Martin de Candre shaving soaps are thought by many to be the very best shaving soaps in the world.
Their first shaving soap ‘Original’ launched in the 1980s and to this day Original is their flagship soap, it’s discreet and elegant perfume is made from lavender essential oils, mint and rosemary.
Since then they have introduced Fougere, Nature (unscented), Vetiver, Agrumes (lemon, grapefruit and bergamot) and Rose.
We have to go back to 1974 when a French family founded the company and using old French soap making traditions produced a small range of handmade, artisan face and body soaps according to the Marseille process. Soaps made by the Marseille process are made from vegetable oils.
In the 1980s they launched their Original Shaving Soap which soon gained a reputation in France for its beautifully scented, abundant, moisturising and protective lather. Gradually, this shaving soap gained an international reputation despite it being only readily available in France.
I had been aware of Martin de Candre shaving soaps for a few years and in 2017 I reached out to them asking if we could stock their soaps. They declined but promised to get back to me sometime in 2018. Meanwhile, my wife for Christmas bought me an Original shaving soap online direct from Martin de Candre and after using it a few times I knew we had to get this brand onboard.
Eventually, Agustin who runs the company agreed to a trade deal and within a week or two we were selling the shaving soaps online. Since then, we have introduced a small range of Face & Body Soaps, a Cologne and an Eau de Toilette in addition to the shaving soaps.
I use my Original shaving soap maybe twice weekly and more than two years on it still has around two months daily use left in it. To begin with, the puck is very hard and for easy lathering, I diagonally scored the surface of the soap with a kitchen knife, I then filled the glass jar with warm water and then closed the lid, I then showered and by that time the surface of the soap was soft enough for lathering up direct from the jar. As time has passed, the soap no longer needs to be softened. A few swirls in the jar with my brush picks up sufficient soap for me to face lather and get the rich, creamy consistency I like. The scent, two years on is as pungent as it was in Christmas 2018. The soap delivers exceptional razor glide no matter how heavy my growth is. The image of the used soap jar is mine, shame it’s almost finished, I’ll need to buy another…
Mileage varies depending on how greedy your shaving brush is, how many passes you do, the water quality where you live and even your beard type but I reckon most men will get around 16 months daily use from a Martin de Candre 200ml shaving soap. This works out at approximately 0.09 pence per shave and I think that’s pretty good value for money for such a high quality, handmade item.
For me, I have since bought Rose, I have used it a few times, it benefits from the same lathering power as Original the only difference seems to be the scent which is punchy and herbaceous, being rose-scented I had expected a more subtle scent. For me, the scent is ideal and suitable for all seasons.
in a nutshell, if the budget can stretch for a Martin de Candre shaving soap, don’t hesitate – buy one!
Written by Brian Mulreany
Prices correct at 6th February 2020.