As I have stated before, when switching to traditional shaving, one requires four specific tools for the perfect shave. First, one needs a high-quality safety razor. Second, one requires long-lasting, well-made double-edged razor blades. Third, one must acquire an excellent badger-hair brush. And fourth, one must get a really good soap or cream. This is necessary for lathering and moisturising one’s skin and softening one’s stubble or beard. With this review of Proraso Green Shaving Soap, you will quickly see why this is one of the very best soaps that you can buy.
The Old Ways Are Still Best
Your biggest challenge in switching from modern cartridge razors and shaving gels/foams, will be from using shaving soap. You can be forgiven for thinking that modern technology would make old-school shaving soaps irrelevant and useless. In fact, quite the opposite has happened. This is because modern shaving gels and foams are designed for a completely different purpose than traditional shaving soaps.
Your can of modern Gillette shaving gel or foam is not actually formulated to protect and moisturise your skin. Your shaving gel is in fact designed specifically to improve lubrication under multiple blades. This is because multi-blade cartridge razors cut each hair much closer to the skin than traditional single-blade razors. As a result, you get a significant amount of friction on your skin as each blade passes over it. This problem was known all the way back when multi-blade razors were first created. Men using them consistently reported itching, friction and discomfort because of a lack of lubrication.
That is why your shaving gel aims to make each one of those blades move easily along your skin. The problem is that the ingredients used in those gels and foams are not good for your skin. Several of those ingredients are in fact outright toxic. These include sulphates (yes, that’s the right spelling), BHT, and palmitic acid. None of these things are good for you.
Moreover, if you have ever used modern shaving gel, then you know how your skin feels afterward. Your skin feels lumpy and soggy, like dough for bread. That is certainly not a pleasant feeling. And you certainly should not finish your shave feeling worse than when you started.
Never Settle for a Substandard Shave
By contrast, old-school shaving soaps were designed for a completely different purpose. Traditional cutthroat and safety razors are designed to pass over your face once with one extremely sharp blade. That blade is not lubricated. The blade is not meant to cut the hair down to the root. As a result, you need a completely different type of shaving medium. The soap must protect your face from the blade, not the other way around.
And that is indeed the guiding philosophy behind most traditional shaving soaps. These soaps are formulated to moisturise and protect your skin. They are designed to soften the hairs of your face and open up your pores. These soaps are made with a lot of natural ingredients and oils. They are safe for your skin and will soothe away the irritation caused by the razor itself.
No School Like the Old School
Now that I have explained why you should switch away from modern shaving gels to soaps, the natural next question is: which one?
If you were to run a search on your favourite e-commerce platform for “shaving soap”, you would find a huge number of results.
I have personally used a number of different shaving soaps. I started out using Van Der Hagen – I didn’t much like the scent. Shortly afterwards, I tried Colonel Conk’s glycerin-based soap, which had a great old-school scent but was hard to turn into a good lather. When I had to spend a lot of time in Asia, I tried using a couple of different kinds of Trigodon shaving soap. I generally liked those too.
But the soap that I always come back to, the one that I recommend above all the others, is Proraso Green Shaving Soap.
What makes this such a great product?
The Four Marks of a Great Soap
In general, a really good shaving soap MUST meet all of the following criteria:
- Easy to turn into lather: A shaving soap that takes great effort to turn into a decent lather is worthless. You will spend far too much of your time trying to apply it to your face. Life is short enough as it is – don’t waste it on hard-to-use soaps.
- Moisturises, refreshes, protects: Whatever shaving soap you use must also provide a high level of protection from cuts and nicks. Such a product must also feel good on your face and moisturise your skin when you use it.
- Pleasant, natural, masculine scent: No self-respecting man wants or needs a harsh-smelling product on his face. Most of us stopped using products like AXE body spray after we grew out of our early twenties because that stuff reeks and stinks of chemicals. For the same reason, a shaving soap that smells of chemicals is not going to be pleasant to shave with.
- Very high natural fat composition: Most shaving soaps are made with coconut oil, stearate, and glycerin, with very good reason. Coconut oil in particular is something of a miracle substance. This is a naturally occurring fat with a huge number of beneficial properties, particularly for skin and hair.
As you will see from this review, Proraso Green Soap meets all of these requirements quite handily.
The Best and the Rest
Of course, that could be said for a number of competing products too. What sets Proraso shaving soap apart, in general, is the fact that all of their soaps are actually quite soft.
If you look at most shaving soaps, they come in hard bars or cakes. This is because the coconut oil used in producing them has a relatively high melting point. Low-quality coconut oil melts at about 33 degrees Celsius (about 92 degrees Fahrenheit). But high-quality extra-virgin coconut oil melts at only about 24 degrees Celsius – which is to say, room temperature.
This soap, like the rest of the Proraso line, uses very high quality coconut oil. That is why it is expensive relative to the competition. But that is also why it is better, by far, than anything else.
Looking at the specific attributes of Proraso Green Shaving Soap for this review, this product also wins out in a number of other areas. Both the shaving soap and cream are infused with menthol and eucalyptus oil to refresh your skin and open up your pores. Its scent is enjoyable without being overly sharp, masculine without being unpleasant or musky. Crafted to the highest standards of excellence, this soap will remain usable even if you let it dry out. This soap is extremely easy to turn into a lather with a brush.
Best of all, one single tub of shaving soap will last – and I’m not making this up – at least three months. You simply cannot get better value than that. No can of shaving gel will last you longer than 5 weeks, and that’s if you stretch it. Most shaving soaps will last two to three months at most. But Proraso’s soaps will last at least three to four months before you need a refill.
Make Every Shave Special
If you want to get started with traditional wet-shaving, you simply cannot go wrong by getting yourself a tub of Proraso Green Shaving Soap after reading this review. See how things go with it and take stock after you finish your first tub of this soap. You may decide that your skin requires a bit more gentle treatment. Or perhaps you will find that your stubble is not softened enough by your shaving soap and you need something a bit different.
Fortunately, Proraso has you covered on both counts. Beyond this review of Proraso Green Shaving Soap, keep an eye out for a review of their White and Red soap offerings in the near future. As of this writing, I have personally tried their Green and White soaps, and look forward to trying their Red soap next.
Ultimately, you simply cannot go wrong with Proraso’s products. They are the best in the business of making shaving soaps for a reason. Buy yourself a tub (or tube) of Proraso Green Shaving Soap (or cream) and find out for yourself why so many wet-shaving traditionalists rave about this company’s creations.