04-26-2013, 10:10 AM
#1
User Info
After shaving with my puck of Ogallala Bay Rum, Limes and Peppercorns this morning, I realized that I have been using a lot of "artisan" shave soaps lately (I prefer to call them independent soaps, as artisan has the wrong feel for me). I have come to think of indie soaps as being a better deal than many of the corporate offerings. They tend to come in a wide range of scents with as many different formulations as there are soap makers. Many of these independent soap makers are so good at their jobs that it can be easy to forget that they are indeed non corporate entities. Some of the best indie soap folks are based right here in the US, providing even more of a local sort of feel to a hand crafted product and making shipping much cheaper and quicker than if they had to be imported.

I've made a small list of the US made indie shave soaps that I have come across and have either really enjoyed using or have heard excellent things about. I'd like to hear what other folks have to say about these soaps and on the subject in general. Who are your favorite independent shave soap makers? Who have I left out?

My List-O-Indiesoaps:

--Em's Place http://www.shaveplace.com/index.asp
(These soaps are often held up as an excellent example of well made, but overlooked indie soaps.)

--Ginger's Garden http://gingersgarden.com/
(A wide variety of glycerin and tallow soaps with an absolutely HUGE scent list and great prices.)

--Green Mountain Soaps http://www.gmsoap.com/
(I have heard some high praise for these uniquely shaped soaps, but they have a minimum order of $24, so I have yet to try them out.)

--Honeybee Spa Soaps http://www.honeybeesoaps.net/
(I have heard nothing but good things about these soaps, they come in a wide variety of scents and are well priced.)

--Kell's Original http://kellsoriginal.com/main.sc
(I absolutely LOVE their Ultra Aloe blend soaps, they lather well and have a lasting scent)

--Mama Bear Soaps http://mamabearssoaps.com/
(I'm a big fan of their many scents, once you get the water/soap ratio down these soaps are great.)

--Mike's Natural Soaps http://www.mikesnaturalsoaps.com/
(Strong scents, a huge amount of soap for the money, and a tallow base all combine to make these one of the more popular indie soaps.)

--Mystic Water Soaps http://www.mystic4men.com/
(Held in a similarly high regard as Mike's, these can be difficult to get the right water/soap ratio.)

--Ogallala http://www.ogallalabayrum.mybigcommerce.com/
(Amazing lather, strong scents, low costs...what's not to like? They can cause some burn, but once you get used to it these soaps rock.)

--Prairie Creations http://prairie-creations.com/shop/index.php?cPath=40
(I have heard excellent things about their products, but also just as many complaints about the shipping delays, especially with the custom orders. I would still be willing to give them a try based purely on the praise that they receive.)

--Pyrate Cove Soapworks http://www.pyratecovesoapworks.com/
(LOW cost, excellent customer service, fast lather, and great scents make these soaps a worthy choice. Here is their mobile site, if the main one does not work well on your device: http://www.pyratecovesoapworks.com/index3.htm )

--QED http://www.qedusa.com/
(An often praised line of products with a helpful and courteous proprietor.)

--Queen Charlotte Soap http://www.queencharlottesoaps.com/
(One of the more expensive indie soaps, these get a lot of praise not only for their quality, but also for their generous sample sizes.)

--Saint Charles Soaps http://www.saintcharlesshave.com/
(Well priced interesting indie soaps with a lot of variety and quality packaging.)

Sent from my Transformer using Xparent Cyan Tapatalk 2

6 327
Reply
 04-26-2013, 11:01 AM
#2
  • tgutc
  • Senior Member
  • Michigan
User Info
That's a very helpful list. Especially for someone just getting into wet shaving who would be unaware of all of their options.

45 3,955
Reply
 04-26-2013, 12:06 PM
#3
  • Songwind
  • Soap Slinger & Scuttle Pusher
  • Burnsville, MN
User Info
I really like the Strop Shoppe (http://stropshoppe.com), though like Prairie Creations they have their share of Customer Service snafus.

10 1,858
Reply
 04-26-2013, 01:13 PM
#4
User Info
Barrister & Mann is kind of a newcomer to the scene, and I've only had one use of their soap, but I'm impressed so far. Anyone else have more experience with that one?

2 362
Reply
 04-26-2013, 01:38 PM
#5
User Info
[Image: cartItem_22_1_large.jpg]

The shape of Green Mountain sure is weird lol!

0 652
Reply
 04-26-2013, 02:01 PM
#6
User Info
(04-26-2013, 01:38 PM)Sodapopjones Wrote: The shape of Green Mountain sure is weird lol!

Is it soap & a bowl all in one?

9 2,988
Reply
 04-26-2013, 02:02 PM
#7
User Info
I haven't really seen too many reviews of Barrister and Mann and I have never used it, so it did not make the list. They seem like interesting soaps, so I will give them a try sooner or later.

The Green Mountain Soaps do look kind of odd. Most of the reviews are positive, and also pretty positive in regards to their shape...apparently they fit well in just about anything. I would love to try them, but I am unwilling to buy two pucks of a soap that is relatively unknown just so I can meet the minimum order of $24. If they had samples I would be all over them, but they don't. Leisure Guy did a review of the soap not too long ago.

Sent from my Transformer using Xparent Cyan Tapatalk 2

6 327
Reply
 04-26-2013, 08:06 PM
#8
  • Songwind
  • Soap Slinger & Scuttle Pusher
  • Burnsville, MN
User Info
(04-26-2013, 01:38 PM)Sodapopjones Wrote: [Image: cartItem_22_1_large.jpg]

The shape of Green Mountain sure is weird lol!

It's like a shaving skate wheel. Smile

10 1,858
Reply
 04-26-2013, 08:30 PM
#9
User Info
(04-26-2013, 02:01 PM)asharperrazor Wrote:
(04-26-2013, 01:38 PM)Sodapopjones Wrote: The shape of Green Mountain sure is weird lol!

Is it soap & a bowl all in one?

It seems like they just took two small cakes and smashed them into one!

(04-26-2013, 02:02 PM)Jabberwock Wrote: I haven't really seen too many reviews of Barrister and Mann and I have never used it, so it did not make the list. They seem like interesting soaps, so I will give them a try sooner or later.

The Green Mountain Soaps do look kind of odd. Most of the reviews are positive, and also pretty positive in regards to their shape...apparently they fit well in just about anything. I would love to try them, but I am unwilling to buy two pucks of a soap that is relatively unknown just so I can meet the minimum order of $24. If they had samples I would be all over them, but they don't. Leisure Guy did a review of the soap not too long ago.

Sent from my Transformer using Xparent Cyan Tapatalk 2

The minimum order does kind of suck, but you can pickup a set of 3 bar soaps and call it a day. I'm thinking of pulling the trigger and giving them a go, since I have never heard of them and Balsam spice has my name on it. Shipping is $16.70 though lol... Supposedly they refund overcharged shipping costs....

0 652
Reply
 04-26-2013, 08:40 PM
#10
User Info
I have to admit that the Lime Vetiver really has me interested...and I could use some bar soaps for the bathroom...argh, the shave soap skate wheel is pulling me into it's consumer vortex of doooooom!

I added Ginger's Garden to the list. I wasn't going to add anything, but I decided to make a small exception for them. I added them because they make good soaps and have earned themselves a reprieve from my past scorn...I had poor experiences with their website and customer service in the past, but they appear to have improved and are worth a visit.

Sent from my Transformer using Xparent Cyan Tapatalk 2

6 327
Reply
 04-26-2013, 10:45 PM
#11
  • Johnny
  • Super Moderator
  • Wausau, Wisconsin, USA
User Info
(04-26-2013, 10:10 AM)Jabberwock Wrote: My List-O-Indiesoaps:

--Mike's Natural Soaps http://www.mikesnaturalsoaps.com/
(Strong scents, a huge amount of soap for the money, and a tallow base all combine to make these one of the more popular indie soaps.)

--Mystic Water Soaps http://www.mystic4men.com/
(Held in a similarly high regard as Mike's, these can be difficult to get the right water/soap ratio.)

--Prairie Creations http://prairie-creations.com/shop/index.php?cPath=40
(I have heard excellent things about their products, but also just as many complaints about the shipping delays, especially with the custom orders. I would still be willing to give them a try based purely on the praise that they receive.)

I've only had experience with these three and was very satisfied with all of them.

173 23,547
Reply
 04-27-2013, 09:32 AM
#12
User Info
Just tossing in my 2 cents ... take it for what it is worth.

I have 7 pucks of Prairie Creations. 4 are her Tallow and Lanolin line, and they are first class in my book. I also have 3 pucks of her Walters' soaps that I like as well.

As far as customer service I've only had positive results. She even worked with me on a Lilac scented soap to match my Lilac Vegetol ( Masters not Pinaud ) AS. She has even tossed in a small sample of her other products in both orders I made with her. I actually used one of her sample bath soaps today in the shower.

0 252
Reply
 04-28-2013, 08:42 AM
#13
User Info
This is a great post with some very useful info regarding US soapmakers. There are several listed that I often forget about when thinking of new soaps to try. Thank you for sharing.

Mike's is to date the best shaving soap I have ever used, hands down. Ymmv of course.

63 2,128
Reply
 04-28-2013, 10:09 AM
#14
  • CRAusmus
  • Senior Member
  • Going from Texas to Georgia
User Info
Didn't notice this one on the list...
http://www.stirlingsoap.com/index.html
Although I've never tried it, I've only heard positive things about it, and it is among a short list of soaps that I aim to try.

14 1,177
Reply
 04-28-2013, 12:56 PM
#15
User Info
OP, out of curiosity, which "corporate offerings" have you tried?

12 1,243
Reply
 04-28-2013, 02:39 PM
#16
User Info
Am enjoying samples of Mike's and Queen Charlotte Soaps which work very well. Tried Mystic Waters but had little luck with making a decent lather.

3 543
Reply
 04-28-2013, 03:41 PM
#17
User Info
Subscribed, thanks for putting it together

31 1,800
Reply
 04-28-2013, 05:49 PM
#18
User Info
(04-28-2013, 12:56 PM)insomniac Wrote: OP, out of curiosity, which "corporate offerings" have you tried?

Proraso White (Ludovico Martelli, Srl.), C.O. Bigelow (technically a private company, but the soap is of course produced by Ludovico Martelli, Srl.), L'Occitane (L'Occitane International, S.A.), eShave (I have been told that eShave is a public corporate company, but as of right now I am having difficulty finding any info on their corporate ownership or structure),the Art of Shaving (Procter & Gamble), Van Der Hagen (Van Der Hagen Enterprises), Palmolive (Colgate-Palmolive Company), and Pre De Provence (European Soaps, Llc.) are the soaps that I have used which are produced by or subsidiaries of major corporations and that I can think of off the top of my head.

I have absolutely nothing against the soaps made my corporate entities, VDH Deluxe is one of my favorites and I use eShave creams all of the time, but it's sometimes nice to see what is available on the small scale and to know that when you are in need of customer service that the person you end up dealing with is the creator, manufacturer, and distributor of the product.

Don't take this post as a bash on corporately produced products, they almost all started out as small artisans too, I just like to bring to light some of the often overlooked little guys.

Sent from my Transformer using Xparent Cyan Tapatalk 2

6 327
Reply
 04-29-2013, 11:24 AM
#19
User Info
(04-28-2013, 05:49 PM)Jabberwock Wrote:
(04-28-2013, 12:56 PM)insomniac Wrote: OP, out of curiosity, which "corporate offerings" have you tried?

Proraso White (Ludovico Martelli, Srl.), C.O. Bigelow (technically a private company, but the soap is of course produced by Ludovico Martelli, Srl.), L'Occitane (L'Occitane International, S.A.), eShave (I have been told that eShave is a public corporate company, but as of right now I am having difficulty finding any info on their corporate ownership or structure),the Art of Shaving (Procter & Gamble), Van Der Hagen (Van Der Hagen Enterprises), Palmolive (Colgate-Palmolive Company), and Pre De Provence (European Soaps, Llc.) are the soaps that I have used which are produced by or subsidiaries of major corporations and that I can think of off the top of my head.

I have absolutely nothing against the soaps made my corporate entities, VDH Deluxe is one of my favorites and I use eShave creams all of the time, but it's sometimes nice to see what is available on the small scale and to know that when you are in need of customer service that the person you end up dealing with is the creator, manufacturer, and distributor of the product.

Don't take this post as a bash on corporately produced products, they almost all started out as small artisans too, I just like to bring to light some of the often overlooked little guys.

Sent from my Transformer using Xparent Cyan Tapatalk 2

Thanks. Just a comment - not all of those are "corporate offerings" any more than the artisans you listed. European Soaps (the PdP people) isn't a subsidiary of anything, Van Der Hagen is owned by Marty Van Der Hagen, and I'm pretty sure eShave isn't owned by a public corporation (the trademark is owned by Danielle Malka, the founder, rather than a corporation like AoS.)

Of course these aren't one-person artisans, but I'm not sure I would call them major corporations either. The wetshaving industry is by definition small potatoes, and to someone like Proctor and Gamble, shaving soap is noise in the bottom line.

12 1,243
Reply
 04-29-2013, 11:49 AM
#20
User Info
I've only tried Mike's and have enjoyed it. I'll have to check out some of these others.

Sent from my Amaze 4G using Tapatalk 2

1 67
Reply
Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)