October 3rd Updates 2014

So what’s new at WSP? Mostly soap news again. In today’s update: packaging & labelling, Pumpkin Spice soap, amazon update, the end to the introductory pricing.

Packaging & Labelling

I am still working on locating the rust proof tins. I’m even thinking about switching to plastic jars. But, some of you have told me you’d like waterproof labels. I can now tell you that they are in the pipeline.

In addition, I’ll be updating the labels to add some color. For example, lavender will be lavender and so forth. What I can’t figure out is: fougere noir, black amber & vanille, sandalwood & tobacco (what shade of brown (if any)). So, if anyone has any input, do let me know. Otherwise, they may stay black & white.

Pumpkin Spice

Ah, pumpkin spice. Smells like pumpkin pie. Perfect fall scent and it will be available just in time for Halloween.

Unfortunately, it contains cinnamon. And some people are allergic to it. Therefore, I only made a very small run of 50 pucks. Available early next week.

Now Available at Amazon & the webstore

Most of the best sellers are now available at amazon! Use the discount code: JRDFER3I for 40% off! Mahogany & Marrakesh are on their way.

All Good Things Must Come to an End

Finally, the bad news. The era of $6 soap will come to an end this month. Originally I was planning for the 15th, but it’s looking like it will happen closer to the 31st. So, sometime between those dates the price will go up. Get your orders in before then!

And sticking with the theme of things coming to a close, I will probably be ending the rose scent and replacing it with rose & sandalwood. Haven’t made any final decisions yet, but that’s where I’m leaning.

September 19th Updates

Back by popular demand, Black Amber Vanille & Tobacco have made a return. A limited run of 54 pucks may turn into a full-time spot on the team. They can be purchased here.

The rest of the news is likewise soap related. Not really much going on with anything else. But I did add facebook comment functionality to the website. New posts will have facebook comments enabled. You’ll have to click the title to bring it up.

Scent Strength Boost

Some of you have commented that some of the scents are weak. I am working on this. I’ve calculated that I can safely boost all scents by 10%. I have implemented this in all new batches.

As for particularly weak scents such as lavender & a few experimental ones, I am reviewing IFRA guidelines and seeing about lowering the mixing temperature to capture more scent in the soap itself. Future batches of lavender can be boosted 20%, so expect a stronger lavender in a month or two.

New Scents in the Works

Coffee – Enough people have expressed an interest in this scent that I’ve moved forward with trying to make it happen. Right now, I’m told the current formulation smells more like a “latte” or “Kahlua candy”. I guess that’s pretty good considering that the black coffee scent in soap is as elusive as a unicorn. I’ll have to think on this some more.

Let me know in the comments below, post on the facebook page, or via a message if you have any thoughts on the matter.

Lavender & Cedar – I’m not too sure about this one. While it smells great, it’s extremely faint. I’ll have to figure out how to keep more of the scent in the soap before I release it, if I release it. I’d like to hear more positive interest in the scent before I make a batch.

Bay Rum – Alright, I’m giving up on this scent for the time being. I can’t get it to smell right and I have other things that are demanding my attention. The latest formulations smell more like licorice. I might come out with a licorice scent, but not bay rum in the near future.

Gaelic (Green Irish) Tweed – Love this scent. Unfortunately it costs 50% more than any other scent, requires 50% more fragrance, and would likewise boost the price accordingly. So this one’s on hold for now.

Cool Water – Firstly, I can’t think of a good name for it. A puck for anyone who comes up with the final name. Secondly, just like GIT, it’s 50% more expensive & 50% more is required. Also on hold.

Lavender – Lavender has been reformulated. It now smells more like a pure lavender with a camphor scent.

Pumpkin Spice – This fragrance contains cinnamon. So, if you are allergic, do not rejoice. Sadly I found out that my face does react to cinnamon, but a couple of people have contacted me about this fragrance and assured me that they don’t react to cinnamon, so… I’ve decided to make a batch. It does smell great. Slight pumpkin in the background with a good cinnamon scent. Accented by pumpkin pie fragrances.

Rose & Sandalwood – Something I’ve been toying with on and off. I’ve got the mixture down and I think it smells great. Unfortunately, I don’t quite have the time to do anything more than that right now.

Colognes & Aftershaves

They are in the development. While I can mix colognes right now, I’m not too sure about how to ship it, or whether there’s enough interest. But the formula is pretty easy and I’ve been making some for local friends. Aftershave is still in the early stages of development.

Do let me know if you’d like to see any current scents as an aftershave.

Tins

I’m working on finding a rust-resistant version. No plans on using a different size.

Fougere Noir back in stock & other updates

fougere back in stock

What’s new this week?

Well, starting with the big news of the day, Fougere Noir is back in stock and available to order!

Continuing with the soapy news, I’m really enjoying making soap. It’s new and exciting. Anyway, some people have been wondering how long the soap will be at half the final retail price. Well, the answer is: as long as I can. I’ve ramped up production to full capacity. I cannot make any more soap per day than I am. However, so far I’ve been managing to keep up with demand and get a little ahead.

Old Scents

The latest news on scents is that Mahogany is saved from the axe. Black Amber and Vanille has received a temporary reprieve, and Tobacco is probably not going to come back for now.

Thanks to the feedback you have all sent in, Black Amber & Vanille will get a production run. But fear not Tobacco fans, I’ve still got a few pucks left and there’s still time to tell me how much you like it (or don’t like it). It can always come back at a later date.

Lavender. I’ve changed the formula to a straight Parisian lavender. Expect to see the pucks for sale in a few weeks.

New scents

Experimenting and finding new scents is challenging and fun. Albeit not good for the bottom line.

Bay Rum. This one is hard to pin down. I’ve tried three different suppliers and none of them exhibit the correct scent profile. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be much interest in the scent, and so I’ll be focusing my efforts on other scents. I did make a few pucks and some samples. Just pay shipping and let me know if it’s a good scent or not.

Pumpkin Spice. This one smells great. Unfortunately it contains cinnamon which can cause a reaction in some people. So, sadly, this one cannot be sold. I’ll see about finding a suitable replacement before Fall arrives.

Cool Water. The current sample batch just isn’t giving off a lot of scent. It has a lot of high notes, and they are just evaporating off and not sticking. I made a few samples (4) if anyone wants to try it for the heck of it.

Green Irish Tweed. Smells very close to the real thing. I like this one. I think I’ll call it Gaelic Tweed. It’s a little bit weaker, but the scent is still there in the shave.

Lavender & Cedar. This is a good blend of lavender & cedarwood. The lavender is present, but not overpowering.

I’ll be making larger batches of GIT & Lavender & Cedar in the upcoming days. For now, I’ve just got a few samples on hand.

Espresso. My final update. Espresso fragrance oil is just in. And surprisingly it actually smells like coffee. It has a nice nutty scent with a base of coffee. So, how about some coffee with your shave?

WSP Rustic Shaving Soap – The Story

WSP Rustic Shaving Soap is available here.

Ever since I started WSP, I’ve always wanted to offer a top shelf shaving soap. For the past three years, I’ve been focusing on other projects, expanding product offerings, & shoring up existing lines. This year (2014) I decided to devote my efforts towards creating a winning shaving soap formula. After many months of development & testing, I am proud to announce the introduction of WSP’s Rustic Shaving Soap line.

IMG_1710

 

In the Beginning

My early attempts at shaving soap were not so successful. The first attempt (2012) was a melt and pour shaving soap using the about.com recipe. The result was so mediocre/bad that it put a damper on any future attempts for a long time. Needless to say, about.com is not the best source of information even though it may be #1 in the search results. But, I did learn a few important lessons: 1) the addition of clay does not a shaving soap make; 2) a melt and pour base does not make a great shaving soap; 3) the addition of glycerin does not make a great shaving soap either; and 4) pre-made soap is expensive. At those prices I was better off going with an existing artisan soap.

So, the shaving soap was put on the back burner as WSP grew and called for increasing amounts of my time and attention. Soon enough, it was a forgotten dream. Over the next year or two I thought on and off about a collaboration with someone like Mike from Mike’s Natural Soaps. Other projects kept calling for my attention though.

And that’s where things stood until 2014. I finally found myself with extra time on my hands. I got the rest of the business under control and started taking another look at adding that elusive soap to the lineup.

Starting from Scratch

The first step was to just make some soap to get a feel for the process. All I knew was that the process required lye and most tutorials I’d read about the process in the past also involved a bucket, a drill, and a mold.

The first step was research. Lots and lots of research. Cold Process, hot process, croap, creams, liquid soap, KOH v. NAOH, tallow v. veggie oils, CPOP, HPOP, stick blenders, etc etc. There was a whole new vernacular to learn as well. And on top of learning to make the soap, there was still the additional problems of scenting the soap, forming pucks, & packaging. I did a lot of reading.

Step 2 was figuring out a recipe (more research). All I knew was that I wanted to use as little ingredients as possible and they should be easy to source.

What I found out about soap making is that there are plenty of not so good shaving soap recipes out there. In fact, the whole first two pages of Google results were uninspiring. So, I had to figure this whole thing out from scratch.

So, step 3 became figuring out how to formulate my own recipe from scratch. Which meant learning to use a lye calculator (soapcalc.net has a good one) and what each ingredient brings to the soap.

Crafting the Recipe

After a lot more research, I figured out how to read the numbers that the lye calcs spit out. Bubbly, creamy, cleansing, hard, etc. They’re all intertwined and interrelated. A fairly confusing mess without some knowledge of where the numbers even come from. And, even then, the numbers may not translate into the final product anyway. For example, you can make a perfectly good soap using 100% coconut oil with a 20% superfat. It has weird and crazy numbers, but I made a batch, and hell, it’s good soap!

Mixing a soap batch

Mixing a soap batch

So, the next step was to choose some oils. Easy right? Well, it would be if not for the list of a hundred oils with a million possible combinations. Another roadblock. So, I had to narrow the list. AKA, more research.

This basically involved reading dozens and dozens of shaving soap labels. Mass produced & artisan soap. The lowly Arko & Williams to the vaunted Martin de Candre. DR Harris, Trumpers, TOBS, Proraso, TFS, Mike’s, Mystic, Tabac, etc, etc. The takeaway: every recipe had stearic acid as one of it’s main ingredients. Every recipe used potash. So, something to start with.

I then determined that there are two basic types of recipes out there: vegetarian and tallow based. Since I didn’t want to mess around with beef fat, veggie it was!

Setting the Goal

I’ve tested a lot of soaps & creams in my wet shaving days. And for the most part, the tallow based soaps were top performers. Offering good protection, slickness, & ease of lather. While the Italian vegie croaps were just as good, there was only one real standout: Martin de Candre. Considered by many to be the holy grail of shaving soap, I set that as my target. If I could get a soap almost as good as MdC, I’d be very satisfied.

So, where to begin? Well, to be honest, I shot gunned it. I started with two divergent formulas and tested. Dropped the one that didn’t work. Rinse lather repeat.

Future labeling preview

Future labeling preview

Getting the Ratios Right

Long story short, about 30 reformulations later, I finally came up with a formula that I thought was pretty close. It was time to get some outside feedback. So, I sent out some samples.

Thanks to everyone who provided feedback on the soap! I incorporated all the suggestions that I could. Slicker & easier to lather being the main two. I landed on the formula that would make it to market.

The final step in the R&D process was to figure out how to scent the soap. Thankfully, it wasn’t too difficult. It mostly involved figuring out how to mix the fragrance in (I had to purchase some new tools). Now it’s down to settling on the final scents.

WSP Shaving Soap Update 7/30/14

Alright, I’m going to take a break from cooking soap for a couple of days and work on some other things. But here’s where the soap project is at so far:

Still working on sourcing a better bay rum scent. Do have 24 1oz samples made with a weak version.

V2 unscented pucks and samples have finished curing. I’ve got 6 pucks and 7 samples. Also ready are the aforementioned bay rum samples.

In the next couple of weeks the rest of the scents I cooked up will be ready. They include: Barbershop, mahogany, fougere noire, sandalwood, marrakesh, rose, black amber vanil, lavender, vetiver, & tobacco.

WSP Shaving Soap Update 1

So, I’ve been cooking soap lately. Lots and lots of soap. But that’s its own blog post. This post is about what’s coming down the pipeline.

  • New 1 oz sample sizes
  • Scents in development
  • Disaster
  • Unscented soap pucks should be ready soon

After seeing the tiny size of 1/2 oz tins, I’ve scratched those and have decided upon a full ounce size. The 4 oz tins measure 3.25″ in diameter and the 1 oz tins measure 2″ in diameter (the 1/2 oz tins are extremely tiny and too hard to use). Much easier to load and a lot bigger sample!

Scents are in the works! What scents you ask? Well, I’ve decided on offering the following for sure: Rose, Barbershop, Sandalwood, Marrakesh, & a lavender (once I find one). I’m experimenting with the following scents: Sweet Mahogany, Fougere Noire, Vetiver, and Bay Rum (can’t get it strong enough). I’m looking at trying an espresso scent.

Unfortunately, due to a brain fart (wrong formula) I had to trash three batches of samples of the rose, sandalwood, & Marrakesh scents. :( So, those scents are now one week behind. And to add to the delay, I managed to run out of some supplies as well. Should be here by the end of the day and I’ll be back to the lab cooking up more experiments!

On to the good news! The final version of unscented soap is almost ready! Just need to finish up the labels and list them for sale. Introductory price is as follows: $9 for a 125g puck (4.2oz); & $2.50 for a 1.2 oz sample. Flat shipping of $3.

FREE Soap Samples! Testers Wanted

That’s right, FREE! I’ve got 65 units of late prototype versions of WSP’s brand new Classic Shaving Soap. Vegan recipe. Ingredients as follows: Stearic acid, water, coconut acid, glycerin. Sound familiar? Well, it should. ;)

So what’s the catch? I need feedback and would like to use it if you don’t mind. I’ll be tweaking the final release formula based on the feedback received and am already working on some ideas given to me by earlier testers.

Please send comments & reviews to asharperrazor@gmail.com. Feel free to post about your experience as well. Any and all feedback is greatly appreciated.

So, if you want one, just click on the link below. You need to checkout with Paypal so I can get your mailing address, print a shipping label, and don’t run out of samples.

Update: The 1/2oz samples have “sold out”. I’m offering 3 4oz pucks to international testers at the cost of shipping ($15).

Safety Razors & Stubby in Blonde Badger Available!

WSP’s new safety razors have arrived! Okay, well, only a few (25) are available right this moment since I’m still working out the final details on packaging. These 25 will include just the razor at a discounted price of $24.95.

Check it out in the webstore!

What is blonde badger?

Blonde badger is so named because of the distinct blonde colored tips. The proprietary formulation combines soft tips with an exfoliating scrub to give you a unique shaving experience.

XD Knots

Stubby in Blonde Badger