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Mike's Natural Soaps - A review
04-11-2013, 04:13 PM (This post was last modified: 04-11-2013 04:14 PM by Edson.)
Post: #1
Mike's Natural Soaps - A review
I posted a thread awhile ago about ordering some Mike's samples and have now worked my way through them all. I sampled Hungarian Lavender, Lavender & Eucalyptus, Barber Shop, Rose & cedarwood, Orange, Cedarwood & Pepper, Lime, Pine & Cedarwood, Peppermint & Rosemary, Lemongrass & Eucalyptus, Coconut, and a tin of vetiver.

Ease of Lathering - 9/10: I found Mike's to load very easy being a soft soap. My usual procedure involved adding a little water to the top of the sample (I used an empty L'Occitane bowl for all my samples) while showering. For all my tests I used a Chubby 2 Manchurian or Somerset Chubby 2 2-band super. I load generously and each sample lasted about 3-4 shaves.

I face lathered exclusively and found Mike's to really come together with a lot of water. Usual procedure of dipping the tips in water as needed. I could tell on the face that Mike's is loaded with quality, skin friendly ingredients. I suspect it is the lanolin and other goodies in there. After added a lot of water I usually was left with more than plenty of lather for a 3 pass shave.

I could see some newcomers possibly having troubles with lathering Mike's as you really need to nail the water ratio to bring out the best in this soap. I had no issues, but I could see where some may.

Quality of Lather - 10/10: This is usually the department that makes or breaks a soap for me. As a straight user I want a really slick lather over anything that is "heavy" lather like I usually get from creams. Mike's has the ability to take in more water than almost everything I've used. The result is a very, very slick lather that I found to love. It isn't a super thick lather, but the slickness is what I'm all about. Lather also didn't "foam" or dry out throughout the shave.

Skin Care - 10/10: Honestly, the only soap I've ever felt that was so good on my face as Mike's is MWF. The lather is so moisturizing and can really be felt throughout the shave.

For an artisan soap, this is hands down the best I've ever used. I think it has earned a solid spot in my top 5 (maybe even top 3).

Now for scents.....

Scents are very subjective and I'll try my best to describe how they work for me.

Hungarian Lavender - 10/10: This might be my favorite scent from Mike. A somewhat subtle all natural lavender. Not as light as DrH, but not as heavy as Castle Forbes. In the middle and fantastic all around. Will be getting a tin.

Lavender & Eucalyptus - 8/10: If not for the HL, I would be all over this one. I think this one reminds me most of MdC with that slight medicinal undertone to the lavender. Very, very nice but I like HL more.

Barber Shop - 5/10: I know this is most people's favorite, but it really didn't do a whole lot for me. You can detect hints of the citrus and oakmoss in there, but this one is hard to describe. Was really hoping to love this one, but just didn't. I did finish the sample though.

Rose & Cedarwood - 4/10: You can definitely detect the rose from smelling the sample. A heavy, almost geranium quality to it. However, on lathering all I got was a Cedar bomb. Tooooo much cedar and ruined this one for me.

Pine & Cedarwood - 8/10: Initially, I was worried about this one as I used it after the R&C. On use though those worried disappeared. The cedar is only a minor player here and the pine shines through. Really loved this one and it reminded me of shaving in a forrest or camping. Will be ordering a tin.

Orange, Cedarwood & Pepper - 8.5/10: Again, the cedar and pepper are hard to detect in this and the orange shines through. I like citrus soaps and having an orange in the rotation is definitely different than the usual lime. Will be ordering a tin.

Lime - 8/10: This is also a very different lime than the usual suspects. It is more of a "dry" lime than the citrus of the lime. Think maybe smelling the rind vs. the fruit. Definitely will be ordering a tin.

Peppermint & Rosemary - 7.5/10: This one on first use was a little strange. I couldn't stop thinking of peppermint candies. However, on subsequent uses I found that I really enjoyed the "menthol" like face cooling experience and think this would be well suited for hot summer days. Will be ordering a tin.

Lemongrass & Eucalyptus - 3/10: Too much lemongrass. I use a bit of lemongrass in cooking and while I think this scent smells like it - it is just overpowering. Almost comes off like pledge to me and reminds me of Arko. The only sample I threw out after 2 uses.

Coconut - 8.5/10: I love me some coconut and this one shines through. Pure coconut scent and reminds me a little of GFT with performance that actually is worth it. I think this one may perform slightly different than the other scents - maybe more coconut oil in here? Regardless, will be ordering.

Vetiver - 8.5/10: I'm a vetiver junky and one comes to learn in fragrances there is all sorts of takes on vetiver. This one is a more dry, earthy one. Thoroughly enjoyable and glad I bought the tin with samples.

Did not try - Bay Rum (I hate Bay rum), unscented (why fool around when I love me some scents), Lily of the Valley (I hate powdery floral perfumes and figured I'd not like this).

Anyway, Mike's is a winner and honestly I could see it in my top 3. Really could get by just using it solely and I haven't really ever said that about a soap and I've used my fair share (you name it and I've probably tried it).

Hope those of you on the fence about Mike's really take a shot and try some samples. As I said all scents are YMMV, but that is the best description I could come up with them all.
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04-11-2013, 04:28 PM
Post: #2
RE: Mike's Natural Soaps - A review
Excellent review, I absolutely love Mike's and I have to force myself to use anything else. I just hope he keeps on creating it, my biggest worry when getting hooked on artisan soaps is if they will still be around in the future, you just never know.
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04-11-2013, 04:34 PM
Post: #3
RE: Mike's Natural Soaps - A review
Very comprehensive and thorough review! Biggrin
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04-11-2013, 04:42 PM (This post was last modified: 04-11-2013 04:42 PM by jltgonca.)
Post: #4
RE: Mike's Natural Soaps - A review
I love my coconut and my bay rum soaps.
Great review.
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04-11-2013, 04:44 PM
Post: #5
RE: Mike's Natural Soaps - A review
Agree... I have the Lemongrass.. very nice soap
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04-11-2013, 05:10 PM
Post: #6
RE: Mike's Natural Soaps - A review
Very nice review. I too like Mike's Soaps and use them more than any these days. I've been curios about the Vetiver and I will probably get it eventually now. The fact that you really enjoy vetiver and found this scent nice is a good sign.
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04-11-2013, 06:13 PM
Post: #7
RE: Mike's Natural Soaps - A review
I LIKE MIKES !!!
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04-11-2013, 06:27 PM
Post: #8
RE: Mike's Natural Soaps - A review
(04-11-2013 04:13 PM)Edson Wrote:  I load generously and each sample lasted about 3-4 shaves.

Wow, generous is right! I've got a sample of Barbershop open, have had 10 shaves on it, and suspect there's at least 10 more to come.

That said, my first 5 shaves with it I did not use enough soap and I was not satisfied with the lather. This past week I broke it out again and this time load the heck out of my brush, followed by lots of water, added a bit at a time. I now get plenty of lather and my neutral opinion of the soap has turned quite favorable. The barbershop scent is pleasant enough, but it doesn't wow me.
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04-11-2013, 06:37 PM
Post: #9
RE: Mike's Natural Soaps - A review
Excellent, well thought out review! Thanks for taking the time to do that. I agree with your comments on the lather quality - top notch. I've only tried 2 scents (the HL and the P&C) but love them both so much I will grab a few more the instant Mike gets the HL bath soap back in stock. Have to optimize shipping after all, LOL!
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04-11-2013, 06:41 PM
Post: #10
RE: Mike's Natural Soaps - A review
(04-11-2013 06:27 PM)5Savages Wrote:  
(04-11-2013 04:13 PM)Edson Wrote:  I load generously and each sample lasted about 3-4 shaves.

Wow, generous is right! I've got a sample of Barbershop open, have had 10 shaves on it, and suspect there's at least 10 more to come.

That said, my first 5 shaves with it I did not use enough soap and I was not satisfied with the lather. This past week I broke it out again and this time load the heck out of my brush, followed by lots of water, added a bit at a time. I now get plenty of lather and my neutral opinion of the soap has turned quite favorable. The barbershop scent is pleasant enough, but it doesn't wow me.

Chubby 2's are generally pretty hungry brushes and well I like to keep them happy so I feed them plenty!
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04-11-2013, 07:27 PM
Post: #11
RE: Mike's Natural Soaps - A review
Really good soaps for the money. The lather was spot on. Some of the scents, I got that clay smell. The peppermint & rosemary was very nice and very minty. The orange pepper was nice too.
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04-12-2013, 11:12 AM
Post: #12
RE: Mike's Natural Soaps - A review
Great review. I'm a hard soap guy, but after sampling Hungarian Lavender, I ordered a tin. I agree about the scent being in between DRH and CF. I love the scent of Mike's HL. I did use the Mike's Bay Rum sample that came with the HL tin. While I found it a mild one-note BR scent, it's still on my "buy" list, once I finish off a couple of Ogallala and SRD BR pucks. I haven't used my samples of Rose/Cedarwood and Orange/Cedar/Pepper yet. I'm a Rose fan and always have a Rose cream (TOBS or T&H) and soap (GFT) on hand. So far I'm not fond of the Rose/Cedarwood scent, but admit I haven't lathered it yet. I also like to murder soaps, and only get 4-5 shaves from a Mike's sample. A lot of that has to do with my habit of covering hard soaps with hot water while the brush soaks. With Mike's that eats up a lot of soap.
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04-12-2013, 11:58 AM
Post: #13
RE: Mike's Natural Soaps - A review
(04-11-2013 07:27 PM)diggity Wrote:  Really good soaps for the money. The lather was spot on. Some of the scents, I got that clay smell. The peppermint & rosemary was very nice and very minty. The orange pepper was nice too.

If I can ask you/anyone, how was the cooling affect with the peppermint & rosemary?

Thanks,

Moe
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04-12-2013, 12:25 PM
Post: #14
RE: Mike's Natural Soaps - A review
Thanks for the superb review. I have a tin of Mike's Orange, Cedarwood, & Black Pepper and think it's incredible. Unlike Joe though, I think the black pepper comes through subtly but just enough to make the overall orange scent very interesting.

Mike's is very often compared to Mitchell's Wool Fat and while I like that soap I find Mike's far superior in how it leaves my face feeling. The fact that there is a choice of scents, as well, just adds to the pluses for Mike's.

In the next couple of days I'm hoping to receive the shampoo bar that I ordered from Mike. If it's as good as his shaving soap then he has another winner on his hands. Smile
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04-12-2013, 12:32 PM
Post: #15
RE: Mike's Natural Soaps - A review
(04-12-2013 11:58 AM)Moe Wrote:  
(04-11-2013 07:27 PM)diggity Wrote:  Really good soaps for the money. The lather was spot on. Some of the scents, I got that clay smell. The peppermint & rosemary was very nice and very minty. The orange pepper was nice too.

If I can ask you/anyone, how was the cooling affect with the peppermint & rosemary?

Thanks,

Moe

Well, on a scale of 1 to 10...QCS Vostok being a 10 and Proraso Green being about a 6...I'd put the Peppermint & Rosemary at about a 2-3..very mild with very little longevity and fades very quickly after rinsing. It's a nice light cooling soap for those that aren't menthol junkies.Biggrin
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04-12-2013, 12:36 PM
Post: #16
RE: Mike's Natural Soaps - A review
Well put, Byron. I didn't really feel much cooling at all. It is still a very nice minty soap.
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04-12-2013, 02:02 PM
Post: #17
RE: Mike's Natural Soaps - A review
(04-12-2013 12:32 PM)Arcadies Wrote:  
(04-12-2013 11:58 AM)Moe Wrote:  
(04-11-2013 07:27 PM)diggity Wrote:  Really good soaps for the money. The lather was spot on. Some of the scents, I got that clay smell. The peppermint & rosemary was very nice and very minty. The orange pepper was nice too.

If I can ask you/anyone, how was the cooling affect with the peppermint & rosemary?

Thanks,

Moe

Well, on a scale of 1 to 10...QCS Vostok being a 10 and Proraso Green being about a 6...I'd put the Peppermint & Rosemary at about a 2-3..very mild with very little longevity and fades very quickly after rinsing. It's a nice light cooling soap for those that aren't menthol junkies.Biggrin

(04-12-2013 12:36 PM)diggity Wrote:  Well put, Byron. I didn't really feel much cooling at all. It is still a very nice minty soap.

Thanks! I was hoping for more cooling. I really Like Mikes but am not likely to use Barbershop or Vetiver much in the summer as I almost exclusively use well mentholated soaps and creams............. The right scent and nicely mentholated Mikes would rock and be an instant purchase for me.
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04-12-2013, 02:37 PM
Post: #18
RE: Mike's Natural Soaps - A review
(04-12-2013 12:32 PM)Arcadies Wrote:  
(04-12-2013 11:58 AM)Moe Wrote:  
(04-11-2013 07:27 PM)diggity Wrote:  Really good soaps for the money. The lather was spot on. Some of the scents, I got that clay smell. The peppermint & rosemary was very nice and very minty. The orange pepper was nice too.

If I can ask you/anyone, how was the cooling affect with the peppermint & rosemary?

Thanks,

Moe

Well, on a scale of 1 to 10...QCS Vostok being a 10 and Proraso Green being about a 6...I'd put the Peppermint & Rosemary at about a 2-3..very mild with very little longevity and fades very quickly after rinsing. It's a nice light cooling soap for those that aren't menthol junkies.Biggrin

Hi Byron,

Oh wow. So when you say "10" for the Queen Charlotte Vostok, does that mean = "your face feels like it's at the North Pole / freezing"? Or? Smile

Thanks.
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04-12-2013, 04:15 PM
Post: #19
RE: Mike's Natural Soaps - A review
(04-12-2013 02:37 PM)shave_rookie Wrote:  Hi Byron,

Oh wow. So when you say "10" for the Queen Charlotte Vostok, does that mean = "your face feels like it's at the North Pole / freezing"? Or? Smile

Thanks.

Not Byron, but I can tell you that QCS Vostok is the absolute coldest shave software i've ever used. I've heard of folks mixing it with other soaps it's so cold....... I'm thinking of mixing the 75% or so puck that I have with same amount of Arko.
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04-12-2013, 04:25 PM
Post: #20
RE: Mike's Natural Soaps - A review
Great review, Joe! Mike's soaps are incredible and the Lemongrass & Eucalyptus is my favourite, but i would not associate it with MdC, at all! That never even entered my thoughts. Wow, a great example of YMMV. Biggrin
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