Below is the optimum lather table and review of Proraso Single Blade (PSB) shaving cream from my lather optimization guide in the ShaveWiki. Please see the guide for an overview, a disclaimer, and general information about optimizing lather.
Back in June, @Cal generously donated a large sample of PSB Wood and Spice for evaluation. (Thanks, Cal!) I enjoyed optimizing PSB! It is a good cream, even though it causes me a little bit of post-shave irritation. PSB was clearly going near the top of my list, but I didn't know exactly how high until the ranking tests against B&M and DG. PSB beat B&M, but was narrowly defeated by DG. At this point in time, PSB could be considered by many as the best value (price for performance) in my optimum lather table.
Feedback is welcome.
Optimum Lather Table
|PD||Purchase Date (YYYY-MM-DD)|
|SCM||Soap/Cream Mass (g)|
|WM||Water Mass (g)|
|TM||Total Mass (g) = SCM + WM|
|WSCR||Water-to-Soap/Cream Ratio = WM / SCM|
|SCIT||Soap/Cream-Incorporation Time (s)|
|LBT||Lather-Building Time (s)|
|SCP||Soap/Cream Price (USD)|
|1||Nanny's Silly Soap (NSS) Original Shaving Soap||2017-04-23||1.20||9.60||10.80||8||30||45||0.15|
|2||Declaration Grooming (DG) (Formerly L&L Grooming) Shaving Soap||2017-08-11||0.81||8.91||9.72||11||20||60||0.15|
|3||Proraso Single Blade (PSB) Shaving Cream||2018-01-12||0.95||7.60||8.55||8||3||60||0.07|
|4||Barrister and Mann (B&M) Shaving Soap||2017-10-19||0.71||8.52||9.23||12||25||30||0.12|
|5||Cold River Soap Works (CRSW) SELECT Shaving Soap||2017-12-15||0.86||9.46||10.32||11||6||60||0.15|
|6||Stirling Soap Co. Shave Soap||2017-08-14||0.53||9.01||9.54||17||20||30||0.04|
|7||Barrister's Reserve Shaving Soap||2017-06||0.96||11.52||12.48||12||45||60||0.15|
|8||Martin de Candre (MdC) Shaving Soap||2018-05-31||0.70||7.70||8.40||11||45||60||0.16|
|9||Mike's Natural Shaving Soap||2017-09||0.75||9.00||9.75||12||60||60||0.07|
|10||Barrister and Mann (B&M) Latha Shaving Soap (Discontinued)||2018-01-30||0.75||9.75||10.50||13||10||30||0.07|
|11||The Art of Shaving (AOS) Shaving Cream||2018-01-03||1.00||7.00||8.00||7||3||45||0.19|
|12||Mystic Water (MW) Shaving Soap||2018-01-27||0.70||9.10||9.80||13||30||30||0.07|
|13||The Sudsy Soapery Shave Soap||2018-02-05||0.46||8.28||8.74||18||10||60||0.05|
Proraso Single Blade (PSB) Shaving Cream
Box and tube, close-up of cream in small jar, and ingredient list
Version Name: Wood and Spice
Purchase Date: January 12, 2018. A sample was received on June 16, 2018, from @Cal, who generously donated the cream for evaluation. The sample was then placed in a small jar and photographed. The other photographs were taken by Cal.
Review Period: September 19 to 27, 2018. 6 optimization shaves and 2 ranking tests.
Manufacturing Location: Fiesole, Italy
Ingredients: Aqua (Water/Eau), Stearic Acid, Cocos nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Potassium Hydroxide, Parfum (Fragrance), Glycerin, Oleic Acid, Lactic Acid, Sodium Hydroxide, Menthol, Eucalyptus globulus Leaf Oil, Sodium Metasilicate, Pentaerythrityl Tetra-di-t-butyl Hydroxyhydrocinnamate, Tetrasodium Glutamate Diacetate, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone, Coumarin, Limonene
Appearance: Pearlescent light yellow
Scent: Described by Proraso as a "woody fragrance" with base notes of "vanilla and rockrose" and top notes of "cumin and saffron" that evolve into "cedar and sandalwood", I was neither offended by nor attracted to the scent.
Optimum Lather Overview: Sheen is okay. Lather has some "peaking" and yogurt-like behavior of "stringiness". Lather thickness is pretty good, but lather is somewhat "airy" with some noticeable bubbles. Adhesion is okay and application is pretty good. Scent is faintly present throughout the shave, and the cooling effect is moderate, not strong. Slickness is generally good to very good with a few moments of moderate friction. Cushion/protection is okay or pretty good. Post-shave is very good with respect to moisture and good with respect to comfort, but there is a tiny bit of irritation. A little soap scum is usually left on the brush handle.
Optimization Details: Optimizing the cream was relatively easy compared to other products. The water-to-cream ratio was nonsequentially varied from 6 to 16, and over this range, it was clear that slickness and cushion increased with less hydration. Slickness, for example, was generally okay with several moments of stick-slip at a water-to-cream ratio of 16, but was generally good to very good at a water-to-cream ratio of 6. However, it also became clear that, at least for my skin, the cooling effect and post-shave irritation increased with less hydration. I wanted to drive the hydration lower for more slickness, cushion/protection, and post-shave moisture, but the cooling effect during the shave and the post-shave irritation became too significant for me. Those limiting factors resulted in an optimum water-to-cream ratio of 8. Lather-building time was only briefly investigated since more time only seemed to increase lather volume and drop the slickness a little bit without gaining much of anything in the way of cushion/protection.
Ranking Details: The first ranking test for my optimum lather with PSB was against my optimum for Barrister and Mann (B&M) shaving soap. The slickness was similar, but slickness seemed to vary more with B&M, and overall slickness with PSB seemed a little better. Cushion/protection with PSB was definitely better. Post-shave moisture with B&M seemed a little better than PSB, but comfort with PSB was better. The post-shave feel with B&M didn't involve recognizable irritation, but it just didn't feel as good. Overall, PSB beat B&M. The second ranking test was against Declaration Grooming (DG) shaving soap. The DG lather had much better sheen, peaking, stringiness, and application. Slickness was better with DG, cushion/protection was better with PSB, and post-shave moisture was better with DG, but post-shave comfort was a little better with PSB because of, I believe, PSB's cooling effect during the shave and the apparently closer shave that I got with DG. Overall, it was close, but I had to give the edge to DG.