Tag Archives: Mike’s Natural Soaps

Review: Mike’s Natural Soaps – Rose & Cedarwood Shaving Soap

Mike's Natural Soaps - Rose & Cedarwood Shaving Soap

Mike’s Natural Soaps – Rose & Cedarwood Shaving Soap

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there who are probably not reading this.  I was going to just shave with whatever I felt was next in my rotation of creams and soaps and then I realized, “Hey, I’m pretty sure I got a rose sample somewhere, maybe I should review it”… And here we are.

Today, in honor of my mother Eleanor, who’s recipe for Pink Potato Salad is listed in the vaults at Food Network, I shaved with a rose-scented soap, a sample that I have had lying around for a while now.  Today I bring you a review of Mike’s Natural Soaps – Rose & Cedarwood Shaving Soap.

You hear a lot of guys going nuts about tallow.  I get it now.  Yes I am not new to tallow soaps and I have had the privilege of trying out a wide swath of soaps and creams.  It really does seem like every time i try a tallow soap I go nuts over the lather.  And conversely, every time I try a non-tallow soap I am left feeling ‘ok’ about it.

Today I went nuts.  Mike’s Rose is just an amazing soap.  The scent is unique thanks to the cedarwood.  Now from what I understand, rose essential oil is extremely expensive, due to needing so many rose petals per drop of oil.  So many soapmakers use fragrance oil for rose.  This is one of them.  I honestly wouldn’t have known if Mike didn’t say it on his website, but regardless.  The rose scent is wonderful.  It is the driving force of this shaving soap.  But then there is the cedarwood, which adds a sharp, fresh note to the fragrance.  It’s truly something you have to just smell to understand.  Overall the scent is wonderful and bright, while retaining it’s floral presentation.  Really nice scent that is present but not overbearing.

The lather is simply perfect.  I like a nice thick lather, with cushion and slickness, that lasts.  The lather that I got from this soap could easily be the bar that I measure all other soaps up to.  As I mentioned before it’s a tallow soap, that also is loaded with other amazing ingredients like avocado oil, kokum and shea butters, and lanolin, the magical wax from sheep that makes Mitchell’s Wool Fat so extraordinarily slick.

The lather was ultra-thick and creamy, with enough to last 5 passes.  Each pass got better and better, too.  And it stayed thick on my face while I was going through each pass – I never needed a touchup.  And it was amazingly slick, allowing the blade to glide right across my skin and through each whisker.  I could still feel that slickness as I rinsed between passes.  If I had any complaints it might be that the lather got a little bit dry by the third pass, maybe too thick.  But then a few drops of water and a re-whip will bring it right back to where it was.  Still a fantastic lather… Mike’s mom should be proud.

My hardware was pretty usual for me, but the software was tailor-made for mother’s day:

And here are my ratings for the shave:

  • Scent – 4.5
  • Lather Performance – 5
  • Lather Life – 4.5
  • Overall – 4.5

Review: Mike’s Natural Soaps – Orange, Cedarwood, & Black Pepper Shave Stick

Mike's Natural Soap - Orange, Cedarwood, & Black Pepper Shave Stick

Mike’s Natural Soap – Orange, Cedarwood, & Black Pepper Shave Stick

Alright, I was really excited today to try my first shave stick!  So glad that Mike’s Natural Soaps is my first shave stick candidate, and with a really delicious scent as well.

So I did my normal routine, which was to warm up my shave brush in warm water while I showered.  Today I was using what has become my go-to setup, which is the Weber DLC with a Personna Medical Prep blade.  Today’s shave was my fourth shave with this blade.  I’m new to the Medical Prep blades.  I typically get 3-4 shaves from a Feather, but with these PMP blades, I’m getting 7 per blade before I feel them losing their effectiveness.  I’m also using a Simpson pure badger brush.  (My Duke 2 best badger is on the way!)

Anyway, yes, I toweled off and rinsed my face with hot water.  I grabbed the white tube with the silver label and dipped the soap part into the water as well to help lube it up.  I started applying it to my face.  It did feel a little dry and sticky.  So I kept dipping the soap in water.  Also I felt my scruff was pulling a good amount of soap from the stick, and that also was a part of why it was sticky.  Like rubbing it over sandpaper.

Anyway, I grabbed my brush, which was still soaking, and left a good amount of water on it.  I feel this was a little bit of a mistake, because the lather exploded as I brushed, but it was a little too wet.  Next time I use this shave stick, I will definitely start with a less-wet brush.  I should have known, I mean you can always add water.  Doh!

The smell of this soap is absolutely fantastic.  It tickled the nose of this bay rum lover.  As advertised, it’s dominated by orange.  But it’s a dark, spicy orange.  You could even say it’s closer to an orange zest.  Like that smell in the air when you peel an orange, that really crisp scent.  The cedarwood and black pepper also come into play, adding to the darker notes of the scent.

When applying lather for the second pass, I felt that the lather was a little dry, and needing some water.  I dipped the tip of my brush in water and face lathered again, but found the lather a little thin.

For the third pass, I felt I had to re-use the stick on my face, which is one definite benefit of using a shave stick.  If you ever fall short on lather, you can always re-apply.  I don’t want to give Mike an unfair shake here.  This is my first time with a stick and I’m sure with more practice I can lather this stuff better, just like I did with the same soap but in the tin.

As for moisturizing, this stuff has tons of stuff in it that does just that.  It is a tallow soap, boosted with vegetable glycerin and a whole host of butters and oils to go on smooth and help that razor glide along.  I did three passes (with the grain, across the grain, against the grain) and didn’t have a single nick.  The perfect shave.

Review: Mike’s Natural Soaps – Bay Rum Shaving Soap

Mike's Natural Soaps - Bay Rum Shaving Soap

Mike’s Natural Soaps – Bay Rum Shaving Soap

In my journey through the many shaving products I never knew existed, I have tried a few of the bigger brands of classic shaves.  Truefitt & Hill, Col. Conk, and Taylor of Old Bond Street.  They make great soaps, and have been around for a long time, which is a testament to how great they are.  I also tried Mitchell’s Wool Fat, which contains natural lanolin, which is a wax that comes from sheep skin.  They exude this wax as a protectant, and over a hundred years ago, Mr. Mitchell noticed the softness of wool shearers’ hands, and decided that lanolin might be a perfect ingredient for shaving soap.  Boy was he right.

As I have been reading the shaving forums, I started noticing many mentions of homemade brands of soap, made by avid shavers who fell in love with traditional wetshaving, and the myriad of products available, and decided to make their own.  One of those brands was Mike’s Natural Soaps, which is handmade by, you guessed it, Mike.  Mike lives in Brooklyn, a neighborhood I frequent often.  So I started reading more about Mike’s Natural Soaps.

Mike puts an incredible amount of care into his products.  The ingredients are 100% all-natural, and his formulations have come from much tinkering with the recipe.  One look at the ingredient list and you’ll see that this stuff is meant to LOVE your face, and vise versa.  Included in the list are tallow, glycerin, kokum butter, avocado oil, shea butter, lanolin, coconut oil, kaolin clay, and vitamin E.  The only ingredients I left out?  Distilled water and essential oil.  That, my friends, is love.

I finally realized I had to place an order, and ordered a few samples.  The first one I tried is the bay rum scent, of course!

Some may say that lathering up a lanolin soap is an art form.  Some say that the lather depends on your water.  I typically have no problems lathering up lanolin soap, having previously shaved many times with Mitchell’s Wool Fat.

I took the sample I got from Mike, which is a little sliver about the size of 5 Wrigley gum sticks stuck together, and pressed it into the bottom of my Old Spice mug.  While I showered, I soaked my brush (a Simpson pure badger) and also splashed some hot water onto the top of the soap.

After the shower, gave the brush a few shakes, shaking out most of the water, and started swirling it around in the mug.  I did this for about a minute until it started to get a little thick and tacky.  At this point, I started smelling the fantastic bay rum blend.

Once I was satisfied, I splashed more hot water on my face, dipped the tips of my brush in hot water, and started applying it to my face.  The lather exploded on my face with an excellent creamy yogurt-like texture.  I dipped the tips of the brush in water again, and came back to foam up the lather even more.  I ended up with an incredibly soft and lubricating lather not only on my face, but also loaded to the gills into my brush.

The smell of this soap is just awesome.  Mike’s take on bay rum is unique, and its a dark spicy blend, consisting of bay rum, bergamot, and vanilla.  So the bergamot lends that citrusy-spicy note, and the vanilla balances that with a sweet note.  The resulting blend is a warm, spicy aroma, that goes amazingly well with the entire hot-water wetshaving experience.  I can only sit back and applaud Mike for this excellent take on the bay rum scent.

I did a three-pass shave, using my 1960 Gillette Fatboy with Personna Medical Prep blades, and the lather that originally loaded into the brush was enough for all three passes, with plenty of soap left over at the end to wash my hands and face.  I’m serious, this stuff is a serious latherer.  And you’ll feel the effects of the moisturizers every time water hits your face.  As you’re rinsing, you’ll feel nothing but a super-slick surface, perfect for protecting your skin as you drag a razor across it.  I had my Fatboy adjustable set to 5, which is pretty agressive for me, and while I was a little bit careless on my neck on the last pass, the rest of my face went completely unscathed.

(For the record, the above picture is from a more recent Shave Of The Day, and shows my Weber DLC and Simpsons Duke II best badger brush, and of course, a full tin of the soap)

Overall I had one of the best shaves I’ve had in a long time, and I owe a large part of that to Mike’s Natural Soap.  Awesome.