In today’s market there are so many chemicals in men’s grooming products that it’s hard to call them soaps, so what makes Stirling shaving soap any different?
Stirling Soap Company is a husband-and-wife-owned shop that started with the goal of making artisan soap that was natural, healthy, and affordable. Stirling shaving soaps let razors glide effortlessly across your skin while leaving post-shave skin hydrated. Their selection includes countless scents, so buyers can find exactly what they want.
Read on to learn more about Stirling Shaving Soap’s mission, quality, and values.
Is Stirling good for shaving?
When you’re facing the option of spending money on a new brand, you always feel like it’s a bit of a gamble.
When you evaluate a shaving soap based on a few basic criteria, it’s easier to decide whether it’s worth your money to try it out.
We’ll look at Stirling Shave Soap’s performance in the following areas:
- Ingredients – What does Stirling list in its shaving soaps? Are there any star components that make it different?
- Performance – How does it perform based on Stirling’s intended use?
- Cost – How much does it impact your wallet? What do you get for your money?
- Value – Despite the cost, what’s it worth? How long before you run out of soap?
- Availability – Is it hard to find? Does it have exclusive third-party partners that sell the product or can it be found around the internet?
For the sake of convenience, we will not be reviewing every single one of Stirling’s many shaving soap products. Instead, we’ll be reviewing Executive Man, a top-selling product.
With that out of the way, let’s get into it.
Stirling Soap Company markets itself as a seller of real soap, as opposed to manufacturers that use detergents and other chemical cleansers, but do they really stand up to their promise?
Stirling Soap Company’s shaving soaps have the required ingredients to be regulated as a true soap, unlike larger cosmetic and drug companies’ cleansers that are simply marketed as cleansers. In short, this all-natural shaving soap is more likely to reinforce your skin’s natural oils rather than strip them.
In one of their best-selling shaving soaps, Executive Man, we found a mix of alkali salts like potassium hydroxide and sodium hydroxide combined with a fatty acid like beef tallow to make their soap base.
A few other important ingredients include:
- Lanolin – Lanolin is an oil that is not necessarily a fat because it lacks triglycerides. That being said, it’s a great way to soothe dry or dehydrated skin, but people with wool allergies should avoid it.
- Castor Oil – A component of the castor bean, castor oil is used as a soft, anti-bacterial agent that can be great for acne-prone skin. It also helps the skin retain moisture.
- Distilled Water – This pure form of water is fully safe and clean as opposed to other waters that may have heavy metals or harsh qualities.
- Shea Butter – One of the best natural moisturizers, Shea Butter is a terrific product to find in your shaving soap.
- Sodium Lactate – A natural liquid product derived from corn and beets, it can be added to lye water to assist with the soap hardening process. This helps create the puck shape we all come to expect from shaving soaps while also adding slight humectant and preservative properties.
Based on these ingredients, what sort of performance can you expect from a Stirling shaving soap?
The most significant downside we saw from thousands of reviews was that some people either didn’t like a particular scent or fragrance or struggled to work the soap into a lather. However, the majority of people loved the scents and had zero issues. It’s hard to say whether these complaints are due to production or user error.
Stirling Soap Company says you can create your lather straight out of their shave soap container, but some reviewers disagreed. They said the container is small and prone to messes, which may be a turn-off if you’re used to self-contained tubs.
Additionally, reviewers can’t seem to say enough about how Stirling shave soaps protect their skin from their razors. We believe the Lanolin and Castor Oil give the soap a unique ability to create a strong barrier between your skin and blade edge. However, sensitive skin users may want to be wary of Lanolin. Lanolin is an irritant that people with wool allergies should avoid.
Between high-end and every-man brands, where does Stirling Soap Company fall?
There are certainly cheaper options on the market, but those cost-effective brands don’t always call themselves artisan. Stirling’s artisan shave soap lands itself around the middle of the market on cost.
A sample 1 oz puck is $4.10, 5.8 oz shave jar is about $14, and a 4.5 oz refill is $11.25.
Additionally, when reviewing national and international resellers, most sell the 5.8 oz jar for a similar $14 to $15 USD price.
While that is not anywhere near the top of the list, there are certainly less expensive shaving soaps on the market.
Considering cost without value would only show you half of the picture.
Stirling has a lot of love for the product’s impact on people’s skin during and after the shave. Their ingredients are environmentally friendly and safe, which is what you’d expect from a shaving soap as opposed to shaving foams or gels.
Stirling is also a small business, not a mega-corporation like the purveyors of the most popular shaving creams.
Beef tallow, while certainly a downside for people looking to avoid animal products, certainly has its benefits. It’s a great preservative, and Stirling has combined it with vegetable glycerin to strengthen its shelf life. After 5 to 6 months, you may want to check in with the color and smell of your soap to ensure it’s still good to use.
Remember, always store your soap in a cool, dry space to ensure you get the full value!
People can subscribe for monthly delivery, find online, or buy in a local store, so availability is a rather complex question.
While you can buy Stirling shave soaps online through several resellers, you can’t buy Stirling shaving soap on Amazon. Resellers offer their products all over the world; however, Stirling doesn’t ship internationally. The business doesn’t list resellers in all 50 U.S. states, but they’re in the majority of them (especially their home state of Arkansas.)
Check their store locator if you have any specific questions about locations near you. They have an excellent 3-5 day shipping promise and alerts for any complications, both of which ensure a level of purchase certainty for online customers.
All of this is to say that Stirling isn’t the easiest to buy from, but it’s not incredibly difficult if you know what you’re getting. People interested in trying out the product should certainly research the brand – or keep reading our guide – to know what they’re getting.
Who makes Stirling shaving soap?
Stirling Soap Company’s story is admirable and has an entrepreneurial spirit.
Americans Roderick and Amanda Lovan began their business in 2012 after a trip to Scotland left them looking for natural and pure products for their bodies. As they researched soaps, they felt they could impact the market on a larger scale. Their goal is to sell cost-conscious and safe soaps in good quantities.
They also aim to create products as environmentally conscious and sustainable as possible, which will be reassuring to certain buyers.
How do you lather Stirling shaving soap?
Every soap lathers differently, so what’s the best way for Stirling?
We recommend using your own setup with warm water for Stirling shaving soap. Their shaving soap is marketed as something that can be lathered in its own container, but some reviewers have complained that the container was too small to create a good lather.
This means it’s likely that the lather may escape, fall onto your hands, or get messy during the process. Additionally, some men said they worked on their lather before they got the consistency they wanted.
Do you really need a shaving bowl? Find out in this article!
Lathering is one of the most important aspects of the wet-shaving ritual, especially when making multiple passes for the closest shave. Especially for first-time shavers, make sure you have control when you work up your lather.
Is Stirling shave soap tallow based?
Tallow is an ingredient that every veteran wet-shaver has an opinion on.
Stirling shaving soap is made with tallow, specifically beef tallow. Tallow is the source of fat in the soap that – mixed with the alkali salts – creates the soap’s ability to clean. Many manufacturers and shaving soap users swear by beef tallow because of the nutrients that are imparted to your skin when applying the shaving soap.
Soap manufacturers can also use alternatives like palm and coconut oil instead of beef fat to create tallow, but they may not hold their form as well as beef tallow. Additionally, many people believe that beef tallow has a longer shelf life.
Like in many things with shaving, I believe some of these interpretations differ from shaver to shaver.
Is Stirling shave soap triple-milled?
Triple-milled shave soaps make products incredibly hardy, but is Stirling’s shave soap triple-milled?
As best we could tell, Stirling Soap Company does not triple-mill their shave soaps (although they do not specifically say they do or do not triple-mill.) Triple-milling is an expensive process that not many soap manufacturers invest in. You end up with a truly hard soap, with no air pockets or impurities, meaning it will last for a long time.
Many soap manufacturers avoid triple-milled soap because it’s a hard process to master. Your triple-milled soap can become dry and brittle if you aren’t careful. So we understand it’s not for every soap manufacturer.
That being said, a perfectly made triple-milled soap is worth the investment to many wet-shavers.
What fragrances are available with Stirling shave soaps?
Some shaving soap shops have a few scents and some have an almost countless supply to choose from, well Stirling Shaving Soaps falls under the latter category.
Stirling has made sure their shaving soap shoppers have plenty of options. At the time of writing, there were more than 92 shave soap options. They constantly have scents being produced and discontinued depending on the availability of the scents, time of year, and popularity.
From easily recognizable fragrances like Almond Creme and Hot Apple Cider to more exotic options like Electric Sheep, Executive Man, and Margaritas in the Arctic, there are so many things to explore and discover at Stirling.
We want to think that a man could buy one of these shaving soaps and never run into another man who has tried the same scent. If you’re overwhelmed by the options, Stirling does offer a handy 5-pack of 1 oz samplers where you can pick your own scents.
Stirling shaving soap vs. other brands
With so many types of shaving soaps, where does Stirling shaving soap fit in the market compared to other brands?
Stirling is a bit more expensive but is the right price for an artisan soap. For many men looking for a superior shave, Stirling created a shave soap that they proudly stand behind. With countless scents, it will be easy to find a Stirling shaving soap that will satisfy any wet shaver.
Their goal was to create a more cost-effective product but didn’t compromise on quality. They want it natural and they want it made well.
Now, let’s see how Stirling compares to other market brands
Men’s Soap Company
Another small business soap company, Men’s Soap Company has a quality shave soap that is great for people with sensitive skin.
People have a lot of good things to say about Men’s Soap Company like it’s great at rehydrating skin, although others said the lather disappeared quickly. However, Men’s Soap Company only has four scents as opposed to the nearly 100 scents offered by Stirling.
While they may not have as many scent options available, they offer a main container, soap refill, and travel size pucks.
Their products are all priced similarly to Stirling.
Sir Hare Shaving Soap certainly matches Stirling’s artisan ideal.
They only have four shaving soap scents, but boast being one of Amazon’s top 10 shaving soaps with more than 1,000 reviews. Their pricing is similar to Stirling, meaning it’s a bit more expensive than others on the market, but you’re getting a labor of love from top to bottom.
Their recipe includes sunflower, grapeseed, and coconut oils, likely leaving your skin feeling wonderful.
Stirling shaving soap alternatives
If you’re looking for alternatives to Stirling shave soap or just want to know what else is out there, there are plenty of other brands on the market.
Popular alternatives to Stirling Shaving Soap are:
- Barrel & Oak
- Men’s Soap Company
- Sir Hare
- Gentleman Jon
From shave soaps in a similar artisanal price range to others that are more highly manufactured, there’s the right shave soap for every buyer. Keep reading to find the right one for you!
Barrel & Oak
Gentlemen’s Hardware is a men’s fashion and grooming company based out of Nashville, Tennesse; their flagship grooming brand is Barrel & Oak.
With a select few scents, Barrel & Oak’s shave soap has made a splash receiving great reviews for a company that doesn’t exclusively specialize in grooming. They’re still a growing brand but have received accolades from several prominent magazines.
Their 3.15 oz puck can be found on Amazon for about $13.95 USD, which is close to Stirling’s cost. That being said, Stirling provides more soap in their offerings at that price point, so you may still receive more bang for your buck with Stirling.
Men’s Soap Company
Men’s Soap Company’s Himalaya jar shave soap comes in a 4 oz container and has received thousands of positive reviews on various websites.
Men’s Soap Company shave soap is made with natural, vegan ingredients. The vitamin E helps create a thick soap lather. Despite their great reviews, like many shaving soaps, there are a few reports of people having difficulty lathering.
Additionally, while many people reported a great shave from this product, both clients with and without sensitive skin, reported difficulty with the product. If you have sensitive skin, we recommend reviewing your current shave soap and comparing it to Men’s Soap Company’s ingredient list to see if it’s a match.
GBS Men’s Sandalwood shaving soap is a cheaper option that still can leave your skin feeling hydrated.
Their puck boasts a Shea Butter base that makes a natural moisturizer. Their 3 oz puck should last more than 80 shaving sessions and costs just $6.59 USD.
With a classic sandalwood scent, this shaving soap will leave you smelling great.
Sir Hare’s Barbershop shave soap has an iconic mascot, a dapper rabbit, that you may have seen before and remembered.
Not only does its marketing effectively describe this great product, but it has also greatly impacted the wet shave market with its artisan shave soaps. At a reasonable $14.99, this small-business shop ships worldwide and has a 30-day money-back guarantee.
With a tallow base and glycerin support, you can be certain that this soap will last for several months.
Gentleman Jon’s Sandalwood Glycerine Shave Soap comes as a cost-friendly product that has made its way to the top ten of Amazon’s men’s shaving soaps.
With thousands of five-star reviews, Gentleman Jon’s shave soap still manages to price itself at $7.99 for a 2.25 oz puck. Many people enjoy the puck, but it is difficult to find a complete list of ingredients, making it hard to recommend to customers with more specific tastes.
That being said, if you’re lucky enough to have no ingredient restrictions, it’s likely a great shave soap that will serve you well for months.