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Menthol Magic from the Deep South (Africa)


Every hobbyist here comes at their product discoveries with a different set of both past experiences and future expectations. For me, I am based in South Africa where these new Master Soap mentholated shaving products are made. So, I have a patriotic bias to take into account! But believe me, I would only write a positive review if I really meant it - and I really do!

It is also interesting experiencing a product that I perhaps would not voluntarily purchase myself given my global travels (pre-Covid) and my extensive collections of most of the major international brand-names from traditional to artisanal. I hardly need more soaps (or creams), but a lack of travel this last year and the ease of acquiring on our domestic market gave me the opportunity to expand my horizons away from the global world of shaving products to the local.

It should also be noted that the three products here are all mentholated soaps. And quite significantly mentholated too! Now, I have never really been drawn to menthol at these levels and as a result only have Proraso Green and Lea mentholated soaps in my collection. I always found mentholated soaps just too 'fresh' or 'cold' for me preferring the 'warmer' lathers of the Tabacs, MdC, MWF, B&M, DG, T&H etc.

So, it was with some trepidation - and the frustration of no travel - that I tried these three products. And how pleased I am that i put aside my menthol hesitation and stepped out of my comfort zone!

These three soaps from Master Soap Creations are outstanding. So much so, that I am now hooked on that super fresh injection of facial excitement that only a mentholated soap can give. Even though it is winter here, I now need that fresh fix each time I shave!

These soaps are expertly formulated. They all have common properties of exceptional lathering capabilities reaching a tallow-intense slick and very creamy lather with strong peaks within a few seconds of the brush hitting the soap. I found that using a synth, it took between 10 and 20 seconds to get more than enough for a two-pass shave which is all I need when lathering directly off the puck. That creamy lathering is as impressive as the protection these soaps offer the face. I am using new shaving hardware - and sometimes older used blades - and the product really provides a fantastic glide and absorption into the face without nicks or cuts. I really find it tough to discern too much of a difference between these soaps and the most famous brands I have used for many years - and that is a real compliment to the soap-maker whose first batch of retail-ready products this represents.

As a non-menthol person (now converted), these soaps leave a tear in the eye! Wow, they are potent! They can also double-up as nasal decongestants! That mentholated aroma and facial sizzle is just spectacular and left my face feeling the freshest and most awake ever from a shave. And it doesn't stop there - the after-shave feel is also excellent with virtually no drying on my skin. In fact, I barely had the need for any balm or after-shave product since the skin-protection properties of these soaps were superior to many I have tried. That crisp shock of the menthol was just right. And it lasts well beyond the shave too.

Finally, a word about the three variants illustrated. They all perform similarly although I found the citrus and lavender to have even higher mentholated content. But more importantly, their scents are just perfect. I am a sucker for citrus and that lemon-rind infused orange 'Citrus Melody' is a special type of sharp citrus. The super-cold 'Frosted Lavender' is my first lavender product after wanting to try one for many years. It is perfect for me. It's a softer lavender and less sweet than others. And since it's also frosted, it's a sharp take too! Finally, the "Peppermint Latte' is just what it says on the tin. A minty frosting with a hint of coffee. In a way, it reminds me of shaving with a mint chocolate type of mix like those 'After-Eight" chocs from the UK! These scents linger too - they are no slouch in the longevity department!

These products are gaining recognition outside South Africa and are being selectively stocked in the US as well (WCS). I normally envy those in the US for the access to so many artisans and at least now, I can gain quick (and inexpensive) access to these soaps here in my native country! I don't have experience with Stirling given my historic reluctance to go menthol. but I can only add my voice of praise to these products. Give them a try and you may just become a convert like me!
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