Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Omega’s Mighty Midget, Martin de Candre, and the OneBlade

with 2 comments

Omega’s badger-and-boar combo brush is a might nice little guy. I think it’s (for me) one of the “standard” brushes any well-stocked shaving cabinet should have. I soak it (because of boar) and it works up a good lather immediately and holds plenty. And the lather today was excellent. This is the Martin de Candre regular shaving soap, with a lavender, mint, and rosemary fragrance (much the same as Nancy Boy, now that I think of it). I also had a tub of the fougère fragrance (which they call “fern” on their English-language page), but like the original fragrance better. I find MdC to be a terrific shaving soap. I recall when we in the US were just starting to hear about it, with the fear that what we heard was hype. So I bought a tub, tried it, and found it was the read deal: a really excellent shaving soap. It doesn’t have the exotic ingredients of today’s artisanal soaps (it’s basically stearic acid and coconut oil), but it does make a lovely lather and has its own intriguing backstory: “boiled in seawater,” “dates back probably to 1890!” …

Well, not so much: it dates back to 1980, and no mention of seawater in the current description. I did find this comment from stringbag on Reddit: “Martin de Candre and Marseille soaps in general use a fully boiled method of production, precipitating the soap out of solution using salt. Martin de Candre claim to use sea water for this purpose.” But when asked to verify the seawater, claim he couldn’t find it. He noted, “I can tell you that Marseille soap is traditionally made with seawater, and MdC is a Marseille soap maker that happens to make a few shaving soaps.”

James Woods at Bearded Blade has a good write-up of the shaving soap, and Martin de Candre’s own story is  as follows:

The Original or the first Martin de Candre Shaving Soap, the one we created in the 1980s. The discreet and elegant freshness of its perfume made from Lavender essential oils, Mint and Rosemary, was immediately successful! Within a few years, it has become the flagship product of Savonnerie … A beautiful story!

It is called “Original”, from the Latin “originalis” that we can translate as: “which was not made according to a model and which serves or will serve as a model” … It is the figurehead Martin de Candre shaving soaps.

The main advantages of MdC shaving soap:

A hot saponification, made by us in our workshop, with 100% vegetable oils (olive, copra) and potash (Alcali). Our 40 years of experience allow us to guarantee perfect control of this process.

– A fully hot saponified paste guarantees an excellent conservation, without the addition of any preservative.

– At the end of the cooking process, we add in the still hot paste essential oils which allows us to perfume our soaps at their very heart.

Weeks of drying, so that the soap loses weight, its water. Taking the time to dry the soap is a “madness” when today, everything must go very fast … but there is no secret: the paste and the perfume are greatly improved!

-A brand product, made by a French craftsman, a luxurious product … and yet one of the most economical: it lasts a good year according to your feedback and comments.

-And finally let’s talk about its lather:

The lather takes shape quickly, under the beautiful gestures of the shaving brush, you get a smooth shave, very close, and without skin aggression. The lather is abundant, it “sticks” to the skin: we get on the face like a soft and unctuous cream. This lather is really beautiful but YOU are undoubtedly speaking about it better than anyone!

The lather (which for some reason they call “foam”—I edited that passage) really is excellent, and because it is so good I was able to let it pile up on the OneBlade and do one rise per pass after all. I don’t know that I could do that with every lather, but with this morning’s MdC lather, it was easy—although there seemed to be a lot of lather gathered there on the single-sided razor.

I can see that a blade change is needed. I got an excellent shave, but it required more work and polishing that yesterday’s shave, and it seems definitely time to change the blade. The ideal would be one shave per blade: $1/day for the blade. And I can see the appeal of the razor: it really is exceptionally comfortable, and the “automatic transmission” aspect—the pivoting head—means you can just glide through the shave with long, swooping strokes.

A splash of l’Occitane Verbena as aftershave carried through the French theme and left me feeling great and ready for the day.

Written by Leisureguy

31 October 2019 at 10:47 am

Posted in Shaving

2 Responses

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  1. Michael, I had an outstanding shave this morning from my Merkur Vision 2000, with the lather made with distilled water.

    I realize the Vision 2000 has fallen from your favor and I understand the reasons for that. The distilled water trick I learned from you.

    Every morning “at the sink” is an ongoing education! I’m reminded of that daily as I read your shaving blog, and also when I consider my own shaving experiences.


    Steve Riehle

    1 November 2019 at 9:29 am

  2. I really loved the Vision when I first started using it, and I particularly like the acoustics which clearly amplified the sound of stubble being cut. I recall writing that it was like the distant sound of elephants tearing through dry underbrush, thinking of the Vision’s massiveness. A great razor but not designed for ease of maintenance, which was a fatal flaw. Truthfully, I found its shave better than that of the Rockwell Model T (which is designed for ease of maintenance).



    1 November 2019 at 12:18 pm

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