This one is a little awkward for me. I have only recently discovered the manly art of wet shaving. I’m not talking about a can of Barbasol and a disposable Bic. I’m talking about an expensive badger hair brush, an expensive safety razor, an expensive stand for the brush and razor, an expensive shaving bowl, cheap razor blades and affordable shaving soap. Keep in mind that all the expensive things are only expensive to me. Compared to the rest of the brushes and razors available they were pretty cheap.
Hodges at Petal Pusher Fancies was kind enough to send me a puck of their Kokum Butter Shaving Soap. This is a vegan shaving soap. The primary ingredient of which is Kokum Butter. Kokum Butter is a very hard butter made from the seed of the garcinia indica tree which is native to India. Kokum butter is an excellent moisturizer and is especially good for use on inflamed and damaged skin. It’s almost as if it was designed by nature to be used in a shave soap. I’m not going to go into detail with the rest of the ingredients, they’re listed on the web page and are the high quality fare I’ve come to expect from Petal Pusher Fancies.
The soap comes in a variety of scents. I received Neroli, the dark purple puck in the picture on the web page. This was a new scent to me. Neroli is an essential oil derived from the blossom of the bitter orange tree. In aroma therapy Neroli oil is used for depression and stress. Topically it is used to return elasticity to skin (regenerative) along with diminishing scars and stretch marks. This seems like another perfect fit for a shaving soap. This is a very powerful scent and reminded me of Powell’s Books in Portland, Oregon. Hey, don’t ask me how this brain thing works, I’m still figuring out shaving.
Enough with the cosmetics lesson, how does it work? The puck is about 2 7/8″ diameter and about 7/8″ thick. I bought a bowl for it from Amazon that professed to be 3″ wide and 1 1/3″ deep. Unfortunately this was a lie and what I received was 3 3/8″ wide and 1″ deep…so instead of fitting perfectly the puck rattled around the lid sits on top of the puck. In the end, this is more of a cosmetic problem. You can mill the soap which I might go into in another article or just wait for the soap to glue itself to the bottom of the bowl after the first or second use.
Going into the actual shaving qualities, I’m not going to pretend to be an expert. I sit strictly on the amateur end of this scale. I bought a stiff brush specifically to make it easier to generate lather. This soap is hard and I’m glad I have the firm brush. Having said, after getting the soap and brush ready with some hot water I had no trouble working up a very nice, thick lather after some time. I don’t know how pros get their lather but I spend a fair bit of time working the brush on the soap, making a mess and then finish off on the face. I don’t go to a mug. The lather was white, despite the dark purple color of the puck, and it didn’t smell nearly as strong as the puck alone does. The scent was just enough to give your nose something nice to do while you’re shaving. The soap wasn’t the slickest of the very few soaps I’ve used but I didn’t get any nicks and the razor never jumped from hitting a dry area though I don’t know if that’s just me getting better at shaving or the soap.
I can tell you what is the result of the soap though. When I was done my skin felt great. The soap did a great job of moisturizing my face. My skin felt smooth, soft and moisturized all day. This was a pleasant surprise as the product doesn’t mention moisturizing at all. Maybe I was supposed to know that kokum is a great moisturizer. I learn something new every day. The scent washed off with soap and I didn’t walk out of the bathroom smelling like neroli. I could use my aftershave of choice or scented hair product of choice without getting a weird mix…speaking of weird smell combinations I don’t recommend using a bay rum on the same day that you use layrite…yuck.
I really enjoy using this soap. I’ve only had about 8 good shave with the puck and at its current rate of decay it should last…hang on, let me see here…multiply co-efficient of drag by square root of neroli…carry the one…It will last forever. Who knows, maybe it will become a family heirloom.
Disclosure: I am not associated with Petal Pusher Fancies or any of the products or web pages mentioned in this article. The puck of Kokum Butter Shaving Soap (Neroli) that I used to write this article was generously supplied to me by Petal Pushers Fancies. Thank you, Hodges and Frances.