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. 

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