Kiss My Face – Key Lime Shaving Cream


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KMF Key Lime

The scent is a refreshing aroma of tart lime; very nice. Although a glance at the label reveals that the underlying ingredients which made that scent are a fair bit more complex. but it definitely comes together as something that strongly reminds me of key limes. Unfortunately, it’s not really strong enough. It’s certainly noticable when lathered and put on the face, but not strongly so, and it faded away quite a bit while I was shaving.

The lather seems to be the same as any other Kiss My Face cream; requires a medium amount of water to get going, and a bit of elbow grease, but leaves you with a creamy lather with a pretty good balance of lubrication and cushioning. Nothing really out of the ordinary when it comes to moisturization.

  • 9/10 Scent Pleasantness
  • 7/10 Scent Strength
  • 8/10 Lather Quality

All in all, we’re looking at a 7/10 for this one.

Gear used:

Ingredients: Aqua, Myristic Acid, Glycerin, Stearic Acid, Potassium Hydroxide, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) Leaf Juice, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Allantoin, Salvia Officinalis (Sage) Leaf Extract, Arnica Montana (Arnica) Flower Extract, Hydrastis Canadensis (Golden Seal) Root Extract, Equisetum Hyemale (Horsetail) Extract, Alchemilla Vulgaris (Lady’s Mantle) Leaf Extract, Cymbopogon Schoenanthus (Lemongrass) Leaf Extract, Citrus Aurantifolia (Lime) Fruit Extract, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Flower Extract, Saponaria Officinalis (Soapwort) Root Extract, Nasturtium Officinalis (Watercress) Leaf Extract, Eucalyptus Globulus (Eucalyptus) Leaf Oil, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Peel Oil, Cymbopogon Schoenanthus (Lemongrass) Leaf Oil, Citrus Aurantifolia (Lime) Fruit Oil, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Flower Oil, Hydroxyethylcellulose

Red Leaf – Black tea shaving cube


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Red Leaf shaving cube - Black Tea

Red Leaf is a shaving soap which, judging by the ingredient listing, is at least partially based upon a melt-and-pour base. That having been said, I think it’s at least on par with one the best melt and pours that I’ve used before, such as Elvado, or Honeybee Soaps.

I didn’t find too much of an issue finding the right amount of water for use with this soap. I do know I sometimes have issues with that with soaps sticks, or cubes I guess, given that it’s a bit harder to control the amount of water you’re using when it’s not being added directly into a bowl or scuttle. But this stuff seemed to be fairly tolerant to different levels of moisture. It provided a good balance of glide and lubrication, and some decent moisturization to boot.

They describe their scent as follows:

The scent of warm toasted tea leaves, Black Tea is a slightly smoky, sexy, and warm scent with a woody natural smell with notes of Sage and Sandalwood.

I suppose that seems reasonably accurate; it’s definitely smoky and warm. I wouldn’t really say that it smells all that much like Black Tea itself, but it’s definitely in the same vicinity. I rather do like it. The strength could use some bumping up; it’s still noticeable, but definitely not strongly so when lathered up and applied to the face.

  • 9/10 Scent Pleasantness
  • 7/10 Scent Strength
  • 8/10 Lather Quality

All told, I think I’m willing to round this one up to an 8/10.

  • Cost: I got this from MenEssentials, where the 100 g cube goes for $10. Red Leaf also has sample sizes available on their website. I’ll note here that the sample sizes are the same formulation as the cubes; however I’ve confirmed with the owner of Red Leaf that the “travel containers”, the 3.5 oz jars of soap, they are a slightly different formulation from the cubes or the samples, so I make no promises that the performance would be similar.

Gear used:

Ingredients: Ingredients: coconut oil, sustainable palm oil, castor oil, safflower oil, vegetable glycerin, purified water, sodium hydroxide, sorbitan oleate, soybean protein, wheat protein, fragrance

Musgo Real Shaving Cream – Classic scent


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Musgo Real - Classic

Musgo Real is most well known for their line of glycerin pre-shave soaps. The shaving cream line is relatively new, or at least relatively newly widely available outside of Portugal / Europe. The brand is part of the Claus Porto group, so this is the 2nd cream from them I’ve reviewed, the other being O Melhor.

This scent is the original, based off the “Real Lime Oil” version of the pre-shave soap. And I don’t really like it as much. It frankly smells harsher than the original; more chemically if you know what I’m getting at. It’s not a *bad* smell per se, but it’s not something that I particularly find pleasing either. The scent is relatively weak when lathered however.

The lather on the other hand performs quite well. It’s a relatively thirsty soap, but with enough water and some work it whips up to a nice and thick creamy lather, with a reasonable amount of glide. Some minor lather stability issues, but not bad enough to have an impact unless you tend to lay it on very thin. And good moisturization properties as well.

  • 6/10 Scent Pleasantness
  • 7/10 Scent Strength
  • 8/10 Lather Quality

Overall, I’ll be giving it a 6/10. Some might like the scent better, but I wouldn’t really see myself using it on a regular basis.

Gear used:

Ingredients: Aqua, Potassium Stearate, Sodium Palmitate, Glycerin, Coconut Acid, Parfume, Potassium Silicate, Coconut Oil, Lanolin, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel extract), Buxus Chinensis (Jojoba) Oil, Alcohol, Menthol, CI 77007, CI 19140, Geraniol, Fcoumarin, Cintronellal, Cinnamyl Alcohol, Inalool, Benzyl Benzoae, Limonene

Elvado – Madera Almond Shaving Soap


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Elvado - Madera Almond

My next review from Elvado is their Madera Almond Shaving Soap. Seems like named it’s after the county / city of Madera California, where I believe they get the almond essential oils used to scent the soap.

The formulation appears to be exactly the same as the previous soap of theirs that I’ve tried (well, other than the scent part), with no real discernible difference in the performance, as expected. It’s a fairly good melt and pour. It does require a fair bit of water to get up to optimal performance, along with some elbow grease. Gives a good glide with just a tad less thickness than I usually like. And it left my face feeling nice and moisturized after the fact.

The scent is a classic Italian-style sweet almond, like Cella et al. It’s quite pleasant. The strength is good, coming on fairly strong, albeit with some noticeable fading going on before I was done each pass.

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

The verdict? 8/10. It’s pretty good, and probably fairly competitive when stacked against most other almond scented products I’ve tried.

  • Cost: I was provided this tub free for the purposes of the review by the folks at Elvado. At the time I write this, everywhere appears to be out of stock of the version in the tub, it looks like you can still get the 71 g shaving stick for $14.96.

Gear used:

Ingredients: Cocos Nucifera (Coconut Oil), Elaesis Guineensis (Palm Oil) , Cathamus Tintorius (Safflower Oil), Glycerine (Kosher of vegetable origin), Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Purified Water, Fragrance (Parfum 100% Natural), Sodium Hydroxide, Sorbitol, Sorbitan Oleate, Glycine Soja (Soy Bean Protein), Titanium Dioxide (Mineral Whitener)

The Strop Shoppe – 1887 Limited Edition with Lanolin


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Strop Shoppe LE - 1887

So, anyways, one thing that I need to keep in mind when I get a limited edition soap to review is that they’re limited. And I should probably review them faster than slower. I bought this soap back in June of last year, and stuffed it under the sink on my “to-do list”. In the meantime, they stopped making it, and you’ll have trouble finding it. So, sorry, here’s a review for a product you might not be able to get.

The Limited Edition / Lanolin formula performs exquisitely. It’s got a very wide sweet spot, and provides great thickness and glide. There are absolutely no issues with lather stability, and it left my face feeling great and moisturized to boot. Anyways, it’s pretty much what I expected out of the Strop Shoppe. For quality wise, at least.

One thing I’ll note is that there appears to be an inconsistency about the packaging. At the top, it says it is “Special Edition: Extra soft – Double butter Formula, Cocoa Butter – Shea Butter.” The ingredient listing at the bottom however doesn’t list any Cocoa Butter or Shea Butter. I presume that this was probably just a left-over from their special edition that they failed to remove when they made up the label for the Limited edition. This is, unfortunately, also something that I’ve somewhat come to expect from the Strop Shoppe; they’re great at making soaps, but the little details of running a business sometimes seem to slip past them. For example, their current listing of a Limited Edition says in the description that it’s made with tallow and lanolin, but the ingredient listing doesn’t mention lanolin at all.

The scent is nice enough. I’ve seen it described elsewhere as “woodsy, spicy, and tobacco”, which doesn’t seem all that far off. The spicy portions develop a bit more once lathered up. All in all, it’s a nice cologne-y scent. The strength is decent; coming on at about a medium strength, without much in the way of fading.

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

Overall, I’m willing to round up and give it a 9/10.

  • Cost: As mentioned, it’s not really available anywhere anymore. I had purchased this one $17.50 from

Gear used:

Ingredients: Potassium Stearate, Sodium Stearate, Glycerin, Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Lanolin, Fragrance.

Al’s Shaving Products – Lather Shaving Cream – Blue


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Al's Lather Shaving Cream - Blue

So Al’s got a new line of shaving cream which he’s in the process of developing. He sent me out a sampler pack of a bunch of scents that he’s trying out right now, including the one that he currently has available, Blue.

It’s supposed to be a more affordable option than his main line of creams. I guess the million dollar four dollar (the price difference between the two lines) question is whether or not the savings in cost came at the expense of performance? Well, IMHO, yeah, a bit.

Don’t get me wrong here, the lather shaving cream is still a good cream. It’s just not a great cream, which I feel that Al’s main line is. It lathers up easily, however I wasn’t able to get it quite as thick and creamy as I can get the main line. It’s not a very thirsty cream, so just a tad of water would be needed. Folks used to his main line should be warned not to over-water it, as it will start to thin out appreciably if you use the same amount. Still, it yielded a nice and slick cream with some good thickness. Some minor stability issues, but I do mean minor, only thinning out a bit while applied to the face during the shave. One thing it does share with the original formulation is a good amount of volume produced.

The line is designed to also appeal to those who like a more subtle scent to their shaving cream. So, well, anyone who’s been reading my reviews will know that is one aspect I’m not going to be a fan of. That seemed to be the case for the sample I tried, coming in at what I’d consider to be just under a medium strength scent. So great for those of you who don’t like their scents strong I guess.

The “Blue” is designed to be a rendition of Davidoff’s Cool Water, which was itself an homage to Creed’s Green Irish Tweed. It’s a pleasant blend, although like most “cologne-y” scents, I have trouble picking out any of the individual notes. Al says it’s crafted with lavender, peppermint, geranium, jasmine, coriander, rosewood, musk, and amber. Quite pleasant.

  • 9/10 Scent Pleasantness
  • 7/10 Scent Strength
  • 8/10 Lather Quality

Overall, I’ll give it a 7/10. It’s a good cream, but I’d mostly recommend sticking with the originals instead, unless you’re one of those folk who do like their creams to not be as heavily scented.

Gear used:

Ingredients: Aloe Vera, Water, Stearic Acid, Myristic Acid, Potassium Hydroxide, Glycerin, Coconut Acid, fragrance, Sodium Hydroxide

Knockout Shave Cream – Sonny


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Knockout - Sonny

The real question here, is which Sonny are they referring to? The Corleone? Or the Bono?


Sonny is a blend of Cedarwood, Lemongrass, and lavender. The Lemongrass is the strongest of the bunch with the lavender coming in for 2nd. It is a rather pleasant scent; I am a fan of lemongrass overall.

The strength was pretty much spot on, strong, with nothing noticeable in the way of fading. However, the strength probably contributed to one problem:

While I generally have fairly bullet-proof skin, I did notice a fair bit of irritation and a burning sensation from this one. Thus, I’d probably recommend avoiding it if you’ve got sensitive skin, as it’ll probably hit you harder than I. I’ll be docking some points directly from the overall score for this.

Since this cream uses Al’s Shaving Products main line as a base, a lot of you should know what to expect. A very darned fine shave, great thickness and lather slickness, as long as you’re sure to use enough water (and elbow grease)! Good moisturization, good lather stability; great shave.

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

So, normally this would probably be a 9/10, however due to the irritation I experienced, I’m going to downgrade it to a 7/10. Still usable, but there’s better stuff out there.

Gear used:

Ingredients: sodium and potassium salts of fatty acids (stearic, oleic, linoleum, palmitic, myristic and lauric), water, glycerin, essential oils (for fragrance).

Saltspring Soapworks – Stone Bay Shaving Soap


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Saltspring Soapworks - Stone Bay Shaving Soap

I’ll save you a bit of trouble and put the recommendation for this “shaving” soap up front: don’t bother. This seems to be yet another example of a typical soap maker reading some bad advice about how to make a shaving soap by adding some clay to their regular bar soap formula.

The lather, well, it’s hard to call it that. Using very little water, it can be at best, semi-thick. But then it doesn’t have enough lubrication. Add enough water to lubricate even close to adequately, and the lather collapses into a thin mess that dissolves away right before your very eyes.

The scent is reasonably pleasant, composed of camphor, eucalyptus and cinnamon, it seems like a nice rich earthy scent. Unfortunately, it’s rather weak; I can smell it well enough when sniffing the puck directly, but when lathered, it pretty much doesn’t actually pass over to the lather at all.

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

So yeah, another locally produced product that rather sucks. 4/10. Please, soap makers, if you want to make a shaving soap, please learn how to make one from scratch.

Gear used:

Ingredients: Saponafied Oils of (Elaeis guineensis) Palm, (Cocos Nucifera) Coconut,(Olea europaea) Olive and Spring water. Lanolin, Fullers Earth, Beeswax, Glycerine, With fine Essential Oils of (camphor laurel) Camphor, (Eucalyptus globulus) Eucalyptus, (Eugenia caryophyllata) Clove and (Cinnamomum zeylanicum) Cinnamon.

Derby Shaving Stick


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I’ve been stuck shaving with the Derby Shaving Stick for about two weeks now, primarily because I’d been far too lazy in getting a review out the door and couldn’t justify moving on to a new soap when I have such a backlog of them to write.

I say stuck, because, well, I don’t really like it all that much. Don’t get me wrong, it lathers up easily enough, once you manage to dial in the right amount of water to use for the right amount of product (which can be tricky to control like all shave sticks). I’d say it’s comparable to the performance of Arko or Palmolive in that regard.

But I didn’t really like the scent. It’s generic “soap” type scent. Overall, I found it to be unpleasant. It’s fairly strong too, at least when not lathered. When just sitting in the bathroom with the top of the wrapper peeled off, the scent of the soap permeated my bathroom. Fortunately, the scent dissipated a bit once lathered up, but only dropped down from “really strong” to “fairly strong”. So, I suppose, also comparable to Arko in this regard too, although I think the scent of the Derby is slightly more palatable.

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

But yeah, overall, I’m not a fan. 4/10. But at least it is quite affordable, if that’s a major factor for you.

Gear used:

Ingredient list: Potassium tallowate, potassium cocoate, stearic acid, sodium palm kernelate, aqua, disodium distrylbiphenyl disulfonate, CL77891, paraffinum liquidum, parfum, geraniol, benzyl alcohol, linalool, glycerin.

Alba Botanica – Natural Very Emollient Cream Shave – Mango Vanilla


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Alba Botanica - Mango Vanilla

Once again unto the breach, with a “cream” that was never intended to meet either someone’s face or a shaving brush.

The scent was nice; the vanilla was clearly distinguishable, whereas the mango wasn’t quite as recognizable as mango, more of a muddled fruity sweetness. Which, having had a glance at the ingredient listing, kinda makes sense, since it does have other fruit extracts in there as well.  Still, it smelled nice, and was fairly strong, without fading noticeably.

As for the performance of it as a cream, that was far more of a so-so result. Like most non-lathering products out there, I tended not to be able to get quite the balance of cushion and glide as I like, since I couldn’t adjust anything to my liking by fiddling with the water content. This one seemed a bit low on the glide. It also did cause some clogging of the razor, which can be hard to clean away with a blast of water, since it’s not water soluble like most soaps are. Finally, while I generally have rather resilient skin, this did end up causing a bit of a burning sensation.

  • 8/10 Scent Pleasantness
  • 9/10 Scent Strength
  • 5/10 Lather Quality

Overall, I suppose I can consider bumping it up to a 6/10. Definitely can’t say I’d go out of my way to use it again.

  • Cost: I purchase this at, where the 8 oz tube shown currently goes for $5.04.

Gear used:

Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Sodium C14-16 Olefin Sulfonate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Sodium Cocoamphoacetate, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Ananas Sativus (Pineapple) Fruit Extract, Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract, Carica Papaya (Papaya) Fruit Extract, Hedychium Coronarium Root Extract, Hibiscus Sabdariffa Flower Extract, Lavandula Angustifolia Extract, Mangifera Indica (Mango) Fruit Extract, Passiflora Incarnata Flower Extract, Passiflora Incarnata Fruit Extract, Vanilla Planifolia Fruit Extract, Citric Acid, Glycerin, Tocopherol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenoxyethanol, Benzyl Alcohol, Benzyl Benzoate, Coumarin, Limonene, Fragrance (Parfum).


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