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1st Time Buying Expensive Soaps: Buy Refills Only or with Jar

Hi Everyone, looking to step up to some better soaps but not break the bank. I noticed you can buy, say MWF, in the ceramic bowl for $35 or a refill for $13. What are your thoughts on just buying the refills (Tabac, SV, MWF, etc) to save some money? Suggestions on why this isn't the way to go?? Thanks.
If you keep your shaving soap out on the lavatory top, it's nice to have a decorative container. It needn't be a branded container. One can find generic lidded shaving soap bowls in wood, metal, or ceramic.

If you're spending good money on soaps, and you have at least a fair number open at one time, you should have sealed containers for each of them, as you don't want the scents to dissipate in the time (years) it will take you to go through them. Utilitarian options such as small plastic food containers, wide-mouth jars, even zip-bags will suffice in a pinch.

If you know you love a soap and will undoubtedly re-buy it, it may prove emotionally satisfying to buy the signature dish.
But, I would never buy the branded bowl unless I was already familiar with the scent and performance of the soap.

Many brands will have unique bowls for each of their scents, Trumper, Truefitt & Hill, etc. I guy could go broke!

Finally, consider that the wooden bowls will deteriorate when used repeatedly with a wet brush. Some might say that's desirable, and call it a patina...
 
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BigJ

Ambassador
I have plenty of containers so I just go for the pucks! :straight: :straight:

But this is YMMV, especially if you are going to keep your soaps out for display.
 
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I bought a Tabac bowl just because...well...it's a classic and looks cool. I have a few bowls that were gifts too. At this point, i have no need for more bowls. But I appreciate and enjoy the ones I have simply for the nostalgia aspect.
 
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I opted to get a bunch of Anchor Hocking glass bowls (link below) from Walmart years ago, and I use them for refil pucks (Tabac, MWF, Czech & Speake) and a bunch of Stirling samples I had on hand. They work great and were a heck of a lot cheaper than the branded containers.

 
I would say save the money on the container and put it toward another puck. You can get empty containers from Maggard Razors for as little as $1.50 each. Just my 2 cents...
I did not know Maggards sold containers. Was thinking just using a zip lock but this is a better option. Thanks for the info.
You can also go to dollar tree and the sell metal tins that look like what a lot of the soaps come in for either 1 dollar a piece or a 2 pack for a dollar.. They also have some others similar that are made in hard plastic... Some of the tins have a magnet on the bottom to aid with stacking...
Some have already listen to me before when asked about containers and I posted the same solution..
Here's some images of the containers..
IMG_20210225_090958.jpg IMG_20210225_091056.jpg
 
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ackvil

Moderator
I opted to get a bunch of Anchor Hocking glass bowls (link below) from Walmart years ago, and I use them for refil pucks (Tabac, MWF, Czech & Speake) and a bunch of Stirling samples I had on hand. They work great and were a heck of a lot cheaper than the branded containers.

That's the same bowls I use. There are certain brands of soap such as Haslinger, Williams, etc. that do not come in containers. So I use the Anchor Hocking glass bowls and they work fine.

Has Coco.jpg
 
The best containers I have found so far are the PETG jars sold by Maggard Razors. Heavy, clear plastic that feels nice, looks nice and won't dent or break if you drop one. You can buy six or eight of those for the price of one fancy container from the soap makers. They also can be stacked.

Plus, they are soap agnostic. They don't care which soap you put in them.
petg-jar-soap-1.png
 

lancre

Contributor
Your money, your choice.

That said, you assume a $22 difference between MWF refill and MWF in a jar.
Now what else can you buy with that $22.00?

Using Maggard's for pricing examples:

Maggard emptied container $1.50 (includes enough soap remaining for one shave)
Haslinger's Puck $8.50 (any)
Maggard Synthetic brush $9.95 (or a choice of Omega boars under $10)
5 pack blade sampler $3.40

Total $23.35

Me, I'd go for the refill puck. And the more expensive the soap, the more expensive the dedicated bowl is likely to be, so the more gear you can get with the difference.
 
Something else to consider
Find a set of shaving buddy’s
Split every soap 3 ways
Now you made your own large samples.
And if you have a lot of the same amount standardized jars stack a lot easier.
Buy a nice shaving bowl from the cash not spend or more soap
 
Something else to consider
Find a set of shaving buddy’s
Split every soap 3 ways
Now you made your own large samples.
And if you have a lot of the same amount standardized jars stack a lot easier.
Buy a nice shaving bowl from the cash not spend or more soap
Great idea! Now, if only I had a few local shaving buddies :cool:

Too late for me as I now have more soap than I can use in the next 20 years, but still a great idea.
 
Great idea! Now, if only I had a few local shaving buddies :cool:

Too late for me as I now have more soap than I can use in the next 20 years, but still a great idea.
Never too late to start, just try to find one via the board. Pretty sure some might have soap you do not and vice versa. Happy to have one myself.
 
It is the soap not the container that counts. If money is an issue don't skimp on the soap, skimp on the container. Over the years I have accumulated many containers that now sit waiting for a refill.
Very true in general. Proraso soap, which I could get very cheaply until recently, comes in a plastic tub with a snap on cover that you can save and reuse with other soaps. I admit, I splurged and bought the Tabac jar on sale when it was only $6 or $7 more than the puck alone. But that is mainly because I am a mid-century modern design enthusiast.
 
Very true in general. Proraso soap, which I could get very cheaply until recently, comes in a plastic tub with a snap on cover that you can save and reuse with other soaps. I admit, I splurged and bought the Tabac jar on sale when it was only $6 or $7 more than the puck alone. But that is mainly because I am a mid-century modern design enthusiast.
If the soap and ceramic jar was only $6 or $7 more than the puck of MWF or Tabac alone, there's no doubt in my mind I would buy them both. An empty container offered for sale will probably cost at least that much (if you can find one).
 

Chandu

I Waxed The Badger.
If there is a bowl you really like, get it. You can always put a different soap in in later if you don't buy any more of what came in it I bought some Boellis Panama 1924 and will definitely buy the bowl on a re-order. I should have got the bowl from the get go as it's nice enough to be used with any soap. Generally, I put my soaps into a couple of Old Spice Mugs or other cups I have that are short and wide.

I am NOT a fan of plastic tubs artisans seem so fond of. Ugly plastic, big, bulky, landfill fodder forever. I think traditional shaving should not use plastics. It seems out of period. In the SOTD photos it's jarring seeing a beautiful razor, brush, and lather an along side an ugly plastic tub IMHO.
 
If the soap and ceramic jar was only $6 or $7 more than the puck of MWF or Tabac alone, there's no doubt in my mind I would buy them both. An empty container offered for sale will probably cost at least that much (if you can find one).
I've noticed with a number of sellers that sometimes there are good sales on the 'luxury' soaps in a jar or bowl, but not on the refills. So if you like a classy milk glass modern design jar like Tabac's, or the classy wood bowls some others have, often you can get a deal on those. But as others in this thread have said, they really aren't needed. Note my bowl below with a puck of Geo. F. Trumper in it, made with recycled material and $1.29 at one of those surplus discount housewares stores. Of course, not the last word in elegance, as Chandu points out. 20201102_152131.jpg
 
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Chandu

I Waxed The Badger.
I've noticed with a number of sellers that sometimes there are good sales on the 'luxury' soaps in a jar or bowl, but not on the refills. So if you like a classy milk glass modern design jar like Tabac's, or the classy wood bowls some others have, often you can get a deal on those. But as others in this thread have said, they really aren't needed. Note my bowl below with a puck of Geo. F. Trumper in it, made with recycled material and $1.29 at one of those surplus discount housewares stores. Of course, not the last word in elegance, as Chandu points out. View attachment 1228431
Maybe not elegant, but nicer than a generic white plastic tub and you will reuse it.
 
The best containers I have found so far are the PETG jars sold by Maggard Razors. Heavy, clear plastic that feels nice, looks nice and won't dent or break if you drop one. You can buy six or eight of those for the price of one fancy container from the soap makers. They also can be stacked.

Plus, they are soap agnostic. They don't care which soap you put in them.
View attachment 1228219
+1

These are great containers. They have a wide opening and are great for loading from and stack well.

As much as I like a matching container, they can be a pain for storage. If you have multiple soaps the unique shape of each container often makes them a pain to stack and store.
 
I like containers that are convenient and user friendly. When I first began shaving, I purchased the L' Occitane Cade soap in their aluminum bowl. The soap puck would always push or fall out of the tin because it was way too shallow.

When I purchased MWF with it's bowl, I didn't like it because the ceramic bowl's circumference is much bigger around then the actual size of the puck? Makes no sense?

I purchased Tabac's bowl with it's puck. It worked at first, but when the soap sarts getting used, and deeper into the bowl, it's harder to lather the brush because it's not wide enough. Also, an air bubble get's formed underneath the puck where water gets trapped underneath and then won't dry out when not in use.

I have a couple of wooden bowls that I used to keep soap from kilos or bricks, like Cella, or Klar Kabinett, or if I shaved down a stick of La Toja or Arko. Now, I just use these.

Lightweight, reusable, water proof, airtight and if I need another one, I just go eat some fried chicken. :)

3c2f3bd8d7554148a75856b7e6c195f4.jpg
 
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