About a year ago I read what turned out a to be one of the best books I have read in some time, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon, a 700 page book that I nearly stopped reading a 100 pages deep – it just wasn’t clicking for me – but I stuck with it desperate to understand what all the rave reviews were about. Fast forward another 100 pages or so and I was hooked, happy that I didn’t place the book back on the unlikely ever to be read shelf.
I had a similar experience with my puck of Edwin Jagger Aloe Vera Shave Soap. I usually try to use any new soap or cream for three or four shaves before laying judgement, but needed about six shaves before I felt comfortable writing this review. I had a very hard time working up a nice lather with this soap, but I refused to give up on it, and like the Adventures of Kavalier & Clay I am happy that I did.
I struggled with this soap at first, my lather was either too wet, not wet enough, the lather just wasn’t full enough, weak. I tried a couple of different brushes, two bowls, a scuttle, and face lathering – I wasn’t really satisfied with any combination. Then this morning, what I decided was going to be my final go with the Edwin Jagger Aloe Vera Shave Soap – it all clicked – I know seems dramatic, a convenient development that adds a nice twist to this review, but its true. Using my scuttle and my home-made black hair badger brush I finally was able to whip up a wonderful, properly balanced lather that was simply a joy to apply. It worked well, nice cushion, slick. I can’t really comment on the effectiveness on sensitive skin but it doesn’t leave my face feeling dry.
The question however is whether one should have to work as hard as I did to find that perfect combination of brush, bowl, and water? To a certain degree that is what makes wet shaving appealing – a hobby if you will – the skill and patience required to build a nice lather. On the flip side many probably don’t want to spend too much of their time trying to find that balance – they want a nice shave with a quality soap. In the end you need to decide what type of wet shaver you are.
I’m not exactly sure what Aloe Vera smells like but I’m quite sure it doesn’t smell like my puck of Edwin Jagger Aloe Vera shave soap. The fragrance is noticeable right of the soap, is probably best described as outdoors-y. A fresh scent, manly I guess is another way to describe it. It’s nice but I don’t see myself reaching for it often (too many other option that I prefer).
In the end the only possible downside to the Edwin Jagger Aloe Vera shave soap is the work needed to build lather. Other than that it is quite effective, and if you enjoy the scent it might be worth taking the time to figure out the combination needed for a consistent lather.
Tools in images:
Edwin Jagger 89lbl
Home-made Black Hair Badger Brush