12-17-2015, 01:13 AM
#1
  • Teddyboy
  • Guilty, with an explanation
  • NYC
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Are melt and pour soaps actually inferior to artisan and triple-milled soaps, or is it just a bias against something that apparently is much easier to make?

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 12-17-2015, 01:43 AM
#2
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Different ≠ inferior.

They are - in my opinion and experience - different products with different qualities, and to some extent different market segments.

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 12-17-2015, 02:28 AM
#3
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IMO/E, they are - on the whole - of (relatively) low quality. 
And, in terms of combination of slipperiness and protection, or even quality of scent, I've yet to meet an m&p, which matches my preferred triple-milleds. 
(Many m&p-style soaps, rely on detergent for surfactancy, and barely even technically qualify as a soap.)

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 12-17-2015, 07:18 AM
#4
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Some are better than others.  You can certainly get great scents in a melt-and-pour soap, and they lather very easily.  Slickness is good.  Protection, in my opinion, is not quite as good as what you get from a good artisan soap, but honestly I think the gap between the best M&P soaps and run-of-the-mill artisan soaps has been greatly exaggerated. 

If you want to find out for yourself, go to mama bear's site, pick a scent that appeals to you, and give it a try.

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 12-17-2015, 08:11 AM
#5
  • RobinK
  • I like things that work.
  • Munich, Germany
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(12-17-2015, 01:13 AM)Teddyboy Wrote: Are melt and pour soaps actually inferior to artisan and triple-milled soaps, or is it just a bias against something that apparently is much easier to make?

Since you're asking:
  1. What is an artisan soap?
  2. What exactly is a triple milled soap?
  3. How does one "make" a melt and pour soap?
Thanks!
Robin

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 12-17-2015, 10:28 AM
#6
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Artisan seems to mean a company of less then ten emiyees using any mrthod to make something
Alot of artisan crafters purchase kits snd even bulk soap from companirs to assemble and package and sell as there own. Its ver prevrlant in the beer pub redtaurant industry.

Melt and piur is that. Order a box of pre made materoal. Melt it scent it and pour it into molds.
Tripple milled meand actual soap. Its expensive but it will be better in the long run.

Musgo is more artisan then many artisan makers who repackage bulk soap.

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 12-17-2015, 10:52 AM
#7
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@topcoatman:
First, please use a spell-checker - your posts are hard to read and harder to parse Smile

Secondly, the definition of artisan is not universality agreed upon - personally I prefer " a skilled craft worker who makes or creates things by hand that may be functional or strictly decorative", although this means a lot of the people making and selling soaps are not strictly speaking covered by it. Don't mean I enjoy their soaps any less Smile

Thirdly, please provide sources for your claim that "Alot of artisan crafters purchase kits snd even bulk soap from companirs to assemble and package and sell as there own" - you have made a similar claim previously without backing it up. Extraordinary claims requires extraordinary proof Smile

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 12-17-2015, 11:06 AM
#8
  • RobinK
  • I like things that work.
  • Munich, Germany
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So we have two separate things here: 1) glycerine soaps vs vegetable or tallow based soaps; 2) hand crafted soaps vs industrially produced soaps.

We are not talking about other ingredients, or the quality of the ingredients used. Nor are we talking about fragrance components.

If you want to apply a scale, you have HTGAM/PPF/PAA/Whatever. These are industrially produced glycerine based soaps. On the other, you have, for example, Green Mountain Soap which is milled using professional equipment by a married couple. However, you also have, for example, Meißner Tremonia, which is cold stirred by one person. The latter two would qualify as "artisinally made" by my definition. The former most firmly would not. 

However, glycerine based soaps are not per se any worse than vegetable of tallow based soaps. They are, as was stated previously, different. 

This is where personal preference comes into play. Personally, I take modest pride in the tools I use for shaving. My razors (of which I do not have too many) are typically rare (like the elusive Heljestrand Simplex or the 8/8 Dubl Duck Goldedge), and definitely hand made by skilled craftsmen (like my Thäter brushes, the Brandenburg made Old Traditional shaving bowl, the few strops I own, and so on). I am willing to trade up, but buy lesser quantities, in order to get top quality products. Other shavers prefer to own scores of products, and if that makes them happy, who am I to judge. It is just something I do not feel worth doing.

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 12-17-2015, 11:07 AM
#9
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Artisan
Noun: from
mid-16th century French, from Italian artigiano
1. a person skilled in an applied art; a craftsperson; a person who is skilled at making things by hand
2. a person or company that makes a high-quality or distinctive product in small quantities, usually by hand or using traditional methods.
 
Loosely interpreted, according to the first definition, anyone who makes things by hand is an artisan.  Obviously, there are different levels of skill and creativity that separate accomplished artisans from mediocre ones.  I think most people who understand the soapmaking process would agree that those who come up with their own formulas and processes to make a distinctive product using raw materials are artisans.
 
To understand what triple milled soap is, I’ve found it more helpful to look at patents for soap milling and plodding machinery, and historical sources, than to read what passes for information in Wikipedia and opinions on the internet.  They tend to recycle inaccurate notions, confuse rebatching with milling, or promote a product.  
 
The French were the first to produce a high-quality perfumed toilet soap, when the typical soap of the time was much cruder.  The French soap was harder, less caustic, more long-lasting and smelled better. The procedure for making it has changed with the advent of machines, but in modern times milled soap should be of high quality and dried to contain no more than 13% to 18% water.   It is chipped, ground, and crushed in specialized machinery so that fragrance and color can be incorporated evenly all the while controlling temperature, pressure and moisture content, and undergoes kneading and compression to ensure that it’s homogeneous before being pressed into cakes.  The quality of triple-milled soap can vary, depending on the ingredients of the soap that is to be milled, the quality of the fragrance, etc.  The only drawback to triple-milled soap is that it’s made with soap that has had most of the glycerin removed.
 
I’m not going to get into the controversy about whether or not soapmakers who use melt & pour bases are artisans or not, because I don’t have a dog in that fight.  Melt & pour bases come in different varieties and qualities, and I imagine the success of the business that uses them will depend on which one they choose, the quality of the fragrance they add, their presentation and marketing, and the customer service they offer.  Basically, you get pre-made soap base, melt it, add fragrance and pour it into containers or molds.  But no professional soapmaker is going to use kits to make their soap, partly because kits that are intended for kids’ crafts are of poor quality and aren’t appropriate for shaving soap anyway, but mostly because the profit margin wouldn’t be high enough.    

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 12-17-2015, 11:10 AM
#10
  • Agravic
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  • Pennsylvania, USA
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Well stated, Michelle.  Thanks.

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 12-17-2015, 11:16 AM
#11
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(12-17-2015, 11:10 AM)Agravic Wrote: Well stated, Michelle.  Thanks.

+1 Biggrin

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 12-17-2015, 11:24 AM
#12
  • Gabe
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  • Arizona
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(12-17-2015, 11:10 AM)Agravic Wrote: Well stated, Michelle.  Thanks.
+2 . Thank you Michelle for the clarification. Obviously as a respected soap maker you are more knowledge about the subject than most of us who simply enjoy using shaving soaps.

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 12-17-2015, 11:27 AM
#13
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People need to do some browsing and look up the craft industry better. Look up musical instruments.

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 12-17-2015, 11:35 AM
#14
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non sequitur?

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 12-17-2015, 11:48 AM
#15
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(12-17-2015, 11:27 AM)topcatman Wrote: People need to do some browsing and look up the craft industry better. Look up musical instruments.

I'll take that to mean that you do not have any sources to back up your claim that a lot of artisan soapmakers - without defining what "artisan" mean in the context of handmade or small scale production of shaving soaps - purchases soap base in kits or in bulk soap from companies to assemble and package and sell as there own.

Until reliable sources are provided I - and I suspect many with me - will consider your claim null and void, with no basis in reality.

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 12-17-2015, 11:56 AM
#16
  • leonidas
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  • Jerez de la Frontera
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..........how can you tell if the soap is a melt and pour shaving soap?

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 12-17-2015, 12:21 PM
#17
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(12-17-2015, 11:48 AM)WegianWarrior Wrote:
(12-17-2015, 11:27 AM)topcatman Wrote: People need to do some browsing and look up the craft industry better. Look up musical instruments.

I'll take that to mean that you do not have any sources to back up your claim that a lot of artisan soapmakers - without defining what "artisan" mean in the context of handmade or small scale production of shaving soaps - purchases soap base in kits or in bulk soap from companies to assemble and package and sell as there own.

Until reliable sources are provided I - and I suspect many with me - will consider your claim null and void, with no basis in reality.

Well, those who do use melt & pour do buy it in bulk - buying wholesale in amounts as large as you can use is only good business - to cut costs and maximize profit.  There are suppliers that specialize in supplying crafters - Brambleberry is one well-known vendor.  If a company has a big enough operation, they might be able to buy it directly from one of the producers like SFIC.  If the melt & pour base is a good one that has been formulated for shaving soap, there's no reason that it can't make a good shaving product.  If a base with inappropriate qualities is used, the soap will be no better than a bath or hand soap.  But the idea that a professional vendor would buy little kits to make product is ludicrous, there would be no profitability in that at all.  And the idea that all melt & pour soap is made with "cheap Chinese bases" is baseless.  Does anyone use an inferior melt & pour base and try to pass it off as good soap?  Maybe, probably, I don't know.  But if the product isn't good, they won't be in business for long.

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 12-17-2015, 12:26 PM
#18
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Michelle, I know some soap makers use melt and pour - some of which are pretty durn good shaving soaps. I dispute the statement that "alot" of artisans do so, especially from kits due to the reason you mentioned higher up.

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 12-17-2015, 12:27 PM
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(12-17-2015, 11:56 AM)leonidas Wrote: ..........how can you tell if the soap is a melt and pour shaving soap?

It might or might not be transparent (colorants can be used to change the appearance) but it will probably have some ingredients that you won't see on a non-melt & pour product:  sorbitol, wheat protein, SLS, propylene glycol, many others.  Some melt & pour soaps are mostly detergents, some use saponified oils, but they all have been designed to be able to melt to a liquid state very easily and they have a texture that is easy to detect once you've seen it.

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 12-17-2015, 12:29 PM
#20
  • leonidas
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  • Jerez de la Frontera
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........thank you, Michelle.............

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