03-04-2019, 07:15 PM
#1
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Gentlemen, I recently stumbled on a relative newcomer to the soap and post shave market. After nearly 10 years in the hobby, I’ve been down every avenue and back again. I’ve bought and sold hundreds and hundreds of products, many of exceptional quality, but most I found lacking in one area or another. My tastes skew toward luxury products. I love well-done, sophisticated scents. I have always sought out soaps that limit the ingredient “nasties” and at the same time yield an elite level of performance and post shave feel (we are now spoiled for choice in this arena). I am also the type who likes to pair soaps with matching post shave products. I am also a sucker for a nice presentation. I always found myself “settling” in one area or another with respect to finding the “total package.”

No longer…

Enter Sebum Gold, a brand out of Boston, Massachusetts. The proprietor, Rick Sprowl, has created a pairing of what I consider to be the best soap on the market, with his serum, and the results are simply phenomenal.

I have used alcohol splashes in the past and have never been satisfied with the results. This includes the recent crop of splashes containing various “skin foods.”  The Sebum Gold serum is an oil-based affair, with jojoba playing the lead role. Upon application, the serum absorbs marvelously, leaving the face feeling in such a way that is difficult to describe… and that feeling stays with me for hours and hours after application.

The soap consists of only four ingredients, saponified oils of kokum butter, illipe butter, virgin red raspberry seed oil, and an essential oil blend. The performance is wonderful. Excellent protection, cushion, glide, and slickness. Among the best soap bases I have ever tried.

The scents are each composed entirely of essential oils (save for Latte, which is composed of a CO2 extract blend). The “Gold” scent is incredibly natural and refined (and quite honestly, smells expensive). The scent puts me in mind of walking through the front door of an old apothecary. “Purple” is a lavender-mint combo. Upon application the scent is very mint forward. The lavender comes to the fore several minutes later. “Latte” threw me for a loop. Typically, I despise gourmand or food-based scents. This is a natural coffee scent, with a dash of cinnamon, done oh so well. Love it. Finally, the flagship product, “Blue,” is far and away my favorite. Upon application, I imagine myself walking through a field of blueberries in the English countryside on a Spring day.

In the realm of packing, a 3lb glass jar with a Hawaiian Koa label houses the soap, covered by a giant cork top. The serum comes in a heavy glass bottle, also with a maple wood label. Again, a cork top hugging an aluminum dropper. He dips the cork top in wax. The packaging is completely free of plastic. Nothing in the market comes close.

A word about price. These are luxury product aimed at a specific segment of the market (that I believe is totally untapped). The 5oz serums start at $125. He offers smaller sizes. A 5oz bottle will last ages. The recommended amount per use is 5-10 drops. This is the Martin de Candre of the post shave world, insofar as you pay a little more, but the product lasts longer than virtually anything available today. The soaps start at $65, but you get 7oz. Some artisan products available today are priced upwards of $30 for 4oz. I’d ask that you keep these factors in mind when considering the value of the product.

Rick has hit the nail on the head. As far as I am concerned, he has no equal in the artisan world.

Two disclosures:

Credit to TSN member Ols67, for sending me a link to the Sebum Gold website. You’ve turned the hobby on it's head for me.

All products photographed are my own and were purchased by me at full retail price.

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231 1,366
 03-04-2019, 07:16 PM
#2
  • Agravic
  • Emeritus
  • Pennsylvania, USA
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I too have been an 'active' wet shaving enthusiast for about 10 years now.  Over the years I've tried many different products, software and hardware.  Some have been successes for me, and others have not.  Most purchases have been fairly well researched in advance, although I have made a few impulse purchases with mixed results.
Sebum Gold was a somewhat blind foray for me.  I first noticed the brand in a random SOTD picture on one of the forums.  A quick online search revealed a paucity of reviews/discussion and several YouTube videos.  Based on this information obtained, as well as spirited discussions with Christian (nervosa1901), I decided to take a plunge into this brand.  I'm more than pleased!

Packaging/presentation :
All products are packaged and shipped using natural materials as much as possible.  The soaps and serums utilize a combination of glass, cork, and wood based materials.  The overall effect is that of distinctive and simple elegance.  These items are heavy and sturdy, owing to the type of glass used.

Performance :
The soap has a 'croap-like' appearance and consistency.  It's quite potent, as a small amount is sufficient to generate copious amounts of lather.  The soap loads/lathers quite easily. The label recommends bowl lathering.  I've had no difficulties reproducing a thick, creamy lather with sour cream like consistency.  It's a slick and protective lather and this results in a very smooth shaving experience.  Post-shave the skin feels soft and supple.  The scents are natural, definitely not cloying or overpowering.  Gold has herbal/woodsy notes to my nose. Purple is more of a lavender/mint.  Latte is just as named; a wonderful espresso/mocha tone.  I've not tried Blue yet.
The post-shave serums are oil based, with a notable absence of alcohol.  Several drops go a long way, and provide coating for the entire face.  The product absorbs quickly and adds to the soft and supple feeling already brought on by the soap.  After using this product for several weeks, I've definitely noticed a cumulative benefit in terms of my facial skin tone and smoothness.
The pre-shave Sebum X - Muscovado Latte is an invigorating and effective pre-shave exfoliating scrub that I typically use twice a week.  It delivers as described.

Philosophy :
Further reading as well as conversations with the creator of this brand, Rick, have led me to understand more.  The focus here is to provide high quality items, using natural ingredients and materials not only for products but also with packaging.  The main goal is to allow for natural and responsible ways to improve one's skin health.
This degree of quality demonstrated at all levels comes with a relatively higher price tag than one is typically accustomed to with regards to shaving products.  That being said, I can definitely see where the money is.

I have been using Sebum Gold products exclusively for almost a month now, and am beyond impressed.  Rick is passionate about his products, and leaves no detail unattended to.  Over the years, I have found that this is what truly makes a brand shine .. not only the quality and performance of its products, but also the passion and integrity of its maker.  This can be said of several great names in software and hardware these days.  I've added Sebum Gold to my list, and look forward to future releases with excitement.

Disclosure :
All products were purchased at full retail price for personal use only.


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119 19,572
 03-04-2019, 07:24 PM
#3
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Great review of what appears to be a wonderful product. I'll have to check out those products.

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1 75
 03-04-2019, 07:50 PM
#4
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Glad to see the brand getting such recognition. I have sebum gold aftershave, and it is honestly a pain to have to use up the rest of my stuff. Sebum gold is just so much better.

I am also pleased by the balanced discussion. On other places I have been, the conversation immediately turns to price. Yes, it's expensive, but so is other stuff. Sebum blows everything else I have ever used out of the water.

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0 169
 03-04-2019, 08:09 PM
#5
  • NJDJ
  • Senior Member
  • New Jersey
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How would you guys compare to Grooming Dept? Particularly if one uses the GD preshave-soap-post shave serum combination?  That has been a winner for me and I also seem to notice a cumulative benefit when using the combo over time, similar to what you seem to be referencing with this brand.  Just curious if anyone can compare/ contrast?

36 1,088
 03-04-2019, 09:10 PM
#6
  • pbrmhl
  • Senior Member
  • Seattle
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(03-04-2019, 08:09 PM)NJDJ Wrote: How would you guys compare to Grooming Dept? Particularly if one uses the GD preshave-soap-post shave serum combination?  That has been a winner for me and I also seem to notice a cumulative benefit when using the combo over time, similar to what you seem to be referencing with this brand.  Just curious if anyone can compare/ contrast?

I use Grooming soaps and pre-shave, but not the serum.

I bought a jug of Sebum Gold last year when it was on sale (at $75 for five ounces). No regrets. I keep it in my office, and apply it in the afternoon before I leave the office to face the winter elements on my way home. The scent is like freshly sawn lumber. Very pleasant, and very soothing in these winter months.

17 728
 03-05-2019, 01:28 AM
#7
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Very good reviews and even better photos!

Thanks for sharing, Chris and Ravi!

Their packaging looks amazing!

60 2,730
 03-05-2019, 01:48 AM
#8
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Great reviews gentlemen, and wonderful photos!


This Sebum Soaps are elite, top tier products!

The Sebum Serums are the best post shave serums that I have found.  They all absorb easily, and the post-shave feel lasts many hours.  I would add that the gold is the heaviest, the purple is in the middle, and the blue is the lightest on my skin.

Do I use these products exclusively...NO...are they worth the high cost...YES!

Homeruns here!

Vr

Matt


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36 2,326
 03-05-2019, 10:43 AM
#9
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(03-04-2019, 08:09 PM)NJDJ Wrote: How would you guys compare to Grooming Dept? Particularly if one uses the GD preshave-soap-post shave serum combination?  That has been a winner for me and I also seem to notice a cumulative benefit when using the combo over time, similar to what you seem to be referencing with this brand.  Just curious if anyone can compare/ contrast?

I have owned a few GD soaps and sold them all. I found the scents to be too synthetic for my taste. Sebum Gold is on another level in this regard.

231 1,366
 03-05-2019, 10:49 AM
#10
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I can chime in here as well. I took the plunge and ordered a combo set and it’s truly been game changing. My immediate thought on the scent was that it is pleasantly intoxicating. It has a medicinal aromatherapy scent that is just so distinct. Performance wise is where it really shines though. The soap is phenomenal but the serum is the real MVP. I find myself applying whenever I have the opportunity. Don’t be scared by the price - 5oz of this stuff will last a really really long time. Rick really changed my perspective with this stuff and I am looking forward to what comes out of his shop next.

Here’s another picture for your viewing pleasure. Packaging and presentation are second to none.

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74 431
 03-05-2019, 10:54 AM
#11
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I think that serums are a little more than I want to pay, but I think the soaps represents a very good value and when they are back in stock, I intend to order one and try it out.

2 131
 03-05-2019, 11:04 AM
#12
  • Mr_Smartepants
  • Senior Member
  • Cambridgeshire, UK (CONUS post address)
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(03-05-2019, 10:54 AM)Preacher Wrote: I think that serums are a little more than I want to pay

I echo this sentiment.  While the products may be good, they are priced WAY above anything else on the market.
When evaluating products, I ask myself "This cost $100, does it give a $100 shave?  Or does it give a $10 shave?"
At this price point, I'm going to pass unless I get a chance to sample them myself or the prices are reduced to a more reasonable level.

49 2,170
 03-05-2019, 11:23 AM
#13
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(03-05-2019, 11:04 AM)Mr_Smartepants Wrote:
(03-05-2019, 10:54 AM)Preacher Wrote: I think that serums are a little more than I want to pay

I echo this sentiment.  While the products may be good, they are priced WAY above anything else on the market.
When evaluating products, I ask myself "This cost $100, does it give a $100 shave?  Or does it give a $10 shave?"
At this price point, I'm going to pass unless I get a chance to sample them myself or the prices are reduced to a more reasonable level.

As I stated above, the amount of serum required per use is far less than a traditional aftershave splash. Splashes range from $20-$30 these days, on average, so the cost per use is similar, and the serums are far superior to anything else on the market today.

231 1,366
 03-05-2019, 11:36 AM
#14
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I have been using myself sebum gold for the better part of half a year, and my bottle is about 1/4 gone.

Price is high, though justified.

Does anyone know when they have discounts?

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0 169
 03-05-2019, 11:40 AM
#15
  • Agravic
  • Emeritus
  • Pennsylvania, USA
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(03-05-2019, 11:36 AM)CzechCzar Wrote: I have been using myself sebum gold for the better part of half a year, and my bottle is about 1/4 gone.

Price is high, though justified.

Does anyone know when they have discounts?

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I'm not aware of any product discounts, present or future.
I presume past discounts were possibly offered to help introduce the brand.

119 19,572
 03-05-2019, 12:14 PM
#16
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(03-05-2019, 11:04 AM)Mr_Smartepants Wrote:
(03-05-2019, 10:54 AM)Preacher Wrote: I think that serums are a little more than I want to pay

I echo this sentiment.  While the products may be good, they are priced WAY above anything else on the market.
When evaluating products, I ask myself "This cost $100, does it give a $100 shave?  Or does it give a $10 shave?"
At this price point, I'm going to pass unless I get a chance to sample them myself or the prices are reduced to a more reasonable level.


Agree, for those prices, the bottle should say "Creed".

1 644
 03-05-2019, 12:19 PM
#17
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(03-05-2019, 12:14 PM)bkatbamna Wrote:
(03-05-2019, 11:04 AM)Mr_Smartepants Wrote:
(03-05-2019, 10:54 AM)Preacher Wrote: I think that serums are a little more than I want to pay

I echo this sentiment.  While the products may be good, they are priced WAY above anything else on the market.
When evaluating products, I ask myself "This cost $100, does it give a $100 shave?  Or does it give a $10 shave?"
At this price point, I'm going to pass unless I get a chance to sample them myself or the prices are reduced to a more reasonable level.


Agree, for those prices, the bottle should say "Creed".
While they look fantastic, if I buy these products, they will cost me an arm and a leg. Tax guys are not joking.

$120 would look like a bargain.

60 2,730
 03-05-2019, 12:29 PM
#18
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I think the point that everyone is missing about price is that one 5oz bottle will likely outlast 4 x $30 name your artisan bottles of aftershave. If not outlast, it will be inconsequentially close. With that being said you are getting a FAR superior product. If you really digest that, the only price argument that is valid is the requirement to buy in bulk and not at the $30 increment equivalent of the traditional aftershave offerings. Don’t get so fixated on the price tag. This is truly something special.

74 431
 03-05-2019, 12:34 PM
#19
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It's interesting that the website recommends using a synthetic brush with the soap.  

Would someone please post the ingredients list from both the cream and the post-shave serum?  I was surprised that the website does not list ingredients.

60 10,560
 03-05-2019, 12:34 PM
#20
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(03-05-2019, 12:29 PM)happydaze Wrote: I think the point that everyone is missing about price is that one 5oz bottle will likely outlast 4 x $30 name your artisan bottles of aftershave. If not outlast, it will be inconsequentially close. With that being said you are getting a FAR superior product. If you really digest that, the only price argument that is valid is the requirement to buy in bulk and not at the $30 increment equivalent of the traditional aftershave offerings. Don’t get so fixated on the price tag. This is truly something special.
I agree 100%, and this is something the OP discussed quite well in the review.

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