03-30-2017, 06:34 AM
#1
  • Steve56
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  • Knoxville, TN
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Gentleman,

Claus posted a great thread about the amount, type, and safety of fragrance components in shaving soap, and thank you Claus for that thought-provoking post.

I’d like to expand on that thought because soap and fragrance are not all that’s in shaving soap these days, especially artisan soaps. There are multitudes of butters, oils, extracts, clays, etc in shaving soap, in unknown concentrations. I have read some comments about how one current artisan’s soaps leave skin with a sticky or heavy feeling.

There’s another thread here about which soaps and creams were the ‘dirtiest’ in terms of sink scum etc. I believe Proraso ‘won’ that contest. That stuff, which I watch circle the drain when rinsing my face and brush, is on your skin too. Notably I see very little of these ‘residual substances’ with a pure soluble soap like MdC, my skin feels cleaner and MdC is a good soap to periodically clean your brush of add-on substances. I see less residuals in mainstream soaps, though most mainstream soaps still show a bit of floaties on the rinse water, depending on the soap and formula. One recent artisan lists 17 components not counting water and fragrance. MdC has 4 components not counting water and fragrance, and one of them is glycerin which may be a by product of saponification. Quite the difference!

The question is the same as Claus’ about fragrance, can these additives, particularly plant/nut extracts be undesirable or undesirable at a high concentration? Thoughts?

Cheers, Steve

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 03-30-2017, 09:28 AM
#2
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One man's junk is another man's treasure.  

To me virtually all of those extra ingredients (butters, etc) are good for both the lather and the skin.  And that feeling on the face that you dislike I enjoy a great deal.  Essentially, these ingredients are providing nutrients for my skin and helping my skin to lock in the moisture.  

You say that MdC provides good cleansing for your skin.  It certainly does.  But cleansing is not the function of a shave soap, nor should it be.  I deliberately try to find non-cleansing ingredients when I choose a shave soap.  I can cleanse my face at my leisure with products specifically designed for cleansing the face.  A shave soap should not do that.  That's why I don't use MdC, or other soaps that are essentially clones of MdC and have almost the exact same ingredients lists. 

I actually find it kind of amusing that some people view a short ingredients list as a good thing, in and of itself.  There is nothing inherently virtuous about a short ingredients list, and there is nothing inherently evil about a longer ingredients list.  It is not the LENGTH of the list that matters, it is the CONTENTS of the soap that matter.  I greatly prefer soaps that are less cleansing and have skin-friendly ingredients among their slightly longer lists.  


YMMV, and apparently does.

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 03-30-2017, 11:32 AM
#3
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I am also very fond of MdC for its very clean and fresh post-shave feel.  I guess I am in the camp that enjoys light fragrance and lesser amounts of oils and butters. Not that I am averse to moisturizers and fragrance, but I prefer to get my moisturizing through light balms and my fragrance through a collection of scents.   I don't dislike soaps with additional components, but I find myself gravitating to the lighter ones.

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 03-30-2017, 12:32 PM
#4
  • Steve56
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Good points of view and discussion.

I agree that long doesn't necessarily equal bad or short necessarily equals good, I was trying to make a point that there are lots of things in many soaps besides the fragrances (and soap) that maybe we should think about especially with respect to the concentrations.

I've sort of taken an opposite point of view that shaving soaps need to provide conditioning beyond the basics if at all, preferring to leave that job to after shave products that were specifically developed for that purpose.

It's kind of amazing that the current range of shaving soaps is so diverse that we can discuss this topic.

Cheers, Steve

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 03-30-2017, 01:33 PM
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(03-30-2017, 11:32 AM)Tom Slick Wrote: I am also very fond of MdC for its very clean and fresh post-shave feel.  I guess I am in the camp that enjoys light fragrance and lesser amounts of oils and butters. Not that I am averse to moisturizers and fragrance, but I prefer to get my moisturizing through light balms and my fragrance through a collection of scents.   I don't dislike soaps with additional components, but I find myself gravitating to the lighter ones.

(03-30-2017, 12:32 PM)Steve56 Wrote: Good points of view and discussion.

I agree that long doesn't necessarily equal bad or short necessarily equals good, I was trying to make a point that there are lots of things in many soaps besides the fragrances (and soap) that maybe we should think about especially with respect to the concentrations.

I've sort of taken an opposite point of view that shaving soaps need to provide conditioning beyond the basics if at all, preferring to leave that job to after shave products that were specifically developed for that purpose.

It's kind of amazing that the current range of shaving soaps is so diverse that we can discuss this topic.

Cheers, Steve

Since you both seem to enjoy simple soaps with light scents and few ingredients, I can highly recommend the Original line from CRSW. 

I myself enjoy the soaps that are formulated for performance and where the oils and butters are part of the soap base itself and help provide slickness, glide and post shave. I prefer using a shaving soap that leaves my skin feeling conditioned and not forcing me to HAVE to use a moisturizer.

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 03-30-2017, 02:57 PM
#6
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I'm about great performance first. Whether that means 4 or 8 ingredients doesn't bother me much. I also don't ask for the recipe for my favorite restaurant lasagne - not that they would oblige, but it's just not a priority to me. I trust the establishments I frequent, and I'm consuming the product.

I trust the artisans that I buy from. I don't know that it makes sense to put a brand on trial based on the number of ingredients ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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 03-30-2017, 03:04 PM
#7
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When testing any new soap, I habitually rub the lather into the skin on the back of my hand. Then, after the rinse and, say, about an hour, I look for small amounts of residue in and around skin crevices and nails. It’s amazing how some soaps visibly leave no residue at all, while others, evidence of an irksome film. Indeed, a pretty reliable screening test is a look (at the LOI) for minimal use of superfats (particularly the heavy ones). However, should level of moisturization be an issue, I’d much rather have on a thin layer of light moisturizer which effortlessly blends into the skin, instead of soap scum.

Despite my preference for low-fat soaps (e.g. Tabac, which contains only glycerin), I'm not averse to the inclusion of a very small amount of some (other) film-formimng agent (preferably something light like argan oil, or a water-soluble synthetic). Similarly — in a skin moisturizer, and hair shampoo — I'd prefer a film-forming agent like (water-soluble) dimethicone copolylol, versus (water-insoluble) dimethicone.

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 03-30-2017, 03:05 PM
#8
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I've heard some say that they have issues with coconut oil.  We use a little; Apparently not enough to cause problems - at least not that I've heard.

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 03-30-2017, 03:29 PM
#9
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Dear gents;

I have dry skin.  I enjoy soaps that combat this situation.  Of course, if you had oily skin, you would prefer a whole different kind of soap.  Don't you think?  This is one of the biggest YMMV thing in the nook!

Best for all,

Pepe Peña


P.d.  Coconut oil... i like!

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 03-31-2017, 04:55 AM
#10
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One of the reasons why MdC has such few ingredients is because there is no regulation about how many ingredients to list.  Their first (and by far the biggest) ingredient is stearic acid.  Now you can use stearic acid without saponifying it but if you do, you then might come up with potassium stearate and sodium stearate and now you have two ingredients but from the same source.  You obviously need to saponify tallow and now you have sodium tallowate and potassium tallowate.  When you saponify coconut oil, you come up with sodium cocoate and potassium cocoate.  

As for comparison with artisans, I'm going to list the ingredient list of Barrister & Mann's Seville soap.  I had spoken with Will Carius early(ish) on in B&M's development and he talked about sort of "overlisting" the amount of ingredients since he was a lawyer (to be).  This isn't meant to be a direct B&M to MdC comparison because I know that just about every other artisan likes to list out their ingredient list in full:

Potassium Stearate, Aqua, Glycerin, Sodium Stearate, Potassium Tallowate, Sodium Tallowate, Potassium Ricinoleate, Potassium Shea Butterate, Sodium Ricinoleate, Coconut Milk, Sodium Shea Butterate, Carthamus tinctorius hybrid (Hybrid Safflower) Seed Oil, Potassium Palm Kernelate, Allantoin, Lanolin, Sodium Palm Kernelate, Sodium Citrate, Citrus bergamia (Bergamot) Oil, Citrus limonium (Lemon) Oil, Lavandula angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Rosmarinus officinalis (Rosemary) Oil, Fragrance/Parfum, Pogostemon cablin (Patchouli) Oil, Tocopherol Acetate, Hydrolyzed Silk Protein

That's a bunch of ingredients, right?!  But as you see, the ingredients could be listed like: stearic acid, aqua, glycerin, tallow, castor oil, shea butter, coconut milk, safflower seed oil, allantoin, lanolin, citric acid, bergamot oil, lemon oil, lavender oil, rosemary oil, fragrance/parfum, patchouli oil, vitamin E, and silk protein.  Keep in mind that seven of the last nine ingredients are perfuming agents and could be listed as "parfum/fragrance" as MdC does.  And the other major difference is all the skin conditioning ingredients that B&M's (and really any other artisan's) soaps have that MdC does not.  Incidentally, this is one of the main reasons why MdC has such "clean" feeling properties; its all stearic acid.  Its also one of the reasons why people with dry skin often complain that MdC's soaps are drying on their face.  

As an aside, potassium hydroxide is also used in batteries.  I'm not saying that MdC is dangerous to use, but just because a maker only lists a few ingredients, it doesn't mean that its ingredients are better or more "pure" than others.

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 03-31-2017, 05:22 AM
#11
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What the OP might not realize about oils and butters is that even though they are in the product, they are no longer oils and butters, they are soap.  The reason to use different oils and butters in one soap is that each oil is made up of different balances of fatty acids and "unsaponifiables", the soapmaker chooses the ingredients that best give the balance of qualities of soap that they are looking for.  There can only be a very small variation in the degree of superfat contained in various soaps - what I'm trying to say is that butters should not necessarily equate heavy/sticky feeling in soap.  If you trust your soapmaker and you get a good result from the soap, that should reassure you that the "concentrations" of various ingredients are appropriate.  The amount of soap scum that you see in your sink depends on hard water and chelation, not "purity" of the soap.  EDTA and other chelating ingredients used in commercial soaps cut down on soap scum, but many customers of artisan soap do not want us to use it.  That's one of the reasons I began adding citric acid/sodium citrate to my soap last year, because it also functions as a chelating agent.  A soap with few ingredients is not necessarily superior or inferior to a soap with more ingredients, and single term like "parfum" or "fragrance" can be made up of a myriad of ingredients.  Unless the soap is poorly made, or a customer is allergic to a particular ingredient (like a nut oil, lanolin or coconut oil) I think you're quite safe with artisan soaps.

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 03-31-2017, 06:36 AM
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(03-31-2017, 04:55 AM)jpakstis Wrote: One of the reasons why MdC has such few ingredients is because there is no regulation about how many ingredients to list.  Their first (and by far the biggest) ingredient is stearic acid.  Now you can use stearic acid without saponifying it but if you do, you then might come up with potassium stearate and sodium stearate and now you have two ingredients but from the same source.  You obviously need to saponify tallow and now you have sodium tallowate and potassium tallowate.  When you saponify coconut oil, you come up with sodium cocoate and potassium cocoate.  ...

This is not really true.  You get potassium stearate by saponifying stearic acid with potassium hydroxide, and you get sodium stearate by saponifying stearic acid with sodium hydroxide.  If you don't saponify it, it isn't soap.  If you use only potassium stearate to saponify it, you would only get potassium stearate in the ingredients list.  

Using potassium hydroxide only makes a soap very soft; using sodium hydroxide only makes a soap hard.  Therefore, some artisan soapmakers saponify with a combination of the two.  When that is done, both potassium stearate and sodium stearate will be in the soap.  From a physicochemical standpoint, they are essentially the same thing:  soap made from stearic acid.  If a soapmaker uses both potassium hydroxide and sodium hydroxide for saponification, he/she could  conceivably list the ingredients in two different ways: 


1) Stearic acid,........potassium hydroxide, sodium hydroxide....   OR
2) Potassium stearate, sodium stearate....... 

It amounts to the same thing.  


So, if a soapmaker wanted the list to be shorter, he/she could choose option 1, but the composition of the soap is actually the same.

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 03-31-2017, 08:57 AM
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(03-31-2017, 04:55 AM)jpakstis Wrote: As an aside, potassium hydroxide is also used in batteries.  I'm not saying that MdC is dangerous to use, but just because a maker only lists a few ingredients, it doesn't mean that its ingredients are better or more "pure" than others.

It's also used to make pretzels.

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 03-31-2017, 10:19 AM
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(03-31-2017, 06:36 AM)kingfisher Wrote: So, if a soapmaker wanted the list to be shorter, he/she could choose option 1, but the composition of the soap is actually the same.

I knew my utter lack of expertise would catch up to me! Its always illuminating to read knowledgeable responses.

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 03-31-2017, 10:20 AM
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(03-31-2017, 08:57 AM)ColdRiverSoap Wrote: It's also used to make pretzels.

If we could have battery-powered pretzels, we'd be on to something.  I don't know exactly what we'd be on to though.

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 03-31-2017, 03:01 PM
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(03-31-2017, 10:20 AM)jpakstis Wrote:
(03-31-2017, 08:57 AM)ColdRiverSoap Wrote: It's also used to make pretzels.

If we could have battery-powered pretzels, we'd be on to something.  I don't know exactly what we'd be on to though.

: )

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 03-31-2017, 03:36 PM
#17
  • Steve56
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Or pretzels that lathered - lol

Cheers, Steve

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 03-31-2017, 03:54 PM
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(03-31-2017, 08:57 AM)ColdRiverSoap Wrote: It's also used to make pretzels.

And bagels and hominy (grits).

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 04-01-2017, 10:12 AM
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Just to clarify, lather residue is a function of not only newly-formed salt (“soap scum”), but also insoluble (super) fat. (Leftover of unsaponified lipid is contributory to the residuum.)

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