What's new
  • Guest
    As per our long standing policy of not permitting medical advice on the forum - all threads concerning the Coronavirus will be locked.
    For more info on the coronavirus please see the link below:
    https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/summary.html

Expensive shave soaps, do they work any better?

Soap is only expensive relative to other soaps. I like Acqua di Parma and ABC (or rather my skin does), and spend maybe $1 a shave, average. That's a coffee or tea at McDonalds. I simply refuse to believe that's expensive.

Cheers, Steve
 
I don't drink coffee and tea from Mcdonald's, much less every day. This is perspective. Yours is it's not expensive. Mine is that it is, for soap alone. To each their own. I don't buy Starbucks or McDonald's Coffee everyday, not because I can't afford it, but because I perceive it is expensive for what you get.
 
Lol, I don't do coffee and tea there either unless I'm on the run, I make my own, so I hear ya.

My point is that many people would consider the price of a McD's tea or coffee inexpensive - especially compared to the alternatives, but not if the same price were shave soap. IOW, $1 for shave soap is expensive while $1 drink is cheap. There are many other examples, but to me a dollar is a dollar. If x and y both cost a dollar, one is not more expensive than the other by definition - this much is not perspective. Personally I'd do the $1 soap over the $1 drink in my example, the drink's gone before long but a good shave lasts all day.

Cheers, Steve
 
Great thread. I’ve heard that scotch makers and distillers want people to drink the “young” malts as those bottles are their own creations. It’s their baby so to speak. The others are distilled or aged to make them taste like they did 15, 20, 30 years ago. Those are not the current distillers’ creative expression so they say drink young and save money. Who knows.

I don’t think the higher priced soaps work any better but some do have a little value. I can’t speak for ADP or Xpec, but I think that MDC is worth the money. You get a ton, and I mean a ton of shaves out of their glass jar. It’s a hard soap with decent performance. Castle Forbes is a pretty concentrated cream and I think there are more shaves in a CF tub than say TOBS.

Here’s the rub. Compare MDC to something like Soap Commander. SC is $15 for a 6oz tub of hard soap. Great performer with awesome scents. (Vision and Respect are my favorites). In my opinion, you’re getting just as many shaves out of the SC tub that you are MDC with just as good, if not a little better performance IMO. Both are good vegan suds but the SC is $45 cheaper.

Are they worth it? Perhaps. For me it comes down to scent preference. I’d take Soap Commander’s Love soap over MDC’s Rose but I’d take MDC’s Original over SC’s Wisdom.
 
Expensive vs non-expensive is one of the most subjective adjective that a product can get. First, it depend on how much keen one is into something (i.e. for my father, anything more expensive than a stick of la Toja is expensive, and it is really cheap in Spain, you get 50 grams for less than two euros), and second, the wallet size, or the own needs. Cars, binoculars, cameras etc... have a wide range of prizes. I am super happy with a 700 Dollar 4-hand car I bougth 3 years ago. I use it 8 hours per month, roughly, but If I had to use it 8 hours per day as part of my job, I maid had go onto a 70.000 dollar car with a lower consumption (this 6 cylinder 4 litres old engines drinks petrol) and more commodities inside. i only know one of the high-end/expensive soaps, MdC Agrumes, and i am super happy with it. I am not influenced by the money i paid for it, as it has been suggested on the thread as a potential self-suggestion, because i won it in a raffle. I wouldn't be happy if it did not gave me superb shaves, anyway, but it does (other people don't get great shaves with it, you know, skin type, allergies, way of shaving, whatever...). I do get great shaves with the Latha series of B&M too, but not nearly as good.
And of course, durability. Grooming Dept. does not last nearly as close to other more expensive soaps. It is nice, not that expensive, make a terrific lather, but the scents does not make best friends with me, while APR, making also a great lather too, nails me on the scent arena, and that's why I keep buying it and for now, not GD (I'll get more on the future, certainly, tempeted to get before the fire, or maybe some citric one).

And that's another point in terms of making something cheaper of expensive, what each one prefer. Once a product is "good enough", not everybody give the same weight to the different parts of the products.

I've been using the same stuff (la toja) for two decades, now I am enjoying other products. Still expensive? well, certainly MdC, for example is cheaper that going out for some beers, having a souvlaki, and then a spirit or two with some mates. So I may rather invite my mates at home, have the beers, make a souvlaki, a spirit, play some pool in the chimney room, buy a high-end soap, and still "shave" money, from time to time.

cheers
 

Marco

B&B's Man in Italy
Ambassador
Nowadays, the only expensive shaving soap I drop my money on is Saponificio Varesino. For me it's just the finest shaving soap on the market and worth every single penny.

All my other favourite soaps are in the low budget category.
 
Nowadays, the only expensive shaving soap I drop my money on is Saponificio Varesino. For me it's just the finest shaving soap on the market and worth every single penny.

All my other favourite soaps are in the low budget category.
That’s still a pretty reasonable price. I haven’t heard of it before and I see that I can get it from Amazon. I think I’ll try one.
 
That’s still a pretty reasonable price. I haven’t heard of it before and I see that I can get it from Amazon. I think I’ll try one.
You can't go wrong with SV. Its the best performing soap I own by a long shot. The price is actually reasonable as its triple milled and will last a really long time.
 
Nowadays, the only expensive shaving soap I drop my money on is Saponificio Varesino. For me it's just the finest shaving soap on the market and worth every single penny.

All my other favourite soaps are in the low budget category.
Another fan here - I have two SV pucks and they really are very very good. Whether they are 15-20 times as good (price/weight) as a Palmolive stick is another matter.
 
This is the classic conundrum: price vs quality.

There are a couple of significant variables:
Ability to perceive subtle levels of increased value (i.e., I lack the ability to see the difference between a $5,000 diamond and a $10,000 diamond. But I'm smart enough to know that insisting the difference doesn't exist doesn't change the reality - only for me).
Enjoyment/functionality of quality increase - is it worth it TO ME.

For me a $20 bottle of wine is three times better than a $10 bottle. A $50 bottle is considerably better, but by a much smaller percentage. After that we've reached a level where my ability to perceive the added quality is almost totally missing.

So, to shaving soap. Yes, the more expensive soaps are better.
They are not compared to urinal pucks in aroma (although some of the new ones really kind of stink).
Many of them last quite a bit longer - so they are not as expensive as you imagine (MdC cost me less than $50 a year of daily shaves - not dirt cheap, but not crazy expensive either).
I get considerably fewer weepers from better soaps.
Generally the post shave face feel is better for dry skin.

Having said that, the differences are really quite small. There is certainly no necessity to purchase a better soap. If you're enjoying your shaves now you're doing fine. If you're enjoying cheaper scotch you're doing fine. If your cheap car is getting you from point A to point B you're doing fine. There is no necessity to push the quality limit - there is no end to that search and there is an end to your wallet.
 

Chan Eil Whiskers

Fumbling about.
This is the classic conundrum: price vs quality.

There are a couple of significant variables:
Ability to perceive subtle levels of increased value (i.e., I lack the ability to see the difference between a $5,000 diamond and a $10,000 diamond. But I'm smart enough to know that insisting the difference doesn't exist doesn't change the reality - only for me).
Enjoyment/functionality of quality increase - is it worth it TO ME.

For me a $20 bottle of wine is three times better than a $10 bottle. A $50 bottle is considerably better, but by a much smaller percentage. After that we've reached a level where my ability to perceive the added quality is almost totally missing.

So, to shaving soap. Yes, the more expensive soaps are better.
They are not compared to urinal pucks in aroma (although some of the new ones really kind of stink).
Many of them last quite a bit longer - so they are not as expensive as you imagine (MdC cost me less than $50 a year of daily shaves - not dirt cheap, but not crazy expensive either).
I get considerably fewer weepers from better soaps.
Generally the post shave face feel is better for dry skin.

Having said that, the differences are really quite small. There is certainly no necessity to purchase a better soap. If you're enjoying your shaves now you're doing fine. If you're enjoying cheaper scotch you're doing fine. If your cheap car is getting you from point A to point B you're doing fine. There is no necessity to push the quality limit - there is no end to that search and there is an end to your wallet.
Well said, Keith.

Happy shaves,

Jim
 
I have never found a direct relationship between price and performance in shaving soap. I just finished a tub of RR Son of Zeus which I probably paid $10 for and every shave was great. I’m working through some TFS tobacco verde right now and it performs extremely well. The La Toja shave stick is one of my favorite soaps. I have tried more expensive ones which I still enjoy for the scent like Varisino and DR Harris but they don’t perform any better than the cheaper ones I’ve mentioned. I was really disappointed in MDC not because it wasn’t good but because I thought it offered very poor value for the dollar.
 
I have never found a direct relationship between price and performance in shaving soap. I just finished a tub of RR Son of Zeus which I probably paid $10 for and every shave was great. I’m working through some TFS tobacco verde right now and it performs extremely well. The La Toja shave stick is one of my favorite soaps. I have tried more expensive ones which I still enjoy for the scent like Varisino and DR Harris but they don’t perform any better than the cheaper ones I’ve mentioned. I was really disappointed in MDC not because it wasn’t good but because I thought it offered very poor value for the dollar.
My last jar of MdC cost me 12 and a half cents per shave. That's not the cheapest soap around, but not the most expensive either. But I think your a luck shaver if you can't see a difference between the expensive soap and the cheap soap. In your shoes I'd never purchase an expensive soap.
 
The best soap to me is Valobra stick. That stuff is top shelf. Slick, cushion, post-shave feel, etc. But it’s expensive per 50 grams.
 
Lol, I don't do coffee and tea there either unless I'm on the run, I make my own, so I hear ya.

My point is that many people would consider the price of a McD's tea or coffee inexpensive - especially compared to the alternatives, but not if the same price were shave soap. IOW, $1 for shave soap is expensive while $1 drink is cheap. There are many other examples, but to me a dollar is a dollar. If x and y both cost a dollar, one is not more expensive than the other by definition - this much is not perspective. Personally I'd do the $1 soap over the $1 drink in my example, the drink's gone before long but a good shave lasts all day.

Cheers, Steve
Sure, I get the argument and that's one that sales and advertising always brings up, the cost/day in comparison to a cup of coffee. Of course, the cost of a cup of coffee at McDonald's is around 5 times the cost of a cup of coffee at home so there's that way of looking at it.

As you already pointed out, the cost of soap is all relative so I would say $1/shave is very expensive since most soaps are in the order of 1/20 to 1/10 of that (and some even much lower), which means the difference between your soap and most other soaps is far more than the difference between home brewed coffee and a cup of McDonald's coffee, just to keep things in perspective and compare apples to apples rather than coffee to shaving soap...which is kind of funny in an odd sort of way. ;)

However, there is more than cost to the value equation so for you $1 a shave may make perfect sense, but I shave twice a day so spending over $700 a year just to shave isn't really something I would want, and to me I can get a great shave from a tub of Proraso for about 2 cents a shave and a couple tubs will last me a year for about 1/50 the cost of ABC. BUT, I also like a lot of variety and I have some very expensive creams and soaps that are around $1 per shave as well. To me they also have value and are worth that price.

All this to say is that the value of the soap will take in to account far more than just price or cost per shave but also what you are looking for in it. So to answer the OPs question, it all depends (i.e. YMMV!) because you might find a tub of Proraso, a puck of Williams or a stick of Arko to be a perfect soap for you (and many do), or you might really like a luxury artisan or traditional soap or cream. If you are in the former category than you are probably a utility oriented person and anything in the mid price range or higher will likely not be of interest, but if you are a person who is more into the full shaving experience and like more than just a good lubricant to fend off razor burn then you will be more than willing to pay top dollar for something you really enjoy and chalk it up to being part of your hobby.

With something for everyone it's such a great time to be involved in wet shaving!
 
I have spent a bunch on razors, have thousands of blades, and a lot of soaps. I am willing to try an expensive one *if* they are all that. I wouldn't have 12 razors and counting, each one perfect for me, if i was utilitarian. I would, however, hate to spend $20-50 on a soap and not be impressed...
 
Top Bottom