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Caswell Massey Turns From The Dark Side

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While major shaving names like DR Harris Art of Shaving and Trumper’s appear to have recently reformulated some of their shaving creams and soaps into what some say may be inferior products (compared to what they were), Caswell Massey’s recent reformulation and launch of their new Shave Essentials line seems to have gone in the opposite direction: products that are better than their predecessors.
Ask just about any “old school” shaver who has been around the past 10 years or so about Caswell Massey (CM) and you’re likely to get an earful.  Known for many years previous as a premium brand, CM’s shave offerings over the past decade have been decidedly poor performers compared to other premium brands.  Their reputation among the “shave nerds” took a serious beating, and when a newcomer would bring up the subject they were more often than not told to stay far away from the brand.  My own experience with their shaving line confirmed that opinion for me.

However, CM seems to have quietly retired much of the old line and introduced a new Shave Essentials line.  I actually got a sneak peak at it last October when I was in Chicago for Merz’s Great Shave event.  It looked good but I had enough products to play with and decided to let someone else “take one for the team” on CM.

And that’s pretty much the last I heard of it until recently, when I saw a few forum posts and twitter comments that were positive on the new line.  So I looked on their website and decided to crack open my wallet for one of their “try me” sets.

The results?  Pretty good!  Maybe not part-the-clouds-and-the-sun-shines-down great, but good, solid products that do what they’re supposed to do.  I tried the Sandalwood kit.  The sandalwood scent is very, very mild and I have to use a little more of the shaving cream than I’m used to for the results I want, but the performance is good…and I think far better than CM’s previous offerings.  Hopefully this is a sign of more good things to come from CM.

Sandalwood shave cream ingredients (somewhat paraphrased): Aqua (water), myristic acid, glycerin, coconut oil, stearic acid, triethanolamine, potassium hydroxide, matricaria flower extract, thyme extract, allantoin, lecithin, vitamin E, vitamin A, hydroxyethylcellulose, aloe leaf, phenoxyethanol, ethylhexglycerin, sandalwood oil, sandalwood fragrance.


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

19 thoughts on “Caswell Massey Turns From The Dark Side”

  1. Manti59 or anyone,
    What can you say about CM shave soap ? I was gifted two different soaps which are to arrive at next week . I’m hoping soaps also improved. They too seem to have some negative reviews. I’m excited in trying them out in the hope that these reviwes are old enough that CM would make the changes needed . Sandalwood and Almond on the way !

  2. So, is Harris’ “Naturals” the only product that they have reformulated? Or are my favorite soaps being tinkered with?

      1. Introducing a new line isn’t the same as reformulating an existing product. The inference in the article is that DR Harris changed their existing products into something inferior. The wording could be clearer.

  3. “While major shaving names like DR Harris, Art of Shaving and Trumper’s appear to have recently reformulated some of their shaving creams and soaps into what some say may be inferior products (compared to what they were)”
    When did DR Harris reformulate their soaps? They are no longer tallow-based?

        1. It’s not Windsor, its their new “Naturals” soap. The link is in the first line of the post.

  4. $29 for 2oz packages of something that is sort of OK, compared to their previous product line, but not really outstanding? Count me out. For this much money I can get some outstanding products.

    1. But remember that price gets you the shave cream, pre-shave oil, and aftershave balm. The cream itself is $16 which is about average.

      1. Sure, but you can get some part-the-clouds-and-the-sun-shines-down creams in that price range (eg 150g of TOBS Jermyn Street). Given the availability of these excellent shaving creams, I would not spend on $15+ shaving creams unless they are really outstanding. By the same token, $10+ shaving creams should be significantly better than, say, Barbon, Speick, or Palmolive. Sorry, I am probably spoiled by excellent and reasonably priced products. Thanks for the review though!

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