I think the worst part of putting together my giant picture for the “Upcoming Reviews” post from Tuesday was putting everything away. It was sort of like that idea of how all the clothes that you were able to pack in your suitcase for vacation cannot possibly fit in your suitcase for the trip back home. I really hope you check out the post, and offer your suggestions on what products you would like me to review.
Today, I decided to take a look at the “Lavender” shaving soap from The Art of Shaving. A while ago I reviewed the Geo. F. Trumper “Rose” shaving soap. I figured after a few months it was time to review another one of the big brands. First of all though, I do want to credit The Art of Shaving as one of the major players in the revival of traditional wet shaving. I don’t think they are responsible for the resurgence, but they definitely caught early wind of a growing trend and added some serious legitimacy to traditional wet shaving. Now, on to the soap…
The four areas I want to focus on this shaving soap are lather, scent, performance, and post-shave face feel. This soap lathers surprisingly well. I was able to load my bushes pretty quickly, and have enough lather for three passes. However, this isn’t the thickest and most luxurious lather. There’s enough, but sometimes you want more than “just enough”. I was not very impressed with the scent of this soap. Sure, it’s smells like lavender, but the fragrance is flat, almost muddy. Think of sort of a dirty lavender. This is one of the areas where this shaving soap isn’t up to snuff. Performance-wise, this soap gives a nice shave. Somewhere above decent, and below great. While The Art of Shaving’s “Lavender” shaving soap is not the slickest soap I’ve used, it does provide nice cushion for a comfortable shave. Finally, the post-shave face feel with this soap can only be described as weird. My face certainly does not get dried out after shaving, but it does feel “rubbery”. There’s a sort of elasticity to my skin that is not there when I use other shaving products. I have no proof for this, but I attribute this feel to some of the odd chemicals in the soaps ingredient list like Iron Oxides and Titanium Dioxide.
All-in-all, this is an “ok” soap. I can’t say it doesn’t work, because it does what a shaving soap is supposed to do. But here’s the kicker: this soap is fifty dollars! Five-zero. 50. For only 3.3 ounces, no less. I can’t, in good conscience, recommend a mediocre product knowing it costs that much. Especially when there are so many excellent alternatives available. If you’re looking for a straight-up lavender alternative, go with the D. R. Harris Lavender Shaving Soap or the Castle Forbes Lavender Oil Shaving Cream. Both are superior products at a lower price. And if you’re willing to step out of that lavender box a bit and try something based in lavender with other fragrances mixed in, I would, without hesitation, recommend the Lavanille shaving soap by Barrister & Mann, Wet Shaving Products’ Lavenderwood shaving soap, or the Floris Elite shaving soap. All three (in varying price ranges) are, again, superior substitutes to the lavender shaving soap from The Art of Shaving, which is exactly what you would expect from a product by P&G: designed for convenience and profit, not performance.