I admit: I’m a little late to the party. Proraso’s Red line has been around for years and has earned major accolades from wet shaving aficionados.
Despite the steady raving reviews, I always dismissed Proraso Red as a good cheapie but a cheapie nonetheless. Indeed, in an industry where we are made to believe that price signifies quantity, the implications for a 10-dollar tube of shaving cream aren’t very good. In this warped universe Proraso Red aftershave sold for $18 must not get even close in quality to a $75 bottle of Castle Forbes.
The reality, however, is quite different.
On a cold wintry day, after vacillating long hours between two pricey aftershave balms, I resigned to a bottle of Proraso Red Aftershave Lotion. The attendant assured me it was a good purchase (with the caveat “if sandalwood is your thing”).
Sandalwood is absolutely my thing so I marched to the counter and plopped on it a 20-dollar bill. I felt good about being “wise” with my money and not blowing it on a Truefitt & Hill balm nearing in price the triple digits.
I was excited to try my new acquisition and as soon as I got home, I swiftly popped the box open and splashed some sandalwood goodness on my hands. I brought them to my face and inhaled deeply.
It fell short.
Proraso Red had the soft woodiness of sandalwood but it wasn’t like I imagined it. It was too weak. It wasn’t so woody.
Resigned with my purchase, I put it away telling myself that it’s not a bad aftershave after all plus the ambery liquid looked great in the glass bottle.
I woke up the next morning excited for my shave. I worked up a good lather of Cyril R. Salter’s West Indian Limes and hastily splattered it across my face. I dexterously wiped it off with the Edwin Jagger double-edge razor and washed my face.
The moment of truth had come.
I pulled the Proraso Red bottle from my cabinet and splashed a little in my palm. I liberally rubbed it in my shaved skin. No burn. Just smooth woody aroma wafter through the air. A man of class and distinction was getting ready to take on the day.
This is what the aroma spoke. Then I looked in the mirror. It was just me and I had missed a spot.
It’s been two weeks since my purchase and I’ve been using the Proraso Red aftershave lotion daily. I love the softness, the smoothness and elegance it exudes. Factually speaking, Proraso Red is not an aftershave lotion (it is a splash) but the presence of shea oil makes it surprisingly smooth and non-burning.
Proraso Red Aftershave Lotion gets two thumbs up from me.