Friday, 4 September 2015

Photo Gallery: South African Indigenous Wood Handles

We teamed up with a master wood turner South Africa to create some uniquely South African wood handle brushes and razors.  The first batch was made from a wood called Waboom (Wagon Tree). This a very special uniquely South African wood also known as Protea Nitida. It is the only Protea that grows into a tree with usable timber. It is named Waboom (Wagon tree) because in the in the old Ox-wagon days, the wood form this tree was used to make wagon wheels and brake blocks. This tree is now protected and wood stock is extremely rare to find. The grain pattern is distinct with extremely fine detail. It almost resembles snake skin.

These sets are made with African Blackwood. This is a wood that very highly sought after. 

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Product Review: Shaver Heaven Soap

Before we get into the review, just a short note about Shaver Heaven

Shaver Heaven artisan shave soaps have gained a great reputation in the traditional wet shaving community and are highly sought after.  The hallmarks of Shaver Heaven soap are high quality ingredients, great performance, and luxury scent profiles. 

Family owned and run in Melbourne, Australia (established in late 2014), the business was the brainchild of Anthony Macri (soap maker, manager, and wet shaving enthusiast). Their ultra high quality, handmade, artisan soaps have made a large impact in the traditional wet shaving world. These  soaps are made in small controlled batches to ensure high standards and top quality. All Shaver Heaven soaps are 100% vegan, and contain only the highest quality responsibly sourced ingredients. They are also paraben, SLS and phthalate free. 

Now onto the review

The shave soap comes in a 250 ml plastic tub with a screw top lid. Each tub is loaded with 150 grams of soap. This gives you ample room to get your brush in and work the soap. This was a very thoughtful touch and illustrates the fact that is soap is made by a fellow wet shaving enthusiast. 

For the purposes of this review we used the Desperado scent profile. This scent is described by Shaver Heaven as a leather scent which evokes the days of the cowboys and the wild west. I found this to be a very masculine scent with a notes of leather and a hint of smoke. 

In terms of texture, the soap is fairly soft. I used my High Mountain badger brush for this review (this is my 'reference' brush for all new soap testing). Loading the brush was quick and easy. I then lathered the soap directly on my face. This soap lathers up beautifully. The resultant lather was tight, creamy and very slick. Adding in a few drops of water along the way, just makes it better. The lather easily developed the snowy peaks and sheen coating that I look for. (I was having so much fun lathering this soap I almost forgot about shaving!). The lather sits on the face very easily and I felt no discomfort or irritation. 

Now onto the shave: I loaded up a Gillette Yellow blade into my Parker 99R DE safety razor and got to work. The slide and cushioning from the Shaver Heaven lather are fantastic. The blade glides easily over the skin and leaves a film of slickness that remains between passes. The lather was stable and did not dissipate or dry out over the course of my usual three pass shave. (although I ended up with enough lather for about 5-6 passes!) 

The skin care properties and post-shave feel of this soap are magnificent. I rinsed off with cold water and my skin felt baby soft. I almost felt like I did not need any after shave splash or balm. An excellent shave all around. 

In my humble opinion, a good lather is a key factor in the traditional shaving experience. Overall, I find this to be one of the best performing shave soaps we have tested. A top performer in all departments: Lather, Scent, Skin Care.  Highly Recommended!

* River Valley Trading is proud to be official stockists of Shaver Heaven soap in South Africa. 

For all your wet shaving needs check out our product listings on BidorBuy

Friday, 21 August 2015

Product Review: LEA Menthol Shave Cream

LEA shave cream is manufactured in Spain.  The company has been making skin care products since 1823 and has a great reputation amongst the Spanish wet shaving community. This is a review of the LEA Mentholated shave cream.

The cream comes in a 100ml metal tube with a screw top lid. The convenient 100ml size allows it to be taken as hand luggage on aircraft. 

 LEA Sensitive shave cream is a personal favourite here at RVT. The performance, scent and lather is excellent. I was keen to see if the mentholated version would match up.  I need not have worried. 

The added menthol enhances the scent profile of this cream. Similar notes to the LEA sensitive but somehow made a bit more intense by the menthol addition.  I squeezed out an almond size blob into my shave bowl and lathered it up with a damp badger brush. Wow! The lather is brilliant. Creamy, with a slick sheen. 

On the face you pick up the menthol cooling effect. It is not as strong as Godrej Blue, but the menthol is definitely noticeable. I was using a vintage straight razor for this test and there was excellent slide, protection, and cushioning. I had more than enough lather for three passes and the lather was stable throughout. 

My verdict: The great performance of LEA sensitive cream, with the extra 'zing' of menthol. A match made in heaven (for me). highly recommended.

For all your wet shaving needs check out our product listings on BidorBuy

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Product Review: Ach Brito Lavanda Shave Cream

Ach Brito Lavanda shave cream is manfactured in Portugal by the Ach Brito company (manufacturing high quality soaps for over a century).  They are swell known for their Mediterranean and fresh lavender scents. 

The cream comes in a high quality 100g metal tube with a screw top lid.  The tube uses a slightly narrower nozzle, but it does give slightly more control over how much you squeeze out (an almond size blob normally does the job nicely). The cream is Lavender scented and the formulation has a coconut oil base, and enriched with Lanolin and oat extract. I had good expectations for this cream because it comes form the same company that makes Top Secret cream (one of the slickest creams we have tested).

I soaked my badger brush in warm water and then decided to lather up. I wring out most of the water from the brush then add in more water as I need to the lather mix. I did notice that this cream does require a bit more water to get going but, once the mix is right, the result is a rich creamy lather. 

The lavender scent is not too strong, but is pleasant and fresh. The lather is very gentle on the face and I noticed no irritation at all. I was using a Fatip Grande razor for this shave and there was plenty of lather for three passes. The lather is stable and does not dissipate. I found the slickness and cushion to be very good and the shave experience to be very smooth. 

The highlight of this shave cream (for me) is the skin care property. After the shave my face felt very soft and smooth. 

Overall, I find this cream to be an excellent performer. Highly recommended. 

For all your wet shaving needs check out our product listings on BidorBuy

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Photo Gallery: South African Wood Handles

South Africa is home to some of the most beautiful wood types. Here is a photo gallery of some our custom turned wood handle razors and brushes: