Moon Soaps - Old School - Synthetic and More!

Discussion in 'Shave Soaps' started by NCoxSTL, Feb 17, 2019.

  1. NCoxSTL


    I was very happy to be asked to provide a review of Moon Soaps Old School, especially since I'm more of the "blade guy" around here with all of my trials and reviews of blades. I've never been asked to review a soap, so this will either be quite interesting, or quite maddening for the rest of you. Here's hoping for the former.

    Quick disclaimer - I have no interest in Moon Soap other than being asked to do this review. They sent me a tub of Old School and a sample of Havana, and asked for nothing in return except an honest opinion and review. Well, honesty I'm pretty good at. So no worries.

    I decided to do a review over four days of shaves in order to try all four types of brushes common to us all. I'll start with synthetic, then badger, then boar, and finally horse. I'm looking for ease of lather, amount of lather produced, slickness and protection, and after-shave feel. This first review will probably be the longest of the four since I won't have to elaborate quite as much as I move from brush to brush. I am also going to use the same razor and blade on each shave, and in order to judge slickness and protection I've chosen the Feather DX pain stick and Feather Pro blade. Since it's in the straight razor family, it was suggested by @wristwatchb that this could be a "Dark Side of the Moon" shave. I'll just leave that right there. Here's the gear.

    February 17 2019.jpg
    The brush is the Jayaruh #54 with Maggard knot. Definitely one of my top synthetics. So, to work. First order of business, the ingredients and scent. Moon lists the ingredients as follows:

    Water, Beef Tallow, Stearic Acid, Castor Oil, Mango Butter, Glycerin, Shea Butter, Potassium Hydroxide, Almond Oil, Sodium Hydroxyde, Fragrance Oil

    Scent: Tobacco, Vetiver, Leather, Mahogany, Sweet Vanilla

    I noticed that @Primotenore mentioned the Coconut oil that is prominent in the Havana. None of that here. I'm a tallow guy too, so I'm loving the look of that list. The addition of some extra oils and butter products also leads me to believe this will be pretty luxurious, or at least should be.

    As for the scent, I rather like it. It reminds me a bit of Haverford from Stirling. The tobacco and vanilla notes are obvious, but not as strong as the Havorford. I can pick up the vetiver adding some mildness to the stronger scents and the mahogany seems a bit faint but definitely mellows the vanilla and tobacco. It's a fairly light scent, but very nice. My wife approved, though she had trouble with picking out the scents. An hour after the shave the scent is still faintly noticeable, but an after shave would likely not conflict with it.

    I am a dedicated face latherer so the first task at hand is to load the brush. I soaked the knot for about 30 seconds, which is plenty for a synthetic, and started working on the soap. It's a soft soap so should load easily. And, after about 30 seconds, this is what I had.

    Moon Synthetic Load.jpg
    That should be plenty to get me through the rest of the shave and experiments. As I mentioned, I'm a dedicated face latherer. So the next step? Why, bowl lather, of course. Let's see if it can respond to my attempts at something I do very rarely. Here's the final result.

    Moon Synthetic Bowl Lather.jpg
    Not bad, if I do say so myself. I did have to add water twice to the bowl as I worked it up and the soap seems to be just a bit thirsty. It definitely took more water than Stirling to produce that kind of a lather, but it wasn't difficult to get it there. I added slowly and it could probably take a bit more without a problem as well. Now, for fun, let's hand lather to see how it holds up.

    Moon Lather Synthetic closeup.jpg
    Nice rich lather with a few small bubbles here and there. Notice in the center the density of the lather, though. This seems to be quite slick and protective at this stage. So, now that we've emptied that much out of the brush let's face lather and see how it does with that, as well as if there's enough left to make it through the entire shave. I'm not one to overdo it on lather, preferring the "snowman" look that Geo Fatboy talks about.

    Moon Synthetic Face Lather.jpg
    No problems there. Plenty of lather, and the coverage was very good. I wondered, though, how it would hold up as I went through the shave. Well, nothing to do now but shave.

    On my first pass I could tell the slickness was quite good. I was a bit concerned about that as it has a bit of a "sticky slick" to it. That's where adding a bit of water could help. However, there were no issues on the first pass and on the left side of my face the lather which had been waiting on me as I completed the right side was just as thick and slick as the right. Very nice performance, especially since pain stick shaves are slower for me as I take more time. I lathered again and got the same good coverage, only this time I had dipped the brush tip in water before going to the face. No "sticky slick" this time....just SLICK. And protective. I did an XTG pass with no problem at all. The razor was gliding and cutting with no issues. I rinsed, again dipped the brush for a second and did my final lather. The ATG was also effortless and I finished with a near-BBS result. What I expect out of a pain stick.

    Now for the acid test at the end....irritation. Did the Old School protect from irritation? Alum says yes. Only one hot spot near my goatee which is fairly normal for a pain stick shave. Other than that, no problem at all. It has now been about an hour since the actual shave and my face still feels smooth, soft, and very nice. There's clearly a lot of tallow in this soap and my face loves it. No complaints there at all.

    I have to say I'm pretty impressed and very happy with how this soap performs. It doesn't seem difficult to lather at all with a synthetic and definitely provided the slick and cushy properties I value in a soap. I am curious how long the 6 ounce tub would last and may have to spend some time working on that equation. At $17.00 per tub it's not outrageously priced for 6 ounces and if it provides excellent longevity could be considered a bargain for those who enjoy it. I'm not ready to rate it completely until I run the other brushes through it, but I'll do that in the next three nights, share the results, and provide a summary at the end. For the first night, though, and the first time I've used this soap - I'm giving it a thumbs up.
    Shaver X, Zykris, PLANofMAN and 12 others like this.
  2. brit

    brit in a box

    very nice so far,,
    Frijolero and NCoxSTL like this.
  3. Ijustmissedthe50s

    Ijustmissedthe50s The Warnee

    I wentto their site a second time after seeing a review mentioning over $9 shipping on a $17 item. I was about to make asomewhat already reluctant purchase after my cart info showed $0 for tax and shipping. However, I wasn't able to confirm that without entering my email for "notification and receipt" emails. I didn't need a receipt or notification at that point, and couldn't find shipping cost details anywhere else. No purchase. Oh well. All three denizens currently reviewing this company's shave soaps have done an outstanding job of staying neutral and offering reviews based on their results as experienced by them. All three gentlemen expressed results in clear, easy to understand reviews. Thanks, guys. That being said, it seems to me that this company hasn't shown anything to make me truly want to make a purchase. Everybody already does these scents, and there;s no wow factor showing why I'd want to purchase my fourth or fifth "old school" scent when the ones I own are wonderful and iconic. It almost seems like this company got bad advice on starting with offerings that are "safe", but so common as to require one heck of a distinction to make theirs stand out and be unique. If you're not going to be better, at least be different. From all of the reviews so far and after reading descriptions on their site, I already have soaps that perform equally or even better, and I have varieties of the same basic scents that are equally or more dynamically done. I'm all about variety, but I don't need just one more subtly different take on old classics. There's just nothing that makes me desire to own one, from a performance/quality standpoint, a uniqueness standpoint or a value one. I hope someday they give us a chance to own a Moon River product, not just another run of the mill tem we're already very familiar with. I look forward to seeing what happens.
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  4. johnwick

    johnwick New Member

    Terrific review! Thank you!
    Ijustmissedthe50s and brit like this.
  5. brit

    brit in a box

    very cool review..this one interests me more than the cella scented one. love the packaging..
    Ijustmissedthe50s likes this.
  6. Primotenore

    Primotenore missed opera tunity

    Article Team
    Well-written review, Neal. Thank you for your time.

    SHAVEWIZARD420 Well-Known Member

    Glad to see some new soap reviews popping up around here. Honest opinions help the artisan to make the best product possible, while helping people decide weather or not to purchase.

    Soaps are very much YMMV but opinions are always great to see/read.
  8. NCoxSTL


    I'm going to continue on with the rest of the four shaves in this thread since I realized I probably don't need to be as detailed with each review based on brush type. Tonight was badger night, and I used my Wolf Whiskers Custom Silvertip as the test brush. This has a really high quality knot that provides both great backbone as well as a nice soft feel to the face. I loaded the brush for about a minute and went straight to the face lather, which is my usual technique. I got a very fast and very thick lather up on my face and again noticed how rich this lather is. Clearly a LOT of tallow, if I know anything about tallow soaps. Very slick and protective. I got the first pass done with no issues using the pain stick, then relathered for the second pass. Still a great thick lather from the brush and another effortless pass. Third pass lather - again as thick and rich as before, slick, protective, and the third pass went by without an issue. The razor never found a sticky spot or anything except slick and cushy. Almost a BBS again, quiet alum, and another success. I then squeezed the brush and had a full handful of lather with a great texture. It's almost as rich as Stirling mutton tallow lather which is impressive.

    I really enjoy the scent. It's a bit less intense than some I have but has a nice after-bouquet for a bit. And, speaking of "after" things - the "after-feel" was as good as last night. I probably could have loaded a bit less but I did have a great lather for the entire shave and no problems at all. Another good night with this soap. Tomorrow - the boar.

    February 18 2019.jpg

    KUSTOM Well-Known Member

    Supporting Vendor
    What happened to the boar?
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  10. MntnMan62

    MntnMan62 Well-Known Member

    Anxiously awaiting the boar test. And if I'm not mistaken, the boar is in your last picture. I see the bottom of an Omega handle that appears to be a 10066. I have one of those. Would love to get your take on the boar. Don't care so much about the horse since I don't have a horse brush. But would love to hear your summation as well.
    Frijolero and brit like this.
  11. NCoxSTL


    Sorry guys. It's been a very busy end of the week with some added difficulties. Here is my summary of the last two shaves, boar and horse. Oh, I changed from the pain stick too back to a DE razor. The first two shaves with synthetic and badger proved the soap is certainly slick and cushy enough to handle pain sticks/straights, and I wanted to play with one of my 40's Super Speeds.

    I had no difficulty at all in loading either the boar or horse brush. I loaded for about a minute with the boar, maybe a little longer with the horse. Both held sufficient soap to provide three full passes with leftovers. That was a nice result on both as they sometimes don't load as well as my synthetics or even the badger - mostly due to my not giving them enough time on the soap. The Moon soap, however, seems to be a very easy one to load and didn't disappoint in volume at all with any of the brushes.

    I did notice a change in scent - at least to my nostrils - during those two shaves as the Vetiver came a bit more to the surface in the bouquet. That may just be my getting more adjusted to the scent. It's a fairly mild scent with just enough "oomph" to it to make it a very nice experience shaving, but it doesn't interfere with after shaves etc. And, as I noticed more of the Vetiver I liked the way it smelled even more.

    Summarizing the entire experience with Moon Old School - very nice tallow feel and effect to the soap. As a fan of tallow I can say this soap definitely fits that bill for me. The thickness of the lather, the slickness and the after-shave feel are all quite excellent. It's nice to find another soap with enough tallow to bring a smile to my face. The lathering process is very easy. I didn't have to struggle to make a lather with any of the brushes. The few times during the lathering process when I felt it was a bit too thick or not getting slick enough, just adding a bit of water and working it up corrected the problem. At the end of my shave with the horse brush I also experimented by trying to break the remaining lather with water on a hand lather. It continued to thin out as I went but never lost its ability to hold a lather where several others tend to break. Very impressive. Also, the lather is persistent throughout the entire shave. No "modern Williams" effect here.

    My final thoughts - This is a quality product that lives up to its billing. As far as price - $17 for a 6 ounce tub doesn't make me run away. I think the value is there if you like the feel and scent. I have a sample of the Havana that I will try sometime in the near future and I'll give my thoughts on that as well. I would definitely considering keeping Old Style around as one of my soaps in rotation. We'll see if the Havana would join that rotation or not.

    Sorry again for the break in the report. For the record - the boar was the Omega 10066, the horse the Vie-Long 12601. Thanks for letting me try the soap and I hope my input is helpful!

    February 20 2019.jpg February 21 2019.jpg
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  12. MntnMan62

    MntnMan62 Well-Known Member

    Thanks for your thorough analysis. I'm inclined to go for it but the only thing giving me pause is the price. You are correct that $17 is a pretty good deal for 6 oz. of soap. But they charge almost $10 for shipping. So, is the tub worth $26 and change? That is the crux of the biscuit.
  13. brit

    brit in a box

    awesome review sir, old school is on the list..
    Frijolero likes this.
  14. Paul Turner

    Paul Turner outside the quote(s) now

    $10 for shipping......too much.
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  15. brit

    brit in a box

    signed up ,ordered the old school $17 + shipping $17 u.s. thats $44 canadian. cancelled. for a tub of thanks..i'll wait until its available up here or move on..
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2019
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  16. MntnMan62

    MntnMan62 Well-Known Member

    I'm holding off. If they can ship for what most other vendors ship soap for, say $4 or $5, I'd buy. But I'm not paying a total of $26 for this soap. Maybe they should sell on Amazon and let Amazon fulfill for them allowing me to get free shipping as a Prime member. Then they would have made a sale.
  17. BigMark83

    BigMark83 [...........] this space intentionally left blank

    Why not try a group buy?

    Sent from my Nokia 6.1 using Tapatalk
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  18. Primotenore

    Primotenore missed opera tunity

    Article Team
    Hemingway Accoutrements ships for $3.99.
  19. Primotenore

    Primotenore missed opera tunity

    Article Team
    Probably because of the humongous cut that Amazon takes. (I know, I sell on Amazon)
    Frijolero likes this.
  20. Paul Turner

    Paul Turner outside the quote(s) now

    Interesting you say you won't pay $26 for it(for which I don't blame you, by the way). Sometime in the future I think I'm going to hold my nose and go for a Bill Neumann(Wm. Neumann&Co). $28 without the shipping, but you get 1/2 lb. Might be worth a go.

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