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6 "Pure Play" Citrus Scented Shaving Creams

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Citrus-scented shaving lathers may be the most common “old school” scent profile around–lemon or lime predominantly.  When properly formulated they can be sweet or tart, subtle or or strong.  When they’re not properly done they can remind you of a household cleaner from a spray bottle.  Turns out I’ve tried quite a few citrus-scented shaving products over the years, so here is a list of what I think of six creams (I’ll tackle soaps and “citrus-dominated” scents separately if there is enough interest).

Old School “Pure Plays”

The old school brands and products are dominated by a “pure” citrus scent, usually lemon or lime but sometimes others.  These are creams that are going for a straight-up scent note, without complications (there are some reasons why simple scents are common).

Castle Forbes Lime Oil* Shaving Cream – One of my all-time favorite shaving creams, Castle Forbes lime’s scent is very sweet and very strong (too strong for some).  I’ve said before that it’s like getting smacked in the face with a key lime pie.  Performance is widely regarded as top shelf (with commensurate price).

Ingredients: Aqua, Stearic Acid, Aloe Barbadensis, Myristic Acid, Potassium Hydroxide, Glycerin, Coconut Acid, Dipropylene Glycol, Citrus Aurantifolia, Citric Acid, Triethanolamine, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Hydroxide, Methylisothiazolinone, Potassium Sorbate, Limonene, Citral, Gerniol, Linalool

Taylor Of Old Bond Street Grapefruit* Shaving Cream – One of Taylor’s newer creams, this is a somewhat unusual, straight-up grapefruit scent.  I am not a big fan of grapefruit (the food) but I find this grapefruit scent actually quite pleasant: “sweeter” than a grapefruit from the grocery store you might slice into but definitely in the scent neighborhood.  A moderately strong and long-lasting scent as well.  Performance is excellent…perhaps the best of the somewhat inconsistent (in my opinion) Taylor’s line.

Ingredients: aqua, stearic acid, myristic acid, potassium hydroxide, coconut acid, glycerin, parfum, triethanolamine, sodium hydroxide, benzyl alcohol, methylchloroisothiazolinone, methylisothiazolinone

Taylor Of Old Bond Street Lemon & Lime* Shaving Cream – A relatively sweet lemon-lime fragrance (think “Sprite”), perhaps just a bit on the artificial-smelling side, that a lot of people describe as “refreshing.” The scent’s strength is very mild.  It lathers quite easily and the performance is regarded as pretty good, though I think some of Taylor’s other creams perform better (notably Grapefruit–see above–and Peppermint).

Ingredients: Aqua, Stearic Acid, Myristic Acid, Potassium Hydroxide, Coconut Acid, Glycerin, Perfume, Triethanolamine, Sodium Hydroxide, Methylparaben, Propylraben, CI 19140 (FD&C YELLOW NO.5), CI 42090 (FD&C BLUE NO.1)

The Art Of Shaving Lemon Essential Oil* Shaving Cream – A reformulation a year or so ago has changed this shave cream noticeably.  The previous version’s scent was relatively sweet and strong.  The most recent version has a much milder, more acidic (and somewhat generic) scent.  Happily the cream’s performance, while not quite as good as it used to be, is still pretty solid in my opinion.

Ingredients: Water/Aqua, Palmitic Acid, Myristic Acid, Stearic Acid, Potassium Hydroxide, Coconut Acid, Glycerin, Triethanolamine, Sodium Chloride, Citrus Limon (Lemon) Peel Oil, Sodium Hydroxide, Lauric Acid, Propylene Glycol, Tetrasodium Edta, Disodium Edta, Phenoxyethanol, Methylisothiazolinone, Citral, Limonene

Truefitt & Hill West Indian Limes* Shave Cream – More tart (or sharp) than sweet and more like the fruit’s zest instead of the “meat” of the inside.  It’s almost an earthy, acidic scent that reminds some people (who don’t care for the scent) of a household cleaner spray.  The scent is fairly strong, too.  Lathering is quite easy and performance is usually regarded as very good–though personally I think the lather could use a little more “cushion.”

Ingredients: aqua, stearic acid, myristic acid, potassium hydroxide, coconut acid, glycerin, parfum fragrance, triethanolamine, sodium hydroxide, methylparaben, propylparaben, limonene, citral, linalool, CI 19140 yellow 5, CI 42090blue 1

Trumper’s Limes* Shaving Cream – More on the sweet side than the tart side but not dramatically so…a reasonable citrus balance.  It’s not a particularly strong scent either, mellowing even more when lathered on the face.  Speaking of lathering, this cream is dyed light green for some reason (I guess to remind you of limes?) but turns white when lathered.  Performance is generally regarded as very good (particularly with the after-the-shave skin feel) but a recent reformulation has made both the cream’s texture and performance a somewhat inconsistent–some report great results while others have reported thin, runny lather.  Hopefully this is just a temporary manufacturing glitch.

Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Stearic Acid, Myristic Acid, Potassium Hydroxide, Coconut Acid, Glycerin, Parfum (Fragrance), Triethanolamine, Sodium Hydroxide, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, CI 19140 (FD & C Yellow 5), CI 42090 (FD & C Blue 1), CI 14700 (FD& C Red 4), Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone, Benzyl Benzoate, Citral, Coumarin, Hexyl Cinnamal, Limonene, Linalool.

*Denotes an affiliate link where Sharpologist may receive a small fee if the product is purchased through the link.

What’s your favorite citrus-scented shave cream?  Leave a comment below.


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

11 thoughts on “6 "Pure Play" Citrus Scented Shaving Creams”

  1. I have the TOBS grapefruit and the lemon lime. I prefer the lemon lime since I prefer the scent by just a bit and I find the grapefruit leaves me with a stingy sensation which I don’t care for. I haven’t noticed any differences with the lather I get from each, so, for me the lemon lime cream is a winner.

  2. I’m a huge fan of the RazoRock Essential Oil of Lime soap. For under 8 bucks you get touch notch performance and a beautiful fresh clean lime scent. The added argan oil makes for a great post feel too. I’m also a big fan of Latha Limon, great no nonsense soap that lathers really fast.

    1. MG – I agree with you, I ordered RR’s Essential Oil of Lime shave soap and it’s like waking up to key lime pie every morning. Fantastic scent even before you bloom the soap, I find it as one of my go to soaps on a day when I’m finding it hard to wake up.

  3. Some shaving soaps use citrus as an important component to their aromas. D R Harris’s “Arlington” uses lemon to highlight a floral, yet masculine scent; it lasts and lasts. A huge favorite.
    Barrister & Mann uses a very similar aroma, but lots more of it with “Santal Vetyer,” which a sage-y undertone.

  4. Meßner Tremonia’s Pink Grapefruit (shaving soap or shaving paste) is quite nice, but it does modify the citrus fragrance by including eucalyptus, which changes the character in an interesting way. I have the paste, and the lather is excellent.
    J.M. Fraser shaving cream is a great bargain (a full pound for less than $15). It has a light lemony fragrance and is really effective.

  5. Brian Fiori (AKA T he Dean)

    Just curious on what you think of Kiss My Face citrus creams–Key Lime as well as Pomegranate Grapefruit? I keep some of the unscented cream in my shower, just in case I forget to bring in a cream or soap (happens rarely—but it happens).
    Not a “top level” lather, IMO. But typically easy to find locally, and inexpensive. And, in a pinch, you can use it brushless. I’m thinking of giving the Pomegranate Grapefruit a shot the next time I pick some up.

    1. Brian, I quite like KMF creams. I’ve tried Key Lime but not Pomegranate Grapefruite. As you say, not quite top shelf but KMF is a solid performer that is brush friendly.

    1. Yes I like their Latha line too. If I do a follow up article on citrus shave soaps it will definitely make the list.

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