Soap reviews (regular and 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!
User avatar
hicabi
Posts: 245
Joined: Tue May 22, 2007 1:36 am
Location: GA

Soap reviews (regular and stick)

Post by hicabi » Mon Jun 09, 2008 1:03 am

Image

Image

ARKO: Tallow based. Lather softening capability and cushion is second to Valobra, and better than DR Harris (in my opinion). I like the scent, but some don't. Price is cheap, I think it is the best value in wet shaving. 75g.

QED: Great scents. Rich lather. However, the lather does not soften the beard like others. So I don't use it much. If your stubble is not thick, this might be the perfect stick. Scent does not wash away, but lingers on for a while. Bottle design is practical, in that one can close the cap without screwing the soap back in. But the bottle size a bit large, considering there is only 52g of soap in it. I'd prefer a smaller bottle for travel.

DR Harris: Very nice scent. Best bottle design; small and functional. Excellent for travel. Very expensive, considering that you're getting only 40 grams of soap. Lather softening capability is better than Trumpers and QED, but not as good as Valobra, Arko, AOS or Tabac. I am not using it. Again, if you're stubble is not as thick, you might be perfectly happy with it, many gents are.

Valobra: Excellent beard softening capability and cushion, very similar to Art of Shaving soaps. Scent is not so good. But comfort is more important to me than scent, so this one gets used a lot. Pricewise, it is neither expensive, nor cheap. 50gr.

Speick: OK scent. Although it is tallow based, beard softening capability was lacking, hence I got uncomfortable shaves. Looks very small, yet it is 50gr.

GFT Almond: Wonderful scent. I've never experienced any other soap creating so much lather so quickly. Unfortunately, I got uncomfortable shaves. Were it not the case, this would be the soap I would use everyday. Beard softening capability is lacking, better than QED, but slightly inferior to DR Harris.

Crabtree and Evelyn Sandalwood: Nice scent. Great price ($18 including Teak bowl). Great performer; I got more comfortable shaves with it, than GFT Almond. It is, however, inferior to some tallow based soaps (AOS, Valobra).

AOS Lavender: Best beard softening capability and cushion, period. I get the most comfortable shaves with this one. I use it almost daily. Scents are inferior to products from GFT, Dr. Harris, C&E, T&H, etc. Ridiculously expensive ($24 for soap, +$16 for a Teak bowl?).

VDH, Surrey: Great performer for a glycerin based soap. I get more comfortable shaves with it compared to QED soaps. Still, beard softening is inferior to most tallow based soaps.

Colonel Conk: Very similar to VDH and Surrey soaps above. They come in different scents. I like the Almond most.

Tabac: I just tried it, so I won't say anything definitive. So far, it has been great.

Mitchell's Woolfat, Kent: For some reason, I did not get very comfortable shaves with this one. But many gents seem to be pretty happy with it. I was rather a novice when I tried it, so I should give it another try sometime. Than again, there are already many excellent products available...

Classic Shaving Sandalwood: I got uncomfortable shaves with it. I think the lather is inferior compared to other glycerin based soaps, such as VDH or QED. Many gents had skin reactions to this product.

William's: A classic shaving soap. At a similar price point, I got better shaves with VDH, Surrey, or Colonel Conk. And than, there is ARKO, which outperforms all of them.

Now, I use only the following three soaps: AOS Lavender (most), ARKO (sometimes) and Valobra (sometimes)...
Last edited by hicabi on Fri Jan 09, 2009 11:09 am, edited 3 times in total.

Thalay Sagar
Posts: 4438
Joined: Tue Apr 08, 2008 8:14 am
Location: Roanoke, Virginia
Contact:

Post by Thalay Sagar » Mon Jun 09, 2008 6:27 am

Nice review. And it apears just a mild case of SSAD? :D
Best,
Chris

“Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?”
― Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

User avatar
drumana
Posts: 5051
Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2007 1:02 pm

Post by drumana » Mon Jun 09, 2008 6:56 am

Great review - short and sweet... I've been very good about not buying new products, but I think that I must get some AOS shave soap. I'm starting to feel that it isn't even an option :D

Does anyone know if AOS SS will fit in a Trumper's shave soap bowl? :?: :idea:
-Andrew-

User avatar
hicabi
Posts: 245
Joined: Tue May 22, 2007 1:36 am
Location: GA

Post by hicabi » Mon Jun 09, 2008 8:07 am

drumana wrote:Does anyone know if AOS SS will fit in a Trumper's shave soap bowl? :?: :idea:
Sure.

Hodari D.
Posts: 752
Joined: Thu Aug 23, 2007 7:06 pm

Post by Hodari D. » Mon Jun 09, 2008 8:14 am

drumana wrote:Great review - short and sweet... I've been very good about not buying new products, but I think that I must get some AOS shave soap. I'm starting to feel that it isn't even an option :D
Agreed. This is a fantastic resource. And You're right. It's not an option. This stuff is fantastic! It's become my everday favorite over Harris soaps, Trumper's soaps, PdP, PS and Coates almond. It is amazing.
Does anyone know if AOS SS will fit in a Trumper's shave soap bowl? :?: :idea:
I don't know from experience, but I think AOS soaps (95g) weigh more than Trumper's soaps (80g), so perhaps not.

best,
Scott

User avatar
ichabod
Mackem
Posts: 4974
Joined: Mon Feb 06, 2006 9:14 am
Location: Denver, CO

Post by ichabod » Mon Jun 09, 2008 8:30 am

I had always assumed (because I'm naive, apparently,) that the Harris stick must be bigger simply because of the price. The photo set me straight on that. Gosh.
Give us the luxuries, and we will forgo the necessities.
Give a man a fire, he'll be warm for a day.
Set a man on fire, he'll be toasty for the rest of his life.
Dominic
Image

bernards66
Duke of Silvertip!
Posts: 27408
Joined: Sun Feb 27, 2005 1:02 pm

Post by bernards66 » Mon Jun 09, 2008 5:54 pm

Dominic, I hate to say it, but just because it's more expensive, Penhaligon's cologne isn't a bigger bottle either ( chuckle ). It's expensive because it's D R Harris.....and it's also very good. Only shave stick I'll use ( and I'll use sticks only if I must ). I didn't think the Valobra was one wit 'better' and the scent certainly wasn't in the same league. The Harris's look bigger then their actual weight because of the substantial holder.
Regards,
Gordon

notthesharpest
Assistant Dean SMFU
Posts: 9449
Joined: Mon Apr 18, 2005 10:32 am
Location: Vancouver, BC

Post by notthesharpest » Mon Jun 09, 2008 6:10 pm

Hodari D. wrote:
drumana wrote:Great review - short and sweet... I've been very good about not buying new products, but I think that I must get some AOS shave soap. I'm starting to feel that it isn't even an option :D
Agreed. This is a fantastic resource. And You're right. It's not an option. This stuff is fantastic! It's become my everday favorite over Harris soaps, Trumper's soaps, PdP, PS and Coates almond. It is amazing.
Does anyone know if AOS SS will fit in a Trumper's shave soap bowl? :?: :idea:
I don't know from experience, but I think AOS soaps (95g) weigh more than Trumper's soaps (80g), so perhaps not.
I haven't tested the fit, but have noticed that an AOS bowl looks surprisingly similar to a Taylor's bowl, for whatever that's worth.

bernards66
Duke of Silvertip!
Posts: 27408
Joined: Sun Feb 27, 2005 1:02 pm

Post by bernards66 » Mon Jun 09, 2008 6:51 pm

Probably not. Trumper is the odd one out in that respect. Pretty much all the other really top shelf wooden bowls and soaps are interchangable, all being about 100g. I have an old Floris bowl, in which I've used, in addition to the original No 89 that came with it: Taylors, Penhaligons, AOS, and D R Harris's soaps. But the Trumper soaps are 80g. and so, the bowls are a little different as well.
Regards,
Gordon

JimT
Posts: 315
Joined: Tue Mar 14, 2006 10:39 pm
Location: CA

Post by JimT » Mon Jun 09, 2008 11:25 pm

Hicabi,

You say you just tried Tabac shave soap. Do you have the shave stick and, if so, where did you get it?

JimT
The Riehle Axiom - "One test is worth a thousand expert opinions"

User avatar
jww
Woolly Bully
Posts: 10863
Joined: Sat Mar 11, 2006 10:49 am
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Post by jww » Tue Jun 10, 2008 4:21 am

What -- no review of MWF??

Thanks for the notes -- I find Valbora quite decent - especially considering the price, and even like the scent.
Wendell

Resident Wool Fat Evangelist & anglophile. Have you hugged a sheep today?

User avatar
rustyblade
Shaving Paparazzo
Posts: 10461
Joined: Sun Oct 23, 2005 5:27 pm
Location: Ontario

Post by rustyblade » Tue Jun 10, 2008 7:07 am

jww wrote:I find Valbora quite decent - especially considering the price, and even like the scent.
Interesting you say that because ounce for ounce Valobra is quite expensive as is AOS soap.
Richard

User avatar
hicabi
Posts: 245
Joined: Tue May 22, 2007 1:36 am
Location: GA

Post by hicabi » Tue Jun 10, 2008 8:14 am

Dr Harris has a great scent, is softer on the face, has a really nice container, produces rich lather easily. Yet, Valobra definitely does a better job at softening my beard. I noticed that using AOS and Valobra exclusively, I can use the same blade comfortably almost twice longer. Maybe your stubble has to be thick enough to notice this extra comfort provided by AOS and Valobra. Do the Italian have thicker stubble than the English? :)
Last edited by hicabi on Wed Jun 17, 2009 11:34 am, edited 2 times in total.

bernards66
Duke of Silvertip!
Posts: 27408
Joined: Sun Feb 27, 2005 1:02 pm

Post by bernards66 » Tue Jun 10, 2008 8:38 am

hicabi, I was simply saying that I don't agree. I did not find the Valobra stick to be in any way preferable, not 'beard softening' wise or in any other way. I thought it was about as good, but less tiddy to use, and with a less enjoyable scent. I think that the D R Harris's are the best shave sticks available. If you prefer the Valobra ( or even Arko ), that's okay.
Regards,
Gordon

User avatar
rustyblade
Shaving Paparazzo
Posts: 10461
Joined: Sun Oct 23, 2005 5:27 pm
Location: Ontario

Post by rustyblade » Tue Jun 10, 2008 8:53 am

Gordon, from what I read of your experience is that you never really gave it a chance. I don't buy the messy thing either. You wanted to hate it you curmudgeon you.

I was overjoyed to see Italy lose to the Dutch, but they make good shave soap.
Richard

Hodari D.
Posts: 752
Joined: Thu Aug 23, 2007 7:06 pm

Post by Hodari D. » Tue Jun 10, 2008 9:01 am

rustyblade wrote: I was overjoyed to see Italy lose to the Dutch, but they make good shave soap.
Hear hear. That second goal was a real beaut.

Scott

bernards66
Duke of Silvertip!
Posts: 27408
Joined: Sun Feb 27, 2005 1:02 pm

Post by bernards66 » Tue Jun 10, 2008 9:02 am

Richard, It is good, and I've said for years on these forums that I thought that the AOS soap was very good. But I never thought it was in any way 'better' then the top English lines, and I still don't....plus it doesn't smell as nice. And yes, shave sticks ( not just Valobra ) that are merely wrapped in cheap tin foil like that ARE messy/slippery to use, I think, unless one finds some kind of holder to put them in.
Regards,
Gordon

User avatar
hicabi
Posts: 245
Joined: Tue May 22, 2007 1:36 am
Location: GA

Post by hicabi » Tue Jun 10, 2008 9:25 am

Before, I mostly used sticks... Now I mostly use the AOS soap. Still, I like the way that stubble directly meets the soap, and lather created with the stubble and the brush, while the brush is massaging the face. To me, it just feels right... It is also quicker, which helps on a busy day...
Last edited by hicabi on Sun Nov 16, 2008 12:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
ichabod
Mackem
Posts: 4974
Joined: Mon Feb 06, 2006 9:14 am
Location: Denver, CO

Post by ichabod » Tue Jun 10, 2008 11:37 am

jww wrote:What -- no review of MWF??

Thanks for the notes -- I find Valbora quite decent - especially considering the price, and even like the scent.
I don't have vast experience of a wide variety of sticks, but to me the Erasmic stick is the most similar to MWF in stick form.
Give us the luxuries, and we will forgo the necessities.
Give a man a fire, he'll be warm for a day.
Set a man on fire, he'll be toasty for the rest of his life.
Dominic
Image

User avatar
fallingwickets
Clive the Thumb
Posts: 8149
Joined: Mon Nov 06, 2006 11:59 am

Post by fallingwickets » Tue Jun 10, 2008 12:17 pm

Does the dandy and rake packaging cause less waste than the paper wrapped sticks?

Clive
de gustibus non est disputandum

Post Reply