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Scent-free Soaps Round 1, Match 2: Wet Shaving Products Rustic Shaving Soap Au Naturel versus Wholly Kaw Bare Naked

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This second head-to-head (or beard-to-beard) evaluation in Sharpologist’s scent-free soap competition features Wet Shaving Products Rustic Shaving Soap Au Naturel versus Wholly Kaw(R) Bare Naked. In this series I’m focusing on overall shaving performance so neither a soap’s scent nor its cost is not a factor in the review.

The Contestants

Wet Shaving Products (WSP) Rustic Shaving Soap Au Naturel

From the website: “Au Naturel is unscented for those with sensitive skin. 100% natural, with no harsh chemicals or fragrance to irritate your skin.”

Ingredients: Stearic Acid, Water, Coconut Oil, Potassium Hydroxide, Glycerin, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter)

Wholly Kaw(R) Bare Naked (Tallow) 

From the website: Unscented shaving soap. Does not contain scents or essential oils and fragrance oils

Ingredients: Potassium Stearate, Sodium Stearate, Aqua, Donkey Milk, Water Buffalo Milk, Glycerin, Potassium Tallowate, Sodium Tallowate, Potassium Ricinoleate, Sodium Ricinoleate, Potassium Shea Butterate, Sodium Shea Butterate, Garcinia Indica (Kokum) Butter, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Butter, Water Buffalo Whey, Linoleic Acid, Linolenic Acid, Humulus Lupulus (Hops) Extract, Lanolin.

Overall Impressions

Both soaps lathered easily in my home’s soft water. The Wholly Kaw lather did a good job retaining moisture for the entire shave while the WSP rustic was outstanding at retaining moisture. Nonetheless, neither soap’s performance really impressed me. 

Points awarded for each factor:

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

Feature: Lack of Scent

WSP Rustic5
Wholly Kaw Bare Naked5

No detectable scents.

Feature: Easy lathering

WSP Rustic3
Wholly Kaw Bare Naked3

Neither was unusually easy or difficult.

Feature: Moisture retention

WSP Rustic4.5
Wholly Kaw Bare Naked3.5

Both held their moisture but the WSP was very good on this score.

Feature: Lubrication

WSP Rustic3.5
Wholly Kaw Bare Naked3.5

Good lubrication from both

Feature: Protection

WSP Rustic2.5
Wholly Kaw Bare Naked3

My ideal soap leaves a light protective layer of moisture on the skin after the blade passes, but the WSP lacked that degree of protection. It didn’t cause a problem with nicks or irritated patches, but my skin became taut, dry and slightly pinkish when I shaved with it. 

Feature: Post-shave Skin Feeling

WSP Rustic2
Wholly Kaw Bare Naked3

The WSP Rustic left my skin taut, dry (pre-balm application) and unusually tender to the touch for hours after shaving. Wholly Kaw’s results were better: My skin was not excessively taut or dry and there was no unusual pinkness or tenderness. 

It’s worthwhile to note the ingredients lists for the two soaps: the WSP uses stearic acid and glycerin while the Wholly Kaw soap uses tallows. I’m not a chemist but I did find this information on shaving soap ingredients from New England Shaving Co. useful in understanding the differences:

Shaving soaps come in three main categories, with specific ingredients being the main distinguishing factors. Let’s take a look at these below:


Tallow is a fatty and hard substance that you can derive from animals. The high percentage of fat in most traditional shaving soaps causes a cushiony lather. …  Men have somewhat given the tallow-based traditional shaving soaps and artisan status considering how they nourish and moisturize the skin after shaving.

Glycerin-Based Shaving Soap

Men who love soft, supple, and well-moisturized skin post-shaving turn towards the glycerine-based soaps. They contain natural moisturizing properties that make a smooth gliding surface for comfortable shaving while hydrating your skin alongside.

 Hybrid Soaps

These are the newer variety of shaving soaps, featuring only small amounts of glycerine or tallow. The hybrid soaps rely more on other ingredients for delivering desired results. You will find standard components like plant-derived glycerine and stearic acid for a more vegan-friendly formula.

Final Scores

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

Up Next

Martin De Candre Nature Artisan Unscented vs. Taylor of Old Bond Street Traditional

Ed McCarthy

Ed McCarthy

3 thoughts on “Scent-free Soaps Round 1, Match 2: Wet Shaving Products Rustic Shaving Soap Au Naturel versus Wholly Kaw Bare Naked”

  1. Hey, Saul. Mark posted a lid photo of a different version of the soap–the one I reviewed is the tallow version as are the ingredients.

  2. Nice article but you said, “the Wholly Kaw soap uses tallows”. Yet the label from Wholly Kaw specifically says “vegan” and there were no tallows listed.

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