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What’s so special about SV?

This is not medical advice, but if the product is burning before you even start to shave then you should likely stop using it. That could be a contact dermatitis reaction.

That said, when I was starting out years back my technique was not the best (like everyone) and I would get some residual irritation from the previous shaves. So whatever I put on my face after that would sting a bit. Not sure if you have that going on or not.

Nowadays I can even use very heavily scented creams and soaps like Castles Forbes and they do not bother me at all. There are a few things I still can't use because of contact dermatitis reactions. I avoid anything with heavy artificial almond scents for example. That stuff can light me up like an Xmas tree.

I also cannot use most brands of deodorant anymore. Burns my skin and causes contact dermatitis, even my former favorite Tom's of Maine unscented. I do not know if they changed the formula or if my skin just became more sensitive or what.
 
I wash my face with Cerave cleanser, then proceed to pat with tap water for about two minutes. Then I apply the bloomed water that had been sitting on the soap as a preshave and proceed to bowl lather, then apply the lather to my face. Interesting to note, even the bloomed water from Tabac and DR Harris was enough to give me a burning sensation. I tried with a preshave glyceryn soap, but also got burning and redness

Cerave is great as pre-shave. One thing to keep in mind, which is not shown in a soap's ingredient list, is the presence of any excess alkali used in the process. while i'm certainly not an expert, perhaps even slight amounts might trigger a reaction since you've got really sensitive skin.
 
That said, when I was starting out years back my technique was not the best (like everyone) and I would get some residual irritation from the previous shaves. So whatever I put on my face after that would sting a bit. Not sure if you have that going on or not.

Yes, there was definitely some of that at least for the first four-five months. Lack of prep, mediocre lather, wrong angle, bad razor-blade match, etc. When I first tried SV I had just switched to Astra SP in the Henson, which seems to give me the best results. Now that I know SV works, I started a couple of shaves ago with a Tech+Nacet combo also with good results and an even closer shave. So, yes, I have to revisit some of the soaps/creams I tested when my technique was worse, like Zingari, eShave and probably DR Harris
 

Star_Wahl_Clipper_Treker

Likes a fat handle in his hand
@The Blackadder

After over a year of ordering Stirling shave soaps, I was looking for something truly high end, because I wanted to see if a higher end soap, could produce a better lather, over that of a mid-tier soap. This is when a friend recommended me to SV shave soap. Since I love the scent of Creed Aventus, I asked them which scent would most closely match up with that from SV, and they recommended Opuntia.

I felt performance wise, SV soap tends to be creamier when well hydrated, over that of Stirling soap. And you can most certainly facial lather with it, which is my SOP in using SV soap, in order to conserve on soap usage, because its so expensive. I leave bowl lathering to my Stirling soaps, where I just scoop up the soap with a bouillon spoon, and then work up a lather in a bowl with it. But with SV soaps, I load the brush from the tin.

Incase you didn't know this trick, since SV soaps are tripple milled hard soaps, I find its best to always bloom the soap first, with a couple teaspoons of warm/hot water, on top of the soap. Starting with only a damp brush, I start loading the brush from the tin, while the bloom water is still there. I am using a Manchurian badger brush from Zenith, so it just soaks it all up.

Scent wise, I am very pleased with Opuntia, its a wonderful dupe of the original Creed Aventus. And the soap scent alone lasts longer in a day then you'd expect. Having said that however, I always apply the matching aftershave, which is EDP grade BTW, and that will last all day almost. And then I can spray myself with the EDP cologne, to secure the deal.

Another tip and trick when using SV soaps, they are thirsty soaps, probably due to the fact they are triple milled hard soaps. If you don't want the lather to dry to quickly in-between passes, make sure to spray the lather on your face with a mister spray bottle, as you begin working up the lather on your face, after that. Remember, your goal is to insure that the lather stays a creamy yogurt consistency, if its foamy, that means its airy, and thats bad. Creamy yogurt is the skin protection you are looking for.

And lastly, I am happy to hear that you are really enjoying the fact, that SV soaps do not burn your face off, that is an excellent deal. And while for legal reasons, we always have to put the disclaimer that were not providing medical advice, you and I both know, that its always excellent advice to tell someone to stop using a product, if its causing contact burning! When considering the upper echelon costs of SV accoutrements, I am happy to hear that you get along with them. I am posting my Opuntia collection now!

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PS: I'd like to get their bath soap and shampoo soap next for the Opuntia line, but its expensive, got to pace oneself.
 
@The Blackadder

After over a year of ordering Stirling shave soaps, I was looking for something truly high end, because I wanted to see if a higher end soap, could produce a better lather, over that of a mid-tier soap. This is when a friend recommended me to SV shave soap. Since I love the scent of Creed Aventus, I asked them which scent would most closely match up with that from SV, and they recommended Opuntia.

I felt performance wise, SV soap tends to be creamier when well hydrated, over that of Stirling soap. And you can most certainly facial lather with it, which is my SOP in using SV soap, in order to conserve on soap usage, because its so expensive. I leave bowl lathering to my Stirling soaps, where I just scoop up the soap with a bouillon spoon, and then work up a lather in a bowl with it. But with SV soaps, I load the brush from the tin.

Incase you didn't know this trick, since SV soaps are tripple milled hard soaps, I find its best to always bloom the soap first, with a couple teaspoons of warm/hot water, on top of the soap. Starting with only a damp brush, I start loading the brush from the tin, while the bloom water is still there. I am using a Manchurian badger brush from Zenith, so it just soaks it all up.

Scent wise, I am very pleased with Opuntia, its a wonderful dupe of the original Creed Aventus. And the soap scent alone lasts longer in a day then you'd expect. Having said that however, I always apply the matching aftershave, which is EDP grade BTW, and that will last all day almost. And then I can spray myself with the EDP cologne, to secure the deal.

Another tip and trick when using SV soaps, they are thirsty soaps, probably due to the fact they are triple milled hard soaps. If you don't want the lather to dry to quickly in-between passes, make sure to spray the lather on your face with a mister spray bottle, as you begin working up the lather on your face, after that. Remember, your goal is to insure that the lather stays a creamy yogurt consistency, if its foamy, that means its airy, and thats bad. Creamy yogurt is the skin protection you are looking for.

And lastly, I am happy to hear that you are really enjoying the fact, that SV soaps do not burn your face off, that is an excellent deal. And while for legal reasons, we always have to put the disclaimer that were not providing medical advice, you and I both know, that its always excellent advice to tell someone to stop using a product, if its causing contact burning! When considering the upper echelon costs of SV accoutrements, I am happy to hear that you get along with them. I am posting my Opuntia collection now!

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PS: I'd like to get their bath soap and shampoo soap next for the Opuntia line, but its expensive, got to pace oneself.

Nice collection. For me, SV lather feels lighter than other artisan soaps (and soaps in general), as if you had nothing on your face, and as you say, it’s quite creamy. I compared back to back with Stirling which I also liked, but feels stickier and heavier. I use the exact method you described: bloomed soap, damp brush and adding water little by little. I bowl lather exclusively since I’ve given myself brush burns in more than one occasion. I don’t find SV comes out really expensive, I actually did the math and use 0.5 grams (or a bit more) per shave, so it should last quite a while
 
All the other products you tried are imo not really worth buying for the performance. Overpriced, synthetic garbage at the end of the day. (It’s taken me a little too long to come to this conclusion.) SV makes a good (mostly natural) soap with good ingredients. The scents can be strong but I don’t think you are reacting to fragrance. Look for soaps (not creams) with mostly natural formulations and you’ll probably get equal results as with SV.
 
I just entered the world of SV not too long ago. It is very good soap. Nothing bad I can think of to ding it on really. The soap/cream I like even better is SMN. This stuff creates super slick and cushioning lather. The scent is also pleasing and not too strong and it has just a hint of menthol which I like. If these were the only two soaps I had, I’d be a happy camper.
 
I would suggest trying MdC (natural), and maybe Canada Shaving Soap. Both are unscented using top notch ingredients.

I know MdC and CSS have a fan following...but what is top notch about stearic acid and coconut oil?

(Personally, MdC was one of the most skin drying soaps I've ever used, due to high coconut oil and a lack of moisturizing ingredients)
 
I know MdC and CSS have a fan following...but what is top notch about stearic acid and coconut oil?

(Personally, MdC was one of the most skin drying soaps I've ever used, due to high coconut oil and a lack of moisturizing ingredients)
Maybe I should have approached the soap suggestions as less being more. The two soaps suggested are both unscented, and per you MdC lacking moisturizing ingredients. They both share a minimum of ingredients (top notch my assumption), so for someone with irritation issues fewer ingredients would seem like a good place to start.

As for as your dry skin using MdC, try some Bart’s balm. Best balm I’ve found.
 
Maybe I should have approached the soap suggestions as less being more. The two soaps suggested are both unscented, and per you MdC lacking moisturizing ingredients. They both share a minimum of ingredients (top notch my assumption), so for someone with irritation issues fewer ingredients would seem like a good place to start.

As for as your dry skin using MdC, try some Bart’s balm. Best balm I’ve found.

I've heard good things about bart's balm however, I make my own unscented soap and balm.
Fragrances are the biggest culprit with triggering my skin sensitivity.
My skin has never been better since using my unscented soap/balm.
 
MdC and Canada's short ingredient list is exactly what I was looking for since dry skin is not something I need worry about. I stay away from many of the other popular soaps mentioned here because their extra moisturizing ingredients, not to mention scents, are anathema to me. I understand dry skin is as much of a problem to others and that the extra stuff is welcomed. Scent plays a big part in this pursuit as well, but I can't deal with most. I'm just glad I found something that works for me, and those soaps are probably the only mainstays in my kit. Actually, if I had found out about Canada before I purchased the MdC, I would have just stopped there.
 
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