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Art of Shaving Reformulation

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Art of Shaving has apparently reformulated their shaving creams.  I just picked up a tube of Lavender and compared it to the one that I have almost finished.  It looks like they “tweaked” the recipe to me: the new one takes me a bit longer to lather (that might be seasonal though–it is getting dryer around here with Winter coming) but otherwise “feels” about the same to me.

New: Aqua (Water), Stearic Acid, Myristic Acid, Pottasium Hidroxide, Glycerin,Coconut Acid, Lavandula Angustifolia (lavender oil), Triethalonamine, Sodium Hydroxide, Palmitic Acid, Methylparaben, Lauric Acid, Prophylparaben, Diethalomamine.
Old: Water, Stearic Acid, Myristic Acid, Potassium Hydroxide, Coconut Acid, Glycerin, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Triethonolamine, Sodium Hydroxide, Methylparaben, Proplylparaben.

Interestingly, the new version still has parabens.  The shave soaps don’t appear to have been changed.  Has anyone else been able to compare new vs. old?
On a related note, AOS has come up with a new scent, “Ocean Kelp.”  Anyone tried it yet?


Shave tutor and co-founder of sharpologist. I have been advocating old-school shaving for over 20 years and have been featured in major media outlets including The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and Lifehacker. Also check out my content on Youtube, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest!View Author posts

21 thoughts on “Art of Shaving Reformulation”

  1. I just purchased AOS ocean kelp shave cream because the lavender shave cream burns (BTW so does unscented; I have very sensitive skin and heavy beard) The lady at the store madero a sample to take home and the kelp doesn’t burn.
    Any reason for this? It’s not the lack of glycerin (kelp glycerin-free) because I’ve actually added pure glycerin to shave soaps in the past. Unless perhaps its AOS’s glycerin formulation.
    Any help would be appreciated. **And why is there no glycerin in the kelp formula? I thought glycerin was an important ingredient for shaving cream?

    1. According to the AOS webpage there is indeed glycerin in the kelp shave cream. Here are the ingredients: Water/Aqua, Palmitic Acid, Myristic Acid, Stearic Acid, Potassium Hydroxide, Coconut Acid, Glycerin, Triethanolamine, Citrus Limon (Lemon) Peel Oil, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil, Citrus Aurantium Amara (Bitter Orange) Flower Oil, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Oil, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Panax Ginseng Root Extract, Laminaria Saccharina Extract, Citrus Aurantifolia (Lime) Oil, Citrus Reticulata (Tangerine) Leaf Oil, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Oil

  2. The new reformulated AOS just became available at my local AOS during the last few days. I am pretty sure that the Lavender and unscented (the only ones my face tolerates) had no parabens listed. I have no knock against AOS. On its FaceBook page it responded to a similar challenge as one above, that its mission is not just traditional shaving but combining traditional elements (cream and brushes) with new innovations (the lawnmover Fusion). I shave with a Mach 3 Turbo and have been pleased with it for years. I even tried a Fusion but it hacked the hell out of my face.
    Personally, I believe Fusions were spawned not as a shaving improvement for customers but as the way to leapfrog the Schick Quattro (4 bladed razors). As a result of the blade war, us cart users have suffered from irritated faces and depleted wallets. However, AOS does justify its power razors; I’m just not buying.
    The soaps do not seem to be reformulated.

  3. I picked up the AoS “Ocean Kelp” scent at Grand Central Station on my recent trip to NYC. My fiancée damn near killed me because I kept bugging her that we had to go. (Being from the east coast of Canada, I have pretty much no selection for shaving products beside what’s sold at Wal-Mart. A new barber shop in town is developing shaving pucks though).
    Anyways, the Ocean Kelp is very, very good. Need very little to create a great lather. I recently added Real Shaving Co.’s pre-shave oil to my regime, and paired with this Ocean Kelp, it’s one smooth shave. Four passes total is my usual routine (WTG x 2, XTG, ATG), stypic pen as need be, some basic aftershave (Gillette, again, not much variety or choice here), and hot damn. Very smooth results. Do recommend.

  4. “And why only list the lavender for TOBS?”
    Well, since bsmyn0708 asked here’s a few more………
    TOBS – Almond
    Aqua, Stearic Acid, Myristic Acid, Potassium Hydroxide, Coconut Acid, Glycerin, Benzaldehyde, Triethanolamine, Sodium Hydroxide, Parfum.
    TOBS – Avocado
    Aqua, Stearic Acid, Myristic Acid, Potassium Hydroxide, Coconut Acid, Glycerin, Parfum, Triethanolamine, Sodium Hydroxide, Persea Gratissima, CI 19140.
    TOBS – Jeremyn Street
    Aqua, Stearic Acid, Myristic Acid, Potassium Hydroxide, Coconut Acid, Glycerin, Triethanolamine, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, Parfum (Fragrance), Sodium Hydroxide, Bisabolol.
    And…once again bsmyn0708, next time how about actually checking your facts BEFORE you make totally erroneous claims and posts…LOL!

  5. To bsyn0708..
    Just to set the record straight here is Trumpers ingredient list
    “Aqua (water), Stearic Acid, Myristic Acid, Potassium Hydroxide, Coconut Acid, Glycerin, Parum (fragrance), Triethanolamine, Sodium Hydroxide, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Benzyl Benzoate, Benzyl Salicylate, Coumrain, Limonene, Linallool, Citral, Alpha-Isomethyl Inone”
    And TOBS Lavender?
    “Sodium Palmate, Potassium Palmate, Aqua (water), Sodium Cocoate, Potassium Palm Kernelate, Gylcerin, Sodium Palm Kernelate, Parfum (Frangrance), Palm Kernel Fatty Acid, Sodium Chloride, Tetrasodium Etidronate, Pentasodium Pentetate, Tetrasodium EDTA, Linalool, Courmarin, Limonene, Ci 77891, CI 77007”
    What about T&H?
    “Aqua, Stearic Acid, Myristic Acid, Potassium Hydroxide, Coconut Acid, Glycerin, Parfum, Triethanolamine, Sodium Hydroxide, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Limonene, Linalool, Hydroxyisohexyl 3-cyclohexene Carboxaldehyde, Benzyl salicylate, Eugenol, Citronellol, Geraniol”
    You wrote”P.S. I had a feeling their stuff (AOS) was never real. It was always synthetic ingredients. Nothing like Trumpers, TOBS, or T&H.” Hardly!!!

    1. kenstee- That doesn’t prove much. And why only list the lavender for TOBS?
      At least their stuff smells better and more real, than the crap made at AOS. Anyone can make those simple ingredients. They’re just essential oils.

      1. What is ‘real’? Even natural things are chemicals. The AOS stuff doesn’t have nearly as many chemicals as the british stuff, nor as many water softeners.

  6. I have some new and some old (18 months old) Unscented and just bought some new containers (tub & tube) of the Lemon also directly from AOS. They both show these ingredients…
    Aqua (Water), Stearic Acid, Myristic Acid, Glycerin, Potassium Hydroxide, Coconut Acid, Natural Aroma (lemon-only), Sodium Hydroxide, Methylisothaizolinone
    1. It appears the Lavender is currently more chemically laden (in terms of number of chemicals) than both Unscented or Lemon.
    2. Any change (if one took place at all for these two varieties) may have taken place longer ago than you might think.
    For me, AOS remains far and away my favorite shaving cream. Whips up a fantastic lather, protective, lubricating, long lasting, etc. in just a minute or so. IMHO, blows the “Triple T’s” out of the water. And yes, I’ve tried them and many others. But, I always come back to AOS which for me is the standard upon which I judge the others. Did I mention YMMV?

  7. This makes sense, unfortunately.
    Roger Cowe, a financial commentator states: “If you want to change what people consume on a grand scale, you have to penetrate mass markets. And you can’t do that if you’re a small, specialist brand stuck in the organic or whole-food niche, even if that means you are on supermarket shelves. It is a familiar dilemma: stay pure and have a big impact on a small scale, or compromise and have a small impact on a grand scale.”

  8. P.S. I had a feeling their stuff was never real. It was always synthetic ingredients. Nothing like Trumpers, TOBS, or T&H.

  9. In “defense” of AOS, I’m surprised it took this long for formulation changes. P&G bought them, what, two years ago? I’m encouraged that perhaps P&G is giving AOS at least *some* latitude with their products.

    1. Don’t kid yourself Mantic, P&G will have AOS like every other “product” they’ve acquired over the years. They are the masters of hiding behind once reputable brands that they’ve newly acquired whilst slowly but surely converting the once reputable products over to their own brand of chemical sludge!!

  10. And here I thought I was going paranoid! I knew they changed their formula. I just had a gut feeling about it. Ever since P&G bought them, they’ve never been the same.

  11. It has always saddened me over the years when, as a professional barber, I see companies which were conceived on the basis and beliefs of helping men get back to ‘correct’ shaving, eventually ‘sell their souls’ to the ‘alter of commercialism’.
    It should surprise absolutely no one who knows anything about ‘traditional shaving’ that when the likes of AOS sell out to the P&G’s of this world, the deeply held ethos of correct, ‘sensible’ shaving that the business was founded on, suddenly gets binned for the unabashed nonsense of what I refer to as ‘gadgetry shaving’ (5 blades and an electrical pulse, blue ‘gel’ that turns white on your hand, razors that look fresh out of the Star Trek film set, etc!). Dr K’s link above perhaps proves the point!
    As far as the continued use of parabens are concerned, the evidence is mounting as to their “unsuitability” for use. Here is only one of many articles published thus far about parabens:
    It is worth noting one comment from the above article:
    “The chemicals found in many mass market cosmetics are permissible because the cosmetics industry is self-regulated. The government does not require human health studies for cosmetic and other personal care products before they are sold. The EWG says that 94 per cent of skincare ingredients in cosmetics haven’t been tested for human safety. ”
    – Sunday Telegraph (Australia) November 5, 2006
    Need I say more?!

  12. While I haven’t tried the Ocean Kelp scent, it’s interesting to note that there are less ingredients in the old version than the new. Ever hear of shaving products with less ingredients being similar to natural or more healthy foods with less ingredients being better for you? (Not sure I explained that anaology right.)
    Just curious. Wonder why they added the extra ingredients? If it was a great product before, who was the person in charge that decided to mess with the recipe and why did they make the change? I don’t think there was ever a need to add more artificial ingredients!

  13. I stopped buying AOS products when they came out with this monstrosity:
    Power oscillating shave brush… how lazy can you get? Power razor with spotlights… how about just getting some decent light in your bathroom? Indicator lights to tell you to change your blade… not sure how I ever lived without this. I always liked AOS shaving cream and will finish up my current stock, but any company selling this kind of nonsense doesn’t need my money. If they’re willing to rip you off with this kind of silliness, the margin on their other products is likely way too high as well. Maybe they lost their way when they sold to P&G.

    1. In my opinion AOS “hardware” (razors, brushes) have always been a little over-priced and “silly” but I think their “software” (soaps, creams) have been competitively-price with their peers and well-made.

      1. I agree about them being overpriced. However, my wife gave me the Finest brush as a gift and I have to say that it is fantastic. I like it more than my Simpson’s Commodore as it is softer and more dense. The biggest drawback to me is that it’s too big for using on soaps in containers, so I end up using it for face lathering with creams mostly. With soaps, the Simpson’s does a better job.
        Great brush, but overpriced.

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