J&E Atkinsons I Coloniali Shaving Cream
In 1799, James Atkinson began selling his handmade pomades and perfumes, and had such success that his brother Edward traveled to London to help him establish J&E Atkinsons Ltd. at Number 24 Old Bond Street. In 1826, they were honored with a royal warrant by King George IV, and their products were favored by other royal families and celebrities around the world. In the early 1900s, the company was purchased by the Italian Lever Faberge division of the British-Dutch giant Unilever, then the German Wella Cosmopolitan Cosmetics in 2002, then the American giant Procter & Gamble in 2007, and then most recently by Morris Profumi, an Italian-based subsidiary of Investindustrial, in 2008. Through the years, the J&E Atkinsons brand has remained a premium line and respected worldwide for its quality.
Despite the brand’s international heritage, it is interesting that it is currently produced in Italy because I Coloniali Shaving Cream is formulated like an Italian-style soft soap, which is why this is categorized on Shaving101.com as a Shaving Soap Review. Despite the softer, putty-like texture of the product and it being labeled as a shaving cream, I Coloniali performs well when used as a traditional shaving soap by loading the brush directly on the puck to create lather. The shape of the puck is evidence that it is poured into a found mold during the manufacturing process and allowed to harden as it finishes curing. Out of the box, the surface of the puck has a light ashy texture, which indicates that products is allowed to cure naturally rather than being cut and polished with a smooth finish like other commercial soaps.
This product comes in a very attractive natural terracotta dish with a lid that provides a great container to lather in and will work well for almost any small- to medium-sized shaving brush. A larger brush will lather fine in the dish; however, some lather will likely spill over the sides, which is only a minor inconvenience. The bowl is packaged with stickers on the sides that keep the lid closed during shipping, but when removed the stickers left a bit of staining on the natural terracotta. I am hoping that these will wash off over time.
For many new wetshavers, shaving soaps can sometimes be a challenge to use. Some require a significant amount of work to load into the shaving brush and create a suitable lather for shaving. Unlike other shaving soaps, the semi-soft texture of I Coloniali Shaving Cream allows a wet shaving brush to easily whip up a rich and thick lather with minimal effort. Like most soaps, during the first or second uses the puck will rotate around in the terracotta bowl; however, after the puck has gone through several uses, it sticks to the walls of the dish and that no longer is an issue.
The I Coloniali range of products utilizes natural ingredients from India and other South Asian countries that have been proven to be effective over centuries by cultures in those regions. With the added mango oil, I assumed that I Coloniali would have a citrus-like scent, and was surprised to discover that was not the case. The aroma of the cream has a mango fruit-like character to it, but it is more subtle and blended with a light smokiness that gives it an interesting fragrance. With no bright or citrusy sweet tones, the scent is mellow and much more natural and balanced unlike lower quality soaps that are over-fragranced and synthetic smelling. Once lathered, the aroma becomes very noticeable and fills the bathroom, but still remains pleasant and never becomes overbearing. The cream does contain menthol in the ingredients list, but it is not evident in the aroma of the product. After shaving, it does maintain some presence on the skin, but not excessively so that it would conflict with your favorite cologne or aftershave.
The lather from I Coloniali is among the richest and most moisturizing that I have used. Once the brush is loaded and the lather reaches the proper consistency, it has a very smooth and creamy texture with minimal bubbles. It easily coats the skin with a dense and protective surface that is ideal for shaving. The quality of the lather rivals that of even some of the best traditional soft shaving creams, which is impressive for a product that is more like a shaving soap than a cream. Although the lather has an oily sheen to it, the lather does not feel greasy at all.
During the shave, I Coloniali continues to deliver impressive results. The lather allows the blade to glide smoothly across the skin and provides an ideal level of lubrication and protection, particularly in the trouble spots, such as the neck and jaw line, where other products often do not do as well. Between passes the lather rinses off the razor effortlessly and would work well with any type of razor, even cartridges which often have a tendency to clog easily. After shaving the product rinses away cleanly leaving my skin feeling well nourished with no irritation or dryness at all.
The I Coloniali Shaving Cream with Mango Oil has earned a place on the short list of some of the best products I have used. Despite the product being labeled as a shaving cream, most wetshavers would consider this a quality shaving soap. The moisturizing properties of the mango oil in the product provide an outstanding level of comfort and skin conditioning properties that make this shaving cream well worth trying. It is available from BullGoose Shaving Supplies in a 100ml/3.6oz puck with the terracotta bowl for $36.00 or as a refill puck without the bowl for $18.00. Whether you refer to this product as a shaving soap or a shaving cream, the J&E Atkinsons I Coloniali Shaving Cream is impressive either way.