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Arko: An Observation

OK, hear my out. I know this is going to sound crazy but. I don't know. Maybe it is. The same Maggard Timberwolf synthetic was used for all shaves along with a variety of blades that have all been historically sharp and smooth enough to be used as a reference for testing purposes.

I've been using an Arko shave stick (as intended) by rubbing a little into my beard and lathering it with a synthetic, mostly though April and May of this year. I had consistently slippery and close shaves this way, about 20 or so. I only apply a thin film to my chin and a radius surrounding it, as to not overload the soap. Coating my whole beard makes way too much lather and just gets sticky and really hard to rinse off once I'm done.

Then one day, I had some sensitivity issues on a certain part of my face, and didn't feel like rubbing the Arko stick on my face, so I smashed the stick into a Connaught wood bowl, and decided to load it that way. I've used the Arko, the exact same stick mind you, in puck form for 5 consecutive shaves, and am finding the slickness and protection is less than when it was a stick! At first I thought it was product usage related, but it's not, as I've been checking the lather between my fingers prior to shaving and it's right on. Just dense enough so I can't feel my fingerprints when I rub two fingers together and slick as can be.

The main difference between the two methods (other than the slip n' slide) is the rinse-off and post-shave feel. As a stick, I find it harder to rinse the residual lather off my face (even when minimally loaded) whereas the puck method rinses off my face very cleanly. I also have a tendency to go a little oilier when using the stick but not when using the puck. It was almost 100 deg. F today (and humid) and my face feels perfectly clean and hydrated, not oily at all!

Anyone else experience this insanity? Does an Arko shave stick perhaps act a little like a pre-shave when applying it to the face prior to lathering it? Is it just me?
 

FarmerTan

George Bailey Fanboy
Weird, but I would have to assume that what little difference you made in it by loading it up in a bowl would change the viscosity or something?

I apologise for the strange sentence, but I knew what I was saying. I'd like your vote in November.
 
The lather is made to a ratio of soap:water. It seems logical that the lather has changed between the two methods, even though subjectively it seems the same. To know for sure how much soap was being used, it seems you would have to weigh the soap before and after a large number of shaves, say 20 or more, and compare the two methods. Measurement would be objective and help you understand what's going on.
 
I noticed this as well. The stick rubbed on the face seems to be slicker while bowl lathering its not as slick but not by a whole lot.
Thanks for your feedback. It's a small amount of glide, but I really am missing it! Guess I'll just have to spend a few bucks and get another stick. :D

For the record, I face-lathered, whether it was in stick or puck form.
 
I like to use it as a stick for that reason and because I keep it in a shot-glass so it off-gasses and smells more reasonable (while keeping flies, midges & mosquitoes away!)

When I finish shaving now, I wipe my face off with the damp towel from the shower and then rub in a generous bit of TNDickinson's witch hazel which is witch hazel with 25% grain alcohol - then I rinse. It cuts the tallow nicely and I get a good rinse and continue with lotion/aftershave/whatever.

I can only guess that application heat/friction have something to do with it. A barber once told me that when I was putting on hair product that I should put it in my hands and rub it between them until it warmed up a little before putting it in my hair. I can't remember the word he used, but I believe the intent was that rubbing my hands together warmed it up a little and that was somehow important to the performance characteristics. I've observed similar effects when applying wood finish, but it is typically a result of how the product gets laid down as the solvent evaporates and not so much about heat (or maybe the heat is part of it). What I do know is that thin wiped layers, particularly of shellac/gumlac etc... deposit thin overlapped layers of resin whereas thick sprayed coats have less structure and tend to perform poorly during leveling and eventual wear. Perhaps in this instance water is... the solvent??? I mean, tallow is to some degree a biopolymer... rubbing it on may be in some way functionally similar to padding lacquer vs spraying it giving you a thinner and more structural coating of tallowate or whatever it is that reduces surface tension to give "slickness" ?!?

Man... I wouldn't take that to the bank by any means. That is what my Dad used to call a WAG. (wild a&& guess)
 
I like to use it as a stick for that reason and because I keep it in a shot-glass so it off-gasses and smells more reasonable (while keeping flies, midges & mosquitoes away!)

When I finish shaving now, I wipe my face off with the damp towel from the shower and then rub in a generous bit of TNDickinson's witch hazel which is witch hazel with 25% grain alcohol - then I rinse. It cuts the tallow nicely and I get a good rinse and continue with lotion/aftershave/whatever.

I can only guess that application heat/friction have something to do with it. A barber once told me that when I was putting on hair product that I should put it in my hands and rub it between them until it warmed up a little before putting it in my hair. I can't remember the word he used, but I believe the intent was that rubbing my hands together warmed it up a little and that was somehow important to the performance characteristics. I've observed similar effects when applying wood finish, but it is typically a result of how the product gets laid down as the solvent evaporates and not so much about heat (or maybe the heat is part of it). What I do know is that thin wiped layers, particularly of shellac/gumlac etc... deposit thin overlapped layers of resin whereas thick sprayed coats have less structure and tend to perform poorly during leveling and eventual wear. Perhaps in this instance water is... the solvent??? I mean, tallow is to some degree a biopolymer... rubbing it on may be in some way functionally similar to padding lacquer vs spraying it giving you a thinner and more structural coating of tallowate or whatever it is that reduces surface tension to give "slickness" ?!?

Man... I wouldn't take that to the bank by any means. That is what my Dad used to call a WAG. (wild a&& guess)
You lost me on the wood-finishing, but that's ok, I love to TRY and learn something new each and every day!

I have also neglected to mention I don't use aftershaves of any kind, just a warm followed by a cool water rinse.
 

FarmerTan

George Bailey Fanboy
You lost me on the wood-finishing, but that's ok, I love to TRY and learn something new each and every day!

I have also neglected to mention I don't use aftershaves of any kind, just a warm followed by a cool water rinse.
Your barber was right. That's the way I was trained.
 
My opinion, most sticks are going to be slicker directly applied and built on the face. I often ‘hybrid’ lather: stick on face, build a thincoat initial lather on face (also loading the brush). Then I bowl (very small bowl) lather incorporating more water (less for DE and SE, wetter for SR) and paint on a thicker layer to get exactly the amount of H2O I want.
 

ajkel64

Moderator
I have always grated my Arko sticks into a plastic Tupperware style container and made them into a puck. I have found the soap to be fine. I have to admit though that I have not face lathered with Arko. Maybe I should try to this in Arko August and see if there is a difference or not. Can you wait @FarmerTan for August for my findings?
 

FarmerTan

George Bailey Fanboy
I have always grated my Arko sticks into a plastic Tupperware style container and made them into a puck. I have found the soap to be fine. I have to admit though that I have not face lathered with Arko. Maybe I should try to this in Arko August and see if there is a difference or not. Can you wait @FarmerTan for August for my findings?
Seriously, you've given my sad self a reason to endure June and July! I honestly think you will be ASTOUNDED by the difference my friend.
 

FarmerTan

George Bailey Fanboy
A different FT original oil sounds good to me. I’ll write that in come November.
I have no idea what you are talking about my friend, but I'm about to mention you in a post in that thread I started about shaving like my grandpa. I temporarily "Frankenrazored" (yes, it's a werd, you just read it on the internet, duh) that NEW LC you gave me. Wondiferously awesome shave.
 
OK, hear my out. I know this is going to sound crazy but. I don't know. Maybe it is. The same Maggard Timberwolf synthetic was used for all shaves along with a variety of blades that have all been historically sharp and smooth enough to be used as a reference for testing purposes.

I've been using an Arko shave stick (as intended) by rubbing a little into my beard and lathering it with a synthetic, mostly though April and May of this year. I had consistently slippery and close shaves this way, about 20 or so. I only apply a thin film to my chin and a radius surrounding it, as to not overload the soap. Coating my whole beard makes way too much lather and just gets sticky and really hard to rinse off once I'm done.

Then one day, I had some sensitivity issues on a certain part of my face, and didn't feel like rubbing the Arko stick on my face, so I smashed the stick into a Connaught wood bowl, and decided to load it that way. I've used the Arko, the exact same stick mind you, in puck form for 5 consecutive shaves, and am finding the slickness and protection is less than when it was a stick! At first I thought it was product usage related, but it's not, as I've been checking the lather between my fingers prior to shaving and it's right on. Just dense enough so I can't feel my fingerprints when I rub two fingers together and slick as can be.

The main difference between the two methods (other than the slip n' slide) is the rinse-off and post-shave feel. As a stick, I find it harder to rinse the residual lather off my face (even when minimally loaded) whereas the puck method rinses off my face very cleanly. I also have a tendency to go a little oilier when using the stick but not when using the puck. It was almost 100 deg. F today (and humid) and my face feels perfectly clean and hydrated, not oily at all!

Anyone else experience this insanity? Does an Arko shave stick perhaps act a little like a pre-shave when applying it to the face prior to lathering it? Is it just me?
Way back when I first tired ARKO, I hadn't used a stick so I grated some into a bowl and thought it was a good soap. Later when I used it as a stick, I found I got a better lather and shave and it became a great soap.

Maybe I'm just better at face lathering soap than bowl lathering, but ARKO works better as a stick for me too.
 
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