. James of London shaving creams on Sharpologist a couple times now, including getting listed in the “best shaving creams” list. They are one of several new shaving cream brands on the market that are cut from the cloth of the old-line British shaving establishments. But St. James is unique in that it is an established brand that has resurfaced with a twist.
St. James’ History
St James of London was created in 1953 by Creightons. The St James of London brand was originally only sold within the UK for most of it’s life. It wasn’t until the mid-2000’s, when Creightons chose to re-launch the St James of London brand after decades of being dormant and in doing so, Creightons began to compete directly with their own contracted brands they manufacture for today (Trumper and Truefitt. Contrary to popular belief, Taylor’s of Old Bond Street is not manufactured at Creightons). It wasn’t until the last few years when Creighton’s chose to quietly wind-down the St James of London brand because it was competing head-on with other brands they manufactured for (i.e. Trumper, Truefitt) and was making a significant dent into these other brand’s sales, and they were limited to how they could advance the growth outside the UK. Creightons is a manufacturer first and foremost, not a distributor or marketer of building a brand.
Last fall Truefitt & Hill London recently sold the North American distribution rights from the previous representative–who had held the rights for 12 years–to another party. Since the previous representative created, managed, and grew a shaving business they wanted to stay in the industry. They reached out to Creightons about the St James of London brand and last fall a deal was made.
Classic Scents…With A Twist
St. James of London has taken traditional, classic men’s scents and given them a modern twist. Patchouli…with Mandarin Orange. Cedarwood…with Clarysage. Sandalwood…with Bergamont. Lime…with Black Pepper. There is an unscented cream as well. All use no artificial coloring, parabens (preservatives), alcohol, or synthetics. The scents compared with some of the other British shaving creams are comparatively subtle but they are definitely there and definitely more complex. I think the Lime and Black Pepper cream has the strongest scent of the group.
The consistancy of the cream is, well, creamier than a lot of other British-made shave creams–closer to the texture of many modern “brushless” shave creams. There’s a sheen to the look and a “stickiness” to the texture that makes picking cream up with a shaving brush easy. The presentation is rounded out by a heavy glass tub. A classy touch. A smaller tube is available as well.
As you might suspect from the background of a company like Creightons, performance of the St. James of London shaving cream is excellent. In fact I think the cushioning aspect is outstanding! If you have sensitive skin this cream will probably work very well for you. I have tried a lot of shaving creams and I think this is among the best. I have tried samples of all the scents and unlike some brands whose performance tends to vary across scents, St. James has been consistant across the line.
I have learned to “thin the mix” a bit by adding more water for a slightly closer cut. These creams can take that water too…it takes a lot for the lather to finally break down (which is a good thing).
Basic Ingredents (varies slightly by scent): Water, Stearic Acid, Potassium Hydroxide, Coconut Acid, Glycerin, Fragrance, Triethanolamine, Meadowfoam Seed Oil, Cranberry Seed Oil, Olive Oil, Sweet Almond Oil, Sodium Hydroxide, Linalool, Liminene