Thursday, 2 April 2015

Comparing the classics: Arko vs Tabac

Arko soap from Turkey is one of our favourites here at River Valley Trading. You can read our review here.

RVT crew member Riaz has done a comparison of Arko against Tabac.

"I was presented with a refill stick of Tabac as a gift. I have heard a lot of good things about this product. It's one of only 2  shaving sticks that I am aware of that you can buy off the shelves at a regular pharmacy or supermarket in South Africa (The other stick being the Williams)

The Tabac has a strong following so I was keen to give it a try. Its packaged well and once you take the foil wrapping off the smell is strong but pleasant. Like tobacco. Earthy.

I chopped it up into pieces and pressed it into a bowl . Its hard so it took some effort. I soaked my Muhle badger brush in some hot water and got rid of the excess. Put very little water in the bowl and started to work on it. I found the Tabac soap lathers up fast and easy. Nice and rich. I applied it to my face and it was time to shave. I use a Rimei razor (it's a Gillette Tech clone) which works really well.

My first impressions of the Tabac soap were positive. A good clean shave. Decent cushion and good glide. After the shave I lathered up again as is my standard practice to let the good stuff in the lather work on my face. My plan was to use the Tabac for a week and then the Arko for a week to do a fair comparison. I used the Tabac for 3 of consecutive shaves and then on the fourth I found that the soap was causing some irritation to my skin. I had to be sure it was the soap and not any other factor so I switched to Arko.

I was really surprised. I found the Arko lather had better cushion and glide , as well as better face care properties. After a week of clean shaves with the Arko I had no irritation at all. The only thing the Tabac had over the Arko was a better scent. However, I think the ingredients responsible for the distinct Tabac scent were not in agreement with my skin. This was rather unfortunate (for me).

Overall, the Tabac is a decent product but I found the Arko soap to be superior."  *

* Thanks to fellow wet shaver Riaz for taking the time to share his thoughts. As we say in the wet shaving community "YMMV - your mileage may vary". Everybody's skin is different, and the joy of traditional wet shaving is that you can find the right Razor / Soap / Blade / Brush combination that works best for you. Keep what works, and discard what does not. 

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

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Review: La Toja Sensitive Shave Cream

River Valley crew member Riaz has been kind enough to share his review of La Toja Sensitive shave cream: 

"I was given a sample of La Toja Sensitive. This a Spanish product. That’s about all I knew about it*.

It has a nice subtle clean scent. Nice pearly appearance. Put some in my bowl and started lathering up with my Muhle Badger brush. 

Lathering was nice and easy, I was not sure what to expect but I was pleasantly surprised. Good stuff off the bat. Great cushion and glide. After the shave I lathered up again and let it sit for about 1 minute then rinsed off. Went over my face with alum and was done . My face felt so good I needed no aftershave besides the Alum.

I have used the La Toja Sensitive now for 2 months. I am happy to report that its performance and face care properties are top notch. Definitely worth every cent.

I also did a comparison to a tried and tested work horse: Samsol.  After 3 consecutive shaves with the LaToja on the 4th shave I went to my reference point (Samsol). Samsol as usual is a great all round performer.

However, I have to admit that the La Toja is  better (marginally). Overall verdict: a great product!" 

*La Toja Sensitive cream comes in a high quality 150g sealed metal tube with a screw top lid.  The shave cream is manufactured in Spain and uses mineral salts from the famed hydro-thermal springs on La Toja Island. 

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