Underappreciated Gems: Shaving Soaps
While a number of soaps regularly appear on recommended and ‘top’ lists, or are surrounded by their own mythology, there are a lot of other products out there which don’t seem to attract the same rabid fandom.
That’s not because they’re bad though. In fact there are plenty of products that offer great performance but don’t get shouted about. Below are a few worthy of consideration.
Hailing from Austria, these small soaps come in an interesting array of fragrances, from honey to seaweed. No matter which one you select you’ll get great performance and excellent post shave properties. They offer good value too.
I’m not sure I have come across a bad Italian soap, it’s just a matter of how good they are. Less well-known than some, this is up there with the best. Best described as a ‘croap’ due to it being almost butter-soft. This really delivers on performance.
Cella Extra Extra Purissima
Another Italian, and not exactly unknown, but most will be familiar with the little red tubs. What you may not have seen is the big blocks designed for the trade. This version is cured a little longer than the consumer offering and I found it made a difference. You don’t stay around as long as this has if you’re not worthy.
Nanny’s Silly Soap
There are many artisan soap makers out there, but the column inches seem to get eaten up by US products because there’s a bigger market and more of them. The Brits have some notable entries though and NSS ranks among them. Offering a unique range of fragrances and good performance, this deserves more recognition.
Another British artisan soap who also likes to offer some enticing scents. This is more widely known, but Super Smooth, their former offering, and the new vegan 1912 really should be competing for anyone’s top ten. Hopefully time will see them rise into those ranks.
Another product that likely suffers from an unfashionable birthplace. Greece isn’t a big name producer of shaving products, yet few would disagree this is good stuff. The problem seems to be that few have tried it.
Tcheon Fung Sing
It sounds like something from the orient, but this is yet another Italian offering. Often simply called TFS, they are rumoured to be the powerhouse behind some other big-name products, but they also produce their own. They’re not always the easiest to find, but come well recommended.
This is another of those trade-biased Italian shaving soaps. There seem to be no end of them, but while some (including those mentioned above) have made it into wider shaving circles, this remains firmly under the radar. The good news is this also comes in a more manageable tub, rather than just 1-kilo blocks.