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English Hard Shaving Soaps

This maybe a little long - stick with it as its a good story, and there is a question at the end for you.

About 12 months ago I made the switch from using shaving creams exclusively, to embarking on a quest to find the absolute best shaving soap. Creams wise, I'm a sucker for English ones (T&H, TOBS, GFT, DRH and CRS), but I was put off mainly by (justified) negative reviews and opinions on the GFT soaps so I stayed well clear of the other English soaps (except MWF) more on all that soon!. My two favorite non English creams are SMN and ADP, so, their quality led me to try some Italian soaps.

So off I went, I tried SO many its unreal (vegan, tallow based, donkey based, ducks, sheep's milk) oh my goodness - sounds more like an obsession with farm animals rather than shaving! I wont list all the brands as that would actually be impossible, but my favorites included SV, WK, Southern Witchcrafts, Sterling and Haslinger. I did not care at all for DG or GD - two forum favorites here.

In the end, my choice was going to be vegan, as I had a lot of (varying difficulties) with most of the tallow/animal based products and the lanolin in MWF. So my standouts were naturally SV, WK vegan options and Haslinger. But strangely, I still wasn't satisfied.

Like I mentioned, MWF didn't work out for me, and neither did the awful GFT soaps ( I did try them however they are probably the worst lathering attempts I've ever had). Those experiences led me to think that all the English soaps would produce the same results, so I steered clear of them. Oh how wrong I was. Off I went on vacation to London with the family in the summer (I'm English, but I live in Alaska) and of course I had to visit all the London shaving establishments. I went to Trumper's first, as their creams are, along with DRH, my favorites. While in the Trumper's shop, even though I was honest with them about my disappointment in their soaps (I softened their blow by declaring my love for their Rose & Spanish Leather creams) they were so pleasant and helpful, and recommended I tried the TOBS & DRH stores for their soaps. DRH I was not surprised, as I had read a lot about them as they are popular products on here and within this great hobby of ours - however knowing they were tallow based I was not interested. However my visit to their store was great, and they gave me a FREE tub of Rose, again, my favorite scented cream (WOW!). So off I went to TOBS.

My least favorite of the English cream suppliers, TOBS scents are just OK, and the performances (imo) not as good as GFT, DRH, CRS and T&H, on top of that, the hard soaps are rarely mentioned, ANYWHERE, so I was skeptical. After smelling all their soaps, I purchased a puck of the Sandalwood and Jermyn St. I wanted to wait until I was back in Alaska to try them, as the water here is as hard as nails.

When I got home, I did try them. And to say I was surprised is the understatement of my lifetime. I cannot believe they do not get the love and appreciation of all these artisan soaps that are flooding the market, and fashionable to the extreme among many wet shavers. Let me tell you this, both the TOBS Sandalwood and Jermyn St triple milled, vegan hard soap pucks out perform EVERY soap I have EVER tried. I know, its all subjective, and a matter of opinion and totally dependent on what works best for everyone's (different skin, facial hair, water and techniques etc...) but for me, they perform perfectly in everything I want in a soap (scents, ease of lather, consistency of lather, glide/slickness, protection, moisturizing) oh and also, they are traditional to the hilt, and English! Out of the two, Jermyn St is my favorite as it has a slightly preferable scent.

To wrap up this stupidly long post.....I am astounded how criminally under rated and rarely discussed these soaps are. I have found my perfect soap for now (see question below), and Im over the moon with it.

Here's that question. As you may have noticed (if for some silly reason you are still reading), I did not mention a trip to T&H's store. I spent so much time in the others, had I gone there I would have missed my date with my family on a tour of Buckingham Palace! How are the T&H hard soap pucks? Are they vegan, triple milled, great performers? I love the 1805 scented cream, but $30 is expensive for a puck to try it out. Especially If I'm disappointed with it. Can anyone tell me how the T&H soaps compare to the TOBS pair I adore....or just how good they are if you have not tried the TOBS ones? OR - are there any other hard English soaps I should try?

Many thanks, for listening.
Sounds like you had a swell vacation to London, seems like it would be a wonderful place!

To answer your question T&H Soaps are known for being terrible performers Unless you are able to track down some "Vintage" before the reformulation. T&H does have some great scents (1805, Spanish Leather, and Grafton come to mind) creams are OK but the hard soaps are pretty much universally hated similar to Crabtree & Evelyn (or Crack Tree and Heroin as I refer to them as). As for Triple Milled soaps go, Musgo Real, SV, Omega, D.R. Harris, Razorock Triple Milled, AOS (Vintage tallow), etc. All perform well without issues however DRH is the only other English option worth trying IMO.
TOBS soaps are very underrated! I unfortunately had reactions to both the jermyn at and the lavender but they lather up great and smell really nice.

For veggie soaps, the French soaps are hard to beat! Pre de provence, institit karite and provence sante are all wonderful!!
Congrats Sir Zoost on your discovery and passion for TOBS soaps!
And the colorful discourse!
TOBS sandalwood and Jermyn St soaps are nice!

Tell us, why did you exclude tallow soaps?

tobs soaps.jpg
Great post!

Your family is very understanding!! :thumbup: :thumbup:

(LOTH here would not tolerate having me miss the Buckingham Palace tour.)
T&h, Trumper, and TOBS for a while now have outsourced their hard soap production to an inferior maker. It still works, but not as well as other options that cost less.

TOBS creams are the same way for me. I love the scent in Jermyn St, but the performance, while serviceable, is not as good as many cheaper options.

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The tin is specialtybottle.com, sticker is a scan from the refill pack and computer print.
works great for many soaps/croaps.

as for tallow sensitivities, you are aware that many forms of "stearic acid" are derived from tallow?
Glad you found what you liked. If you think the TOBS soaps are great now you should have known them before they were reformulated.

Glad you found what you liked. If you think the TOBS soaps are great now you should have known them before they were reformulated.


+1! Congrats on finding a product that works.
Keep your eye out for their old soap; it was far superior at least in my humble den! :a29:
I sounds to me you went to London totally unprepared. Shame, because all the information about the English creams and soaps is available here.
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