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Hershey's Cocoa Butter Shaving Soap

Item Description

Wooden bowl with puck of vintage shaving soap.

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Pros: Rich, moisturizing lather, smooth glide, excellent shave
Cons: Somewhat thin lather, weak scent (but expected considering the age)
I went out with my wife and her friend to a few of the local antique malls in the Harrisburg, PA area (near Hershey, PA). Much to my wonderment, one of the first things I saw was a wooden bowl labeled "Hershey's Cocoa Butter Shaving Soap - Fougere." I figured it was an empty bowl but would make an interesting addition to the Shave Den. I was even more shocked when I picked it up and discovered that it still had a barely used puck of soap inside, and it still seems to have a mild scent. A little research shows that this was probably produced sometime between the 1940s and early 1950s. My cost was $12.00...a little steep for used soap, but it's not something you see every day!

Here's a link to an article about the production of soaps by the Hershey Chocolate Company. Apparently, it was conceived as a way of using up surplus cocoa butter. http://www.hersheyarchives.org/essay/printable.aspx?EssayId=37

I used it this morning and I'm pleased to report that it was an excellent shave! I used a moist (but shaken out) brush (Ever-Ready restoration with a TGN Finest Badger knot) and swirled it for about 30 seconds on the puck. It loaded easily and the brush was filled with a thick cream. I applied it to my wet face, brushed it around, for a few seconds, and ended up with a moist, smooth lather...not particularly thick, but very rich and lubricating. I shaved with an old Type "G" Schick injector razor (also an antique shop score) with a fresh REVCO (also vintage) Platinum Chrome blade. The shave was very smooth and easy...the soap provided great lubrication and I ended up with a Damn Fine Shave (DFS). My face was very well-moisturized by the cocoa butter in the soap and now, a few hours later, is still very smooth and soft.

The scent is labeled as "Fougere" (French for "fern"). I didn't pick up on any fern scent, but it had a very mild, soapy fragrance with some light floral and herbal notes. Very pleasant but not particularly strong...as was to be expected, considering the soap is 60+ years old. I did not detect any chocolate or cocoa butter notes, but from my readings, that was intentional...they tried several scents until they found one that masked the chocolate aromas.

Bottom Line: A very good performing soap, particularly considering the age. I probably won't use it again, but it will remain a part of my collection, particularly because of the local and historical connections.
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I just bought a similar container with unused soap off eBay for $10. I'm glad to hear it can still be used. Too bad it doesn't have a chocolate smell. The Hersheys Shave Cream I got from Hersheys Lodge definitely does.

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