Over the past few months I picked up a couple of shave soaps in stick form – the iconic Arko Shave Stick and a Derby Shave Stick. I enjoyed both, the Arko more so than the Derby, both seem, for me, better suited for travel rather than being my go to soap. My latest shave soap acquisition, Spanish made La Toja, also comes as a shave stick, and in many respects, like the Arko and Derby sticks, is better suited as a travel soap. However, I can see people preferring the La Toja scent and performance, not to mention the price, to possibly making it one of their always on hand soaps.
Opening the tube of La Toja Shave Soap I was greeted with a scent that I could best describe as a milky with a hint of baby powder. It is actually quite nice, offering a clean feel, and if we are comparing shave sticks to shave sticks, it is nothing like the Arko or the Derby. The scent didn’t linger for too long after lathering, with it diminishing greatly by the time I was finish my pass.
As with all shave sticks you have several options in terms of building lather: The method I prefer is to rub the wet shave stick directly onto my face and then use my brush to build the lather. You could also grate the stick into a bowl and use it as a traditional shave soap.
Once I got over the not so useful handle of the La Toja Shave Stick (it seems to be more for show than for any useful application – it didn’t really stay attached) I was able to apply and build the lather quickly and effortlessly. For my first few latherings I had to play with the amount of water needed – I tended to use too much – but once I found the balance the lather provided a nice slick surface and plenty of cushion. I did find that the lather wasn’t as full as with some other soaps and creams, but it had no effect on performance.
Hands down the La Toja Shave Stick has one of the best cost to effectiveness ratios I have yet to experience. The scent may not be as memorable as the Almond scent of Cella, or the Avocado of Taylor of Old Bond Street, and I am sure that there are soaps or creams that will provide more in terms of moisturizing. But the La Toja holds its ground providing a great balance between efficacy and cost and probably, at the least, deserves a test run.