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Four Days on a Desert Island with Shipwreck Soap

Plenty of grooming products tout themselves as multi-purpose dynamos, but discerning fact from fiction isn’t always easy. Can a shipwrecked groomer truly shave, wash, shampoo, and deodorize with the same versatile product? We stranded our correspondent with a single bar of soap to find out.

Perhaps I’ve read Robinson Crusoe one too many times, but I often dream of washing up alone on a deserted tropical island. Call me crazy, but there’s something utterly captivating about life-or-death resourcefulness: the hardship and necessity that turn simple, everyday objects into lifesaving tools.

While modern day shipwrecks are hard to come by, my dream took an eccentric new direction when I encountered Mr. Natty Shipwreck Soap. This handmade bar soap wasn’t named for kicks: In a pinch, its simple formula can double as shave cream, shampoo, and even a deodorant. I decided to put Mr. Natty’s claim to the test, and replaced my full kit with a single bar of Shipwreck Soap for four straight days. It was the grooming man’s equivalent of my long-sought and much-romanticized island exile.

I started each morning with a hot shower, and while the soap’s prowess as a body wash came as no surprise, its performance as a shampoo was genuinely startling. Most bar soaps will drain your hair of moisture, but Shipwreck’s gentle formula left mine soft and slightly textured well into the fourth day. I was equally surprised when I lathered up to shave: Its natural glycerin base produced a light, creamy foam, which shielded my skin from razor burn without drying it out, aftershave balm be damned.

The final (and most worrisome) step was an underarm coat of deodorant. To my great relief, I found that Shipwreck Soap pulls no punches on scent, with a potent blend of vetiver and patchouli that lingered well into the evening. I wouldn’t go so far as to call it a permanent substitute, but if you find yourself on a weekend trip without a stick—or as it happens, your entire dopp kit—it will fill the gap with aplomb, and a subtle hint of cocoa.

Photo: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

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