Difference soap & cream

What is your opinion on fine shaving creams and hard soaps? Do you like Trumpers, Coates, Taylors, Truefitt & Hill? Post your reviews and opinions here!
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Spenser
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Location: Colorado Rocky Mtns

Difference soap & cream

Post by Spenser » Sun Dec 30, 2012 5:44 pm

Hi there, I'm a veteran of 6-days of this form of shaving and have a question. I started with a simple kit of soap puck, bowl and boar-bristle brush. All seem good, but what do I know. Reading through the 'Leisureguy's Guide To Gourmet Shaving, 6th edition' by M. Ham, that too seems like $ well spent. About half way through the book and haven't read what the difference is between soap and cream. My impression is that cream is more like the foam in aerosol cans that I used with my Mach 3 Gillette. If its more like say, hand cream, I don't see the need for a brush to get a lather, indeed how would you get a lather. I've gotten pretty good at getting a lather with the soap.

Have some more questions but don't concern soap and cream so will find the right place to put it. Thanks
"Life is tough... it's even tougher if you're stupid" - John Wayne

EL Alamein
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Post by EL Alamein » Sun Dec 30, 2012 8:07 pm

Spenser, welcome to this site and forum. You've hit the jackpot in coming here and you can now feel free to discard that book from Leisurefilch or whatever his name is because that book was purloined in almost it's entirety from this site in my humble opinion. He was once an active member here as would be expected.

Well, the difference between soap and cream is personal preference: both can produce a rich, thick, protective lather that will facilitate a smooth and comfortable shave. Cream, IMHO, gives a slicker shave while soap gives a more protective shave. Many will disagree with this sentiment and that's ok because it's a personal preference. I hope others of all opinions will chime in here and let you know their preferences as well. Many folks tend to define themselves as primarily cream users or soap users. I myself am a soap user.

In the end, I encourage you to try different products to in order to establish your own preference. Even though I prefer a hard shaving soap I do indulge in a cream every now and then as they are excellent in themselves.

There is a plethora of knowledge and opinion here on this site, explore it and read as much as you can as there are many roads to Rome. It's a wonderful and exciting journey, good luck in going down the yellow brick road!

Chris

bernards66
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Post by bernards66 » Sun Dec 30, 2012 10:06 pm

Spencer, Welcome aboard! Chris, above, neatly covered what this forum is and it's connection to that book you've been looking at ( chuckle ). This forum has been ongoing since mid 2004 and is a vast repository of information and experiance on traditional wet shaving and related topics. Subjects can be researched as posts from all the way back to our beginning are available in the archive. The term 'shaving cream' here at SMF generally refers to old fashioned shave creams that are lathered up with a brush, not to products that are simply applied to the face and spread around. While some here do, on occasion, experiment with these 'brushless creams' they are not what we are usually posting about. Old fashioned lathering shave creams are really a variation of 'soap'. The first versions appeared in the mid 19th c. in England. As Chris said, some here prefer these soft creams whilst some like the hard soaps better but both are used similiarly. For me, the best cream lather provides a tad more protection ( aka 'cushion' ) whilst the soaps may tend to cut very slightly closer. But the better specimens of either can be coaxed into excellent shave lather and as was said it's mainly a matter of preference. Really, as far as the quality of the lather/shave is concerned the question of 'cream or soap?' is less important than 'which cream or soap are we talking about?'....as there are rather major differences in quality and characteristics between products of either catagory.
Regards,
Gordon

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ShadowsDad
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Post by ShadowsDad » Mon Dec 31, 2012 12:37 am

Welcome to the forum!

OK, I'll take it a bit further...

Basically the difference is water content. But it goes further.

Soaps can be aged to decrease the scent (important to me) in an open container. Most creams resist that, especially the ones I've used that are in tubes and sealed. Their scent remains intact and unaffected by age.

Some folks find that creams lather more easily with certain brushes, but I find that to be just an admission of operator error. I have extremely soft water however, so take that with a grain of salt. What others write may absolutely be correct for their conditions. With cream it's extremely easy to get a huge amount to counter the effects of hard water. If you have hard water you might find that it's much easier to get the right amount of soap into the lather by using a cream.

I use hard soaps and cream soaps, stick soaps also, but I prefer sticks shredded and turned into a puck in a bowl. There is yet another type of shave soap.

Now just to muddy the water a bit, there are croaps, a sort of cross between a cream and a hard soap. I only know of Italian croaps, but I may live in a cave and not get around much. They are quite excellent, in fact one of my personal favorite all time shave soaps is a croap (it's been discontinued, RIP). They are quite malleable and that's good, because IMO they are best loaded onto the brush by forming a quantity of croap into a bowl and loading the brush from that. The consistency of croap is similar to window or plumbers putty with some variation. In an Italian Barber Shop a very thin slice would be taken from the kilo block, transferred to a bowl, lathered and used on the client, but that's just what I've gathered on line or documentation; it may or may not be correct.

I hope that didn't confuse you. Though I think I did my best :-) .
Brian

Maker of Kramperts Finest Bay Rum and Frostbite http://www.krampertsfinest.com/
Or find it here: Italian Barber, West Coast Shaving, Barclay Crocker, The Old Town Shaving Company at Stats, Maggard Razors; Leavitt & Peirce, Harvard Square

jss
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Post by jss » Mon Dec 31, 2012 5:36 am

Welcome to SMF Spencer we're to have you....

Best regards,

Julian

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