4th Addition: Lisa's Natural Herbal Creations (LNHC) Sandalwood Wet Shave Soap
(Picture shows partially used 4.5 oz. tin of soap)
Purchase Date: March 18, 2017
Ingredients: Herb infused Distilled Water with Calendula Petals & Green Tea Leaves, Stearic Acid (Vegetable Derived), Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Tallow, Vegetable Glycerin, Potassium Hydroxide, Sodium Hydroxide, Sodium Lactate, Mango Seed Butter, Lanolin, Bentonite Clay, Rhassoul Clay, Fragrance Oil, Tussah Silk
Container: The round container is a metal jar with an outside diameter of 3.17 in. and a screw-on metal cap with a nominal outside diameter of 3.24 in. and a maximum outside diameter of 3.32 in. The total height of the jar with the cap screwed on is 1.15 in. The round labels on the top of the cap and the bottom of the jar do not appear to be water-resistant or waterproof, but the labels have been observed to not bleed ink even when very wet and absorbing water.
Color: Tan or light brown
Scent: Lightly scented sandalwood from fragrance oil that seemed to diminish over time
Hardness: Based on my limited experience, I'd say that this soap is moderately hard, probably on the harder side than the softer side of average
Loading and Building: Loading a brush and building the lather with this soap is easy. With measured soap and water amounts in a lather bowl, large bubbles develop very quickly at the beginning of the lather-building process. Over time, the bubbles get smaller and smaller as the lather develops and grows with agitation. Building the lather takes me around five minutes, as timed, but I knowingly build lather longer than necessary to ensure that the job is done.
Exact Lather Results for 1st Optimization Cycle: This was the first soap or cream that I optimized with exact lathers, and due to the learning curve, I shaved daily with the soap for over a month, from April 21, 2017, to May 29, 2017, and I still hadn't refined my evaluation process by the end of that long optimization cycle. Since then, I've gotten better and more efficient at optimizing lather and my bias for thicker lather has been mitigated. Upon recently reevaluating the optimum that I settled on, having a total mass of 8.0 g and water-to-soap ratio of 7, I found that my new evaluation of that lather was practically identical to my old evaluation, but I disagreed with the conclusion that that lather was the optimum for the soap. The total mass seemed good, but the water-to-soap ratio seemed lower than it should be. A second optimization cycle was thus started.
Exact Lather Results for 2nd Optimization Cycle: Seventeen (17) daily shaves were conducted from August 29, 2017, to September 14, 2017, with total mass ranging from 7.7 g to 9.0 g and water-to-soap ratio ranging from 6 to 15. Total masses of 7.7 g and 7.8 g were found as not enough and masses ranging from 8.0 g to 9.0 g, particularly in the middle of that range, were found to be good. Optimizing water-to-soap ratio was more difficult with LNHC because it was found to tolerate a lot of water and shaves with LNHC were not very good due to the lack of slickness. The optimum water-to-soap ratio was narrowed down to approximately 8.5 to 9.5 with okay slickness, cushion that was not much, and dry post-shave, and a ratio of 9 was settled upon. At a water-to-soap ratio of 6, slickness was "not good" with "plenty of times of bad friction", but at least the cushion was good. No matter the water-to-soap ratio, the post-shave was found to be on the dry side, generally with some irritation that might have been related to the irritation that was usually felt during and after applying lather for the third pass. Friction was typically felt near the end of passes. With increasing water-to-soap ratio, stick-slip started to be experienced at a water-to-soap ratio of 10. Slickness decreased with more friction and stick-slip as water-to-soap ratio increased, and at a ratio of 15, it was as if the stick-slip instances with earlier shaves had just transitioned to more "stick" with fewer instances of stick-slip, and friction near the end of passes was bad, but didn't stand out as much because of all of the other friction. By this point, the lather still did not appear "wet", although the lather no longer adhered much to itself or the skin and the lather seemed to collapse a little bit upon application. Test lathers with water-to-soap ratios of 20 and 25 resulted in lathers that were kind of shiny with some "wet" behavior, but airy and foamy with stability issues, as observed with weakening structure over time as the lathers became more shiny and "wet". Adding even more and more water yielded foamy lather that eventually got visibly loose and wet.
Ranking Results: In next-day testing, the optimum lather for B&M Latha was confirmed as better than the optimum lather for LNHC, as one would expect based on overall notes about slickness, cushion, and post-shave. The lather with B&M Latha appeared better, and application with B&M Latha was noticeably smoother than with LNHC. Slickness with B&M Latha in this test was okay, and at least that of LNHC's optimum, but I believe that the slickness would have been mostly good, as experienced before, if the razor had not been well used with LNHC residue and I had been shaving daily with B&M Latha. Cushion and post-shave of B&M Latha were similar to prior results. Irritation during and after application for the third pass was slight and much less than with LNHC. Irritation after the shave was there, as previously noted with B&M Latha, yet it probably would have been less if the razor blade were not well used. My face didn't feel quite as dry between passes compared to LNHC, and post-shave dryness with B&M Latha definitely wasn't as much as with LNHC. The post-shave with B&M Latha in this test was relatively not dry compared to LNHC.
Takeaway: LNHC reminds me of the phrase "you get what you pay for". The price per shave is relatively low, but so is the lather quality, specifically with respect to slickness. Further, LNHC can be frustrating to deal with because it tolerates a lot of water before showing signs that the lather is getting "wet", and by that point, lather quality has already deteriorated quite a bit below the optimum that corresponds with much less water.
Important Note: This soap has been discontinued until a "better fragrance oil" is found, as stated at LNHC's website. Regardless of whether the fragrance oil is the cause of irritation that I experienced, my analysis still applies to LNHC's "wet shave soap" with respect to slickness, cushion, and post-shave. LNHC's newer "premium artisan shaving soap" does not apply here.
Optimum Lather Table
|Performance Ranking||Soap/Cream||Soap/Cream Mass (g)||Water Mass (g)||Total Mass (g)||Water-to-Soap/Cream Ratio||Soap/Cream Price (USD)|
|1||Stirling Soap Co. Naked & Smooth Shave Soap||1.2||10.8||12.0||9.00||0.09|
|2||The Sudsy Soapery Sandalwood & Myrrh Shave Soap||0.9||8.6||9.5||9.56||0.10|
|3||Barrister & Mann Latha Unscented Shaving Soap||1.0||8.0||9.0||8.00||0.09|
|4||Lisa's Natural Herbal Creations Sandalwood Wet Shave Soap||0.8||7.2||8.0||9.00||0.06|
- As documented on August 27, 2017, soap/cream and moderately hard water masses were directly measured in a smooth lathering bowl, using a 0.1 g resolution scale, and lather was built using a dry synthetic brush, so as to make exact lather
- Based on slower three-pass shaves with blade buffing using a smooth chrome-plated DE safety razor and agreeable blades and blade exposures, water-to-soap/cream ratio was optimized to the nearest 0.5 value while total mass was simultaneously optimized as precisely as could be accomplished by varying soap/cream and water masses from day to day. Lather from inside the brush was used as much as possible in order to effectively eliminate the influence of the brush on total mass.
- Rankings were aided by revisiting previously determined optimums and comparing optimum lathers in sequential shaves
- Prices are current for the specific soaps and creams that were evaluated. Prices for similar offerings are used for scents that are no longer available.
- The table is sortable such that clicking on a column heading sorts the rows according to that column's data, and clicking on the column heading again reverses the sorting order
- Stirling Soap Co. Naked & Smooth Shave Soap: Lather takes time to build up, developing into a lighter lather with a smooth consistency and a nice sheen. Slickness is mostly very good, but there is typically some friction near the end of passes. Cushion is okay, but lather lightness prevents cushion from being good. Post-shave is pretty good, but on the dry side.
- The Sudsy Soapery Sandalwood & Myrrh Shave Soap: Lather is neither like yogurt nor creamy, but there are few large bubbles. Slickness is good to very good. Cushion is fine. Post-shave is relatively dry.
- Barrister & Mann Latha Unscented Shaving Soap: Lather is neither like yogurt nor creamy, but lather is uniform with respect to very small air cells. Lather does not have much adhesion to skin during application. Sheen is nice, but not brilliant. Slickness is mostly good with some very good moments, but there is some friction near the end of passes. Cushion is not much, although it is fine. Post-shave is kind of dry with some overall irritation.
- Lisa's Natural Herbal Creations Sandalwood Wet Shave Soap: Lather is airy with uniformly tiny air cells and few visible small air bubbles. Sheen is okay, but not good or brilliant. Adhesion to skin is pretty good. Application is smooth enough, but not very smooth. Slickness is okay overall, with some good moments and virtually no stick-slip, but there is friction at times and near the end of passes. Cushion is okay, but it is not much. Post-shave is fairly dry with some irritation that probably corresponds with the irritation felt during and after application for the third pass.