11-08-2016, 05:04 PM
#1
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So it was about time I finally did try some Mike's Natural shaving soap, wasn't it :-)


I have now used the Mike's Barbershop two times, and normally I prefer to use a shaving soap/cream 3 times, before I post my opinion about it, but I felt in the mood this evening for some writing on The Nook, so here goes...

I should have received a couple of Mike's natural from a friend here on The Nook, but for some reason they never showed up.....

So I bought 7 Mike's Natural from Maggard razors and 3 Mike's Natural from Mike's own web shop.

Pine & Cedarwood
Lime (one extra, the Lime tin from Maggards was ruined)
Bay Rum
Barbershop (one extra for my father)
Sweet pumpkin Spice
Hungarian Lavender
Orange, Cedarwood & Black Pepper
Vetiver

Got the 6 from Maggard Razors, and must admit, my temper was quite in the red, when I opened the parcel from Maggards.
There was 4 cm free space to the left in the parcel, and they only found it necessary to wrap the entire stack of Mike's in one big bubble wrap, instead of wrapping each tin.

4 out of 7 (I ordered two Barbershops, one for my father also) of my Mike's Natural tins were smashed together so the lids were pushed down over the midway ridge (or what ever you call that line, that keeps the lid in place on the side of the container)

I could not remove the lids with my fingers. I had to hold the tin sideways and with all my force and wet cloth do my best to part the lid from bottom container. I managed to get 3 lids off, but the 4.th soap, the Mike's Lime, had a lid that was completely pressed over the ridge on the side of the container, so it was impossible to get the lid off.

I had to use a knife and after some hard work, the tin was quite damaged and bruised and looked like it was dropped from a 2.nd floor apartment to the ground. I did my best to bend it into shap again, but I will also have to give this to my father - just not cup of tea using a brand new shaving soap, that looks like it just came from world war 3 battle.

I contacted Maggard Razors concerning this matter, and they said they were sorry, but they didnt agree that using bubble wrapping on each tin would have done anything to avoid the problems with the tins I received. I wrote them back, that I disagree with this argument, since it simply makes no sense at all.

When I order from Cold River Soap Works, Larry wraps each CRSW tin in a separate bubble wrapper bag, and so far the 17-18 tins I have received from Larry has all been in near perfect shape. Only time I received bruised CRSW tins was when I bought my first 3 CRSW from a Euro shop, that DID NOT wrap each tin individually in bubble wrap.

I have bought 4-5 times from Maggards Razors in the last 2-3 months, and I'm not sure I'm buying more from them, when they can't even bother to pack shaving soaps individually, when the shaving soap comes in tin containers.

Now on to my opinion about the shaving soap.

The Barbershop scent is quite nice, I enjoy it. It's medium strong, not weak, not overly strong. Pleasant. Barbershop scent wise it's very nice, but B&M Seville scent is clearly better in my view.

I did not soak/bloom the puck for the first shave.

I used a 2-band Shavemac D01 2-band 26 mm bulb and I was surprised just how hard Mike's Natural shaving soap are. Not triple milled hard, but almost Martin de Candre hard. Harder than Barrister & Mann, sort of like Cold River Soap Works Select or even slightly harder.

I had to load the brush for quite some time to pick enough soap up on the brush.
Still had doubts whether I loaded enough. But I loaded the brush for 3-4 minutes. Not hard loading, but medium hard loading.

The next shave with it, I bloomed the puck, and that made the loading far more easy. This puck benefits from soaking/blooming in my opinion. Makes loading far more easy. And fast.

Well on to the lather.

I face lathered for both shaves.
The lather was not the most volume filled I have seen. Not thin, but not something that explosed into rich volumes of lather.
I had to work with this soap for it to start building up.
This soap is thirsty and needs a lot of water.

Took me 5-6 minutes to build a lather I liked, not difficult like MWF to build, but one of more difficult thirsty soaps in my collection.

I got a dense thick moist lather. But not a lather with the big thick dense foamy peaks, that I get from Barrister & Mann for instance.
 
But a quality lather none the less. A said very moist, almost pearly looking on the skin. No bubbles, just a thick dense lather, that sits close to the skin.

Cushion and performance was great, slickness also very good.
Post shave feel up there with the best shaving soaps I own and have tried.

But the soap didn't wow me, like for instance Cold River Soap Works v2 did, when I first used it. Like my 3 Nuavia's do. Like I Colonialia does.
The lather in texture actually reminds me a bit of my favourite all time soap, I Coloniali - but I Coloniali beats Mike's Natural in all areas in my opinion.

With that said, this is not a bashing of Mike's Natural shaving soap.

Mike's Natural is a fantastic shaving soap.

But I just felt like when I saw the new James Bond Spectre and the (now old classic) The Matrix. I had such high expectations, that I could almost only go away disappointed. And I did.

Mike's Natural is, as said, a fantatic shaving soap.

I would rate it a 9/10 overall. This is a great score, for any shaving soap.

Problem is that I have several other shaving soaps in my den, that beats Mike's Natural - giving me a slightly better protection, easier slightly better lather, slightly better post shave feel, slightly better presentation and slightly better slickness (even though Mike's Natural have excellent slickness)

Will I recommend Mike's Natural shaving soap ?
Most certainly, YES ! 
It's an amazing shaving soap.

Is it better than Caties Bubbles, CRSW, I Coloniali, B&M Glissant, Tabaula Rasa, SDM and LPL ?

No, but it's very close. I need to use a couple of other Mike's Natural, perhaps they will have a slightly improved performance.
I have only used it for 2 shaves........but normally my verdict is spot on after 2 shaves. The third shave just confirms my opinion from the first two shaves.

Mike's Natural Barbershop rating:

Presentation: 7/10
Scent: 7/10
Lather creation: 6/10
Lather quality: 8/10
Cushion & protection: 8/10
Slickness & glide: 9/10
Post shave feel: 9/10

My overall rating: 9/10

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 11-08-2016, 05:18 PM
#2
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Thanks for the detailed review!

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 11-08-2016, 05:25 PM
#3
  • nikos.a
  • Senior Member
  • Athens, Greece
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Great review, Claus!


I haven't tried any Mike's soap, but your review is really helpful.

The problems you faced with the tins is the main reason why I haven't bought any of them yet, plus there are many threads about rust spots on his bowls. I couldn't accept that.

CRSW tins are the best tins available on the market right now. Simply fantastic presentation and quality.

Refills is a better option I'd say, but shipping from Mike's to European countries is outrageous, about three times the cost of the soap for a single tin. If Maggard's decide to add them to their collection, I'll probably order a couple.

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 11-08-2016, 05:30 PM
#4
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(11-08-2016, 05:18 PM)nvpliers Wrote: Thanks for the detailed review!

Thanks  Smile

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 11-08-2016, 05:34 PM
#5
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(11-08-2016, 05:25 PM)nikos.a Wrote: Great review, Claus!


I haven't tried any Mike's soap, but your review is really helpful.

The problems you faced with the tins is the main reason why I haven't bought any of them yet, plus there are many threads about rust spots on his bowls. I couldn't accept that.

CRSW tins are the best tins available on the market right now. Simply fantastic presentation and quality.

Refills is a better option I'd say, but shipping from Mike's to European countries is outrageous, about three times the cost of the soap for a single tin. If Maggard's decide to add them in their collection, I'll probably order a couple.

Not good news to hear about rust spots on Mike's.

That will be a deal breaker for me, if I see any kind of rust developing in any of my 8 Mike's.

I'm quite hard that way.

Your favourite soap, SDV Bon Berger simply in the end pissed me so much off, that I got rid of all my 6 pots and gave 2 away to a friend, rhat ws brand new.
Once I'm done with a brand, I'm totally DONE & OUT  Wave1

Really hope Mike has done something about these rust issues and made sure not to sell his soaps in tins, that can develop rust issues.

FYI I paid $34 shipping for 3 soaps, thjat cost me $48 on Mike's shop, but was so pissed at the reply I got from maggards over the Mike's Lime, that I just bought it blindly at Mike own shop, accpeting the extra shipping charge, because I really love his Lime scent, just not the way Maggard Razors packs their Mike's Natural shaving soap tins  A6

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 11-08-2016, 05:44 PM
#6
  • nikos.a
  • Senior Member
  • Athens, Greece
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(11-08-2016, 05:34 PM)CHSeifert Wrote:
(11-08-2016, 05:25 PM)nikos.a Wrote: Great review, Claus!


I haven't tried any Mike's soap, but your review is really helpful.

The problems you faced with the tins is the main reason why I haven't bought any of them yet, plus there are many threads about rust spots on his bowls. I couldn't accept that.

CRSW tins are the best tins available on the market right now. Simply fantastic presentation and quality.

Refills is a better option I'd say, but shipping from Mike's to European countries is outrageous, about three times the cost of the soap for a single tin. If Maggard's decide to add them in their collection, I'll probably order a couple.

Not good news to hear about rust spots on Mike's.

That will be a deal breaker for me, if I see any kind of rust developing in any of my 8 Mike's.

I'm quite hard that way.

Your favourite soap, SDV Bon Berger simply in the end pissed me so much off, that I got rid of all my 6 pots and gave 2 away to a friend, rhat ws brand new.
Once I'm done with a brand, I'm totally DONE & OUT  Wave1

Really hope Mike has done something about these rust issues and made sure not to sell his soaps in tins, that can develop rust issues.
Claus, I really hope you don't see any rust spots. I had an unpleasant experience with tins in the past and it was horrible. I really do not know why some artisans keep choosing that bad type of packaging for their soaps that possibly perform pretty well. They destroy their product  that way, in my opinion. Tins is a no-go for me since then, except if they're quality like those that Larry uses.



By the way I'm awake watching CNN.

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 11-08-2016, 08:28 PM
#7
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Thank you for the detailed review Claus - your observations closely matches my own, especially when it comes to Mike's being a thirsty soap... it's the thirstiest soap in my rotation.

May I suggest you try the Pine & Cedarwood next? That is my favourite scent from Mike, but it would be considering that I'm a Norwegian Biggrin

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 11-08-2016, 09:05 PM
#8
  • evnpar
  • Emeritus
  • Portland, Oregon
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Thanks for another nice review of a soap, Claus. I find the performance of Mike's just about as good as it can get. However, if I enjoyed the scents more, I could see using Mike's almost exclusively. Mike's was the first artisan soap that I tried, about 4 years ago, and is still the soap I go to when I want an excellent and predictable, slick shave. If Mike's scents were as good as Mystic Water's, I wouldn't want to use anything else.

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 11-08-2016, 09:10 PM
#9
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Keep trying it out Claus.  I am confident it will continue to impress you the more you use it.  Sorry to hear about the poor condition of the tins, I'm surprised to hear your concern fell on deaf ears with Maggards, as I have had only good experiences with them in the past.  I am surprised that you had to load as long as you reported, I am usually somewhere around 1-2 minutes but that is using the building-the-lather-on-the-puck method and not simply loading, for me this greatly reduces the time necessary to build a remarkable lather.  Mike's can handle more water than any soap I have ever tried and produces, for me, one of the best lathers and post-shaves around. I also concur with Richard, if the scents were as spectacular as Mystic Waters I wouldn't need another soap.

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 11-09-2016, 02:08 AM
#10
  • Csd3
  • Active Member
  • Denver, Co
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(11-08-2016, 05:44 PM)nikos.a Wrote:
(11-08-2016, 05:34 PM)CHSeifert Wrote:
(11-08-2016, 05:25 PM)nikos.a Wrote: Great review, Claus!


I haven't tried any Mike's soap, but your review is really helpful.

The problems you faced with the tins is the main reason why I haven't bought any of them yet, plus there are many threads about rust spots on his bowls. I couldn't accept that.

CRSW tins are the best tins available on the market right now. Simply fantastic presentation and quality.

Refills is a better option I'd say, but shipping from Mike's to European countries is outrageous, about three times the cost of the soap for a single tin. If Maggard's decide to add them in their collection, I'll probably order a couple.

Not good news to hear about rust spots on Mike's.

That will be a deal breaker for me, if I see any kind of rust developing in any of my 8 Mike's.

I'm quite hard that way.

Your favourite soap, SDV Bon Berger simply in the end pissed me so much off, that I got rid of all my 6 pots and gave 2 away to a friend, rhat ws brand new.
Once I'm done with a brand, I'm totally DONE & OUT  Wave1

Really hope Mike has done something about these rust issues and made sure not to sell his soaps in tins, that can develop rust issues.
Claus, I really hope you don't see any rust spots. I had an unpleasant experience with tins in the past and it was horrible. I really do not know why some artisans keep choosing that bad type of packaging for their soaps that possibly perform pretty well. They destroy their product  that way, in my opinion. Tins is a no-go for me since then, except if they're quality like those that Larry uses.



By the way I'm awake watching CNN.

I have 7 Mike's soaps that I've had in my rotation for over 3 years and I don't have a single rust spot. I think it'll be fine, Claus.
Side note, I'm a fan of Mike's marketing practice. Quality produvt and word of mouth. Unless I'm missing something I never see him on the boards or hear of him giving free merchandise to mods or othe influentials in exchange for reviews. Seems to be low key and simply does his thing- make consistant, quality soap. Might not be the best of the best as you noted, but still excellent stuff that's been excellent since he started as one of the early artisan soapmakers.

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 11-09-2016, 05:52 AM
#11
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(11-09-2016, 02:08 AM)Csd3 Wrote:
(11-08-2016, 05:44 PM)nikos.a Wrote:
(11-08-2016, 05:34 PM)CHSeifert Wrote: Not good news to hear about rust spots on Mike's.

That will be a deal breaker for me, if I see any kind of rust developing in any of my 8 Mike's.

I'm quite hard that way.

Your favourite soap, SDV Bon Berger simply in the end pissed me so much off, that I got rid of all my 6 pots and gave 2 away to a friend, rhat ws brand new.
Once I'm done with a brand, I'm totally DONE & OUT  Wave1

Really hope Mike has done something about these rust issues and made sure not to sell his soaps in tins, that can develop rust issues.
Claus, I really hope you don't see any rust spots. I had an unpleasant experience with tins in the past and it was horrible. I really do not know why some artisans keep choosing that bad type of packaging for their soaps that possibly perform pretty well. They destroy their product  that way, in my opinion. Tins is a no-go for me since then, except if they're quality like those that Larry uses.



By the way I'm awake watching CNN.

I have 7 Mike's soaps that I've had in my rotation for over 3 years and I don't have a single rust spot.   I think it'll be fine, Claus.  
Side note, I'm a fan of Mike's marketing practice.  Quality produvt and word of mouth. Unless I'm missing something I never see him on the boards or hear of him giving free merchandise to mods or othe influentials in exchange for reviews.  Seems to be low key and simply does his thing- make consistant, quality soap.  Might not be the best of the best as you noted, but still excellent stuff that's been excellent since he started as one of the early artisan soapmakers.

I agree about the rust spots.  I have somewhere around 10-12 Mike's soaps and have had them for around 4 years and none of them have any rust spots on them.  The paper labels however can get a little dingy if you're not careful to keep them away from the water.

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 11-09-2016, 06:03 AM
#12
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(11-08-2016, 08:28 PM)WegianWarrior Wrote: Thank you for the detailed review Claus - your observations closely matches my own, especially when it comes to Mike's being a thirsty soap... it's the thirstiest soap in my rotation.

May I suggest you try the Pine & Cedarwood next? That is my favourite scent from Mike, but it would be considering that I'm a Norwegian Biggrin

(11-08-2016, 09:05 PM)evnpar Wrote: Thanks for another nice review of a soap, Claus. I find the performance of Mike's just about as good as it can get. However, if I enjoyed the scents more, I could see using Mike's almost exclusively. Mike's was the first artisan soap that I tried, about 4 years ago, and is still the soap I go to when I want an excellent and predictable, slick shave. If Mike's scents were as good as Mystic Water's, I wouldn't want to use anything else.

You're very welcome, Gentlemen  Smile

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 11-09-2016, 06:08 AM
#13
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(11-08-2016, 09:10 PM)merkur man Wrote: Keep trying it out Claus.  I am confident it will continue to impress you the more you use it.  Sorry to hear about the poor condition of the tins, I'm surprised to hear your concern fell on deaf ears with Maggards, as I have had only good experiences with them in the past.  I am surprised that you had to load as long as you reported, I am usually somewhere around 1-2 minutes but that is using the building-the-lather-on-the-puck method and not simply loading, for me this greatly reduces the time necessary to build a remarkable lather.  Mike's can handle more water than any soap I have ever tried and produces, for me, one of the best lathers and post-shaves around. I also concur with Richard, if the scents were as spectacular as Mystic Waters I wouldn't need another soap.

I will, Nathan.

I did load less time, when the puck was soaked/bloomed, but I still find it needs a proper solid loading of soap onto the brush for it to perform and not feel too thin at the beginning.
It needs a lot of water, and in my view soaps that needs a lot of wate, I prefer to make sure there is enough load on the brush to begin with.

I do have VERY hard water in Copenhagen.
This is why I have yet to dive into Mystic Waters, even the new formual - but I'm sure I will get there at some point, perhaps 2017 will be MY Mystic Waters year, or a new artisan pops out, that yet again steal my focus. Also am a bit hot on the brand L&L right now.........not sure I'm buying them - but let's just say I had all 6 L&L soaps in my basket at Maggards, but decided to empty the basket after their reply to me regarding the use of bubble wrap for each container, when it's a shaving soap coming in a tin.

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 11-09-2016, 06:13 AM
#14
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Great review  Shy


I was using Mike's 4 years ago and at that time, it was my favourite artisan brand. These days, there are even better performing soaps and with better scents, too.
The tins are poor quality and I rarely received undamaged.

I only keep coconut.

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 11-09-2016, 06:26 AM
#15
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(11-09-2016, 02:08 AM)Csd3 Wrote:
(11-08-2016, 05:44 PM)nikos.a Wrote:
(11-08-2016, 05:34 PM)CHSeifert Wrote: Not good news to hear about rust spots on Mike's.

That will be a deal breaker for me, if I see any kind of rust developing in any of my 8 Mike's.

I'm quite hard that way.

Your favourite soap, SDV Bon Berger simply in the end pissed me so much off, that I got rid of all my 6 pots and gave 2 away to a friend, rhat ws brand new.
Once I'm done with a brand, I'm totally DONE & OUT  Wave1

Really hope Mike has done something about these rust issues and made sure not to sell his soaps in tins, that can develop rust issues.
Claus, I really hope you don't see any rust spots. I had an unpleasant experience with tins in the past and it was horrible. I really do not know why some artisans keep choosing that bad type of packaging for their soaps that possibly perform pretty well. They destroy their product  that way, in my opinion. Tins is a no-go for me since then, except if they're quality like those that Larry uses.



By the way I'm awake watching CNN.

I have 7 Mike's soaps that I've had in my rotation for over 3 years and I don't have a single rust spot.   I think it'll be fine, Claus.  
Side note, I'm a fan of Mike's marketing practice.  Quality produvt and word of mouth. Unless I'm missing something I never see him on the boards or hear of him giving free merchandise to mods or othe influentials in exchange for reviews.  Seems to be low key and simply does his thing- make consistant, quality soap.  Might not be the best of the best as you noted, but still excellent stuff that's been excellent since he started as one of the early artisan soapmakers.

I agree.

You have to pay respect, where respect is due. Mike was one of the very first artisan soap makers out there and he proved, what a single man operation can do with a shaving soap product, that easily can compeat with the very best big brand names in the business. He also opened the eyes to many wet shavers reagrding the proof, that the big brand names very very rarely have anything to with making their own brand shaving soap - but it's made by big hidden kind of secret manufacturers, that mass produce soaps/creams for the big brands out there.

However, I still think a person like Mike could and should do a bit to improve the presentation of his product.
It's up to him, and Mike's Natural still sell out pretty fast, so why do anything to change a winning formula, one might think.
But on the other hand, why not improve on an already fantastci shaving soap, which Mike's natural most certainly is ?

Might I suggest Mike improved on these small basic areas, which would not cost him an arm or a leg:

1. Either start using a new solid plastic container, similar to Barrister & Mann's new design or a cheaper design, yet still effective, Tabula Rasa plastic containers.
Or go the Cold River Soap Works route - use an high quality metal pot with a screw on lid, and not just the kind of cheap thin tin design wiutout screw on lid, he uses now.

2. Start using water proof labels. How hard can it be to NOT use real paper labels, that - when in contact with water - very easily will suck the moist from the water and the label will begin to come a part. I always take the lids of my soaps, before I use them - so this is not a big issue for me, because my lids never really gets into contact with water, but it's wet shaving as in WET, how costly would it be to put a water proof label on the front ?

That's it. If Mike does this, his presentation would go from a 7/10 to a 9/10 or higher. Does not take much work if any. Just a new supplier of containers and labels. Or if he prints them himself, just buy a new type of water proof labels.
 
(11-09-2016, 05:52 AM)merkur man Wrote:
(11-09-2016, 02:08 AM)Csd3 Wrote:
(11-08-2016, 05:44 PM)nikos.a Wrote: Claus, I really hope you don't see any rust spots. I had an unpleasant experience with tins in the past and it was horrible. I really do not know why some artisans keep choosing that bad type of packaging for their soaps that possibly perform pretty well. They destroy their product  that way, in my opinion. Tins is a no-go for me since then, except if they're quality like those that Larry uses.



By the way I'm awake watching CNN.

I have 7 Mike's soaps that I've had in my rotation for over 3 years and I don't have a single rust spot.   I think it'll be fine, Claus.  
Side note, I'm a fan of Mike's marketing practice.  Quality produvt and word of mouth. Unless I'm missing something I never see him on the boards or hear of him giving free merchandise to mods or othe influentials in exchange for reviews.  Seems to be low key and simply does his thing- make consistant, quality soap.  Might not be the best of the best as you noted, but still excellent stuff that's been excellent since he started as one of the early artisan soapmakers.

I agree about the rust spots.  I have somewhere around 10-12 Mike's soaps and have had them for around 4 years and none of them have any rust spots on them.  The paper labels however can get a little dingy if you're not careful to keep them away from the water.

I really hope the rust spots, is not an issue, because I will soap/bloom my Mike's before I shave from now on.
It benefits loading time and lather creation a good deal.

Mike should really start to use water proof labels IMHO

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 11-09-2016, 06:28 AM
#16
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(11-09-2016, 06:13 AM)lu20vt Wrote: Great review  Shy


I was using Mike's 4 years ago and at that time, it was my favourite artisan brand. These days, there are even better performing soaps and with better scents, too.
The tins are poor quality and I rarely received undamaged.

I only keep coconut.

Thanks, Luis.

Always nice to hear from you, my friend  Thumbup

What soaps do you prefer over Mike's Natural soaps these days ?

As said, Mike's Natural is VERY good stuff, in fact EXCELLENT, just so many great soaps out there now, competition is tough.

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 11-09-2016, 08:21 AM
#17
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Yes Claus,  there is no doubt, Mikes is very very good but now I prefer, B&M, JabonMan " my favorite absolute ", Tallow + Stell for example.  Cool

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 11-09-2016, 08:48 AM
#18
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(11-09-2016, 06:28 AM)CHSeifert Wrote:
(11-09-2016, 06:13 AM)lu20vt Wrote: Great review  Shy


I was using Mike's 4 years ago and at that time, it was my favourite artisan brand. These days, there are even better performing soaps and with better scents, too.
The tins are poor quality and I rarely received undamaged.

I only keep coconut.

Thanks, Luis.

Always nice to hear from you, my friend  Thumbup

What soaps do you prefer over Mike's Natural soaps these days ?

As said, Mike's Natural is VERY good stuff, in fact EXCELLENT, just so many great soaps out there now, competition is tough.

Very true.  Hard to say something truly performs better, when just about everything you get your hands on these days performs beautifully. I maintain Claus, continue to use Mike's and you'll love it even more.

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 11-09-2016, 09:05 AM
#19
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Mike's was the first soap that I ever used. To this day, MNS has a spot in my rotation. Basic but pleasant scents combined with fantastic performance, I always look forward to shaving with MNS.

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 11-09-2016, 05:10 PM
#20
  • pbrmhl
  • Active Member
  • Seattle
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Sorry about your travails, Claus. Serendipitously, I just received a four-pack of soaps from Maggard, including Mike's Barbershop and Saponificio Veresimo Cosmo, both in tins. The other two were Catie's Bubbles Pimento (sp?) and MLS The Kraken, both in plastic. Both tins arrived undamaged, but I don't recall how they were packaged.

I look forward to trying the Mike's. Thanks for the review!

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