Petal Pusher’s Kokum Butter Shaving Soaps

I just experienced the most satisfying shave in all my life.” That was the mantra repeated throughout my day after test driving a Classic Kokum Butter Shaving Puck that a barber friend of mine had recommended to me over a poker game one weekend. “A shave so memorable it stays with you…” he promised and boy was he right. I had dismissed his statements as gin inspired exaggeration, but something in what he said stuck; kokum butter. I didn’t know anything more than that, but a barber gave it his blessing, and I by golly I was going to check it out, so I googled “Kokum Butter Shaving Cake” and bought the first one I stumbled upon. A week later I found myself dumfounded and excited, almost stopping strangers on the street offering up my chin to be caressed and admired…I was a kokum butter believer and I was ready to spread the new gospel.

The shaving puck is by a small company out of New England called Petal Pusher Fancies. If you don’t already know of them you need to, they are creating quite a buzz in the world of male grooming and for good reason. Simply put, they have created one hell of a cream shaving puck. The ingredients are organic, vegan and printed right on the box so there is no mystery to what you are putting on your face. Kokum butter is the main and active ingredient. This unique butter comes from the fruits of the Garcinia Indica Tree in India. The fruit kernels produced by this tree yield an emollient white butter that creates an unbeatable cream, glide, and a controlled slip that I can’t find in any shaving “soaps” these days. Truth be told, most soaps on the market are not soap at all but detergent bars loaded with chemicals. These are not your glycerin melt and pour soap cakes, nor a nature boy clay based clump of earth either. This is a hearty bar of artisan, handmade shaving soap that will last forever, and aid in giving you one of the most amazing shaves of your life.

The puck is 3 inches in diameter and 1 inch in width so sadly, it will not fit in a traditional shaving scuttle. However, if a classic scuttle is your vessel of choice you can always heat the bar with hot water, cut in half, and wedge it in the bowl. I personally prefer a deep, wide mouth scuttle for I find It is much easier to build a greater amount of lather and contain it. After heating my mug under the running tap for a minute or two in preparation, I dropped the puck in, and added a little hot water. With a seasoned swirling action, a skill that is only acquired from years of using inferior products, I was soon creating a genuine cream lather.

This particular bar happened to be a deep purple in color. Sandalwood powder is used to achieve this rich aesthetic. It certainly sets a visual tone to the ritual. The second note that hits you is the scent of the bar, neroli. For those of you not familiar with this aromatic, it comes from the essential oil of the bitter orange tree. It’s nice and earthy, masculine yet meditative, a scent a chap might have found while off in an exotic part of the world working for the East India Company. I am a bay rum kind of fella by nature, this is what I always seek out, but for the sake of a more objective review I chose to try the neroli, and I am glad I did. Don’t get me wrong, I made sure to pick up their Steam-River Rum puck as well.

After I applied a hot, rich lather to my skin, and the shaving mirror was in full extension, I was in the zone. True wet shavers know the zone I speak of, and Buddhists know this zone as satori. I made a conscious decision not to reapply the cream between passes in order to test the integrity of the kokum butter in shielding the skin, as my barber claimed it would. Each pass was true and glide my blade did…amazing.

  • 10/10 Glide
  • 9/10 Scent Strength
  • 10/10 Lather Quality

A week later I stopped by the barbershop and shared my experience with my pal. He was in between customers and sitting in his chair like a guru. After an over exuberating telling of my tale both he and his partner shook my hand, patted me on the back, and welcomed me to the secret club. Kokum butter, who would have thunk?

Ingredients: [Tallow Free & Vegan] Pure Kokum Butter, Organic Mango Seed Butter, Organic Cocoa Butter, Organic Coconut Oil, Organic Avocado Oil, Organic Sweet Almond Oil, Organic Castor Oil, Pure Essential Oils & Natural Plant Extracts.

The Soaps come in four scents: Coconut, Neroli, Steam River Rum (their version of Classic Bay Rum) and Sandalwood.

Cost: $8.95

[Addendum from Mantic59: my interest was piqued from Douglas' glowing description so I got a puck of the Neroli for myself to try.  My reaction was not quite as dramatic as Douglas'--then again I admit to being kind of jaded after trying many, many shaving soaps and creams--but it's a very good product in my opinion.  Unlike Douglas' "rich lather" description, my first try with it made a (deceptively) thinner, "softer" lather in my hard water. It still gave me an excellent shave, though!  After experimenting a little I discovered that treating it like Mitchell's Wool Fat Soap improved the look of the lather considerably.  It's growing on me.]

Douglas Smythe (4 Posts)

Creator of fine male grooming products,founding member, contributing writer & editor for HowToGrowAMoustache.Com, and Co-host of the Moustache & Blade Podcast. His mission: Create greater facial awareness and spread the gospel of wet shaving across galaxies. Contact Douglas: whiskers@howtogrowamoustache.com


Comments

  1. Charles says:

    Great article! Love your site too, good stuff for us mustached folk! I really love petal pusher’s coconut puck! Only one I use now! Thank you for sharing!

  2. Thanks for the kind words Charles! Happy shaving and happy Moustache May to you!
    http://howtogrowamoustache.com

  3. Andreas says:

    Short question to Mantic59: you already mention the Mitchell’s Wool Fat – as it is my everyday soap for the colder months: how does the Kokum Butter compare to it?

    Keep up the good work, love your page & vids!

    • Mark H mantic59 says:

      Andreas, I admit that I am not a huge fan of MWF: it just never gave me that awesome experience that many others get with it. I like the PP kokum butter better if for no other reason than the neroli scent.

      • Andreas says:

        Thanks for the quick reply….guess I have to try it then ;)

      • azwetshaver says:

        Mantic: Just an idea. How about creating a list or section of your top 10 shaving soaps. When you happen to come across something really special you could plug it into the list. Obviously there are many opinions as to the best soap…. but hey this is your blog.

  4. Shave Dude says:

    When I have trouble with my soap fitting in my bowl, I grate it up with a hand kitchen grater then pack the flakes in the bowl. Works great, and the grating process seems to supercharge the soap somehow, guess it’s the airpockets created by the grating.

  5. christophe says:

    Hello from France,

    I got this morning my 2 soaps previously ordered on the petalpusher web site. (Neroli and coco)
    I ran to the bathroom for a test …
    Ok the smel is terrific
    But I am desappointed with the quality of the foam I could get. Full of bubbles and it did not stay more than 3 minutes before drying.
    I worked a lot with the brush to load it as much as possible but only got a very poor foam.

    Re tried this evening with hot water, cold water, alomost no water and still got the same poor foam.
    I am sure I am missing something there…
    Would some specialists help me?
    Are the soaps just too new and not dry enough…
    I just killzd my arm trying to get it thick and protective but just go and anyways I worked the soap, a very very light foam
    Please help me! ;-)
    Thank you

    • Bonjour Christophe!
      I would be happy to tackle this! Email me at whiskers@howtogrowamoustache.com
      I have moved on to the “Bay Rum” puck and could not be happier with the quality of shave I am achieving! This is a vegan cake however, no lanolin or tallow so if that is what you are use to this is going to seem different. Where I feel this soap shines is in it’s skin protective qualities, it really coats the skin giving a wonderful glide. Shoot me an email and I will be glad to help!
      Douglas

    • Greetings again Christophe!
      I contacted the fine folks of Petal Pusher Fancies and Hodges made a short vid and posted it on their youtube channel for anyone curious about the performance of their soap. The film is great because it’s a snippet of their weekly quality control test. This should help! (And thank you Hodges & Francis of PPF for being so flexible! Keep up the good work! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3MM3aPyhZ3k&feature=youtu.be

      • That takes quite a bit of time and effort to build a lather doesn’t it?

        Is there not an easier to lather hard soap on the market?

        • Since the reformulation it is much easier to lather. It is very good.

          • Thank you Mark

            I didn’t realise the video was dated, thanks for clearing that one up.

            I did find Mike’s Kokum soap to lather good and quickly, would you say Petal Pushers Kokum soap falls into the same band as Mike’s? Or is it more like HTGAM Synergy Kokum soap?

            I may have to buy it and HTGAM’s to compare them.

            Thanks again Mark for your help.

    • Couldn’t agree more, Christophe. I’ve found this stuff wants the most unbelievably slow integration of water to build even a borderline lather. It seems it takes almost nothing for it to be too wet — and as you say, it’ll just vanish.

      My “best” results were basically to use warm water, a soaked (but subsequently super-dried) brush which gets heavily loaded, and then add water about 2 drops at a time over a period of several minutes. It takes a long time and tons of elbow grease and it ends up OK at best.

      Honestly, between this stuff and paying an arm and a leg for AoS pucks which produced whipped cream with the most minimal effort, I’d rather just buy AoS.

      Totally disappointed in this stuff. Won’t buy again.

    • Hi Christophe,

      It sounds like you’re adding too much water. I know you added almost no water, but this result sounds like you added too much water (or failed to load your brush enough, but again you say you really worked to load the brush). You may benefit from soaking the top of the shave puck with a spoonful of water while you shower. Then dump the water off and load the brush (which should have been soaking for five minutes in some warm water, then shaken to empty the water from the brush). Load the brush for 20s, and begin to slowly add water, perhaps 1 tsp (5ml) at a time, in between 15s intervals of building lather.

      This method works for me in almost every soap or water type. I hope it helps you.

  6. I know I’m a little late to the party with this post but I had to tell you that this is one of my favorite wet shaving websites to browse. And because of your glowing review of this soap, I ordered a puck today (now that they have neroli back in stock). Your initial review must have caused a spike in sales…but I digress.

    Anyway, I enjoy each and every article from you guys. Keep up the great work!

    • Thanks JLaw! It was a fun review for me and a pleasure! I am sure sales did spike and I’m happy for that if it’s true. This soap got me excited again about experimenting with all the new “toys” popping up out there. Enjoy the shave!

  7. jan russo says:

    Had to chime in. While I don’t agree with the 10/10 lather score (I’d say 8/10), I do really enjoy this soap cake. I love the glide and the coating quality of what I imagine to be the kokum butter. I have no problem myself creating a lather, and maybe as Mark points out, this has to do with the water quality. I am glad to have discovered this special brand of soap and will definitely continue to use it. Good review.

  8. Shave Dude says:

    Tried this stuff….hate it. WAY to much work to get a decent lather. Going to stick to my Tabac. No more boutique soaps for me. Soap Acquisition Disorder cured. This soap is awful.

  9. Shave Dude says:

    I wish to apologize for and amend my previous critique. I had not “figured out” this soap. I found that by using lots of water and elbow grease, it makes a great slick lather. Although the lather may dissipate slightly during the shave, it leaves behind a great slickness that provides for a good blade glide. I will order more of this good stuff, and I gladly eat my words!

  10. UPDATE: Petal Pusher Fancies has just reformulated their Kokum Butter Shaving Soap with hard water customers in mind! Just got one in the mail last week and tried it out with some calcium loaded mineral water to rate the performance…win! Truly better than ever! When the people speak, Petal Pusher Fancies listens! Thanks guys!
    Cheers,
    Douglas

  11. Bassopotamus says:

    I bought two pucks based on the strength of this review, Neroli and whatever they call their bay rum. Something in the bay run irritated my skin, but the lather was good. The neroli is awesome all around. It’s hard to rank soaps, but I prefer it to several of the artisans everyone swoons over. It hangs in a rotation with some other excellent stuff ( cellsa, Klar Kabinett, DR Harris, Razorock, ARKO, etc). It is tremendously slick and gives a consistently nice shave

  12. Bassopotamus says:

    Addendum- I have really hard water, and the reformulated soap lathers really well

  13. theretroshave says:

    I bought the Sandalwood puck after reading this review, and I am so glad that I did. I didn’t expect to get this kind of performance out of a non-tallow-based soap. Boy was I wrong! This soap works as well, and possibly better than any soap I’ve tried. I have also lathered this soap in both soft and hard water, and it’s truly a monster latherer. If the name puts you off, don’t let it.

  14. Christophe says:

    Hi, to be fair with the 2 guys behind those lovely sented products I have to let you they quite often come back to me via email to give updates about their products.
    The fact i (we) could not get a proper foam from their soap sincereky embarassed them.
    Last week they emailed me to tell me they reformulated their shaving soap taking into condideration my remarks, top of it, soap is being sent to me!
    Great service and much more guys.
    Thanks

  15. Christophe says:

    Hello again,
    I have recvd this new soap!
    The re formulation brings it to a proraso level easily!
    The sweetness of the edge on the skin is amazing.
    Skin feels like moisturized for the day…

  16. I just tried this tonight. This stuff is beautiful as others had said. I loaded it right from the tin it came in and decided to try lathering it directly on my face. Amazingly it lathers easy enough to just work the lather directly on your face in about 10-15 seconds.(I have hard water and the only other decent soap I could find to work was the Taconic but it was tricky stuff) Its also nice that locally made in NE by a small business owner.

  17. Yup, their puck is amazing! So excited about the new hard water friendly formulation! :)

Trackbacks

  1. [...] is actually a link to a review I did for Sharpologist.com: Petal Pusher Fancies Kokum Butter Shaving Puck Review    – Below is a video of a quality control test with a 3-day old piece of Kokum Butter [...]

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