Shaving Soap Review: WSP Fougere Noir Rustic Shaving Soap:

Posted: October 16, 2016 in Shaving Articles

Ease of Lathering:
Very Good. The WSP rustic soaps are quite soft, with the consistency of putty. I grabbed some from the tin and put it in the bottom of a mug to use it. I would say that the ease of lathering is much like other soaps of this consistency, such as the Razorock XXX, Captain’s Choice, or Cella. My impression is that the soap is just slightly on the thirsty side, but certainly not in any way a bother.

Very Good. I was able to create a dense and useful lather with the standard process, which is that I swirl the brush at each quadrant of my face, then fill in with some linear strokes. From there, I assess how much water the soap needs, adding it in with the same quadrant based method. When the lather is to my taste, I paint it smooth and get down to business. WSP creates a thick lather that contributes to a safe and comfortable shave.

Residual Slickness:
Very Good. When doing a rinse between passes, a small layer of soap yielded a nice, slick feeling on the skin. On areas where most or all the soap was gone, I felt no sense of perilous action when I ran the razor over for additional cleanups. This soap does as it should in this regard. No juddering or slowing of the safety bar could be detected with any of the razors I tested.

Fougere means “fern like”. It’s one of the primary categories of cologne and cologne-scented products, from what I gather. For the average dude, fern-like doesn’t mean much. If we are aware of what ferns smell like, this knowledge doesn’t give us any feeling one way or another. They’re ferns. They grow at the forest verge. Whatever. We are not cologne makers, after all. We do other stuff.

This soap, as I understand it, is supposed to give a similar scent to the Drakkar Noir aftershave. I remember Drakkar Noir. It was pretty popular with the young dudes back in the 90’s. They used way too much of it. It was kinda cloying at times. That was probably misuse, rather than anything wrong with the cologne. Everything must be in proportion, I guess.

Let me put it into language you might find easier to understand. Brut aftershave/cologne is a fougere. In fact, the Fougere Noir smells like a rather gentler and earthier version of Brut to me. (Anyone scandalized by this notion, I beg your pardon. I often find that I lack the nuanced knowledge that would be required to fully convey some of these scents. I’m sort of like the guy at the wine tasting who shrugs and says, “This stuff tastes pretty good.”)

Scent strength? I would say moderate to slightly powerful. This soap is in no way¬†overpowering. I don’t anticipate that the smell would send anyone into fits of terrible anger and disgust. If you’re a fan of Brut (as I am), it will probably be intriguing. Final note on scent: this is not a soap that “comes alive” when lathered. The smell that it evinces at rest carries through at the same strength, and without any great change in character that I can detect, when you lather it up. It’s just closer to your face. Unless you’re not shaving your face. Then, it’s closer to…well, I’ll let you fill in that blank.

Soft soaps tend to erode a good bit faster than a hard puck soap, but still provide a lot of shaves per ounce. WSP soaps are at the very affordable end of an artisan soap, at a similar or slightly higher price than the Razorock soaps. Just a hair cheaper than Cella and Proraso, these are great values for the money, considering all the great scents you can try in this formulation. I purchased a sampler pack with all the various scents in one ounce tins, which works out at a higher cost per unit of soap than the full tins. Still, the samplers allow someone to have a chance to try out any or all of the scents they’re interested at a far smaller cost and space allocation. Also, the small tins could be great as a travel size. It is soft enough to grab out a small daub and stick it into a bowl or mug with a spoon. I find this easiest to do with a teaspoon, but it could be done with just a finger, if you didn’t have anything handy.

My experience with going through the sample is that an ounce of this soap goes a long, long way. Further than a soft soap has any right to do. Without economizing at all, it took tons of shaves to break through and make a hole in the center of that thin layer at the bottom of my mug. Good value from WSP.

This is my first try with WSP Rustic soaps, though they come highly touted. I ordered straight from their website, and found it to be a very nice purchasing experience. Their website is well designed and classy, their shipping swift and without error or damage, and their status update emails handy and professional.

I like this soap a lot. They have hit on a formuala that lathers and performs well at the soap base level. The scent is nice, although it isn’t necessarily an every day scent for me. All the Rustic Shave Soaps are vegan formulations, with all vegetable based ingredients, if that is a concern for you. For those who feel that a soap can’t have adequate slickness without beef tallow, I invite you to try WSP soaps out. I think you might be surprised. That said, they do have a tallow formula, as well (Formula “T”).

I intend to use this soap as the exemplar and single “full” review with the WSP Rustic soaps. From here on, I may do mini reviews as I get into the various scents. Of course, if any of them diverge from their stablemates in regard to performance, I’ll be sure to include that in the further articles. My intention is to “Titanic” through this first puck, to use the terminology of Youtube personality Michael Freedberg. What that means is to just use the puck right down without hopping back and forth between soaps like a jackrabbit on crank. That’s my intention, though my inclinations are probably more in line with said drugged-up bunny.

WSP, Wet Shaving Products, is making some good soap down in Chandler, Arizona. I think you’d be well pleased, were you to try one out. I plan to pick up one of the tallow-based soaps in the future, so I can compare and contrast the performance of the two formulas. The “book” on shaving soap is that it is more difficult to make a great vegan formulation than one based in beef tallow, so I have no reason to think that a soap maker who does great with a vegan soap would drop the ball with one using tallow. But that’s not science. That’s supposition, and we all know how I feel about science.


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