Anyone who frequently visits Shaving 101 knows that I love Tabula Rasa, a unique product between a soap and a cream, so I was curious to try this Italian-made soft soap. Some reviewers have said that they use this product as a shaving cream, while others claim that it works better as a soap. In order to demystify the Valobra Soft Shaving Soap, this article shares my experiences and recommendations when shaving with this unique product.
In 1903 Virgilio Valobra began manufacturing high-quality soaps in Genova, Italy, a seaport city in the heart of the Riviera Region known for the master soap manufacturers of the 18th century. With access to ingredients from around the world, Valobra began using virgin coconut oil from an island in the Indian Ocean, and the company continues to include it in its soap today. The company still uses ancient methods and formulas to produce its line of soaps, including seasoning pure soap base for six months, milling the soap six times with oils and vitamins, and hand wrapping each bar with original vintage packaging.
The Valobra Soft Shaving Soap is packaged in a simple cardboard box. When you first open the box and unwrap the soap, the almond scent is nice and noticeable. This scent sets apart from other almond-scented products because it is a more natural almond fragrance that is not overly sweetened or artificial smelling.
Although the soap comes in a bar, the consistency is like soft putty. It is soft and malleable like Play-Doh. The texture of this product is unique because the soap can be stored in any container without being heated or melted. It easily forms into any mug or bowl of your choice by just pressing the soap with your fingers. Unlike Tabula Rasa that is also a soft soap, the almond-scented Valobra soap is more firm and cannot be scooped out and built into a lather in the same way as a shaving cream. Instead, Valobra should be molded into a container, where it can be lathered like a hard soap. A low-end bowl is fine for storing this inexpensive soap; mine is kept in a small Ziploc Container.
The soft texture of the soap allows it to lather very easily. I soaked the shaving brush, shook out excess water, loaded the brush by swirling it on the soap, and finished building the lather on my face. Unlike other difficult-to-lather products that require experimentation to get a proper lather, this shaving soap easily creates a thick lather with any technique. The lather was not as lubricating as other shaving soaps on the market, so the blade did not always glide comfortably along the skin. As a result, there were a few areas where I could feel some roughness from the blade. In general, however, the lather is rich and it performs well for most of the shave. It also remains stable throughout the shave and does not have a tendency to collapse or dry out, so it is useful for both safety and straight razor shaves.
After the shave, the soap rinses away clean without leaving any fragrance behind. My skin didn’t feel overly moisturized, but it didn’t feel dry either. This is not a soap that has great moisturizing or skin nourishing properties; however, the Valobra soap left my skin feeling fine. I recommend following up with a quality aftershave for best results.
The Valobra Soft Shaving Soap is a solid-performing soap at a very inexpensive price. For around $12 USD, you get a soap that smells nice, lathers easily, and can be conveniently stored in any container without having to shred or melt it. Valobra is a brand that should be considered if you are looking for an economical soap or a nice almond-scented product for a change of pace in your daily rotation.