Dedicated Western hemisphere soapers (and there’s countless thousands judging by the forums, all presumably dedicated to American artisans whom do not undergo any of the very stringent EU stability/allergen testing requirements to bring soaps to market) should be pleased we stock this extreme enigma, perhaps the biggest outlier in all of latherfueldom; a low volume ‘PITA’ fuel which one can still come to adore. For us at this shop there’s nothing quite the same as Zartgefuehl.
This Men’s Secret Zartgefuehl shaving soap is an entirely new formulation from the mind unlike any other, employing no potassium as an alkaloid and eliminating the use of palm oil or stearic acid. No Zartgefuehl soap’s ever used tallow, either. This soap’s fats are exclusively shea butter, coconut oil, and cocoa butter.
In spite of this, it is impressively hard physically speaking as a shaving soap, almost as if it were a milled soap purged of air and water via machinery. While it is not milled and thus not as cheap to run as a milled soap, its ~0.6g/session consumption rate is respectable…not the true economy of triple-or-quadruple-milled soap, but after your finished expense of paying the acquisition fee it will work out to approximately $0.12 per shave with an average size shaving brush. The average American “croap” soap costs MUCH more per use to operate!
Additionally, this soap’s finished pH is just 8.5, which is absolutely remarkable (at least in the world of hard shaving soaps that do not have post-saponification additives used to reduce the pH back toward 7.0). Through trade secrets of production, the solution retains fats which are normally separated to the top of the cauldron, resulting in a finished product that will allow your skin to feel softer after the shave than anything you’ve tried, and WITHOUT the use of heavy fats and butters that are added to the ‘artisan’ American “croaps” to counteract what is at its core a much more alkaloid finished product. There’s no heavy feeling after the shave, and no dryness. There is only soft skin.
Ah, the use of this soap…well, to quote Hoagie, it isn’t easy. Use VERY LITTLE WATER with this soap; if your brush is too wet or if you introduce too much water to your water/soap/air combination it just makes airy bubbles of no shaving use which collapse in short order. I’ve used the new no-palm formulation dozens of times…at its best, the lather is low height and like spreading yogurt with a spatula. It isn’t Hitton wet or Bourbonnaise slippery, but it is solid in each count, and of course has that lowered pH which can help many skin types. Just like any cold-saponified soap you’ll try, stability and volume and cushioning are poor. This isn’t for the kids that need those shaving crutches, this is for those who will devoutly devote every effort toward how well their skin can feel afterwards, and without feeling heavy or greasy.
However, don’t be too scared. If you start with a badger brush that has been soaked deep to its core and then squeezed out of all the water you can manage to take from it, so that just the water content retained within the badger hairs themselves is present, this ideal way to load this soap to the brush can certainly perform…when it becomes pasty all over the head of the brush, take this to the face, and sprinkle a few DROPS of water in to the brush at a time to add to the face to achieve its ideal consistency. Literally some drops, that’s it!
This soap contains talc and this does influence the odor; to us here it smells more like fine English talc than it does its base fragrance of essential oils. The “Men’s Secret” scent is present, of course, but it will be much more apparent in their matched Men’s Secret Hair/Beard serum and face serum, and of course the aftershave balm. Among the four items, if you want to experience that pure delicious odor, the facial serum is the most true to what was presented to us in Germany at the cabinet of EOs.
This is a wholly vegan soap, now lacking both the caprae lac (goat’s milk) of the 2012 – 2019 Zartgefuehl shaving soap we’d imported and its palm oil base; no palm, no animal fat here.