Our Thoughts on Glycerin Soap

Image courtesy of Razor Emporium

Someone asked the other day why we don’t have more articles on lathering. The truth is that we’ve been concentrating on writing other articles and tips. We apologize to lather for neglecting it so. Yet, the truth is that we kind of give lather a short shrift and nary a second thought. We use tallow soap pretty much exclusively due to its superior characteristics v. glycerin. In this post we’ll give you our thoughts regarding glycerin soap as we continue working on our review of Groom Room Essence of Scotland Soap.

While we do believe tallow soap is a superior product in terms of straight razor shaving use, we recognize that it isn’t for everyone. Read our endorsement of tallow soap here! Glycerin soap’s main ingredient is glycerin. The by-product of either soap making or bio-diesel, glycerin can be vegan friendly. Whereas tallow must be reduced from animal fat, glycerin can be produced from other sources.

We’ll start off our actual thoughts on the performance of glycerin soaps in shaving applications with the general observation that for the most part, all glycerin soaps shave the same. Whatever the reason, unless you purchase a bad batch of glycerin shaving soap, the end product is going to feel more or less the same. This is not to say that there are not bad soaps, but all the good glycerin soaps more or less perform the same. Of the soaps we’ve tried, Edwin Jagger’s line disappointed us the most.

Super Glycerin Lather

Glycerin soap lathers up easily and quickly. It can produce some incredibly thick lather. In fact, the lather you can produce with glycerin soap is much thicker and creamier than what you can produce with tallow soap. This is certainly the soap of choice for fans of super lather. Just look at the picture to the right. I just whipped up some glycerin soap in my hand for this article and took a picture. For a picture of glycerin soap applied to the face, click here.

This thickness serves to truly cushion the face during the shave. However, unlike tallow soap, this lather is extremely thick and not the most conducive to straight razor shaving. While the end result is more or less the same in the hands of a skilled practitioner, tallow soap is much slicker and easier to glide the straight razor across. In an upcoming article we will show you the perfect straight razor shaving lather consistency using tallow soap.

Glycerin soap has two more benefits worth mentioning. The first is the smell. Oh, the fragrances you can purchase. They are both numerous and unique. As varied as the number of soap makers, and there are many. The second is the clean feeling it leaves. Glycerin soap just wipes off clean and leaves you feeling fresh and clean. It does leave the skin a little drier though. We recommend using an spf moisturizer in either case.

Glycerin soap makers are limited only by their imagination and the availability of fragrances for their soaps. Unlike tallow soaps which come in only a handful of fragrances (most of them admittedly “vintage smelling”),  glycerin soaps come in an infinite variety of fragrances. From citrus notes to woodland tones you can find whatever fragrance tickles your fancy that morning.

So, to sum up the article, glycerin soap gives an incredibly thick lather, can be vegan friendly, and comes in a dizzying array of fragrances. While we still prefer tallow soap, glycerin soap is a very close second. What is your favorite soap? Tell us in the comments.

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