03-12-2012, 02:45 PM
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Bottega Verde Uomo crema da barba – Figaro’s lost brother?

[Image: Bottega-Verde.jpg]

What I bring to you today is a shaving cream, available in Bottega Verde stores, scattered a little across Europe, and available online at http://bottegaverde.eu/. This cream is made in Italy by Biochimica s.p.a, makers of the well-known (and sadly discontinued) P.160 shaving soap and the Figaro/Fitness shaving creams, also available in the USA under the trademark “RazoRock”.

[Image: p1030080r.jpg]

1 - Ingredients list:
Well... I really don’t know fore sure what to think… In the sticker under the package, you can read:

[Image: p1030098b.jpg]

Quote:Aqua, Stearic Acid, Cocos Nucifera Oil, Potassium Hydroxide, Propylene Glycol, Myristic Acid, PEG-150 Distearate, Simmondsia Chinensis Oil, Parfum, Benzyl Alcohol, Theobroma Cacao Butter, Tetrasodium Edta

Apparently, it includes coconut oil, cocoa butter and jojoba oil. It is indeed a vegetable-based cream. However, here’s what you find if you remove the sticker:

[Image: p1030099s.jpg]

Quote:Aqua, Stearic Acid, Palmitic Acid, Cocos Nucifera, Potassium Hydroxide, Glycerin, Myristic Acid, PEG-150 Distearate, Jojoba Wax, Parfum, Benzyl Alcohol, Tetrasodium EDTA

This second formulation is exactly the same formulation that you can see in the Figaro/Fitness shaving creams:

[Image: figaro4.jpg]

(image taken from the Marco's review of Figaro in B&B)

Well, this left me a bit of doubt… what is the correct formulation of this cream? The difference is in the presence of propilenoglicol and cocoa butter in the “Bottega Verde” formulation, and the presence of Palmitic oil and glycerin in the “Figaro” formulation. I don’t really know what happens: maybe the manufacturer is using these packages and puts a sticker with the correct formulation over it? Or this cream is just Fígaro with another name?
Oh, well, let’s leave the theory and move on to the practice, because, as the British say, “the proof is in the pudding”.

2 - Presentation:
This cream is presented in a 150mL bowl. This is a plastic bowl, very similar to the bowls used by Omega/Proraso. When I bought it, it came with an aluminium foil protecting the cream and keeping it safe from air contact till it gets to the consumers hand. Unlike other Italian products (that have a consistency somewhere in between a soap and a cream), this one is really a cream. A thick and sticky cream, but much softer that Valobra.

3 - Durability:
This is a quite large bowl (150mL), and there’s no need to load the brush very much. Certainly about 2-4 months, even used on a daily basis.

4 – Soap loading:
Very easy and quick. This is a cream, there’s no need to moisten the surface or anything like that. You can easily scoop a portion with a spoon and place it in your lathering bowl. It is a sticky creamy product, very easily adheres to your brush.

5 – Ability to lather:
Excellent! This is one of this cream’s best characteristics. At the beginning, it seems that it’s not going to lather, but a few drops of water and… BOOOM, it just explodes into a beautiful, amazing, plentiful lather. And it doesn’t even takes too long; easily and quickly you obtain high quality lather.

First pass:
[Image: p1030085t.jpg]

After my first pass, I added some drops of water and the lather exploded even more!
[Image: p1030083m.jpg]

6 – Water/soap ratio:
Very permissive. It takes very well a small amount of excess water, without compromising the quality of your lather. It likes a little more water than other soaps and creams.

7 – Lather quality:
Very good, creamy, dense and long-lasting, the lather adheres to your skin very easily. The type of lather that is beautiful to look at, and nice to feel between your fingers.

8 – Protection and slickness:
Excellent. Slickness is one of the strongest points of this cream. The lather is also very cushioning, and delivers an excellent feeling of protection. Nearly perfect.

9 – Skin sensation
Excelent. There isn’t any refreshing or mentholated feeling, but it gives a very good sensation of comfort. It provides a very comfortable shave, every time I use it, without any nicks, cuts or irritation.

10 – Moisturising and post-shave feeling:
Very good. It leaves the skin very moisturised, (maybe because the jojoba oil that it contains) but without any sticky or oily feeling.

11 - Fragrance:
The scent of this cream is like bitter almonds or marzipan, and a little stronger than Valobra. The lather is not so strong-scented, and it features a fragrance like pure almonds. Some similarities with P160 Tipo Duro. Very old-school, and very barbershop. Personally, I like it A LOT!

12 - Price:
A real bargain: €2,99 for the 150g bowl.. An excellent example that a very good quality product doesn’t necessarily have to be expensive.

13 - Conclusion:
A very high quality cream, much higher than you may think if you judge it only by its price. In quality, I believe it is on pair with Omega/Proraso, if not better, and easily leaves behind other soaps and creams two or three times more expensive. This cream is inexpensive, easy to obtain (especially if you are able to find it in Bottega Verde retail stores), so easy to lather, very moisturising and very kind to your skin, delivering an excellent glide and protection during the shave.

Do I recommend it? A big YES! For a rotation, or even for using on a daily base. If you like almond-scented creams, this is a must for you!

[Image: p1030078.jpg]

(the brush featured on the photos is a inexpensive LiJün&1980 Finest Badger)

After seeing this, Joe, owner of the RazoRock brand, contacted Biochimica s.p.a., asking about the correct formulation of this cream. Biochimica's answer was clear: the correct formulation is the one that is described in the sticker. This cream is different than Figaro/Fitness/Razorock Classic creams, with a different formulation. It is also very similar to the RazoRock Cacao, with slight differences in the formulation.

Some time after I wrote this review, this cream ceased to be available at the "Bottega Verde" shops. It was a great product at a great price, available locally, but unfortunately, it seems that it was discontinued. Sad Oh, well, we still have the RazoRock creams (and Figaro), that perform very much alike this one.

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 03-12-2012, 03:09 PM
  • Teiste
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  • Salt Lake City,UT
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Thanks for this great review,Oversaturn.
If you really like almond scented creams/soaps with a nice skin care,RazoRock Cacao would suit your taste.I did tried this one in 2009 while I was in Spain and after the RazoRock Cacao and I didnt find any differences on the scent.The RazoRock Cacao its a nice Italian cream,with a bargain price.

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 03-12-2012, 03:25 PM
  • freddy
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  • San Diego, California, U.S.A.
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Thanks for the outstanding review, Emanuel. It's a shame that it is no longer available, though. Sad

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