Get Musgo Real
June 1, 2006
Chasing the elusive 5-minute quickie shave lately, I’ve been revisiting some old favorite shaving creams that work especially well without a brush, just slathered on with your bare hands like a heathen. And it occurs to me that I’ve never really blogged about one of the very first high-quality shaving creams I tried back when I first picked up a Merkur safety razor to give this whole wetshaving trip a go: Musgo Real.
It was Lee Cantor of Lee’s Razors who first turned me onto Musgo. I’d put in an order for my first Merkur HD razor and a pack of blades, and Lee recommended I try a tube of Musgo — he said it was one of the best shaving creams in the world, and that it would leave my skin nice and moisturized. I figured it was worth a shot at only ten clams a tube, so I bit.
Musgo Real “Creme Para Barbear” has been around since the 1920s, and this Portuguese shaving cream has become so popular with old-school wetshavers around the world that pretty much every shop and online vendor that deals in shavegeekery sells it — I mean, you can get it here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and even here for god’s sake. I’ve had vendors tell me they wouldn’t dream of not carrying Musgo, because many of their longtime customers won’t shave with anything else.
The cream comes in a nice metal toothpaste-style tube, with a cap that’s got a recessed point to pierce the seal when you first crack open a tube. And when you do open one for the first time, that’s when Musgo’s heavenly, grassy scent makes you smile. It’s been described by more than one scentgeek as smelling like fresh-cut grass, and it’s one of my favorite scents in all of shavegeekdom.
Musgo’s secret ingredient is lanolin. It’s a glycerin-based cream like the English types and the new-school creams like Nancy Boy and Lush, but it’s also got a healthy dose of lanolin to keep your skin slick during the shave and moisturized afterward. And you can really feel the difference, both during a shave and after you rinse off, when you shave with Musgo. There’s an extra bit of lube and cushion there as compared to the English creams — in this respect, it’s more like Nancy Boy and Truefitt & Hill’s Ultimate Comfort than the classic Trumpers and Taylors.
Musgo works well with a brush, but I’ve found that the lanolin can gum up a badger brush’s bristles with extended use, so I don’t really recommend using it with a brush. The good news is I find Musgo works even better brushless, just using your hands. You don’t get quite as thick’n’puffy a bed of lather on your puss, but to me, the shave is better and a hell of a lot quicker to boot.
I’ve been catching some excellent haul-ass shaves with Musgo this past week, revisiting an old favorite to see how it fared as a quickie cream. I’d forgotten how much I like this cream, both for its shave and its scent — not every shaving cream works well as a quickie cream, but Musgo joins Nancy Boy on my short list of shaving creams that can haul ass when the chips are down yet sacrifice nothing when it comes to the quality of the shave and the sniffpleasure, however brief.
Musgo Real is one of those classic shavegeek creams every guy should have a tube of laying around. It’s cheap, easy to source, smells great, is good for your skin, and is particularly excellent when used brushless. Like Proraso, if you don’t have some already, go online and buy a tube, now.