Irish Shaving Soaps Review 4/5: The Handmade Soap Company

May 26, 2012

A little bit about The Handmade Soap Company:
Having previously talked about this company at length I'll keep this slightly shorter, but please do look at my entry about them here: Handmade Soap Company Blog Post
Having been inspired by the cottage industries they saw in Australia, Donagh Quigley and Gemma McGowan set up the Handmade Soap Company in 2009. They use only natural ingredients and have won many awards for their company over the last couple of years. Their online shop ships globally and accepts PayPal.
Wrapped in lovely little boxes with beautiful, simplistic detail and design this packaging is my favourite out of the soaps reviewed here. They are also the only company to offer a 'his' and 'hers' version of their shaving soaps which is great for couples' gift options. I love the cut out details on the lids giving a sneaky peak into the contents and the bars themselves are a generous 110grams each.
The 'hers' is a lemon coloured bar while the 'his' is a more grey/light brown shade.

Now this is where these guys really get brownie points. Yes, they use all natural ingredients but also, by providing a 'his' and 'hers' version they are also providing a vegan-friendly version in the 'hers' soap to offer an alternative to the tallow based 'his'! The 'hers' also is fairly unisex in scent so it gives an extra option to the gents out there!
Hers Ingredients: Coconut oil, sustainable palm oil, olive oil, aloe vera, water, sodium hydroxide, essential oils of lavender, juniper, lemongrass and howood.
His Ingredients: Castor oil, beef tallow, cocoa butter, shea butter, avocado oil, coconut oil, glycerin, stearic acid, sodium hydroxide, potassium hydroxide, aqua, essential oils of lime, basil and sweet orange 10001. 
Now here's the confusing part: despite what the ingredients label on the 'his' version says, the box itself says "essential oils of vetiver, wintergreen, juniper and sweet orange" and I have to say, given the overpowering scent of vetiver off the bar, I'm inclined to agree with the box, not the label.

As I mentioned above, the 'hers' scent is unisex but personally I find the 'his' to be a strongly male scent in terms of appeal. 
The 'hers' is lovely and sweet, very juicy and becomes more enhanced while lathering and leaves just a whisper of a scent of the skin. The lemongrass keeps the scent fresh and fruity but is tempered from being sickly by the other notes.
The 'his' scent is unmistakably vetiver. Now unfortunately this is a scent that I really can't stomach too well. It's heavy and woodsy and very much a selected taste (though those who love it think it's amazing!). Like the 'hers' this scent also increases upon lathering and stays a little on the skin afterwards.

Lather & Shave:
Both soaps require just a tiny amount of water to get a usable lather. They are easily turned into an unusable  bubbly soap lather with too much water so just wet your brush, gently squeeze and add a drop or two extra as is needed. Again these don't bowl-lather well as it will disappear quickly but if you lather bit-by-bit on your skin you can get a decent shave out of them.
His: This lather is just slightly above a body soap lather. It's thin and bubbly and unfortunately a little sticky in terms of residue. My razor needed a thorough clean after using this. The shave is fine and there was no skipping but also no cushion or thickness to the lather. 
Hers: This one is a real surprise. Again the lather is thin and must be done bit-by-bit but the shave is very nice and probably left my skin the smoothest and most moisturised out of all the products reviewed. Add to that the inviting scent and you get a product that, while it doesn't look great, performs well. 
Neither lathers will help soften thick beards and the cushion isn't there to support heavy growth either in my opinion. 

€4.50 for the "Hers" puck and €6.95 for the "His" puck from

The "her" provides a wonderful scent, as well as the being surprisingly moisturisating despite it's lack of tallow. The 'his' was disappointing I'm afraid, however I have been told that the formulation has recently changed and it is in constant development to improve it's performance.

- BE

Click Here For Part Five: SunRose Garden


KLF said...

I have also a handmade shaving soap(different manufacturer) made with olive oil and I have the same problem with it. Thin and bubbly lather with no cushion, that evaporates very quickly. Too bad that artisan soap-makers don't understand what it takes to make a good shaving soap.

Handmade Soap said...

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Barber Eile's Blog said...

@Handmade Soap -
Could you please clarify this sentence? I'm not sure what you are trying to say.

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