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Artisan's Vs traditional

GaryTha

Contributor
if the best of the best artisan soaps were sooooo damned good as advertised......

Why are we common folks still buying Palmolive shave stick or Palmolive shave cream? Seriously, if barrister and mann, or your favorite. Were SOOO good then you wouldn't see these low cost products on the store.
The great artisan soaps often become great mass-produced soaps at a low price. Williams started out as an artisan soap.
 
PannaCrema Lavendotto was one of my favorite artisan soaps, but its long gone and discontinued, id buy the NUÀVIA line soap, but chances are the complex scents wont agree with my face.
Pannacrema pure 2o vetyver or DFS can still be found.
 
My main problem with artisans is my inability to test the fragrance before I buy. With traditional, I can usually find most in-store to smell. I have now given up on blind-buying artisans based on reviews as the scent has often been too much to handle despite good performance.


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This is why samples exist, and the availability of samples is much better with artisan soaps than mass produced soaps. I love Tabac, but woe to whoever blind-buys it thinking it smells of tobacco. Likewise, woe betide anyone who bought one of the ancient British hard soaps based on their pre-reformulation reputation.

Personally, I currently have more mass-produced product in my cabinet than "artisan", but the size/history of the company that makes a shaving product has zero impact on my decision to purchase that product. Modern business practices mean that positive brand reputation is effectively meaningless in my eyes. I care about what's on the ingredients list, and whether the manufacturer has defrauded anyone that I can remember.
 
I only bought one “artisan“ soap so far, based on several recommendations - Honor by Soap Commander. Supposedly they make some of the best performing non-tallow soaps. It’s very good, and the smell is great, but Arko is still a step up in performance, at 1/13th the price.
 
I use classics, my favourite Tabac and Palmolive and are really happay with them. They are just foolproof products to build superb lather and at least Palmolive is almost free. I've never tried those artisan soaps everyone raves about and honestly have no desire to do so because I don't see added value in those soaps

Here is why

1.) Due to higher initial price and because of those insane shipping rates cheapest I can get artisan soaps is 20€/tub and I refuse to pay that kind of money for a SOAP, if I will pay that money for a soap then litte fella needs to hold 3 years of daiy "load it if you hate it"

2.) Scent descriptions on artisan soaps are downright scary. I am not sure if my nose and surroundings can handle molten rubber infused with violet with overlaying hints od unicorn farts (I apologize but scent is not something that plays major role for me, exept Arko...just doesn't agree with me)

3.) Reading reviews about artisan soaps, the only advantage over "old" soaps is aftershave face conditioning...sorry fellas but I have my trusted Nivea Balm for this

Don't get me wrong I am not against artisans, I just can't justify to myself spending so much money on a soap that acts liek a aftershave balm too.

But I will admit I enjoy looking at artwork of some makers, they are trully awesome
 
if the best of the best artisan soaps were sooooo damned good as advertised......

Why are we common folks still buying Palmolive shave stick or Palmolive shave cream? Seriously, if barrister and mann, or your favorite. Were SOOO good then you wouldn't see these low cost products on the store.

In nearly every product line, there are various tiers from economy to luxury. Shaving soaps are no exception. Some women purchase costume jewelry over the counter at discount stores. Others purchase custom made rings and necklaces from high-end jewelers who use nothing but the finest diamond, pearls, emeralds and sapphires. Others wear semi-precious jewels and metals.

Some folks drive luxury cars such as Lamborghini and Maserati. Others drive Lexus and Mercedes. Then there are those would can only afford cars sold by "Joe" at the corner used car lot. Most of us drive something in between.

The same thing goes with shaving soaps. I consider purchasing high-end shaving soaps to be an affordable luxury. When using elite artisan soaps, I get a great scent, a great shaving experience, and my skin feels great for hours. I am retired and no longer have to worry about school loans, paying for the kid's braces and college education, etc. I no longer have to worry about mortgage payments or car payments. Thus, I enjoy spending my disposable income on simple luxuries.

If I were on a tight budget and could not afford to purchase elite artisan soaps, I could use less expensive soaps like Arko, Palmolive, Cella, Williams, etc. However, I would forfeit the great scent, great shaving experience, and great post-shave feel.

Most of us, however, probably fall into the category somewhere in between. We are not so poor that we have to use the least expensive products, but yet we do not want "waste" money on luxury products. Fortunately, the market contains products that range from quite inexpensive up through very expensive. Thus, we can each find a product, whether artisan or traditional that fits our budget and meets our minimum requirements.
 
its not about tiers of economy. If the 50 dollar a pound soaps were superior to everything else, then we would ONLY be buying them. but a lot of get superior shaves with a puck of Williams then with your wonder soap.
 
I've used both traditional and artisan soaps. Artisan soaps are really a mixed bag for me. Mike's is wonderful, but Tiki didn't work out for me at all. I really loved everything about Stirling, but the moment the brush touched my face with the lather, something in the soap irritated my skin; no matter what scent I used. But soaps like Tabac, Proraso, Palmolive, and Arko have never let me down. I personally use more creams than anything though. Those are all old brands too.
 
Few expensive soaps worth their premium price and they are totally superior to anything else as per quality of shave, post shave feeling and skin conditioning.
 
its not about tiers of economy. If the 50 dollar a pound soaps were superior to everything else, then we would ONLY be buying them. but a lot of get superior shaves with a puck of Williams then with your wonder soap.
If only the best soap were $50 per pound. The new Grooming Department Nai formula is $32 for 4 ounces ($9 per ounce) which works out to $128 per pound plus tax and shipping. Nearly all of the better soaps are now selling for $5 per ounce, $80 per pound .

Not everyone is willing or able to pay $128 per pound for soap, or $80 or even $50..

Williams Mug Soap can be purchased for around $1 per ounce. Would you continue to purchase Williams if the price were increased to $5 per ounce? I think not. Your expectation for Williams are far lower at $1 per ounce than they would be if you paid $5. At $1 per ounce, Williams is a great soap, performing well above its price point. However, you can purchase far better soaps if you are willing to pay for them.

The basic rule of economics is that pricing drives demand. There are always tiers of economy. More folks shop at Walmart on Black Friday than at Macy's, even though the quality of the products at Macy's is higher.
 

GaryTha

Contributor
Williams Mug Soap can be purchased for around $1 per ounce. Would you continue to purchase Williams if the price were increased to $5 per ounce? I think not. Your expectation for Williams are far lower at $1 per ounce than they would be if you paid $5. At $1 per ounce, Williams is a great soap, performing well above its price point. However, you can purchase far better soaps if you are willing to pay for them.
Please don't presume you can tell me what my expectations for Williams are. You aren't inside of my head. I expect it to perform better than any soap I could buy at any price. That's why it's the only soap I own and shave with.

My Williams has given me great shaves for 198 days in a row. Have you done this with any of your great artisan soaps? There isn't even room for "far better" performance above Williams' performance level.
 
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My Williams has given me great shaves for 198 days in a row. Have you done this with any of your great artisan soaps? There isn't even room for "far better" performance above Williams' performance level.
I have 160 soaps in my den, so I rarely even use the same soap two days in a row, much less 198. I am not a Williams hater. I consider it to perform well above its price point. Here is how I rate Williams soap.

Ease of lathering: 7 out of 10. To rate a 10, the soap has to load in less than 15 seconds. I have many such soaps. Williams takes at least 30 seconds unless you bloom it first.
Ease of lathering: 6 out of 10. To rate a 10, a soap has to produce a suitable bowl lather in less than 30 seconds. I have many such soaps. It take me at lease two minutes to develop a suitable lather with Williams.
Primary Slickness: 8 out of 10. Williams is slick, but I have many soaps that are far slicker.
Residual Slickness: 6 out of 10. In order to use buffing strokes to achieve BBS, I need a soap that provides a high level of residual slickness....slickness that remains when there is no visible lather on the face. With Williams, I have to reapply lather continuously during the buffing process. I do have many soaps that rate 10/10.
Cushion/Protection: 6 out of 10. I have sensitive skin, but have a coarse, fast-growing beard, so I have to shave with very sharp blades and aggressive razors. I need a soap that provides a protective layer between my skin and the blade. Williams just does not provide a great level of protection. I have many soaps that rate 10/10 on cushion so I can get a BBS shave without irritation.
Post-Shave: 8 out of 10. Williams does contain glycerine to help with post-shave moisturizing and conditioning. However, it lacks many of the butters and oils that are contained in the best shave soaps. I have many soaps that rate 10/10.

Thus, on a performance scale of 60 points, Williams rates 41. I have a number of soaps that rate 60, scoring a perfect 10 on all criteria.

Although not included in the performance rating, Williams also scores poorly on fragrance. The scent is weak and smells like citronella candles. The positive is that it smells better than Arko. For me having soaps that possess a wonderful aroma adds to the luxurous experience of the shave. My top soaps have outstanding performance and outstanding fragrances as well.

There was a time 50 years ago when I shaved with Williams and considered it to be suitable. However, when compared side-by-side with modern soaps, Williams is sorely lacking on all counts. The only thing that keeps it viable is the price.

I completely understand that many folks do not have the same stringent requirements for a shaving soap that I have. Perhaps you are willing to take 3-4 minutes to load and lather a soap; I am not. Perhaps your beard is thin and your skin is tough such that primary slickness is the only criteria you need in a soap. Perhaps you skin is oily so you do not want the added butters and oils included in artisan soaps. There are millions of people in the world and we all differ. However, if there were not thousands of people who like the same type of soaps that I do, the artisans would not be able to produce and sell them for $5 and up per ounce.
 

GaryTha

Contributor
I have 160 soaps in my den, so I rarely even use the same soap two days in a row, much less 198. I am not a Williams hater. I consider it to perform well above its price point. Here is how I rate Williams soap.

Ease of lathering: 7 out of 10. To rate a 10, the soap has to load in less than 15 seconds. I have many such soaps. Williams takes at least 30 seconds unless you bloom it first.
Ease of lathering: 6 out of 10. To rate a 10, a soap has to produce a suitable bowl lather in less than 30 seconds. I have many such soaps. It take me at lease two minutes to develop a suitable lather with Williams.
Primary Slickness: 8 out of 10. Williams is slick, but I have many soaps that are far slicker.
Residual Slickness: 6 out of 10. In order to use buffing strokes to achieve BBS, I need a soap that provides a high level of residual slickness....slickness that remains when there is no visible lather on the face. With Williams, I have to reapply lather continuously during the buffing process. I do have many soaps that rate 10/10.
Cushion/Protection: 6 out of 10. I have sensitive skin, but have a coarse, fast-growing beard, so I have to shave with very sharp blades and aggressive razors. I need a soap that provides a protective layer between my skin and the blade. Williams just does not provide a great level of protection. I have many soaps that rate 10/10 on cushion so I can get a BBS shave without irritation.
Post-Shave: 8 out of 10. Williams does contain glycerine to help with post-shave moisturizing and conditioning. However, it lacks many of the butters and oils that are contained in the best shave soaps. I have many soaps that rate 10/10.

Thus, on a performance scale of 60 points, Williams rates 41. I have a number of soaps that rate 60, scoring a perfect 10 on all criteria.

Although not included in the performance rating, Williams also scores poorly on fragrance. The scent is weak and smells like citronella candles. The positive is that it smells better than Arko. For me having soaps that possess a wonderful aroma adds to the luxurous experience of the shave. My top soaps have outstanding performance and outstanding fragrances as well.

There was a time 50 years ago when I shaved with Williams and considered it to be suitable. However, when compared side-by-side with modern soaps, Williams is sorely lacking on all counts. The only thing that keeps it viable is the price.

I completely understand that many folks do not have the same stringent requirements for a shaving soap that I have. Perhaps you are willing to take 3-4 minutes to load and lather a soap; I am not. perhaps your beard is thin and your skin is tough such that primary slickness is the only criteria you need in a soap. Perhaps you skin is oily so you do not want the added butters and oils included in artisan soaps. There are millions of people in the world and we all differ. However, if there were not thousands of people who like the same type of soaps that I do, the artisans would not be able to produce and sell them for $5 and up per ounce.
Sorry, but in my opinion, it's not possible to evaluate 160 soaps based on the one criteria that matters: "Is it good enough to use it every day." Take the Cal Ripkin challenge like I'm doing.

You make many statements that are unprovable like, "The only thing that keeps it viable is price." You are also good at using pejorative adjectives. I completely understand you don't have stringent shaving requirements like I do. I can see how it slants your evaluations. You are buying soaps for show and not for use.

Your artisan soaps cost orders of magnitude higher than you claim. Most of your 160 soaps will spoil before you can ever use them. Your cost/shave is the total cost of your soaps divided by the number of shaves you've gotten with them. I'll bet you are looking at $10 or more per shave. Add in the cost of other products you will never use, and the cost per shave becomes much higher.

As a hobby, all this extra expense is fine. I'm just in it for a high quality shave every day. We are at different ends of the spectrum. One is not more elite than the other.
 
Sorry, but in my opinion, it's not possible to evaluate 160 soaps based on the one criteria that matters: "Is it good enough to use it every day." Take the Cal Ripkin challenge like I'm doing.

You make many statements that are unprovable like, "The only thing that keeps it viable is price." You are also good at using pejorative adjectives. I completely understand you don't have stringent shaving requirements like I do. I can see how it slants your evaluations. You are buying soaps for show and not for use.

Your artisan soaps cost orders of magnitude higher than you claim. Most of your 160 soaps will spoil before you can ever use them. Your cost/shave is the total cost of your soaps divided by the number of shaves you've gotten with them. I'll bet you are looking at $10 or more per shave. Add in the cost of other products you will never use, and the cost per shave becomes much higher.

As a hobby, all this extra expense is fine. I'm just in it for a high quality shave every day. We are at different ends of the spectrum. One is not more elite than the other.

The reason I purchase so many soaps if for EVALUATION. I enjoy using and evaluating new soaps in order to determine which ones are best. These evaluation are are conducted based on my water, my lathering method, my brushes, and the results are based on my criteria and my opinions. However, unlike some, I do indicate the criteria I use for my evaluations.

I could easily use any one of my top 50 soaps on a daily basis and get wonderful shaves, but I enjoy being able to use different soaps each day.

For me, cost is not a factor. or at least not much of one. One time, I purchased a soap for $27 and shaved with it one time. The performance was superb, but I hated the scent, so I gave the soap away. That one cost me $27 per shave. However, it became a entry into my database.

I fully understand that even if my soaps never spoiled, I have more than enough soaps to last for the rest of my life. I have enough soaps to last another 30 years, by which time I will be approaching 100 years old. I had an aunt that nearly made it to her 98th birthday, but I probably won't last quite that long.

I never said that my shaving soap requirements are more stringent than yours. I can deduce that you put a high value on economy, but that is about it. What I said is: "I completely understand that many folks do not have the same stringent requirements for a shaving soap that I have."

Some people I know have said they have oily skin and do not like soaps with lots of post shave feel. I have friends who like soaps with low cushion as they feel they get closer shaves without a layer of soap between the blade and their skin. One guy on YouTube spends 12 minutes lathering Williams Mug Soap to get a great lather. That is OK for them, but not for me. Thus, I know that shaving requirements differ. However, I also know there are lot of folks who do have requirements similar to mine and they value my evaluations; they would rather not spend their money on something that might not work for them.

If you disagree with my evaluations, you are welcome to do so. However, having evaluated a lot of soaps, I can tell you that nearly all of them are "good enough to use every day", but if I had to use only one soap, Williams would not be the one unless I could not afford anything better.

Please answer this question: Is Williams so good that you would still be willing to use it every day a price of $10 per puck (about $6 per ounce)? I suspect you would be looking for an alternative. If Williams were good enough to warrant a price of $10 a puck, you would not be able to purchase it for $2 per puck
 

GaryTha

Contributor
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Please answer this question: Is Williams so good that you would still be willing to use it every day a price of $10 per puck (about $6 per ounce)? I suspect you would be looking for an alternative. If Williams were good enough to warrant a price of $10 a puck, you would not be able to purchase it for $2 per puck
It's bad form to ask a question and then tell me which answer I would give. If you don't mind, let's agree that I get to choose my own answer.

Unless it actually happens, my answer is suspect. However, I can give the reasoning why I would be willing to pay $10 a puck for Williams. So far, I've gotten 235 shaves from my current puck with 337 passes. I have at least 20 left. Since I reload for additional passes, the 337 passes is equivalent to 337 single pass shaves. I've modified my technique so I only do single-pass shaves. Therefore, at $10/puck my cost would be about $.027 a shave assuming the puck lasts a year. The cost is about the same as a tub of Proraso, which also has a good reputation. I would not look for an alternative in light of the small cost.

"If Williams were good enough to warrant a price of $10 a puck, you would not be able to purchase it for $2 per puck."

Perhaps you don't understand pricing and supply and demand. Williams is likely priced for maximum return, not for maximum price. The rankings on Amazon are based on a combination of price and volume. Williams is almost always in the top three among the shaving soaps. In other words, they are among the most profitable. They could easily lower the supply and increase the price, but they would make less money.
 
I find myself sniffing most of my artisan soaps more than using them.

I have some that have been exceptional, but even those aren't much better performing than some of the cheaper classics, which I trust and use more.
 

GaryTha

Contributor
I can deduce that you put a high value on economy, but that is about it.
I'm addressing one point at a time so I don't make a mega-post. How could you possibly deduce this? You know nothing about me or the quality of my shaves.

I didn't buy shaving stuff. I bought daily irritation-free and blood-free DFS shaves in under 10 minutes including the time for preparation and cleanup. I don't stretch my skin to get a BBS because I don't feel like getting ingrown whiskers. It turned out my initial choices were almost flawless, so I didn't waste much money purchasing things I don't need.

What you should deduce is I believe quality shaves are a result of outstanding preparation, flawless and mindful technique while shaving, and avoiding stupid mistakes that draw blood. You can't throw money at deficiencies in these areas and hope to solve them.

You should deduce that I've spent the time to learn how to achieve my goals without expensive shaving stuff. There is no benefit I could buy that I don't already have enough of.

You should deduce that I achieve my goals with traditional mass-produced products. You should also deduce that my basic four items are high enough quality and enjoyable enough for everyday use.

You should also deduce that it's fine for us to have opposite opinions.
 
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3.) Reading reviews about artisan soaps, the only advantage over "old" soaps is aftershave face conditioning...sorry fellas but I have my trusted Nivea Balm for this
I tend to agree. I don't understand the need for a soap and balm in one. To get that great "face feel", it usually means short lived superfatted soaps that are expensive and you better use before they go rancid or become petri dishes. I'm much happier with a "mass market" soap that acts like a shave soap should and then if I feel I need a balm, I will use one.
 
A. Artisans have to constantly tinker with their soap base to get better performance to stay competitive
Does MDC or Williams tinker with their base? No, because their customers do not have fickle tastes that change with the latest post of a popular forumite's take on a soap. Forums and a few posters seem to make or break artisan soaps. MDC and Williams customers can think for themselves. (named two, but really mean most mass produced soaps here).

I have to run now, because I have to get my finger poised over the buy button on Williams site next Wednesday at high noon because they are dropping their new base and I don't want to miss out.
 
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