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Captain's Choice is the WORST shaving soap that I've optimized so far

nemo

Cheaper than ink
I don't need a table, I know what to do without balance beams, timers, and other lab equipment at my sink.
I'll leisurely build a comfortable, stable lather and enjoy my shaves as I've done for decades, thanks @Clay S .
 
Thanks, guys, for all of the feedback. It looks like I hit a nerve. Most of the feedback here is positive for CC, but a minority is negative. I'm going to address a few comments that help clear up my experience...

More product usually helps with less than ideal lathers.

It depends. In my case, I ran CC through a very wide range of water-to-soap ratios, from 6 (with a lot of soap) to 26 (with very little soap). It always produced a dry post-shave with significant irritation to me, and other than with a water-to-soap ratio of 6, which had a lot of bad slickness, each lather was airy or very airy.

Hmmm, no love for either Captain's Choice or MWF, which in my books are both great products.

Does this mean I have to do a Costanza and invert your list?

But you still haven't been able to lather Mitchell's Wool Fat? Can't believe any of it then.

:laugh: I haven't optimized MWF yet under my new methodology with time as a variable. (I think that I was overwhipping MWF in the past.) MWF has a clean slate in my book. :001_smile

I have tried the Lime and Sandalwood and got good results from both. Like many soaps, I found using them several days in a row improved their performance.

I used CC six days in a row. With enough hydration, CC provided good slickness, but the post-shave was always bad to me.

Hmm. Guess I was wrong when I thought CC was giving me great shaves, the numbers can't lie. But, I don't have a scale and such when I shave, I just build a great lather and enjoy it.

I'm glad that CC works for you. Scale or no scale, it didn't work for me.

All published research papers are subject to peer review. In this case, looking at your data, the two soap bases for which you give the lowest performance ratings also have the lowest soap mass data, values about half of what you reported for the soaps in the top half of your chart. Yet, the amount of water used was similar for most soaps. With too little soap, it is no wonder that your lather was thin and airy. Too little soap also explains the poor post shave. I suggest you go back and try to increase the soap to 1 g and see what you get.

It is true that my optimums for Captain's Choice and Sudsy Soapery (vegan base) have low amounts of soap and high water-to-soap ratios and they are my bottom two performers so far, but they aren't too different from my optimum for Stirling, which is in the top half of my table. My optimum soap/cream masses, water masses, water-to-soap/cream ratios, and building times vary from product to product. I run each case through a series of shaves until I find the approximate optimum combination for me. You recommended that I try 1 g of soap, that I wasn't using enough soap. For CC, with a water-to-soap ratio of 6, I used 1.32 g soap and 7.92 g water, and with a water-to-soap ratio of 10, I used 0.84 g soap and 8.40 g water. My problems with CC have nothing to do with too little soap.

the results dont surprise me the least. This is a horrible shave soap that left my skin extremely irritated due to dryness. I threw it away after 2 uses.

I hear ya. If I didn't have to keep shaving with CC to satisfy my craziness, I might have stopped after two shaves, too.

Looking at the numbers, I am a bit confused.
The ratio used, product:water, is 0.44:9.68. As I look at it, compared to the top-rated product, these are not equal ratios, or even close. The top product uses a ratio of 1.20:9.60, or 3x the amount of product for about the same amount of water. Wouldn't watering down the "top-rated" product create diminishing returns?
Please help me understand the "science" or methodology used, as it seems a bit unequal.

Sure. The methodology is fully explained in my lather optimization guide in the ShaveWiki. I place soap/cream in a bowl, add water, build lather with a synthetic-hair brush, shave and evaluate, and do that again the next day with a different water-to-soap/cream ratio, total mass, and lather-building time until I've found the combination of these variables that makes the best lather in my opinion for that soap/cream. Soaps and creams are different, so it makes sense that the best hydration levels for them are different.
 
I love dissension. Just think how boring this site would be if we all liked the same soaps. I've been using Captain's Choice Bay Rum soap since 2013 when it was sold under the RazoRock label. For me, who is on well water and prefers a drier lather, CC soaps (BR & North) are my #2, after Harris Almond. And my 4 CC aftershaves are, by far, my favorite aftershaves. I can't remember or be bothered with tables for all the soaps & creams I've tried in nine years. Soaps either work and are in use, or sold, trashed or given away in short order.
 
I don't need a table, I know what to do without balance beams, timers, and other lab equipment at my sink.
I'll leisurely build a comfortable, stable lather and enjoy my shaves as I've done for decades, thanks @Clay S .
Then his table has no use for you. Why are you wasting your time looking at it and commenting on it? Telling him his results aren't what he saw his results to be is ridiculous.
 
Thanks, guys, for all of the feedback. It looks like I hit a nerve. Most of the feedback here is positive for CC, but a minority is negative. I'm going to address a few comments that help clear up my experience...



It depends. In my case, I ran CC through a very wide range of water-to-soap ratios, from 6 (with a lot of soap) to 26 (with very little soap). It always produced a dry post-shave with significant irritation to me, and other than with a water-to-soap ratio of 6, which had a lot of bad slickness, each lather was airy or very airy.





:laugh: I haven't optimized MWF yet under my new methodology with time as a variable. (I think that I was overwhipping MWF in the past.) MWF has a clean slate in my book. :001_smile



I used CC six days in a row. With enough hydration, CC provided good slickness, but the post-shave was always bad to me.



I'm glad that CC works for you. Scale or no scale, it didn't work for me.



It is true that my optimums for Captain's Choice and Sudsy Soapery (vegan base) have low amounts of soap and high water-to-soap ratios and they are my bottom two performers so far, but they aren't too different from my optimum for Stirling, which is in the top half of my table. My optimum soap/cream masses, water masses, water-to-soap/cream ratios, and building times vary from product to product. I run each case through a series of shaves until I find the approximate optimum combination for me. You recommended that I try 1 g of soap, that I wasn't using enough soap. For CC, with a water-to-soap ratio of 6, I used 1.32 g soap and 7.92 g water, and with a water-to-soap ratio of 10, I used 0.84 g soap and 8.40 g water. My problems with CC have nothing to do with too little soap.



I hear ya. If I didn't have to keep shaving with CC to satisfy my craziness, I might have stopped after two shaves, too.



Sure. The methodology is fully explained in my lather optimization guide in the ShaveWiki. I place soap/cream in a bowl, add water, build lather with a synthetic-hair brush, shave and evaluate, and do that again the next day with a different water-to-soap/cream ratio, total mass, and lather-building time until I've found the combination of these variables that makes the best lather in my opinion for that soap/cream. Soaps and creams are different, so it makes sense that the best hydration levels for them are different.
Whether a factor or not, until I (1) broke in my PdP 63 puck, it didn’t do what I thought it was supposed to; (2) blooming it created an even playing field.
To that end, I have been able to duplicate a shiny and slick foam/lather with ToOBS cream, Proraso cream, PdP 63 soap, cavendish and CC soap and cream, but they use different ratios of product to water.
They optimize differently and when I do right mine work really well.
And for me, this isn’t about a product nerve being touched, rather a methodology nerve. We all have our opinions, which are fine, but gross generalizations taken out of fair context are a little different.
 
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Whether a factor or not, until I (1) broke in my PdP 63 puck, it didn’t do what I thought it was supposed to; (2) blooming it created an even playing field.
To that end, I have been able to duplicate a shiny and slick foam/lather with ToOBS cream, Proraso cream, PdP 63 soap, cavendish and CC soap and cream, but they use different ratios of product to water.
They optimize differently and when I do right mine work really well.

I'm glad that what you do works for you and that you're optimizing soaps and creams, too. I'm not sure, though, if you're suggesting that I modify my methodology, since I don't bloom or soak the soap or cream that is measured in my lathering bowl, unless you count the minute or two that the soap or cream sits with the water before bowl lathering begins.
 
Gentlemen, let's keep the discussion civil. Every member is entitled to his or her opinion and discussion about methodology is always helpful. I fall under the method used by Doug in his post.

I recall many years ago a B&B newbie asked me how I lathered up MWF since he could not get good results from that soap. He wanted to know how many swirls I took on the puck of soap, how much water (in drops) I added to the soap, and how long I worked the lather (in seconds)! I told him I had no idea - I did it by feel and vision.

I don't need a table, I know what to do without balance beams, timers, and other lab equipment at my sink.
I'll leisurely build a comfortable, stable lather and enjoy my shaves as I've done for decades, thanks @Clay S .
 
I'm glad that what you do works for you and that you're optimizing soaps and creams, too. I'm not sure, though, if you're suggesting that I modify my methodology, since I don't bloom or soak the soap or cream that is measured in my lathering bowl, unless you count the minute or two that the soap or cream sits with the water before bowl lathering begins.

I think it is important to learn how to maximize talent and gifts. In terms of shaving lather, if a person likes the scent, maximize the lather. If you can't get the necessary slickness from the lather even when you get the most out of the soap, clearly it doesn't work. If you can't get the necessary slickness from the lather because when you haven't tried to get them most out of the soap, it's hard to blame the soap. If a person's criteria is "ease of making necessary slickness", then it becomes a different scenario.
I love the scent of the PdP No. 63 puck(seriously dense). I was willing to unlock the puck's potential because of the scent, but it took time, but now I get the shiny, smooth, slick lather. From a pure scent & texture point of view, I feel fortunate I did.
My son is learning to make lather with a synthetic brush, due to the ease at which the lather is created. He like to use ToOBS because it is also easy. But now he is paying attention to the other scents I have offered him. When he decides he want to make one of the others work, because they are quality products, I am confident he will-It'll just take a little time for him to learn and effort in finding the sweet-spot.

If it needs to be bloomed or soaked to get the most out of it, shouldn't that happen?
 
If it needs to be bloomed or soaked to get the most out of it, shouldn't that happen?

There are no rules in wetshaving. Experiment until you find what works for YOU. With my well water and preference for a drier lather, I bloom all my soaps and load with a shaken out brush. Many prefer lathering a dry soap with a wetter brush. In shaving, the end result justifies the means.
 
There are no rules in wetshaving. Experiment until you find what works for YOU. With my well water and preference for a drier lather, I bloom all my soaps and load with a shaken out brush. Many prefer lathering a dry soap with a wetter brush. In shaving, the end result justifies the means.
The best rule(s) in wetshaving, that I have found, is make it work, try not to bleed, and if it hurts, you’re doing it wrong.
 
I think it is important to learn how to maximize talent and gifts. In terms of shaving lather, if a person likes the scent, maximize the lather. If you can't get the necessary slickness from the lather even when you get the most out of the soap, clearly it doesn't work. If you can't get the necessary slickness from the lather because when you haven't tried to get them most out of the soap, it's hard to blame the soap. If a person's criteria is "ease of making necessary slickness", then it becomes a different scenario.
I love the scent of the PdP No. 63 puck(seriously dense). I was willing to unlock the puck's potential because of the scent, but it took time, but now I get the shiny, smooth, slick lather. From a pure scent & texture point of view, I feel fortunate I did.
My son is learning to make lather with a synthetic brush, due to the ease at which the lather is created. He like to use ToOBS because it is also easy. But now he is paying attention to the other scents I have offered him. When he decides he want to make one of the others work, because they are quality products, I am confident he will-It'll just take a little time for him to learn and effort in finding the sweet-spot.

If it needs to be bloomed or soaked to get the most out of it, shouldn't that happen?

It sounds like we agree on optimization, making the best of what we have and finding what works best for the individual. If one thinks that blooming or soaking works best for a soap or cream, then it makes sense that he/she would do that. My past experimentation on water-incorporation rate and soaking soap found that they made little difference on lather quality, but one's lather-building method matters here.
 
It sounds like we agree on optimization, making the best of what we have and finding what works best for the individual. If one thinks that blooming or soaking works best for a soap or cream, then it makes sense that he/she would do that. My past experimentation on water-incorporation rate and soaking soap found that they made little difference on lather quality, but one's lather-building method matters here.
Soaking made all the difference with my PdP-still does. Drip a little in before the shower. By the time I get out, it is ready to make amazing lather-but I load the brush and make the lather in a scuttle, not the tin the soap comes in.
 
Thank you @ShavingByTheNumbers for your feedback and review! I’d asked him for help because I thought I might be crazy. I have 40-50 soaps and I’ve never been perplexed in this way.

This is a soap I’ve struggled with since purchasing a few months ago. Since then, I’ve put it through its paces for 40-50 shaves.

I’ve always been rewarded early in the loading process by lather that quickly and abundantly generates off the puck or bowl. That lather, however, has always lacked density, yogurt-like properties, and is “airy”. Over the course of my shaves I was determined to “figure out the soap”. I gave it dozens more shaves than I typically would others. I went from boar, to badger, to synthetic. From light loading to exceptionally heavy. Little water to a lot. Little loading in the bowl to whipping it like meringue. Face lathering as well. Each try resulted in airy lather that lacked density and caused facial irritation/dryness at the end. Slickness, at higher water levels was always there. My water at home is slightly hard. Using distilled water slightly heated above room temperature did create an alternate result.

I specifically knew I had a problem from my very first shave, when the lather literally disappeared on my face during the shave. Made worse of course on passes 2-3.

Ultimately, @ShavingByTheNumbers experience and results were the same as mine. He can opine on his own methods. Mine are not scientific, but very thorough as evidenced above, and varied. The definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. In my case, I tried as many methods as I could.

My thoughts should not be construed as disparaging of the soap or the brand. Quite the contrary, I’m on the record of being a huge fan of Captains products and customer service. This one (three variations/scents of the soap) simply didn’t work for me. It is absolutely wonderful, however, to see the differing opinions. I’m so glad this soap has worked for many!
 
Soaking made all the difference with my PdP-still does. Drip a little in before the shower. By the time I get out, it is ready to make amazing lather-but I load the brush and make the lather in a scuttle, not the tin the soap comes in.

Since I use the exact amount of soap and water that I want when building lather, I haven't found that soaking the measured soap in the bowl does much, but with normal methods, soaking soap does help the user load the brush with harder soaps.
 
The best rule(s) in wetshaving, that I have found, is make it work, try not to bleed, and if it hurts, you’re doing it wrong.

After shaving almost 60 years, I'd say that pretty much sums it up.

One final comment: I've had the original white tub of RazoRock CCBR soap, the black tub of RazoRock CCBR soap and the current CCBR soap and I find no difference in performance. I still have half a bottle of the original CC aftershave with grain alcohol & rum and I also find no difference in performance with the current CC a/s.
 
Thank you @ShavingByTheNumbers for your feedback and review! I’d asked him for help because I thought I might be crazy. I have 40-50 soaps and I’ve never been perplexed in this way.

This is a soap I’ve struggled with since purchasing a few months ago. Since then, I’ve put it through its paces for 40-50 shaves.

I’ve always been rewarded early in the loading process by lather that quickly and abundantly generates off the puck or bowl. That lather, however, has always lacked density, yogurt-like properties, and is “airy”. Over the course of my shaves I was determined to “figure out the soap”. I gave it dozens more shaves than I typically would others. I went from boar, to badger, to synthetic. From light loading to exceptionally heavy. Little water to a lot. Little loading in the bowl to whipping it like meringue. Face lathering as well. Each try resulted in airy lather that lacked density and caused facial irritation/dryness at the end. Slickness, at higher water levels was always there. My water at home is slightly hard. Using distilled water slightly heated above room temperature did create an alternate result.

I specifically knew I had a problem from my very first shave, when the lather literally disappeared on my face during the shave. Made worse of course on passes 2-3.

Ultimately, @ShavingByTheNumbers experience and results were the same as mine. He can opine on his own methods. Mine are not scientific, but very thorough as evidenced above, and varied. The definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. In my case, I tried as many methods as I could.

My thoughts should not be construed as disparaging of the soap or the brand. Quite the contrary, I’m on the record of being a huge fan of Captains products and customer service. This one (three variations/scents of the soap) simply didn’t work for me. It is absolutely wonderful, however, to see the differing opinions. I’m so glad this soap has worked for many!

Thanks, John, for explaining your testing and experience with Captain's Choice soap. It's very interesting how we approached the soap with different methods and came to similar conclusions. You tested three different versions and used different lathering methods and I only tested one version with quantitative measurements and bowl lathering. Even though it didn't work for either of us, neither of us are putting down Captain's Choice, the company. Also, from what I've seen of Scott the owner, I like the guy! I just wish that I liked his soap better. :001_smile
 

Esox

I didnt know
First, thanks Grant for your diligence and opinion, we can all have one. :)

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.

I havent used the Bay Rum soap, but I have used the cream. Of the soaps I have used, all were samples and I treated them the same as any soap. I worked my lather until I got it where I wanted it like @nemo and had no issues.

I find all the CC soaps and creams I have used very slick, but the lather has a lighter body to it than say, Tabac or Stirling. Personally I like that and I find it similar to PdP in that regard but PdP, I find, slicker.

My post shave feel using either the CC soaps or creams has always been one of a simple clean freshness thats difficult to describe, without any notable irritation or dryness. Just....clean. I like that too but have come to appreciate the moisturizing properties of some other soaps. PdP, WK, CRS and Wickham all leave my skin feeling the same fresh and clean as CC but with an extra something. Like I had used a CC balm after shaving, which I also use sometimes. The CC Sandalwood scent is spectacular by the way. ;)

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

The scent of the Bay Rum cream I find very strong. I dont mind it, but its not a scent I could use every day.

Hardness: Very soft for a shaving soap, more like the consistency of a thick cream

The soaps I have used, I didnt find soft at all really and again, about the same consistency as Stirling. Using the CC Lime soap I was a bit surprised by how hard it was. Age of the soap can be a factor in this I believe. As soaps age, they harden.

Since I use the exact amount of soap and water that I want when building lather, I haven't found that soaking the measured soap in the bowl does much, but with normal methods, soaking soap does help the user load the brush with harder soaps.

This is where some may take issue with your testing. All soaps are not created equally, so when treated equally, will perform differently. I do understand what you're doing though and I also understand that what you're doing isnt denigrating any particular soap or product, but merely collecting and collating the data under your control as a scientific thesis and I appreciate it even if I dont always agree with you.

Grant is actually a covert AI program thats been instituted by MJ12 members to collect, collate and dispense the proper information for future classified reasons. He does not sleep, he just soft boots now and then lol.
:tongue_sm
 
Thanks, Mike (@Esox), for your thoughts. I understand that we have differences of opinion and that we all react differently to products. That's the way it goes. You're right that some here might take issue with my methodology. For each soap and cream, I evaluate it with different hydration levels and lather-building times. The resulting optimum lathers have different hydration levels, total masses, and lather-building times because soaps and creams are different. I'm respecting that. However, in building lather with measured amounts of soap and water in a bowl and starting with a dry synthetic-hair brush, I'm not loading the brush and building lather in a bowl or on the face in the normal way. That alone can throw others off, but I'm still building lather with soap/cream, water, and time/agitation.
 

Esox

I didnt know
I'm not loading the brush and building lather in a bowl or on the face in the normal way. That alone can throw others off

That can also make them perfect, or as close too it as can be.

I suspect though Grant that if you stopped thinking about it and just loaded your synthetic with soap and then dipped the tips until you had it where you like it you may find a better shave awaits, but that wouldnt help with your table haha.

The one thing I pay attention to regarding soaps is, how much product do I need to make my lather how I like it? That varies, considerably, and influences my future purchases more than anything else.

There are few soaps I would never use again. T&H 1805 is one. While I love the scent, its performance for me mirrors yours with CC. No matter how I make my lather I cant get what I want from it. The other is Midnight & Two The Coast. Reverse the scents of both, the wonderful 1805 scent and the "Dill Pickle chips and Turpentine" of the Midnight & Two, and I'd swear they were the same soaps because they perform the same no matter what I do to them.
 
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