Shaving Soap Review: Taylor of Old Bond Street Rose Cream

Posted: September 5, 2016 in Shaving Articles
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Ease of Lathering:
Nearly effortless. If there is an easier to lather soap around, I haven’t come across it yet. I feared that I would be overcome by the lather and require assistance to get free. Don’t use this on too small a lathering bowl, or you’ll have it going all over you. Seriously, within a few seconds of beginning to lather, the stuff exploded into whipped creamy goodness. If you have been having difficulty with getting a lather, and it’s frustrating you, try a Taylor’s cream.

Protection:
The lather that is created by the Taylor cream is very thick and rich. Much like yogurt. I believe it’s difficult to comment accurately sometimes on this aspect. A word is often used – cushion – that, I believe, means to denote the layer that insulates the skin from the blade. I believe this is somewhat subjective, but I would say that the Taylor is likely the equal of the good soaps I’ve used in the past. Truth be told, I find that most of the well-made shaving soaps and creams perform in a similar fashion, provided that you can contrive to get them to lather correctly. Given, the ease with which the Taylor gets to a great lather, there’s no real excuse to have sub-par performance.

Residual Slickness:
I wouldn’t say that the Taylor had the highest level of residual slickness. When it comes off, it doesn’t seem to leave a huge layer behind. Certainly not bad slickness, but if you want to trundle endlessly back and forth across your face, you may want to slap at least a thin layer of additional soap on, just to improve your glide and comfort. This goes with just about any soap, but some allow a bit more leeway in this regard. There is also a component of the razor at play here. If you’re using a razor that is aggressive, with a closed comb, it may act as an effective squeegee, clearing the soap so great an efficiency that there’s just not much left on your skin to grant slickness.

Scent:

The rose scent here strikes me a quite realistic. Not terribly powerful, as shave scents go. I find it to be gentle and in no way cloying. I didn’t find the rose scent to be overwhelmingly feminine for my tastes, although it would certainly not be out of place, should a gentle scent be your desire. In the world of wet shaving, I suppose that the vast preponderance of the scents are aimed at dudes. Barbershop smells. Woodsy smells. The smell of John Wayne smoking a cigar while driving a monster truck. That’s not the case here. It’s one that I think a female shaver might enjoy, and find appropriate.

Production/Value:
In general, the view of creams is that, since they must have a greater water content, they are bound to be less “soap for the money” than a hard puck soap. This is not an illogical theory. Also, with cream, it’s far easier to use too much soap for your purposes, where the slow ablative action against a puck is more controllable. And, yes, the supposition is typically correct. The Taylor products are not extremely expensive, but they’re certainly a bit more than some of the bargain brands. I can say that, comparatively to some other creams, this cream has very high production of lather. It is a veritable explosion of lather. Thus, it doesn’t take a huge amount to get the task done. I would say that value proves, then, to be fairly good. You’re paying, to some extent, for the name, the luxury it connotes, and the sense that you’re pampering yourself. Taylor’s creams come through and indeed pamper you during the shave.

Notes:
I find this cream to be a joy to lather and use. The rose scent is calming and feels classy to me. The lather is great. Everything is great. Well…almost everything. I was not thrilled to find out that the soap contained both Methylparaben and Propylparaben. Although I don’t know if these chemicals are really as harmful as some people feel that they are, I’m happier not to have them present in my grooming products. Perhaps I ended up buying part of some old stock that a retailer is clearing out of their inventory, but I was lead to believe that all the European makers were mandated to reformulate their soaps without the parabens. Who knows? Anyway, it’s a minor ding on a soap that is otherwise pretty kick-butt. I have no reason to imagine that the other scents would perform any differently, and so you are free to choose whichever one suits you. I personally picked the rose because I had nothing in this scent. If you’re interested in the Taylor creams, you can certainly expect great performance from them. I’d give them a go, knowing that you might end up with a product that has parabens in it. If this is an overwhelming concern for you, do your research and take a pass if you don’t like what you find out. This is not the only soap in the world.

A Word About Parabens:

The various chemicals that include the “paraben” root are preservatives that are commonly used in grooming products and make-up. They have been used for years to make products of this kind (that contain a lot of grease, wax, and other perishable ingredients) more stable and to extend their shelf life. The FDA has concluded that even a fairly high concentration of these products is safe enough for topical use. The concentration at which they would appear in a soap or moisturizer is pretty low, and has thus far not been proven to have any serious health side effects. (According to the articles I’ve read.)

That said, some people are sensitive to the paraben-based chemicals, and find them irritating. Others believe that they may be harmful if used over the long haul and in significant amounts. In a high enough concentration in the body, they could possibly cause endocrine system issues. Many of the “artisan” and “organic” makers have begun to take the parabens out of their formulations.  I’m not a doctor, an endocrinologist, or a dermatologist, so I can only share what I’ve read, but it seems like avoiding parabens may be wise. That said, if you like a product that has them in small amounts, I doubt that they will harm you. More, as they say, will be revealed.

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