09-20-2012, 01:52 PM
#1
  • Tonality
  • Attempted Soap Sabbatical
  • Boston
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Lately I've been paying closer attention to the soaps I have been using and have been very curious about what exactly is contained within them. I took eleven of my current soaps and creams (everything but Cade) and made a spreadsheet of their ingredients out of my own curiosity. While I already knew some soaps like RazoRock and Martin de Candre contained relatively few ingredients, I was a bit surprised at the amount of unpronounceable chemicals that were hidden away in some of the popular favorite I have like Palmolive Stick, Tabac, and Proraso Sandalwood (to name a few).

Now, I've never been a huge stickler for natural vs artificial or organic vs mass produced, but I had to take a step back and really think about the differences in these soaps. Let's take a look, this is the basic ingredients of most RazoRock soaps, excluding the La Famiglia line and S. Maria, and with the exception of the single ingredients that is added to some of the specialty soaps like the Mudder Focker and Bee's Knees as compared to a well known favorite, Tabac.

RazoRock
  • Stearic acid
  • Tallow
  • Water
  • Cocos Nuifera
  • Potassium Hydroxide
  • Sodium Hydroxide
  • Fragrance
  • Potassium Carbonate

Tabac
  • Potassium Stearate
  • Sodium Stearate
  • Potassium Tallowate
  • Potassium Cocoate
  • Aqua
  • Sodium Tallowate
  • Parfum
  • Sodium Cocoate
  • Glycerin
  • Potassium Hydroxide
  • Tetrasodium EDTA
  • Tetrasodium Etidronate
  • Sodium Hydroxide
  • CI 77891
  • Limonene
  • Hydroxycitronellal
  • Linalool
  • Citronellol
  • Courmarin
  • Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone
  • Geraniol
  • Evernia Prunastri (Oakmoss) Extract
  • Cinnamyl Alcohol
  • Isoeugenol
  • Benzyl Salicylate
  • Benzyl Alcohol
  • Eugenol, Citral
  • Evernia Furfuracea (Treemoss) Extract

That may be an extreme example, but my point still remains...that's a lot of "stuff"! Now I've been enjoying Tabac and Palmolive stick, and Speick as much as any other fans, but I find it to be a growing concern in me that I could be using much simpler products in terms of the ingredients used. This led me on a little quest to look at various specialty and artisan soaps like Jabonman, Tabula Rasa, Mike's, and Mystic Water which all have simple ingredient lists as well and are on my short list for future purchases, especially Jabonman.

My main point is that I find I appreciate soaps with a simple ingredient list more than I do some of the popular favorites packed full of chemicals, be they beneficial or not.

How do other people feel on this subject?

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 09-20-2012, 02:00 PM
#2
  • Teiste
  • Moderator Emeritus
  • Salt Lake City,UT
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I don't think "the fewer or the more ingredients, the better".I just think that formulations and ingredients have to be right (amounts) and good quality ones.
Martin de Candre has only 7 ingredients , for what I remember , while Mitchel's Wool Fat , more than 12 and both provide a great , superb skin care.
Usually more "natural" soaps or creams have few ingredients but that's not always the case.
And yes , I do appreciate that a soap or cream doesnt have SLS/SLES ,parabens , Boric Acid and chemicals since they dont need them to perform good.

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 09-20-2012, 02:01 PM
#3
  • Tonality
  • Attempted Soap Sabbatical
  • Boston
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(09-20-2012, 02:00 PM)Teiste Wrote: I don't think "the fewer or the more ingredients, the better".I just think that formulations and ingredients have to be right (amounts) and good quality ones.
Martin de Candre has only 7 ingredients , for what I remember , while Mitchel's Wool Fat , more than 12 and both provide a great , superb skin care.
Usually more "natural" soaps or creams have few ingredients but that's not always the case.
And yes , I do appreciate that a soap or cream doesnt have SLS/SLES ,parabens , Boric Acid and chemicals since they dont need them to perform good.

You are right, my title is a bit misleading from the thoughts I actually want to convey, I may change that.

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 09-20-2012, 02:03 PM
#4
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Also, a lot of the ingredients listed on the Tabac example are fragrance ingredients. The RR would have a longer list if they didn't simply list "fragrance". I think this has something to do with EU labeling regulations.

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 09-20-2012, 02:09 PM
#5
  • Tonality
  • Attempted Soap Sabbatical
  • Boston
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(09-20-2012, 02:03 PM)Aaron622 Wrote: Also, a lot of the ingredients listed on the Tabac example are fragrance ingredients. The RR would have a longer list if they didn't simply list "fragrance". I think this has something to do with EU labeling regulations.

This very well could be and is something I should look into more. But then again, both products also list "parfum" or "fragrance" separately in their descriptions.

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 09-20-2012, 02:11 PM
#6
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MdC has 6 ingredients including Parfume on the scented and the unscented only 5

it's been posted, it's so natural the owner in France demonstrated by lathering it and then sticking his finger in it and eating it Wink

it's the best soap I have ever tried and has the fewest ingredients.... coincidence?

here is a scan of the scented travel jar ingredient list:

Attached Files Image(s)
   

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 09-20-2012, 02:20 PM
#7
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What you're looking at here is probably the different labelling requirements in the US and the EU. As Aaron says,the fragrance ingredients for example. Plus expand the RR list to include the separate potassium and sodium salts of the fatty acids.

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 09-20-2012, 02:34 PM
#8
  • Johnny
  • Super Moderator
  • Wausau, Wisconsin, USA
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I too agree that MdC is one of the best two soaps I have used, but there is no way I'm putting it in my mouth, no matter what it does or does not have in it.

Soap just taste nasty.

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 09-20-2012, 03:49 PM
#9
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Johnny - when I was a kid, my mother washed out my mouth with soap if I used bad words. See how I turned out?

That alone is proof that putting soap in one's mouth is a bad idea!

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 09-20-2012, 07:42 PM
#10
  • Teiste
  • Moderator Emeritus
  • Salt Lake City,UT
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Martin de Candre is the finest example that a soap could be made with only few quality ingredients , if you have the right formulation and the right way to do it.Other are the traditional Italian "croaps" like Valobra , Cella and the RazoRock ones.
What it didn't sound "right" was old Proraso/Santa Maria La Novella formulations full of chemicals and stuff that a soap or cream doesn't need to perform good. Ludovico Martelli corrected that (at least , with the new Proraso line) and now , for many , new Proraso is much better than the old one.

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 09-20-2012, 09:16 PM
#11
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In the US fragrance ingredients can be listed as "fragrance". In order to sell their products here their labeling needs to meet our specs', period; or they can't enter our market.

If someone chooses to list more (ie. fragrance ingredients) that's a bonus if you happen to be sensitive. So be thankful when a company lists fragrance ingredients in their entirety; they don't need to.

Few ingredients in a label doesn't mean a product is better than a product with more ingredients. It all depends what those ingredients are. It requires knowledge on the part of the label reader. Too, not knowing what a word means or being able to pronounce it doesn't mean it's good or bad. Some manufacturers deliberately hide their ingredients behind unpronounceable words to hide trade secrets that are quite benign.

But I agree, MdC is sorta magical in the brevity of the label and the way that it works. But it isn't the label that makes it so. It's something not on the label (maybe not required) that makes it magical.

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 09-20-2012, 10:05 PM
#12
  • Tonality
  • Attempted Soap Sabbatical
  • Boston
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I'm certainly not saying that fewer ingredients = a better soap, I just like it simple and straightforward.

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 09-20-2012, 11:06 PM
#13
  • Teiste
  • Moderator Emeritus
  • Salt Lake City,UT
User Info
(09-20-2012, 10:05 PM)Tonality Wrote: I'm certainly not saying that fewer ingredients = a better soap, I just like it simple and straightforward.

Me too.Sisi

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 09-21-2012, 04:46 AM
#14
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(09-20-2012, 10:05 PM)Tonality Wrote: I'm certainly not saying that fewer ingredients = a better soap, I just like it simple and straightforward.

Sorry, neither was I. I just find it funny that my favourite and what many consider the best soap out there, has the fewest ingredients.

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 09-21-2012, 05:38 AM
#15
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(09-20-2012, 01:52 PM)Tonality Wrote: Lately I've been paying closer attention to the soaps I have been using and have been very curious about what exactly is contained within them. I took eleven of my current soaps and creams (everything but Cade) and made a spreadsheet of their ingredients out of my own curiosity. While I already knew some soaps like RazoRock and Martin de Candre contained relatively few ingredients, I was a bit surprised at the amount of unpronounceable chemicals that were hidden away in some of the popular favorite I have like Palmolive Stick, Tabac, and Proraso Sandalwood (to name a few).

Now, I've never been a huge stickler for natural vs artificial or organic vs mass produced, but I had to take a step back and really think about the differences in these soaps. Let's take a look, this is the basic ingredients of most RazoRock soaps, excluding the La Famiglia line and S. Maria, and with the exception of the single ingredients that is added to some of the specialty soaps like the Mudder Focker and Bee's Knees as compared to a well known favorite, Tabac.

RazoRock
  • Stearic acid
  • Tallow
  • Water
  • Cocos Nuifera
  • Potassium Hydroxide
  • Sodium Hydroxide
  • Fragrance
  • Potassium Carbonate

Tabac
  • Potassium Stearate
  • Sodium Stearate
  • Potassium Tallowate
  • Potassium Cocoate
  • Aqua
  • Sodium Tallowate
  • Parfum
  • Sodium Cocoate
  • Glycerin
  • Potassium Hydroxide
  • Tetrasodium EDTA
  • Tetrasodium Etidronate
  • Sodium Hydroxide
  • CI 77891
  • Limonene
  • Hydroxycitronellal
  • Linalool
  • Citronellol
  • Courmarin
  • Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone
  • Geraniol
  • Evernia Prunastri (Oakmoss) Extract
  • Cinnamyl Alcohol
  • Isoeugenol
  • Benzyl Salicylate
  • Benzyl Alcohol
  • Eugenol, Citral
  • Evernia Furfuracea (Treemoss) Extract

That may be an extreme example, but my point still remains...that's a lot of "stuff"! Now I've been enjoying Tabac and Palmolive stick, and Speick as much as any other fans, but I find it to be a growing concern in me that I could be using much simpler products in terms of the ingredients used. This led me on a little quest to look at various specialty and artisan soaps like Jabonman, Tabula Rasa, Mike's, and Mystic Water which all have simple ingredient lists as well and are on my short list for future purchases, especially Jabonman.

My main point is that I find I appreciate soaps with a simple ingredient list more than I do some of the popular favorites packed full of chemicals, be they beneficial or not.

How do other people feel on this subject?

If this wasn't a shaving forum, I'd wonder if the Tabac ingredients were intended to kill mosquitoes.

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 09-21-2012, 06:50 AM
#16
  • EHV
  • Senior Member
  • Milford,PA
User Info
I agree with Aaron and this is the case for a lot of other products sold in the EU.
There are now a lot of banned ingredients that have forced reformulations, (almost always for the worse) of a lot of classic fragrances. I'm sure that some shaving products got hit too.
They can't just list "fragrance" because some people have sensitivity to certain ingredients of a fragrance.

I wish RR would list out their fragrance ingredients. I *LOVE* their soaps but a few of them light up my face like crazy. It would be great to be able to figure out what the ingredient(s) is/are that contribute to the irritation.

(09-20-2012, 02:03 PM)Aaron622 Wrote: Also, a lot of the ingredients listed on the Tabac example are fragrance ingredients. The RR would have a longer list if they didn't simply list "fragrance". I think this has something to do with EU labeling regulations.

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 09-21-2012, 07:40 AM
#17
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My guess is that with regular stories in the news such as the recent Consumer Reports report about arsenic levels in U.S. rice and rice products.

Even though one can pay premium prices, stories like this suggest that we are buying inferior products from folks that we largely know through advertising. The idea that we can buy soaps made by people that we have gotten to know on shave forums is perhaps more comforting.

The picture of someone mixing a batch of soap up on their kitchen stove certainly seems more wholesome than a large corporation testing what mix of chemicals will find the sweet spot between performance and cost.

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 09-21-2012, 12:31 PM
#18
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Anthony, i have always tried to incorporate the most natural and simplest ingredients in the soaps that i use, but they have to work well. That is why i have extremely enjoyed Mystic Water and Mike's soaps the best. i have not tried all of the artisan soaps, but these two have been my favourites. i have intentionally avoided the bigger and popular brands as they just have too many "ingredients" for me. Although i have tried MdC and find it a very nice soap, FOR ME, i do not enjoy it as much as my two favourite ones mentioned above. Knowing that i am going to be shaving every day for a long time and the skin being the largest organ of the body, i would like to apply the most beneficial and simplest products to it.

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 09-21-2012, 01:46 PM
#19
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I really want to try Mike's soaps. They sound very interesting.

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 09-21-2012, 03:15 PM
#20
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While I understand the main idea behind the original post and also appreciate simple things in life, I never forget one source of our fears: the unknown. The reason majority of us have trouble pronouncing the name of some ingredients found in products we use in day-to-day life is because we normally use different terminology/language than a professional... chemist for instance.

I also look at the ingredients list before using a product (well... most of the time) and google the chemicals I don't know much about. Most of the time out of curiosity. This way I found that many ingredients (that are listed using scientific names/language) are actually nothing but chemicals that occur and are found in nature. Take some time and google for yourself.

I looked at a random ingredient of the Tabac soap and I found this:

Benzyl Alcohol
Benzyl alcohol is an organic compound
Benzyl alcohol is produced naturally by many plants and is commonly found in fruits and teas. It is also found in a variety of essential oils including jasmine, hyacinth, and ylang-ylang.

Benzyl alcohol is used as a general solvent for inks, paints, lacquers, and epoxy resin coatings. It is also a precursor to a variety of esters, used in the soap, perfume, and flavor industries. It is often added to intravenous medication solutions as a preservative due to its bacteriostatic and antipruritic properties.

Benzyl alcohol is used as a bacteriostatic preservative at low concentration in intravenous medications.

Other interesting facts/uses of Benzyl alcohol:
Benzyl alcohol has nearly the same refraction index of quartz and wool fibre. If a clear quartz object is immersed in benzyl alcohol, it becomes almost invisible. This has been used as a method to non-destructively recognize if an object is made of true quartz or not (see crystal skull). Similarly, white wool immersed in benzyl alcohol also becomes almost invisible clearly revealing contaminants such as dark and medullated fibres and vegetable matter.

I also like Tabac soap and checking the list, I must agree with Aaron:

(09-20-2012, 02:03 PM)Aaron622 Wrote: Also, a lot of the ingredients listed on the Tabac example are fragrance ingredients. The RR would have a longer list if they didn't simply list "fragrance". I think this has something to do with EU labeling regulations.

That being said, where can I find MdC soap? The unscented one.

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