A few weeks ago, @johnwick generously sent me a sample of Captain's Choice bay rum shaving soap for evaluation. (Thanks, John!) Below is the optimum lather table and review of Captain's Choice shaving soap from my lather optimization guide in the ShaveWiki. Captain's Choice needs a relatively large amount of water to produce good slickness, but the soap produces an airy lather, and for me, the post-shave is dry with a significant amount of irritation or burning feeling. Overall, it is the worst soap or cream that I've optimized so far.
Optimum Lather Table
|PD||Purchase Date (YYYY-MM-DD)|
|SCM||Soap/Cream Mass (g)|
|WM||Water Mass (g)|
|TM||Total Mass (g) = SCM + WM|
|WSCR||Water-to-Soap/Cream Ratio = WM / SCM|
|SCIT||Soap/Cream-Incorporation Time (s)|
|LBT||Lather-Building Time (s)|
|SCP||Soap/Cream Price (USD)|
|1||Nanny's Silly Soap (NSS) Original Shaving Soap||2017-04-23||1.20||9.60||10.80||8||30||45||0.15|
|2||Declaration Grooming (DG) Shaving Soap, Premium Bison Tallow Base||2017-08-11||0.81||8.91||9.72||11||20||60||0.15|
|3||Proraso Single Blade (PSB) Shaving Cream||2018-01-12||0.95||7.60||8.55||8||3||60||0.07|
|4||Barrister and Mann (B&M) Shaving Soap||2017-10-19||0.71||8.52||9.23||12||25||30||0.12|
|5||Oleo Soapworks Shaving Soap, Canard Base / West Coast Shaving (WCS) Duck Fat Shave Soap||2018-11-23||0.75||9.00||9.75||12||40||60||0.12|
|6||Cold River Soap Works (CRSW) SELECT Shaving Soap||2017-12-15||0.86||9.46||10.32||11||6||60||0.15|
|7||Stirling Soap Co. Shave Soap||2017-08-14||0.53||9.01||9.54||17||20||30||0.04|
|8||Saponificio Varesino (SV) Shaving Soap||2017-12-01||0.64||8.32||8.96||13||90||90||0.15|
|9||Barrister's Reserve Shaving Soap||2017-06||0.96||11.52||12.48||12||45||60||0.15|
|10||Rockwell Razors Shaving Cream (Old Version)||2018-05-05||1.15||8.05||9.20||7||5||60||0.15|
|11||Proraso Red Shaving Soap||2017-11-27||0.82||8.20||9.02||10||5||75||0.06|
|12||Martin de Candre (MdC) Shaving Soap||2018-05-31||0.70||7.70||8.40||11||45||60||0.16|
|13||Mike's Natural Shaving Soap||2017-09||0.75||9.00||9.75||12||60||60||0.07|
|14||Arko Shaving Soap||2018-04-04||0.51||7.14||7.65||14||75||75||0.02|
|15||Barrister and Mann (B&M) Latha Shaving Soap (Discontinued)||2018-01-30||0.75||9.75||10.50||13||10||30||0.07|
|16||Floris Shaving Cream||2018-02||0.98||6.86||7.84||7||1||60||0.29|
|17||The Art of Shaving (AOS) Shaving Cream||2018-01-03||1.00||7.00||8.00||7||3||45||0.19|
|18||Mystic Water (MW) Shaving Soap||2018-01-27||0.70||9.10||9.80||13||30||30||0.07|
|19||The Sudsy Soapery Shave Soap, Vegan Base||2018-02-05||0.46||8.28||8.74||18||10||60||0.05|
|20||Captain's Choice Shaving Soap||2018-10-06||0.44||9.68||10.12||22||8||60||0.05|
Captain's Choice Shaving Soap
Top view of original container and close-up of soap in small jar
Version Name: Bay Rum
Purchase Date: October 6, 2018. A sample was received on December 4, 2018, from @johnwick, who generously donated the soap for evaluation. The sample was then placed in a small jar and photographed. The photograph of the original container was taken by John.
Review Period: December 25 to 30, 2018. 6 optimization shaves and 0 ranking tests.
Manufacturing Location: Wheaton, IL, USA
Ingredients: Aqua, Potassium Sterate [sic], Sodium Sterate [sic], Potassium Cocoate, Sodium Cocoate, Potassium Myristate, Sodium Myristate, Potassium Argonate, Sodium Argonate, Vegetable Glycerin, Fragrance (priority essential oil/natural fragrance blend)
Appearance: Light tan
Scent: Described by the manufacturer as "a delightful bay scent" with "hints of cinnamon and citrus", the scent is not something that I really like, but it does not offend me
Hardness: Very soft for a shaving soap, more like the consistency of a thick cream
Optimum Lather Overview: Sheen is largely matte. Lather is very airy and yields stiff cloud-like peaks with no yogurt-like behavior of "stringiness". Adhesion and application are not good because lather is so airy. The scent is not noticed. Slickness is generally good with some pretty good and okay moments, a few very good moments, and a few moments of moderate friction. Cushion/protection is very little, basically nothing. Post-shave is dry with respect to moisture and bad with respect to comfort because of significant irritation that starts before the shave is over and peaks afterward.
Optimization Details: Optimization involved six sequential shaves with water-to-soap ratios from 6 to 26 in steps of 4. For all shaves, the post-shave was similar, dry with significant irritation. However, slickness increased overall with increasing hydration. At a water-to-soap ratio of 6, slickness started as good to very good at the beginning of each pass, but transitioned during each pass to bad with a lot of significant friction during most of the shave. More hydration delayed the transition to bad slickness. At a water-to-soap ratio of 18, significant friction only crept in near the end of the second and third passes, but at a water-to-soap ratio of 22, there was no significant friction, and at a water-to-soap ratio of 26, the slickness dropped somewhat and was generally okay to good. Despite the lather thinness, cushion/protection was felt to be good or very good at a water-to-soap ratio of 6, but decreased with increasing hydration until it wasn't much at a water-to-soap ratio of 18. A lather-building time of 60 seconds seemed good for lather stability without causing the extra aeration that was observed with more time. Lather was visibly airy for all tested water-to-soap ratios except 6. The optimum lather was felt to follow the optimum slickness at a water-to-soap ratio around 22, since post-shave did not vary much with hydration level and cushion/protection that was good or decent also involved significant friction.
Ranking Details: No ranking tests were needed to confidently place Captain's Choice at the bottom, right below Sudsy Soapery.