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Ivan Der Williams Shave Soap Blend for Ideal Lather and Slickness

Hi everyone. First a little about my shaving experience then will cover experiments with low cost shave soap blends that led to a preferred mix of Williams, Van Der Hagen Deluxe and Ivory soap I've called Ivan Der Williams (IDW) blend #3 below.

I started as a DE shaver in college using a Gillette Adjustable and canned foam for about 5 years before converting to an Norelco triple header for convenience. Returned to DE shaving about a year and a half ago. Started with a puck of Williams as my grandfather used this as well as the now discontinued Colgate pucks. Also Williams is sold locally at Wegmans for 99 cents a puck. Achieved decent shaves from the excellent slickness provided by Williams. Love the "old school" Williams scent. Next tried the Van Der Hagen Deluxe (new formulation) and Van Der Hagen Luxury. The VDH Deluxe provided excellent thick and long lasting lather though with much less slickness than the Williams while the Luxury VDH provided a better overall shave. Also experimented with tallow based bar soaps, Ivory, Dial, even Zote (just once) and, similar to experience with hotel soaps when I forgot my regular shaver, achieved a passable shave from the slickness provided. Currently use a Weishi long handle razor. Rotate between Derby, Astra and Dorco blades. Favorite brush is a Razorock 26mm Monster synthetic. Also use a basic boar brush on occasion.

Based on the above, and posts from others who achieved great results by blending soaps, I decided to experiment with different blends using the above soaps as ingredients to achieve an optimal balance of lasting lather, cushion and slickness. The primary hypothesis was to add just enough Van Der Hagen Deluxe so that its foaming agent, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, would enable a rich stable lather without compromising the slickness from the tallow based Williams. Also experimented with adding bar soap (mostly Ivory) to the mix for added slickness. Second hypothesis here was that the added Ivory tallow could shift the Williams ingredient mix back towards the vintage "tallow first" formula that others have indicated works so well. The results so far are as follows:

Best Overall Blend To Date:(Ivan Der Williams #3):
After experimenting with different blends the best results come from a mix of roughly 40% Williams, 40% Van Der Hagen Deluxe (VDH) and 20% Ivory by weight. Use a cheese grater on the Williams and Ivory, mix them together, then melt and mix in the Van Der Hagen. Press the mix tight into the shape of a soap puck. Translating to soap bars/pucks the mix is one puck of Williams, 2/3'rds puck of Van Der Hagen and 1 ounce (1/4 of 4oz bar) of Ivory. Name based on the Van Der Williams created by others on this forum. Really rich long lasting lather/cushion with excellent slickness from the Williams and Ivory. Slickness definitely enhanced from a simpler 60% Williams/40% VDH blend noted below. Slickness just as good as Ivan Der Williams (IDW) blend #2 below with no relathering required. This is my new go to blend. Also rate this above the VDH Luxury alone. Getting more shaves per blade with this blend. Much easier to lather than Williams alone.

Runner Up Blends:
Ivan Der Williams #2 - Roughly 1/3 each of Williams, VDH and Ivory. Great slickness and good lather though lather not as long lasting as IDH blend #3 above. Occasional relathering required on a single pass.

Van Der Williams #1 - 60% Williams (one puck) and 40% VDH Deluxe (one half puck). Lots of good stable lather and good slickness - similar to excellent results achieved by others on who pioneered and named this type of blend. Definitely better than either soap alone. Did find that adding an ounce of Ivory and increasing the VDH to 2/3rds of a puck (to keep close to the 40% ratio) for IDW blend #3 above provided similar lather with better slickness.

Ivan Der Williams #1 - First attempt to maximize slickness with minimal amount of VDH to create stable lather. Roughly 40% Williams, 40% Ivory and 20% VDH. Result was a really slick shaving experience with poor lather that dissipated quickly with frequent relathering required within a single pass. Ivory and VDH are softer soaps making initial lather creation easier than with Williams alone.

Zote Blend - Similar to IDW blend #2 with roughly 1/3 Williams, 1/3 VDH Deluxe and 1/3 Zote. Shaving characteristics were similar IDW#2. Problem was the strong Citronella smell of the Zote comes though even when diluted in this blend is a negative. Was worth a try given Zote appears to be the purest bar of Tallow soap out there. After soap sat on the shelf for a few months the scent did dissipate and no longer unpleasant. Will stick to Ivory for future bar soap blends.

Blending Method: Tallow based Williams and bar soaps are grated in a cheese grater and mixed together. VDH is melted in the microwave and then mixed with the tallow soaps. Final product is presses into a puck shape. Find that allowing the final product to rest for a few weeks prior to use works best.

Possible Future Experiments:
1)VDH/Ivory only blends to see if the Ivory alone can provide sufficient slickness and if the VDH sodium laureth sulfate alone provides strong lather without help of the Potassium Stearate in the Williams.
2) Push Ivan Der Williams #3 blend to at least 50% VDH to see if even stronger lather is achievable while delivering needed slickness.
3) Addition of an essential oil to the blend for improved scent
4) Comparisons to higher end soaps

Bottom Line: Low cost soaps can be blended to make an excellent shaving product with excellent lather and slickness. Not surprising given that many of the core ingredients between low cost and high end soaps are similar.

As YMMV curious as to others recent experiences with similar or different blends of shave soaps. Also, I've not focused on scent, an important element for many. How have you improved the scent of your soap blends?
 
Thank you for this write up. I will have to try the 60/40 Van Der Williams next time I see some VDH on the shelf somewhere. I might add some Arko to the mix to make the stick disappear more quickly :) (Great stuff, Arko, but too pungent for my nose).

I currently add a bit of brushless Cremo or Neutrogena from a discount store when lathering up Williams. Makes for a luxurious feeling lather and adding a little bit of pleasant scent.
 
Thank you EWK. Just noticed a frowning face pop up on my post above. Would you be able to delete it from the post? Thanks.

Also, the best way to get the VDH Deluxe if from Walgreen's web site. It's $2.29 per puck with no shipping charge if you request delivery to store for pick up. Only typically see the VDH Luxury on store shelves these days.
 
I think I read somewhere that you can only edit your posts for 15 minutes. No worries.
 
I enjoy using Van Der Williams. I first tried blending the two together after reading a post on B & B many years ago. Then after learning about uber lathers I tried adding a little dab of Kiss My Face shaving cream and a few drops of glycerin on top of the blended Van Der Williams puck before loading my brush which creates an even better overall combined result IMO.

Kiss Van Der Williams or Van Der Williams Face
 
Another variation of the inexpensive soap combinations that I like is Colonel Williams. Colonel Conk + Williams. So far I have tried 50% Colonel Conk Almond + 50% Williams and 50% Colonel Conk Bay Rum + 50% Williams. Scent, lather quality, etc. seems better with Colonel Williams vs. Van Der Williams.
 
Hi everyone, quick update. Recently mixed up a modified version of my Ivan Der Williams (IVDH) blend. Formula includes 2 pucks of Williams Mug (3.5 oz), 2 pucks of Van Der Hagen Deluxe (VDH) (5.0 oz), a bit of Ivory (2oz) and one ounce of Proraso. Again the goal is to get the optimal balance of slickness from the tallow bases soaps (Williams/Ivory) and structure from the VDH foaming agent with the Proraso. Good overall result with even more structure/viscosity to the lather than my best blend in the original post above though the slickness, while good, did drop a bit. Easily lathers with my synthetic plissoft brush. Similar slickness to the Van Der Hagen Luxury soap many of us like that I also enjoy as part of my rotation. The original IVDH blend has excellent slickness similar to Williams alone.

Above based on just one use so the softer VDH/Proraso may be overly represented in this first shave since these softer soaps tend to coat the grated harder soaps during the mixing process. Will report back if there is a noticeable change in lathering characteristics after a few uses.

Bottom Line: It appears once the portion of tallow based Williams/Ivory drops below 60% there is a noticeable trade off of slickness for lather structure/ease of lathering. My personal preference is to have more slickness so I'll likely dial back future blends towards the original Ivan Der Williams above.

Of course the biggest problem is with the Proraso added in is this does not lend itself well to an easy name like Ivan Der Williams .🙂 Somehow πvan Der Williams or Pivan Der Williams doesn't quite roll of the tongue like the original Ivan Der Williams 🙂
 
Ivory is doing nothing for your blend. Williams has plenty of slickness. The tallow in Ivory will not make modern Williams perform anything more like vintage Williams. The VdH is what is stabilizing the lather. Ivory can only hurt stability.

If you want vintage Williams performance you can buy some vintage Williams. Another option is that CBL soaps makes a soap called 'tonsorial' soap that is a vintage Williams doppelganger. I did a side-by-side shave with real vintage Williams on one side of my face and CBL Tonsorial on the other and they were indistinguishable.
 
I had success with one part Dove, two parts Neutrogena and a little coconut oil.


DSCN1109b.jpg
 
Agree with those who say Ivory is probably not doing much for you when shaving. Maybe substitute some Arko for its slickness benefits. I'm at a loss for a catchy name.
 

FarmerTan

FarmerStan the Man
Not enough info!
I suppose I should do that which I hate: please the Mods by actually starting a thread, instead of just adding to the one I'm in at the moment! Lol, ADHD is real, and I'm the poster child!

But I forgot my appointment for the foto shoot! True story doggone!!!
 
They say that you cannot make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. But I guess that does not stop folks from trying.:confused1
Hi RayClem,

Actually in the case of shaving soap you can make a silk purse out of a sows ear! - just need to render the pig lard from the sows ear (and other parts). Pig lard has been reported as making great shaving soap. Link to an example post below. 🙂

Griffith Shaving Goods pig tallow soap - https://www.badgerandblade.com/forum/threads/griffith-shaving-goods-pig-tallow-soap.555195/

There are a few other examples out there though I suspect we don't see a lot of it since marketing a product based on pig lard may not be as appealing to the artisan shaving soap market as other options. Have you tried pig lard based shaving soap given the 200+ soaps you have used during your shaving journey? Did it work for you?

P.S. The point of my last post was that this latest blend, while good, was not as preferable to me based on my preferences. The original Ivan Der Williams blend in my April post remains my shaving soap silk purse. Still worth reporting on as, given YMMV, the characteristics of this blend could appeal to some.
 

FarmerTan

FarmerStan the Man
Hi RayClem,

Actually in the case of shaving soap you can make a silk purse out of a sows ear! - just need to render the pig lard from the sows ear (and other parts). Pig lard has been reported as making great shaving soap. Link to an example post below. 🙂

Griffith Shaving Goods pig tallow soap - https://www.badgerandblade.com/forum/threads/griffith-shaving-goods-pig-tallow-soap.555195/

There are a few other examples out there though I suspect we don't see a lot of it since marketing a product based on pig lard may not be as appealing to the artisan shaving soap market as other options. Have you tried pig lard based shaving soap given the 200+ soaps you have used during your shaving journey? Did it work for you?

P.S. The point of my last post was that this latest blend, while good, was not as preferable to me based on my preferences. The original Ivan Der Williams blend in my April post remains my shaving soap silk purse. Still worth reporting on as, given YMMV, the characteristics of this blend could appeal to some.
Did I ever tell y'all about the time my Dad made us pancakes and fried them in the fat from the "night before's" pork chops? Yeah, it was about as good as it sounds, but I ate it.

In those days for us it was eat it or go hungry. It's amazing how much more sweet those memories get the older I get.
 
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