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Historical Retrospective: B&B Shaving Soap Perspectives from 15 Years Ago

It’s quite amazing to think how recently premium artisan shaving gear arrived on the scene - soaps, razors, brushes, and aftershaves. We’re probably just at the start of it.

Just for interest, is there a good thread anywhere explaining what happened with tallow in soaps? When and why so many tallow soaps were discontinued or replaced, and why we still have plenty of tallow soaps on the market? I missed all of that.
 
It’s quite amazing to think how recently premium artisan shaving gear arrived on the scene - soaps, razors, brushes, and aftershaves. We’re probably just at the start of it.

Just for interest, is there a good thread anywhere explaining what happened with tallow in soaps? When and why so many tallow soaps were discontinued or replaced, and why we still have plenty of tallow soaps on the market? I missed all of that.
Yes I did see a thread on that. I believe it had to do with mad cow disease and cruelty to animals. I will search. If I find it I will PM you.
 
Yes I did see a thread on that. I believe it had to do with mad cow disease and cruelty to animals. I will search. If I find it I will PM you.
See post #71 from Raychem that touches on this via the link below.

 
Yes I did see a thread on that. I believe it had to do with mad cow disease and cruelty to animals. I will search. If I find it I will PM you.
See post #71 from Rayclem that touches on this via the link below.

 

Phoenixkh

I shaved a fortune
I am a recent member of B&B: March 1st of this year. I showed up zero knowledge of pretty much everything. I had one soap I still use and I only bought it because it had become Brian Mulreany's favorite (the former owner of Executive Shaving Company, now retired). That would be the Acca Kappa Barbershop. I still love it.

I did what others have done... looked at the older soap threads and stumble on this one: Classics not to be missed? - https://www.badgerandblade.com/forum/threads/classics-not-to-be-missed.622948/

And this one: Choosing a first soap or cream - https://www.badgerandblade.com/forum/threads/choosing-a-first-soap-or-cream.621917/

Two very kind regs here took me under their wings and gave me sound advice. That would be @Tomo and @APBinNCA. I love all the soaps I purchased via their recommendations early on here.

In reference to this thread topic... the "classics" to which they referred might not have been around 15 years ago.
 
I mostly remember guys complaining about Williams. I gave up trying to tell guys that they really need to get that puck wet and pretty much use it daily to keep the puck somewhat hydrated but no one here ever uses the same soap daily lol.

I guess the other similar issue was guys crapping on drugstore/health food store type shaving creams because they wouldn’t lather. Even though they weren’t meant to be used with a brush.
As a Williams aficionado it's funny how many folks now revere the soap and bemoan that it was discontinued. See folks trying to sell it for $15 $20 on Amazon and Ebay.

What is also interesting is, that as @taffy noted above, Mitchell's was and still is considered an excellent classic soap and yet has many similarities to Williams. I use and like both in part because they are very similar. I've found that they are both great soaps with very similar lathering characteristics from an ease of use and performance perspective. They are my only two soaps that work best with a good stiff boar brush. Not surprising since the top three ingredients of MWF and Williams are the same. The main differences between these soaps are in the areas of aroma (I like both) and MWF does provide a slightly better post shave feel - likely due to the lanolin.

I became intrigued by MWF while using Williams after reading all the B&B MWF reviews that in many ways sounded just like those of Williams (mixed perspectives with some who use nothing else combined with lots of mentions by others of lathering difficulty).

While YMMV always applies I suspect that many of these historical perspectives stem from how the soaps are sold. In marketing first impressions matter and a 99 cent naked Williams puck of soap in a plain box on the supermarket shelf will often be perceived as inferior to a $15 more luxuriously packaged (paper wrapping inside with both and inner and outer box with nice "old school" logos & copy) MWF puck that is imported from the U.K.

With Williams discontinued I'm glad B&Bers have MWF to fall back on.
 
I found myself here in 2009 after being a member of another shaving forum for a couple of years. That place badmouthed this place to no end, and I was always (still am) a one forum type of guy- no need to read the same post from the same guy in 5 other places. Anyway, that forum eventually became what they said this place was- and I got banned for telling them they were crap, along with some other things. I bit the bullet and joined here. I think I made 2 posts in 2009, became a long time lurker, grew a beard a few times, found other hobbies, you name it. Eventually one of those hobbies became soap making (or attempting to) and the soap forums were just as bad as the other shaving forum. But, that hobby rekindled my interest in shaving soaps and creams and that's why I'm here again today.

Like others have said, things have changed. Mama Bear and Honeybee were the only artisans we knew. I got on Ebay before it became popular and could get razors for nothing. I remember that I got 3 Slims in an auction with the winning bid being $12. I still have two of them. Tabac and MWF were things I only read about here- nobody in Georgia sold stuff like that. My first order online of shaving stuff was from West Coast Shaving and I think it was those plastic roll up shaving stick tubes so I could add Old Spice to VDH thinking I would create the perfect soap. Oh, and Dorco blades. They weren't very good but were the cheapest thing around then. I then improved to Derby and 7 O'clock Greens and still have some of all of them in my cabinet.

Really enjoyed this thread. Fun to reminisce.
 
As a Williams aficionado it's funny how many folks now revere the soap and bemoan that it was discontinued. See folks trying to sell it for $15 $20 on Amazon and Ebay.

What is also interesting is, that as @taffy noted above, Mitchell's was and still is considered an excellent classic soap and yet has many similarities to Williams. I use and like both in part because they are very similar. I've found that they are both great soaps with very similar lathering characteristics from an ease of use and performance perspective. They are my only two soaps that work best with a good stiff boar brush. Not surprising since the top three ingredients of MWF and Williams are the same. The main differences between these soaps are in the areas of aroma (I like both) and MWF does provide a slightly better post shave feel - likely due to the lanolin.

I became intrigued by MWF while using Williams after reading all the B&B MWF reviews that in many ways sounded just like those of Williams (mixed perspectives with some who use nothing else combined with lots of mentions by others of lathering difficulty).

While YMMV always applies I suspect that many of these historical perspectives stem from how the soaps are sold. In marketing first impressions matter and a 99 cent naked Williams puck of soap in a plain box on the supermarket shelf will often be perceived as inferior to a $15 more luxuriously packaged (paper wrapping inside with both and inner and outer box with nice "old school" logos & copy) MWF puck that is imported from the U.K.

With Williams discontinued I'm glad B&Bers have MWF to fall back on.
MWF is one of the staples I haven’t tried yet. Almost finished with a puck of Tabac and I probably won’t buy another. I found it too pasty. Even with tons of water. The scent is interesting but I can live without it.
 
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