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Captain’s Choice Unscented vs. Noble Otter Bare

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This eight and final first-round head-to-head (or beard-to-beard) evaluation in Sharpologist’s scent-free soap competition features Captain’s Choice Unscented Shaving Soap versus Noble Otter Bare Shave Soap. In this series I’m focusing on overall shaving performance so neither a soap’s scent nor its cost is a factor in the review.

The Contestants

Captain’s Choice Unscented Shaving Soap

From the site: Responding to customer requests, we now offer our luscious shaving soap in an unscented version.  Whether you are looking for a gentle soap for sensitive skin or one that pairs well with any aftershave or balm, seek no further!  Enjoy the same great cushioning and dependable glide that you have come to expect from Captain’s Choice shaving soap — now fragrance-free! (Note: This soap has been discontinued since I bought it.)


Sodium Coco-Sulfate, Sodium Stearate, Cocamide MEA, Stearic Acid, Water (Aqua), Cetyl Alcohol, Mineral Oil, Isostearamidopropyl Morpholine Lactate, Triethanolamine.

Noble Otter Bare Shave Soap

Noble Otter Bare (Affiliate link. See Disclosures)

From the website: Bare Soap was created for those guys who do not want any scent in their soap. Not wanting to mask your cologne? Can’t have a scent on in your line of work? Are you sensitive to strong fragrance? Bare Soap is perfect for you. We take our soap formula and leave the fragrance out of it. Enjoy a great shave without anything other than smooth skin afterwards. 


Stearic Acid, Beef Tallow, Aqua, Coconut Milk, Glycerin, Potassium Hydroxide, Castor Oil, Coconut Oil, Avocado Oil, Kokum Butter, Mango Seed Butter, Sodium Hydroxide, Lanolin, Bentonite Clay, Sodium Lactate, Allantoin, Citric Acid, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Tetrasodium EDTA, Aloe Vera, White Willow Bark Extract, Watermelon Extract, Tussah Silk 

Overall Impressions

This was an interesting comparison. The Noble Otter Bare soap performed better with one brush type and the Captain’s Choice Unscented was a middling performer.

Points awarded for each factor:

  • 1: Poor
  • 2: Fair
  • 3: Good
  • 4: Very good
  • 5: Excellent

Feature: Lack of Scent

Captain’s Choice Unscented5
Noble Otter Bare5

Nothing to smell here.

Feature: Easy lathering

Captain’s Choice Unscented2
Noble Otter Bare3.75

The Captain’s Choice lather was a disappointment. I couldn’t build much volume with it and what I did get lacked density despite trying two brush types and several lathering methods. The Noble Otter Bare generated an excellent lather with my synthetic brush but didn’t perform as well with the badger brush, so this score and those that follow are the averages between the two brushes. 

Feature: Moisture retention

Captain’s Choice Unscented3.25
Noble Otter Bare3.6

Decent moisture retention from Captain’s Choice but the lather was thinner on my face than I like. The Noble Otter did a better job because I was able to get a greater volume of lather on my face with both brushes.

Feature: Lubrication

Captain’s Choice Unscented3
Noble Otter Bare4.25

Again, an acceptable performance from Captain’s Choice and a better (average) performance from Otter. 

Feature: Protection

Captain’s Choice Unscented3
Noble Otter Bare3.75

You guessed it: an acceptable performance from Captain’s Choice and a better (average) performance from Otter. 

Feature: Post-shave Skin Feeling

Captain’s Choice Unscented2
Noble Otter Bare3

Noticeable difference post-shave. My skin felt excessively taut after the Captain’s Choice while the Noble Otter left it with only slight tautness with no irritation.

Final Scores

This was not a close result. I was able to build a better lather with the Noble Otter Bare and that influenced several other scores. The Noble Otter’s superior performance with the synthetic brush versus the badger was a surprise because the badger usually produces better results more often than not. (I don’t use high-end brushes: the synthetic is a PAA Peregrino and the badger is a Parker Silver Tip with the faux Ivory Handle.) 

Winner: Noble Otter Bare by a score of 23.35 to 18.25 over Captain’s Choice Unscented.

Competition Recap

Previous weeks’ winners are highlighted in bold:

Round 1:

Wholly Kaw Bare Siero by a score of 26.75 to 25.25 over Shannons Soaps NIL.

Mike’s Natural Soaps Unscented by a score of 20.0 to 19.75 over Oleo Soapworks Unscented Duck Fat Canard Shaving Soap.

Phoenix Artisan Accoutrements Scentsless (Formula CK-6) by a score of 27.5 to 27.0 over Declaration Grooming Unscented.

Talbot Shaving Trust by a score of 24.0 to 22.5 over Phoenix Artisan Accoutrements 

Taylor of Old Bond Street Traditional by a score of 23.75 to 22.5 over Martin De Candre Nature.

Wholly Kaw(R) Bare Naked (Tallow) by a score of 21.0 to 20.5 over Wet Shaving Products (WSP) Rustic Shaving Soap Au Naturel.

Zingari Man Unscented Sego by a score of 26.5 to 23.25 over Chiseled Face Groomatorium Natural Fragrance Free.

Up Next

It’s time for Round 2. The lineup will be:

  • Zingari Man Unscented Soap versus Wholly Kaw Bare Naked (Tallow)
  • Phoenix Artisan Accoutrements Scentsless (Formula CK-6) versus Mike’s Natural Soaps Unscented
  • Wholly Kaw Bare Siero versus Noble Otter Bare
  • Talbot Shaving Trust versus Taylor of Old Bond Street Traditional

Ed McCarthy

Ed McCarthy

3 thoughts on “Captain’s Choice Unscented vs. Noble Otter Bare”

  1. That’s an intriguing idea, Craig–I hadn’t thought about that possibility. The decision is up to Mark and I imagine he’ll base it on the traffic these articles generate.

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