Thoughts on the quality of the products we use

Discussion in 'General Shaving Discussion' started by blade08, Nov 11, 2008.

  1. Just some thoughts. Over the last 9 months I have tried numerous products from the cheap Arko cream to the more expensive Taylor's creams to the very expensive Acqua Di Parma cream. Same for soaps and after shave products; cheap Vergulde Hand soap, more expensive Tabac soap, expensive English soaps, cheap drugstore AS lotions and the expensive Acqua Di Parma ASB.

    My opinion after 9 months of wet shaving is that we as a community sometimes exaggerate the quality of certain products. Yes, certain products really outclass the competition; Tabac shaving soap being the best example. Overall however, I think that the quality of many products is far closer than the price tags on some of these products makes us want to believe. The best example is the quality of certain Nivea products. In my opinion, their regular ASB is at least equal to the ASB offered by Acqua di Parma (though I admit that I have used ADP a couple of times only). Another example is the very cheap Nivea shaving cream in the blue tube. In my opinion, it is at least equal if not better than many of the Taylor creams that I have used.

    Now I am the first to admit that I also like to exaggerate every now and then when I am really enthusiastic about a new product. Overall, I do believe that we sometimes exaggerate a bit too much.
  2. It's like pretty much anything - there's a "law" of diminishing returns - something for $1 does the job 90% satisfactorily, $10 gets you 95%, $100 maybe 98%...

    What I'm interested in is the best performance that I can aspire to - if that means the 90% product or the 95% product then so be it.

    You're absolutely right about the performance - I'm sure that they are closer in performance than the price tag suggests - but also price tag is not a straight guide to performance - hence we find low price items that outperform the high ticket items.
  3. I still think the SC from Scotland is worth the $.
  4. Suzuki

    Suzuki Moderator Emeritus

    Its pretty clear around here that price doesn't always equal performance.

    Your examples are very good ones - Tabac, TGQ, Conk are all examples of soaps that shave rings around many of their more expensive competitors.

    In terms of creams, Nivea, Proraso, JM Fraser all perform well above their price point. Aqua Velva, Nivea, Booster and a host of others perform as well as much more expensive stuff.

    However, there are lots of inexpensive products that perform lousily - I think Williams stinks, I've used lots of crappy balms and splashes, etc.

    With soaps and creams in particular, the ingredients aren't all that expensive and there certainly is a premium paid for the name brand products/fancy packaging. There's something opulent about buying a nicely packaged product that just isn't there when you buy a drugstore product.

    The other thing we pay for beyond the performance of the product is often scent - this can be expensive, especially if you want EO-scented products (for example, rose and sandalwood are very expensive EOs).

    With respect to balms, sometimes you get better/more expensive ingredients or a higher concentration of them - which costs.

    Ultimately, its very much an individual decision based on individual preferences.
  5. htownmmm

    htownmmm Moderator Emeritus

    One man's quality is another man's trash. For the most part, we can agree on the items that represent quality. To me that is any item in which i am getting my money's worth in usage and enjoyment.

    If i do not look forward to using it, I could care less how much it costs-its a 'gots to go situation'. However, by payiung attention to not only the reviews but the reviewer, i have been able to stay away from items that IMO appear to be dregs.

    However, if curiosity bites, then I obtain as small as a sample to use as possible and see what happens.

  6. You're quite right.

    But we enjoy spending on luxury, that's why we're here.
  7. I'm here more because I sought a way out of spending $10 for 8 cartridges. The luxury items are more of a by-product of that decision for me.

    I get a huge kick out of the cheap shaves I get. At the same time, I am becoming more interested in having a variety of products from which to choose.
  8. quality is in the eye of the beholder. if williams works well for me then i think its a quality product. these aren't like those $100 pre-holed jeans we're talking about here. if i spend $30 on a thing of truefitt and hill shaving cream i know i'm getting a good product not some con-job like those jeans.
  9. I find this observation to be particularly spot on with regards to aftershaves. I think the cheap (er) varieties perform and smell better than the expensive designer versions. It seems to me at least that in order to justify the higher priced AS's they jazz them up w/ perfumey oils and additives that I just can't stand. I just want a clean, refreshing scent that tones and moisturizes. Pinaud, AV, EL, Stephan, Lustray and so on fit that bill to a T.
  10. I love my VDH deluxe puck. $1.97
  11. Some of the best shaving gel I have used I got for $1 at Family Dollar, On The Go it's called... great stuff!

    That reminds me, I should grab the rest of their supply!
  12. +1


    The Real Shaving Co. shaving cream.

    and the Nivea ASB of course.

    and AV Ice Blue.

  13. Diminishing Marginal Returns, it's only those last few percentage points of performance that really cost you.

    I'm perfectly happy with paying a reasonable amount for 85% or so, and not stressing the last 15%.

    In my book, while Proraso cream does have a greater value per dollar rating than Taylors, it lags behind in value per shave.

    Compare that to Omega Shave soap and Tabacs, it's no contest. Tabac outperforms Omega in both value per dollar and value per shave.

    Now I need to find some actual numbers to put on these imagined values, hold on while i load up excel.
  14. Speaking just for creams...While I have to admit I have my share of pricy ones...For my money Sue at SCS produces some great shaving creams at very reasonable prices. I have yet to be let down with the shaving qualities. As always, YMMV.

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