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What is considered the best and worst soaps?

I know, I know, YMMV but I'm curious as to what is "generally considered" as the world's best soap on all fronts period & the worst soap period?
Not looking at which lathers best, which lasts the longest, which one smells best, which one costs more or less, this is the one that I personally like etc..
Just what's considered best and worst!
Just curious & just for fun..
This will be interesting!
 
There's really no consensus on this question.

It might be useful to go back over the many, many threads over the years that have been started to ask the questions like "what are your top five soaps", "what would you take to your desert island", etc.

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There's really no consensus on this question.

It might be useful to go back over the many, many threads over the years that have been started to ask the questions like "what are your top five soaps", "what would you take to your desert island", etc.

View attachment 1448424
I get that and the fact that "top & desert island" lists exist. Those lists involve personal favorites though that are subjective person to person. But I'd like to see what's #1 in the good and bad without any emotion involved. Every material thing has a gold standard (and the opposite of the gold standard), so I figured that soaps would be kind of the same. But I very well may be wrong. Hopefully someone gets the ball rolling!
 
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The way I see it is who results in the best compromise of performance, cost, etc... the best would be Stirling as much as appreciate other soaps. If their prices went up too much it would change their ranking.

From my personal experience the worst would have to be the vegan version of Van Yulay. The tallow is good, but the vegan is terrible.
 

luvmysuper

My Elbows Leak
The best soap is that one that I love and you hate.
The worst soap is that one that you love and I hate.
Some would say Williams was the worst, but I found it much better quality than many soaps here people rave about.
There's no objective standard by which to categorically declare a best and worst.
The answer to the question is going to be purely opinion.
 
The answer to the question is going to be purely opinion.

This.

It also has little to do with the soaps. Most soaps avaliable today will do a good enough job of lathering for shaving. Or slickness during the shave.Or post-shave mositurising. There are some that fail, often miserably, but they tend to get found out pretty quickly.

What it often comes down to is the non-soapiness qualities, like the scent, or the price, or the availability, or the artwork on the tin that will look so cool in your SOTD shots...

I don't have many soaps, but they all work great, so technically they are all "the best". Which would I use for my last shave? The one that I think smells the best, not the one that soaps the best...
 

luvmysuper

My Elbows Leak
This.

It also has little to do with the soaps. Most soaps avaliable today will do a good enough job of lathering for shaving. Or slickness during the shave.Or post-shave mositurising. There are some that fail, often miserably, but they tend to get found out pretty quickly.

What it often comes down to is the non-soapiness qualities, like the scent, or the price, or the availability, or the artwork on the tin that will look so cool in your SOTD shots...

I don't have many soaps, but they all work great, so technically they are all "the best". Which would I use for my last shave? The one that I think smells the best, not the one that soaps the best...
Yep, I mean - by which standard would you judge best or worst soap?
Scent?
I love the earthy florals of Lilac Vegetal. Many claim it smells like cat urine to them.
Efficacy?
By any reasonable standard, Feather blades are some of the sharpest out there. I hate Feathers, they feel rough to me.
Cost? I don't think Williams ever beat MDC though it beat it hands down in cost.
Lather production?
Look at the SOTD pics and you'll see everything from whipped cream peaks to runny gruel. I like a wet runny lather, it works best for me. Some like that Cool Whip thing.
There's no criteria to judge a soap quality where opinion is taken out of the picture.
Obviously, a soap which isn't fully saponified to the point that the Sodium Hydroxide dissolves your face would probably be universally disliked.
But don't bet money that someone, somewhere wouldn't love it.
 

OldSaw

The wife's investment
There are far fewer good ones than there used to be thanks to reformulations. It’s probably easier to nail down the worst soap than the best,

For many years it has been universally accepted wisdom (at least by those who ever tried it) that Caswell Massey is the worst soap on the planet. So there’s that.
 
When I was looking for soaps to try, I knew it was a YMMV game, but looked for good bets ("quite a lot of people on B&B like it, not too many horror stories"), and soon scored a personal winner with Mitchell's Wool Fat.

On the other hand, I have soft water here...

My worst experience was UK retail "blue bowl" Wilkinson — bath soap would have worked better. I wondered at the time if it was designed to drive people back to canned foam, but it probably has its faithful users. 😀
 

Messygoon

Abandoned By Gypsies.
Today’s Best: Canada Shaving Soap
Worst: Nameless handmade soap bought at the local farmers’ market. The maker assured me her body soap doubled as an excellent shave soap. She was wrong.

Tomorrow’s best could be Santa Maria Novella, Stirling Varen, Haslinger Shafmilch, Martin de Candre Rose, Cella red,…

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Mike M

...but this one IS cracked.
My worst experience was UK retail "blue bowl" Wilkinson — bath soap would have worked better
That soap put me off using hard soap for 2 years until I finally gave in to MWF thankfully.
I'm with @luvmysuper on this the answer is all opinion. My personal opinion is SV and MdC are the best, but others will always disagree (including some who've never tried either soap funnily enough). Just look at the Arko scent thread more than one and a half thousand posts on the scent of one soap.
If there was one undisputed best soap we'd all be using it and shaving would be quite boring, but it's the YMMV thing that makes this so interesting and means we all have an opinion.
 
Unfortunately, this is the type of thing that has no clear cut and dry answer. There is no such thing as the best soap. But you could list some of the highest performance soaps. And as far the worst soaps, well, I think that any soap that smells like a urinal cake, should be avoided.

High performance soaps like Tabac, should be in everyones shave den, at least 1-puk of it. But yes, this kind of topic is going to be loaded with opinion. Because its like you said, its really is a YMMV thing.
 
I have evaluated over 100 soap formulations and over 200 soaps. Thus, I can tell you which soaps work exceedingly well for me and which ones do not. However, my criteria for a soap might differ significantly from what you need and want. I do not mind spending $20-30 or more on a tub of soap to pamper my face, but some might not have the budget to do that. That is why there are so many soaps on the market and such differing opinions of which are good and which are not.

For me Ogalala Bay Rum was the worst soap as the cloves used in the scent caused extreme irritation of my face. As soon as the lather touched my face I had to wash it off. The puck immediately went into the garbage. Fortunately, it was inexpensive.

Arko does not work for me as it leaves my face feeling tight and dry, a most unpleasant experience. Those with oily skin might love it.

The very best soaps I have ever used are:

Grooming Dept Kairos SE
Grooming Dept Kairos and Mallard
Ariana and Evans Kaisen 2e
Ethos Grooming Essentials Type F
Barrister and Mann Omnibus

While these are my all time favorites, there are another 25 soaps that are nearly as good.
 
The original purpose of the shaving soap, cream, foam, gel etc. is to:

''They create a thin layer to help reduce surface friction between your face and the razor to help you get a closer shave and avoid things like razor burn, ingrown hairs and other skin irritation.''

But since, we no two people have the same faces, skin, whiskers etc. no two people agree on which product is better suited for their needs. Some folks are looking for a more moisturising products or ''skin food'' as some call them, which contain more essential oils or/and animal fats that helps them soften their dry skin and that helps them get better shaves and leaves a post shave feel on their faces, because some have better scents, some are much easier to work with and they make more thick and creamy leather, some are more economical than others and can be used for a much longer, some products cause skin reactions for one reason or another, some folks get little to no benefits from using the more expensive stuff nor do they care about the scents and they use more inexpensive stuff.

I'm sure there are at least a few more reasons why folks buy ''this'', but not that product and the same goes for the razors, blades, brushes, aftershaves.

I pretty much use everything ranging from inexpensive soaps and creams like - Rasozero Agrumella, Figaro, Arko, Williams, Proraso to a bit more expensive things like - Sterling and B&M omnibus and soft heart bases.

While I find the slightly more expensive products a bit better compare to the more inexpensive products, the end result is pretty much the same and it all depends on me and the razor and blade I'm using whatever I'm going to get a good shave or not. More expensive products won't make mine or anyone's face immune to cuts, nicks and irritation and if I make a mistake, I will get punished regardless of what I'm using. I also don't care about the scents either as long as the scent isn't pushing me away.
 
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