Jan 6, 2014

KnockOut Shave: Reviewed

Knockout Shave boxing glove official logo

Men and women of Earth, in case you missed my overview of traditional wet shaving and don't know it yet, you don't have to hate shaving. There are many great companies manufacturing products you should know about. [Some I've reviewed, like Barrister & Mann or Synergy.] The fine folks over at KnockOut Shave were kind enough to send out some samples of the four shaving creams they offer. Let me tell you, these are probably the best performing/smelling shaving creams I'll have the pleasure of using this year, if not ever. KO has also been kind enough to give Baby Black Widows an exclusive discount code for 20% off all creams and their heavy duty shaving mug.* CODE EXPIRED 

[KO Shave has undergone major renovations since this article. Unless the names have been changed, they no longer offer any of the scents reviewed here but I'm leaving them in case anyone needs a review for trading purposes. I've contacted KO about sending another review parcel my way, as their prices have dropped since I wrote this, so I'd really like to keep them on your radar.]


As mentioned in my comparison of two seasonally scented shaving soaps, fragrances can not be objectively defined as "good" or "bad." Everything is subjective in the land of odors. This Christmas, one of my sisters bought a bottle of perfume for the other. Not having smelled the perfume herself beforehand, she spent a good chunk of money on the gift, basing her purchase on raving reviews she found online, in which people "wrote poetry" about the scent. She was pretty surprised when my other sister hated the smell of the stuff. In fact, she couldn't believe it until she smelled the perfume for herself and agreed that it was less than delightful. So I'll not be writing any poetry here.

KnockOut Shave is a new company from my resident state of Tennessee. I like to buy local. I like that logo. The boxing glove sort of looks like a brush loaded with lather, which is cool. That slogan isn't my favorite but I'm getting used to the wet shaving community's tendency towards pun-like humor and odd slogans. For instance, the maker of my favorite shaving soap, Barrister & Mann, has a slogan on their site: "Shave like a person. Not like a lab rat." Maybe it's a throwback to the kitschy days of American advertising? Who cares?

KO's model is to use the highly esteemed Al's Shaving Products' cream formula as a base, upon which KO then composes their own scents using only essential oils. Al's makes the best performing cream that I've used and all of the KO creams operate exactly the same as Al's. The distinction is to be found in the scents. I have a sampler of Al's creams that I'm slowly working through. The scents are extremely "natural," to a sometimes off-putting degree. Al's scents do undergo a subtle transformation when lathered, which is good. KO's creams smell delicious as soon as you open the jar and undergo the same transformation in lather.

Complicated Outdoorsman Citrus of Paradise Sonny shaving creams
The Line-Up

Citrus of Paradise "grapefruit, cedar wood virginian, and ylang ylang essential oils" - I don't know what ylang ylang is or what it smells like but as soon as I opened this jar my girlfriend said, "That smells like ylang ylang." If you like the smell of ylang ylang, you need to order this. I think this citrus scent is amazing. While all three notes stand out, the dominant fragrance that transfers to the lather, just under the grapefruit, is, to me, more of a citrus "zest" than citrus juice. Specifically, lime peel, which is a more interesting than most "lime" scents that take a "sweet/key lime pie" direction. 2nd Place

Sonny "lemongrass, cedarwood atlas, and lavender essential oils" - Lavender is not my favorite smell. My mother used to have a bag of lavender in her vehicle and that smell permeates my memories of riding to school in the mornings. However, "Sonny" is not unpleasant to me. The lavender takes a backseat to the lemongrass and keeps it from making this cream smell like Tom Ka Gai soup. The cedar hovers between and complements the whole. 4th Place

Outdoorsman "clary sage, cypress, basil, grapefruit, bay, and spruce essential oils" - Unlathered, this cream somehow manages to give off a "black licorice" vibe. This would normally be an automatic dealbreaker for me but "Outdoorsman" has something else going on that makes it not so bad. As someone who hates all things anise/absinthe/etc, this is intriguing. So, lathered, what happens to this cream is that it becomes as woodsy as its name suggests. On top, the basil just barely edges out the bay leaf odor, keeping this from representing as a bay rum. Under this coupling, another pairing of grapefruit and sage, with the rest of the "tree" scents in the base below that. Incredible transformation. 3rd Place

Complicated "rosewood, sweet orange, patchouli, ylang ylang, oak moss, lavender, and grapefruit essential oils" - It is certainly complicated but basically: rose and orange. That's it. Hints of the other oils rise here and there but rose and orange stay in the spotlight the whole time. I could shave with this every day for a long time without wanting to try something else. I love it. 1st Place

KnockOut Shave sampler pack & lather
The Sampler & The Lather

Again, Al's creams work into a thick cushion of lather that holds hydration well and stays slick with minimal mid-shave tampering. You aren't likely to find an artisanal manufacturer of wet shaving products with a better cream. I do prefer KO's scents to Al's but the additional $5 for KO products might bump them into a higher price bracket ($25 per jar) than some customers are willing to pay. KO offers a sampler packa for a reasonable $7.50 +shipping for those who want to see what all the fuss is about without committing to a full jar. However you get your hands on some, I do recommend KnockOut Shave's creams. KO also offers badger-hair shaving brushes on their site but what really has my interest is this heavy-duty lathering mug. I find myself eyeing that thing every time I visit their site.

Use this discount code for 20% discount on all creams and the mug: KObbw

Thank you for your time. Are there any questions?


* I am not affiliated with KnockOut Shave in any way and receive no compensation of any kind for orders placed by readers of this article.

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