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Dick Johnson Soap review – terrible lather but excellent shave

Dear Gents,

I recently grabbed a less well-known (let’s say exotic) soap from Finland, namely the Dick Johnson Sweet Rum.

The scent is very nice, sweet and rum are both there, the soap itself is quite hard, however. With the regular approach that I use at basically all of my soap (wet brush without shaking) I did my best and formed a nice lather and went on face-lathering, because that’t the technique I like most.

The scent got fairly mild in the process, but it was still nice.

The lather was not the thickest, oh well, let’s go with this I said.

Then something really weird happened – the lather got thinner and thinner every second (!). I’m not a slow shaver (using an EJ 3ONE6), but by the time I finished WTG for the last strokes the soap basically disappeared (!). Oh my, this will be a bloodbath I thought, but strangely I didn’t feel any ill effect or got cut. Also, while washing the razor between the passes the water strangely "fizzed" like soda (?!).

Let’s lather up even more then for the ATG pass! (Because the lather disappeared from the brush as well (Kent badger).

Again, lather is fine, maybe a bit thicker, finish on face – same happens, by the end there is simply no lather, so I had to watch if I shaved a certain area or not already…

The result, however stunned me – contrary to my expectations I got a very nice BBS shave, without nicks and cuts. It became only obvious when I washed my face, that the slickness of the soap – even without lather – is excellent!

I also tried it with much less water the next time, squeezing the brush and all – same experience as before.

By now I can lather anything, and do so from hard soaps like Kent to soft ones like Proraso – this has to be said, because I really don’t think it’s the lathering technique, but the soap itself.

In conclusion this soap is excellent and crappy at the same time – and I’m quite puzzled with this result. I’m sure I will use it up, because the scent is nice and also performs well (in terms of shave result), but when I wish to make a decent lather I won’t reach for this.

To sum the above in verdict and numbers:

Scent: 4 (out of 5)

Lather: 1 (out of 5)

Slickness: 5 (out of 5)

Wouldn’t buy again (sorry Finnish friends :() – those of you that wish to see your face details while shaving (straight razor users maybe?) might like it, though.

Happy shaves!
According to their web site, the ingredients are: Ingredients: Sodium Palmate, Sodium Palm Kernelate,Ricinus Communis Seed Oil,Butyrospermum Parkii Butter, Parfum,Cocos Nucifera Oil,Tetrasodium EDTA,Tetrasodium Etidronate, Kaolin

Since this soap is based largely on palm oil, palm kernel oil and castor bean oil, I am not surprised that the lather dissapated. I suspect the lather was very slick, but I doubt it would be protective enough for my sensitive skin.

To me, the key to a good shaving soap is stearic acid. In this soap, this fatty acid is provided by Butyrospermum Parkii, aka Shea butter. but with other fats dominating, there is not going to be a lot of stearic acid in the soap.

Unfortunately, many European soap makers are using cheap palm oil and palm kernel oil as the basis of their soaps and have shunned the animal tallow that has been used for making soaps for millennia.
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