Whoos Shaving Soap – Death or Glory

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Whoos - Death or Glory

Whoos’ shaving soap is, claims of being handmade nothwithstanding, fairly obviously a melt-and-pour soap. Not surprising really, seems like most of the soaps sold on etsy are!

It’s got the usual issues you see with a lot of the melt-and-pour soaps out there, the most notable being a sub-par lather stability. It can’t really be claimed to provide all that much cushioning, given that by the time you finish half of your pass, the other half has already started to fade. Unfortunately, adding enough water to fix the stability issues also thins it out too much. All in all, not enough to make it unusable by any stretch, but there’s far better soaps out there.

The scent is a nice spicy concoction; they say it’s got teakwood, cardamom, cinnamon, clove, cedar, amber, sandalwood, and patchouli. The spices are predominate, with the rest providing a nice backdrop.

It comes on quite strong when lathered up, and mostly stays that way without too much in the way of fading while you shave.

  • 8/10 Scent Pleasantness
  • 9/10 Scent Strength
  • 6/10 Lather Quality

Overall, I’m willing to round this one up to a 7/10. Smells nice enough to make up a bit for the performance.

Gear used:

Ingredients: Coconut oil, palm oil, safflower oil, glycerin, purified water, sodium hydroxide, sorbitol, sorbitan, soybean protein, wheat protein, bentonite clay, aloe, fragrance oil, mica.

 

Wickham Soap Company – Super Smooth Shaving Soap – Club Cola

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Wickham Shaving Company - Club Cola

Offering up a brand new product out of England, we have Wickham Soap Company for the next review. The sample I recieved came in a little box, the product filling the box one of the softest soaps that I’ve come across. Probably still a bit too firm to truly be considered a cream. “Super Smooth” indeed.

Thus, it was easy enough to scoop out a little bit from the box to test it out. I was quite pleased with the results. It was very forgiving for the amount of water needed; while it definitely needed a bit more than a splash, it would have been difficult to over-water it, as long as you give it enough elbow grease. A very wide “sweet spot” for good performance before it starts thinning out appreciably. Great glide, great protective lather, great performance really, with some really solid lather stability to boot. And it ended up leaving my face feeling rather pleasantly moisturized after the fact as well.

The scent is described as being “An uplifting scent that has top notes of a citrus lemon nature, while the mid and base notes are that of vanilla and caramel.” All in all, I’d say that sounds rather accurate; I found it rather pleasant. The strength could have been better, once lathered and applied I’d say it is a fair bit shy of my ideal strength, although still reasonably noticeable, and with a relatively slow rate of fading.

  • 9/10 Scent Pleasantness
  • 8/10 Scent Strength
  • 9/10 Lather Quality

Overall, I’d say this is an easy 9/10.

Gear used:

Ingredients: Potassium Stearate, Potassium Cocoate, Potassium Lardate, Potassium Apricotkernelate, Water, Glycerine, Parfum

Lea Shaving Stick

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Lea Shaving Stick

The Lea shaving stick performed pretty much indistinguishably from the Palmolive classic shaving stick; a good performance, good balance of glide and thickness, reasonably easy to lather up, and left the face feeling nice and moisturized. A nice all-around solid shaving soap.

The scent was also pretty close; a soapy-clean type scent, with maybe a bit of that faux lavender aroma that makes its way into far too many products. I saw another review describe it as reminiscent of powdered laundry detergent, that also seems like a reasonable description. It’s not really all that strong; probably a good thing I suppose.

One thing to note, this product apparently has undergone some reformulations; the one I reviewed is the new formula as of a 2012.

  • 5/10 Scent Pleasantness
  • 4/10 Scent Strength
  • 8/10 Lather Quality

Overall, I’ll say it’s a 6/10. Usable as long as you don’t really care about your shave smelling nice.

Gear used:

Ingredients: Potassium Stearate, Sodium Stearate, Potassium Tallowate, Potassium Cocoate, Aqua, Sodium Tallowate, Sodium Cocoate, Glycerin, Lanolin, Parfum, Cocamide DEA, Titanium Dioxide, Potassium Hydroxide, Geraniol, Tetrasodium EDTA, Tetrasodium Etidronate, Sodium Hydroxide.

Haslinger Meeresalgen Rasierseife (Seaweed shaving soap)

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Haslinger Meeresalgen

The next brand I’ll be trying out is Haslinger, who’ve been making shaving soaps out of Austria since 1890.

The scent of this soap is seaweed, made with real seaweed. I think I catch a little hint of that while sniffing it, but to be frank, overall, it just smells like soap. That’s while sniffing the puck itself; once lathered, it was essentially scentless.

The performance of the lather is quite good. With regards to the required moisture content, I’d say it’s about average. Not insanely thirsty like your Barrister and Mann or your Mike’s Natural, but it still needs a decent amount of water to do the job properly. But it does seem to have a reasonably large sweet spot, and it’s quite easy to whip up a nice thick lather, with good stability and good glide. I can’t say I noticed all that much in the way of moisturization properties however.

One thing I should note, for those who have allergies, the ingredient listing does include peanuts (Arachis Hypogaea). Or more likely peanut oil I suppose. But still, I’d suggest not putting it on your face if it could kill you.

  • 7/10 Scent Pleasantness
  • 3/10 Scent Strength
  • 8/10 Lather Quality

Overall, I don’t really recommend this soap. It’s relatively affordable, and performs well, but the lack of scent doesn’t add anything to the experience for me, and there’s better soaps out there that perform better. 6/10.

  • Cost: I purchased this 60 gram puck from Italian Barber for $9.95.

Gear used:

Ingredients: Potassium Stearate, Sodium Stearate, Potassium Tallowate, Aqua, Propylene Glycol, Fucus Vesiculosus, Parfum, Arachis Hypogaea, Potassium Cocoate, Sodium Tallowate, Sodium Cocoate, Glycerine, Potassium Hydroxide, Tetrasodium EDTA, Tetrasodium Etidronate, Sodium Hydroxide, Cl 61585, Bencylsalicylat, Citronellol, Geraniol, Hydroxycitronellal, Amylcinnamal, Hexlycinnamaldehyde, Butylphenyl, Methylpropional, Linalool, Hydroxymethylpentylcycloheencarboxaldehyde.

Los Angeles Shaving Soap Company – Woody Lavender

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LA Shave - Woody Lavender

So, any of my readers who are also subscribed to /r/wicked_edge are likely aware of the LA Shaving Soap Company, set up by fellow redditor jbisinla‘s fairly new soap line (up and running for the last 7 months). It’s certainly been gaining high praise, and after trying it I can see why.

First off, the lather is great. It whips up easily, into a nice thick creamy lather, with some great glide. Not too thirsty, but it seems to have a relatively wide sweet spot, so you’re probably not going to accidentally over-water it. Great stability,and left my face feelin’ nice.

The scent is just what it says on the tin; woodsy and lavender. The lavender provides a good contrast to the wood notes base, provided by essential oils of Ho Wood, Amyris (Torchwood) and West Indian Bay. It comes together quite nicely.

The strength is what I’d say is just spot on. It’s a nice and strong scent, without being what I’d say is overpowering, with little to no fading during the course of the shave.

  • 8/10 Scent Pleasantness
  • 10/10 Scent Strength
  • 9/10 Lather Quality

Overall, definitely worth a 9/10, IMHO.

Gear used:

Ingredients: Vegetable Stearic Acid, Distilled Water, Coconut Oil, Potassium Hydroxide, Vegetable Glycerin, Essential Oils (Lavender, Ho Wood, Amyris, Pimenta Racimosa (West Indian Bay)).

William’s Mug Shaving Soap

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William's Mug shaving soap

Williams Mug Shaving Soap is probably the one soap that I’ve seen that has the widest retail availability of any soap on the market. Or at least in North America. I’ve seen it available in drug stores and grocery stores and Wal-Marts in at least a few provinces and states.

After having tried it, I suspect the primary reason behind its availability doesn’t have much to do with its performance. It’s not really all that good. The balance of thickness and glide wasn’t all that good; I found I had to thin it out far too much to get the glide I need, and even that was easy to overshoot. And the stability of the lather left something to be desired. What lather I could whip up certainly didn’t stick around long enough.

One thing I will give this soap: it’s the example that proves the point that you can’t tell how good a soap is solely by a few ingredients. Normally, I’d expect a soap whose top 2 ingredients are stearic acid and tallow to be a quality product. Just proves the point that there is no magic ingredient which makes a good shaving soap: it’s the sum total of everything.

As for the scent, it’s a fairly neutral soapy scent. My girlfriend declared it to be an “old lady soap” smell when she sniffed it. Personally, I found it to be so-so. Not unpleasant mind you, but not exactly a great smell to my nose. It is however, rather weak. Pretty much all of that was discerned by sniffing the puck itself, since once lathered up, it was neigh undetectable.

  • 7/10 Scent Pleasantness
  • 3/10 Scent Strength
  • 4/10 Lather Quality

Anyways, I think it’s safe to say I don’t really like this soap at all. 4/10. In fact, given the ubiquitousness of the soap, I think that it’s doing a disservice to the art of wetshaving; I suspect a fair number of men try this soap because it’s available easily to them, and abandon the idea of shaving with a soap and brush because of the poor performance. Without having a chance to realize that perhaps that’s not par for the course.

  • Cost: As for why it’s available everywhere? It’s cheap as heck. I picked it up for something like $1.75 at the local Save-on-foods. I’m sure you can find it just as cheap somewhere else.

Gear used:

Ingredients: Potassium Stearate, Sodium Tallowage, Sodium Cocoate, Water/Eau, Glycerin, Fragrance/Parfum, Sodium Chloride, Titanium Dioxide, Steari Acid, Pentasodium Pentetate, Terasodium Etidronate. May also contain Sodium Palm Kernelate.

Parker – Sandalwood Sheabutter Luxury Shave Bar

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Parker

Now, I’m sure that most of you are aware of Parker due to reasonably popular line of razors, brushes, and stands. But, hey, apparently they make a soap as well. That’s indeed a soap, since this is apparently the only variation they do manufacture, although apparently they used to also carry a “nine herbs” variation.

Anyhow, the scent on this soap is supposed to be a sandalwood. And I get a bit of a hint of sandalwood, but overall it’s a much sweeter scent than I would have expected from just sandalwood. I suspect that’s because the sandalwood’s being overpowered by the scent of the shea butter. There’s also a slight hint of something spicy, which I suppose could be the tumeric. It’s a reasonably pleasant scent, but definitely not what I’d expect from most sandalwood soaps.

It is however, rather weakly scented. It doesn’t start off very strong, and fades a fair bit from there.

The lather is good; it’s a thirsty soap that does need a fair bit of elbow grease as well. Do that, and it makes for a very good shave; nice and thick lather, good glide. Also pretty darned good on the skin moisturization front as well.

  • 8/10 Scent Pleasantness
  • 6/10 Scent Strength
  • 8/10 Lather Quality

All in all, I’m reasonably pleased with this product, but definitely wish it was more strongly scented. 7/10. Fairly reasonably priced at least.

Gear used:

Ingredients: Aqua, Cocos Nucifera Oil (Coconut), Glycerin, Sorbitol, SLES, Propylene Glycol, Cacao (Cocoa) Butter, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Glycerin (No, I don’t know why they have Glycerin listed twice), Santalum Album (Sandalwood) Oil, Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera), Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Almond) Oil, Olea Europaea (Olive) Oil, Curcuma Longa (Tumeric).

Face Skin Care – Ultimate Comfort Shave Cream

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Face Skin Care

The creation of Face Skin Care’s Ultimate Comfort Shave Cream was prompted by a business decision of another company: the 2010 reformulation of Lab Series Maximum Comfort Shave Cream. Jim over at Face Skin Care had been using the Lab Series Product since 1991, and apparently quite liked it. However, once the reformulation occurred, he found himself quite displeased with the quality of the shave he was getting from the new stuff. (Personally, I didn’t like it all that much either) Like many that I’ve seen on the internet, when he switched over to the new stuff, he experienced an increase in razor burn, irritation, and pain while shaving, and also laid a lot of the blame on the removal of one key ingredient in the former formulation for the Lab Series cream: benzocaine.

Benzocaine is a topical anesthetic, often used in cough drops, and amusingly enough on some condoms, designed to allow gents to last longer by reducing the sensitivity of the penis. Anyhow, I can certainly see how it could be useful for folks prone to irritation and razor burn to mask the symptoms of those maladies.

So, long story short, after not being able to find a new shaving cream that had some Benzocaine, Jim decided to recreate it himself. He ended up using Lidocaine instead of Benzocaine, as it’s supposedly safer to use. Similar effects though.

Thus he ended up with is a non-lathering shave cream, designed to “gently desensitize the skin to reduce the pain”. It’s a decent thickness, providing a good amount of cushion with a good amount of lubrication. Certainly not quite as excessively thick as the stuff I tried last week was; at least with this stuff I could rinse most of it off my razor with ease, although it still looks to be mostly non-water soluble, and there was a big that didn’t come off easily, mostly in the nooks and crannies of the razor.

It did have a bit of a tendency to act like a lotion, rubbing it on the face would lead to some of it being absorbed by the skin. Not quite to the degree that I saw with the One Shave cream, but it was still there.

As for the effects, well, after the fact it did leave my face feeling really nice and refreshed, moisturized, etc. Was it the Lidocaine, or the other stuff in the cream? I don’t know about that. I mean, personally I usually avoid razor burn and irritation simply by using quality shave products and good technique with a DE razor. I don’t feel that adding a pain-killer to my shaving cream is something that is really necessary to avoid pain when shaving. I suppose that some others might not be quite as able to shave pain-free via the same methods, and might feel that this stuff is more helpful than not. Everyone’s face is different after all. All in all, it’s a pretty decent shave.

And finally, it’s only available as an unscented shaving cream. Anyone who’s been following my reviews knows that I consider the scent of the shaving product to be a rather integral part of the shave experience. What scent was left was fairly neautral, and not strong.

  • 5/10 Scent Pleasantness
  • 3/10 Scent Strength
  • 8/10 Lather Cream Quality

So, I’d say it performs pretty good for a non-lathering cream, but the lack of any scent would be enough to make me avoid using it on a regular basis. Fortunately, I don’t really feel I need pain killers built into my shave cream. Feel free to adjust accordingly if you think you do. 6/10.

Gear used:

Ingredients: Purified water, Stearic acid, Propylene glycol, Propylene glycol stearate, Petrolatum, Glycerin, Cocos nucifera(coconut) oil, Triethanolamine, Glycol stearate, Glycol distearate, Stearamide AMP, Butyrospermum parkii (shea) oil, Cetyl alcohol, Aloe barbadensis leaf juice, Butylene glycol, Centella asiatica (gotu kola) extract, Avena sativa (oatmeal) extract, Urea, Panthenol, Glycyrrhiza glabra (licorice) root extract, Allantoin, Chamomilla recutita (Matricaria) extract, Calendula officinalis (Calendula) flower extract, Anthemis nobilis (Roman chamomile) flower extract, Centaurea cyanus (Cornflower) flower extract, Tilia cordata (Linden) flower extract, Eucalyptus globulus (Eucalyptus) leaf oil, Tocopheryl acetate, Dimethicone, Lidocaine hydrochloride, Zinc oxide, Titanium dioxide, Mica, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin, and D & C Bronze

Giovanni Moisturizing Shave Cream – Refreshing Pink Grapefruit & Pomegranate

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2014-01-25 01.18.08

Once in a while I’ll review a shaving cream that wasn’t really ever intended to be used on anyone’s face. Wetshaving? Not quite, but still.

On occasion, creams which are intended to be non-lathering still manage to lather up quite fine, often yielding better results. This? Well, this is not one of them.

The performance of this cream had good sides and bad sides. The good side? It provided great lubrication. And whatever it’s made of left my skin feeling pretty nice afterwards.

The bad side? It’s not water soluble, and really thick, so as a result it is very difficult to clean up. Which admittedly did help with the shave, providing a decent cushion, but then in order to rinse it off my razor, I needed to unscrew the flow aerator on my washroom sink’s faucet, just to get enough pressure to blast it away. For anyone who doesn’t shave shirtless, I’d suggest avoiding it, as I imagine it would be a real pain to get out of clothing. A pain to get off of your razor, and even to rinse off the face once you’re done.

Also, since it’s non-lathering, you end up needing to use a lot more of it. After all, the lather you get from most soaps and creams is mostly air and water by volume. Using something like this will end up costing a fair bit more just because you use a lot more of the product per pass.

The scent however, I found to be quite pleasant. I mean, it’s not surprising, I love pomegranate, and I love grapefruit. The combination is great, it’s perhaps a bit heavier on the grapefruit than the pomegranate. The strength is pretty decent as well, not what I’d call strong, but it’s got good staying power.

  • 10/10 Scent Pleasantness
  • 8/10 Scent Strength
  • 5/10 Lather Cream Quality

Overall, the annoyance of the cream and its lack of solubility is bad enough that it scent barely makes up for it. 6/10.

  • Cost: I picked this up from iHerb.com, where they’re selling the 7 oz tube shown for $4.89 (hrph, it was $5.36 when I bought it!).

Gear used:

Ingredients: Water (Purified), Isopropyl Palmitate, Stearic Acid, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Helianthus Annus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Glycerin, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Cetyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate SE, Polysorbate 60, Dehydroacetic Acid, Benzyl Alcohol, Hydroxyethycellulose, Sodium Hydroxide, Argania Spinosa (Argan) Kernel Oil, Acai (Euterpe Oleracea) Fruit Oil, Rosa Canina (Rose Hip) Fruit Oil, Phenoxyethanol, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter) Extract, Punica Granatum (Pomegranate) Fruit Extract, Fragrance (Natural), Aloe Vera (Aloe Barbadensis) Leaf Juice (USDA Certified Organic), Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Fruit Extract (USDA Certified Organic), Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Peel Extract (USDA Certified Organic), Citrus Paradisi (Grapefruit) Fruit Extract (USDA Certified Organic), Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Fruit Extract (USDA Certified Organic), Echinacea Angustifolia (Coneflower) Extract (USDA Certified Organic)

Seattle Sundries – Smooth Shave Soap

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Seattle Sundries - Smooth

So, about a month ago, I got a message on reddit from the esteemed LeiusureGuy. You know, that fellow who literally wrote the book on wetshaving? It read, and I quote, “If you should want to give a review to what seemed to me a pretty bad shaving soap, try Seattle Sundries. Indeed, if you want a free puck of their soap, let me know.”

Well, how could I possibly pass up an offer like that?

And he was right, it was indeed pretty bad. The lather was nice and slick, good lubrication. … Oh, I’m sorry, did I say lather? I think I meant “collection of bubbles”. Because I wouldn’t really call what was produced lather, and even if it did start out as lather, is sure as heck didn’t stay that way. Seriously, no stability at all. I’d estimate that the lather had about a half-life of under 5 seconds. Needless to say, by the end of each pass, there really wasn’t much there at all.

Anyhow, if I wanted something that only provided lubrication, I’d be using a shave oil or something like that. Once again, the perils of a soap maker thinking that a shaving soap is no more complex than taking some regular soap and throwing some clay into the mix.

The scent at least was nice. The “smooth” scent is made up of essential oils of coriander, lime, and petitgrain, with some green tea on top. All together, it turns into a rather pleasant scent, which I’d consider to fit the “barber shop” type aroma. The strength was pretty decent, and at least didn’t fade as fast at the lather does.

  • 9/10 Scent Pleasantness
  • 7/10 Scent Strength
  • 3/10 Lather Quality

All told, yeah, I’d recommend against it. If they put the effort into doing the research into what actually makes a good shaving soap, a new formulation with this scent might be worth it, but for now, I’ll give this a 3/10.

  • Cost: As mentioned, I got this one for free for the purpose of the review. You could pick it up for $9.50 for a 2.5 oz tin.

Gear used:

Ingredients: Coconut Oil, Palm Oil, Olive Oil, Castor Oil, Bentonite Clay, Green Tea, Shea Butter, Vitamin E Oil, Coriander Essential Oil, Lime Essential Oil, Petitgrain Essential Oil

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