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Do Shaving Soap Trace Ingredients Ever Matter or is it All About the Base?

Just posted today's shave with my new tub of Razorock's Classic Italian soft shaving soap (see link below). Excellent shave. The soap performed really well, actually slightly better than my P.160. This soap has identical ingredients to the P.160 listed in my OP above with the exception that it does not include tallow (P.160 ingredient #6).

Nothing to change the conclusions in my original analysis above that:
  • Both of these soft Razorock soaps, and TFS Red Bowl, perform well producing excellent lather
  • There are little, if any, realized improvements to the lather from the added trace ingredients
  • All are great values, sale prices of $3.99 and $4.99. Close in price to just an empty soap container from some other vendors that sell them for $3-$4 each.
  • Scent is similar for all three of these soaps so not really a factor here. RR scents are mild, TFS Red Bowl had the strongest scent when new.
I also just purchased some RR XXX (same tallow base as P.160, different scent) and Mudder Focker (same base as Classic Italian with Fullers Earth added). Plan to try these in the near future to further validate what we've learned so far.

I'm still a big fan of Italian Barber/Razorock. Since they consolidated most of their soaps to a couple different bases (one with, one without tallow) they present a unique opportunity to evaluate the benefits of the explosion of minor/trace ingredients we've seen in shaving soaps over the past decade.

Link Recent RR Classic Italian Shave Post#70,808:
Quick update now that I've shaved with Razorock's XXX soft Italian shaving soap for the first time (link to post with details on this shave below).

  • Shaved via my standard technique lathering this soap in my shaving bowl for an excellent 10/10 2+ pass shave.
  • The XXX shaving soap was easy to lather and provided excellent core shaving performance, a great value for it's $4.99 sale price.
  • The XXX scent, a citrus and earthy tone mix, was a little sharp out of the container to provide a pleasant milder aroma in the lather that lasted throughout the shave. Well worth the extra dollar, on sale, over the $3.99 Classic Italian if you like the scent.(I do)
  • Shaving performance was similar to my other Italian Barber and TFS soft Italian shaving soaps. Supports the conclusion of the limited effect of trace ingredients in my OP above. This soap uses the same base as the Classic Italian with tallow added as the 6th ingredient.
  • Based on the soaps tested/reported on so far the main reason for choosing one of these soaps over another is preference for the scent. If you don't care about scent then the lower cost Classic Italian or TFS "Red Bowl" may make the most sense. Regardless, even at regular price ($5.99 & $9.99) these soaps represent good value.
One interesting observation is that both my new Razorock XXX and Classic Italian share the same lot number #09723 that we also believe represents a manufacturing date of September 7, 2023. My new puck of Mudder Focker, from the same order, also has that same lot number. Wonder if this has anything to do with the manufacturing process where a large quantity of the common base if first product with the trace ingredients, including scent, tallow and Fullers Earth (Mudder Focker), are added later. If true then it's possible that there is very little tallow added to the base for the latest Razorock tallow formula and it's a bit of a misnomer to refer to these soaps as having a tallow base.

Will update here in a few days when I have a chance to use my Mudder Focker soap to see if it's more unique formulation, with Fullers Earth added to the common base, can make a significant difference is core shaving performance and/or post-shave feel.

Link to recent XXX shave post:
I make my own soap and was very meticulous in my process of coming up with the best recipe possible.

I went through many trials where all I changed in the formula were micro ingredients and left the macro ingredients as is.

I found no difference in any aspect of the shaving soap with around 8 micro ingredients which I tested.

What DID make a difference were beeswax and lanolin. These are micro ingredients being less than 4% of the non-water ingredients but definitely made a perceivable difference.

I keep my base simple and don't use micro ingredients except either beeswax or lanolin. No herbal extracts, no fruit extracts, no silk etc.

I do use a large proportions of several butters in the base. I find this really helps during and after the shave!

Well well well- As Hunter S. Thompson said, when the going gets weird, the weird turn pro!
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