Razor: Yaqi double open comb
Brush: Spiffo 2 band badger
Soap: Purely Skinful Handmade Essentials Fougere Mysterieuse
Other: Thirsty Badger lather bowl
I have been looking forward to giving this soap a go since I first saw it posted on one of the shave groups. Purely Skinful Handmade Essentials is a company based in Ontario, Canada. Linda has a line of many soap and bath products and it was her line of shaving soaps that got me intrigued. She has a large volume of scents and many of them spoke to me. I tend to be a little leery of grabbing a new soap from an unknown artisan but I had seen some positive reviews, I wanted to give it a go. One thing that jumped out at me was the lack of stearic acid in her formula (tallow based). In the past that has been a recipe for disaster for me in my purchases, usually ending up with a foamy bath soap. This soap is instead made with soy wax, containing similar properties to stearic acid that should the nice stable lather. I’ve never used such a soap, so you can see my interest is peaked. Would this be another bath soap, would this give a quality shave?
I’m happy to report, this is no bath soap. This does provide a really nice shave. First impressions weren’t fantastic. The labeling does leave a bit to be desired. It has that mom & pop, printed in house kind of look and feel. The labels are a bit off center, not cleanly cut, etc. I would say they are water resistant but I don’t think they will hold up the life of the soap. Once I popped the top, my impression quickly changed. This smelled fantastic. Strong enough but not overwhelming. Wild fern, juniper, fir needle and lavender intertwined with rich notes of patchouli, amber woods, citrus and vanilla. The name fougere is misleading to me (no fern note picked up at all) but this does have a nice sophisticated scent with a very subtle woodsy vibe. The more I smell it the more I like it. The soap itself is quite a hard puck (with the logo nicely stamped in). It does have a slightly waxy feel to it. I have done a few lathers with it and I can say it is a bit different to lather, not difficult but not similar to anything else in my den in that regard. I found that blooming the soap helped me dial that in a lot. I also found this soap very thirsty. I was able to keep working and keep adding water and it kept getting better and better. In the end I got a nice glossy, yogurt like lather. You will want to make sure you do a few lathers and get that water content down or you will get the impression it is drying. Trust me, when you get the water down you will be rewarded. Great cushion and slickness and post-shave. Residual slickness isn’t much so make sure you aren’t buffing without some lather on there.
In the end, I can overlook the label issue and the fougere scent thing because a) price point is fantastic and b) performance was really good. Linda has plenty of scents to choose from and at least one other formulation I’ve yet to try. I will definitely be adding more to the den in the future. I love it when run across another great Canadian artisan. Congrats Linda!
And just another note, man I love this Yaqi double open comb. I highly recommend picking one up from aliexpress. It is cheap and gives a fantastic shave. I reach for it often.
A great shave to finish off the week.