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au gel d'Aloe Vera Bio*

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This review is for la Ciagale aloe vera shave soap.

This is a rather new brand of shave soap that is being imported by Phil at Bullgoose Shaving. The manufacturer is Savonnerie La Cigale of France. I believe the company as it exists has been around since 2006. However, if you watch the video posted in the Bullgoose forum about this product it is pretty clear the owners bought an existing manufacturing company. At least that is my take after watching. Suffice it to say all they do is make soap. Made in France from French raw materials. And to say they know what they are doing is an understatement.

I have not posted photos here but if you go to the thread Phil started in Bullgoose forum you can see what the container looks like.

The soap container is a plain, semi translucent/white single wall plastic bowl with a threaded lid. It has a sticker label with company name, address, product name, complete ingredient list, etc. Strangely, the only thing lacking was the amount of product in either milliliters or grams. After using quite a lot of product I can say it runs about a cake of typical shave soap. Around 100grams.

Appearance of the soap is pure white and is quite solid. It is not like a true milled soap but is plenty dense enough to never mistake it for a shave cream. It has a clean and fresh scent to it though limonene and 'parfum' are both listed. I smell just the tiniest bit of lemon in the background but I would describe this as a fresh scent without any of the very synthetic clean linen type scent you would get from room fresheners or candles. If you have used good artisan soaps or creams you will recognise this scent as really putting the quality of the ingredients first. The fragrance is completely secondary. And it does not suffer one whit from it.

Knowing that sometimes new/old school products take a bit of loading and working of a brush to get good lather I loaded vigorously with my old standby Brush Wars winner, the Savile Row 3824. This is my default brush when trying new lathers and it was more than up to the task. A good forty-five seconds of loading and another minute or two on top the soap and mostly on the face made a thoroughly usable lather. After painting it on I felt it needed more water and after adding a good teaspoon of tap water it bloomed nicely and covered well. It is certainly one of those lathers that feels very nice when applied.

The first shave stroke was with a new Personna Med Prep and I was rewarded with a great blade feel and glide. Not quite Insitut Karite or Provence Sante smooth but very, very nice. I went with two passes with and a cross grain and then followed it up with against the grain. Nary a weeper nor a hint of razor rash tingle.

Aftershave feel was really good. It rinsed cleanly and left my skin feeling well treated, clean, and in great condition. It is not quite up to its Frankish brethren like the two aforementioned but is certainly better than the typical British hard soaps these days. Much better actually.

This has to be one of the very best values in wet shaving today. I paid the paltry sum of $8.50 American for this soap and cannot help but feeling I came out well on top of the investment. It is not trying to compete with the British houses or Santa Maria Novella in the fragrance or packaging area.

This is what a top quality, every day shave lather should be. Well made, easy to use, efficacious, and reasonably priced. There was a time in western civilisation when this was taken for granted. Now we have to search for it. Well done la Cigale.

After using this for a full week I feel safe giving it an unqualified recommendation.

Ingredients; Aqua, Potassium stearate, sodium stearate, potassium cocate, sodium cocoate, glycerin, parfum, aloe barbadensis gel, sodium chloride, limonene, linalool, sodium hydroxide, potassium hydroxide.

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Phog Allen
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