What's new

Ivory Soap as shave stick

Most folks who attempt to use Ivory Soap to make shave lather complain about the lackluster results, but perhaps it is how Ivory Soap is used to make shave lather is the culprit behind the aforementioned lackluster results.

Below are the instructions from an Ivory Soap advertisement on how to use Ivory Soap as a shave stick.

Give it a try and let me know what you think!

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Follow these directions, and you can shave as well with Ivory Soap as with any shaving soap you ever used:

Moisten the face with lukewarm water. Rub on it a cake of Ivory Soap, manipulating it as you would a stick of shaving soap. Work up the lather with brush. Rinse. Moisten the brush and reapply the lather to the face, working it up thoroughly. Shave.

Ivory's advantages as a shave soap are: It is inexpensive: it is always at hand in the bath room; it contains no "free" alkali and leaves the skin in better condition than any other soap. The usual way of using Ivory Soap for shaving - applying the brush to the soap and then to the face - is not entirely satisfactory. The lather is light and dries quickly. But this objection is overcome if you adopt the method outlined above.

ivory_dadshave.jpg
 
There are so many glycerin soaps now for cheap that can also be used to shave......some sellers have them as preshave (which I consider a waste of money).
When I was a teenager I shave w Heno de Pravia hand soap + Atra cart for many many years...... didn't know better....

Might try the Ivory one of these days.... a bit skin drying I bet
 
I remember shaving with bar soap as much younger, handsomer, lad in the US Navy. If using Ivory is getting the job done for you, or for someone else, who am I to dissuade?

Speaking for myself, you'd need the Jaws of Life to separate me from my Stirling shave soap.
 
Or you could just buy it pre-packaged:

proxy.php
 
It can work, but dedicated shave soap or cream is worth the extra cost. You don't have to spend $25 per tub for soap that vanishes in a month. $10-15 worth of shaving soap for a year of good shaves is easy to find and not very expensive.
 
I've used exclusively various bar soaps for the last 20+ years. Some are shave soaps but mostly I just grab the bath soap bar.

Hand lathering allows the fingers to work slickness under each whisker and better soften them.

For subsequent passes it allows me to detect which areas need more attention for a true bbs.

Efficient, cheap, better shaves. No ceremony, direct and to the point.

Over the last year I've experimented with various soap samples-mdc, sv, cf, cella, and others. With a nice Vie Long boar brush. I was hoping I'd get longer blade life and closer shaves but I was sorely disappointed on both counts.

All I got was more tugging, more weepers, pitiful shaves that don't last with soaps and creams. It's been agony actually. A waste of time and money but mostly time sitting there whipping up a lather that just smells cheap and gets in the way of the blade.

I have found zero correlation between piles of cartoonish lather, the odor and price of said lather, and great shaves. Quite the opposite actually.

This tiger just can't change his stripes. I'm an absolute minimalist about everything. I do that to maintain clarity.

Sounds corny, but a zen mind or whatever doesn't want to be distracted by mountains of choices, distracting scents, lust for the next thing. I really do think it's best to keep things simple. The proof of the great value of simplicity is how difficult it is to achieve and maintain. But that's how I maintain a direct connection to life.

My wife just uses bar soap and her de as well. Two barbarians!

But I don't do it to be primitive. The shaves are better in every way and I find myself deep in thought...

YMMV
 
Sounds corny, but a zen mind or whatever doesn't want to be distracted by mountains of choices, distracting scents, lust for the next thing. I really do think it's best to keep things simple. The proof of the great value of simplicity is how difficult it is to achieve and maintain. But that's how I maintain a direct connection to life.
I'm slowly coming to the same conclusion.
 
I've used exclusively various bar soaps for the last 20+ years. Some are shave soaps but mostly I just grab the bath soap bar.

This is interesting to me. I've been experimenting with Dove Mens+ soap bars and I've been impressed. It doesn't make cartoonish Instagram lather with a brush, but when hand lathered, it's actually a damn good performer. That's been true of all the bar soaps I've used. I've never tried the method described in the original post though (face lather with a brush>rinse>relather). What kind of bar soaps have performed the best for you? Have you tried Ivory?

Hand lathering allows the fingers to work slickness under each whisker and better soften them.

100% this. When it comes to slickness, no other method compares to hand lathering. I've been lathering with my trusty Shave Mac badger for 20 years, and it's never made a lather comparable to handmade lather.

For subsequent passes it allows me to detect which areas need more attention for a true bbs.

This is a greatly underappreciated virtue of hand lathering. It makes a "grain mapping" redundant. You get real time feedback from every whisker during the shave. Tough to beat that!


I have found zero correlation between piles of cartoonish lather, the odor and price of said lather, and great shaves. Quite the opposite actually.

I agree with you in principle, but cartoonish Instagram lather has a place; it becomes more necessary the longer the shave takes. As a general rule, lather slickness decreases as density decreases (more bubbles = less slick). The flip side of that is that slicker lather dries out quicker. If your shaves take 2-3 minutes (actual razor to skin time) you can have the slickest lather known to man, but if you take a more princely 20 minutes, you need a thicker, airy lather to reduce the rate at which the lather on the skin drys out. Shave duration (actual razor to skin time) should dictate lather density.

This chart shows the slickness levels of a bar of Mogno when it is applied as a thin, watery, insanely slick hand lather, vs as a cartoonish "yogurty" badger made lather.

proxy.php
 
Last edited:
Having experimented over the past year Ivory does provide as much or more slickness than other options. In a pinch, when traveling, Ivory or other bar soaps enabled a passable shave. Since I prefer to face lather with a brush (synthetic) using Ivory or other bar soap alone provides too thin a lather, that dissipates too quickly, for my preferences. For those (like myself) that prefer a lower cost shave soap option I've found that adding a small amount of Ivory to my now go to Van Der Williams blend (Ivan Der Williams anyone?:)) creates a shave soap with an excellent combination of lather, cushion and slickness.

After experimenting with different Ivan Der Williams blends the best results come from a mix of roughly 40% Williams, 40% Van Der Hagen Deluxe (new formula) 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.

The resultant "Ivan Der Williams" soap puck has an additional advantage that is is easier to lather than a hard puck of Williams alone reducing the work required to build decent lather. The Van Der Hagen Deluxe alone, while it created a thick lather easily, does not provide my preferred level of slickness. Hypothesize, from others posts, that adding a bit of Ivory to the Williams may be shifting the ingredient blend towards well regarded older Williams formulations where Sodium Tallowate was first ingredient versus the current product that has Potassium Stearate listed first followed by the Sodium Tallowate. At 40% there appears to be enough Sodium Laureth Sulfate (foaming agent) from the Van Der Hagen to easily create a thick, rich lather. Will post on experiments with different blends separately.

Anyone else who has had success using Ivory as a shave soap blend ingredient.
 
@Dovo1695 I read with interest your comparison between Mogno and Arko. Your experiences with hand lathering mirror my own.

I've never tried Mogno nor Arko or some others I should- La Toja and Tabac sticks for example. On the other hand I've never really felt the need. I will try Mogno one of these days. It suits my criteria of simplicity and it's the price of a decent bath bar.

During the pandemic I've had the opportunity to focus a little on upping my shaving game. Hence all the samples that I tried. But thanks to this forum I can across one I didn't know of but should have- Granado.

Lately I've been using Granado sabonete barbear and it's really amazing. It's a few bucks at a Brazilian grocery, it's a bar soap with simple ingredients that are truly slick and nutritious, and it's basically fragrance free. I'm getting fantastic results with it, definitely worthwhile and still the price of a cheap bath bar.

I've extensively used Ivory, Dove, multitudes of glycerin soaps, plenty of hotel soaps, and whatever my wife buys-lately it's been Greek olive oil bath soap and before that it was some French bath soap, nothing too precious. I just grab whatever is there.

There hasn't been much difference between any of these. All have given me great and satisfyingly simple shaves for many years.

The Granado has been a little bit of a révélation, however, one which I've definitely enjoyed and one which has finalized my certainty about hand lathering.

With any soap, I rub the bar across my face and then rub it between my hands. If it's a little dry I dip my fingers in water and scootch it around my face and neck. Then I do the first pass.

After that pass I quickly rub my fingers around my face. If it's several days growth that's been cut and/or there isn't much soap slickness left then I'll splash that off, rub the bar on my face and between my hands again and then slap on a fresh coat of wet soapy slickness.

Do a second pass. Repeat.

Then a third pass/buffing.

If at anytime my face is drying out I just dip my fingers in water and rub around what's left of the soap to wherever I need it. Boom! Stubble closely and confortably eliminated.

So for me one of the major benefits of hand lathering with a bar soap is that I can constantly adjust the soap and water ratio and amounts on my face as needed on an ongoing basis. It's a process that allows periodic 3 second adjustments precisely as needed.


If I brush lather I'm committed to that amount of soap/cream/water and if anything is off adjustment is difficult. Often lather can be too much or too little or dries out or whatever and I find adjustment difficult and frustrating compared to hand lathering. And there's always too much lather left over, although other times I run out before bbs everywhere.

I prefer the closeness that hand lathering provides- getting under every whisker, constant adjustments of slickness and amount, and constant feedback of where I'm already bbs and where needs attention. With care and experience this eliminates irritation and facilitates perfect and long lasting bbs.

Furthermore, I find that shaving off lather leaves the skin too exposed on the next pass without relathering. And if I lather with the brush I get no feedback. And by now the lather has changed and should be adjusted but doing so is more complicated than I want to bother with.

And ultimately the lather is thick enough that my razor isn't as close to my skin as I'd like, the blade isn't going under each whisker but is floating above them just a little. Whereas handlathering soap allows for a microscopic cushion that gives more slickness and plenty of cushion.

I also have a few straight razors and kamisori. I've never tried to shave with just bar soap and straights. I appreciate the cushion with a stiffer blade and the visual cues as well. So my theory is that during the days when everyone shaved with straights the stereotype of shaving developed-cartoonish lather.

With straights I'm doing 3 succinct and uniform passes with no buffing. The blade is a whole other beast and it's several times wider than a DE.

A DE requires more precision, more passes, more buffing, more precision. But it's vastly more convenient and with proper technique the results can be almost equal to a straight.

At any rate, I pretty much use a FOCS and Treet black beauties, occasionally others but I get amazing results with black beauties and a bar that costs a few bucks and lasts a year. No aftershave needed. I'm certain that my consumables budget is between $5 and $10 annually. Big win!
 
Lately I've been using Granado sabonete barbear and it's really amazing. It's a few bucks at a Brazilian grocery, it's a bar soap with simple ingredients that are truly slick and nutritious, and it's basically fragrance free. I'm getting fantastic results with it, definitely worthwhile and still the price of a cheap bath bar.

Granado bar soap is at the tippety top of my soap list. It's meant as a shaving soap, meant to be hand lathered in exactly the way that you've described, and it's cheaper than chicken. There is a comparison review between bars of Mogno and Granado somewhere here on the forum. If I recall, they were both excellent performers, especially when hand lathered.
 

I'm looking forward to trying Mogno one of these days but it's difficult to imagine anything being better than Granado if you're a hand latherer. It's ingrédients are my absolute favorite I've ever come across- truly great stuff and value priced. Clean, fresh, and gentle. Uniquely Brazilian!

When I was in Brazil I used Granado products across the board but never noticed their shaving soap. But that was 20 years ago and I was still using carts and bath soap and shaving was just an ugly necessity.

Next time I'm down there I'm going to bring back a case, literally. But until then local Brazilian supermarkets will keep me supplied.
 
Top Bottom