02-15-2017, 11:55 AM
#1
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Like many of you, I have more soaps than I can possibly use in three lifetimes.

However, I read Nevada Red's and others raving about SMN v3. Had to try it. Damn you enablers Smile 

Well I found the praise to be justified: just phenomenal. Glide second to none, post-shave feel amazing, beautiful subtle scent. 

I was shopping in a local store that happen to have a tub of NOS SMN v2. So I picked that up as well, to compare. Very subtle difference in the scent, performance pretty similar in performance, with perhaps a slight nod to the v3 for both performance and scent.

So here's the weird thing. 

I've been experimenting with lathering both v2 and v3 with different brushes.

A bit of background: I have no issues face lathering or bowl lathering (prefer face) with virtually any soap, including the 'hard to lather' MWF. Tallow, non-Tallow, doesn't matter. I've got most of the artisan brands, and most of the 'luxury' soaps, AdP, MdC, XPEC, Nuàvia, etc., etc. No issues with either a 'modest' badger, a high-end two band (M&F, Simpson, Paladin, Thäter), etc., etc.

With the SMN-both versions-, I'm finding that with the badgers I've tried (24, 26, 28) the lather is 'disappearing' from the brush by the third pass. These are all brushes that are 'go-tos' for me, with excellent flow through. I'm using plenty of product, experimented with both very heavy loading and lighter loading, and the same behavior. Starting with a drier brush, moderately wet brush, very wet brush, fantastic lather on the first couple of passes and then it disappears.

The weird thing is that I grabbed a synthetic I had lying around (Stirling Kong) just to see. I did not have this behavior. Again, tried different levels of loading and starting wetness of the brush. In every case, I could have done 7 passes. I tried a few other synthetics (Envy Shave black wolf, RazoRock Plissoft, Plisson) and each of them did very well, and I did not get the 'disappearing lather' behavior I saw with the badgers.

Any ideas on what I might be missing? I have several synthetics, but prefer my badgers. An easy solution would be to just use a darn synthetic with SMN, but I'd like to have the option of enjoying my badgers with it.

Thanks!

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 02-16-2017, 12:37 PM
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I did notice this phenomena with SMN, while it wasn't so apparent for me like you I was still able to notice it. I now load a bit longer that seems to take care of it.
the other soap i experienced this with is iColoniali, with this soap it's much more apparent. However SMN is my number one soap and iColoniali is arguably #2 performance wise so this dissipating issue is overlooked.

I must say that I noticed XPEC to also have a thin lather, but again performance is wonderful. Could be something with these high end italian soaps. They don't exactly blow up like MDC for example but slickness, cushion, protection and post shave feel outweigh this problem heavily.

I only own one synthetic, Plisson, but I haven't used it in a very long time. I really don't have an explanation! so sorry if i couldn't help.
I would say just load heavier and enjoy the soap, I truly believe it's the absolute best of the best out there.. worst case you may want to reload after pass one or two unless this really bothers you then it's a different story.
You mention that you only experience this issue after pass 3 (similar here) I guess then this is only a problem if you do more than 3 passes? since i normally do 3 passes unless i am in a rush then i do 2, this haven't been a real problem for me!

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 02-16-2017, 06:19 PM
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(02-16-2017, 12:37 PM)snowman Wrote: Could be something with these high end italian soaps. They don't exactly blow up like MDC for example but slickness, cushion, protection and post shave feel outweigh this problem heavily.

A few of the many reasons I think fellow high-end Italian Valobra (or really AOS-t and C&S) are the best of the best.

They do everything you just said, but also very easily make a full-volume lather (... but I still do a long load and then lather it for a few minutes to optimize its performance (like I do for all products)).

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 02-16-2017, 06:20 PM
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Duplicate

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 02-16-2017, 06:26 PM
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(02-16-2017, 06:19 PM)Nero Wrote:
(02-16-2017, 12:37 PM)snowman Wrote: Could be something with these high end italian soaps. They don't exactly blow up like MDC for example but slickness, cushion, protection and post shave feel outweigh this problem heavily.

A few of the many reasons I think fellow high-end Italian Valobra (or really AOS-t and C&S) are the best of the best.

They do everything you just said, but also very easily make a full-volume lather (... but I still do a long load and then lather it for a few minutes to optimize its performance (like I do for all products)).


I respectively disagree, but this is a ymmv of course. Even though SMN's lather is slightly thinner than AoS tallow it provides more protection and I found the glide to be superior. Overall I found SMN to be superior

Edit- SMN's lather isn't exactly thin, or thinner than AoS', rather it's not as voluminous. Despite this, I find it denser in nature resulting in more protection

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 02-16-2017, 07:09 PM
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(02-16-2017, 06:26 PM)snowman Wrote:
(02-16-2017, 06:19 PM)Nero Wrote:
(02-16-2017, 12:37 PM)snowman Wrote: Could be something with these high end italian soaps. They don't exactly blow up like MDC for example but slickness, cushion, protection and post shave feel outweigh this problem heavily.

A few of the many reasons I think fellow high-end Italian Valobra (or really AOS-t and C&S) are the best of the best.

They do everything you just said, but also very easily make a full-volume lather (... but I still do a long load and then lather it for a few minutes to optimize its performance (like I do for all products)).


I respectively disagree, but this is a ymmv of course. Even though SMN's lather is slightly thinner than AoS tallow it provides more protection and I found the glide to be superior. Overall I found SMN to be superior

Edit- SMN's lather isn't exactly thin, or thinner than AoS', rather it's not as voluminous. Despite this, I find it denser in nature resulting in more protection

Fine by me.
I do have to respectfully disagree back Smile haha
I find AOS protection and glide superior.

IMO, SMN is better in scent but that's really all. (This is only after two shaves with it, so we shall see. But I did own SMNv2 and I actually don't find much difference between v2 and v3. )

Being totally honest, I also find Fine soaps and Stirling Unscented with Beeswax better than SMNv3 even upon their first shave. (This is coming from someone who typically does not like American artists and who typically favors the luxury Italian lines.)

I also just shaved with a $5 Speick stick and would say that too was better than any SMN I've used.

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 02-16-2017, 08:18 PM
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(02-16-2017, 07:09 PM)Nero Wrote:
(02-16-2017, 06:26 PM)snowman Wrote:
(02-16-2017, 06:19 PM)Nero Wrote: A few of the many reasons I think fellow high-end Italian Valobra (or really AOS-t and C&S) are the best of the best.

They do everything you just said, but also very easily make a full-volume lather (... but I still do a long load and then lather it for a few minutes to optimize its performance (like I do for all products)).


I respectively disagree, but this is a ymmv of course. Even though SMN's lather is slightly thinner than AoS tallow it provides more protection and I found the glide to be superior. Overall I found SMN to be superior

Edit- SMN's lather isn't exactly thin, or thinner than AoS', rather it's not as voluminous. Despite this, I find it denser in nature resulting in more protection

Fine by me.
I do have to respectfully disagree back Smile haha
I find AOS protection and glide superior.

IMO, SMN is better in scent but that's really all. (This is only after two shaves with it, so we shall see. But I did own SMNv2 and I actually don't find much difference between v2 and v3. )

Being totally honest, I also find Fine soaps and Stirling Unscented with Beeswax better than SMNv3 even upon their first shave. (This is coming from someone who typically does not like American artists and who typically favors the luxury Italian lines.)

I also just shaved with a $5 Speick stick and would say that too was better than any SMN I've used.


Hahah no worries, you have every right to disagree Smile
Man I was waiting for you to say Arko is also better than SMN lol

All kidding aside, it seems to me that you may have not dialed in SMN yet. Not debating your ability but speaking for myself I know it takes me a few shaves, maybe 4-5 to dial in a new soap.
I say this because I've been using Speick stick for a long time when I travel and have a lot of experience with it and have also used a fine puck, while both wonderful performers (Speick more so than Fine) neither imho come even close to SMN.

Apologize to the OP for hijacking this thread

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 02-16-2017, 09:59 PM
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Gentlemen, thanks so much for the feedback.

I'll try a heavier load with the badgers and see how that goes.

TBH, I was prepared to be underwhelmed by the SMN but I have to agree that it may be the very best in terms of glide, protection, and scent. I imagine that we all get into 'streaks', but I find myself reaching for the SMN and XPEC more and more these days.

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 02-17-2017, 02:58 AM
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Happens with some of my other soaps as well. Synthetics are really good in this regard, it's one of their plus points. You're right, the best thing to do is load more.



Now I have to try SMN too....  Confused

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 02-17-2017, 04:03 AM
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(02-16-2017, 08:18 PM)snowman Wrote:
(02-16-2017, 07:09 PM)Nero Wrote:
(02-16-2017, 06:26 PM)snowman Wrote: I respectively disagree, but this is a ymmv of course. Even though SMN's lather is slightly thinner than AoS tallow it provides more protection and I found the glide to be superior. Overall I found SMN to be superior

Edit- SMN's lather isn't exactly thin, or thinner than AoS', rather it's not as voluminous. Despite this, I find it denser in nature resulting in more protection

Fine by me.
I do have to respectfully disagree back Smile haha
I find AOS protection and glide superior.

IMO, SMN is better in scent but that's really all. (This is only after two shaves with it, so we shall see. But I did own SMNv2 and I actually don't find much difference between v2 and v3. )

Being totally honest, I also find Fine soaps and Stirling Unscented with Beeswax better than SMNv3 even upon their first shave. (This is coming from someone who typically does not like American artists and who typically favors the luxury Italian lines.)

I also just shaved with a $5 Speick stick and would say that too was better than any SMN I've used.


Hahah no worries, you have every right to disagree Smile
Man I was waiting for you to say Arko is also better than SMN lol

All kidding aside, it seems to me that you may have not dialed in SMN yet. Not debating your ability but speaking for myself I know it takes me a few shaves, maybe 4-5 to dial in a new soap.
I say this because I've been using Speick stick for a long time when I travel and have a lot of experience with it and have also used a fine puck, while both wonderful performers (Speick more so than Fine) neither imho come even close to SMN.

Apologize to the OP for hijacking this thread


You're good! I just can't resist. And I do agree it does take time to dial in specific soaps. Thank you!

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 02-17-2017, 04:46 AM
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I haven't used SMN in a week so I used it his morning. As the OP indicated, I didn't have any trouble with the lather until after the 3rd pass. I usually don't time my loading but I did today just to give the OP an idea.. I did about 30 seconds using a Varlet Ranger which is a 24x48 knot.
Since I only did 3 passes today, this wasn't an issue at all

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 02-17-2017, 09:24 AM
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(02-15-2017, 11:55 AM)Michael P Wrote: Like many of you, I have more soaps than I can possibly use in three lifetimes.

However, I read Nevada Red's and others raving about SMN v3. Had to try it. Damn you enablers Smile 

Well I found the praise to be justified: just phenomenal. Glide second to none, post-shave feel amazing, beautiful subtle scent. 

I was shopping in a local store that happen to have a tub of NOS SMN v2. So I picked that up as well, to compare. Very subtle difference in the scent, performance pretty similar in performance, with perhaps a slight nod to the v3 for both performance and scent.

So here's the weird thing. 

I've been experimenting with lathering both v2 and v3 with different brushes.

A bit of background: I have no issues face lathering or bowl lathering (prefer face) with virtually any soap, including the 'hard to lather' MWF. Tallow, non-Tallow, doesn't matter. I've got most of the artisan brands, and most of the 'luxury' soaps, AdP, MdC, XPEC, Nuàvia, etc., etc. No issues with either a 'modest' badger, a high-end two band (M&F, Simpson, Paladin, Thäter), etc., etc.

With the SMN-both versions-, I'm finding that with the badgers I've tried (24, 26, 28) the lather is 'disappearing' from the brush by the third pass. These are all brushes that are 'go-tos' for me, with excellent flow through. I'm using plenty of product, experimented with both very heavy loading and lighter loading, and the same behavior. Starting with a drier brush, moderately wet brush, very wet brush, fantastic lather on the first couple of passes and then it disappears.

The weird thing is that I grabbed a synthetic I had lying around (Stirling Kong) just to see. I did not have this behavior. Again, tried different levels of loading and starting wetness of the brush. In every case, I could have done 7 passes. I tried a few other synthetics (Envy Shave black wolf, RazoRock Plissoft, Plisson) and each of them did very well, and I did not get the 'disappearing lather' behavior I saw with the badgers.

Any ideas on what I might be missing? I have several synthetics, but prefer my badgers. An easy solution would be to just use a darn synthetic with SMN, but I'd like to have the option of enjoying my badgers with it.

Thanks!
That mirrors my experience with smn. To me it's a subpar overpriced product.

Enviado de meu XT1225 usando Tapatalk

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 02-17-2017, 09:54 AM
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I'll be using v3 tonight, for my third use with it.
Again, I've owned and used 3/4 tub of v2, grew tired of the scent and I noticed it left my face more red than other good soaps. Slickness was the only thing about v2 that I knew was amazing...well the scent initially is too, but I did grow old of it.
There was a more difficult learning curve for lathering v2 than v3, but for me that is the only discernible difference between v2 and v3. And once I learned v2, it just felt like lathering anything else, the knowledge just became part of my "lathering repertoire" as those were pretty early days for me with soaps anyway.
I'll take pictures tonight. I do not have a problem with lathering v2 or v3...my issue is more with mediocre overall results when expecting the overall results to match the scent and price tag and reputation. Fingers crossed.

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 02-17-2017, 05:24 PM
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Well, this morning, I took out my trusty Simpson Chubby 2 Manchurian, and loaded far longer than I usually do.

That seemed to do the trick. Plenty of lather, and no disappearing.

Perhaps it was the brushes I was using when I did my heavy loading, but for whatever reason, it worked very well.

Nevada Red gave me a interesting tip-he suggested taking a small dollop of the SMN and rub it in the palms and apply it directly to the face, and then lather. Looking forward to trying this out.

I find the same thing that Matt is about the redness on the face. While it's slight, I find that my face feels a bit 'raw' or 'braced' all day, but I attributed that to the menthol in the SMN, and I'm a bit sensitive to menthol.

With all of that said, the performance of the SMN v3 is truly remarkable to me, the glide and post-shave tactile feeling second to none.

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 02-18-2017, 01:48 AM
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Not sure the cause, but I have this happen with Proraso quite often - probably more acceptable when it's $9/tube. I figure it has to do with hard water.

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 02-18-2017, 03:34 AM
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In my opinion running out of lather is always caused by an insufficient initial loading. It may look like you've got tons of soap in that knot but try loading it a bit longer. The way I always avoid this problem is by building my larger on the puck. Adding water in very small increments all the while swirling your brush on the puck, I do this until my lather look like what I'd want to shave with. You'll be amazed the difference it makes in your lather.


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 02-18-2017, 04:52 AM
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(02-18-2017, 03:34 AM)merkur man Wrote: In my opinion running out of lather is always caused by an insufficient initial loading.  It may look like you've got tons of soap in that knot but try loading it a bit longer. The way I always avoid this problem is by building my larger on the puck. Adding water in very small increments all the while swirling your brush on the puck, I do this until my lather look like what I'd want to shave with. You'll be amazed the difference it makes in your lather.


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I have to agree that it's probably insufficient loading.  I've only used the SMN a few times but I have never experienced this problem.  I prefer to have more lather than less so I generally load longer no matter which soap I use.

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 02-18-2017, 05:54 AM
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(02-18-2017, 03:34 AM)merkur man Wrote: In my opinion running out of lather is always caused by an insufficient initial loading. It may look like you've got tons of soap in that knot but try loading it a bit longer. The way I always avoid this problem is by building my larger on the puck. Adding water in very small increments all the while swirling your brush on the puck, I do this until my lather look like what I'd want to shave with. You'll be amazed the difference it makes in your lather.


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100% agree with this. This is how I load my brushes now. The brush can look deceiving at first with a few seconds load. With this method I never have to go back to the puck

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 02-18-2017, 08:50 AM
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Thanks for all the feedback. I agree with Nathan and the others that the issue was insufficient loading. What struck me as strange is that the same amount of loading with a synthetic produced more than enough lather for my shave while the badger brush loaded for the same time didn't. I suppose this is what makes our hobby so fascinating: Getting to know the idiosyncrasies of how various soaps and brushes interact-the amount of loading, lathering, the technique of lathering, etc., etc.

Thanks again.

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 02-18-2017, 09:30 AM
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I think I was spoiled with creams and soaps bc the first XPEC was one of the first products I used. Pretty much nothing is even close, including this SMN, IMO.

Anyway as promised, pictures of last night's shave...

1. Pic of tub last night before shaving. When this came in a couple weeks ago I pressed down the cream/soap so that there were no gaps on the sides.
[Image: a3c5c405b38856468306f2d73705dc67.jpg]

2. Starting with damp but never dripping brush, here is the proto after about 20 seconds of loading
[Image: d8d9b59e9d0822c04e886f7f174eaacf.jpg]

3. After 1-3 more light water additions and 25-30 more seconds of loading:
[Image: cdcb595a05f82a82c6dfe2665a0be605.jpg]

4. After 2-3 more light water additions and 25-30 more seconds of loading:
[Image: c97254838af5ced886bc100e14a9e813.jpg]

5. Began palm lathering. After 1-3 more light water additions and 25-30 seconds of lathering:
[Image: cb5ba3b1c3c121d7872c10ab59d19fee.jpg]

6. After 2-3 more light water additions and 25-30 more seconds of lathering:
[Image: f1dceeb7191a4cdd65e96b0b418197da.jpg]

7. After 2-3 more light water additions and 25-30 more seconds of lathering:
[Image: 7216a58587d1bfaa00038dcf747e0a51.jpg]

8. As you can see, the complaints regarding lather are justified for those members not used to dealing with such a long requirement for loading/lathering for visible benefits.
After 2-3 more light water additions and 25-30 more seconds of lathering:
[Image: d02f3272ac362cd6a79887b5d4423095.jpg]

9. After 2-3 more light water additions and 25-30 more seconds of lathering:
[Image: 263fc0663f4fcdad53e6dde9dbed8c34.jpg]

10. After 2-3 more light water additions and 25-30 more seconds of lathering:
[Image: 9bc937db1fba19f56f072980cbb2d2c4.jpg]

11. After 2-3 more light water additions and 25-30 more seconds of lathering:
[Image: 625f43634c2962b23f1efee8235be921.jpg]

12. After a minute of heavy lathering but no water additions. This stuff is still very cushiony/protective. But I don't get the slippery feeling I remember from v2 however:
[Image: c8b58bf74db38261448286f248dcc109.jpg]

13. Lather that on the face for a minute and I get this:
[Image: b8b9e8b891b0e031b4315761cff4c894.jpg]

14. Lathering on the face for Pass 2:
[Image: 4b832905b7597dfb28b3d845edb157e1.jpg]

15. Lathering on the face for Pass 3:
[Image: 2d64d973cec912304775e09ec215a58f.jpg]

My findings: After a minute-long load and a several minutes of lathering (which are the two things I always do with every product), I found it to be JUST enough product for the three passes and maybe a couple touch up places, but definitely not what I'd call average (because I would normally have a pass leftover.... But it's not the end of the day, IMO.
this was my best shave yet with v3, I'm not really sure what I did differently than the two prior, especially since I just did my normal lathering techniques, I use the same DE blade for every single shave 365 days a year, and I think I even used my vintage Gillette SS C-1.

Very good shave, yes. But the best or even top 5, sorry but no. I want it to be.

I am pretty confident that the only difference between v2 and v3 is that the very first posts regarding v2 were negative and the very first posts regarding v3 were superlatively positive. Otherwise IMO we all would have bought v2 all the same and wondered why they reformulated (for v3).

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