WSR News

Ballenclaugh Soaps – The Woodsman

For those not familiar with Ballenclaugh Soaps, they’re handmade in small batches by Chris Bartek at his home in Nebraska. Many months ago, I had  purchased Ballenclaugh’s Cherries in the Chamber, which is outstanding and was among my favorites at the time. After months of purchasing soap after soap, I frankly forgot about Ballenclaugh. My Cherries in the Chamber just got buried beneath my newer acquisitions, out of sight and forgotten. Well,  I recently rediscovered Cherries in the Chamber and was anxious to use it,  remembering how much I loved that Tobacco & Cherry scent. Needless to say, I really enjoyed it and glad to have been reacquainted with Ballenclaugh Soaps.  When you’re a small soap maker, it’s easy to get overshadowed by the ‘Big Guys’. I believe Chris is a part-time hobbyist / soap maker  with really no marketing or functional website at this time.   The marketing has mostly been word of mouth, along with people sharing their thoughts through the various forums. There’s so much hype and fanfare with other artisans, it’s easy to get lost among all the choices and countless soaps.  His soaps are really good folks and deserve a look!




The packaging is nothing fancy, It’s just functional. The soap comes in a screw top plastic container with no product description other than what is imprinted in black on lid. The sides are wrapped in twine to give it a rustic, woodsy feel. Personally, I can do without the twine, but who cares. It’s all about the soap. The first impression was WOW, this is different… a good different.  I never smelled anything like this before and I liked it a lot. Anyone who knows me, knows that I prefer a strong scented soap. A fragrance that I can smell while lathering and enjoy throughout the shaving process.  This didn’t disappoint and in fact, The Woodsman had a wonderful scent of Pine, that was strong and masculine with a hint of citrus. A perfect match, as the citrus subdued and mellowed the pine tar.  As you can see, I created a really nice thick and creamy lather. In my opinion, this soap also provides great protection with a nice glide, slickness and staying power. It didn’t dissapate at all. I also found that the formula was spot -on for it’s nourishing post shave feel. Perhaps this is a combination of the standard Ballenclaugh ingredients and numerous medicinal properties of Pine Tar. From the little research I have done on pine tar, I understand that pine tar soap goes back centuries and it’s great for your skin & hair. It’s been reported that pine tar possesses antiseptic properties and can be used as an anti-bacterial & anti-fungal agent. Pine wood also retains its oil during the carbonization process, so pine tar is also effective as a skin moisturizer.  Needless to say, for me, the medicinal properties is just an added bonus to a terrific soap. This is among the best lathering soaps I have used in a long time. To further illustrate this and to prove to myself that the first lather was not a fluke, I tried a second lather with my Plisson Synthetic and the results were identical. Outstanding!!!



Ballenclaugh Soaps Standard Ingredient List:

Saponified oils of Camellia Seed
Kokum Butter
Palm Kernel oil
Soy Bean Oil
Shea Butter
Beef Tallow
Stearic Acid
Tussah Silk
Bentonite Clay
Sodium Hydroxide
Potassium Hydroxide
Essential oils of :
Pine Tar
* First lather was done with a Nathan Clark Custom 24mm Silver Tip Brush
* The second lather was done the following day using my L’Occitane Plisson Synthetic Brush
Feel free to contact Chris via his Facebook page here:
Written by Peter Charkalis

Week 3 Petal Pusher Fancies Raffle !

Welcome one and all ! Gather round as week 3 of the Wet Shaver Reviews Vendor of the Month has graciously offered yet another amazing week of fun trivia, and a prize that is truly one to strive for ! This week we all have the opportunity to win a tin of Ciderhouse-5 ! This 2014 release will be available at the end of this week so the winner will be among the first to have this amazing soap. In my opinion this soap defines the season, and living in the north east I can attest this is the smell of apple orchards, and the smell of autumn. A top performer not only by my standards but in competitions ! Which leads me to how do you get entered ! Again Frances has made this raffle very accessible, and easy to enter. Please as always only reply to me Aaron Schecter and there are to be no comments on the pinned post itself or, unfortunately this will disqualify you from the drawing. The drawing is open until 11:59 PM Saturday the 25th of October one day more than normal with the drawing on the 26th of October in the evening. Good luck to all !!


  1. What kind of “Flower” is the PPF man on their homepage and on some of the soap ?
  2. What “kind” of Bicycle does the “Flower” ride ?
  3. Who invented that “type” of Bicycle ?
  4. This is a two part question. Both questions are regarding the Soap off in 2013. What score did PPF get with Ciderhouse-5 both overall and secondly in Performance ? This is a two part answer. To find the answer you must visit our friend Mantic59’s website the Sharpologist and the answers are there.

I wish EVERYONE good luck again this is open to ALL members of the WSR and is international and CONUS so everyone may enter just please do so by the raffles deadline.  Enjoy !!! and have fun. – Aaron

Petal Pusher Fancies Week 2 Raffle

Ladies and Gents ! I am really excited to announce the second Petal Pusher Fancies raffle on the Wet Shaver Review ! This week one lucky winner will be the recipient of 2 awesome prizes ! First off you will win a puck of PPF’s “Speakeasy” which; is one of the “new” offerings from PPF. Petal Pushers Fancies has not released a new scent in a long time and the first reports are amazing for this soap ! The winnings do NOT end there ! You will also win a stick of “Steam River Rum” Deodorant ! I love PPF’s deodorants and they are all I personally use. They all contain live enzymes to eat your stink away and are as always made organically !! This is a great week to enter a raffle if I do say. So what do you have to do ? Between us I think these raffle questions are too easy, but Frances wants you to become educated and to spread the word Petal Pusher Fancies is out with NEW scents ! So here are those questions, and as always answer only to me, Aaron Schecter.  Do NOT post in the comment box in the Facebook site under the pinned post as this will automatically disqualify you. So here are the questions.

Okay 5 simple questions to answer to become entered ! most of which can be found right on the PPF website.

1- What order are the Kokum butter soaps listed on the drop down menu ?

2- How many sizes do PPF soaps come in ? and what sizes are they ?

3- What is used to tint the Dandy Candy Moustache wax ?

4- What are the available colors for the Dandy Candy Moustache wax in the tinted line ?


Seriously that is all ! I cant even believe it ! so let the fun begin and again PM me directly this is an International affair and NOT CONUS only !!! so I hope to see some international entry’s. the deadline for submission is Friday October 17th, 2014 and 11:59 PM, and the winner will be announced by Sunday the 19th. Good luck to all that enter.


Week 1 raffle Petal Pusher Fancies !

Ladies and Gents ! We have our first weekly raffle from Petal Pusher Fancies ! Frances first of all is making it very clear that this is a worldwide event ! CONUS does NOT apply here ! This is a very fun educational and light hearted raffle that will leave you with a little better understanding of both soap making and the specifics of her brand Petal Pushers Fancies. Now no answers are on her website, but I do recommend you become acquainted with it for the future upcoming weeks and for that matter take a look around ! So what is for raffle

The Winner of this raffle will win themselves a large tin of Briar Soap ! This is an amazing soap and unfortunately was discontinued, so this is a special prize to say the least !

PPF new w website

To become entered there are 4 questions all of which are easily obtainable. Please PM me Aaron on the WSR Facebook page only and do not post anything in the comment boxes or, that will disqualify you immediately from the contest. So here are the questions.

1. There are two forms of Lye what are they ?

2. What are the chemical names of both of these forms of lye ? think periodic table of elements.

3. What Lye makes a “croap” ?

4. Where in the world does Kokum come from and name one other use for Kokum besides our soap ?


That is it folks, al of these questions are very obtainable. The deadline for entry will be noon EST on Friday October 10th, 2014 and the winner announced between the 10th and 12th when the next raffle is announced. Good luck to everyone !

October 2014 Vendor of the Month “Petal Pusher Fancies”

Ladies and Gents gather around ! Fall is upon us, and I am very happy to have this months Vendor of the Month with us as this is an exclusive for Petal Pusher Fancies and the Wet Shaver Review ! Frances Towle has been in the artisan scene longer than most by a long margin and makes some of the best organic soaps, moustache waxes, removers, deodorants as well as other products ! A little about this dynamic woman behind one of the best artisan companies around In her own words ” Somewhere in the Western Deserts of the United States a mild mannered acupuncturist found herself, up till this point, chasing mirages, and never finding that oasis.

I had been looking all over the world for products like the ones you will find here. Handmade, carefully crafted products, good for your body, mind and spirit!

I grew up in a family where the kitchen was a place of crafty inspiration! My father created a lotion specifically to help heal and protect horses hooves. I remember wanting to help out in any way I could as I watched my dad cook lotion on the kitchen stove. Little did I know these early experiences would someday help me create Petal Pusher Fancies.

I had been practicing acupuncture for many years until I finally needed to give into my creative side and try my hand at soap making. The rest is history.

Welcome to Petal Pusher Fancies, I am at your service!



Let’s welcome a wonderful lady, and an amazing artisan for many products Frances from Petal Pusher Fancies !!


Week 3 and Final Synergy raffle !

Ladies and Gents this is it the final week of the Synergy soaps, How to grow a moustache and our time with the man himself Douglas Smythe. This last week I am envious of ! again very easy to enter and I do keep all entrants in a file though you do not see it published. I want to also take a minute to assure everyone last weeks raffle was not forgotten, being I was sick… I did not do the winning video, I will be drawing both winners for both weeks on the same video. So without further ado here is the final week and what need be done to be entered !

First off what do you win ?

The winner of this weeks raffle will win a tin of the Limited edition Steeplechase Sport ! This was a limited edition so aside from a BST there is no other way to get this soap. Autumn Factory the scent behind the seasonal Pumpkin 3.14 is also on the table ! This is a wonderful Aftershave and I personally own this and this years Pumpkin 3.14 and it is outstanding ! SO Steeplechase sport and a bottle of Autumn Factory for one winner, and this is INTERNATIONAL !!! all members abroad from the USA can enter your aftershave will be alcohol free in order to be able to ship and get it through customs etc.

So what do you need to do ???

There are now pushing 40 Moustache and Blade episodes

1- List 20 M&B guests in any order just list 20 guests that were on the show.

2- On September 6th how fast did CaD sell out ? This was a very announced time as it was so fast…. this was the first official release of CaD.

3- What 2 original Synergy soaps have been discontinued, and which Synergy 2.0 soaps are the newest.


This weeks raffle will take a bit of typing but is actually pretty easy and most can be found right on the site or, on the Wet shaver review Facebook group using the search feature.


Good Luck to all and remember this is international and open to ALL member so please enter !

This raffle starts today September, 24th and will be drawn on October 1st, 2014 when the new vendor steps in ! Please PM me Aaron the answers to the raffle and nothing in the body of the Facebook comments or, this will disqualify you from entry. Thanks again and good luck to all !! – Aaron

Week 2 of the HTGAM / WSR vendor of the month raffle !

Welcome one and all ! Gather around Ladies and, Gents we are here week number two of the Wet Shaver Review and How to Grow a Moustache / Synergy raffle for the Vendor of the month Mr. Douglas Smythe has generously offered to our online community ! Yes this is the new face of how these raffles will go out to our members on the Wet Shaver Review, but instead of things getting lost over time in the shuffle here it remains permanent. I hope that hold some value to us as we can always reference this down the road.  SO onto the raffle shall we ?


This week is AWESOME ! I just bought (Yes I do buy from all vendors, no free rides here). The winner of this weeks raffle are:

1- 8 oz. Tin of Synergy soaps Pumpkin 3.14 (pie) as well as

1- 3.5 fl. oz. bottle of the matching after shave Autumn Factory

Like I said I JUST received mine yesterday and I am biting at the bit for October so I can start my seasonal change to the fall and winter themed soaps and creams. SO HOW DO YOU ENTER ?

AND Finally !

  • either email, call, post on the Google plus page (just use the hashtag for the Moustache and Blade show), ask a question. NOT ABOUT SYNERGY or HTGAM or, even Douglas himself. Ask a Shaving related question. For example how to make a bowl lather, selecting the proper blade for you….etc. Shave related questions, not HTGAM or, Synergy. All questions are great beginner to advanced questions. also by phone you can ask the question at 347- 333-1511

That’s it ! Just PM me when you have completed these three tasks ( really 2 out of the three are single clicks of a button ! ) and only me….. Do NOT COMMENT in the pinned post box or, you will be disqualified so only PM me directly. I will add your name in the Pinned post section. Thanks everyone and GOOD luck.

I think international members will like this !! HTGAM is opening this up internationally !!!! The only thing is that if a non-CONUS member wins the Autumn Factory aftershave will be alcohol-free !! Good luck to all  – Aaron