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What soaps are still good?

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!

What soaps are still good?

Postby NickNCut » Sun May 07, 2017 12:10 pm

When I started wet shaving 15+ years ago I was always buying soaps and creams to the point that I ended up with so many I haven't bought anything in close to a decade. I started running low and asked my wife for Floris Elite for Christmas. It was the first soap I ever tried and hadn't used it in years. Todays version is terrible. I can't get any lather out of it no matter what I do and what I do get dissapates in seconds. I find myself lathering my face in multiple parts, like half my face then the other half. That is no way to shave.

It has made me hesitant to buy other soaps that were once good. Floris is not the soap it was a decade ago and I am curious what others have changes as well. Any recommendations for good soaps produced today would be appreciated.
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Re: What soaps are still good?

Postby ShadowsDad » Sun May 07, 2017 12:23 pm

Like you I haven't bought any soaps in a VERY long time.
Brian

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Re: What soaps are still good?

Postby CMur12 » Sun May 07, 2017 4:39 pm

Among traditional English soaps, I think Mitchell's Wool Fat marches on unchanged from its original formula.

My favorite Italian soaps, Valobra hard soap (Valobra Shave Stick and now Valobra shave soap in a cake) and Cella soft soap are unchanged and as excellent as ever.

There are also artisan soaps, such as Mike's Natural Soap and Mystic Water, among many others, that are outstanding. Artisan soaps often offer natural EO scents, not available in traditional/commercial soaps.

- Murray
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Re: What soaps are still good?

Postby Brutus » Sun May 07, 2017 9:43 pm

Agree on Valobra, but the shaving stick has apparently been discontinued and is being replaced by Valobra (hard) shaving soaps in four scents (neutral, patchouli, cologne, and fougère).

As far as traditional English shaving soaps are concerned; besides Mitchell's Wool Fat, D.R. Harris soaps are still among my favourites.

German Tabac soap in tub or as stick, and Palmolive and La Toja sticks are also as good as ever.


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Re: What soaps are still good?

Postby Gene » Mon May 08, 2017 9:16 am

Agreed wholeheartedly about Cella and Mitchell's.

Love them both!
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Re: What soaps are still good?

Postby brothers » Mon May 08, 2017 11:54 am

The artisan shaving soap industry is currently exploding. There are dozens of very good soaps on the market these days, and good tallow shaving soaps are quite plentiful. Of the old UK brands, Taylor's soaps are quite good. Penhaligons soaps have gone full circle and are once again pretty decent. Trumpers and (as you can personally testify) Floris are duds and a waste of good $$$. No comment from me on DRH.
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Re: What soaps are still good?

Postby NickNCut » Mon May 08, 2017 2:50 pm

Thanks all. A lot of good suggestions.

I have tried most of the traditional English soaps and was concerned they had changed as Floris had. Mitchell's Wool Fat is one that I have never tried. For Italian soaps, the only one have tried was Proraso when you could buy it at Target. That's sad that Trumpers has gone the way of Floris, that was another of my first soaps. I will have to keep a look out for highly rated Artisan soaps.
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Re: What soaps are still good?

Postby Gene » Mon May 08, 2017 5:05 pm

For Italian soaps - as I had mentioned - Cella is unchanged since, like, 1899 or something. And - it's dirt cheap, at about $9.00 or $10.00 for that red tub.

I got to trial some artisan soaps a couple of years back - and they ARE good. No doubt. I still think I will be making some myself at some point. I still enjoy making our bath soap, and keep wanting to move to shave soap, too. But it would be a labor of love - I don't imagine it would be as affordable as the Cella is - tub for tub. Haven't done the math. But the idea of making my own scented soap is interesting to me. I still remember the orange cream scented bath soap I made a couple of years ago - wife and I both loved it!!
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Re: What soaps are still good?

Postby fallingwickets » Tue May 09, 2017 6:50 am

How can you call trumpers soap "duds"????????????
:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

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Re: What soaps are still good?

Postby brothers » Tue May 09, 2017 7:24 am

Duds | Define Duds at Dictionary.com
http://www.dictionary.com/browse/duds
c. . . . . from duds (q.v.). Sense extended by 1897 to "counterfeit thing," and 1908 to "useless, inefficient person or thing." This led naturally in World War I to "shell which fails to explode," and thence to "expensive failure." Slang definitions & phrases for duds.

Oh dear! :lol: :lol: :lol: (a disclaimer may be appropriate) My experience only extends to the Trumper and Floris soaps I have personally selected and purchased on the open market and subsequently used with results that failed to meet my expectations and perceptions. The same happened when I paid $55 for a cake of Floris 89 soap in wooden bowl. Those experiences have been burned into my brain. These joke soaps :evil: and the 100 counterfeit double edge blades that simply would not cut anything are the most outstanding product failures I have experienced as related to the world of shaving. What makes the soap failures the worst is that the manufacturer was legitimate and refuses to accept criticism, while the counterfeit blades did not come from the manufacturer, and the person who sold them to me quickly gave all of my money back. Nobody ever gets any money back from GFT or Floris to the best of my knowledge.
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Re: What soaps are still good?

Postby NickNCut » Tue May 09, 2017 5:44 pm

I can't speak for Trumpers but here is the Floris.
I tried to be as scientific as possible. I soaked the brush for 5 minutes in 150 degree water or so (as hot as it gets in my house). I did 5 swirls on the cake of Floris and then did 10 swirls in one direction and 10 in the other for roughly 3-5 seconds in the bowl, then did it again. I planned on doing it with an old piece of Trumpers I have, but got called away.
The bottom picture is right after I finished doing that and the top is 2 minutes later (sorry I should have pulled the brush in the first one as the first one).
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Re: What soaps are still good?

Postby ShadowsDad » Wed May 10, 2017 5:54 am

That's just terrible. I wonder if it'll work in the shower?
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Or find it here: Italian Barber, West Coast Shaving, Barclay Crocker, The Old Town Shaving Company at Stats, Maggard Razors; Leavitt & Peirce, Harvard Square
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Re: What soaps are still good?

Postby Nitrox » Wed May 10, 2017 2:18 pm

I've used up a few lousy lathering soaps in the shower as bath soaps.
Better than throwing them out. It lessens the disappointment a bit I guess.
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Re: What soaps are still good?

Postby Brutus » Wed May 10, 2017 9:27 pm

I would like to add two observations regarding soaps:

(1) Water quality.
How well or bad a soap performs has much to do with the local water (e.g. hardness) that the shaver finds available.
Some soaps seem to perform well with a wide range of water qualities, some are more critical and while I have never been able NOT to get a decent lather from Mitchell's Woll Fat (MWF) shaving soap, I did note on my trips that with some water qualities MWF did take more work.

(2) English hard shaving soaps.
I believe it is fair to say that - with notable exceptions - hard shaving soaps are generally not the forte of English soap makers.
They produce some perfectly acceptable creams, but - as this thread illustrates - with hard soaps it can be a hit or miss.
This may have something to do with the fact that many of these soaps are apparently manufactured by the same soap company for some of the big name, traditional "Chemists and Perfumers", or might have something to do with the water quality in London, where most of these traditional merchants are based and where producing a decent lather is comparably easy.

I am by no means saying that ALL English soaps are inferior, but it is obvious that some of the traditional names sell shaving soaps that leave a lot to be desired.

The shaving soaps that I found consistently to perform well are D.R. Harris, Taylor of Old Bond Street (who a few years back sadly discontinued their lavender soap and where I am now only left with the sandalwood variety) and of course Mitchell's Wool Fat, but where the latter IMO occupies a niche of its own.


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Re: What soaps are still good?

Postby NickNCut » Mon May 29, 2017 11:38 am

Just wanted to post an update here, sorry as it has been a while but I was out of town.

Gene had mentioned artisan soaps and I wasn't sure where to get them, but thought that would be a way I would like to go, I always try to buy local or small if there is an opportunity. I had been talking to Shadowdad/Brian for a few days about single edge razors and after at least a dozen correspondence I noticed his signature (I am a little slow sometimes) that he was the proprietor of Kramperts. I have been a fan of menthol soaps from a trip to the beach years ago. I brought a tube of Proraso just because it fit in my bag better than any of my hard soaps. After spending a day at the beach and showering at 5 o'clock to get ready for dinner the combination of salt, sand, and sun really makes the face not conditioned for shaving. I loved the soothing effect of menthol and it has been my goto summer soap ever since.

I decided to try Krampert's Frostbite and absolutely love it. If Proraso is a spash of cold water Frostbite is liquid nitrogen. It is a great summer soap and the aftershave is even better. I am a huge fan and will try the Bay Rum soon, I think that will be my cold weather soap and aftershave.
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Re: What soaps are still good?

Postby brothers » Mon May 29, 2017 11:52 am

Brian's Frostbite soap and aftershave is one of the very best.
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Re: What soaps are still good?

Postby fallingwickets » Tue May 30, 2017 3:51 am

waiting patiently for brian to start the rose version LOLOLOLOL
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Re: What soaps are still good?

Postby Nitrox » Tue May 30, 2017 2:40 pm

fallingwickets wrote:waiting patiently for brian to start the rose version LOLOLOLOL


I'm still waiting for DR Harris to come out with a rose soap. Hopefully in my lifetime.............. :lol:
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Re: What soaps are still good?

Postby fallingwickets » Wed May 31, 2017 4:16 am

nice to see you out and about!! :D :D :D

agree with you that a dandy and rake rose would be a very nice option to have

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Re: What soaps are still good?

Postby EL Alamein » Wed May 31, 2017 6:29 pm

The Old English soaps of yore from many a prominent maker are sundered. What you experienced a decade ago was the last breath of a dying culture IMHO. Its a shame as they were the best that's ever been IMHO.

There are many excellent replacements in this thread for the makers that have caved. Try them all and find what suits you best.

Good luck to you!

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