When looking for that perfect shaving soap, you might want to err on the side of cheap. After all, one soap is just as good as another, right? It’s just there to make sure you don’t scrape your face off when you run your safety razor across it during wet shaving, yeah?
Au contraire, mon friend – nothing could be more important than the quality of your shaving soap. If you don’t have the best soap, you’ll spend way too much time trying to get a good lather to make it worth it, and you may well just cut your face anyway if you skimp on the good stuff. If you really want the best shaving experience, you’ll want to shell out for the high-end soaps; however, you still want to make sure you’re not ripped off. Martin de Candre shaving soaps are the French royalty of shaving soaps, and we decided to figure out why.
How to Use Shaving Soap:
We will give you our thoughts on Martin De Candre shaving soap in just a bit, but first we want to tell you how to use shaving soap. Using shaving soap is a great way to get a close shave in an old school way. So, let’s get you lathered!
Step 1: Get It Together:
When you are ready to get your shave on, go ahead and gather all of your shaving supplies in one area. This will help you get a good system down and ensure that you don’t have to stop once you are started. You will need your shave soap, a shaving brush, container to work up a lather (you may use a mug, bowl, deep dish or jar) and of course you’ll need the razor of your choice.
Step 2: Get Wet:
Crank your faucet to let the hot water flow and while you are at it, pull up the stopper so that it fills up. While your sink is filling, get your shaving brush wet under the hot water for about a minute. You can even leave the brush in the sink water if that’s easier for you. We like badger hair shaving brushes, but you can use any kind you like. Synthetic haired brushed aren’t as soft though, so just keep that in mind.
Step 3: Water Tips:
You will want to make sure that your bristles have soaked up the hot water so that your brush is able to retain all the moisture possible. This will help it get your beard softened and will also open your pores allowing for a super close shave and some exfoliation. You can tap off a bit of the excess water, but just make sure that you don’t lose too much.
Step 4: Lather Time:
You can now place your shave soap into the container of your choice and stick your brush in making circular motions repeatedly. There will be some bubbles at first and you can expect to see them increase and become smaller the more you repeat the circular passes in the cup. Eventually you will hardly be able to see any bubbles at all and will be left with a nice thick lather. It typically takes about 25 seconds to whip up a nice warm lather, in case you were wondering.
Step 4: Application:
Use your shave brush to apply the lather on your face and massage it into your face using a circular motion. Working the lather into your face will increase its density while it softens the hairs on your face and makes them stand up. This is probably one of the few times in life that you want your hair to stand up! When the hair follicles are raised, the razor is able to get closer to the base, which results in a closer shave. If you feel that your lather is quite think enough when you go to put it on your face, just spend some more time whisking it until you are satisfied with the end results.
If you like to make additional passes with your razor and your lather has lost some of its fluff, you can add a bit of water to re-lather. This is great way to extend the life of your lather and will make your shave soap last longer too.
What Works, What Doesn’t:
There are a few pros and cons to these soaps that we can break down for you. First of all, regardless of price, we can safely say that Martin de Candre shaving soaps smell like a million bucks – right when you open up the soap (we got the scented kind), there’s this herbal, pastoral scent that wafts up to your nose, with a bit of rosemary and lavender in the mix. It’s seriously impressive, and more than a bit continental; you’ll feel really classy using this stuff. Of course, if you don’t want scented, it also comes in unscented, or if you’re braver they’ve got “Fougere,” which is supposedly a bit stronger.
The soap itself is made from 100% vegetable oils (coconut and olive, according to the packaging), so it doesn’t feel processed or overproduced. The pared-down packaging makes it feel almost out of a different century, which will fit well right alongside your wooden shaving brush and chrome safety razor. While it’s definitely made by a company, the artisanal feel of the product and the packaging gives it a bit more of an exclusive air that I think we can all appreciate.
The lather itself is also pretty great, and easy to use – the soap itself is firm without being too tough, so its easy to apply. It feels slick on your fingers, and retains water pretty well; I didn’t really see too many bubbles when I used it. You don’t have to work hard at all to get the kind of lather you’re looking for in a nice shave, and holds well to the brush so you don’t have to go back to the well every time you re-lather. This means that you’ll be lathering more while using less of the product, which definitely works in your favor value-wise.
If I could even dream of any real criticisms, it would just be the price, and it’s a minor one – price. Shelling out something like $80 for a 200mg can of shaving soap can still seem a bit cost-prohibitive, especially if you’re reticent about wet shaving on the whole. If you really are strapped for cash, you could likely make do with a somewhat cheaper alternative to this high-end version.
However, I can tell you that you get a lot of bang for your buck; it’s an incredibly durable product, and it smells like you’re standing on the French Riviera. I’d say you can’t buy aromas that fresh, but then again, Martin de Candre shaving soaps exist. All in all, the cost ends up being minimal compared to what you’re really getting out of it – a nice, smooth shave that leaves your chin feeling like paradise.
Who’s Gonna Want This Stuff?
Like we mentioned earlier, the price is a bit higher than most other shaving soaps – if you are really minding your wallet, you could get away with any number of other perfectly good soaps for your wet shaving kit. The company guarantees a year’s worth of shaves with your standard container of soap, and I readily believe that number; even if you’re strapped for cash, you get your money’s worth on something that lasts.
That being said, Martin de Candre shaving soaps seem a perfect fit for the real wet shaving connoisseur. This is the guy who will spare no expense to make sure that not only will his face be as fresh and clean-shaven as possible, but to see that his own wet shaving collection is as classy and immaculate as he can. MdC soaps look to be perfect for the guy who leaves his collection out on the sink even when company is over – it’s almost the conversation piece of shaving soaps. You set this next to your classy-looking shaving brush and safety razor, and you can send a silent message that you are one classy fellow.
A Few Parting Thoughts:
Considering all of these factors, should you get Martin de Candre shaving soaps? All in all, I’d say yes – if you’re looking to get the best utilitarian sort of value from your soap, you can look elsewhere, but MdC soaps seem to have this wonderful confluence of performance, aroma and durability that makes the eighty bucks they ask of you seem like chump change. A lot of expensive lathers will fool you with fancy packaging and deceptive buzzwords; MdC, by all measures, is the real deal.
If you have the money to spare, getting MdC shaving soap is a no-brainer. It will look classy – it’s French, for Pete’s sake – and you’ll leave your face (and your bathroom) smelling like an enchanted forest. If for no other reason, you have to get this stuff just so you can take in its exquisite aroma; there’s just something about it that enhances the sophistication of the soap itself. To be fair, even if it smelled like a cardboard box, it would be worth it for the sheer quality of the shave and the amount of time it’s meant to last.