Artsy Moose artisan shaving soap review

Posted on Wed 18 March 2020 in Shaving

(Reposting from Facebook - originally written 2020-02-19)

Tonight I've got something a bit special for my #shavingPost... A few weeks ago, I offered to help beta test a new product - a shave soap in a cup - for Grere Coutie of The Artsy Moose.

The Artsy Moose is actually a really groovy little artisan handcraft shop, physically located here in Hamilton, but Grere sells most of her work online as well. Primarily focussed on soaps, there are all sorts on offer - from activated charcoal soap, to gardeners soap, to BEER soap... even soap for your doggo!

I received the cup yesterday and tonight was my opportunity to take it for a spin!

My setup tonight was my trusty RazoRock Slant, loaded with a Derby Green blade that's a bit worn-in, having just finished it's third shave. I used my synthetic silvertip shaving brush that's been in my rotation for a few years now.

My regular routine for shaving is to hop in the shower, rinse my face, wash and rinse my hair, wash and rinse my face, and then bust out the shaving gear. This way my stubble has some time to soften up while I'm still being nice and efficient.

The first thing I noticed, of course, was the scent! This is a truly enjoyable scent, a bit reminiscent of sandalwood: elegant, woody, and a little musky. It could be a little bit stronger, but I like my scents quite bold, and it certainly isn't weakly scented.

So I gave the soap block a brief rinse in warm water, drained it thoroughly, and got my shaving brush in there. After a few moments I had a beautiful white lather and got to work. I did find the lather to be very short-lived; even though I applied it fairly thickly, by the time I finished one side of my face, the other side had thinned enough that I could see skin. On my second pass I REALLY worked the brush and, although the lather came out thicker, it vanished similarly quickly.

Nevertheless, I persisted (President Warren, 2020 🙌)... The second pass was all good, but by the third pass I was feeling... Quite exposed to my blade. It just felt like I was lacking all the cushioning I'm used to from my regular creams. I didn't let this deter me, and I continued shaving until I achieved my normal closeness of shave.

Folks I gotta say, I was really expecting to have razor burn when I got out of the shower. Persisting with a regular shave while not feeling the cushioning - and with a quickly-diminishing lather, really had me nervous. HOWEVER, I was surprised to find that nothing dire came to pass! I got out of the shower, did my dental hygiene routine, and by then I'm usually feeling a growing burn if my shave was off. But... No burn, no nicks, no cuts. I probably didn't even need aftershave.

But, like, I USED aftershave anyway, of course. I'm not an animal. Interestingly, my aftershave did burn a little today, which is not normal. I don't think it got along well with the shave soap, perhaps.

Overall score for the first round: Scent, five stars Cushion, two stars Lather, two stars Shave quality, four stars Face happiness... Actually a full 4.5 stars!

Next shave, I'm going to try my actual badger hair brush, as the lather may have been affected by the synthetic hair. I'll also try a new (corked) blade and a different aftershave, to compare results. I'm also going to get reports from the rest of the family to see how it works with their shaving routines.

And that's not all! I'm sure that Grere will be modifying the recipe in response to this review, and I think it'll only get better as we work through!

[Update 2020-03-18]

I've used this shaving soap quite a few times now! I still find the same - the lather vanishes very quickly, and it still feels very thin... but it still gives actually a superb shave and I've never given myself any nicks or cuts while using it. I haven't managed to convince anyone else to try it, but I'm happy it's in my collection.

I sent this review onto Grere, and as expected, she knew exactly what to tweak:

"It sounds like the recipe could do with more stearic acid, this should provide the more stable later and cushioning that you prefer. I will whip up another batch for you to compare at some stage. However, stearic acid is derived from palm oil, which I don't use in my soap - so i'll see if I can try and alternative."

So, there you go! I'll be sure to update this post in the future, but for now, this single shave soap is going to last me at least a year. 🙂