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Mike’s Natural Soap Unscented vs. Oleo Soapworks Unscented Duck Fat Canard Shaving Soap

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This sixth, first-round head-to-head (or beard-to-beard) evaluation in Sharpologist’s scent-free soap competition features Mike’s Natural Soap Unscented versus Oleo Soapworks Unscented Duck Fat Canard Shaving 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

Mike’s Natural Soaps Unscented

From the website: This soap is the real deal. Tallow is the main ingredient, regarded by many shaving enthusiasts (myself included) as yielding the creamiest, slickest, and most protective lather possible. In addition, this soap is rich in vegetable glycerin, kokum butter, shea butter, and avocado oil. It also contains kaolin clay, which creates a slick buffer between your skin and the blade. The icing on the cake is lanolin, a waxy substance derived from the wool of sheep and a fantastic conditioner and humectant. This soap will provide an effortless and downright decadent shave that will leave your skin feeling soft, supple, and smooth. Each polypropylene recyclable jar contains about 5 ounces of soap. 

Ingredients: Distilled water; saponified tallow (beef) and stearic acid; vegetable glycerin; saponified kokum butter, avocado oil, and shea butter; lanolin; saponified coconut oil; kaolin clay, vitamin E. 

Oleo Soapworks Unscented Duck Fat Canard Shaving Soap (note: West Coast Shaving link is affiliate.)

From the West Coast Shaving Website: The Canard base shaving soap is a duck fat grooming requisite. And boy, does it deliver. Loaded with skin nourishing kokum butter, palm oil, castor oil, jojoba oil (hence the name Oleo – oil), this soap is slick and protective. The duck fat too gives it a dense, rich lather. It is a thirsty soap, so don’t be afraid of a little water. This hot process soap is poured into a low profile, wide mouth container for easy brush loading.

Ingredients: Stearic Acid, Water, Kokum Butter, Potassium Hydroxide, Palm Kernel Oil, Duck Fat, Sodium Hydroxide, Castor Oil, Glycerin, Jojoba Oil & Sodium Lactate.

Overall Impressions

This was another instance of two soaps producing what I found to be similar, good quality shaves. When I compared their scores after using them, I was surprised how closely I had scored them on multiple factors.

Points awarded for each factor:

1: Poor

2: Fair

3: Good

4: Very good

5: Excellent

Feature: Lack of Scent

Mike’s Natural Soaps Unscented4.5
Oleo Soapworks Unscented Duck Fat Canard Shaving Soap.5.0

I picked up a buttery scent from Mike’s. It wasn’t unpleasant but it was noticeable and it dissipated with shaving. The Oleo was scent-free.

Feature: Easy lathering

Mike’s Natural Soaps Unscented2.0
Oleo Soapworks Unscented Duck Fat Canard Shaving Soap.2.5

Some soaps I’ve reviewed in this competition are lather-making machines. It’s like a magic wand: Wet your brush, wave it over the tub and you have a faceful of great lather. (Well, almost.) In contrast, these two soaps were lathering challenges for me and my water is soft. I could not get the volume of lather I like from Mike’s with either a synthetic or a badger brush. The Oleo generated more lather with the badger brush but it still took a lot of loading and whipping in the bowl. Nonetheless, both soaps produced good quality lather, even if the quantities weren’t as much as I like. 

Feature: Moisture retention

Mike’s Natural Soaps Unscented3.0
Oleo Soapworks Unscented Duck Fat Canard Shaving Soap.3.0

The lather from both soaps held up well for the entire shave without too much evaporation.

Feature: Lubrication

Mike’s Natural Soaps Unscented3.5
Oleo Soapworks Unscented Duck Fat Canard Shaving Soap.3.0

The Oleo was good but I gave the edge to Mike’s for lubrication.

Feature: Protection

Mike’s Natural Soaps Unscented4.0
Oleo Soapworks Unscented Duck Fat Canard Shaving Soap.3.75

I was concerned with Mike’s because the lather layer was thin, but the shaves were very smooth and free from irritation. Results from the Oleo were similar.

Feature: Post-shave Skin Feeling

Mike’s Natural Soaps Unscented3.0
Oleo Soapworks Unscented Duck Fat Canard Shaving Soap.2.5

Edge to Mike’s on this feature because the Oleo left my skin drier and more taut than I preferred.

Final Scores

If I did a blind shave–not blindfolded!–in which you gave me a bowl of lather from each soap, I don’t know if I could tell the difference because the shaves felt so similar. The main factor that could distinguish them is that my skin felt moister and more supple after shaving with Mike’s. Otherwise, both produced close, comfortable shaves with no skin irritation.

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

Competition Recap

Previous weeks’ winners are highlighted in bold:

Round 1:

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

Wholly Kaw Bare Serio versus Shannon’s Soap NIL

Ed McCarthy

Ed McCarthy