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Differences between soaps/creams for a newbie

Thank you everyone again for the comments.

@JCinPA certainly I don't downgrade TOBS. It has a very good quality lather and it feels more consistent than the rest that I have used. However my point was although it seems better to me, I eventually get the same irritation that I get the Erasmic. I certainly have a lot of things to learn but I am in a very good way and I am doing better than the cartridges.

@hairless wonder thank you for the clarification, now it makes more sense to me

@dotKomo yes post-shave routine is something I am working on. I shave every 2 days and most times I use alumblock (I was told not to use it every time and I followed the instructions). I like alumblock because my skin is very oily and I find that after using that it feels very nice for a long time. After alum block I use either a balm or some aftershave - I have Brut. I tend to like aftershave more, though it seems counterintuitive to me.
 

JCinPA

The Lather Maestro
@nik232 I didn't think you were "downgrading" TOBS. Use what you like! We all should. As a new shaver I just did not want you attributing too much to a single user's experience. Make your own judgements, and realize that for every product around here which is one man's top performer, there is someone who hates it. It just sounded like you were drawing a generalized inference from one person's TOBS opinion about the whole line, and that you should not do.

And, if something irritates you, I was trying to make the point, don't write off the brand, because the "brand" is not irritating your face, some ingredient is. So you get a cream that irritates you, figure out what ingredient is the culprit, because you're likely to LOVE another product they also make, and you're likely to hate a product by another maker that uses the ingredient which is giving you issues.

I'm just trying to guide how a new shaver comes to conclusions, that's all. Did not mean to sound critical of either you or the fellow who doesn't like TOBS creams. Putting it all in perspective, that's all.

Good luck, and great shaves!
 
My suggestion for nik232 or anyone new to DE razors would be to choose one razor, type of blade and soap or cream. Stick with the same combination until you can shave without cutting yourself for at least 1-2 months. By this time you will not need to think about razor angle on the contours of your face, your brain will take care of it for you. This should take care of razor burn for the majority of people.

Once you get to this point swap out one thing in your shaving routine for a few weeks with something else to see if it is better, the same or worse. By doing this over time you learn to critically assess the products and will be able to easily determine the best combination(s) for you.
 
Hello all!

I am new in traditional shaving and I have a question about the differences of the various soaps/creams. The question is more general that's why I put it under general discussion.

I have been shaving for two months using the following: Rockwell 6C, perma sharp, a cheap mensu boar brush, and for lather I have tried erasmic cream, erasmic soap, TOBS cedarwood, Wilkinson's blue shaving soap. I also use glycerin soap as pre-shave. I have tried to fix razor and blade trying to improve on my technique.

Interestingly enough I had tried a few different blades at the very beginning and I didn't see any differences, which I suppose that it is due to my very poor technique. I haven't tried more blades recently (hopefully now my technique is better than the first days). In my shaves I still have irritation, however, it is manageable. Compared to before where I was using cartridges the irritation is way smaller. However, my technique is still not that good and I can't get the same quality of final result that I was getting with cartridges.

Now the main question is about the soaps/creams. First I was prudent enough to read the wikis in this website and I never had any problem in getting good lather. However, I can't see much of a difference in performance between e.g. TOBS and say erasmic cream, despite the very big difference in price. I grant that TOBS smells better and the lather seems better and it seems to be slicker, however, I don't get less irritation in comparison to erasmic soap or cream.

I suppose the reason is that my technique is still very poor and needs to be improved. I am wondering when other shavers started being able to distinguish among creams/soaps of different quality. In addition, I have a very oily skin and I am wondering whether this plays a role in the choice of cream/soap.

Thank you very much for your time for reading my post, I really appreciate it.

Kind regards,

Nick
I found I will NEVER get the same results from a single blade as I do from my 3blade or 5 blade cartridges. It takes multiple passes… I do the traditional with, across, and sideways shaving to get that super smooth shave. Always keeping in mind, I have to be extra careful with single blades as they are sooooo damn sharp.

Obviously, slowing down, shorter strokes make a much longer process. I still prefer my multi blade tools… but once in awhile when I have the time I use my vintage Gillette blue or one of the other single blades shavers and use them.
 
Myself, I use a stiff boars hair brush - thusly, scrubbing my face at the same time I lather.
For 'slickness' I first apply a liquid soap I've used for years...it's called "Kiss My Face". A very thick cream type of soap. I massage this into my face, cleaning the skin as I go. Then I use my boars hair brush to lather up my Ogallah Bay Rum puck. I bought about 20 of those years ago, before the old man passed the business over to his son (or whatever the young guy is).

The liquid soap "Kiss My Face" can be purchased via Amazon from a 3rd party, as well as the Ogallah puck.
 
My experience has been better with soaps. Best soaps for me: Arko (stick), Proraso (green tub), Tabac, Vitos Extra Super. Arko is pretty cheap ($2-$4 per stick). Proraso tubs can be had in Italian supermarkets for about 2 euros ($2.25). Tabac is pricier ($13-$18). Vitos comes in a 1 kg brick for $20-$25 but it lasts forever.
 
Hello all!

I am new in traditional shaving and I have a question about the differences of the various soaps/creams. The question is more general that's why I put it under general discussion.

I have been shaving for two months using the following: Rockwell 6C, perma sharp, a cheap mensu boar brush, and for lather I have tried erasmic cream, erasmic soap, TOBS cedarwood, Wilkinson's blue shaving soap. I also use glycerin soap as pre-shave. I have tried to fix razor and blade trying to improve on my technique.

Interestingly enough I had tried a few different blades at the very beginning and I didn't see any differences, which I suppose that it is due to my very poor technique. I haven't tried more blades recently (hopefully now my technique is better than the first days). In my shaves I still have irritation, however, it is manageable. Compared to before where I was using cartridges the irritation is way smaller. However, my technique is still not that good and I can't get the same quality of final result that I was getting with cartridges.

Now the main question is about the soaps/creams. First I was prudent enough to read the wikis in this website and I never had any problem in getting good lather. However, I can't see much of a difference in performance between e.g. TOBS and say erasmic cream, despite the very big difference in price. I grant that TOBS smells better and the lather seems better and it seems to be slicker, however, I don't get less irritation in comparison to erasmic soap or cream.

I suppose the reason is that my technique is still very poor and needs to be improved. I am wondering when other shavers started being able to distinguish among creams/soaps of different quality. In addition, I have a very oily skin and I am wondering whether this plays a role in the choice of cream/soap.

Thank you very much for your time for reading my post, I really appreciate it.

Kind regards,

Nic
Reading your post, I noted you mention your technique as much as soaps, and this reminded me of something I learned about my own as I first learned. I have a Gillette Adjustable, inherited, and though I tried all settings, I was still getting severe irritation; Essentially, I learned that I simply must NOT shave against the grain! As I was still recovering from the mess i made of my face one weekend, and shaved only with the grain to lessen the pain. Surprise! almost no irritation/worsening. Since then I've determined that I can go with or across, but not against, and had to learn how to pull my skin taut to get the closeness.
Hope this helps.
 
Generally, creams are made with fatty acids (stearic, palmitic, myristic). In the presence of hydroxide the fatty acids are in their alkaline ionized form (stearate, palmitate, myristate). This makes them soluble in water and in fats, and makes fats mix with water, which is what soaps and detergents do.

Shaving soaps are usually made with crude and complex mixtures of fats, like palm oil, coconut oil, or tallow. When reacted with hydroxide we simply call these mixtures palmate, cocoate, tallowate. Not everything in these mixtures reacts with hydroxide, so not everything becomes “soap”, some things remain fats. Therefore shaving soaps can be richer and fattier than creams.

However, many shaving creams have added oils and fats (lanolin, shea butter, coconut oil, etc) to make them fattier.

Also, stearic acid is fattier (and more expensive) than palmitic, palmitic fattier than myristic. A shaving cream made with stearate will be richer and fattier than one made with myristate.
 
Like blades like razors I think soaps are also personal

I love TOBS Jermyn my fav performer I reckon but again if someone like above is not a fan its personal so you have to try see if you like it :)


your water also makes a difference me insane hard water so certain soaps are a no go or just take dif ways or methods to make them work some are easier some are tougher for me I do not want to add anything or use special water and take special ways of doing things so I just find soaps that work for me

for me the soap is performance first as the scent washes away and I do like a nice scent but never feel the need to have a bunch of them so if I find one I am happy I do like the idea of maybe having two once I narrow down my fav but that means I have to try pretty much all of them

also when I read others have issues or love certain soaps that match my findings I tend to see what else they have tried and helps test things :)

for me its so fun to shave now I do enjoy the testing process :)

get them play with them over the next two years I reckon and PIF or Sell or whatever and enjoy
 
Hello all!

I am new in traditional shaving and I have a question about the differences of the various soaps/creams. The question is more general that's why I put it under general discussion.

I have been shaving for two months using the following: Rockwell 6C, perma sharp, a cheap mensu boar brush, and for lather I have tried erasmic cream, erasmic soap, TOBS cedarwood, Wilkinson's blue shaving soap. I also use glycerin soap as pre-shave. I have tried to fix razor and blade trying to improve on my technique.

Interestingly enough I had tried a few different blades at the very beginning and I didn't see any differences, which I suppose that it is due to my very poor technique. I haven't tried more blades recently (hopefully now my technique is better than the first days). In my shaves I still have irritation, however, it is manageable. Compared to before where I was using cartridges the irritation is way smaller. However, my technique is still not that good and I can't get the same quality of final result that I was getting with cartridges.

Now the main question is about the soaps/creams. First I was prudent enough to read the wikis in this website and I never had any problem in getting good lather. However, I can't see much of a difference in performance between e.g. TOBS and say erasmic cream, despite the very big difference in price. I grant that TOBS smells better and the lather seems better and it seems to be slicker, however, I don't get less irritation in comparison to erasmic soap or cream.

I suppose the reason is that my technique is still very poor and needs to be improved. I am wondering when other shavers started being able to distinguish among creams/soaps of different quality. In addition, I have a very oily skin and I am wondering whether this plays a role in the choice of cream/soap.

Thank you very much for your time for reading my post, I really appreciate it.

Kind regards,

Nick
You seem to be on the right track Nick. Like so many things in shaving, and life for that matter, it’s a question of personal choice. Personally, I’m a soap man and like others here who’ve mentioned cost, yes, the more expensive soaps and creams might not necessarily the best for you, or me. Along with other disposables like blades I would say try them out and see what suits you. Only you will know what feels best for you.
Good luck!
 
Thank you everyone again for the comments.

@JCinPA certainly I don't downgrade TOBS. It has a very good quality lather and it feels more consistent than the rest that I have used. However my point was although it seems better to me, I eventually get the same irritation that I get the Erasmic. I certainly have a lot of things to learn but I am in a very good way and I am doing better than the cartridges.

@hairless wonder thank you for the clarification, now it makes more sense to me

@dotKomo yes post-shave routine is something I am working on. I shave every 2 days and most times I use alumblock (I was told not to use it every time and I followed the instructions). I like alumblock because my skin is very oily and I find that after using that it feels very nice for a long time. After alum block I use either a balm or some aftershave - I have Brut. I tend to like aftershave more, though it seems counterintuitive to me.
Heya, I have been using nothing but "Mikes natural soaps" for a few years and it is STELLAR.
He is a boutique retailer out of minnesota or somewhere...google will find him for you.
I use his soaps because they have no chemicals etc, which I found most other good lathering soaps have.
This COULD be a possible cause of your skin irritation? Highly likely IMO.

Also alum is an irritant I believe...although I like the feel of it too but rarely use it.
I also use polisiver blades almost exclusively. I bought dozens of kinds of blades and and none come close to the smootheness, IMO. I occasionly use a feather for a few days beard,on 1st pass only, then back to polisilver's.

When I first started shaving, and didnt want to use the chemical soaps, and hadnt yet discovered mikes soaps, I used olive oil to shave. It worked great cause you can see, but it does make a mess of your razors, sink etc.
Also a no brush shave cream with no chems is "kiss my face" and it is pretty darm good too...I use it when I'm in a rush.

Ohh yea, the BEST thing I do for a good shave is use a mirror filled with hot water in the shower. I ALWAYS shave in the shower! You can find em at bed bath and beyond, or amazon.
Cheers!
 
Actually ... think it does mean that soaps are better. At least in terms of performance, that's really kind of a objective standard ... slickness.

It's not like fragrance where your scent evaluation of something is purely subjective.

I think for a vast majority of cases a croap or hard soap is going to be more luxurious and creamy while having a higher amount of slickness... When compared to most creams.

But the good news is, that if creams work better for you, due to other, likely subjective factors, like perceived convenience, ease of loading, scent choice, brand name, etc, then you're going to be just fine because many of them still give very nice slickness and provide enjoyable shaves.

I could be wrong here. But that's the way i see it.
I think you nailed it. The slickness I'm getting with Proraso Blue is amazing. Even after my head and face are rinsed the razor still glides. That said I do enjoy their soap bowls very much.
Paul D
 
I would second the choice of Proraso and Arko. They were my first soaps, and still my go-tos when it absolutely must be done right. I think they're great for beginners. I'm also the kind of person who just cannot shave against the grain without tearing my face apart, so I just live with that little bit of extra bump. As everyone has said, though, it's a highly personal journey. Good luck!
 
Hello all!

I am new in traditional shaving and I have a question about the differences of the various soaps/creams. The question is more general that's why I put it under general discussion.

I have been shaving for two months using the following: Rockwell 6C, perma sharp, a cheap mensu boar brush, and for lather I have tried erasmic cream, erasmic soap, TOBS cedarwood, Wilkinson's blue shaving soap. I also use glycerin soap as pre-shave. I have tried to fix razor and blade trying to improve on my technique.

Interestingly enough I had tried a few different blades at the very beginning and I didn't see any differences, which I suppose that it is due to my very poor technique. I haven't tried more blades recently (hopefully now my technique is better than the first days). In my shaves I still have irritation, however, it is manageable. Compared to before where I was using cartridges the irritation is way smaller. However, my technique is still not that good and I can't get the same quality of final result that I was getting with cartridges.

Now the main question is about the soaps/creams. First I was prudent enough to read the wikis in this website and I never had any problem in getting good lather. However, I can't see much of a difference in performance between e.g. TOBS and say erasmic cream, despite the very big difference in price. I grant that TOBS smells better and the lather seems better and it seems to be slicker, however, I don't get less irritation in comparison to erasmic soap or cream.

I suppose the reason is that my technique is still very poor and needs to be improved. I am wondering when other shavers started being able to distinguish among creams/soaps of different quality. In addition, I have a very oily skin and I am wondering whether this plays a role in the choice of cream/soap.

Thank you very much for your time for reading my post, I really appreciate it.

Kind regards,

Nick
Greetings from Lynn Massachusetts. You are doing great. The technique will pop up when you least expect it. Sometimes a firmer brush like boar or mixed is better in soaps. The lower priced razorock soaps perform much higher. The extro soaps are not firm and are amazing. Have fun. Best regards Ron Eastman
 
Search “riding the cap” if you are not familiar with that concept. Learning this made a quantum leap for me in closeness and reduced irritation.
 
Thank you all for the additional information.

Despite having decided to stay with the same soap for some time to improve the technique, I will definitely try Arko sometime soon, since this is something I wanted to try a long time ago. Thank you for the other soap suggestions as well, I will see what I can find.

One comment was saying not to do against the grain. My experience is slowly starting to second that. I find that if I shave carefully across the grain the results that I get are very good and there is no reason to have against the grain. But of course still my technique is improving, only recently I can get good results from accros the grain.
 
Thank you all for the additional information.

Despite having decided to stay with the same soap for some time to improve the technique, I will definitely try Arko sometime soon, since this is something I wanted to try a long time ago. Thank you for the other soap suggestions as well, I will see what I can find.

One comment was saying not to do against the grain. My experience is slowly starting to second that. I find that if I shave carefully across the grain the results that I get are very good and there is no reason to have against the grain. But of course still my technique is improving, only recently I can get good results from accros the grain.
What kind of blade are you using? Are you face lathering?

Personally, I favor Palmolive shave stick. This is the soap I started with. It is tallow based and smells like soap. It is made in Germany.

If you are looking for a cream that is very slick, you may want to try Proraso Single Blade. It was originally targeted to barbers using straight razors.

The only thing I have to add to other's comments is to focus on mapping your beard. The alum block is useful in identifying where your problem areas are. But, witch hazel is probably more soothing.

Personally, I use a two pass routine, with pickups; face lather with a badger brush, use cold or tepid water. I favor relatively sharp blades in moderately efficient razors... Astra SP, Wizamet, Nacet, Perma Sharp.

An assortment pack of blades proved helpful for me. Some blades are more forgiving of poor technique than others. Which ones work best is a highly subjective thing.
 
@IamSpartacus I am using perma sharp and astra green. I have also tried a few others, but perma and astra green seem indistinguishable to me and seem to perform better than others.
I am afraid a bit of face lathering, I prefer to do it in a bowl where I can control it easier. Thus said I tried earlier today for the first time to do face lathering with Arko (my first time of using this soap) and I think I managed well. I had some irritation after the 2nd pass at the usual places (neck in 2 places) which I found with the alum block but they didn't feel any bad after - I suppose that arko post save seems to have a nice effect for me.

I think I will stick to the same routine using arko for the next few weeks trying to improve my technique. Arko seems to be very slick and for some reason I like the scent. Also it lathers very nicely and very fast. I am also impressed by the amount of lather that I get from it.
 
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