01-10-2015, 10:09 AM
#1
  • kav
  • Banned
  • east of the sun,west of the moon
User Info
I recently received a long discontinued tallow Woods of Windsor puck. The AS and EDT were an early favourite and
I managed to locate a vegetable based puck: all WOW products at that time discontinued ( the current reformulation is wretched).
I was shocked by the irritation and redness and it was exiled.
Much later I was gifted some artisan ( that WORD again) soap that reeked of Nag Champa. For the blissfully ignorant, this is a Indian scent Bobby Dylan burned on stage. It is sandalwood on steroids and I never got past the pathetic slurry called lather. I literally jumped into a cold shower as my face BURNED within seconds of beginning to face lather.
I was just gifted a TALLOW puck of old WOW again. I tried it-carefully and quickly relegated it to a pot pourri bowl.It was a great scent.
So, I believe heavy scent oils are a, if not the culprit for soap burn.
Thoughts?

2 3,171
Reply
 01-10-2015, 10:24 AM
#2
  • Giorgio
  • Senior Member
  • Pennsylvania, US
User Info
I agree Kav, a major source of skin reactions to soaps in some individuals can be the scenting oils used, whether essential oils or fragrance oils. However, the ingredients themselves can often be the culprit as well, such as Lanolin.

When I was on my own quest searching for the ingredient(s) that irritated my skin, a big lesson I learned is the YMMV factor seems to be especially true in this area. Furthermore, an assumption that began to take shape in my mind is that the actual quality of the ingredients (either for scent or the actual soap formula) can play a role in skin reaction, although I found this one much harder to prove Confused

34 1,628
Reply
 01-10-2015, 10:31 AM
#3
User Info
I'm not 100% sure what the culprit is when it comes to irritation from soaps but I agree with what you are saying. Personally I stay away from any shaving soaps that are heavily scented, especially with fragrance oils. Those are the ones that have caused me irritation in the past, not always, but most times. Soaps that are lighter in scent strength, or scented with essential oils have normally been ok for me.

5 79
Reply
 01-10-2015, 10:46 AM
#4
  • racebmx
  • Sapone Di Paolo
  • Charleston, South Carolina
User Info
I have a few scent samples from Maggard. The fougere lit my face up. No problem whatsoever from the others.

11 684
Reply
 01-10-2015, 11:13 AM
#5
User Info
Essential oils can be quite powerful, so yes, EOs can contribute to irritation.

But there are other substances that can be found in soaps. SLS is one such that can have an adverse reaction on the skin. When combined with EOs it can be a witches brew of irritation. Not being a soap maker I can't tell you what other substances could contribute to irritation, I only know of the SLS.

OK, to make matters worse, soap strips the skin of any protection it has from naturally secreted oils, then shaving removes dead skin layers, further opening it up to irritation. It's no wonder a number of gents want scentless soaps.

On a positive note though, many EOs can actually make a soap better (IMO). The powerful qualities of the EOs can contribute to a better shave experience and not merely add scent. At least that's a hypothesis of mine.

32 6,459
Reply
 01-10-2015, 11:53 AM
#6
  • Mel S Meles
  • On the edge, ouch
  • 44.4899° south of the North Pole
User Info
(01-10-2015, 10:09 AM)kav Wrote: So, I believe heavy scent oils are a, if not the culprit for soap burn.
Thoughts?

"A," not "the." While not very common in shaving soaps, SLS (sodium lauryl sulfate) is one of the most common detergents in the household, found in almost all dishwashing liquids, most shampoos, and even most toothpastes. Now, despite some ill-informed raving around the Internet, SLS (and its milder kin, SLES, or sodium laurel sulfate) are about as safe as anything around the house; but SLS is not only an irritant, it is the international standard irritant, against which the irritant properties of other chemicals are measured. SLS is like the two scratches on the bar in Paris that define the length of a meter. You will find SLS or SLES in some preshave and postshave formulations, and, if you shave in the shower, there's a pretty good chance that the bottle of body soap or the bar of bath soap in there with you and your razor will contain SLS or SLES, or both, among the main ingredients.

1 1,089
Reply
 01-10-2015, 01:37 PM
#7
User Info
In addition to fragrances (FO or EO) and detergents, some people are specifically sensitive to particular oils or soaps. I've been contacted by a few people whose skin reacts poorly to coconut oil, for example. And since most artisan soaps will contain at least a small percentage of oils that aren't saponified, that can cause problems, too.

10 1,858
Reply
 01-10-2015, 07:31 PM
#8
User Info
I definitely react badly to many commercial "soaps". I assume it's the SLS. I stopped using commercial bars and liquids, but was still getting a reaction until I realized that SLS is in shampoos too. Thankfully, I discovered shampoo bars.

As Eric said, oils can cause problems too. We've had customers express concerns about almond and palm oils.

0 1,071
Reply
 01-11-2015, 07:24 AM
#9
User Info
In my case, I get reactions from many of the essential oils used in shaving soaps. In addition I'm allergic to Almond, Almond Oil and Gluten. It's a pain for me to find a soap that doesnt irritate me! 95% of my den is unscented, for that same reason.

0 32
Reply
 01-11-2015, 12:15 PM
#10
  • Gordy
  • Member
  • Wherever I am!
User Info
I had many irritations over the years, until I discovered this "new" form of shaving. First thing I learned was to completely ditch SLS. There isn't a body product in our house now that contains it. My skin has never been in better condition and all the irritations that my family felt, are all gone. I have no doubt now that it was all linked to SLS. By stripping elastin from the skin, it causes premature ageing.

0 246
Reply
 01-11-2015, 10:17 PM
#11
User Info
Long-time lurker here, finally starting to participate in the forum since this topic is very personal to me.

I have extremely sensitive skin, so I've tried and given away or sold quite a few soaps and creams.

I concur that both fragrance oils / essential oils and ingredients like coconut oil can cause real problems for some people. I've had to give up on any soap with coconut oil as a primary ingredient, which required me to sell off a barely-used jar of MdC unscented. Cella was particularly bad for me, because of the combination of coconut oil and the almond scent.

Fortunately, I have no problem with lanolin. My go-to soap is Mike's unscented. I also have great results with Mystic Waters. I haven't tried Shannon's yet, but I will try their unscented since it was created for guys like me.

Nick

2 50
Reply
 01-12-2015, 03:49 PM
#12
User Info
(01-11-2015, 10:17 PM)Nick Danger Wrote: I haven't tried Shannon's yet, but I will try their unscented since it was created for guys like me.

Our soap has a small amount of coconut oil in it. I know you said it's only an issue if coconut oil is a main ingredient, so hopefully it will work well for you, but I thought I would mention it. You might try a sample size to make sure.

0 1,071
Reply
 01-12-2015, 06:08 PM
#13
User Info
(01-11-2015, 10:17 PM)Nick Danger Wrote: I haven't tried Shannon's yet, but I will try their unscented since it was created for guys like me.

Nick

You really need to try Shannon's!!! One of my Top soaps, by far. I have the unscented and never have gotten a skin reaction (and I get reactions from everything)

0 32
Reply
 01-12-2015, 07:36 PM
#14
User Info
(01-12-2015, 03:49 PM)Shannons Soaps Wrote: Our soap has a small amount of coconut oil in it. I know you said it's only an issue if coconut oil is a main ingredient, so hopefully it will work well for you, but I thought I would mention it. You might try a sample size to make sure.

Brian,

I appreciate your concern, and your participation in this forum.

I've looked at your ingredients, and I suspect I'll have no trouble with your soap. Coconut oil is near the end of the list, below lanolin. Mike's Natural Soap has coconut oil in the same place in the ingredients list, and his soap is one of my favorites. My problem is more with soaps where coconut is the primary, or only oil, like Martin de Candre.

While I probably have enough soap on hand to last the next year or two, I'm sure I'll be ordering a puck from you soon enough.

Nick

2 50
Reply
 01-12-2015, 08:08 PM
#15
User Info
I havent had any problems with soaps that are using EOs, and try to steer clear of those with FOs. I find that fragrance oils are more harsh than essential oils, and look for soaps that use EOs for their scent. Now if I did an inventory I am sure I would find a random soap that has FOs and dont cause me any problems. I will say that any soap i have tried that has any kind of Cinnamon in it will find a way to burn me, either on the first pass or the third.

My suggestion to OP is to try a soap from an artisan (there's that word again) that is using strictly EOs and no FOs. Also, for me, it seems that if I use a commercially made soap like TABAC or vintage OS, or even the Fig and Nutmeg from Spanish Bath House, they never seem to burn. They must test way more on humans and know what burns people most.

PS, I am blissfully ignorant too Smile But thanks for that backstory!

8 169
Reply
 01-13-2015, 01:32 PM
#16
  • KRpdx
  • Member
  • Portland, OR
User Info
Fragrances in personal products are some of the most notorious for various kinds of adverse reactions. I lean toward "natural" products, but even then there are potentially caustic botanicals. Just depends on unique sensitivities. (eg., the only food I'm allergic to is, of all things, buckwheat. How did that happen?)

12 166
Reply
 01-13-2015, 05:36 PM
#17
User Info
(01-11-2015, 07:24 AM)herbert7890 Wrote: In my case, I get reactions from many of the essential oils used in shaving soaps. In addition I'm allergic to Almond, Almond Oil and Gluten. It's a pain for me to find a soap that doesnt irritate me! 95% of my den is unscented, for that same reason.

Great to see you here! Welcome to the Shave Nook!

(01-12-2015, 07:36 PM)Nick Danger Wrote: Brian,

I appreciate your concern, and your participation in this forum.

I've looked at your ingredients, and I suspect I'll have no trouble with your soap. Coconut oil is near the end of the list, below lanolin. Mike's Natural Soap has coconut oil in the same place in the ingredients list, and his soap is one of my favorites. My problem is more with soaps where coconut is the primary, or only oil, like Martin de Candre.

While I probably have enough soap on hand to last the next year or two, I'm sure I'll be ordering a puck from you soon enough.

Nick

Sounds good, Nick. Thanks for considering us.

0 1,071
Reply
 01-14-2015, 07:05 AM
#18
User Info
(01-12-2015, 08:08 PM)Olschoolsteel Wrote: I havent had any problems with soaps that are using EOs, and try to steer clear of those with FOs. I find that fragrance oils are more harsh than essential oils, and look for soaps that use EOs for their scent. Now if I did an inventory I am sure I would find a random soap that has FOs and dont cause me any problems. I will say that any soap i have tried that has any kind of Cinnamon in it will find a way to burn me, either on the first pass or the third.

Fragrances are a tricky beast. As you say, FOs tend to be more concentrated, so if you're sensitive to a chemical that's in them, your reaction is going to be stronger compared to an EO with the same component.

Conversely, EOs contain many more compounds than FOs, so your chances of running into a chemical to which you're sensitive is actually higher.

When I was deciding how to scent Dapper Dragon soaps, I chased my tail on this issue for a time, then just tossed up my hands and decided to make the info available and let the customers pick what was best for them.

10 1,858
Reply
 01-14-2015, 10:13 AM
#19
User Info
I fully agree with Eric.
Some people believe that EO's are less prone to cause irritations or allergic reactions than FO's. After all, EO's are naturally sourced, so they must be better in this specific issue, right?

Well... no. EO's and FO's can share many common compounds. And if you are allergic or sensitive to something, it will bite you, regardless if the origin is natural or synthetic.

At the bottom, it will depend largely of each one's sensitivity or tendency to be allergic to something. It's like being allergic to coconut oil or to lanolin... components that can be a problem to those users, but for the majority of us, those are still good components to have on a shaving soap.

2 5,547
Reply
 01-15-2015, 08:15 PM
#20
User Info
Well Eric you deciphered my thinking completely. So I cant really disagree with you as much as I want to. My tendency will be to always try to lean to the EO type soaps as they seem much less harsh. (Except for that cinnamon thing I mentioned)

Trial and error is about the best way a user can make an informed decision.

Keeping in mind my favorite quote "The dose makes the poison", this is why some have to use scentless and lanolin free soaps just to shave. I have to feel sorry for some of them as they have to refrain from buying just any kind of soap. BUT...at least they are shaving and maintaining a well groomed appearance.

8 169
Reply
Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)