Your history is much like mine but I mostly use Arko now since I like to face lather. Williams and Arko have a similar scent and are equally cheap but I find Arko has a more stable lather.I'm LMAO right now. I am sure many folks here won't see the average Amazon rating as anything definitive, and I'm not saying it is, BUT ... the top dawg is (drum roll, please)
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Followed quickly by
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And right on their heels ...
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The reason I find this so funny is that when I joined the forum here about ten years ago, I was switching from the multi-bladed monstrosities to traditional DE safety razors. But I had been using Williams in a mug with a brush since I started shaving in high school in the 1970's. When I joined here and folks learned I was using Williams shave soap, many were not just horrified, but almost sounded offended.
A few years later after I was shamed out of my Williams in favor of 'better' soaps and creams, lo and behold, there springs up a Williams shave soap brotherhood. lol. And they were doing what I had learned to do and did pretty much all through my ten years in the Air Force, which was to drop the soap in a mug, drop a cheap brush on top of that, fill it with water and let it soak while I showered. In fact, when I started using the multi-blade cartridges I just shaved in the shower. I got awesome slick lather. I never knew I was doing it wrong until I showed up here!
I just ordered a 3-pack of Williams to get reacquainted with it because I have not used it in ten years, but the love around here for it makes me chuckle more than a little bit. I had one of their 1976 Centennial pewter shaving mugs I got in college with the top off a Williams box and something less than $5, IIRC, but I lost it in one of my many Air Force moves. Just on a lark, because I suspect I'll enjoy the Williams when it arrives, I found one of those old mugs on the 'bay, and it's on its way, as well.
My original shaving kit consisted of the Schick Adjustable injector razor (numbered dial), an Ever Ready shave brush I got at the local drug store, Williams shave soap, and an old coffee mug. My granddad taught me how to shave, my father was an electric razor guy his whole life. Eventually I went the Barbasol, then Gillette Foamy way for a bit, finally discovering Pinaud's canned shave cream when I discoverd Clubman A/S and used that through college. I went from the Schick injector to the Gillette Trac II when it first came out, and then down the slippery slope of all their subsequent cartridges. But when I joined the Air Force, I had some neck irritation and decided to go back to the Williams and used it for decades until I joined B&B and was told it was double-plus uncool.
Once I joined here I started with the EJ DE89 (several) and went through a bunch of vintage razors, finally settling on the Merkur 34C HD for the last 5 years or so. But I decided to try Williams again, and also grabbed an old Schick adjustable off the 'bay just for fun. Figured I'll revisit my roots. When I get my Williams and pewter mug, I'll grab an old brush I've been meaning to restore and have a "John's Hih School Shave" thread.
That’s how I learned to shave. Mug, cheap boar, Palmolive stick instead of Williams stuck in the bottom of the mug and filled with water. The lather was fantastic.
Amazon reviews? The same place were you see a ton of reviews that say "FIVE STARS! My husband just ordered this and he can't wait to use it!" That Amazon?
Not saying a lot of people don't find Williams a good shaving soap, but a lot don't and Amazon reviews are just not something you should rely on for any product.