Barbasol is an American brand of shaving cream, aftershave, and disposable razors created by MIT Professor Frank Shields in 1919 in Indianapolis.
Barbasol was first manufactured under the Napco Corporation name, a company Frank Shields started before inventing Barbasol. After the shaving cream sales increased, they outgrew Napco and The Barbasol Company was created.
Frank Shields established The Barbasol Company in 1920, which owned the brand for 42 years. In the mid-1950s, design engineer Robert P. Kaplan of Rochester, NY invented and patented the first aerosol shaving cream can, and the Barbasol Company changed the formula from the thick cream in a tube to the soft, fluffy foam familiar in the aerosol cans today. The can design mimicked a barber's pole, and is still the trademark design used today.
In 1962, Pfizer bought The Barbasol Company and brought Barbasol in the portfolio. During this time, they developed many additional versions of Barbasol to complement the original formulation, including Soothing Aloe, Skin Conditioner, Sensitive Skin, Extra Protection, Cool Menthol and Lemon Lime.
As gels became popular, Pfizer created gel versions of Barbasol in the Original, Soothing Aloe, Sensitive Skin, and Extra Protection varieties.
In the 1980s, Pfizer made Barbasol Glide Stick, a deodorant.
By the 1990s, Barbasol brand equity had diminished. Sales had slowed. Pfizer, primarily a pharmaceutical company, looked to sell the brand.
Perio bought the Barbasol brand from Pfizer in 2001 and has since been attempting to revitalize it.
Perio consolidated the Barbasol line to Original, Soothing Aloe, and Skin Conditioner, and added Pacific Rush.
A non-aerosol cream that simulated the original product was created in 2003, but was reformulated to the Barbasol Non-Aerosol Therapeutic Shave Cream in 2006 (Pfizer also had a similar simulation of the original Barbasol cream, but discontinued it in 1999).
Recently, Barbasol released Sensitive Skin, Mountain Blast (a new fragrance), and Arctic Chill (menthol) to its line of shaving creams. Several aftershave products have also been introduced under the Barbasol brand name. More recently, Barbasol has introduced disposable razors in twin-blade, three-blade, and six-blade versions.
Barbasol's market share continues to grow, with one in four men now using it.