Skip to content

All The Colors of Proraso: A Rainbow Tour of Wet Shaving’s Best Known Brand

Listen to this article

(Photo Courtesy Of Proraso)

[Note from Mantic59: As part of “Italian Shaving Month” on Sharpologist I asked Craig to update this post and I’m republishing it here today.]

Most of us started our wet shaving experience with Proraso. The striped green tube purchased by many from Amazon was also formerly available as a rebranded “Bigelow” shaving cream from the Bath and Body Works shop at the mall  — easily one of the most accessible, affordable, and iconic pieces of shaving software around! Proraso for many is / was a great introduction to what a shaving soap or cream ought to do; it is certainly head and shoulders above the cans of fluorescent bright green goo available in aerosol cans at the local drugstore.

In my case, I began wet shaving in 2014. The market for shave software has changed an awful lot since then, and so has Proraso. The purpose of this article is to compare Proraso products to the newer crop of shaving soaps and creams, and also to compare the families of color based Proraso products to each other.

Proraso has added three “colors” to the line and gradually expanded the color lines vertically as well, so each color has a cream, a post shave, and in many cases a pre-shave and soap also. Proraso claims each color of shaving cream targets a different type of beard and skin. Is this correct and how do they all compare one to the other? Read on to find out…

Some caveats before we continue: [Ed. note: Amazon and links are Sharpologist affiliate.]

  1. Euro Appeal: Proraso is dirt cheap in Italy and many other EU nations. If you for example can get the $10 US priced green cream for $3 equivalent in your homeland, clearly that changes the comparison dynamics a bit. I’m evaluating Proraso products at US prices and compared to other soaps / creams available in the US market.
  2. The $20 Headphone Effect: Amazon is full of five star reviews of cheap headphones. Some dude wanted to hear music from his gadget, wanted to spend no more than $20 for that privilege, and was happy with his purchase. E.G. the headphones played music to some minimal standard, worked with his device, and did not break soon after purchase.

Does that mean the $15 Rorsou R10 headphones are the objectively qualitative equal of say the $300 B&W CX7? I’d say probably not; rather the guy that spent $17 had lower standards that were easily met and / or would never consider paying $400 for the B&W headphones.

Same deal with shaving stuff. The fellow who spends ten bucks on Proraso and gets a good enough shave will snort derisively at the guy spending $25 on B&M or $30 on Wholly Kaw soaps. This does not make Proraso the equal of more expensive artisan soaps for all users; it simply means some customers do fine with Proraso and don’t need / want to spend more than they need to in getting the stubble off their face.

A Brief History of Proraso

Ludovico Martelli founded a cosmetics company in 1908.  Martelli’s son, Piero, joined the company in 1948 and changed the company’s focus from cosmetics to shaving.

Piero invented Proraso Crema Miracolosa, a eucalyptus-based cream that could be used before a shave to soften the beard and after a shave to soothe irritation, in 1950. It’s known today as Proraso Pre/Post-Shave Cream.

Proraso reformulated its products in 2012. For the most part the formula stayed the same, but it became over 95% natural origin and free of parabens, mineral oil, SLS, and silicones.  Packaging also got an overhaul.  Click/tap here for more background on Proraso.

Proraso Soaps

First, the bad news.  I think Proraso soaps, as opposed to their creams, while cheap enough, are no more than adequate as shaving products. The scents of the creams, generally moderate to light in that format, are almost non-existent in the small soap tubs. Besides the olfactory no-shows, the soaps create a pretty marginal lather, and rather reluctantly at that. All the Proraso soaps I’ve used (White, Green, and Red) took a lot of work to create lather, and then the end product was quick to dry and thin in the bowl, on the brush, and on the face.

More alarmingly, the soap would sometimes dry on my face during a pass and create a sort of lather dandruff during the shave. A lot of extra product needed to be added during the typical shave, and at the end of the day, the laboriously created and maintained lather was only moderately slick and lacked cushion. The White soap had a decent post-shave feel, but Red and Green were utterly feature deficient in moisture and soothing ability for me, and so needed a lot of added creams and balms afterwards.

If these soaps were amongst the only shaving products available, or cost much, much less than other sorts of shave soaps, I might be willing to tolerate the poor aesthetic and technical elements. But for four bucks more, one could buy some Stirling which will utterly devastate these Proraso soaps technically and smell better doing so.

Soaps hold some appeal to many users over creams. The soaps last longer on the shelf due to less water present, are more economical to use with a brush as the product can be parceled out more parsimoniously per use, and also (in some cases) lack irritating preservatives used in some creams. I personally do not experience irritation from using Proraso creams, (though I do from most other Euro creams, especially British ones). A soap has to be used with a brush though, no question about it.

Even for soap fans though, I would recommend that readers avoid Proraso soaps and stick to their creams, which are at least competitive in the modern market. The Proraso soaps seem designed to sell at the low end of other national markets where customers want shaving soaps and have few other software options for that product type. This hypothetical option-devoid market certainly is not the US or Canada, where we have many soap options that perform better than Proraso soaps for not too much more.

RELATED POST: What is The Best Shaving Soap?

Proraso Creams

GREEN  CREAM (“Refreshing”)

Marketed For: Proraso says “Proraso’s first line and still evergreen, it’s suitable for all beard and skin types.With the properties of Eucalyptus Oil and Menthol, the formula is designed to combine cleansing and toning with a refreshing and revitalizing effect.”

Good for every beard and skin type? I agree, though with some caveats, see Summary below.

Ingredients: Aqua (Water/Eau), Stearic Acid, Cocos nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Potassium Hydroxide, Glycerin, Lactic Acid, Sodium Hydroxide, Parfum (Fragrance), Menthol, Camphor, Eucalyptol, Eucalyptus globulus Leaf Oil, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Sodium Metasilicate, Pentaerythrityl Tetra-di-t-butyl Hydroxyhydrocinnamate, Tetrasodium Glutamate Diacetate, Geraniol.

Scent: Eucalyptus and Menthol are the declared scents, and they are readily apparent. The camphorous minty scent of Proraso Green is among the most memorable notes in wet shaving, but is also a love or hate proposition. I like the combo myself, and do indeed find it a refreshing and invigorating scent, one that goes well with warm or cool weather. The downside is that there is little else here, just the two main notes. If I had to shave with this every day, I would get pretty bored pretty quickly, but as a once in a while scent, it’s pleasant. Scent strength remains the same in notes and strength once applied, and the smell persists capably during the shave.

Performance: Proraso Green lathers very quickly and easily. Like all the Proraso Creams, this is theoretically brushless, but as is also the case with the other creams, a brush adds immeasurably to the experience, so much so that once you try even a mediocre brush with Proraso, you will never be returning to using your hands again. Proraso works nicely with a boar brush and generates a lot of lather with even an almond sized amount of cream.

The lather once applied is slick and has none of the persistence or hydration problems of the Proraso soaps. However, the cushion created is on the minimal side, and the “ghost lather” effect is also minimal, meaning you pretty much have to make sure you always apply new lather before going over a spot again.

The menthol effect is of moderate intensity – anyone who has used one of the modern artisanal menthol soaps like those from Stirling or Barrister & Mann will find the Proraso take to be pretty mild by comparison. Pleasant enough, but not much of a face chiller.

The real problem with Proraso cream is the combo of mediocre cushion and little to no post shave protection. If you end up with a sore face after using Proraso Green, that sore face will be with you for a few hours unless you add some post shave balm or splash to your visage.

Summary: Given its low price point, and pleasant scent (for many), it’s hard to say bad things about Proraso Green. However, the poor cushion and non-existent post shave conditioning make it clear that Proraso Green is from an older generation of shaving software. I still feel this is a great way to start wet shaving, but once most users experiment with other creams or soaps, I think PR Green may either be eliminated from the rotation or saved as a once in a while trip down memory lane.

In a world where Stirling soaps are $4 more, and Cremo creams are $3 less, I think PR Green’s $10 price point does not make it a must-have for most users. If you absolutely must use a cream and / or need the cheapest possible shave that is also reasonably good, PR Green may be for you, but even in the PR line itself, there are other $10 creams that will outperform Green.

As hinted above, the big challenge to Proraso Green comes from Cremo, an increasingly significant US brand due to its wide availability in both big box retail and online. Their creams are cheaper than Proraso and offer superior shave protection and post shave feel. The Cremo scents are arguably weaker / worse than Proraso, but I’d bet many cream users don’t care much about scents anyway and want a cheap and effective shaving solution. If this is you, Cremo might be a superior choice. It works fine with hand lathering also.

Green then is useful for those men with pretty tough faces who don’t need a lot of cushion or post shave assistance, who prefer creams over soaps, and like a very low price point yet with some moderately distinctive scent. Note though, if you don’t like the feel of menthol on the face during shaves, Proraso Green will not be acceptable to you. Men with dry or sensitive skin will also need a better product.

Proraso Green does at least compete well against the much higher priced British creams that lure many Amazon shoppers (ToBS, T&H, Trumper). Given the higher price points of the Brit creams and their generally similar or worse technical performance, I would go with Proraso Green in a moment where these are my only options, though the Brits do at least offer more interesting scents — but then so too does Proraso…

Score: 7/10

BLUE CREAM (“Protective”)

Marketed For:  Proraso says: Protective and moisturizing, this formula is dedicated to those who demand a close and comfortable shave but have dry, rough skin that needs extra hydration. With aloe vera and vitamin E. A modern and spicy fragrance with notes of amber and musk. I disagree with virtually all of this, even the scent notes. See below.

Ingredients:   Aqua (Water/Eau), Stearic Acid, Cocos nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Potassium Hydroxide, Glycerin, Lactic Acid, Sodium Hydroxide, Parfum (Fragrance), Aloe barbadensis Leaf Juice, Tocopheryl Acetate, Menthol, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Sodium Metasilicate, Pentaerythrityl Tetra-di-t-butyl Hydroxyhydrocinnamate, Tetrasodium Glutamate Diacetate, Hexyl Cinnamal, Linalool, Butylphenyl Methylpropional.

Scent: Imagine your grandpa is a member of an old school jazz quartet that plays at local weddings. Now imagine you ask your grandpa and his band to play a Swedish death metal tune. This is kind of like what’s happening with Proraso Blue.

The Proraso marketing folks know that a lot of males like these newfangled fancy shmancy marine and fresh scents, and Proraso Blue is going to give them what they want. Or will try to, in the same way that kindly old Gramps and his musical codgers will try to do an At The Gates cover for you… Their hearts are in it, but they have no real idea as to what they are doing, and they can’t quite achieve the intended result.

We have a rather synthetic sweet anise and amber accord here, smelling like a sort of licorice cologne. The scent is very artificial, and even those who love, say, Cool Water will find this of little interest. The fragrance design is cloying, simple, and dull. The scent is certainly different from Green, and is arguably more modern, but it certainly is not very pleasant. Strength does not fade during the shave but does not linger much after the shave is done, which is just as well. This is not at all spicy, but rather sweet and only mildly musky.

RELATED POST: What Is The Best Shaving Cream?

Proraso needs to redo this. Is this scent inexplicably popular in Europe? No idea, but to offer an allegedly modern cologne scent and have it misfire so badly does not do the brand much good. I like the concept of a more modern PR scent, but a competently executed scent that smells pleasant would seem to be a prerequisite for this endeavor.

Performance: Despite the added aloe and vitamin E, Proraso Blue performs much the same as Green does on my skin. Easy to make lather, excellent glide, poor cushion, and (unexpectedly) a very limited post shave benefit.

I admit that my own skin seems to get little benefit from aloe when applied as a post shave or shave lubricant, so those of you that are sure that aloe will help your face may get better results. And the touted Vitamin E is present in virtually omnipresent in most shaving soaps and many creams in the modern age, so I doubt many will get any sort of special benefit from its presence in Proraso Blue.

Summary: Easily the least essential of the Proraso line, Blue has little technical merit, and its clueless aesthetics are a black mark against it. As mentioned, I like the concept of a more strongly scented “modern cologne” Proraso scent, but Blue is a poor attempt at that goal. The nondescript performance benefits as compared to Green make Blue a flawed contender for your shaving dollar. If aloe is your shaving wonder drugs and / or if you like sweet licorice scents, this may do more for you.

Score: 4/10

RED CREAM (“Nourishing for Coarse Beards”)

Marketed For: Proraso says: Exfoliating and nourishing, it’s for thicker, coarser beards, softening and preparing them for shaving. Made with Shea Butter and Sandalwood Oil. An intense fragrance scented by Sandalwood. Hm, don’t know about the beard type claims, but this for me is a better performer than Green or Blue, and the scent is pretty awesome.

Ingredients:  Aqua (Water/Eau), Stearic Acid, Cocos nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Potassium Hydroxide, Glycerin, Butyrospermum parkii (Shea) Butter, Lactic Acid, Sodium Hydroxide, Parfum (Fragrance), Santalum album (Sandalwood) Oil, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Sodium Metasilicate, Pentaerythrityl Tetra-di-t-butyl Hydroxyhydrocinnamate, Tetrasodium Glutamate Diacetate, Citronellol, Geraniol, Linalool, Coumarin.

Scent: This is a great example of how wet shavers can profit by economies of scale. As many know, sandalwood from India is extremely scarce and protected, and hence quite expensive. Most shaving products that claim use of “sandalwood” are using synthetic simulations of the substance. Sandalwood is pretty easy to duplicate, so as long as the maker is not using dirt cheap fragrance oils, even artificial sandalwood can smell nice. However, the real deal is quite rare and costly, and even then, usually comes from other places than India.

Proraso though, as they buy ingredients in massive quantities can get real sandalwood and make it available to consumers at a dirt cheap price (similar to AoS, whose Sandalwood also has a similar verisimilitude and pretty close scent to Proraso Red, albeit at a much higher price). I don’t think this is Indian sandalwood (Mysore cultivar) but is probably the somewhat cheaper and less endangered Australian or Caledonian kind, which nevertheless are excellent and distinctive scents.

The Sandalwood scent in Proraso Red is a complex nutty and earthy scent, with a woody core. It’s a great and enthralling scent, one which invites sniffing and makes use a pleasure. This is the strongest scent in the Proraso line and lasts for an entire shave with a heavy fragrance throughout. This is a great way to see what you think about pure sandalwood as a scent element, as it lacks the sweet, mellow aspects of sandalwood that many fragrance makers accentuate when blending sandalwood into a more complex composition. This is a simple, powerful, and impressive scent, and no one else will give it to you for ten clams, so here is one of the best bargains in shaving for your smelling pleasure.

Performance: The addition of Shea butter and possibly the sandalwood makes this one work much better on my face in terms of both cushion and post-shave. This cream performs more like a soap in terms of creating lots of slick and cushiony lather quickly, and the post shave, while not anywhere near as good as a top tier artisanal soap, is much better than Green or Blue. In terms of combining cushion and slickness, I would call Red Cream the best performer in the PR line of shaving creams.

Now as to the Proraso marketing gobbledygook, I have no idea how this cream helps men with coarse beards. I may just not have such a beard and so cannot appreciate the magic, but I doubt any formula can help address the vaguely needs of men with specific beard types, so take this claim with a grain of salt.

Virtually all shave software works equally well with all types of facial hair, and I would opine that coping with beard and skin types is more or less a mission for blades and razor head designs rather than soaps or creams. Certainly if you have a thick or coarse beard, it would hardly hurt you to try Proraso Red, but I think virtually all shavers could benefit from use, especially those with sensitive skin who need better cushion and post shave assistance.

Summary: One of my two favorites in the Proraso line, Red is a great bargain and a fine performing cream that can stand with Cremo as a cream that performs well and smells even better than how it shaves. If you loathe sandalwood, this is not for you, but otherwise Proraso Red is a must-try for all and will be a keeper for many. A top score eludes Red only because many artisanal soaps give me somewhat better cushion and significantly better post shave for not much more money. Plus smelling relatively unadulterated sandalwood each and every morning or even every week can get kind of tedious.

Score: 8/10

WHITE CREAM (“Sensitive”)

Marketed For: Proraso says: For sensitive and easily irritated skin, with extracts of green tea and oatmeal. It helps prevent redness and leaves the skin soft. With a delicate fruity fragrance of lime and apple. Accurate enough here I think.

Ingredients:  Aqua (Water/Eau), Stearic Acid, Cocos nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Potassium Hydroxide, Glycerin, Parfum (Fragrance), Lactic Acid, Sodium Hydroxide, Avena sativa (Oat) Kernel Extract, Camellia sinensis Leaf Extract, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Sodium Metasilicate, Pentaerythrityl Tetra-di-t-butyl Hydroxyhydrocinnamate, Tetrasodium Glutamate Diacetate, Hexyl Cinnamal, Citronellol, Geraniol, Citral, Limonene, Linalool.

Scent: A very mild citrus / powder is found here, with a slightly sweet note that perhaps suggests the apple notes that the Proraso marketing folks are speaking about. Despite the marketing verbiage, there is not a very prominent lime note present – a lot more moderate and less sharp citrus seems to be at work, maybe a mild bergamot scent. Some feel this is a medicinal composition, but I find it crisp, subtle and refreshing – a great Spring or Summer scent. This is the least powerful scent in the Proraso line, but is certainly pleasant enough and is also reasonably distinctive.

Performance: Typical Proraso: great glide and easy lather creation. Cushion is somewhat lacking compared to Red but seems more substantial than Green or Blue. The great element here is the post shave, with excellent redness relief, some moisturizing effect, and useful soothing benefit. If your face usually feels red, dry, and sore after a shave, this Proraso cream will be the one you should try. This, combined with the mild scent, makes this the best PR formula for wimpy faced gents. The redness relief is probably from the green tea and the moisturizing / soothing from the oatmeal extract found herein.

Summary: Sad that the Proraso labs couldn’t get the cushioning and scent of Red integrated with the post shave feel of White. That lack of cushion and the rather bland scent leads to the same score as Red. The choice between them can be frustrating, as my own specific face benefits from the cushion and Shea butter conditioning of Red but also profits from the soothing green tea and oatmeal found in White. I love the scent of Red but am only mildly fond of White’s scent.

Score: 8/10

Special Note: The Proraso White Pre Shave Cream ($13) should be mentioned here, as it is one of the best kept secrets in wet shaving. I personally rarely bother with pre-shaves at all (my shaving ritual already takes long enough as is) but the Proraso White Cream is an awesome post-shave as well as a preliminary treatment. The same formula that helps the cream mitigate redness and dryness works as well or better in the White Cream, so I use it either as an initial post shave or as a “fireman,” something I turn to when I end up with a red, dry, sore face that another balm or splash could not fix. Combined with a low price, elegant glass tub packaging, and a very long usage duration, the Proraso White Cream is a great part of every wet shaver’s tool kit.

Conclusion: At $10 for 5.2 ounces of product, Proraso creams are an undoubted bargain across the board. The only real stinker in the line is Blue, and even there, some men somewhere probably love the smell of it.

A minor complaint: the lightweight flexible metal tubes Proraso sells its creams in seem to usually arrive dented and wrinkled, even though packaged inside an undamaged cardboard box. The tubes are intact enough and with no leakage of product. Nevertheless, some users might not prefer to receive a dented and wrinkled product container; toothpaste makers can provide pristine product tubes to buyers, so why does this seem impossible for Proraso?

From my partisan and non-Vegan perspective, I see no real advantage to creams, as their shelf lives are generally shorter than soaps, technical performance either comparable or inferior, and the scent varieties of soaps are vaster, given that soaps are the preferable medium for most artisans in the present market.

But if you are a cream fan, or perhaps simply wish to forego the expense and added time to use a brush, Proraso’s line is an affordable and generally admirable roster offering some diversity in both performance and scents.

Green is a great intro to wet shaving for the guy with average skin and little need for post shave maintenance. It’s also the cheapest possible menthol fix for those looking for icy faced shaving, though think of it more as a gateway than as a final destination.

Red is the quintessential intro to sandalwood, and the Shea butter adds cushion and post shave help for those whose main problem with shaving is occasional razor burn. White is a more comprehensive fix for the sensitively skinned, and / or will be the go to option for men who want a lighter scent than Green or Red offer.

Two “wild cards” need to be mentioned here, though…

American Budget Shaving Ninja: The shaved gorilla in the room though is Cremo, the “American Proraso”, whose cheap pricing even outdoes Proraso and whose performance generally outclasses much of the Proraso line. Mark is in love with the Cooling Cremo cream, and I share his enthusiasm. Also like Proraso, Cremo offers many different scents along with some specious claims about different beard and skin types benefiting from variants. The Cremo lineup and its merits needs to be assessed in a separate review, but for now, I’d suggest any Proraso cream fan buy a tube of Cremo (Cooling or Original would be my suggestion) and do their own head to head showdown.

Single Blade Line: Proraso has recently added a “Single Blade” line with three new scent lines of more expensive and allegedly higher performing and nicer smelling product types. I have not tried any of these yet and so cannot comment on their relative performance vis a vis the standard “colors” reviewed in this piece. Maybe in a future piece!

(Do you find this article interesting?  Please share it!)

Craig K

Craig K


38 thoughts on “All The Colors of Proraso: A Rainbow Tour of Wet Shaving’s Best Known Brand”

  1. I’ve been shaving since I turned 16, way back in ’77. I have always used cartridge multi blade razors, usually Gillette. I rejected that company and have boycotted them since their ‘toxic masculinity’ ads.

    I have had a beard numerous times, which altered my shaving, obviously.

    About a decade ago I switched to safety razor and enjoy it. I began with Proraso Green soap and balm. The scents are nice, but they changed the formula of the balm, and it’s just not as good as it was. They need to admit defeat and go back to what it was.

    I found the soap lathered easily, but did get a bit runny. I go back to this product regularly.

    As for the recommended Stirling soap, DON’T DO IT. I purchased their products thru Top of the Chain. While scents vary (I bought both Coniferous and Gentleman) there was an underlying sameness to the scents, which reminded me of cheap hand lotion.

    Speaking of hand lotion, that’s how thick it was, and difficult to rub in. This did was garbage. I reviewed them on Top of the Chain.

    I do recommend, highly, Henri et Victoria Cognac and Cuban Cigar.

  2. Well I must say, I have a strong, dark coarse facial hair, and since I started using the proraso red line porducts, every shave is a pure enjoy and not a pain in the a** as before. But it is important to prepare your skin right. Hot facial bath followed by warmed up towel, apply the proraso red pre-shave cream, wait a min-two, apply the red shaving cream and first then shave. After you are done, wash up and apply with tapping on skin the red after-shave lotion and finish it off with appying the after-shave balm. If you follow this route, I’m sure you will see/feel impresive results.

  3. Richard/Ulster shaver.

    Proraso blue is a great balm and leaves my face feeling great all day after the shave.
    I also really like the scent and ,to me, has got more than a hint of Bay laurel in it.
    The downside is that the the scent is weak.
    I would like Proraso to release a matching splash.

  4. Hey, trying to upgrade my dad and Bf’s shave routines (he shaves everyday, mostly with just water and it’s destroying his face…). Of the pre-shaves, did you try all of them and find the white to be best? have you tried the proraso single blade shaving creams?

  5. I have coarse hair and tried out proraso red. Initially I didn’t think it helped but over time I felt it conditioned my skin, and the hairs do feel softer. It took about a month of use to get this affect.
    I was using proraso green prior for about 2 years, and didn’t feel it had this affect.
    I wonder about mixing red and white together as I feel the proraso red doesn’t do much in the way of soothing irritated skin.

  6. The reviewer obviously doesn’t know how to make a lather with shaving soap. While Porasso does not have the heavy aroma of most it is one of the best lathers you will find and gives a great shave. The lather is one of the easiest to create. Honestly, can’t understand this reviewers comments. I have used dozens of shave soaps and Porasso has one of the best lathers and easiest to create.

  7. I like the Proraso Red in the tube and I am still using it a year after purchase. During the time period, the tube has cracked and the cap just broke. I have also used the Bigelow in the smaller tube. I have found nothing wrong with either product. It just takes too long to get through them. Is it a good idea to go to the soap containers instead of the tubes? Do they make pucks?

    1. They are different formulas. Many (though not all) shavers feel the creams perform better. Wouldn’t hurt to try a tub of the soap in your favored scent as they are pretty cheap. The soap definitely has a longer shelf life, and you avoid the tube container issues, but you might find the performance of the cream to be superior. Or not – it’s certainly worth a try! Remember though that a soap will load differently than a cream, so if you have only used creams before trying a soap, there will be a slight learning curve.

      1. Hi. Just wondered what your source for saying that the cream and the croaps are of different formulas. I was after a factory tour given the impression that the creams and croaps are of exactly the same formula, but undergoes a different curing regime after production. All of their soaps ar so called hot processed, but while the creams are left for cure in the the curing-vessels for only a few days, the croaps are left for some weeks for the excessive water to evaporate. The curing can under some conditions alter the behaviour of a product, and the guide at the factory might be misinformed. With my soft water source, I can find absolutely no difference in the two formats. What I have happened to me is a tube of the Proraso Red separating after being left in a hot environment for a couple of years, but again, the water content of a cream is higher.

        1. Cream has sodium metasilicate in it, which soap does not. Cream also has different ratio of lactic acid to sodium hydroxide, and more sodium lauroyl sarcosinate. Finally, the cream has more fragrance oil (the scent elements other than the sandalwood oil). They both have the same amount of sandalwood oil.

  8. Hello Guys ,
    I have a quick question .
    Anybody know whats the difference between red and green???? please let me know as i want to try this one .

  9. I’ve been using the Sensitve aftershave balm since I started wet shaving, and I just recently bought a tub of the Proraso white soap. I like the soap in the tub, and don’t have any problems with it. If the cream in the tubes is that much better, I may have to give it a try.

  10. I love Proraso, even with all the other great manufacturers in the USA and abroad whose products I use. I have no problem whatsoever with the soaps. The lather is easily obtained and works great. I especially like the Proraso Sensitive soap. So, hurray for the soaps, creams and pre/post shave.

  11. Thanks much for the analysis. I’ve used the Proraso White cream quite a bit and like it a lot, although I’ve migrated over to Taylor of Bond Street and prefer it. But I still have a tube of Proraso White handy.
    I have tried the Proraso pre-shave cream and think it’s fine, but I thought it way too expensive. I’ve locked in on Noxzema Classic Clean Original as a pre-shave cream. It works great, at least as good as the Proraso pre-shave cream, and I prefer the scent. On top of that, I can get the Noxzema at my local Walmart for less than $6 for 12 ounces. That beats the heck out of $13 for less than 4 ounces of the Proraso pre-shave.

  12. Interesting read!
    I started shaving with Proraso green. I was fresh out high school and it was 2011. So there was no Stirling, or B&M, or… Well were any artisans around then? Crazy to think about.
    But yeah, I started with green and an escali and used that for 4 years until I read proraso had been discontinued on Amazon. (Turns out “discontinued” meant “reformulated” but Amazon didn’t care). So I googled for a replacement and found the wetshaving community we know today!
    I’ve still got a bit of my first tube of proraso left and I think it’s great. Then again, that’s old formula. Haven’t used the new green. In 2015 I picked up a tub of Red and love it too.
    Honestly, the tube of Green cream and tub of Red soap give me the same impressive, cushiony, slick lather. It’s actually the benchmark for me.
    I’ve used (and love) Latha and Stirling and Dapper Dragon and Mama Bear’s and Soap Commander and Musgo and TOBS and countless others and nothing has ever resulted in a wonderful lather as effortlessly as Proraso.

  13. Hi everybody. As an Italian let me says that I’m one of the greatest enemy of Italian shaving soaps or aftershave… I’ve used Proraso Green for almost 30 years and I hate it. But there wasn’t anything else around for years. Now I’m a super supporter of American shaving soaps and aftershave, I spent a fortune in customer taxes to buy American products, but… You can’t say that Proraso cream are brushless (what?) ; you can’t say that they don’t make consistent lather… Believe me, there’s something wrong in your shaving method. I don’t want to teach anything to anyone but I can’t subscribe your point of view. Sorry for my poor English.

    1. Hello Red,
      I am sorry for your decades of suffering.
      Proraso Cream can indeed be used brushless, though I certainly would not recommend doing so.

      The creams work much better with a brush certainly, and the soaps need a brush without any question.

      1. Craig,
        Again your statement is senseless to me.
        Ask to whatever Wetshaver.
        ANY shaving cream, can be used brushless, any shaving cream “is theoretically brushless”! More or less they work the same way.
        The difference is that Proraso never stated that this cream is “theoretical brushless” au contraire they give clear instructions on how to use them properly, with a brush.
        Listen to me that I shaved even when deployed with a hair conditioner and an unknown cart razor: make some more experience and have more humility.

        1. I have much experience in reading English language product descriptions on the internet. If you lack similar experience, perhaps your humility is the issue as you seem intent on debating with me apparently without examining the links I provided earlier.
          Amazon (US) states in the “From the Manufacturer” section in the listing for Proraso Green cream:

          “For the ultimate shave experience, see the 10 Tips for the Perfect Shave below
          Short on time? Apply your favorite Proraso Pre-Shave Cream to your damp face, for optimal results. If using a shaving brush, run it under hot running water for about 30 seconds (if you don’t have time to soak it). Squeeze about 2 centimeter of the Shaving Cream onto your brush, dampen face with warm water, and work the brush into your scruff/stubble. You should be able to achieve an excellent lather in about a minute.
          If using your hands, work cream and water together between the palm of your hands until suds begin to form. Apply mixture into your stubble using your fingers, massaging in circular movements until a lather forms. This method also works well if you’re shaving in the shower. Shave and rinse, following with your favorite Proraso After Shave Balm or Lotion. ”
          End quote. Note carefully the “if using your hands” section. Hopefully that is not senseless to you. If Amazon is misquoting Proraso, that is their issue, not mine. It seems more likely to me that this information was supplied to Amazon by the manufacturer, as labeled. Could they be trying to lure shavers without a brush?
          Moreover, the forum link originally quoted had statements from (presumably) real users of Proraso who apply it with their hands. This may seem unbelievable to you, but, again, I am not making it up. Americans do all sorts of weird things.

          1. Brian Fiori (AKA The Dean)

            I can see how this might be a difficult issue to resolve across languages.
            You are using “brushless” to mean, the product can be used successfully without a brush (at least that’s what I think you mean). Makes perfect sense to me. But in some respects, aren’t virtually all creams capable of being used without a brush? I think that what be what our Italian poster might be questioning.
            Proraso, unlike some shaving creams, actually benefits greatly from using a shaving brush. In fact, I’d guess it was developed with a brush in mind.
            So my question (for the moment) is; “What creams can’t be used without a brush?” I’m guessing there are some, but I can’t think of any, at the moment. I suspect we might think of one, or two. One of my favorite shaving products, Biotique Bio Palmyra, is a thick, very concentrated cream. I suppose it can be used with only your hand—but, I’ve never tried. I started using AOS creams brushless, but it’s obvious they perform much better (for me, anyway) with a brush. Same for Body Works Maca Root Shaving Cream.
            To some, I imagine “brushless” might best describe a cream that is not really usable with a brush. If all creams can be used without a brush, is there any need to define a cream as “brushless” if it benefits from a brush?

          2. Hey Dean,
            Cremo and Kiehls come to mind as creams specifically marketed for general users as brushless. I think Jack Black has another. I think also that NancyBoy says their creams can be used either with or without brushes. Finally, the Whole Foods favorite Kiss My Face is another brushless I have used. I’ve used all of the above brushless back in my early days of wetshaving when I still shaved in the shower with a Fusion.
            The only one of the above that really should not be used with a brush at all is Kiehl’s. The rest can all be used brushless but benefit greatly from a brush. (Arguably Cremo benefits very little from a brush if at all.)
            I would not call Proraso a good brushless cream, which is why the Amazon and Bigelow listings surprised me. But if you dig into the forums, there are a surprisingly large number of Proraso cream users that have “gone commando” and found it at least satisfactory.
            Proraso’s own English site makes it clear that their creams should use a brush, so the Amazon verbiage in particular is surprising. It is not Watergate or anything though, as Proraso cream can be used in such a manner, though it’s not a good idea.
            I guess Amazon and / or Proraso is trying to broaden the appeal of the cream a bit, as far too many shavers still lack brushes in the American market. This needs to be fixed!

          3. Craig,
            Brian caught the meaning of my writing
            “You are using “brushless” to mean, the product can be used successfully without a brush (at least that’s what I think you mean). Makes perfect sense to me. But in some respects, aren’t virtually all creams capable of being used without a brush? I think that what be what our Italian poster might be questioning”
            Apparently there are are some misunderstanding or likewise your background some interpretations to justify.
            From Merriam Webster (not an unknown italian like me)
            Definition of – Brushless –
            1: lacking a brush
            2: designed for use without a brush
            – Brushless – means using the cream, a cream and lathering it without the use of the brush. Allover the world. (Amazon users, B&B old posts and users are not a reference and they can lost in translation too).
            I have only a couple of excellent creams that are true brushless. They need to just be applied and after some time I go straight for shave. But they will never lather with any brush. They’re made like so.
            From Cambridge Dictionary, not me.
            – Apply – verb
            [ T ] to spread or rub a substance such as cream or paint on a surface (e.g. my face?)
            Applying is different.
            I can apply and massage any cream or soap by scrubbing on my face likewise a pencil anything, or massaging a cream and THEN lathering on face.
            And face applying that not sounds to me at all, since I do the same especially from samples where the tiny tubs cant allow to load.
            Sometimes when I’m in hurry I spread (apply) straight on my face 2cm (0.8in) from the tube and I go straight to later. Or I can rub straight from the surface of a hard soap.
            Sounds funny and that is the funny side of wetshaving.
            THEN, I lather with brush.
            So I will definitely end here saying that Proraso is theoretically a Brushless cream? More or less than – any – shaving cream, but sounds right that it can be applied with hands and without brush.
            Happy shaving,

  14. Hi Rick & Kerry,
    I use the same procedure to lather all soaps, and don’t customize for any specific soap. My pretty ordinary method gives me fine lather for 90% of the products I try, so I tend to view it as being a fair standard to evaluate products.
    I don’t mean to say that it’s impossible to get a good shave with PR soaps. With effort and ingenuity, one can get a good shave from any product sold for the purpose, and the PR soaps are better than many mainstream brands.
    However, I think of PR soap as the Honda Civic of the soap world.The Civic is a fine sporty, car and a great introduction to the design and its characteristics. Some may love their Civic so much that they’ll just buy another one when the old one wears out, but others will use that Civic as the entry point into a journey that leads to getting a Mustang, Challenger, or Corvette. Either path is fine, depends on what the individual wants.
    Same deal here. If you like PR soap and get good results from it, that means you can lather any other soap pretty handily, so why not spend a dollar more and try Latha or $2.50 more and try Stirling? Both fine American brands (upstate NY and Arkansas), and for no other reason than simple patriotism, worth a try. I think you will like the results even more than Proraso, and will probably feel the US stuff is worth the slight added cost.
    But if you want to stick with Proraso, perfectly understandable and I commend you for your patience and skill in honing your lathering technique.
    As for politics, Mr. Bond, yes, am thinking about it. Slogan: “Make America Funny Again”. Platform plank: strict regulation of cliched lawyer jokes…

    1. Brian Fiori (AKA The Dean)

      YMMV. It’s really that simple. Just accept it.
      I’ve never used Proraso soaps, so I can’t weigh in on how they work for me. But I will say I was horribly disappointed in the Sterling soap I tried. It was among the worst I’ve ever tried. Yet I know it works very well for many. The explanation is simple: YMMV
      I also think it is wise to adapt your lathering method to the soap’s requirements, when necessary. Based on the the reports of some others in this thread, perhaps you should try their lathering method on the Proraso. Maybe you will find with that method it performs better than it has, for you. Then again, YMMV.

      1. Hi Dean,
        Good to hear from you!
        What was your bad experience with Stirling? Lather or sensitization?
        I viewed my Proraso soap experience as a bad first date with someone I wasn’t really that into anyway. No need to work at something where the end result would still be unsatisfactory! The scents were not compelling, many other options available, and I hadn’t sunk a lot of cash into it.
        Had this been Martin De Candre or Nuavia, where the wasted cost of the high price could make one weep tears of blood, I probably would have been willing to experiment with technique, but ironically both of those pricey soaps work quite well with my stock technique.
        I PIF’d my PR soaps and wish them and their new owners well. I did the same with the Blue cream tube, but kept tubes of all the other creams for the long term.
        I do agree with YMMV in general, but I think we all tend to use the principle too much sometimes.

        1. Brian Fiori (AKA The Dean)

          My Stirling experience was much like yours with Proraso, I suspect. Except I really did make an effort with the Stirling (I can’t remember what sent/formula I tried). I expected the lather to explode off the puck onto the brush, it did not. But with some work I managed to get a pretty decent lather. I just found the shaving experience (cushion, slickness, etc) sub-standard. At the time I was using mostly Italian croaps (Cella, many varieties of RazoRock) and had just started using DR Harris soap. The difference was pretty obvious, for me.
          I actually think YMMV can never be overused, because it is what it is—our individual experience on our unique combination of skin factors (many variables here), beard toughness and length, water factors, techniques, etc.
          It may be true that a particular product works better for a wide cross-section of users, or is thought to be better by many reviewers. But when it comes down to how it performs for an individual, it’s all YMMV. That’s all there really is.

          1. Stirling had this weird transition where they didn’t exactly change their base, but they did increase the quality of the various components. This was right around the time that they went to the green plastic tubs rather than the smaller metal tins. If you were using a tin to make the lather, you may want to try the new version. I’ve found the green tub lathers quite well …but then, YMMV! : D
            I do like to try and avoid absolute relativism – e.g. “this overpriced melt and pour that’s copying another brand’s scent is just fine because it works on my face”. I like to see quality ingredients and some attempt at innovation in new brands coming out, especially if they are at the same price point as existing brands. Some guys can shave with Trac IIs and hair conditioner, but as a reviewer, I want to try and “reward” well designed products with praise, and, hopefully, new customers.

    2. Hi Craig,
      I do have two Stirling soaps and I do find them better than the Proraso. I was just surprised that the PR was as good as it was for the price. I have the Stirling Hot Apple Cider and the Pumpkin Spice and love them both. Excellent thick & rich lather on par with the good creams, great scent, and they both give a nice slick and protective shave. Highly recommended.

  15. Hello Craig,
    as italian and I was born with Proraso products and in my humble opinion I disagree with your statement about the tubs.
    It shows that probably you are used to other kind/brand/texture of soaps and so you’re not loading/lathering correctly.
    As advocate of face lathering and wet shaving overall, to me it’s not that difficult to have a rich lather that lasts and does not dry easily. I shave with it since 20 years and I tested all formulations. Never had thin or insuffucuent lather, except my very first days of wetshaving.
    Creams as you already know are easier to lather because they are softer and requires less “work”.
    The secret – that is not a secret- is to start loading (and preferably a lot) with a well shaken, almost dry brush. Then adding water gradually. As every soap.
    About the remaining article, well, probably is biased due the different price costs in US and here in EU/IT.
    Are there better soaps? Are there soaps with better cushioning, slickness, post shave? Yes. But still Proraso have something to say since more than 50 years and it’s still one of the best bang for the buck worldwide, even more for us that we can buy it for cheap.
    It’s a YMMV thing, yes.
    Lovely article indeed.

    1. Hello SM!
      Good to get a “native” perspective – how much does PR soap cost in Euros? It’s usually about $10 here, which is pretty affordable indeed.
      You and my boss disagree on lathering technique —
      and I have to do what he says of course… only kidding!
      I do tend to start with a moderately wet brush and as mentioned, it works nicely with most everything I use, and it’s certainly faster. I shave every day and need to expedite matters a bit.
      I am glad to hear from you, and hope we can agree to disagree on the PR soaps, while agreeing that the creams are must-try products for all.
      Buon giorno, Signor!

      1. Hello Craig,
        Here in Italy I can find the tub at around 2 Euro price tag (even less online, in selected shops around 2.50). Probably you already know that many of overseas fellas, when comes to Italy ,are going to rob all Proraso stuff from scaffolds. And that makes pretty much a lot of sense.
        Still I don’t agree on the tub perspective, while I can easily demonstrate that in not time at all I can lather a thick, stable and durable lather with any of my brushes. Even more with my synths.
        There’s nothing wrong in using rather your way of loading the soap or mine but I can tell you from my multidecennial experience that my way gives the more consistent results on any soap.
        Only with triple milled soaps or any other hard soap I go for Hydrate&Load technique.
        Again it’s a YMMV but before dropping a soap try using it in loading and lathering differently. Or at least listen to your boss once 😉

  16. A nice informative article, however my experience with the White Soap is very different from yours. I find it easy to generate a thick egg-white-like lather in the scuttle. It does take a little longer than a cream, but maybe only 30 seconds longer, which is to say 90 seconds total. As Rick recommended, adding water in smaller increments really helps control the process. However, I’ve found I need to do this with even the high-end tallow soaps when compared to creams. I do have soft water as well.
    I find the shave with the White Soap to be very decent, especially given the price-point, and I have had no problems with razor burn or nicks. As always YMMV, and everyone’s experiences are different.

  17. I’ve always had good luck with Proraso. I do agree that their creams seem to perform better than the soft soaps. As for lathering, you have to introduce the water to the mix in smaller increments to get that optimal lather. It isn’t like some other soaps that can handle a lot of water right off the bat. That said, I feel the cushion and slickness from Proraso plenty sufficient for a quality shave. Though, it is not my absolute favorite product.

  18. Hello Glenn & Wayne,
    My water is as soft as a kitten’s fur and can even lather Crabtree & Evelyn.
    And Proraso does indeed create some kind of lather for me eventually, and that end result may be fine for your shaves. I find it is not as slick, cushiony, or protective as decent tallow soaps, especially Barrister & Mann’s Glissant base and L&L’s bison tallow base. My poor widdle face needs all the cushion it can get; hence my preference for artisan tallow soap over the PR brand soaps. CRSW V2, Mickey Lee, and Stirling also do masterful things with tallow.
    If you guys have tried the above brands and feel Proraso lather is as good or better, than we are in YMMV territory. But if you are saying Proraso lather gives you a good shave, then we are not really in comparison territory. Clearly many men get fine shaves from Proraso, and given its commendably low price, I can see why experimentation would not be viewed as requisite.
    But I hope you will give one of the above brands a try to compare. Glenn, the brands mentioned do offer unscented or mildly scented variants, so you are not necessarily being exposed to stronger smells.

  19. Proraso White, Green, and every now and then Red have been my every day soaps for years. I have no problem whatsoever with lathering so it may be your water. As for scents, I’m not one for strong ones so your complaint is my compliment.

  20. Proves the point that YMMV. I first tried Proraso soaps about two years ago and have found them to lather easily with any brush and to provide a protective lather which does not dry out. Proraso white of my “go to” soaps.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *