09-29-2013, 09:14 AM
#1
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Gents, here are the preliminary results comparing among my top non-tallow shaving soaps: HTGAM Synergy Bay Rum and Napa Soap Ocean Blend.

Loading Ease: HTGAM
Both soaps load easily, but HTGAM with its larger diameter saves a few seconds. What Napa Soap delivers in luxury and elegance, HTGAM bests in pure novelty and fun of loading a brush on a puck that wide. Neither will make "cake" as thickly as we're used to with tallow, but they get more than three quarters of the way there.

Water Capacity: Napa Soap
Both soaps quickly absorb water into their lather better than any tallow soap I've used. HTGAM is astoundingly good at absorbing water easily and quickly, but Napa Soap can intake water even faster with a wider performance sweet spot. It is possible to overload both, but Napa Soap holds much more water before it gets too wet.

Quality of Lather: Tie, but different in character from tallow lather.
Both lathers at their best still have visible tiny bubbles significantly larger than tallow lather. Both lathers have staying power well beyond the duration of a shave. It is not unusual to see Napa Soap peaks still holding onto the side of the mug, albeit dried, the next day. Both lathers can hold much more water without collapsing. Both lathers make nice peaks and sudsy foam clumps. Both lathers can go on thickly with painting strokes with only a slightly lighter touch than tallow lathers. Both lathers can take a beating without vanishing. In fact my favorite way to bowl lather these soaps is to smash the lather down between sets of whisks of the brush until it just refuses to go away.

First Pass: Napa Soap
First pass is much closer with Napa Soap than HTGAM. Have no idea why, but the difference is significant. Napa Soap does seem to prep the skin and beard more easily.

Closeness of Shave: Tie
Both soaps nailed it. HTGAM required only a bit more touch up but the closeness of shave ended up the same.

Moisturizing: HTGAM
I feel my skin is more moisturized with HTGAM.

Protection: Napa Soap
HTGAM delivered an awesome effortless shave. But Napa Soap's protection was better and matched Mike's Natural. I think physics beats organic chemistry from time to time... in this case the clays in Napa Soap deliver what the clay in Mike's does. Perhaps it's the grape seed oil too. I can push technique with both, but Napa Soap is more forgiving.

Value: HTGAM
Napa Soap is 12.95 for 4.5oz and HTGAM is $15.95 for 8oz. While Napa Soap is harder I can't see that overtaking HTGAM's 8oz.

Availability of Wetshaving Scents: HTGAM
HTGAM offers six scents that are traditional to the wetshaving community: Bay Rum, Lime, Lavendar & Cedar, Vetiver & Vanilla, Cavendish (pipe tobacco), and Unscented. Napa Soap has two traditional scents: Cool Mint, and Lavender Cedar, and then three non-traditional Ocean Blend, Vintner's Blend, and Honey Jar.

After Shave Feel: Napa Soap
Skin is totally calm with Napa Soap. Feels refreshed and cared for. Feels slightly moisturized but not nearly as much as HTGAM. HTGAM's aftershave feel is comparable to what many tallow soaps deliver. The rinse experience on both is amazing. Far better than any tallow soap.

Scent: Apples/Oranges Comparison
Not fair comparing Ocean Blend to Bay Rum. I can smell citrus and mango in HTGAM, making it non-traditional, yet nice. Both are daily shave worthy.

Overall: Tie (preliminary) Both are outstanding.

More later.

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 09-30-2013, 03:19 AM
#2
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(09-29-2013, 11:45 AM)Douglas Smythe Wrote: Nice little review! I think you will really enjoy our latest formulation of Synergy.
Cheers,
Douglas

Shaving soaps have become computers. You've just gotten one and it's already outdated.

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 10-07-2013, 05:28 AM
#3
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More shaves with Napa Soap Ocean Blend and HTGAM Synergy Bay Rum...

Both of these soaps absorb water extremely easily. I can dip my brush into a palmfull of water and add it to my facelather easily. I combines with the lather on my face quickly and without dripping off. amazing.

Napa Soap Ocean Blend is much more protective and much more forgiving during the shave.

Both soaps are still in my rotation.

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 10-15-2013, 08:08 PM
#4
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Closeness and after shave feel have won out. Napa Soap is still in my rotation, Synergy is not. I am waiting for HTGAM to settle on a new formulation and will be trying again later.

As for Napa Soap Ocean Blend I have not been so excited about a soap since Cella or Mikes.

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 10-22-2013, 04:18 PM
#5
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Sounds like a nice soap that I need to try. I like my HTGAM vantiver and if the Napa soap outperforms it then I should be happy with it.

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