Honesty is always the best policy. However sometimes being overly harsh isn’t the best way about going about things either. There is a post im involved in on one of the Facebook groups about the lack of good, honest reviews. One part of me totally agrees with this while the other part of me thinks that maybe all the new products are just that good. Today I’m just gonna discuss my thoughts on the current state of wetshaving.
In the past 16 months since I started wetshaving the market has been flooded with new artisans. While this is a good thing it also has watered down the quality of the average shave soap. The reason I say this is that there are some folks on Etsy and at local markets that don’t realize that shaving soap isnt the same as other soaps. Wet shavers want certain qualities in our soaps…..not just a regular bar soap cut into a circle. I have tried a couple of soaps like this in hopes of finding a local soaper or an unknown soaper and have been quite disappointed.
On the other side of the coin are the artisans that get overhyped and make it impossible for them to meet my expectations. Take Catie’s Bubbles for instance. A few months ago a few youtubers had some videos about how amazing it was and how little of the product you needed to load your brush for 3 shaves etc. I realize it was in good fun. They said it smelled amazing and the rave reviews went on and on and members of the groups jumped on the bandwagon and raved about this soap. So, I had to get a jar and try it. My expectations were sky high. Ill admit I was expecting something as good as MdC, better than Barrister and Mann. In general I was expecting to have my sox blown off. Well, that didn’t happen. Now, this doesn’t mean that Caties Bubbles isn’t a great soap. I think Caties Bubbles is a very good soap. Is it the best for me…No. Do I think others would like it?…..Of course. I’m not saying all those guys were wrong, but when things get hyped too much I think it can be detrimental to my personal take on a soap.
Another thing is that these artisans are part of our groups and forums. I wonder if people are just afraid of backlash if they don’t like an artisans soaps and post a negative review. Guys like Chris Erskine and Chris Cullen and the list goes on are very active in our groups and some people take offense if you don’t like their products or think its amazing. I got private messages when I posted that I wasn’t the biggest fan of Soapy Bathman(not from Chris). People saying I didn’t know what I was talking about, I wasn’t lathering it properly, some pretty harsh stuff from certain individuals. Others just asked why I didn’t like it?…..This is the question people should ask. Don’t attack people for not liking something. For me Caties and Soapy Bathman fell into the same category. Great lathers, tons of hype, but just aren’t up there with MY favorites. Know where am I saying they are not great soaps. There scents are nice, they just don’t perform how I like MY soaps to perform. I don’t want to deter people from trying these soap either as so many people love them and you may be one of them. I just think we need more reviews that may not be super favorable.
I have a few guys whose opinions I really take into consideration when buying soaps. Guys whose top soaps match most of mine. I think this is a great way to decide what soaps to buy. Find a blogger or youtuber who loves the same soaps as you. See why they like them, and maybe why they don’t like others. Perhaps you love slick soaps…..find someone else who looks for that quality first. Honest reviews are out there, you just have to look for them.
Consider the quality of products we have available to us now as well. Barrister and Mann, Soapy Bathman, Caties Bubbles, Reef Point, Cold River Soap Works, and Queen Charlotte soaps to name a few. This is also a reason for a low number of negative reviews. Even if the scents aren’t for your taste or the don’t perform how you like your soaps to perform I won’t ever argue the quality of these soaps. And the newer soaps coming up seem to be pretty good quality as well. Take the Jeeves of Hudson street I used last week. The purveyor has been tweaking his formula for over a year. these guys and girls want to put out awesome stuff because if they don’t there are too many great options out there to use less than great soaps.
It’s easy to blast on Arko and Tabac and the big companies because these big guys don’t really care what a few people think. They have been around forever and know one is worried about hurting their feelings. The artisans are our friends and fellow wetshavers. We interact with them daily and its, admittedly for me, harder to write anything negative about them.
What I would recommend is that if you don’t like a certain artisan soaps maybe you should review why. Just say what part you don’t like as that’s what the forums are for. People want to hear the reasons a soap may not be for them. Not everyone can afford to be buying 5-6 soaps from different vendors and taking chances.
There is a right way to go about doing things and not putting a soaper on blast and being a gentleman or gentlewoman. Honestly these artisans probably want to know reasons certain shavers don’t love their products. If know one says anything but positives nothing is going to change. Granted they probably won’t anyways with all of the fans raving about them. I just think everyone likes to hear of ways to improve and what they are doing right as well.
Ok, no more ranting….On to my shave(which triggered this blog post)
Razor : Gillette Milord
Blade : Feather
Soap : Caties Bubbles – Boucles Fruite
Brush : Zenshave/HTGAM Canadian LE
Toner : Thayer’s Cucumber Witch Hazel
Aftershave : Huggy Bear Cherry Tobacco AS + Nivea Soft
I’m just never wowed by the Caties Bubbles. I get ok shaves, but nothing to write home about. Ok performance for me, just nothing that stands out. The scent is nice on this soap as it smells like a Campino candy that I used to eat a lot of a few years back. It loaded well, lathered up well, I just don’t get the greatest shaves with it. Maybe I’m spoiled by using Haslinger and Barrister and Mann and QCS…..I am not sure.
Had my first go with Huggy’s Cherry Tobacco. The scent out of the bottle is strong!! Smells like a Cherry candy, or almost like a sweet childs cherry medicine. Once applied the ultra sweetness dies down and it becomes very pleasant. I recognize the scent from something but I cannot for the life of me pin point it. I don’t get any of the tobacco coming through, but I need a few more uses before any final thoughts. Nice burn on application though!!!
Overall a decent shave and the Nivea and Huggy Bear aftershave have left my face feeling really good and smelling nice too!!! Im loving the Milord loaded with a Feather….such a great combo. The brush has my top badger kno. So soft and with some backbone and ZERO scritch to speak of.
Have a great Hump Day folks!!!!