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Hand Soap for Shaving?

Burundian Hawk - quite agree with you sir. When I were a lad, we 'ad t'shave wi' a dollop of margarine, half a small 'amster and a shard of broken bottle. Shavers these days don't know they're born...
Margarine doesn't sound too bad! I don't know what "'amster" is, but i get the idea with the broken bottle! You were real men back then, apparently!

This is how it is done in Africa! DE shaving without DE razor! And people here complain that Proraso isn't slick enough!

download (1).jpg
 
I used my Yardley Shea and Buttermilk again today. I used the Clearly Natural as a preshave in the shower. I think the bar I have is the older formulation of the Aloe version ( reference post earlier in the thread on Clearly Natural ). It has lived in a soap container for a few years and you could feel the moisture it's been absorbing ( it's sooooooo slippery ).

I had another efficient shave. One small weeper that was probably more from user error than anything. I was being fairly uncautious because I'd just loaded a new Personna Red IP and they are so dang smoooooooth. I still can't feel it hours later.

I did think of something I felt I should mention, and it could definitely be a factor for many people. My water here is ridiculously soft. I can get pretty good lathers even from shave products that other people complain about. It may explain why some of us shave fine with a few of these soaps and other people can't. I have an old Mitchells Woolfat puck that has literal cracks in it from how old and dried out it is and I can whip a lather up on it with no drama whatsoever. You shavers with harder water may not be able to get some of these hand soaps to provide a long enough lasting lather to actually try to shave with it.
 
. In the UK, Boots and Superdrug now appear only to stock the Wilkinson Sword shave soap bowl - the Wilkinson Sword and Palmolive sticks have disappeared

oh no! There goes my chance to get one of these for pennies in the uk (if covid ever ends) instead of the $6+ a stick it costs in the US!
 
I still don't understand why you want to use a multiscope glycerin soap that costs $ 1.5 when the alternative Vitos shaving soap with Tallow and glycerin costs 1 Euro / 100 grams (10 euros 1 kilo). Just for the economy? You also have good and cheap shaving soaps in America! You are Americans earning ten times more money per hour of work than a Romanian! Don't exaggerate! Don't forget the light on in the pantry or in the bathroom and you already have money for a month of shaving with a good soap!

Alin's post, and its misunderstandings, points to a fundamental difference in shaving cultures between the U.S. and the E.U.

Buy a kilo of (inexpensive) shaving soap in a local store in the U.S? Fat chance! Who would buy it? Not local barbers; it would be illegal for them to use a brush and soap to shave customers, for sanitary reasons. At most, 1 in 1,000 American men use a shaving brush these days. Sell a guy a kilo of shaving soap today, and, assuming a rate of consumption of 0.5 grams a day, it's "See you again on Oct. 25, 2026!"

Put another way, if a town has a population of 150,000, and half are men, 75,000, and 50,000 are old enough to shave, and 1 in 1,000 men use a shaving brush, that's 50 potential customers. But since a kilo lasts 5.5 years, you have a potential market of exactly 9 customers per year. With a lot of luck, 1 in 9 would be willing to shave with the same shaving cream every day for 5.5 years, and would buy your product. That, to sum up, is one potential customer in a city of 150,000. However, there are 8 million people living in New York City. This represents a potential market of 53 customers a year.

In reality, I am probably being generous. And, in reality, cheap, good shaving soap is hard to find in America, regardless of size. Most men use cartridge razors and canned mousse or gel. A can of shaving mousse can last from three to six months - not everyone shaves daily. Look at the space taken up by canned shave cream at your local store: It's miniscule. That's because they probably only sell a few cans a day. Take a picture of the shelf, and come back the next day and take a picture. Presuming it hasn't been restocked, count how many cans less there are. These are cans costing from $1 to $2; shaving cream is not a big profit center. (Reminder: With a decent cartridge razor, cheap canned mousse is quite sufficient for most.)

A survey of Italian Barber, Amazon, eBay, etc., shows that popular European shaving soaps are at least two to three times more expensive here. I use Vi-John shaving cream from India. On Amazon India it is 70 cents for a big 125 gram tube, which seems to be higher than the MRP. On eBay, one of the few places you can buy it in the U.S., the price is about $7 (although Italian Barber does sell it for less, for now).

You used to be able to chose from a variety of decent shaving soaps and creams at reasonable prices in a drug store or supermarket in the U.S. Those days are long gone, in part because the corporations have cheapened the name brand soaps almost beyond recognition, and because almost no one sells them in stores, anymore (see paragraph four).

You can't even find a DE razor for sale in most towns. Even in the BC days (Before Cartridges), razors weren't big sellers. A guy probably got a new one once in 10 years, when he dropped the old one or when he got one as a present. I doubt more than 1 in 100 men use a DE razor. In that town of 150,000 people, that would be 50 DE razors sold per year, a little bit more when you take into consideration new teenage shavers, most of whom are afraid of them.

Actually, the numbers would be higher today because of more women shavers. But it is still not enough for a local store to stock DE razors and nice shaving soap, especially with the online competition. Hence the question: Is there commonly available, reasonably priced hand soap that is as good or better than fancy shaving soap?

But if a substantially higher percentage of Europeans use a DE razor, and if more also use shaving soap than canned mousse, then the market picture changes -- especially if more people use a DE razor than cartridges.

So, the question then is: What is the shaving scene like in Europe? Do a majority use DE razors and shaving soap?
 
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In Romania there are few users of DE razors and shaving soap. No shaving soap is produced in my country and no blades or DE devices are manufactured. In large supermarket type stores you can find DE Gillette Platinum blades (from Russia) and BIC Astor (from Greece) at low prices $ 0.5 pack of 5 pieces, Shaving soap can be found Proraso in the supermarket and Loccitane Cade in pharmacies. Otherwise we can handle online stores specializing in wet shaving. But in Europe there are countries such as Italy, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Austria, Grece with a long tradition in wet shaving, countries that produce good and cheap soaps (La Toja, LEA, Vitos, Cella, Proraso, Omega, Tabac, Speick,Haslinger), DE razors and good brush. I did not know that in America it is difficult to find and shaving soap is expensive.
 
Alin's post, and its misunderstandings, points to a fundamental difference in shaving cultures between the U.S. and the E.U.

Buy a kilo of (inexpensive) shaving soap in a local store in the U.S? Fat chance! Who would buy it? Not local barbers; it would be illegal for them to use a brush and soap to shave customers, for sanitary reasons. At most, 1 in 1,000 American men use a shaving brush these days. Sell a guy a kilo of shaving soap today, and, assuming a rate of consumption of 0.5 grams a day, it's "See you again on Oct. 25, 2026!"

Put another way, if a town has a population of 150,000, and half are men, 75,000, and 50,000 are old enough to shave, and 1 in 1,000 men use a shaving brush, that's 50 potential customers. But since a kilo lasts 5.5 years, you have a potential market of exactly 9 customers per year. With a lot of luck, 1 in 9 would be willing to shave with the same shaving cream every day for 5.5 years, and would buy your product. That, to sum up, is one potential customer in a city of 150,000. However, there are 8 million people living in New York City. This represents a potential market of 53 customers a year.

In reality, I am probably being generous. And, in reality, cheap, good shaving soap is hard to find in America, regardless of size. Most men use cartridge razors and canned mousse or gel. A can of shaving mousse can last from three to six months - not everyone shaves daily. Look at the space taken up by canned shave cream at your local store: It's miniscule. That's because they probably only sell a few cans a day. Take a picture of the shelf, and come back the next day and take a picture. Presuming it hasn't been restocked, count how many cans less there are. These are cans costing from $1 to $2; shaving cream is not a big profit center. (Reminder: With a decent cartridge razor, cheap canned mousse is quite sufficient for most.)

A survey of Italian Barber, Amazon, eBay, etc., shows that popular European shaving soaps are at least two to three times more expensive here. I use Vi-John shaving cream from India. On Amazon India it is 70 cents for a big 125 gram tube, which seems to be higher than the MRP. On eBay, one of the few places you can buy it in the U.S., the price is about $7 (although Italian Barber does sell it for less, for now).

You used to be able to chose from a variety of decent shaving soaps and creams at reasonable prices in a drug store or supermarket in the U.S. Those days are long gone, in part because the corporations have cheapened the name brand soaps almost beyond recognition, and because almost no one sells them in stores, anymore (see paragraph four).

You can't even find a DE razor for sale in most towns. Even in the BC days (Before Cartridges), razors weren't big sellers. A guy probably got a new one once in 10 years, when he dropped the old one or when he got one as a present. I doubt more than 1 in 100 men use a DE razor. In that town of 150,000 people, that would be 50 DE razors sold per year, a little bit more when you take into consideration new teenage shavers, most of whom are afraid of them.

Actually, the numbers would be higher today because of more women shavers. But it is still not enough for a local store to stock DE razors and nice shaving soap, especially with the online competition. Hence the question: Is there commonly available, reasonably priced hand soap that is as good or better than fancy shaving soap?

But if a substantially higher percentage of Europeans use a DE razor, and if more also use shaving soap than canned mousse, then the market picture changes -- especially if more people use a DE razor than cartridges.

So, the question then is: What is the shaving scene like in Europe? Do a majority use DE razors and shaving soap?
I do not know percentages, but wetshaving is certainly not widespread in Europe. It is niche. In the supermarkets, you mainly find few, industrial, low cost creams. Like: Proraso, Palmolive, Monsavon bol à raser (this is like the french proraso in tub, but worse), La Toja, Lea (in Spain). Usually not even the entire product line. They usually have 1 brand of DE blades and the Wilkinson Sword plastic razor. If you want to find 1kg soaps, you have to order them online from the few specialized shops that often supply professional hairdressers too. In some "perfumeries" you find some of the more expensive soaps. Like the english ones. But usually it costs less to order them online. Drugstores have the same availability of the supermarkets usually or less. Wetshaving is usually considered old fashioned and at the same time, more luxury related than cartridge shaving, because it is easier to spend on more expensive supplies. Famous barbershops still offer wetshaving service and it is a costly one too. Most of wetshavers in Europe are of older age. My own son has no interest in wetshaving whatsoever, he says it is obsolete...

Imagine, that even in the big Burundian cities, nowadays they have "salons", coiffeurs that offer both "african and european hairstyles" and of course, cartridges are readily available. In rural Burundi, DE blades are still appreciated, because they also use them as...cutting tools and they are easier to stock for people who don't go often to towns. But i fear that cartridges advance together with the "progress". But i haven't been to Burundi for years, so i wouldn't be able to say what percentage is there either. In my tiny native village today they live about 20 men only. I have equipped all of them years ago with cheap chinese razors and some Wilkinson plastics,as well as cheap boar brushes through a boyhood friend. He told me they liked the brush feeling. But whether they all still use them or have also cartridges, i don't know. Hand soap in rural Burundi can be used for shaving too, if needed, although they have canned foam too available in towns. I send a pretty big package every year to Burundi for my friend and whoever else he deems appropriate. The Proraso tubs are very appreciated, because they use the tub afterwards for several other uses.
 
So, the question then is: What is the shaving scene like in Europe? Do a majority use DE razors and shaving soap?
From my experience of having lived in France, I'd say that a fair amount of guys, although a minority, still shave with a brush and a hard soap or tube cream as obtainable from local supermarkets. There, I've seen Wilkinson pure badger and store-branded Omega boar brushes for sale, along with the ubiquitous Monsavon and Wilkinson soaps, and in supermarkets in les Vosges, a locally made puck whose name escapes me at the moment. Palmolive cream is pretty widely available there too, as are Russian made Gillette DE blades. And in the vitrines of pharmacies in big cities, one can sometimes see displays of fancier shaving brushes, safety razors, straight razors, and loom strops. Even in the small city of around 25,000 in northeast France where I stay, one can find a nice German-made badger brush, a Dovo straight, and a Solingen paddle strop to maintain it in the local hardware store.

That said, not too many are using DEs or straights, most are using carts or electric razors. Although not quite as removed to Internet sites as in the US, and because French people tend to be more stubborn about adopting "new and improved" methods, it is a niche market all the same, perhaps even more so in that I've heard a bit of grumbling about how straights are harder and harder to find because the Americans are hoarding them.
 
Savon de Marseille traditionally used in France (and elsewhere) for washing clothes, comes in a hard large square block (rubbed on clothes or fine grated into water) and can be used as a shaving soap. Traditional Savon de Marseille has a high olive oil content, so a blade needs to be rinsed off well afterwards.
 
Savon de Marseille traditionally used in France (and elsewhere) for washing clothes, comes in a hard large square block (rubbed on clothes or fine grated into water) and can be used as a shaving soap. Traditional Savon de Marseille has a high olive oil content, so a blade needs to be rinsed off well afterwards.
Before industry thought to separate products, the original Savon de Marseille was a truly multipurpose soap. They used it both to wash clothes and as a hand/bath soap. The original was the "green" soap, that was made with at least 72% olive oil (up to 100%). Later, they also made a more "blonde" Savon de Marseille, which uses a mixture of olive and palm oil. Again, the 2 oils are at least 72%, but the palm is what makes the soap "blonde". This was made mostly for aesthetics, as some people didn't like the "olive" color of the soap. There are also some more modern recipes that add other ingredients, like honey, aloe or high glycerin, that makes for a more transparent soap. One brand that makes such variants, is "Le Chat". I even used used it instead of shampoo many years ago.
 
Before industry thought to separate products, the original Savon de Marseille was a truly multipurpose soap. They used it both to wash clothes and as a hand/bath soap. The original was the "green" soap, that was made with at least 72% olive oil (up to 100%). Later, they also made a more "blonde" Savon de Marseille, which uses a mixture of olive and palm oil. Again, the 2 oils are at least 72%, but the palm is what makes the soap "blonde". This was made mostly for aesthetics, as some people didn't like the "olive" color of the soap. There are also some more modern recipes that add other ingredients, like honey, aloe or high glycerin, that makes for a more transparent soap. One brand that makes such variants, is "Le Chat". I even used used it instead of shampoo many years ago.
A savon de Marseille is what I used above as a hand soap for shaving.
 
I use Marseille Soap with olive oil as a pre shave. It also works well as shaving soap but ... I don't like the smell. Arko smells better than Marseille Soap.

IMG_20210429_105009.jpg
 
I use Marseille Soap with olive oil as a pre shave. It also works well as shaving soap but ... I don't like the smell. Arko smells better than Marseille Soap.

View attachment 1259375
If you have them in your supermarkets, try the "Le Chat" series. It is like a refined version of the Savon de Marseille. Even the first one i used decades ago, a blonde one, had a very gentle scent, not the classic one that now reminds only the washing detergent.
 
If you have them in your supermarkets, try the "Le Chat" series. It is like a refined version of the Savon de Marseille. Even the first one i used decades ago, a blonde one, had a very gentle scent, not the classic one that now reminds only the washing detergent.
I found this ,, 300g Lavender de Provence Le Chatelard 1802 ,, is it ok? ( I have enough shaving soap , but... I'm trying for the sake of the experiment )

 
I found this ,, 300g Lavender de Provence Le Chatelard 1802 ,, is it ok? ( I have enough shaving soap , but... I'm trying for the sake of the experiment )

I have not seen this before. I hate lavander myself... These are personal tastes. This was the soap i was using decades ago when i first came to Europe... I used for a year even as shampoo... Suitable for washing clothes and "respect for your skin". It was the glycerine version ("enriched in glycerine"). This should have mild scent, not the classical one. If it is the same that it was back then, because i don't think Henkel owned the brand back then, so maybe they have reformulated. I used one as bath soap and one as shampoo. I only stopped using it because the puck was cumbersome. Otherwise to me it was as good as anything else. They lasted an eternity too.

a2.jpg


Nowadays, they also have it in handier, smaller bath versions. Without paraben too! "Dermatologically tested!". At the time, i didn't know parabens were a problem, so i didn't care! :lol1: Now they call it "glycerinated pleasure" (douceur glycèrinèe). If i knew it back then that i was buying "glycerinated pleasure" so cheap, i would have enjoyed it even more! :lol1:

a1.jpg
 
Wright’s Traditional Soap (previously Wright’s Coal Tar Soap until the EU banned the use of the coal tar derivatives of my childhood (mmmm), with chemicals now used to create the coal tar fragrance) also makes a good lather for shaving.
 
Where I live we have feral wallabies, but I have always found them to be too large and unwieldy for lather application...
In Burundi we had a species of badger living in the wild, which by googling i found it is called "honeybadger". But we lacked the knowhow of making a brush out of it! :lol1: If only there was an "Isle of Man" in the middle of Lake Tanganyika, our shaving problems would have disappeared centuries ago!
 
Alin's post, and its misunderstandings, points to a fundamental difference in shaving cultures between the U.S. and the E.U.

Buy a kilo of (inexpensive) shaving soap in a local store in the U.S? Fat chance! Who would buy it? Not local barbers; it would be illegal for them to use a brush and soap to shave customers, for sanitary reasons. At most, 1 in 1,000 American men use a shaving brush these days. Sell a guy a kilo of shaving soap today, and, assuming a rate of consumption of 0.5 grams a day, it's "See you again on Oct. 25, 2026!"

Put another way, if a town has a population of 150,000, and half are men, 75,000, and 50,000 are old enough to shave, and 1 in 1,000 men use a shaving brush, that's 50 potential customers. But since a kilo lasts 5.5 years, you have a potential market of exactly 9 customers per year. With a lot of luck, 1 in 9 would be willing to shave with the same shaving cream every day for 5.5 years, and would buy your product. That, to sum up, is one potential customer in a city of 150,000. However, there are 8 million people living in New York City. This represents a potential market of 53 customers a year.

In reality, I am probably being generous. And, in reality, cheap, good shaving soap is hard to find in America, regardless of size. Most men use cartridge razors and canned mousse or gel. A can of shaving mousse can last from three to six months - not everyone shaves daily. Look at the space taken up by canned shave cream at your local store: It's miniscule. That's because they probably only sell a few cans a day. Take a picture of the shelf, and come back the next day and take a picture. Presuming it hasn't been restocked, count how many cans less there are. These are cans costing from $1 to $2; shaving cream is not a big profit center. (Reminder: With a decent cartridge razor, cheap canned mousse is quite sufficient for most.)

A survey of Italian Barber, Amazon, eBay, etc., shows that popular European shaving soaps are at least two to three times more expensive here. I use Vi-John shaving cream from India. On Amazon India it is 70 cents for a big 125 gram tube, which seems to be higher than the MRP. On eBay, one of the few places you can buy it in the U.S., the price is about $7 (although Italian Barber does sell it for less, for now).

You used to be able to chose from a variety of decent shaving soaps and creams at reasonable prices in a drug store or supermarket in the U.S. Those days are long gone, in part because the corporations have cheapened the name brand soaps almost beyond recognition, and because almost no one sells them in stores, anymore (see paragraph four).

You can't even find a DE razor for sale in most towns. Even in the BC days (Before Cartridges), razors weren't big sellers. A guy probably got a new one once in 10 years, when he dropped the old one or when he got one as a present. I doubt more than 1 in 100 men use a DE razor. In that town of 150,000 people, that would be 50 DE razors sold per year, a little bit more when you take into consideration new teenage shavers, most of whom are afraid of them.

Actually, the numbers would be higher today because of more women shavers. But it is still not enough for a local store to stock DE razors and nice shaving soap, especially with the online competition. Hence the question: Is there commonly available, reasonably priced hand soap that is as good or better than fancy shaving soap?

But if a substantially higher percentage of Europeans use a DE razor, and if more also use shaving soap than canned mousse, then the market picture changes -- especially if more people use a DE razor than cartridges.

So, the question then is: What is the shaving scene like in Europe? Do a majority use DE razors and shaving soap?

good questions. Looking at European web sites, such as Boots, it seems most razors they push are cartridge as well. So that raises the question, why are pucks and sticks (and Palmolive in a tube) so readily available in Europe?
 
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