01-26-2013, 12:29 AM
#1
  • GreekGuy
  • Not saving money yet....
  • La Jolla, CA
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Gentlemen,

With all the news about the reformulation of the AOS soap, I decided to pick some up today for the purposes of doing a "formal" test and comparison.

Price is $30 for 95 grams, although I received 20% off due to their Friends and Family sale. Price out the door was $25.92.

Here are a few photos of the new packaging. The most notable difference is obviously the change of ingredients, but also that the size 95g / 3.3 Oz is much larger on the bottom. It also clearly states Made in USA on the package.

   

   

   


The soap also has a different imprint compared to the old formula. The AOS logo is larger and enclosed in a circle. It is a little difficult to appreciate from this photo, but the new soap is also significantly more yellow and less brown in color than the old formula. Scent is essentially the same from a "sandalwood" component, but the clay note is gone.
   

On to the testing. For both soaps, I used a 24/46 mm Shavemac D01 2-band Silvertip Badger which was drained. The soap was then loaded for 30 seconds without any initial soaking of any kind.

OLD FORMULATION


Here is a photo of what my brush and the puck looked like after 30 seconds of loading.

   


And this is what the lather looks like after palm lathering:

   
I have used this soap many times, and it produces a very dense and rich lather with little effort at all. It helps to use a brush with a lot of backbone, however, as the longer lofted (floppy) brushes tend to struggle a bit in comparison.


NEW FORMULATION


Here is a photo of what my brush and the puck looked like after 30 seconds of loading.

   

And this is what the lather looked like after 3 passes.

   

This is my first time using this soap, and it produced a lather with very little effort at all. The lather was very slick and dense, and did not dissipate at all on the face. It felt moderately moisturizing. Not overly so, but not lacking either. The scent is quite pleasing and lingered somewhat after the shave. It rinsed off the face and razor very easily.


Overall, I think P&G did a very good job with this one. I was fearing for the worst but they actually did a good job sourcing this in house as opposed to with Valobra like the old Italian made tallow formula.

Now, I realize it is impossible to do a review like this without saying which one I think is better. In this case, I don't think it is a reformulation where one is clearly superior to the other. If you love tallow soaps to exclusion then the old one is obviously better for you. If you are more of the "vegan" mindset, or like Made in USA goods, then the new one is better for you.

From a performance standpoint, they are very similar. And going from there this is just splitting hairs really (pun intended). The old soap is a bit denser and provides a little bit better cushion, it is a little bit more tricky to lather due to how hard it is, and so it could be a bit of an issue with newbies or those with longer lofted brushes without a lot of backbone. The new one is definitely more slick, and while the lather is rich, it is not quite as dense as the tallow formulation. It does appear to be easier to lather however, which could be a plus for many.

I've only had one shave with the new soap, so my opinion may change in time, but I'm glad I took one for the team in trying this one out. It really is not the disaster many had feared. Seeing as this weekend everything is 20% off, it may be a good chance to test it out or try something new. You may find yourself pleasantly surprised. I certainly was.

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 01-26-2013, 01:01 AM
#2
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Nice write up! I have yet to try any of their soap, but I think their creams are very good...might need to give the soap a try one of these days. Thanks for sharing.

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 01-26-2013, 04:36 AM
#3
  • TonyN
  • Active Member
  • Lawrenceville, GA US
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Thanks for the review Nick!

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 01-26-2013, 08:44 AM
#4
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BUMMER! Angry

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 01-26-2013, 08:56 AM
#5
  • Teiste
  • Moderator Emeritus
  • Salt Lake City,UT
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Thank you , Nick.

As I said in another thread , the new formulation is like the "good" formulation from so many UK veggie based soaps , like Floris or Edwin Jagger/Muhle.

And when I say "veggie based" , maybe is not that veggie , since "Potassium and Sodium Sterate" could come from animal fat , like in the case of La Toja , so maybe is not a veggie based 100% after all.

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 01-26-2013, 09:05 AM
#6
  • TexBilly
  • Moderator Emeritus
  • Austin, TX
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Thanks, Nick. Not sure I'll rush to stock up but it sounds like P&G used some thought. Maybe the folks at Pens should pay attention. It can't get much worse than their EF reformulation. :s

Sent via Tapatalk 2

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 01-26-2013, 09:49 AM
#7
  • Teiste
  • Moderator Emeritus
  • Salt Lake City,UT
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By the way , the soaps states that contains "Essential oil" and I cant find it anywhere on the ingredient list.For what I know , "parfum" is not "EO".

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 01-26-2013, 09:58 AM
#8
  • Johnny
  • Super Moderator
  • Wausau, Wisconsin, USA
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Nick, thinks for the nice review.

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 01-26-2013, 10:30 AM
#9
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(01-26-2013, 09:49 AM)Teiste Wrote: By the way , the soaps states that contains "Essential oil" and I cant find it anywhere on the ingredient list.For what I know , "parfum" is not "EO".

You bring up a good point Teiste Sherlock. From the little I know about the subject, EOs can be used as an ingredient to make a particular "fragrance". AOS lists "fragrance" in the ingredients list, however, "fragrances" in the US are regulated by the FDA and fall under the trade secret law, meaning the manufacturer does not need to disclose the ingredients for a particular fragrance. In this case I'm assuming the sandalwood EO is just a component of the overall fragrance that they just chose to highlight.

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 01-26-2013, 01:49 PM
#10
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(01-26-2013, 09:49 AM)Teiste Wrote: By the way , the soaps states that contains "Essential oil" and I cant find it anywhere on the ingredient list.For what I know , "parfum" is not "EO".
I'm no expert, but as far as I know, essential oils are labeled these days by their chemical names. Hexyl cinnamal and coumarin are both natural components that are found within essential oils. Just because they sound synthetic doesn't mean they are.

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 01-26-2013, 04:23 PM
#11
  • CMur12
  • Semogueiro de Coração
  • Moses Lake, Washington State, USA
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Thanks for the great review and photos, Nick. I'm impressed and reassured that P&G actually did this well with an entirely new formulation for their AoS shave soap.

I don't know if I'll actually be buying any of it, as I already have a helluva cache of AoS soap and Valobra Shave Sticks that I hoarded in anticipation of such a thing taking place. I have also found that I really like soaps by Mystic Water and Mike's Natural, and I plan to add a nice supply of these to my cache.

- Murray

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 01-26-2013, 06:39 PM
#12
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(01-26-2013, 10:30 AM)BladeDE40 Wrote:
(01-26-2013, 09:49 AM)Teiste Wrote: By the way , the soaps states that contains "Essential oil" and I cant find it anywhere on the ingredient list.For what I know , "parfum" is not "EO".

You bring up a good point Teiste Sherlock. From the little I know about the subject, EOs can be used as an ingredient to make a particular "fragrance". AOS lists "fragrance" in the ingredients list, however, "fragrances" in the US are regulated by the FDA and fall under the trade secret law, meaning the manufacturer does not need to disclose the ingredients for a particular fragrance. In this case I'm assuming the sandalwood EO is just a component of the overall fragrance that they just chose to highlight.

+1 that. If no claims for efficacy are made and it is just used to scent no labeling requirement exists

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 01-26-2013, 07:58 PM
#13
  • Edson
  • Artisan Razor Restorer
  • Oregon
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Thanks for taking one for the team Nick. I had my doubts, but this doesn't sound all bad.

That said - when I heard the news I bought 3 tallow sandalwood pucks giving me 4.5 total. AOS Sandalwood was definitely in my top 5 and I loved the thick and to me, slick lather it produced.

I'm not one against non-tallow soaps, but GFT and Pen's have pretty much ruined their soaps with reformulations so I didn't want to take the chance. GFT is at least useable, but I will never purchase any again. Pen's is downright dreadful now.

I figure in 10 years (probably longer), if I run out of sandalwood I'll give the new stuff a chance. Knowing P&G though it will probably be reformulated 3 more times by then.

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 01-26-2013, 08:15 PM
#14
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This is encouraging. If there is anything negative to the old formulation it is the soap/Clay smell in the background, maybe this reformulation will be a bearable change?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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 01-26-2013, 11:30 PM
#15
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How does the scent differ? I understand the formulation as of a few years ago contained real sandalwood oil, now it's a fragrance oil.

Thankfully I have a puck of the old stuff which I will eventually get to. This sounds adequate but there is better to be had for what AoS is charging; I don't think the market can support an average performer using FOs at $30/puck.

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 01-27-2013, 02:51 AM
#16
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An excellent review, Nick. I still have 3/4 of a puck of sandalwood left so I'm covered for a couple or so years. Whether or not I will buy one of the new pucks remains to be seen though. I'm just hoping C&S don't decide to do the same.

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 01-27-2013, 03:58 AM
#17
  • GreekGuy
  • Not saving money yet....
  • La Jolla, CA
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Thank you gentlemen for the kind words

(01-26-2013, 11:30 PM)insomniac Wrote: How does the scent differ? I understand the formulation as of a few years ago contained real sandalwood oil, now it's a fragrance oil.

Thankfully I have a puck of the old stuff which I will eventually get to. This sounds adequate but there is better to be had for what AoS is charging; I don't think the market can support an average performer using FOs at $30/puck.

The fragrance is pretty similar. I'm not 100% sure that the fragrance actually changed, as my understanding is that packaging restrictions require to list the actual scent compound which sounds like an artificial chemical name, when in reality it is just the chemical name for a natural compound. That being said, the clay note, or undertone, of the old formula is definitely gone. So as far as AOS claiming the soap is the same, it clearly isn't. The clay scent seems to be hit or miss with people, but its gone, good or bad as it may be. If anything I think it makes the sandalwood fragrance stand out more. Which now that I think about it, could be one of the reasons to drop Valobra from making it so they could switch to using less EO/Fragrance.

Regarding the price, I tend to agree with you. At $30 a puck there are a lot of choices out there. We are basically talking the same price as MdC. $60 for 170g vs $30 for 95g. I think C&S takes the cake as most expensive soap on the market, but this one is definitely up there. The new formulation is certainly useable. If I had to rate it I would say that it is better than C&E, floris, GFT, and a long distant Penhaligons in that order.

Now that I've had another use with it I would say this soap is good. It doesn't "wow" me, but truth be told, the old one didn't blow me away either. They are both good soaps, but not ones I would place in my top 3. I think a lot of the love for it came simply from being tallow based, which is a discussion perhaps for another time, and while I like the tallow formula I can't see myself chasing it down like I seem to do with the Pen's BB, obviously resulting in dismal failure every time.

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 01-27-2013, 04:37 AM
#18
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I loathe AoS but I might see if my store has an old formulation lemon soap lying around....

$30 for what they're offering now isn't worth the price, nor was it really worth it in the first place, other than having a hard puck of Valobra.

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 01-28-2013, 07:18 AM
#19
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(01-27-2013, 04:37 AM)Sodapopjones Wrote: I loathe AoS but I might see if my store has an old formulation lemon soap lying around....

$30 for what they're offering now isn't worth the price, nor was it really worth it in the first place, other than having a hard puck of Valobra.

That and it was a scented puck. Of course you can do that yourself by grating it.

How does their Lemon compare to RazoRock's lemon?

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