To Scent Or Not To Scent? By Nick Sorrell.
I'll be discussing the importance of scent in a shave soap today, and just how big a part it plays in turning a good shave into an amazing shave.
For me, I started wet shaving from the age of 11. Back then I used a typical twin blade cartridge system (migrating to the Wilkinson Sword Quattro after some time), and a can of whatever was available to me at the time. I gave no consideration to the scent of the shaving foam as at the time, the cartridge system just did nothing for me, apart from cause discomfort, ingrown hairs and give me a very unpleasant shave. Fast forward many years and I returned to the DE system I tried a few times when I was knee high to a grasshopper. I found I started to enjoy the shave, and as a consequence, wanted to make it even more Zen like where possible.
One major aspect in achieving this was compiling a collection of scented soaps that matched moods, my favourite fragrances and more. There are quite a few ways you can choose a scent profile that suits your personal shave. My biggest factor (and indeed that of many) is to match your choice of soap to the season. Think cooling minted scents for a hot summers day that allow a fresh spring breeze to wash over your face during the shave.
The ideal soap from the Phoenix & Beau range in my humble opinion is Solaris, a slight bitter lemon aroma, quickly followed up by a sweet mint scent that cools pleasantly. For colder weather, lather up with a woody, musky scent that invokes feelings of a warm summers evening sitting in the dusky sunshine. Sanskrit offers that warmth via the pepper and sandalwood, with the cardamom offering a spicy undertone that invigorates the mind and spirit.
If you’re not quite sure what mood you are wanting to reflect in your shave, then Citra Royale is the perfect choice. Sharp lime punches through and wakens you, with the woody, peppery Litsea Cubeba giving that freshness that starts your day in the right way. The cedar offers a little something to the palette, bringing the other two scents together in sweet harmony.
You could also choose your soap based on the fragrance you choose to wear on any given day. Ensure you match the strongest notes of your soap with the fragrance of choice so that it compliments as opposed to fights the overall scent profile.
Remember, the scent of shaving soap is its single most subjective aspect, so what one person may welcome with open arms, another may find it entirely unpleasant. This is part of the joy of trying different soaps to find the ones that bring you sheer bliss during your shave. Don't be afraid to experiment, for you may just find something exquisite just around the corner, waiting to waft its way into your inner being, creating the perfect shave.
For those of you who struggle to match a soaps scent to your fragrance, if you have very sensitive skin, or simply want a scent free shave, that option is available to you as well. Phoenix & Beau Unscented was the first soap I tried from the new range, and believe you me, it had me from the first pass. Whilst it is unscented, it had an aroma that somehow took me back to my childhood.
To sum up this article, there is something for every mood, every occasion and indeed every type of shaver out there.