Williams Mug Shaving Soap is still horrible

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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EL Alamein
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Williams Mug Shaving Soap is still horrible

Post by EL Alamein » Fri Apr 12, 2019 5:44 pm

Picked up a cake of Williams shaving soap for 99 cents today just to test some claims made elsewhere that it really does perform very well (hence it might be implying a change in formulation, or getting the current formulation right as the ingredients list suggest it should be a good performer).

Nah, it's drek. Here in my hard water I soaked it in scalding hot water in a mug as suggested and even worked with a boar brush. I poured off the water into a bowl and began lathering the cake. I used the water for soaking and never introduced new water.

What I got was a thin, disappearing lather that actually left gunk on my straight razor. I had to use my forefinger and thumb to wipe the edge to get it off.

Taylor's it ain't nor even an inbred cousin. How this continues to sell I'll never know. I got a better lather from Dove unscented bath bar than from Williams (not much better but no gunk).

I've saved the cake in the mug for further testing in soft water once my skin has calmed down and no longer hates me.

Chris

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Re: Williams Mug Shaving Soap is still horrible

Post by brothers » Fri Apr 12, 2019 7:56 pm

When I read those sadly enthusiastic posts I understand the ones who deem Williams worthy of praise simply don't know any better. That's unfortunate, but again it's only a buck. Williams is probably generating a dependable and moderate income for someone who neither knows nor cares. If they reformulate (see: Cyril Salter's Solid Shaving Soap) they could increase the price and distribution while the income increases substantially.

Or . . . maybe it's a corporate entity someone somewhere is using for financial or personal objectives completely unrelated to shaving or soap.
Gary

SOTD 99%: 12 soaps & creams, SilkSmoke synthetic, General by Colonial razors, Kai & Schick, Superior 70 aftershave splash + menthol + 444 asb

Gene
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Re: Williams Mug Shaving Soap is still horrible

Post by Gene » Sat Apr 13, 2019 4:42 pm

That's why they say friends don't let friends shave with Williams.

I cant get a great lather with it with it, only a fair lather, but I sort of like the scent, and I for sure like how my face feels after I finish. No other cream or soap leaves my face feeling the way Williams does.

If it performed as well as my other soaps I could use it a lot more.
Gene

"It could probably be shown by facts and figures that there is no distinctly American criminal class except Congress."
Mark Twain

"People shouldn't be afraid of their government. Governments should be afraid of their people."
Alan Moore

EL Alamein
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Re: Williams Mug Shaving Soap is still horrible

Post by EL Alamein » Sat Apr 13, 2019 5:45 pm

What I thought was really confusing is the gunk that built up on the edge. There's no mineral oil or the like mentioned in the ingredients so far as I can ascertain.

The only other cake I had this issue with was the Culmak (recently tried after many years languishing). But it's got Paraffinum liquidum right in the ingredients. So that was no surprise.

Maybe its the citronella oil in the Williams used for scenting?

I can understand the Culmak stuff that maybe it sweated a bit while many years waiting and in various humidity. My guess with that one is that the more I use it the better it will get as I dig through the top layer. I expect it might return to it's old performance. But Williams?

I think Gary might be on to something. His post inspired the thought that it maybe just a nostalgia sort of thing or maybe a prop of sorts kinda like bone handled tooth brushes which are used by re-enactors of old battles. Of course they may also be taking advantage of the current climate of wet shaving renewal and just selling as much as they can to unsuspecting men to make a buck.

Whatever it is may it go away as-is as soon as possible.

Chris

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Re: Williams Mug Shaving Soap is still horrible

Post by brothers » Sat Apr 13, 2019 6:11 pm

Gene wrote:
Sat Apr 13, 2019 4:42 pm
. . . .
If it performed as well as my other soaps I could use it a lot more.
Gene, that's true in my case. I like the way it smells, but just can't get around the lather.
Gary

SOTD 99%: 12 soaps & creams, SilkSmoke synthetic, General by Colonial razors, Kai & Schick, Superior 70 aftershave splash + menthol + 444 asb

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TRBeck
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Re: Williams Mug Shaving Soap is still horrible

Post by TRBeck » Mon Apr 15, 2019 7:32 pm

After puzzling over the ingredients and lather for years, here's what I think. Williams buys a tallow:coconut soap base made with sodium hydroxide, i.e., bath soap. They add Potassium Stearate. Unfortunately, the proportion of the soap base is too high, and possibly the coconut percentage in the soap base is too high. The two most common ratios on the bulk market for tallow:coconut are 80:20 and 50:50. The latter, if it constitutes, say, 60 percent of the final product, would yield 40 percent potassium stearate and 30 percent each sodium tallowate and cocoate. That's a lot of bubbles. With only sodium salts of tallow, there's not much stability there (tallow has lots of oleic acid, and even stearic acid wants potassium for solubility and creamy lather). My guess is the film is a result of the sodium tallowate base. There's a lot here that can foam, a little stabilizing from potassium stearate, and no superfat or stabilizing/emulsifying agent (i.e. paraffinum liquiduum or, as in Speick, cetearyl alcohol).

It's not good. Shame. It probably would be a minor tweak to restore to glory a drugstore soap for traditional wetshavers. Shockingly, no one has challenged Williams for that slot as the market has boomed (in fact, I understand Palmolive sticks are likely discontinued in Europe now, so perhaps there's no there there anyway).
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: Williams Mug Shaving Soap is still horrible

Post by brothers » Tue Apr 16, 2019 3:17 pm

This makes a lot of sense out of something hard to understand, from the outside looking in. If they changed it for the better and tripled the price, I'd buy a whole case of it and never look back.
Gary

SOTD 99%: 12 soaps & creams, SilkSmoke synthetic, General by Colonial razors, Kai & Schick, Superior 70 aftershave splash + menthol + 444 asb

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drmoss_ca
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Re: Williams Mug Shaving Soap is still horrible

Post by drmoss_ca » Wed Apr 17, 2019 4:22 am

I get a little 'gunk' on my blades with my homemade soap, but I think it's because I put lanolin in them, and I believe lanolin does not saponify so it becomes my 5% superfat.

And I hope that's where all similarities with Williams end. Though I do like the mild verbena smell of Williams.
"Je n'ai pas besoin de cette hypothèse."
Pierre-Simon de Laplace

Gene
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Re: Williams Mug Shaving Soap is still horrible

Post by Gene » Thu Apr 18, 2019 7:36 am

drmoss_ca wrote:
Wed Apr 17, 2019 4:22 am
Though I do like the mild verbena smell of Williams.
Verbena? Interesting - I thought it was citronella, or something like that.

It also occurs to me that living in the Austin area with a water softener might make the water decent enough to get lather. Last time I tried Williams was 5+ years ago, while we were still in Georgia. Oh well- I don't see it in the stores here, so I'm not likely to find out.
Gene

"It could probably be shown by facts and figures that there is no distinctly American criminal class except Congress."
Mark Twain

"People shouldn't be afraid of their government. Governments should be afraid of their people."
Alan Moore

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TRBeck
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Re: Williams Mug Shaving Soap is still horrible

Post by TRBeck » Thu Apr 18, 2019 8:27 am

Never saw it in central TX either, Gene. I used it with a water softener in San Antonio at my in-laws' house several times and finally gave up. I like the packaging, the price, the scent, the aesthetic, and the idea of a drugstore product. Alas, it is not to be.
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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drmoss_ca
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Re: Williams Mug Shaving Soap is still horrible

Post by drmoss_ca » Thu Apr 18, 2019 1:42 pm

Gene wrote:
Thu Apr 18, 2019 7:36 am
drmoss_ca wrote:
Wed Apr 17, 2019 4:22 am
Though I do like the mild verbena smell of Williams.
Verbena? Interesting - I thought it was citronella, or something like that.

It also occurs to me that living in the Austin area with a water softener might make the water decent enough to get lather. Last time I tried Williams was 5+ years ago, while we were still in Georgia. Oh well- I don't see it in the stores here, so I'm not likely to find out.
I doubt if it's Aloysia citriodora/Lippia triphylla (lemon verbena) or the similarly scented but unrelated Pelargonium crispum (lemon geranium). It doesn't smell quite like other verbenas or verveines. Most likely, it's artificial. Whatever they use, it is a muted lemon scent, reminiscent of the fruit rather than exactly like it. It's actually a lovely scent, and it's a shame the soap is disappointing.

I just checked one of my stash still in boxes. It's a bilingual box and says it's 'Made in Canada' (the shame!) although the opposite side mentions the company being in White Plains, NY. There are no ingredients listed at all.
"Je n'ai pas besoin de cette hypothèse."
Pierre-Simon de Laplace

Gene
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Re: Williams Mug Shaving Soap is still horrible

Post by Gene » Fri Apr 19, 2019 8:45 am

I might (maybe) buy a puck on Amazon, assuming I can find a single bar. Most vendors are offering it in a multi-pack deal. Like I said - I, too, like the scent - and I REALLY like how my face feels after I use it.

If nothing else good comes from it I will drag it into the shower and bathe with it. I've done that with other less than stellar shave soaps.
Gene

"It could probably be shown by facts and figures that there is no distinctly American criminal class except Congress."
Mark Twain

"People shouldn't be afraid of their government. Governments should be afraid of their people."
Alan Moore

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Brutus
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Re: Williams Mug Shaving Soap is still horrible

Post by Brutus » Sat Apr 20, 2019 12:57 am

At the risk of digressing:
So many times have I heard, or have I thought to myself, how agreeable the old-fashioned soapy Williams scent is that it is really surprising that no soap maker (e.g. Haslinger) ever seems to have thought of producing a similarly smelling and sized shaving soap that works....

Of course, there is still Mitchell’s Wool Fat or Haslinger’s ewes’ milk shaving soap for fans of old-fashioned scents, or Valobra if they don’t change their recipe after the recent acquisition by Ludovico Martelli SrL (makers of Proraso).



B.

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Re: Williams Mug Shaving Soap is still horrible

Post by brothers » Sat Apr 20, 2019 2:25 pm

Brutus wrote:
Sat Apr 20, 2019 12:57 am
At the risk of digressing:
So many times have I heard, or have I thought to myself, how agreeable the old-fashioned soapy Williams scent is that it is really surprising that no soap maker (e.g. Haslinger) ever seems to have thought of producing a similarly smelling and sized shaving soap that works....B.
Brutus, here's a link to one that came up about 4 years ago. Made in Arizona. He's still going strong these days. We had a thread here on SMF regarding it. Great soap, great copy of Williams' fragrance. It was a limited edition soap, no longer offered. It was a soft soap and it worked very well.
viewtopic.php?f=3&t=55088&p=669003&hili ... mo#p669003

PS: I'm currently loading the brush on the soap for around 4 seconds. Face-lathering exclusively now.
Gary

SOTD 99%: 12 soaps & creams, SilkSmoke synthetic, General by Colonial razors, Kai & Schick, Superior 70 aftershave splash + menthol + 444 asb

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Brutus
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Re: Williams Mug Shaving Soap is still horrible

Post by Brutus » Sat Apr 20, 2019 7:18 pm

brothers wrote:
Sat Apr 20, 2019 2:25 pm
Brutus wrote:
Sat Apr 20, 2019 12:57 am
At the risk of digressing:
So many times have I heard, or have I thought to myself, how agreeable the old-fashioned soapy Williams scent is that it is really surprising that no soap maker (e.g. Haslinger) ever seems to have thought of producing a similarly smelling and sized shaving soap that works....B.
Brutus, here's a link to one that came up about 4 years ago. Made in Arizona. He's still going strong these days. We had a thread here on SMF regarding it. Great soap, great copy of Williams' fragrance. It was a limited edition soap, no longer offered. It was a soft soap and it worked very well.
viewtopic.php?f=3&t=55088&p=669003&hili ... mo#p669003

PS: I'm currently loading the brush on the soap for around 4 seconds. Face-lathering exclusively now.
Thank you for mentioning this thread, I must have missed it then, because it never rang a bell.


B,

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Re: Williams Mug Shaving Soap is still horrible

Post by Z-2 » Tue May 21, 2019 12:36 pm

First of all, you are lucky enough to have such wonderful soap there :) Seriously.

My experience with soaps is relative small, because I use mostly creams. But I do love Williams (I speak only about modern version, never tried vintage one). My water is also hard and yes, the lather is maybe not that rich as Arko (for example). But it gives me irritation free, comfortable shave and great post shave feeling. Williams also doesn`t dry my face, as many of other tallow based soaps. If I lived in USA, I my use only Williams and VDH, because they are not expensive, readily available in stores.
Use more product, and I hope you will start to love this real classic :wink:
Lolita Haze: Do you always have to shave twice a day?
Humbert Humbert: Yes, of course, because all the best people shave twice a day (from the film Lolita (1962))

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BPman
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Re: Williams Mug Shaving Soap is still horrible

Post by BPman » Fri May 31, 2019 11:27 pm

I have zero trouble lathering modern Williams, but I use a synthetic brush which makes it much easier.

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