09-19-2015, 05:09 AM
#1
  • Mel S Meles
  • On the edge, ouch
  • 44.4899° south of the North Pole
User Info
So this week, yr obdnt srvnt finally has got around to giving Sampson’s All Natural Shaving Soap (link) a full workout.  As I am not fully comfortable to write within the constrained format of the Reviews section, I am sharing my observations here as a post in an ordinary thread.

Sampson’s marches to the beat of a different drummer.  Back in the day, it was said that there were two kinds of automobiles in the world:  (1) Citroẽn, and (2) all others; in the world of shaving soaps and aftershave products, it might equally be observed that there are two separate categories:  (1) Sampson’s, and (2) all others.  Jarrod, the proprietor of site sponsor The Superior Shave, strongly hints that Sampson’s shaving soap is very similar to Martin de Candre shaving soap.  I have not essayed Martin de Candre, and so I defer to Jarrod’s assessment; but I have not read users’ reviews of Martin de Candre that remark how differently it behaves from other shaving soaps.

Sampson’s also makes an aftershave product that is neither splash nor conventional creamy balm:  again Sampson’s marches to the beat of a different drummer.  If one reads the printed “owner’s manual” that accompanies the Sampson’s shaving soap, one almost comes away with the impression that the main function of the Sampson’s shaving soap is to act as a preliminary for the main (aftershave) event.  (Put that in your pipe and smoke it.)  Some time, I might offer a second thread about the aftershave, but the rest of this post will be limited to my observations about the shaving soap.

The puck of Sampson’s shaving soap in my possession is very hard; although the standard size for this product is 156 grams, from the absence of a dent in it after repeated use, I guess that the puck will last a long, long time.  In a similar vein, however, this is a soap that verily demands to be “bloomed” — water sitting atop the puck for an extended period — prior to lathering for the shave.  If you customarily just swirl a wet brush on top of an unbloomed puck of soap to work up a lather, be prepared to swirl and swirl and swirl and swirl your brush atop an unbloomed puck of Sampson’s,  

Sampson’s is not, however, an excellent candidate for the “Bloom Water Lathering” (link) technique that I illustrated in a separate thread.  The bloom water poured off of a puck of Sampson’s shaving soap does not whip up into a full, satisfying, dense lather; in fact, it needs some help — more product added to the brush from the puck itself —to whip up into any kind of lather at all.  

And that raises what for some readers of this post may be the deal-breaker.  If the visual aspects of lather are to you the be-all and end-all of shaving soap — if you groove on lather porn — then pass on Sampson’s.  It’s the wrong fuel for your roadster; even with sufficient product on and in the brush, and even using water as soft as the water that we have here in Portland, the lather from Sampson’s never will be a porn star.  

As I have confessed before, in my past, I went somewhere between ten and twenty years in a row using one shaving soap every day.  You may have read about SAW (soap a week); mine was SAD (soap a decade); the soap to which I gave such loyalty was Col. Ichabod Conk Amber, a glycerine-rich soap that does not get much love on The Shave Nook board. Like Sampson’s shaving soap, Col. Conk yields a slick protective film on the face that also moisturizes the whiskers and makes them stand up to be mercilessly cut down; but like Col. Conk lather, Sampson’s lather hardly will allow your face to pass for Frosty the Snowman’s face at the Christmas party.  Sampson’s lather is short on show, but long on business:  it is devoted to the serious work of saturating whiskers rather than to the swimsuit competition of a beauty contest.

With a properly sharp blade in the razor, Sampson’s has given me as close a shave as I have achieved, and with nary a nick or bleeder.  With a dull blade, however, Sampson’s’ (had to use two apostrophes) slickness creates an issue that I have not encountered to the same extent with other shaving soaps:  the dull edge meets the shaft of the saturated but slick whisker and simply slides up one side of the whisker and down the other.  Sampson’s lather is very slick; and a dull blade edge cannot get a purchase on a whisker surface that slick.  With either a sharp blade or a dull blade, Sampson’s does a good job of moisturizing.

So there you have it:  Sampson’s is a shaving soap that is full of contradictions but devoid of compromises; it is a shaving soap that you can love or not love, but in the end it is a shaving soap that will leave you with a strong opinion one way or the other.

0 1,054
Reply
 09-19-2015, 05:16 AM
#2
User Info
Nice write up Mel. I looked for an ingredient list, but to no avail. Can you direct me?  Sherlock

39 3,882
Reply
 09-19-2015, 05:44 AM
#3
User Info
Stearic Acid, Coconut Oil, Water, Potassium Hydroxide, Glycerin, Essential Oils

Good basic soap with a pinetree scent but drying. My soap isn't hard, not too much anyway and easy to push in fingers like a putty.
How to have trouble making lather with this? Super easy like all the coconut oil only soaps.

0 155
Reply
 09-19-2015, 05:53 AM
#4
User Info
Good review. The ingredient list (except for the EO) is identical to that of the Los Angeles Shaving Soap Co. unscented soap that I use regularly. It performs well with no downside.

29 1,776
Reply
 09-19-2015, 06:37 AM
#5
User Info
The result of browsing TSN soap threads while your son gets a Saturday morning haircut….sample pack ordered.  Thanks for the write up, Mel.

10 338
Reply
 09-19-2015, 06:44 AM
#6
  • cnj01
  • member
  • Central California
User Info
I really like Sampsons soap, seems to lather just fine and I bloom my puck, slickness and moisterizing is excellent. Love this stuff.

11 68
Reply
 09-19-2015, 07:08 AM
#7
User Info
(09-19-2015, 05:44 AM)stephengilley Wrote: Stearic Acid, Coconut Oil, Water, Potassium Hydroxide, Glycerin, Essential Oils

Good basic soap with a pinetree scent but drying. My soap isn't hard, not too much anyway and easy to push in fingers like a putty.
How to have trouble making lather with this? Super easy like all the coconut oil only soaps.

Thank you.

39 3,882
Reply
 09-19-2015, 09:00 AM
#8
  • Mel S Meles
  • On the edge, ouch
  • 44.4899° south of the North Pole
User Info
(09-19-2015, 06:37 AM)shaverjoe Wrote: The result of browsing TSN soap threads while your son gets a Saturday morning haircut….sample pack ordered.  Thanks for the write up, Mel.

Two other, very probably related, unusual aspects of the Sampson’s shaving soap:  
  • With other soaps, when I rinse the razor head in the sink of the lather that the razor has scraped off of my face, the lather comes off the razor as small floating islands that persist on the surface of the water in the sink.  The rinsed-off Sampson’s lather, in contrast, dissipates very quickly, leaving no floating islands.
  • I disassemble my DE razor after each and every shave; when I disassemble a DE razor after shaving with Sampson’s, there is NO residual soap on the razor blade to be rinsed off, and all of the pieces of the razor itself come out clean.  (I rinse them anyway:  OCD.)  Sampson’s might be the perfect soap for those men who shave with a multi-blade cartridge but complain of clogging between the blades (or who have given up using cartridge razors because of clogging).

0 1,054
Reply
 09-19-2015, 10:14 AM
#9
User Info
Simpsons does make a really nice cream.

0 47
Reply
 09-19-2015, 10:19 AM
#10
User Info
(09-19-2015, 09:00 AM)Mel S Meles Wrote:
(09-19-2015, 06:37 AM)shaverjoe Wrote: The result of browsing TSN soap threads while your son gets a Saturday morning haircut….sample pack ordered.  Thanks for the write up, Mel.

Two other, very probably related, unusual aspects of the Sampson’s shaving soap:  

  • With other soaps, when I rinse the razor head in the sink of the lather that the razor has scraped off of my face, the lather comes off the razor as small floating islands that persist on the surface of the water in the sink.  The rinsed-off Sampson’s lather, in contrast, dissipates very quickly, leaving no floating islands.
  • I disassemble my DE razor after each and every shave; when I disassemble a DE razor after shaving with Sampson’s, there is NO residual soap on the razor blade to be rinsed off, and all of the pieces of the razor itself come out clean.  (I rinse them anyway:  OCD.)  Sampson’s might be the perfect soap for those men who shave with a multi-blade cartridge but complain of clogging between the blades (or who have given up using cartridge razors because of clogging).
I use a straight 99% of the time and , in part, judge my lather's hydration status by how easily it rinses from the blade.  Very excited to try this soap! Will share my thoughts here after I have used the sample puck a few times.

10 338
Reply
 09-19-2015, 12:27 PM
#11
  • Mel S Meles
  • On the edge, ouch
  • 44.4899° south of the North Pole
User Info
(09-19-2015, 10:14 AM)RAZRman Wrote: Simpsons does make a really nice cream.

Just in case the comment was not tongue-in-cheek:  Sampson’s (Wisconsin, USofA) ≠ Simpsons (Isle of Man).

0 1,054
Reply
 09-20-2015, 05:47 AM
#12
  • Johnny
  • MODERATOR EMERITUS
  • Wausau, Wisconsin, USA
User Info
I too use the Sampsons Soap and I use their Moisturizing Aftershave during the cold, dry winter months.  It is a very good product that does not disappoint.

They also make other salves that are good for rough dry skin. 

[Image: Iw5KfV5.jpg]

175 23,752
Reply
 09-20-2015, 07:21 AM
#13
User Info
(09-20-2015, 05:47 AM)Johnny Wrote: I too use the Sampsons Soap and I use their Moisturizing Aftershave during the cold, dry winter months.  It is a very good product that does not disappoint.

They also make other salves that are good for rough dry skin. 

[Image: Iw5KfV5.jpg]
Very nice, Johnny.

10 338
Reply
 09-21-2015, 10:10 PM
#14
User Info
(09-19-2015, 12:27 PM)Mel S Meles Wrote:
(09-19-2015, 10:14 AM)RAZRman Wrote: Simpsons does make a really nice cream.

Just in case the comment was not tongue-in-cheek:  Sampson’s (Wisconsin, USofA) ≠ Simpsons (Isle of Man).

Just a case of reading to quickly and seeing an "i" where the "a" should be.  I was actually looking at their aftershave a few weeks back, but it sounds like it might be a little too thick.

0 47
Reply
 09-21-2015, 10:36 PM
#15
  • Johnny
  • MODERATOR EMERITUS
  • Wausau, Wisconsin, USA
User Info
(09-21-2015, 10:10 PM)RAZRman Wrote:
(09-19-2015, 12:27 PM)Mel S Meles Wrote:
(09-19-2015, 10:14 AM)RAZRman Wrote: Simpsons does make a really nice cream.

Just in case the comment was not tongue-in-cheek:  Sampson’s (Wisconsin, USofA) ≠ Simpsons (Isle of Man).

Just a case of reading to quickly and seeing an "i" where the "a" should be.  I was actually looking at their aftershave a few weeks back, but it sounds like it might be a little too thick.

It is very thick (think almost wax).  You just rub your finger on it for a few swirls then put it on your palms, rub your hands together, then apply it to your face.  When you first put it on it feels kind of oily/greasy, but it soon soaks into your skin and leaves the face feeling very moist, smooth, and refreshed.

175 23,752
Reply
 09-22-2015, 10:11 AM
#16
User Info
(09-21-2015, 10:36 PM)Johnny Wrote:
(09-21-2015, 10:10 PM)RAZRman Wrote:
(09-19-2015, 12:27 PM)Mel S Meles Wrote: Just in case the comment was not tongue-in-cheek:  Sampson’s (Wisconsin, USofA) ≠ Simpsons (Isle of Man).

Just a case of reading to quickly and seeing an "i" where the "a" should be.  I was actually looking at their aftershave a few weeks back, but it sounds like it might be a little too thick.

It is very thick (think almost wax).  You just rub your finger on it for a few swirls then put it on your palms, rub your hands together, then apply it to your face.  When you first put it on it feels kind of oily/greasy, but it soon soaks into your skin and leaves the face feeling very moist, smooth, and refreshed.

Johnny, do you leave you your face wet or damp before applying this AS?  I usually dry my face off before applying any splash or balm.

0 47
Reply
 09-22-2015, 03:05 PM
#17
  • Johnny
  • MODERATOR EMERITUS
  • Wausau, Wisconsin, USA
User Info
(09-22-2015, 10:11 AM)RAZRman Wrote:
(09-21-2015, 10:36 PM)Johnny Wrote:
(09-21-2015, 10:10 PM)RAZRman Wrote: Just a case of reading to quickly and seeing an "i" where the "a" should be.  I was actually looking at their aftershave a few weeks back, but it sounds like it might be a little too thick.

It is very thick (think almost wax).  You just rub your finger on it for a few swirls then put it on your palms, rub your hands together, then apply it to your face.  When you first put it on it feels kind of oily/greasy, but it soon soaks into your skin and leaves the face feeling very moist, smooth, and refreshed.

Johnny, do you leave you your face wet or damp before applying this AS?  I usually dry my face off before applying any splash or balm.

I do leave my face damp before applying this balm/salve.  I believe it also states to do this on the instructions.

175 23,752
Reply
 09-23-2015, 09:15 AM
#18
User Info
Just a note that I used my Sampson's samples this morning and the results were excellent.  The soap sample has been pressed into a mug for some time and was quite solid so I splashed a little warm water on it while I soaked my brush.  I was rewarded with easy to load and abundant lather. It was as full and creamy as any luxury soap that I've encountered.  The balm when applied on damp skin performed as advertised. 

Although I have a shelf full of soaps,  I would be content to have Sampsons be my sole product.

10 1,653
Reply
 09-23-2015, 09:19 AM
#19
  • kwsher
  • Senior Member
  • Austin, TX - USA
User Info
That is high praise! I have a sample that I have yet to do but am becoming inspired to pull it out.

2 1,180
Reply
 09-23-2015, 12:41 PM
#20
User Info
How long did it take to receive your samples?  I ordered mine on Saturday but have yet to receive a shipping notification.

10 338
Reply
Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)