This, ladies and gentlemen, is it. It’s the first time I will be giving a soap a 10/10, the first time I used a soap and contemplated selling everything I own and only carry scents from one soap maker, and the first time I felt true rage for ever using shaving cream from a can. This, then, is, for me at least, the best soap I have used.
Mike’s Natural Soaps has been around for quite some time and is regarded as one of the first artisans on the market. Before I dived into wet shaving, I watched a few YouTubers, including Nick Shaves, who had only good things to say about Mike’s. So I bought a few samples. Unfortunately, the soap didn’t work as expected and I ended up putting Mike’s on the backburner.
I eventually found a few examples of Mike’s Naturals Soaps on sale, either through eBay or Reddit – I can’t remember which one – and pulled the trigger. One of the scents I purchased was Barber Shop, something I had tried earlier. The 5 oz. tin of soap, the website claims that some tins may have less while others may have more, costs $13.00, bringing the price for Barber Shop scent to $2.60 per ounce. That’s a bargain for this soap, which punches way above its price point.
Unlike other soap makers that have shied away from using tins, Mike’s continue to use them. And that’s a shame because they get dented easily, are hard to load out of, and don’t do anything to really showcase how good the soap really is. While I would really enjoy having a sturdy, pretty tub to load out of, having something that keeps costs down isn’t that bad.
The labels are another disappointing aspect of how the soap is presented. I’m not sure if they are waterproof or not, but after a fair amount of use, it’s starting to show some wear. The writing is fading away, there are numerous crinkles throughout the entire label, and the edges are beginning to become unglued. Again, this is something that could easily be improved, but if it helps keep the price down, it’s okay with me.
As a barbershop fan, Mike’s Natural Soaps’ rendition of one of my favorite scents is sublime. Here’s how the soap maker describes the scent: “A complex, potent, manly scent consisting of bergamot, basil, oakmoss, and patchouli.”
This is in my top five scents that my nose has ever had the pleasure of sniffing. I hate not being able to describe the scent, but it’s complex, masculine, and just so gosh-darn clean. I get the basil front and center, offering a bit of spice. The rest of the scents intertwine together to provide some citrus, some powdery notes from the oakmoss, and the patchouli coming in the end. It’s an incredible scent that I find myself sniffing randomly throughout the day.
While the scent is intoxicating in the best way possible, it’s not that strong. Out of the tin, the scent strength is right at medium and when the soap is lathered, it goes down to below medium. I would love to see the scent strength go up a few notches, but I doubt that would ever happen.
The scent isn’t the only thing I’m in love with. The lather that this soap is capable of making is truly magical, as well. Mike’s Natural Soaps take a lot of water and effort to lather up, but it’s so worth it. To ensure that you get a rich, creamy lather, I would recommend starting with a wetter brush and loading for at least a minute. And to continue adding water slowly until the brush just explodes with lather. It might take a while, like up to five minutes, but it’s so worth it.
When the lather is built properly, it has the same qualities as Barrister and Mann’s soaps, which is another top tier product. It’s slick, thick, creamy, and any other adjective that you can imagine for a shaving soap. To my face, this stuff feels slicker than the majority of other soaps, while having more cushion, as well. And the post shave is fantastic, too. My face feels hydrated and I can even get away without putting a post-shave product on my face.
The scent, though, barely hangs around after the shave. I have a difficult time smelling the scent on my hands 15 minutes after the shave, which is a shame.
Scent Pleasantness: 10/10
Scent Strength: 4/10
Lather Quality: 10/10
If you’re looking for a soap that just explodes into a great lather without any work, this isn’t it. If you’re looking for a soap that requires a fair amount of work before it transforms into an incredible lather at a great price, then this is it. The scent strength and availability are the only downsides I can see, but that still doesn’t stop this from being the best soap I’ve ever used.