QED Lime Shaving Soap
July 12, 2005
Today I tried QED’s lime shaving soap, to see if it was a better match for my skin than the company’s sandalwood soap.
Even before Charles had sent me his new soaps to try, he’d sent me one of his new lavender shaving sticks along with an order I’d placed awhile back. The QED shaving sticks are made of the same cold-poured glycerin-based formula as the QED soaps that come in the tubs, so I removed the cylinder of lavender soap from the QED push-up stick, put it in a glass mug, and microwaved it for 25 seconds till it melted nicely into the bottom of the mug.
After it cooled and hardened again, I used it just like a regular shaving soap. The QED lavender worked well enough, but didn’t live up to the initial shavegeek hype. Personally, I thought it was no better or worse than the other hard glycerin shaving soaps I’ve tried like Col. Conk, but it sure did smell a lot better — QED’s liberal use of pure essential oils gives these soaps a strong and wonderful scent, especially after you’ve whipped it up into a lather. Still, the shave itself wasn’t as smooth and close as what I get from my favorite creams, so I used the lavender a few more times to make sure my initial take was accurate, and then went back to Trumper’s voilet, Taylor’s avocado and Proraso.
As I said before, QED’s sandalwood didn’t work as well for me as the lavender soap, so I was eager to see how QED’s lime compared with the two other soaps. Well, as far as scent goes, the lime wins hads down — this stuff smells nutty, nutty good. It smells exactly like the Green River sodas we used to drink as a kids at the Sweete Shoppe while sharing a giant porcelain plate of fries. It’s an intensely sweet lime scent, and it knocked me out so much I couldn’t wait to lather up.
Like the other QED soaps, lathering with the lime is a bit of an adjustment if you’re used to the old-school creams from Taylor, Trumper et al. You can waterlog your brush all you want, and swirl it on top of the soap all you want, but you’re not really going to get a properly thick lather from the QED unless you use a mug or (shudder) a shavegeek bowl. When I tried making lather the usual way I do with hard soaps — i.e. soak my brush in a sink of hot water, swirl the tips of the badger hair over the soap about 10-20 times, and then begin lathering right on my face — the QED made a pretty thin and not very substantial lather, and clearly wasn’t ready to shave with.
No, you need to work the QED soap with a mug, really pump and beat that sucker, to get a usable shaving lather from it. This is why I don’t like the QED shaving sticks as much— if I use them the way they’re intended to be used, which is get my face wet with hot water, rub the stick over my face and neck, and then start beating away with my wet brush, it’s just not happening at all. I like the form factor, but this stuff works far better in tub form than in a rub-on stick.
Beaten to a properly thick and rich lather, the QED lime worked much better with my skin than QED’s sandalwood soap. I didn’t suffer from any of the drying or irritation I have from other lime shaving products like Trumper’s and Coates’s lime shaving creams. There was still that same razor drag on my face I experienced with QED’s other soaps, but this is the hallmark of every hard glycerin shaving soap I’ve used — the blade “squeaks” on my skin (especially sgainst the grain) instead of gliding over a smooth layer of lube. With the best of the glycerin rounds, which I’d rank QED’s lime and lavender soaps right at the top based on scent alone, I can usually get a decent, and occassionaly a very good, shave, but it takes more time, is less effortless and enjoyable, and my skin always feels just a wee bit tighter and drier than is good for it.
For what it’s worth, my face feels the same way when I wash it with glycerin facial soaps like Neutrogena and the othwerwise wonderful South Of France bath soap I use in the shower — while the rest of my body does just fine with the glycerin soaps, my face is much happier with Cetaphil cleanser. Maybe oily skin just isn’t a good match for a hard glycerin soap when it comes to creating the slipperiest surface possible for the best shave.
QED’s lime soap is my favorite of the company’s three scents available in tubs. If it didn’t give me as good a shave as I routinely get from my favorite creams, at least it didn’t cause any skin irritation or razor burn, and the scent was among the very best I’ve experienced from a shaving product. In fact, it was so wonderful, I finished things off with Trumper’s Lime Skin Food and Taylor’s No.74 Lime cologne for the full-on citric acid trip. Cue the Anton Karas..