"That Lather"

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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TRBeck
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Re: "That Lather"

Post by TRBeck » Sat May 05, 2018 6:59 pm

Chris, thanks for that.

I think I had a bowl of the old formula that I bought in 2008, the first English hard soap I purchased. I sold it soon thereafter as my lust to try everything overtook all common sense. It's one of a handful of shave goods sales I regret.

The Yardley may have done like Harris and Valobra and put a bit of petrolatum or mineral oil in the soap. It does help with keeping the lather wet, and I think it's a cheaper alternative to "superfat" (and not prone to rancidity), that bit of excess oil/lipid that is unsaponified in the artisan products. Palmolive superfats with palm and olive, and some of the other top-notch soaps have other ways of keeping lather wet - Speick uses a couple of emulsifying agents that I never noticed in the ingredient list until recently, and of course lanolin does the job for Mitchell's.

I think that Taylor soap scent may have been largely just lavender, oak moss, and coumarin with a touch of patchouli, based on the smell of my left hand, which smells awfully close to what I remember of the Taylor scent. Almost wish I'd added synthetic coumarin and skipped the bergamot, geranium, et al...

Anyway, I appreciate your checking that ingredient list. My palm oil, pko, and stearic are melted, so I'm off to soap the potassium hydroxide portion and see what's what.
Regards,
Tim

Why should we not meet, not always as dyspeptics, to tell our bad dreams, but sometimes as eupeptics, to congratulate each other on the ever-glorious morning? - Henry David Thoreau

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Re: "That Lather"

Post by TRBeck » Sun May 06, 2018 2:38 pm

Well, it lathers. :)

Had a great shave today, but I need some time to work with it (and some time for it to cure a bit - even hot process soaps improve over the first week or two) to decide if it's much different than the other shave soaps I have made in terms of its function.
Regards,
Tim

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Re: "That Lather"

Post by EL Alamein » Sun May 06, 2018 6:36 pm

Tim, I'm was happy to oblige.

Great report and I look forward to more.

Anything else I can do, please let me know.

Chris

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Re: "That Lather"

Post by TRBeck » Mon May 07, 2018 10:40 am

Maybe because of the fact that the potassium hydroxide helps ameliorate the sudsing effect of coconut oil, this lather - with only sodium cocoate and no potassium - seems to fluff quickly and then coalesce into a standard, good lather. It builds differently but results in a good lather nonetheless. It sort of reminds me of the 2008-9 English shave soaps I had that would explode in bubbles and then become tighter lather with time and water. This impression may be just the product of fancy and my own expectations given the source of the formula's inspiration. Most of the products I use now - my own plus Palmolive and tallow AOS - will suds a bit but generally just build steadily as a mixture of tight bubbles and creaminess and become fairly homogenous quickly. But again, the soap is still changing bit by bit over the first few days or even 8-10 days. After that it will be what it is.

I will probably not report back on it again for a few shaves and see where it goes.
Regards,
Tim

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Re: "That Lather"

Post by brothers » Mon May 07, 2018 11:23 am

TRBeck wrote:
Mon May 07, 2018 10:40 am
. . . . sort of reminds me of the 2008-9 English shave soaps I had that would explode in bubbles and then become tighter lather with time and water. . . . .
The English soaps I used to have worked like this. And coincidentally so does the new Salter's soap. I confess I am more inclined to favor the other soaps that skip the sudsy bubbles and go straight to the tight creamy lather.
Gary

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Re: "That Lather"

Post by EL Alamein » Mon May 07, 2018 7:16 pm

Yeah, what Gary said. The old Taylor's goes right to the creamy lather. Don't know why but it does.

Chris

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Re: "That Lather"

Post by TRBeck » Tue May 08, 2018 7:33 am

I'm with you guys. I'd as soon not see the bubbly stage at all, and that's why I like Palmolive and my own soaps and Chris Moss's and Haslinger.

Today's lather was better. The way I made this, the only sodium hydroxide component is the coconut oil and some of the palm kernel, so a lot of the soap is potassium salts. Thus the overall effect is a very water soluble soap. Insanely so. I think I've been starting with too much water and then picking up a ton of soap in a hurry, explaining the fast bubbles and the very heavy layer of cushion I've had. I dialed back my water and loading and got a great lather with less effort, less time, and almost certainly less product used. With a soap like Taylor's, they probably cure it for a long time, allowing it to dry out, probably even intentionally dehydrating and milling. The result is a harder puck that loads easier than most hard soaps but not like this much softer croap texture. I'm going to leave one out to dry, or maybe even put it in the dehydrator to see if I can get a sense of how it works as a harder puck.

Still, I'm not sure it's much better than other soaps I've made, if at all. But it is certainly in the top tier in terms of the lather and shave.

Chris, I'd like to make another version of this using tallow and my usual potassium:sodium ratio and approach and then send them your way for some appraisal if you don't mind. I probably won't get to making it before this weekend and would need some time for the soap to cure a bit, but I might be able to send them to you the week before Memorial Day.
Regards,
Tim

Why should we not meet, not always as dyspeptics, to tell our bad dreams, but sometimes as eupeptics, to congratulate each other on the ever-glorious morning? - Henry David Thoreau

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Re: "That Lather"

Post by EL Alamein » Tue May 08, 2018 5:43 pm

Tim, great report. It's interesting to see how such a thing evolves.

I am at your service. You can send me the soap whenever you think it's ready. In return I will send you back a cake of virgin Taylor's so we have two data points. Do with is what you want, it's your to keep, I'm just grateful to be apart of this.

Chris

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Re: "That Lather"

Post by fallingwickets » Wed May 09, 2018 4:30 am

I'm just grateful to be apart of this.
Twenty thousand three hundred and sixty seven thumbs up on the sentiment. SMF and the gents/supergeeks :D within are the best

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Re: "That Lather"

Post by brothers » Wed May 09, 2018 5:12 am

Cool! I'm with Clive!

(I've read it all, but that part of my brain that understands chemistry and stuff hasn't engaged at this point. 8) Whatever is taking place is going to be outstanding! One thing for sure, nothing like this appears to be taking place on any forum other than SMF. That makes me smile!)
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Re: "That Lather"

Post by TRBeck » Wed May 09, 2018 8:58 pm

Chris, very kind of you. I hate to take from your stash, but of course I'd love to lather up that soap and check it out.

I will definitely be in touch. I have a couple of ideas I'll send your way via PM.

Clive, Gary, this place really is terrific. Digging through the archived discussions of soaps and creams here is incredible. My passion for soapmaking has been more than rekindled by this thread that Chris started and by all the contributions of so many members to this and other threads over the years.

"That lather" is my favorite part of wetshaving, much as I enjoy audible feedback from the razor and well-made brushes and a good EdT.
Regards,
Tim

Why should we not meet, not always as dyspeptics, to tell our bad dreams, but sometimes as eupeptics, to congratulate each other on the ever-glorious morning? - Henry David Thoreau

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Re: "That Lather"

Post by TRBeck » Thu May 10, 2018 10:52 am

So last night I got thinking about the old Palmolive sticks. All of the ones I have were purchased before 2013, but I think the ingredients list still holds true. The soap portion - i.e., everything but water and fragrance and preservatives and chelators - is just potassium hydrogenated tallowate, sodium tallowate, and sodium cocoate. There's obviously some similarity to the old Taylor stuff in that there is no sodium salt of stearic acid and no potassium salt of coconut oil. It's sort of in between Taylor and most of the big-name soaps (which generally use potassium and sodium salts of every fat in the mix).

Hydrogenated tallowate is essentially just stearate, since hydrogenation converts the unsaturated fats in beef tallow to stearic acid. The advantage of hydrogenated tallowate over stearate is that when you soap stearic acid, there's no glycerin byproduct, but when you soap tallow, even hydrogenated tallow, there is, because you don't have an isolated fatty acid. I'm inclined to think that what the manufacturer did/does is just purchase soap noodles made with sodium hydroxide and then add potassium hydrogenated tallowate to the mix. I think really this is what most of the non-artisan producers do: Valobra, Harris, etc.

These bulk soap noodles are generally stripped of nearly all of the natural glycerin because it gums up milling equipment when left in the soap. If you shop around, the companies who sell bulk soap bases mention adding back in 1-5% glycerin (actual glycerin content of neat soap is about 11%, with some variation depending on the fatty acid profile), and I'm not sure how much glycerin any of the big manufacturers add when rebatching the soap with their potassium whateverate, nor how much they Palmolive might leave in when soaping the hydrogenated tallowate, so that's an unknown.

I've said before, Palmolive is what I think of when I think of "that lather." The stuff is incredible: gooey, slick, dense. Ratios of the fats are unknown. Also, I can't get hydrogenated tallow to soap (I've tried), so I figured I would sub stearic acid and add back in some glycerin, although how much is, as I said, unknown.

Anyway, I took a run at it last night and was...unsuccessful. I won't go into the boring whys and wherefores of my calculation, but my fat ratios were off (and maybe glycerin, too), and the soap produced was okay but not world-class to use. I will give it a couple of weeks and try once more before giving up on the (very small) batch. Too bad, because the rose scent I used is really nice, and I was hoping to forward some to Chris and Clive and Gary (and whoever else wants some as long as the batch holds out).

I'll keep on trying.
Regards,
Tim

Why should we not meet, not always as dyspeptics, to tell our bad dreams, but sometimes as eupeptics, to congratulate each other on the ever-glorious morning? - Henry David Thoreau

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Re: "That Lather"

Post by Gene » Thu May 10, 2018 12:09 pm

Palmolive - I bought a shave stick several years ago. I tried it a lot - used almost 3/4 of the stick - and I don't think I ever got a lather I was happy with. No cushion at all.

The scent is fantastic (to me) - I wonder if there is a cream in a tube that has that scent, and might perform better by virtue of being a cream.
Gene

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Re: "That Lather"

Post by TRBeck » Thu May 10, 2018 3:10 pm

Gene, I am with you on the scent. It's addictive: the more I use it, the more I want to use it. I have used more Palmolive soap than any other commercial product since I started this hobby, and the scent continues to be a favorite.

Interesting about the lather. It has just always clicked with me. I never did use it as a stick, though. I dislike shave sticks. I just grated two more Palmolive sticks into a bowl, in fact. I do the same with Valobra, Arko, and Speick back when I could fight through the scent.
Regards,
Tim

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Re: "That Lather"

Post by Janus » Fri May 11, 2018 3:09 am

Gene wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 12:09 pm
Palmolive .... I wonder if there is a cream in a tube that has that scent, and might perform better by virtue of being a cream.
Maybe this would do (not sure about the scent though):
As a side note, Wilkinson Sword shave stick is also worth trying. Pretty much the same as Speick/Palmolive but with added lanolin and a different scent.
Janus

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Re: "That Lather"

Post by drmoss_ca » Sat May 12, 2018 3:41 pm

I've been inspired to do a couple of things by this thread.

Firstly I tried using my batch of olive oil to shave with. I was surprised that it actually lathered (there was some stearic acid, coconut and castor oil in it in small percentages), though the lather was a bit translucent. Very slick for shaving - all lubrication and little cushion, but do-able with a safety razor. I don't think I'd try it with a straight though. It's proving to be a very popular bath soap among those I've given bars to.

Second, I have a Palmolive stick sliced and pressed into a wooden bowl. I also have an extra deep scuttle that I had Sally make for me some years back. I transferred the sliced soap into the bottom of this scuttle and pressed it down with a little warmth so I have a 2cm layer in the bottom but still plenty of room to work a brush and build lather in the hot scuttle. Now that is luxury! It co-operates beautifully with my favourite Livi, giving lots of slickness and 'cushion' both. I'll probably use it exclusively for a couple of weeks to see how it stands up to daily use.

C.
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Re: "That Lather"

Post by drmoss_ca » Sat May 12, 2018 3:50 pm

PS I looked up the current Palmolive ingredients, and they are:

Potassium Hydrogenated Tallowate, Sodium Tallowate, Sodium Cocoate, Aqua, Glycerin, Parfum, Olea Europaea, Elaeis Guineensis, Tetrasodium EDTA, Tetrasodium Etidronate, BHT, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Citronellol, Coumarin, Hydroxyisohexyl 3-Cyclohexene Carboxaldehyde, Limonene, Linalool, CI 11680, CI 12490, CI 74260, CI 77891.

This is exactly the same as the ingredients listed on my old sticks which came from Europe in a blue-green box of slightly different design to the current green box.

C.
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Re: "That Lather"

Post by EL Alamein » Sat May 12, 2018 6:31 pm

OK, you guys are making me drag out the bowl of sliced Palmolive I have. Like Dr. Moss I sliced one up but put it in an empty wooden bowl.

The thing is I thought this one gummy for some reason and sort of wrote it off. Anyone else find it gummy? Maybe it's my hard water?

I'll let you know how I fair.

Thanks for the inspiration to try it again.

Chris

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Re: "That Lather"

Post by drmoss_ca » Sun May 13, 2018 3:07 am

I know just what you mean - Palmolive lather has a tendency to resemble a slimy cream (think brushless shaving cream, but more voluminous). Working in extra water is the answer, but best to do it as you go along, as too much wrecks it.

Chris
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Re: "That Lather"

Post by TRBeck » Sun May 13, 2018 9:36 am

Yeah, it does have that character, but so does Speick. I agree that adding water as you work it should take care of it, but it's different to the Valobra lather or the English hard soaps. I prefer it because it winds up so slick, but I can see not loving it.

I used to think of the groupings of soaps I mentioned upthread as tiers, with this type of gooey, nearly slimy-slick lather being my favorite and therefore the top of the heap. I now just think of them as different. Today, for instance, I used the new Salter soap made by the same firm that makes Harris soaps, and while it didn't have that yogurty texture, it was very rich, slick, and dense, and the shave was absolutely fantastic.

There is a clear divide between all of these really good soaps and those that make "crispy" lather. For me, that would be the current T&H and Trumper's, some of the budget creams, MWF (I think this one is particularly sensitive to hard water, as I have never been able to lather it), and Cella (the weakest performer of the Italian soft soaps IMO). The lather from those never develops a sheen at all, and more water just makes it airier.

More coconut oil in the mix seems to make a crisper lather: Arko gets crispy at times, and Cella has coconut oil higher in the ingredient list than P.160 or Vitos. But I think also not enough potassium stearate can yield something that is not stable enough to develop a sheen. It simply dissipates as you add water and work the lather more. I wonder if Palmolive and Haslinger have really low levels of coconut oil, given how and heavy the lather from those can be. Both of those seem to just get lotiony when too much water is added, not airy.

The "that lather" sweet spot seems to be enough coconut oil to make some bubbles for texture, enough potassium stearate to thicken the matrix of bubbles into a creamy coating, and then a portion of the soap made from tallow or palm or kokum or whatever, which adds a touch of oleic acid that helps condition the skin and also seems to help with the sheen. You can get there with just stearic and coconut, as I have (and so have Floris, the Creighton's creams, Martin de Candre, etc.), but it requires a bit more glycerin or a good superfat content for sheen and moisturizing of the lather.
Regards,
Tim

Why should we not meet, not always as dyspeptics, to tell our bad dreams, but sometimes as eupeptics, to congratulate each other on the ever-glorious morning? - Henry David Thoreau

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