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Evolution to revolution - your thoughts?

I am interested in your thoughts on my recent experience. Am I mad, or am I experiencing something common? I’d love to know what you think!
I‘ll put it in point form to keep it simple.

1. Relatively new to wet shaving with DE blades.
2. Purchase Proraso green red and white as well as a Proraso mug.
3. Enjoy the smell of all of them but am not overwhelmed by their performance but am well aware that that may well be a lack of lathering skill on my part.
4. Ordered ToOBS Sandalwood, B&M Seville Omnibus and Arko stick just for fun.
5. Love the smell of the Seville but am underwhelmed by its performance.
6. Quite like the ToOBS smell but think it’s performance is so-so.
7. Am impressed by the Arko stick’s performance and not in love with the smell and decide it will be great for travel.
8. Recognise that the Proraso mug is not great for bowl lathering and that it’s probably designed for pucks. Decide that the ridges are for holding a puck, not creating lather.
9. Decide to press the Arko into the Proraso mug and leave it there. Impressed with the results.
10 Decide to use up the other soaps over the next couple of years and stick with Arko as I think it may well be the best performing soap out there if not the most pleasant in aroma.

Anyway- does anyone have any thoughts on this change of heart? Ring any bells?
Thanks in advance!
 

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Put the others away and come back to them in a few months or next year.

Arko is a fine soap and good value.

There are many in the Arco club and you will soon find each other. They are energetic and valorous in support of the merits of their chosen soap.
 
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musicman1951

three-tu-tu, three-tu-tu
I'd do some practice lathers with any of the soaps to see if I could produce more pleasing results. I'd start with too much soap - load it like you hate it. Lathering is really a fairly simple process of hitting the sweet spot of product/water ratio, but it becomes impossible if you don't start with enough product.

After that generous load there is nothing to do but slowly add water while keeping an eye on the results. Palm or bowl lathering is good for these practice lathers so you don't wear out your face. Since you've got plenty (and possibly too much, but that's fine) of soap you should notice that adding a bit of water at the start doesn't get the job done, so don't bother swirling for 30 seconds between additions - 10 is probably plenty.

That's it, just keep adding water until you like what you see. Then add some more and see what happens. It will either get better or worse - either way providing a good education. At some point you're going to make lather that is too thin.

If you do this a couple of times you should have a good idea of the lather making process. Some people like thick lather, some medium and some like it very thin. You won't know what works best for you until you use each one for a few shaves.

Enjoy the journey.
 
No offense, but new people tend to blame the equipment for their results, when it is more often than not their skills that need improvement. I would expect you need some practice in making a good lather with some of those soaps. Plenty of soap plus plenty of water usually works well. Maybe experiment with face lathering and see how well that works.

Lathering Arko is like falling off a log. Nothing wrong with Arko, but it would be a pity to stop there, IMHO.
 

thombrogan

Lounging On The Isle Of Tugsley.
ARKO! is a very easy-to-lather soap. Practically everything works. I suspect the Proraso and TOBS will give just as good of an experience — maybe better? Do not know — but you’ll have to work for it a little.

Some people find the creams and soaps from Captain’s Choice even easier to dial in than ARKO! so it may be worth investigating. If you find the same, @hairless wonder was the d00d sharing that observation
 
I'd do some practice lathers with any of the soaps to see if I could produce more pleasing results. I'd start with too much soap - load it like you hate it. Lathering is really a fairly simple process of hitting the sweet spot of product/water ratio, but it becomes impossible if you don't start with enough product.

After that generous load there is nothing to do but slowly add water while keeping an eye on the results. Palm or bowl lathering is good for these practice lathers so you don't wear out your face. Since you've got plenty (and possibly too much, but that's fine) of soap you should notice that adding a bit of water at the start doesn't get the job done, so don't bother swirling for 30 seconds between additions - 10 is probably plenty.

That's it, just keep adding water until you like what you see. Then add some more and see what happens. It will either get better or worse - either way providing a good education. At some point you're going to make lather that is too thin.

If you do this a couple of times you should have a good idea of the lather making process. Some people like thick lather, some medium and some like it very thin. You won't know what works best for you until you use each one for a few shaves.

Enjoy the journey.

Great advice!

It can take me awhile to ’dial in’ a new soap. Sometimes the effort is well worth it (for example, MWF)!

If I remain unhappy after a fair bit of trial and error, then I go one two routes: PIF or go to the bath.
 
If you want a fast lathering, good performing and inexpensive soap arko is very tough to beat. If you want to try something that has all those characteristics but you can get in a variety of scents I would recommend a variety pack of col conk soaps.
 
I am interested in your thoughts on my recent experience. Am I mad, or am I experiencing something common? I’d love to know what you think!
I‘ll put it in point form to keep it simple.

1. Relatively new to wet shaving with DE blades.
2. Purchase Proraso green red and white as well as a Proraso mug.
3. Enjoy the smell of all of them but am not overwhelmed by their performance but am well aware that that may well be a lack of lathering skill on my part.
4. Ordered ToOBS Sandalwood, B&M Seville Omnibus and Arko stick just for fun.
5. Love the smell of the Seville but am underwhelmed by its performance.
6. Quite like the ToOBS smell but think it’s performance is so-so.
7. Am impressed by the Arko stick’s performance and not in love with the smell and decide it will be great for travel.
8. Recognise that the Proraso mug is not great for bowl lathering and that it’s probably designed for pucks. Decide that the ridges are for holding a puck, not creating lather.
9. Decide to press the Arko into the Proraso mug and leave it there. Impressed with the results.
10 Decide to use up the other soaps over the next couple of years and stick with Arko as I think it may well be the best performing soap out there if not the most pleasant in aroma.

Anyway- does anyone have any thoughts on this change of heart? Ring any bells?
Thanks in advance!
11. Skip point 10., why would you use a product you can't enjoy scentwise or which doesn't work for you in terms of performance?
So get over it and order some Stirling Soap samples.
Start enjoying wonderfully scented and brilliantly performing soaps, which don't break the bank.

Evolution - Revolution - Salvation!​

😉

 
It can be good to revisit products - I love my vintage razors, hard soaps, and brushes but occasionally I use Proraso or Barbasol foam from a can, and a Bic Metal disposable, and I am astonished at how good they are. In terms of the finished shave, for me anyway, the results are every bit as good as with any brush, soap, and razor I own; I guess it is technique that is the most important thing. That said, I love my vintage razors, hard soaps, and brushes, not for the quality of the shave but simply because they make me happy 😁
 
I spend more time in the lathering process than in any other part of my shave. I think it also might be the most important for giving me a quality shave. You have some good soaps, but the right amount of water and a good brush are also very important.
 
Some great advice here. I most probably spend too little time making my lather and my guess is that Arko is very forgiving!
 
I would try some other soaps. There are some outstanding soaps that won't break the bank and perform very well. I really like Arko but wouldn't want it to be my only soap. Try some Stirling samples as @JAHE mentioned, and tallow Tabac if you can find it. Please note, I haven't tried the vegan base so don't know if it is as good.

If you decide you want to stick with Arko, that's ok too. It's your shave and if it makes you happy that's all that matters.
 
I am interested in your thoughts on my recent experience. Am I mad, or am I experiencing something common? I’d love to know what you think!
I‘ll put it in point form to keep it simple.

1. Relatively new to wet shaving with DE blades.
2. Purchase Proraso green red and white as well as a Proraso mug.
3. Enjoy the smell of all of them but am not overwhelmed by their performance but am well aware that that may well be a lack of lathering skill on my part.
4. Ordered ToOBS Sandalwood, B&M Seville Omnibus and Arko stick just for fun.
5. Love the smell of the Seville but am underwhelmed by its performance.
6. Quite like the ToOBS smell but think it’s performance is so-so.
7. Am impressed by the Arko stick’s performance and not in love with the smell and decide it will be great for travel.
8. Recognise that the Proraso mug is not great for bowl lathering and that it’s probably designed for pucks. Decide that the ridges are for holding a puck, not creating lather.
9. Decide to press the Arko into the Proraso mug and leave it there. Impressed with the results.
10 Decide to use up the other soaps over the next couple of years and stick with Arko as I think it may well be the best performing soap out there if not the most pleasant in aroma.

Anyway- does anyone have any thoughts on this change of heart? Ring any bells?
Thanks in advance!

I suspect, most of us will have had a similar experience.

In particular Proraso and Arko are almost a rite of passage, work quite well, but are IMO not the bee’s knees. Afterwards, there comes a time when you move on, want to try to expand your horizons, in the end buy probably too many soaps at one stage, many of which in the long run don’t make the grade, and ultimately settle for what works best for you and what you like the most. Settling for the true and tested also helps develop some kind of immunity against the urge to always go and buy the latest shaving soap or cream.
In fact, over time it becomes quite difficult to find something that is as good, let alone better, than what you already have. I recently rediscovered this looking at DE shaving blades that I might want to try.

Like you, I do not hate the Arko smell, but am not fond of it either and find it too overpowering.
Sticks are indeed great for travel, but I prefer those that come into a hard shell plastic tube like Tabac and La Toja. Especially the latter is great value for money and the scent is not as divisive as Tabac.

On my path, I had - like you - a phase where I extensively bought Taylor of Old Bond Street (TOBS) products, but in my case there is nothing from TOBS left in my rotation.

One lesson I learnt was that artisan does not necessarily mean good and many products in that category perform actually quite poorly.
New names that are sometimes discovered, become the flavour of the month (or year) , and then fade into oblivion, where they rightly belong. :thumbdown


Unlike you, I was never tempted to grate and/or press a shaving soap into a different container.
There are just too many excellent products out there that I have in the meantime settled on that do not require such a manipulation. That may also have something with a rule that I came up with: if any soap needs a special treatment or addition of another component (e.g. glycerine in case of Williams) then it is by definition lacking.


So it seems indeed that many of us have trodden a similar path, doesn’t it?


B.
 
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Very well put, @Brutus. I think you are exactly correct.

The number of videos I see where people have dozens of soaps which are essentially variations on the same thing is amazing. The thing about (or trap with) this hobby is that even with razors, the expenditure is not really that great compared to some other hobbies like technical sports, fishing or watch collecting. Even an expensive soap is only three times the price of an ordinary one and a nice synthetic brush is the price of a basic meal at a cafe. An expensive razor is less than a nice putter or a middle of the road automatic or mechanical watch.

It is easy to buy lots of stuff and then realise that if you use it all up and then focus on your favourites it will take years!

My guess is that if you asked most DE shavers to reduce their collection to three razors, five brushes, three blades and perhaps four soaps they could probably do it - but they might not want to, obviously.

I don't want to name names but there's one well-known Youtuber and his "den tour" goes for over an hour and consists of stuff that has never been and never will be used. It's actually a bit sad. But I totally get the "collector" dimension of the hobby. Drawing the line between fun, experimentation and addiction is the challenge!

At the moment, I like all the soaps I have but, like you don't imagine myself repurchasing the ToOBS product.
You have wisely stated that just because something is identified as "artisan" it is not necessarily any better than a tried and tested run-of-the-mill brand. But...clearly, there are alternatives to Arko and it might be best reserved for travel.
Thanks for your insight. :)
 
ARKO is very simple to lather and it works well- it is not the best performing soap available. All soaps require small tweaks in getting them to lather properly and that is part of the fun. All of the soaps you mentioned, when properly lathered, will give you a great shave.
 
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