05-26-2014, 12:54 PM
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Hi All,

I've seen a few terms thrown around and I was wondering if someone would be so kind as to clarify them for me?

When pertaining to soaps; what is cushion? I understand what slickness (slipperiness) is, but cushion still alludes me.

When pertaining to scents; what are top notes, middle notes and base notes?


24 670
 05-26-2014, 01:07 PM
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I think I can help with cushion. It's the ability of the lather to resist the blade/razor from overcontacting the skin.

Scent is more difficult at least for me. Edit: OK, so I was way off base on this. I'm no "scent" person and have often mentioned that. I think way outside the box and simply like what I like. :-)

At least it elicited some responses. :-) I'm going back into my hole... :-)

32 6,490
 05-26-2014, 01:20 PM
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The scent notes actually pertain more to stages of the drydown. There's a fairly good article on the subject here:

214 12,639
 05-26-2014, 01:20 PM
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Top notes are what you smell first and they evaporate the quickest. Middle notes are what you smell next and last slightly longer, they help transition you to the base notes. Base notes are the slowest evaporating and stick around for quite awhile, sometimes many hours Shy

96 2,592
 05-26-2014, 01:30 PM
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Ill chime in on scent. It is commonly accepted that in order to provide a well rounded fragrance that a combination of what is known as top, base and middle notes is required. Obviously this in not written in stone nor is it always the case, but in the fragrance industry it is the "formula" by which most fragrances are created. Every individual scent is categorized in top, base or middle and the standard formula most often used is 30% top notes / 50% middle notes / 20% base notes.
Top notes are the scents you pick up right away when you smell a fragrance, you initial perception of the scent. Base notes are the longest lasting of the scents you pick up with a fragrance, they last the longest and are the fullest scents. Middle notes basically link the 2 together but in my mind most importantly they most often determine the fragrance category a scent will fall into. ie: fougere, chypre , vetiver, etc
There are no steadfast rules but it is fairly commonly accepted that if you are trying to come up with a fragrance a good starting point would be a list of essential or fragrance oils separated by the scent category they fall into - top, middle, or base. Then by following the standard formula I mentioned of 30/50/20 you have the best likelihood of coming up with a well rounded, non offensive at the very least, hopefully pleasant scent. Of course minor tweakings and variations can occur in the ratios etc and some scents fall into 2 categories such as tea tree and bergamot are known as top/middle fragrances while cinnamon and neroli would be known as middle/base notes.
Also this info can be particularly handy if there is a fragrance you are trying to replicate. If you can accurately distinguish top, middle and base notes and then follow the standard 30/50/20 formula you can often get pretty close and make minor tweaks from there to nail it down.
Hope that helps!

9 429
 05-28-2014, 10:25 AM
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Thanks so much for the detailed explanations. Cushion finally makes sense! I used LASS Woody/Lavender for today's shave and now I can finally explain why LASS doesn't work too well for me. No matter how hard I play with it's lather, it's always kind of thin and the blade feels like it's scraping my face.

When I lather with Palmolive, I never feel this, so I guess Palmolive has great cushion.

About the scents, how definitive are the top, middle and base notes? I read scent descriptions and can never make out the same scents as described. For example; Mike's Orange, Cedar and Black Pepper: to my nose, smells like a fresh cut potato.

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 05-29-2014, 06:35 AM
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(05-28-2014, 10:25 AM)Starkicker Wrote: About the scents, how definitive are the top, middle and base notes? I read scent descriptions and can never make out the same scents as described. For example; Mike's Orange, Cedar and Black Pepper: to my nose, smells like a fresh cut potato.

Since we rinse the soap off, the need for a specific top, middle, and base note is much less important. By the time your top notes fade, your shave should be over. And there's no need for a dry-down base note, since it's not going to be hanging around all day.

As for OCBP smelling like potato? I think your olfactory bulb is broken, and you should see about getting a warranty replacement. Smile Or possibly you got an older bar, and the outside most layer's scent has evaporated. Try gouging a little furrow in it with your thumbnail or something, and see if the scent wakes up.

To me, the orange is the dominant scent, cedar is more subdued, and black pepper acts more like a nuance or accent.

10 1,858
 05-29-2014, 10:01 AM
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I'm with Eric on this one. Top notes, middle notes, and basenotes are for colognes, not so much for shaving soaps.

In fact, I'll take it one step further. I think shaving soaps that have a single fragrance note, or at most two fragrance notes, I generally like better than soaps that have "cologne" fragrances.

Examples: Lime, lavender, lavender-lime, bergamot-lavender, neroli, neroli-jasmine, rose, rose-lemon, etc are all great scents for shaving soaps, IMO.

As far as cologne-scented soaps go, the only one I really, really enjoy is RazoRock XX.

YMMV. I know some guys really like the cologne-scented soaps. I just think that simple scents work great for shave soaps.

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