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Cold River Soap Works SELECT comes in at 3rd place out of 10


Below is the optimum lather table and review of Cold River Soap Works (CRSW) SELECT from my lather optimization guide in the ShaveWiki. An update was posted yesterday in the lather optimization updates thread in the general shaving discussion forum. This forum is the right place for my review.

If you are unfamiliar with my lather optimization efforts, then please visit the lather optimization guide for an overview, disclaimer, and general information about optimizing lather.

Feedback is welcome. :001_smile

Optimum Lather Table

PRPerformance Ranking
PDPurchase Date (YYYY-MM-DD)
SCMSoap/Cream Mass (g)
WMWater Mass (g)
TMTotal Mass (g) = SCM + WM
WSCRWater-to-Soap/Cream Ratio = WM / SCM
SCITSoap/Cream-Incorporation Time (s)
LBTLather-Building Time (s)
SCPSoap/Cream Price (USD)

1Declaration Grooming (Formerly L&L Grooming) Shaving Soap2017-08-110.818.919.721120600.13
2Barrister and Mann Shaving Soap2017-10-190.718.529.231225300.12
3Cold River Soap Works SELECT Shaving Soap2017-12-150.869.4610.32116600.15
4Stirling Soap Co. Shave Soap2017-08-140.539.019.541720300.04
5Barrister's Reserve Shaving Soap2017-060.9611.5212.481245600.15
6Mike's Natural Shaving Soap2017-090.759.009.751260600.07
7Barrister and Mann Latha Shaving Soap (Discontinued)2018-01-300.759.7510.501310300.07
8The Art of Shaving Shaving Cream2018-01-
9Mystic Water Shaving Soap2018-01-270.709.109.801330300.07
10The Sudsy Soapery Shave Soap2018-02-050.468.288.741810600.05

Cold River Soap Works SELECT Shaving Soap

Top label (left), bottom label with ingredient list (center), and close-up of soap in small jar (right)​

Version Name: Sandalwood

Purchase Date: Approximately December 15, 2017. A sample was received on June 7, 2018, from @Tokyospike, who generously donated the soap for evaluation. The sample was then placed in a small jar and photographed. Photographs of the original container were taken by @Tokyospike.

Review Period: July 7 to July 22, 2018. 13 optimization shaves and 2 ranking tests.

Manufacturing Location: Baldwinsville, NY, USA

Ingredients: Potassium Stearate, Aqua, Potassium Tallowate, Sodium Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Glycerin, Potassium Garcina Indica (Kokum) Butter, Potassium Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Sodium Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Kernel Oil, Fragrance, Sodium Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Potassium Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Lanolin, Kaolin, Sodium Citrate, Sodium Lactate, Hydrolyzed Silk Protein [Note: This list does not precisely reflect the current formulation]

Appearance: Off-white. The texture is not smooth, as confirmed by touch when spreading the soap onto the bottom of a lathering bowl.

Scent: At the time of this review, the scent was described as "predominantly sandalwood, with spicy wood base notes and a warm amber dry down." To my unsophisticated nose, the scent is fine and light.

Hardness: Very soft, like thick cream

Optimum Lather Overview: Sheen is okay or pretty good. Lather has some good yogurt-like behavior of "stringiness" and "peaking". Lather has some small visible bubbles, but is not "airy". Adhesion and application are pretty good. Scent is lightly present, but might not be noticed throughout the entire shave. Slickness ranges from okay to very good and is generally pretty good to good with few moments of moderate and significant friction. Cushion/protection is pretty good. Post-shave is very good.

Optimization Details: The water-to-soap ratio was varied from 6 to 22. With increasing hydration, slickness was found to increase up to a point, the differences between lows and highs became stronger, and eventually, as the lather got more thinned out, the overall slickness dropped. Cushion/protection and post-shave dropped with increasing hydration. Around a water-to-soap ratio of 14, the lather seemed to be getting closer to stick-slip without reaching that point. It wasn't until a ratio of 22 that a little stick-slip was finally detected, which speaks well of the soap. Given the extreme softness of the soap, it only takes several seconds to mix with water. After 30 seconds of building lather in a bowl, the lather always seemed too airy. By 45 seconds, the lather still seemed too airy and unfinished. 60 seconds always seemed to be a minimum amount of time for building a finished lather. 120 seconds was confirmed as making the slickness a little worse and the cushion/protection a little better. The total mass was easily optimized.

Ranking Details: CRSW SELECT was deemed better than Mike's Natural without a ranking test, but it was unclear how CRSW SELECT fared against Stirling without a ranking test. Next-day testing with optimum lathers showed that the slickness was comparable, even if Stirling's was a little better, but the cushion/protection and post-shave were better with CRSW SELECT. CRSW SELECT felt better during and after the shave, so it was ranked higher than Stirling. A ranking test against Barrister and Mann confirmed that B&M was better with better slickness and a comparable post-shave, even if the post-shave was not as good as with CRSW SELECT.
Would love to hear your thoughts on the new Select base with goat milk! Glide too but it sounds like your working on that.

Excellent stuff you're doing!
Would love to hear your thoughts on the new Select base with goat milk! Glide too but it sounds like your working on that.

Excellent stuff you're doing!

Thanks! Yes, I hear you about the new SELECT base. I agree. That will hopefully happen in the future with the GLIDE base, too. No samples are waiting in the wings right now. I've got several samples donated from @Cal on deck, a few samples from a trade after that, and some other donated samples that I think are coming. I'm glad to accept donations as long as they meet certain conditions for experimental purposes.

P.S. CRSW uses all caps all the time with "SELECT" and "GLIDE". Believe me, I tried to find an instance when they didn't. They really want it all caps. :001_smile
This is a very good list. I might quibble a bit over the rankings of the soaps below #1, but L&L/Declaration is #1 in my den.
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