Barrister And Man recently re-released their Arctique shave soap and aftershave. I thought now would be a good time to review it.
Barrister And Mann Arctique
From the Barrister And Mann website:
Our testers, once they could feel enough of their faces to speak, almost unanimously described our new, stronger Arctique as “impossibly cold.” Many said that it was so bitterly frigid that they were rather concerned about possible frostbite. One swore off menthol entirely.
We blended our lovely floral/black pepper base with Japanese Peppermint and enough menthol to make even the most hardened skin prickle in fear, then added still more. The goal was to create one of the coldest soaps on Earth, the kind of soap that separates the hobbyists from the seriously dedicated. We’re proud to say that we were successful. It is horribly, hatefully, bone-chillingly cold.
It is Arctique. And it is indifferent to your suffering.
Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Potassium Stearate, Glycerin, Potassium Tallowate, Menthol, Parfum (Fragrance Oil), Sodium Stearate, Garcinia indica Seed Butter (Potassium Kokum Butterate), Polyacrylamidomethylpropane Sulfonic Acid, Cocos nucifera Fruit Juice (Coconut Milk), Sodium Tallowate, Potassium Ricinoleate, Sodium Lactate, Butyrospermum parkii (Shea) Butter, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Xanthan Gum, Theobroma grandiflorum (Cupuaçu) Seed Butter, Sodium Cocoa (Kokum) Butterate, Potassium Cocoate, Hydroxethylcellulose, Sodium Ricinolate, Saccharide Isomerate, Caprae Lac (Goat Milk) Powder, Persea gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Sodium Cocoate, Althaea officinalis (Marshmallow) Root Extract, Ulmus rubra (Slippery Elm) Extract
What Others Are Saying About Barrister And Mann Arctique
As this is a re-release of Arctique, with the new Omnibus shave soap base formulation, there aren’t any recent reviews. Older reviews, based on Barrister And Mann’s previous formulations, are positive. The lather is easy to build, with good consistency, and Barrister And Mann’s usual excellent performance characteristics.
But shavers buy Arctique and its ilk for the cooling sensation. Most comments remark that it’s very cold on the skin (though perhaps not the absolute coldest out there), with a scent that is quite menthol-forward.
My Experience With Barrister And Mann Arctique
[Note: Will at Barrister And Mann was kind enough to send me a sample of Arctique shave soap and aftershave without cost. However my comments here are my own and have not been reviewed or approved by Barrister And Mann.]
Off the jar (and indeed lathered on the face) Arctique smells like straight-up menthol to me. My admittedly insensitive nose gets none of the floral or pepper notes mentioned in Barrister And Mann’s Arctique web page. As you might expect, the scent is quite strong (though not overpowering).
As I have found with other Barrister And Mann shave soaps with their new(-ish) Omnibus base, lather builds easily and luxuriously (though it’s not quite as thick as some other lathers for me–probably due to my “hard” water).
And again, as with other Barrister And Mann shave soap, performance is outstanding in all categories: lubrication/glide, protection/cushion, and post-shave moisturization. Barrister And Mann shave soaps are on Sharpologist’s “best shave soap” list for a reason.
As for the skin-cooling sensation…yep…it’s cold all right! It may not be the coldest shave soap I have ever experienced (that honor goes to the long-discontinued Queen Charlotte Soaps “Vostok” shave soap) and it’s not quite pain-inducing–but a deep inhale will probably produce some tears.
Unlike some other mentholated shave soaps, I do find the cooling sensation quite persistent. This stuff sticks around for quite a while.
I also got a bottle of the matching aftershave splash.
Ingredients: SD Alcohol 40-B (Alcohol Denatured), Witch Hazel Water (Hamamelis Virginiana), Menthol, Water (Aqua), Glycerin, Fragrance, Taurine, Chlorella Vulgaris/Lupinus Albus Protein Ferment, Eleuthero Root Extract (Eleutherococcus Senticosus), Allantoin, Aloe Leaf Extract (Aloe Barbadensis), German Chamomile Flower Extract (Matricaria Recutita), Organic Licorice Root Extract (Glycyrrhiza Glabra), Acetylsalicylic Acid, Sodium Lactate, Provitamin B5 (DL-Panthenol), Citric Acid, Benzoic Acid
I’m usually not a big fan of alcohol-based aftershaves but this is a special case due to the cooling effects of alcohol on the skin.
I had an interesting reaction with the matching aftershave splash. On first application it actually dulled the cooling effect of the shave soap a bit–almost like it was like a protective coating. But then the aftershave’s alcohol and menthol hit–kapow!–and things got frosty again!
I think Barrister And Mann’s Arctique shave soap and aftershave splash strikes a good balance between satisfying the “menthol heads” of wet shaving and not scaring away the rest of the gang. While I wouldn’t call it “hatefully” cold it is very cold and very persistent on the skin. And during this record-breaking summer heat in many parts of the world it provides some welcome relief.