04-07-2012, 07:27 PM
#1
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I have tried about 10 different brands of artisan shaving soaps. I could get them to perform fine, but they just did not ring any bells for me. I am not trying to detract any maker's product because they all performed fine. They just lacked those certain intangibles.

Part of it are the scents. They seem overpowering and more like incense, then well ... fragrant soap.

Second is appearance. I like hard, smooth, milled soaps. They look clean, feel clean and they make me happy. Artisan soaps remind me of when my kids would mash up every color of Play-Doh. even the dried bits and then mash it back into the can.

Third is texture. Soap = hard. Cream = soft. Putty is for caulking. The texture reminds me of the soap my great aunt made in the fall when the slaughtered a hog. It was wood ash soap and had a weird putty texture. It lathered well but would not clean a thing and always had a slightly rancid feel. What is weird is her sister made her own soap at the time and the results were a soap as hard as a brick and smelled clean. Different methods I assume. Too young at the time to remember details.

I know all of these things are personal biases and really have nothing to do with performance. I have tried and tried and will probably keep returning to that same well occasionally just to make sure.

So.. artisan fans, what is the draw for you over commercially available shaving soaps?

Second...Are their any boiled or milled artisan shaving soaps available?

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 04-07-2012, 07:42 PM
#2
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To answer your second question, I believe the the equipment involved in milling soap is too big and expensive to be practical.

Speaking for myself, I use artisan soaps/cream over commercial ones because I simply find them to be superior. While plenty of commercial products lather fine, they tend to be drying and are scented with synthetic fragrances that I don't enjoy. I find artisan products to be much more skin friendly, and they are often scented with essential oils.

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 04-07-2012, 07:50 PM
#3
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(04-07-2012, 07:42 PM)Aaron622 Wrote: To answer your second question, I believe the the equipment involved in milling soap is too big and expensive to be practical.

Speaking for myself, I use artisan soaps/cream over commercial ones because I simply find them to be superior. While plenty of commercial products lather fine, they tend to be drying and are scented with synthetic fragrances that I don't enjoy. I find artisan products to be much more skin friendly, and they are often scented with essential oils.

Nice points and that is part of the reason I keep trying them.

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 04-07-2012, 08:32 PM
#4
  • Songwind
  • Soap Slinger & Scuttle Pusher
  • Burnsville, MN
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I'm not sure what artisan soaps you've been trying if they're *all* putty-like. I have not tried a huge swath of them or anything, but so far only one brand has been like that.

I tried Mike's Natural Soap because I'd tried Mitchell's Wool Fat and liked how the lanolin made my face feel. At the same time there were good reviews of this artisan soap w/ lanolin, and the scents he was making were very enticing. It was also 2/3 to 1/2 the price of MWF. So I tried it and loved it.

Mama Bear's soap was all about the nifty scents. The soap itself is a fine performer if nothing super special.

Mystic Waters (the putty in my bathroom) is also a tallow soap, got good reviews. I got some samples and they lived up to the hype and left my face feeling as nice as any of my others, artisan or corporate.

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 04-07-2012, 08:33 PM
#5
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It is my personal opinion that a lot of people go gaga over many newer artisan soaps because they contain tallow. It started with Prairie Creations and snowballed from there...before that most of the artisan soaps that showed up on the boards were melt 'n pour glycerin soaps or the like.

One of my favorite artisan soaps is Calani. They are veg based, but the "pucks" are dried and cured in some fashion that makes them quite hard. They are nothing like the putty soaps that you don't care for. I have the Lavender and Spanish Sun scents, both are not too strong. I have heard some of the other scents are quite strong though.

As for the whole putty thing, I don't really care about that so long as the soap is user friendly (wide "sweet spot") and gives a good shave.

For the putty soaps, the best I've tried are Nanny's Silly Soap and Jabonman.

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 04-07-2012, 09:10 PM
#6
  • Teiste
  • Moderator Emeritus
  • Salt Lake City,UT
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(04-07-2012, 08:33 PM)cvac Wrote: It is my personal opinion that a lot of people go gaga over many newer artisan soaps because they contain tallow. It started with Prairie Creations and snowballed from there...before that most of the artisan soaps that showed up on the boards were melt 'n pour glycerin soaps or the like.

One of my favorite artisan soaps is Calani. They are veg based, but the "pucks" are dried and cured in some fashion that makes them quite hard. They are nothing like the putty soaps that you don't care for. I have the Lavender and Spanish Sun scents, both are not too strong. I have heard some of the other scents are quite strong though.

As for the whole putty thing, I don't really care about that so long as the soap is user friendly (wide "sweet spot") and gives a good shave.

For the putty soaps, the best I've tried are Nanny's Silly Soap and Jabonman.
Where did you get the Jabonman from?Thats pretty impressive that you know him and his soaps!
Im glad that you are here since what you have written is what I think too.Some artisan soaps like Calani and Jabonman (even Kells Originals) are great,but I dont care about the over hype tallow cult that is out there.Are those artisan tallow based soaps nice?Yes,some of them are,but arent better than some of the regular shaving soaps out there.I feel that Im not caring too much for them either,even when I recognize that some are nice,like Queen Charlotte ones.

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 04-07-2012, 09:11 PM
#7
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(04-07-2012, 08:33 PM)cvac Wrote: It is my personal opinion that a lot of people go gaga over many newer artisan soaps because they contain tallow. It started with Prairie Creations and snowballed from there...before that most of the artisan soaps that showed up on the boards were melt 'n pour glycerin soaps or the like.

I have tried the glycerin soaps. The shave was fine but the lather always had a consistency I did not like. Maybe all the glycerin. A few had such strong scents they drove my wife out of the bathroom. I agree about the tallow craze.

Quote:One of my favorite artisan soaps is Calani. They are veg based, but the "pucks" are dried and cured in some fashion that makes them quite hard. They are nothing like the putty soaps that you don't care for. I have the Lavender and Spanish Sun scents, both are not too strong. I have heard some of the other scents are quite strong though.

I have her soaps. I have been through one puck. Of all the artisan soaps I have tried, these are actually pretty good. The scents are YMMV. They do have that mottled, chunky appearance though

Quote:As for the whole putty thing, I don't really care about that so long as the soap is user friendly (wide "sweet spot") and gives a good shave.

For the putty soaps, the best I've tried are Nanny's Silly Soap and Jabonman.

The putty thing is just preference. RR, Cella are a great soaps. Just don't like the consistency.

(04-07-2012, 08:33 PM)cvac Wrote: For the putty soaps, the best I've tried are Nanny's Silly Soap and Jabonman.

How is her new hard soap line? Have you tried that one yet?

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 04-07-2012, 09:32 PM
#8
  • CMur12
  • Semogueiro de Coração
  • Moses Lake, Washington State, USA
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I haven't found an artisan soap that really did it for me yet, but I see the potential there.

I can't handle perfumery and the way most traditional hard soaps are fragranced makes them unusable for me. AoS is the only mainstream soap out there that offers natural scents in a traditional hard soap. Many of the new artisan soaps offer scenting with essential oils, also, which I consider a significant attraction.

Not all traditional hard soaps by major brands are triple-milled. Mitchell's Wool Fat isn't milled, nor are the Valobra Shave Stick and the Art of Shaving Soaps made by Valobra. Valobra, interestingly, mills their bath soaps but not their shave soap.

- Murray

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 04-07-2012, 09:58 PM
#9
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(04-07-2012, 09:32 PM)CMur12 Wrote: I haven't found an artisan soap that really did it for me yet, but I see the potential there.

I can't handle perfumery and the way most traditional hard soaps are fragranced makes them unusable for me. AoS is the only mainstream soap out there that offers natural scents in a traditional hard soap. Many of the new artisan soaps offer scenting with essential oils, also, which I consider a significant attraction.

Not all traditional hard soaps by major brands are triple-milled. Mitchell's Wool Fat isn't milled, nor are the Valobra Shave Stick and the Art of Shaving Soaps made by Valobra. Valobra, interestingly, mills their bath soaps but not their shave soap.

- Murray

I see the potential too just not realized yet.

All the soaps you mention have been milled and extruded. You can tell by the homogeneity of the product. They may not be triple milled or high pressure die pressed. In the case of Mitchell's and Valobra stick, they are probably just extruded slug cuts.

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 04-07-2012, 10:33 PM
#10
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As long as it lathers and is slick during the shave, I'll use "Poop on a Stick". Biggrin

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 04-07-2012, 10:50 PM
#11
  • GreekGuy
  • Not saving money yet....
  • La Jolla, CA
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(04-07-2012, 08:33 PM)cvac Wrote: It is my personal opinion that a lot of people go gaga over many newer artisan soaps because they contain tallow. It started with Prairie Creations and snowballed from there...before that most of the artisan soaps that showed up on the boards were melt 'n pour glycerin soaps or the like.

One of my favorite artisan soaps is Calani. They are veg based, but the "pucks" are dried and cured in some fashion that makes them quite hard. They are nothing like the putty soaps that you don't care for. I have the Lavender and Spanish Sun scents, both are not too strong. I have heard some of the other scents are quite strong though.

As for the whole putty thing, I don't really care about that so long as the soap is user friendly (wide "sweet spot") and gives a good shave.

I agree with this. People have some fascination with tallow which I truthfully don't understand. Plenty of fantastic soaps without tallow. Plenty of terrible ones with it.

By and large I find them to be a fad. One maker comes in while another goes. I have Calani and think it's superb, but never really thought of it as an Artisan soap. Probably because I bought it through a vendor in the states.

YMMV

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 04-07-2012, 11:07 PM
#12
  • Teiste
  • Moderator Emeritus
  • Salt Lake City,UT
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Its funny since I dont see Calani as an artisan one either : it has a superb presentation for being an artisan soap,the carboard box,how the soaps are wrapped in paper,the scents...but yes,its an artisan one.

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 04-07-2012, 11:32 PM
#13
  • GreekGuy
  • Not saving money yet....
  • La Jolla, CA
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(04-07-2012, 11:07 PM)Teiste Wrote: Its funny since I dont see Calani as an artisan one either : it has a superb presentation for being an artisan soap,the carboard box,how the soaps are wrapped in paper,the scents...but yes,its an artisan one.

That's a good point Teiste. But it makes me wonder how does one qualify a soap maker as artisan or not. L'Occitane, C&E, AOS. These are obviously large companies. But MdC, TFS, Gold Dachs, and many more are what I would consider pretty small. I think even companies like DR Harris are considered a big name, but in reality, this is a pretty niche market anyway

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 04-08-2012, 05:12 AM
#14
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I just tried this one, and liked it. Mild scent, good lubrication, and left my skin feeling good. Several different scents available. I found on http://www.etsy.com

[img][Image: MundusBayRum.jpg][/img]

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 04-08-2012, 05:18 AM
#15
  • Dave
  • Moderator Emeritus
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(04-08-2012, 05:12 AM)Bowlturner Wrote: I just tried this one, and liked it. Mild scent, good lubrication, and left my skin feeling good. Several different scents available. I found on http://www.etsy.com

Mark I've often wondered about that soap after seeing it on Etsy and your opinion put me over the edge.

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 04-08-2012, 05:46 AM
#16
  • JAYDEE
  • Israeli Ambassador
  • Montreal, Canada
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For the most part I don't use artisan soaps, although there are exceptions for me. For example I LOVE the TSD soaps, Calani soaps, certain Mama Bear soaps, and the discontinued Tryphon soaps which I still have several of.

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 04-08-2012, 06:12 AM
#17
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(04-07-2012, 09:10 PM)Teiste Wrote: Where did you get the Jabonman from?Thats pretty impressive that you know him and his soaps!
Im glad that you are here since what you have written is what I think too.Some artisan soaps like Calani and Jabonman (even Kells Originals) are great,but I dont care about the over hype tallow cult that is out there.Are those artisan tallow based soaps nice?Yes,some of them are,but arent better than some of the regular shaving soaps out there.I feel that Im not caring too much for them either,even when I recognize that some are nice,like Queen Charlotte ones.

I got the Jabonman by ordering direct...we used google translate during the email exchange. I have the Lilas Sandalo and the Violetas cream...both really nice.

Re: artisan tallow soaps, I did try one recently that turned out to be pretty good. MJ Soap Shop from Canada. Didn't blow me away but did do a very good job lathering up...it's also a little firmer and less clumpy looking in appearance compared to some others I've seen/tried. Scent was light, not too strong.

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 04-08-2012, 06:17 AM
#18
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I don't care for glycerine and melt-and-pour soaps. I simply don't like them. So, those type of artisan soaps just don't fascinate me.

Other artisan soaps are good, I like them a lot and they are part of my rotation, like JabonMan, Nanny's, MdC or Calani. Smile

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 04-08-2012, 06:23 AM
#19
  • bullgoose
  • The Enabler
  • Redondo Beach, California, U.S.A
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(04-08-2012, 06:17 AM)oversaturn Wrote: I don't care for glycerine and melt-and-pour soaps. I simply don't like them. So, those type of artisan soaps just don't fascinate me.

I agree 100% Emanuel. The only exception for me is a for a pre-shave soap. I really like the Musgo Real Glyce Lime soap.

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 04-08-2012, 12:50 PM
#20
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Well, I for one enjoy the Prairie Creation soaps for 3 reasons.

1. She was able to provide a scent I was having trouble finding elsewhere ( Lilac to be precise ).

2. She has a hard soap that has tallow and lanolin. Tallow isn't a deal breaker for me, but I love lanolin in my soaps.

3. They simply work well. I have 4 different pucks, and I enjoy them all.

I think the main appeal of artisan soaps is getting an end product that matches some 'want' you have that normal commercial products don't provide. I've yet to find another soap that has a lilac scent AND lanolin for example.

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