It was about 18 months ago that I stumbled upon the goodness of tallow in shaving soap. While most of my soaps and creams were glycerin-based, I had a few that were tallow-based. But I honestly didn’t see much of a difference. I know that may be sacrilege to some, but I do a decent amount of reviews every year. I grade each on slickness, glide, lather, scent and a few other characteristics. I never thought too much about how much soap or cream moisturized my skin. I had an aftershave for that.
Then, I started shaving my head. Yeah, that’s too much acreage to be slapping even cheap aftershave on it. That’s when I really started to notice the effect of tallow-based soaps. It really left my scalp feeling moisturized. In typical me fashion, and surprising no one who knows me, I quickly had more than 75 soaps, all tallow-based. I had found the sweet spot for my shaving.
Then I came across “Goodfellas’ Smile.” The company started in 20-11 in Italy and on their website said their mission is to make quality products in Italy at an affordable price. I had noticed this brand when searching through websites but the examples I saw were all non-tallow-based. On a whim, I started doing more research and discovered they had a “new” formula that didn’t add any glycerin, but did add four oils. From their US distributor’s website:
The new shaving cream is produced by hot saponification with an innovative and exclusive system of mixing raw materials. The result is an extremely high-performance and balanced shaving cream.
The result is a shaving cream with the new AJ-1 vegetable formula, based on 4 certified pure oils that account for more than 35% of the total formula of our new shaving soaps:
– Argan oil
– Jojoba oil
– Pure Sweet Almond oil (note: in its pure state, this oil has no allergens)
– Pure coconut oil
That definitely piqued my interest because I always enjoy trying new shaving products.
Could all these oils do the same job as tallow and/or lanolin?
I picked up a couple of tubs of Goodfellas Smile.
I’m using this, their “Amber Fougere.” It comes in a slightly smaller tub than the usual shaving soaps. It is 3.4 ounces and I got it at Pasteur Shave for $12.99.
The soap is not a puck but is harder than a croap. There is a lot of scent of the amber and fougere coming off the puck.
I used my RazoRock tricolor brush to load the brush, and that’s where the smaller tub-size became noticeable. It left suds all over the tub and my hands. I usually shave in the shower so this doesn’t bother me, but this might be better to scoop some out into your scuttle.
What I noticed the first time I used this soap is that it lathers like crazy. I have extremely hard water and could rarely get the puffy, meringue-like lather.
With this, it started producing hefty-looking lather immediately. The website warned it needed more water than normal “to achieve a perfect result.”
If this isn’t perfect, it’s definitely getting there! I did keep adding drops of water as I continued to swirl the brush in my scuttle.
The bigger bubbles popped and each brush rotation continued to create more lather.
And the scent was strong as I continued to work the brush. It quickly filled my shave den. It does linger after you shave, but I have a couple of fougere aftershaves and it doesn’t clash.
After a short period of time, the result was pretty impressive. The lather had a definite firmness to it.
How did the lather do in a real-world test? I shaved using my Rockwell T2 with a new Astra Platinum blade. The lather provided excellent cushion against the blade and top-notch glide and slickness. After four passes there was still enough lather in the brush that I could have shaved my head.
I’ve shaved with other vegetable-based soaps that had many of the characteristics of the GoodFellas’ Smile products. But I wanted to see if it answered my question of if it could be on par with my tallow-based soaps when it comes to moisturizing aspect.
The answer is short and sweet. Yes. My scalp felt as moisturized as it did when using any of my top-shelf tallow brands like Barrister & Mann, Noble Otter or Ariana and Evans.
The price is very reasonable. I’ve seen it for $9.99 to $15.99 a tub.
Comments From Mark, “Mantic59”
Ed. note: by coincidence I also recently got a puck of Goodfellas’ Smile shave soap, Sea Citrus. My opinions of this shave soap very much tracks with Jay’s. The scent is moderately strong with citrus and marine notes. Like Jay, I find this shave soap “lathers like crazy,” even in my hard water. I can get a well-hydrated, meringue-like lather quickly, with a little more water than usual. Performance for me is excellent in all respects (glide, cushion, and skin feel).
I thought I had given up on non-tallow based soaps but I’m glad I kept an open mind to what GoodFellas’ Smile had to offer. I now have three of their soaps, and knowing me, I will buy (and enjoy) the rest of their lineup.
Goodfellas’ Shave Soap is available from a number of sources.