Longevity of ARKO Shave Stick

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!
Post Reply
User avatar
Ouchmychin
Posts: 1595
Joined: Sat Sep 30, 2006 12:03 pm

Longevity of ARKO Shave Stick

Post by Ouchmychin » Thu Dec 08, 2016 7:40 pm

I have been seeing all these great threads about the longevity of wonderful higher end shave soaps. I just thought I'd add a product that costs about 5 bucks and, for me lasts an amazingly long time. I don't have the patience to weigh it like Gary does, but I know I can't seem to use it up. Months and months while rotating with a Valobra puck and about once a week brushless cream and other creams I was trying to use up. Let's say 3 shaves a week.
Ouchmychin (Pete)

brothers
Posts: 20519
Joined: Sun Sep 14, 2008 7:18 am
Location: Oklahoma City USA

Re: Longevity of ARKO Shave Stick

Post by brothers » Mon May 15, 2017 8:24 pm

Pete it's been a while since I had some Arko sticks, but my experience was similar to yours.
Gary

SOTD 99%: soaps & creams, synthetic & badger brushes, General V2 by Colonial, Kai & Schick blades, Superior 70 aftershave splash + menthol + 444

User avatar
Squire
Squadron Leader
Posts: 18970
Joined: Mon Apr 18, 2005 3:41 pm
Location: North East, MS

Re: Longevity of ARKO Shave Stick

Post by Squire » Thu May 25, 2017 9:38 am

Pete I think Arko may be the best bang for the buck out there. Can't imagine paying $5.00 for it though, last case I bought worked out to about $1.15 a stick.
Regards,
Squire

User avatar
Ouchmychin
Posts: 1595
Joined: Sat Sep 30, 2006 12:03 pm

Re: Longevity of ARKO Shave Stick

Post by Ouchmychin » Thu May 25, 2017 7:28 pm

I was going from memory. It had been so long I must have forgot. Where did you get yours Squire? I got mine on ebay.
Ouchmychin (Pete)

User avatar
Squire
Squadron Leader
Posts: 18970
Joined: Mon Apr 18, 2005 3:41 pm
Location: North East, MS

Re: Longevity of ARKO Shave Stick

Post by Squire » Sat May 27, 2017 10:33 am

Pete it has been some years since I last bought Arko (still have 10-12 sticks left) but the last time I looked it was widely available. Check with Phil at bullgooseshaving.com. If he doesn't have it he may be able to help you locate it.
Regards,
Squire

User avatar
JarmoP
Posts: 606
Joined: Fri Dec 07, 2007 8:27 am
Location: Finland

Re: Longevity of ARKO Shave Stick

Post by JarmoP » Thu Jan 24, 2019 12:37 pm

I am coming back to brush lathering after using quite many years shaving foams and gels.
This question/contribution is not about how many shaves one can get from the stick, but about soap aging.

I bought my Arko sticks about 10 years ago and remember definitely it being a white soap in color. Also what I can see in Google picture search. So to my surprise when I opened today such an old stick wrapping, it was in color almost same brownish as say Tabac or MWF.

Because I don't really like the scent I sliced a disk of it into an empty Tabac bowl that has a lid. Also the cut surface was same color, no more white.
But I think it as a shaving soap is still as good as a new white soap? Coloring just does not last forever and could be quite artificial?

I started lathering the about 3 mm thick soap disk in bowl with Omega 48 boar brush and got a really good lather. I'm not sure if I should smash the whole stick into the bowl, but even this small amount worked well with a boar brush.

I maybe think that adding only a small disk into a bowl when needed, it gets best tallow soap refill. And whole stick smashed maybe looses its tallow content same as what happens with a tallow content bathing soaps when they get smaller? I have never anyways understood the concept of soaking a tallow content shave soap, for longevity I mean.
Jarmo

brothers
Posts: 20519
Joined: Sun Sep 14, 2008 7:18 am
Location: Oklahoma City USA

Re: Longevity of ARKO Shave Stick

Post by brothers » Sat Feb 09, 2019 3:53 pm

Jarmo, I think it doesn't matter whether one uses the small disks or the whole stick when loading the brush. I agree with you that soaking shaving soap for a certain length of time may shorten the life of the soap. Regarding the loss of tallow, I haven't experienced that, and actually would never know if or when a soap has lost it's tallow. Not sure what that means, actually. Good post!
Gary

SOTD 99%: soaps & creams, synthetic & badger brushes, General V2 by Colonial, Kai & Schick blades, Superior 70 aftershave splash + menthol + 444

User avatar
drmoss_ca
Admin
Posts: 9797
Joined: Thu Jul 08, 2004 4:39 pm

Re: Longevity of ARKO Shave Stick

Post by drmoss_ca » Sat Feb 09, 2019 4:59 pm

There's definitely something that can happen to soaps that might match that description. I have a drawer full of old Woods of Windsor shaving soap, which I like for its tallowy goodness. But I also like the scent and have used some as bath soaps. Either way, it makes less and less lather as time goes on and eventually I'm left with a waxy white core of non-lathering unsoap. It's as if the superfat in the soap remains as a hard and waxy lump. Very strange.
"Je n'ai pas besoin de cette hypothèse."
Pierre-Simon de Laplace

User avatar
JarmoP
Posts: 606
Joined: Fri Dec 07, 2007 8:27 am
Location: Finland

Re: Longevity of ARKO Shave Stick

Post by JarmoP » Thu Dec 26, 2019 4:24 am

brothers and drmoss, while I so like tallow based soaps, also as bathing ones. They do loose their goodness if going frugal and wanting to save the last bits. Happens also with higher end more costly shaving soaps like Tabac.

From Arko I have read that some slice all their soap stick to separate slices on a bowl, II did that too once, but looks ugly and smells the bathroom too much, even with a lid. When really nothing more than say one 10 mm slice of disc at a time is enough. And then replenish another disc when needed. That way I guess also some bowl lathering benefits too, when not too much soap in a bowl bottom. After working that brush on the discus.

Some say they "bloom" their soap by adding water and then before shave brush loading they empty that water, as if the soap would go much softer that way. Or some upside down lathering thing. I don't agree at all with tallow soaps those things.

Wish ShaveMyFace would be back as an https forum.
Jarmo

EL Alamein
Posts: 2932
Joined: Thu Jul 13, 2006 7:55 pm

Re: Longevity of ARKO Shave Stick

Post by EL Alamein » Thu Dec 26, 2019 7:44 pm

I can't believe I missed this post that's years old now. But I've also experienced this phenomena of soap going non-latherable.

I've seen it with Yardley when one gets to the dregs of the bowl. I've also seen it with my beloved Taylor's lavender, but to a much lesser degree.

I've always chalked it up to the effect of hard water on a soap in a bowl. I imagine as the soap gets thinner and thinner what's left has all it's softening properties used up and it won't lather worth a damn due to the minerals in the water it has soaked up.

For my Taylor's it happens to the small thin ring left around the edge when I've used up the center of the cake. I just toss it where years ago I'd paste it on another cake. When I pasted it the bits would remain well into the cake for months refusing to dissipate. They'd also get loose and swirl around making a chore of lathering trying to keep them on the cake. It was then that I figured I'd just toss them in the future as they seem not to add any longevity to a soap.

I'd like to know from someone with soft water whether they have experienced this phenomena. If we can't get anyone to chime in I may have to finally install that water softener I've been planning on for the last decade or so and find out myself.

If my theory is right about hard water my guess is the cake with lather down to the last bits disappear with no issues.

Chris

CMur12
Posts: 7111
Joined: Mon Dec 18, 2006 8:41 pm
Location: Moses Lake, Washington, USA

Re: Longevity of ARKO Shave Stick

Post by CMur12 » Fri Dec 27, 2019 12:34 am

Chris, I have a water softener and I, too, have had all kinds of soaps diminish in performance towards the end.

- Murray
Give me Soap or give me death!

User avatar
JarmoP
Posts: 606
Joined: Fri Dec 07, 2007 8:27 am
Location: Finland

Re: Longevity of ARKO Shave Stick

Post by JarmoP » Fri Dec 27, 2019 4:41 am

I also don’t think it is the hard water residues Chris. It is just how tallow soap looses its goodness over a period and that depends also of how hard it is. I have soft water in Finland.

I’m planning to slice my last Tabac soap refill puck same way as I slice the Arko. It s not that really hard soap either, but putting it to a Tabac bowl, that has the same concave bottom as wine bottles, and then ”blooming” it with what ever water hardness. I think it as the worst idea. Even if it not as soft lathering monster as Arko, at least I get some better scent when both slices are sitting next each other :)

Better to have a container with a flat surface and some harder soaps like MWF can last longer and can benefit more with some water softening, if too lazy to load up longer. MWF might not be he best soap with hard water.

The brush will always get the best tallowy goodness when we load it up, and then loose after cleaning afterwards. It is inevitable, just happens.

To test your hypothesis about hard water remnants, an old coffee filtering machine might work cheapest. Some use distilled water like Kenn Surfs guy I have been watching in his nice videos and his chrystal skull container. But it is more I suspect for lathering properties than soap longevity.
Jarmo

EL Alamein
Posts: 2932
Joined: Thu Jul 13, 2006 7:55 pm

Re: Longevity of ARKO Shave Stick

Post by EL Alamein » Fri Dec 27, 2019 7:08 pm

Murry and Jarmo, great input and great observations.

I'm left with the question of what causes a tallow soap to loose it's goodness. For the record the Taylor's isn't tallow based but postassium stearate based. I don't know if that makes a difference or not.

Is water itself the culprit? I don't imagine it's time as that would render a cake of Yardley unlatherable over the decades yet it doesn't.

Is this phenomena also observed with palm based hard soaps, melt and pour artisan soaps, and the like? Or is it only with soaps that are hard milled? And if so, is it all of them regardless of ingredients?

So many variables. Hopefully we can put our collective experience to good use and identify a probable cause.

Chris

User avatar
ShadowsDad
Posts: 3098
Joined: Thu Sep 29, 2011 1:13 am
Location: Central Maine

Re: Longevity of ARKO Shave Stick

Post by ShadowsDad » Sat Dec 28, 2019 9:50 am

When I was using other manufacturers soaps I would shred and press fat based soaps into a container, adding a small amount of water aided in that. That included ARKO stick. Can't say I ever got an unusable mass at the bottom except for Williams. I would bloom that since it was pretty bad and required all the help I could give it, but bloomed it worked great until it wouldn't make a good lather anymore but it worked in the shower and straight tallow wouldn't. I assumed the lack of proper lather was the removal of SLS or some such component.
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

User avatar
JarmoP
Posts: 606
Joined: Fri Dec 07, 2007 8:27 am
Location: Finland

Re: Longevity of ARKO Shave Stick

Post by JarmoP » Mon Dec 30, 2019 5:03 am

I have always used Palmolive stick as a "preshave" to my whiskers. Has a nice never disturbing scent even when open, just I can't find it available here locally anymore. Just one stick left.

So I have had this Lagerfeld deodorant stick that I have never used in maybe 10 years. I prefer Nivea antiperspirants rollons that never leave much scent after applying to armpits and are very important when say trying a ketogenic diet with much sweating. I like beer too much to stay on that diet though.
I did not throw away the deodorant stick, just put it in a plastic freezer bag.

But that deodorant stick has about the same diameter as Arko stick. I needed to slice it only about 5 mm shorter. And as it is a deodorant stick holder It can keep the Arko scent away and is perfect for my preshave or a travel face lathering soap.

So I'm liking a lot this change in my shavings.
Jarmo

Post Reply