Is AOS over MWF or DR Harris worth it?

Discussion in 'Shaving Soaps' started by cdrross, Sep 2, 2011.

  1. Hey all.
    I started a few months back with Proraso (green tub) as I ventured into the DE world. I was very happy with my experience. I decided to try a couple of different soaps so I ordered MWF and DR Harris (Marlborough) based on a lot of threads talking about these soaps.
    All I can say is that the shaving has gotten much nicer (I get the better soap thing)! These two soaps lather much nicer than the Proraso which is now playing a very distant 3rd fiddle.
    The question I have is: Does AOS (Sandalwood) stand above DR Harris and MWF that much to cost what is does? I am having a hard time justifying the cost in my mind (even for a sample it is twice the cost).
  2. ouch

    ouch Moderator Contributor

    I think it does, but you'll have to make your own decision.

    If it's the price that concerns you, try the Valobra stick. They make the base soap for AoS and C&S.
  3. Not an easy question, but I'll answer it in other way.

    Since you're new you probably have no idea that AOS soaps are produced by Valobra in Italy. With the same formula they make the same soap, with different aromas, for three brands:
    - The Valobra shave stick, cheapest and with a lovely clean soapy smell (my favorite)
    - The AOS, to me the tallow interferes a lot with the aromas, especially on the sandalwood
    - Czech&Speake nÂș88, even more expensive than the AOS (especially for you being in the US) but I prefer it's smell over the AOS Sandalwood, less tallow more cologne

    The performance is the same in all those soaps, so go with the cheapest (you can buy 2 Valobra sticks for less than the price of the AOS or C&S and get more quantity 2x50g> 90g) for now and then try the others!

    BTW, the more you try the less you'll like the Proraso, take it from me!
  4. Thanks guys.
    I will consider the Valobra as my MWF and DRH start to dwindle. I am the type of person that if I rate something better, I have a hard time justifying using less - so if I like the Valobra better that means my MWF DRH investment gets old.
    This shaving this is going to drive me a bit crazy! Who knew it would be this way when I dropped my Gillette Fusion.
  5. I have tried a dozen soaps. AOS Sandalwood is my favorite. I love the scent and performance over all others. I also have the cream, which has a stronger scent ( no tallow though), so I make superlather - awesome.
  6. AoS soaps are absolutely fantastic, from both the views of scent and performance. As was mentioned earlier, you can buy 2 of the Valobra Sapone per Barba sticks for the less than the price of a puck of AoS. The difference is that you have the convenience of having it in puck form, and AoS uses essential oil, instead of parfum. In terms of performance, I'm unable to find any, so if you could care less for the bowl and puck option, go for the Valobra stick.

    Secondly, I'm new to MWF, so I cannot give long term comparisons, but for me, I prefer the Valobra/AoS option. That's the only soap on the market than I can almost guarantee that no one will have allergic reactions to, especially if you opt for the unscented version. Some people have allergic reactions to lanolin, while others have reported rashes, and even acne breakouts. Valobra makes a high quality soap, and is only 9 years younger than MWF. The included tallow provides the same amount of slickness as the lanolin in MWF does, and leaves your face feeling as lubricated as, if not more lubricated than the MWF.
  7. The "value" argument always spirals out of control pretty quickly here, and it all hinges on how you define value and worth.
  8. professorchaos

    professorchaos Moderator Emeritus

    You'll have to decide that for yourself. AoS is some damn fine soap but MWF gets my nod.
  9. joshmpdx

    joshmpdx Moderator Emeritus

  10. I'm admittedly a bit of a snob. AoS is excellent, D.R. Harris is quite good, MWF is excellent but not particularly aromatic if that matters, but if value is THE primary consideration, It's pretty tough to beat Speick or Palmolive sticks, IMHO. They are surprisingly good every time I whip them out (not frequently at all). Of all the soaps I have, my old formula Penhaligon's and my C&S Oxford & Cambridge are the ones I go to most often... AoS may be slightly better, but the fragrances aren't particularly appealing to me.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 10, 2011
  11. Sure, Paul, feel free to come on here and tell us that you not only have a puck of O&C but that you also have old-formula Penhaligons just hanging around your shave den.

    Not that anybody reading that would have any cause to get jealous.........
  12. franz

    franz Moderator Emeritus

    It would be hard to go wrong with ANY of these soaps, they're stellar.

    Pick up a Valobra stick for travel. Then, wait for the occasional AoS sale/promotion - oftentimes you can get a puck for $5 or $10 off the retail price.
  13. Yes a sale should be coming sometime in the next few months.
  14. They're offering free shipping over the Labor Day weekend according to an email I got today...
  15. If you want to try AOS, I'd recommend the Cream. IMO the Tubs are a good value, the Scent & lather are Moisturizing and Rich.
  16. I use AoS Sandalwood and DR Harris Arlington. To answer the question, NO definitely NO, AoS does not stand above DR Harris. It is the contrary.
    Arlington is far better than AoS in all aspects : quality of lather, ease of lathering, scent and performance
  17. I would personally get the Valobra stick and give it a try to see if you like it, if you DO, then you can decide if you want the scents available from AOS.

    You can pick up a sample of MWF for a few bucks from Garry's Sample shop in in the vendor corner and give that a try too.

    By the time you finish up the MWF & the Valobra, you will have a good idea whether you want to continue with the MWF or look into the scents available from AOS, or you may find you like the clean soap scent of the Valobra just fine.

    Personally (YMMV, of course) I found the lather of Valobra to be almost exactly like that of a sample of AOS that I tried, and personally found them both to be lacking.

    I did, however, just order a puck of MWF for use this winter... It's not my fave by any stretch, but it's "just good enough" to get into rotation. The Valobra will continue to see use a few times a month until it's gone, but won't be replaced... It's not bad enough to toss, but not good enough to buy again... Nothing in particular *wrong* with it, just not a top contender for what I personally like in a shave.
  18. I have never tried DR Harris soaps, so I can't comment on that comparison. For me, AOS is a much better soap in terms of performance during and after the shave compared to MWF. I've been through a couple of pucks of MWF and maybe 3 or 4 pucks of AOS. Though more expensive, I greatly prefer the AOS soap to any other shaving cream/soap I've tried and that makes it worth it to me. But, like with anything, you'll have to give it a try and decide for yourself.
  19. I'd really like to know what products are being used that render the AOS "lacking". I've tried almost every highly touted product out there, and I love them. Not arguing, I just want to know what I need to go get :)

    Also, I'd wager that the idea that Arlington is better (in any way other than scent) than AoS would be a decidedly minority opinion. I could be wrong as I'm not very smart
  20. Once your SSAD kicks in and you have 4,5 or 6+ different kinds of soap, they tend to last forever. I have most of the soaps discussed in this thread and each puck will last 6-12 months. It is personal preference what is going to work best for you. I have AoS both in Sandlewood and Lavender and they are great for me. The soap is hard and seems to last forever with great lather and a scent that is not overpowering. I have the Valobra that I keep in stick form and use it for travel. But yes, if you want to, mill it into a bowl and have at it. You will not be disapointed.

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