Pros: unique scent, very thick and dense lather, good performance, comfortable and smooth post-shave, inexpensive (especially if you opt for the large pack)
Cons: lather tends to dry out faster than other soaps, small container makes loading the brush a bit messy, not the slickest lather
Cella is an Italian tallow based soft soap that is quite popular among today’s wet shavers: it is inexpensive and an excellent performer — at least according to all the rave reviews it has received. In this article we’ll see if it really deserves all that praise and how it stacks up against other popular products from this category.
This soap can be bought in two packaging options: a 5.4 oz tub or a massive 1 kilo brick that should last pretty much forever.
The red plastic tub is pretty basic and has a screw down lid. On the bottom you’ll find a sticker with the ingredient list as well. If I were to complain, I’d say that the very small diameter of the container makes loading the brush messy as you’ll end up with product on the exterior of the tub, even if your brush is very dry. And nobody likes to do unnecessary cleaning.
While the price per ounce for the monstrous 1 kilo pack is very convenient, I don’t know who would buy such a large quantity of a particular soap except someone who is extremely loyal to the brand.
As a sidenote, in Europe the prices for Cella products are significantly lower. So value for money is good especially if you can buy it in Europe. Otherwise, there are cheaper alternatives as you’ll see later on in the review.
Upon opening the lid of the container and taking a first whiff, you are immediately struck by a very distinctive and quite strong almond/cherry/marzipan scent. It is a unique and pleasant gourmand smell that’s hard not to like. After all, who doesn’t like marzipan?
Once lathered, the very stringent almond scent is toned down and has a more soapy note, but it still is quite pleasant. After the shave, the scent doesn’t linger and it fades completely.
Even though it is marketed as a cream, this product is really more like a soft soap. It has a mellow consistency, similar to Proraso soaps. It is therefore quite easy to load on a brush that has little backbone like the Edwin Jagger best badger used in this review. After 15 to 20 swirls it should be enough product on the bristles to build your lather.
This soap definitely likes more water so be sure to gradually add more as you’re progressing with the lathering. Speaking of which, it shouldn’t take too long regardless of how you prefer to build your lather. When finished, it has a very dense, thick and cushiony texture:
The overall shaving performance of the Cella shaving soap was very good. While it wasn’t the slickest lather and the blade felt a bit rough at times, it provided adequate protection and cushioning. The post-shave comfort was also excellent, leaving the skin well hydrated.
As far as negatives go, the lather seemed to dry out faster than with other soaps. After applying it to my face, I like to just leave it on for a while and allow it to act on the stubble. I noticed that after a couple of minutes, the lather looked a bit dry and started to become flaky and needed a bit of water. Also, towards the third pass, the lather in my bowl was beginning to be less dense and to form bubbles.
An alternative that immediately comes to mind is another soft soap from an equally popular Italian brand, the Proraso Soap for Sensitive Skin. It terms of performance and ease of lathering it is quite similar to the Cella soap. However, at least in the USA, it is more affordable.
Also, while the scent is definitely one of the highlights of this product, it’s not to everyone’s taste. Again, the Proraso soap is the safer choice in this regard as well.