Institut Karité Paris Shaving Soap

7 Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ (7)
Institut Karité Paris Shea Shaving Soap

A triple-milled soap from a French company dedicated to Shea.

Used with: Ladas Super Stainless (4th shave)

As it’s triple-milled I decided to soak the puck before loading, not for long, yet it softened very quickly and what I loaded was more of a paste than proto-lather. I had to add plenty of water as I worked it but it produced a nice, slick coating. That slickness wasn’t enough to prevent me from picking up a ton of nicks though. My neck was pretty good with even the usual rough spots toned down. I was left with a little irritation though. WTG my face was good. ATG was good too, with no significant roughness but nowhere made it to BBS either. Post shave feel was very nice, though still a little dry. There’s a very slight fragrance, sort of a chalky scent. A little rough but a good shave.

Used with: Personna Platinum Chrome (3rd shave)

I didn’t soak it this time, just loaded with my boar brush on a dry puck. The first coating was a paste until I added some water to give it volume. I had enough lather but not a lot of touch-ups. Slickness felt good and I didn’t pick up any nicks. My neck was very good, with only the faintest suggestion of roughness in the usual spots. WTG my face was smooth. ATG wasn’t bad either, but I did have some rough patches. Nowhere quite made it to BBS, but a few places went very close. Post shave feel was good. I didn’t notice any fragrance this time (but I did have a cold). A good shave.

Used with: Super-Max Blue Diamond (1st shave)

I loaded from a dry puck for thirty seconds using my badger brush. I had to add some water to help thin it out. Slickness felt good but it didn’t prevent me from picking up plenty of nicks, though they were sealed by cold water. I had some patchiness on my neck, with some real roughness along my jawline. WTG my face was smooth. Although generally good, there were some rougher patches ATG. Nowhere made it to BBS. Post shave feel was hard to tell as the moisturiser I used was very greasy. I picked up the chalky scent again throughout the shave. A pretty good shave.

Used with: Gillette Nacet (2nd shave)

I soaked the puck briefly this time, covering it before wetting my face. I then loaded for thirty seconds with my badger brush. Lather was plentiful once more but I had to use some water to help thin it out for the first pass. Slickness felt good and the only nick I got was due to my overzealousness during touch-ups. My neck was very good, with only some roughness along my jawline to spoil it. WTG my face was smooth. The finish wasn’t bad ATG but it wasn’t as close as I’d have liked in some places. Nowhere got close to BBS. Post shave feel was nice and soft. I picked up some of the fragrance during the shave this time, though only the faintest hint. It reminds me of those Parma Violets sweets. A good shave.

Used with: Feather Hi-Stainless (2nd shave)

I opted to soak it as I filled the sink. Then I loaded with my badger brush for thirty seconds. I had to add some water and work it for the first and second passes. Slickness felt good but I did pick up a few nicks. These were down to me trying too hard during the touch-up phase. My neck was very smooth except for the usual trouble spots. WTG my face was smooth. ATG wasn’t bad but wasn’t as close as I’d have liked. Nowhere made it to BBS. Post shave feel was pretty good. I don’t remember the fragrance at all this time. Mostly minor quibbles and still a very good shave.


Institut Karité was started in 2004 and the selling point of the whole brand is the use of shea butter in their products (karité is French for shea). It’s a fruit grown in Africa that contains a nut from which shea butter is produced. It supposedly constitutes 25% of the soap, an unusually high amount.

Shea butter has been used for centuries as a moisuriser and that property certainly makes it into this soap. The post shave feel is excellent.

The soap also produces a huge bounty of lather, although soaking it tended to result in a slurry initially, one that required a combination of work and water to build.

Despite the great lather and excellent slickness I found the protection wasn’t always up to par, with quite a few of my shaves resulting in a lot of nicks.

There’s no real fragrance to speak of, just a subtle, chalky scent that is subtle at the best of times and entirely absent the rest.

For me, there are better performing soaps out there, which allow a better finish. In terms of slickness and post shave experience, this is hard to beat though. I’d love to try the aftershave balm as I’m sure it’ll be excellent if it’s anything like the soap, but in terms of end product I didn’t find this to be as good as some.

Filed under: Soap, Software

These reviews are updated based on ongoing experience, so ratings and opinions may change.

Last updated: August 3, 2016