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Antiga Barbearia de Bairro

New year, new review. This one is going to be different from my previous ones.

oversaturn sent me a good size sample of the "Antiga Barbearia de Bairro" soap. The soap, as some other products of this brand were kindly supplied by Mr. Luis Pereira of the 100ml company, which is responsible for marketing this brand. The soap is being produced by Castelbel, one of the oldest Portuguese soap makers. This is currently the only shaving soap being produced in Portugal.

The soap comes inside a gorgeous glass jar with a metallic cover, weighting about 150 grams (about 5.3 oz). The look is unique and distinct, never saw a shaving soap like this one. It's very bright, like it was coated with varnish (but it's not :tongue_sm), and also looks like a limestone rock. It has a very vivid white coloring and it's pretty hard (don't know if it is triple milled). It will last you a long time. It is sold mostly on design stores and other specialty stores, for about 15€.


Lets skip to the fragrance. It has a very mild scent, being the citrus one the most prevalent. The lather after being applied, lets your senses get some of the vanilla scent. I would say that you need to have a bloodhound's nose to smell the different scents that are described as being present in this soap. I can only detect citrus and some faint vanilla, but I'm sure some of you may have better noses :laugh:.

Opening notes - bergamot, orange, lime and mandarin
Main notes - amber and vanilla
Foreground notes - warm wood notes, a touch of spice, chocolate, clove and musk.

This soap has an unusual ingredient list. The ingredients are: Propylene glycol, water, sucrose, sodium stearate, sodium cocoate, sodium laureth sulfate, cocamdiopropyl betaine, glycerin, sodium chloride, titanium dioxide, kaolin, linalool, limonene.
Aquele immaculate white it's from the titanium dioxide. Sodium laureth sulfate it's mainly used in shampoo and bath soap, and produces large amounts of foam. The citrus scent comes from the limonene. The most unusual ingredients are the sucrose and kaolin. Sucrose it's just sugar. Kaolin it's a natural mineral mainly used to manufacture tableware ceramics. In this soap the kaolin causes an issue: it's starts to build a thick residue on the knot, not easy to wash.

After creating the lather on a bowl or scuttle, the first impression is not the best one. A very bubbly lather, not rich and thick like many of the top creams and soaps we use. However, during the shaving, it does its job. I've tested this soap with boar brush and badger brush, and I must say that it performs much better with the badger brush. And it also works better for face lathering than bowl lathering. I've tested it with the Semogue 1305 boar brush and LiJun & 1980 Finest badger brush. I would say that in this case, the conclusion is that eyes can trick you, and the lather produced by this soap is much better than it looks like. You may ask, could it be better? Sure, but I've seen worst products.
It is also very picky with the soap to water ratio. You should start with a very well drained brush.



The effectiveness is relative, and it will depend from different factors. If you use face lathering, it will be much more effective than with bowl lathering. There are much better products, no doubt, but this won't be one of the worst, I must say. This its job without being remarkable.

It won't be near as moisturizing as those french soaps with shea butter, but your face won't fell dry, at least where I live. I suppose if you live in a area with harsh winter time, the case will be different. Maybe the addition of lanolin or shea butter would improve the product's ability to moisturize, that's something for future editions.

Looking from all perspectives, this soap is a pleasant surprise, however it can be improved. But it deserves to be in the rotation of every wet shaver.
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