Kell's Original Hemp Blend Shaving Soap – Ancient Sedona

Kell's Original Ancient Sedona

Whenever I get in a new shipment of shaving soaps / creams, me and my girlfriend conduct what we call the “ceremonial smelling of the soaps”. When I got my package of samples in from Kell’s Original, it was the first time that we both ended up liking every single soap sniffed. So, needless to say, I’ve been looking forward to getting around to reviewing one of them for a while.

I would warn you that you absolutely need not be shy about using a lot of water when it comes to this soap. I ended up using quite a bit more than I usually would, which would have caused most other soaps to become far too thin. That didn’t happen with Kell’s, all the extra water helped a lot to ensure that the soap produced was nice and slippery (which wasn’t the case for my first pass without using enough water) while still remaining rich and thick. You also did end up getting quite a lot of lather made, more than I expected from a soap containing any olive oil. Perhaps the talk I’ve heard about how olive oil “kills lather dead” might be an exaggeration. Of course, I do have rather soft water, so that might be a major factor.

As for the scent, it’s a really nice complex sweet woodsy aroma. Kell’s describes it as follows: “It opens with green notes of Mandarin Leaf and Orange Blossom. Heart is heady night Floral, Bulgarian Rose and Vetiver. Dry down has sensual notes of Sandalwood, Bourbon Vanilla, Amber, Labdanum and Tonka Bean.” Alas, my untrained nose is unable to pick apart a fragrance with that much detail! All I know is that I like it a lot.

And… I’d have liked to smell it a bit more. It’s slightly under-powered; I could still make it out while shaving, I just wish I could smell it more strongly while doing so. As is often the case, the soap itself tends to have a much stronger scent than the lather.

  • 9/10 Scent Pleasantness
  • 8/10 Scent Strength
  • 9/10 Lather Quality

The one ounce sample puck I used can be ordered for $2.00, or a 2.7 ounce puck for $5.25, or four ounces that comes in a tin for $8. It also comes in a shave stick too! (2.5 oz for $9) As well as the different scents, they also have formulations in each scent with different amounts of aloe vera gel. I tried out the type sans aloe.

Overall, I heartily recommend this soap. 9/10. Like I said at the beginning, all the scent samples I got smelled good at first sniff (and I’ll get around to reviewing them all eventually), so I’d recommend giving the samples a go.

Ingredients: Coconut Oil, Palm Oil, Olive Oil (Grade A extra virgin), Safflower Oil, Glycerine (vegetable origin), Hemp Seed Oil (unrefined), Purified Water, Sodium Hydroxide (saponifying agent), Sorbitol (moisturizer), Sorbitan oleate (emulsifer), Soy bean protein (conditioner), Wheat Protein (conditioner)

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  1. Zachary Roth says

    Another great review. I really like the kell’s I have tried. The scent description makes it sound like it smells similar to prada amber pour homme.

  2. says

    I got a sampler puck of Kell’s in The Great Shave 2012 Swag Bag. It’s the “Energy” scent. I plan on shaving with it tonight (I’m an evening shaver). It made a nice, thick test lather.

  3. Chaucer says

    Kell’s is the real deal. In general, my skin doesn’t like a lot of the oils that make up scents. Dan’s Energy and Turkish Mocha scents are fun, though, and they don’t irritate. I like the version with aloe and hemp. In stick form, they’re great for traveling, and I’ve never had a problem with quick and easy lathering.

  4. Kenny Haberman says

    Great review, palpz. I’m about ready to order some samples from Kell’s Original. I have been strictly a shaving cream user, as I’ve never been able to make decent lather from a soap. Granted, that was in my newbie days, so it probably had to do with lack of technique more than anything.

    Now that I’m a bit more seasoned after a couple of years, I’m ready to try a soap again. I use a Semogue 830 boar brush. Do I want to go wetter or drier with the brush than I normally would with a cream? Also, I will need to load the brush quite well before lathering (in a scuttle), correct?


    • says

      Hi Kenny, thanks for the kind words.

      Generally speaking, you’ll need a bit more water than with cream in order to get a good lather, although it does vary greatly from soap to soap as well. It might vary depending upon the hardness of your water too. Your best bet is probably to just experiment a little, especially considering that different folks will like different consistencies anyways.

      And yes, loading is key, although you can always go back and get a bit more if need be.

      Since you do mention that you’ve “never been able to make decent lather from a soap”, I strongly suspect this might be mainly a hard water issue; creams are far less affected by the hardness of water than soaps are.

      If you do transition to soaps, I’d suggest also picking up a jug of distilled water at the grocery store / pharmacy and try using it. That might make all the difference in the world too.

      • Kenny Haberman says

        I’m back!

        Palpz, I got three samples from Kell’s Originals. We have very hard water in Los Angeles.

        The one I tried was the Juniper Sage (Ultra Aloe). I thought I had loaded the brush really well but ended up with more of a foamy lather that didn’t hold up well, which is what I was experiencing a long time ago. Could it be the heat of the scuttle? Too much water too soon?

        I went back and loaded the brush some more and lathered it right on my face. Bingo! Super creamy and slick as duck butter! One of the closest shaves I’ve gotten in a while.

        Now, I do have some distilled water that I might try, but I’d rather be able to finagle it with the tap water. For my next try, I’m going to load the brush twice as long (a full minute) and build the structure of the lather in my scuttle longer before trying to hydrate it.

        Any suggestions would be appreciated.

  5. Chaucer says

    I use a stick, rub it on my face and then lather. If the lather feels too gummy, I dip the brush tip in warm water and lather again. It’s really easy. It’s even easier if, before I begin lathering, I rub the brush tip over the surface and sides of the stick to pick up the soft soap.

  6. Kenneth Tucker says

    This soap stings–not badly, but unpleasant enough to make me want to move along. I’ve never experienced this effect with any other shaving soap or cream I have tried.

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