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Williams Mug Shaving Soap

I used my Williams Mug soap today (Williams Wednesday) and finally got a really nice lather that didn't disappear during my shave. I believe I was using too much water before so I tried using less today and it worked much better. My lather was nice and thick, slick, and protective compared to the last few times I tried using it.

I read a bunch of threads on this soap before using it the first time. Lots of folks said soak the puck before using and use lots of water to get a good lather. Well, I did just that the first few times using the soap.....soaked my puck and brush while showering to get it nice and damp. Dumped water out, shook my brush and started making lather. Lather looked okay, but during my shaves it would start dissipating....weird. Today, I didn't soak the puck before using it. I soaked my brush, shook it off, and loaded from a dry puck. Lather was much better today....thicker and stable. It didn't disappear and stayed together like normal. Had a great shave.

I'll keep using it as I think I finally figured out how to lather it well.....we'll see. It is a bargain and worth trying if you haven't. It hasn't been around forever for nothing.
Agree with you about not soaking the puck beforehand. I’ve been a big fan of Williams for several years, both vintage and modern, and have never had to “bloom” any soap to get it to work properly. I grate the puck into a Ziplock container and just use a damp brush, usually synthetic but occasionally a boar, and build great lather in a bowl.
 
I've been using Williams about every other day for a couple of weeks, and using it last night had one of the best and closest shaves I've ever had. True, it was a 'night before' shave as I had an early morning today, and those are always better because I'm a lot slower and more thorough. I've gotten much more used to the citronella candle scent, and Williams has that great slick feel on the face when wet. It does take a little extra time to lather, and I still need some type of moisturizer afterwards, as it leaves my skin a little dry.

So beware! Now that I've finally decided it's acceptable, at least when used regularly and not allowed to dry out, it will be discontinued. So hoard it by the truckload!!
 

steveclarkus

Goose Poop Connoisseur
I wonder if this is how all the earlier rumours about WMS being discontinued began?
If is continues as a top seller on Amazon, it isn’t likely to be discontinued. I expect there are still many users who don’t hang out on shaving boards that use it because it is still available in many grocery and drug stores and it is much less expensive than canned foam.
 
If is continues as a top seller on Amazon, it isn’t likely to be discontinued. I expect there are still many users who don’t hang out on shaving boards that use it because it is still available in many grocery and drug stores and it is much less expensive than canned foam.
To say the least. Remember the guy who was so sure safety razor blades were about to be discontinued by PPI? As if after all that investment to dominate so much of the global market they would just walk away and let competitors take their profits. Sure, the industry would like the whole world to buy expensive multiblade disposable razors and cartridges, and almost as overpriced canned foam. But given economic conditions in the world, that will happen no time soon. WMS is as safe as any such product can be. The biggest threat likely would be if Combe was taken over by a competitor. But even that likely would change little in the short term.
 
It wasn't any misinformation from me earlier, but this definitely is my silly post now. If I had any less real information, it would be less than zero. :cool:
If is continues as a top seller on Amazon, it isn’t likely to be discontinued. I expect there are still many users who don’t hang out on shaving boards that use it because it is still available in many grocery and drug stores and it is much less expensive than canned foam.

Sorry, guys. I forgot the smiley. I was making a lame joke about the many past rumours about WMS being discontinued. I agree that as long as it's selling well it's unlikely to be dropped.
 
Long ago I read of how difficult Williams is to lather. Folks 'bloom' the puck. They grate it. They mix it with other soaps. They chant incantations. They wring their hands, and howl: 'woe is me' about how difficult the stuff is to use.

So naturally I had to go buy some.

For all my soaps, I load a brush, then bowl lather.

Williams was just OK.

Fast forward to a few months ago, when I finally got home from Hospital and Rehab. I was gone for about 9 months, and returning to my accumulation of vintage Gillettes, I kept it simple, just using sure fire lathering products from ShannonsSoaps and Stirling. They're so good that I can select any blade from my comprehensive stash and get a BBS shave -even with the lowly Treet Black Beauties.

Time to move on. Due to mobility issues I grabbed several favorite razors, blades and some select soaps. A badger and a couple of synthetics and I was back at it in my easier access, but already cluttered Master Bathroom..

So, now that I can stand up to shave and get around the house with a cane, I revisited the Shave Lab (guest bathroom down the hall) and grabbed my Avon Shaving Mug. Inside was a forlorn /williams puck I had tossed into it over a year ago. This was to be the acid test. I grabbed the Semogue brush I had complained about sucking up lather and generally mishandling & misbehaving, I deemed it to be trash at best and decorative at least. After a soak, I simply wrung it out and swirled it around the DRY Williams puck. No fanfare, no loading the brush, not even distilled water - my lousy tasting, hard as rocks, mineral-laden tap water this time. I filled the mug with dense & fluffy lather ... with the previously proclaimed ¢raptastic Semogue. The shave rivalled those with Shannon & Stirling. Whether it works with other soaps now is of no importance; the Semogue does just fine with that DRY Williams Puck.

Imagine how wonderful that Williams would be using distilled water and a favorite preforming brush - doesn't matter, since I'll use that Semogue as a dedicated Williams brush.
 

Owen Bawn

Garden party cupcake scented
I absolutely love digging deep into the mug with a long handled boar brush until it feels like it's sticking to the soap and coming out with the creamy white Williams lather all over the knot and then spreading it over my face and neck, adding a few drops of water and watching the lather grow and shine. That clean, gentle scent of soap and dry citrus. I love everything about Williams from the mug to the squeaky clean rinse at the end. Apart from their posh perfumes, I think Williams is every bit as good as any of the fine triple milled European soaps I enjoy.
 
Trouble is, Williams became unobtainium in Canada. I used to see it everywhere, in grocery stores and pharmacies. Not anymore.
:sad:
 
I absolutely love digging deep into the mug with a long handled boar brush until it feels like it's sticking to the soap and coming out with the creamy white Williams lather all over the knot and then spreading it over my face and neck, adding a few drops of water and watching the lather grow and shine. That clean, gentle scent of soap and dry citrus. I love everything about Williams from the mug to the squeaky clean rinse at the end. Apart from their posh perfumes, I think Williams is every bit as good as any of the fine triple milled European soaps I enjoy.
I think the posh European perfumes and the humble Williams citronella both represent long and proud traditions that I enjoy observing. Of course, unscented shaving soap works perfectly well, too. But I'd be sad to see Williams disappear, just as I'll be sad if new formula Tabac no longer has the classic Tabac scent (haven't tried it yet).
 
I read a few threads on this and saw that this is a rather polarizing soap. I normally have used soaps that cost around the 20 dollar mark cold water soap works comes to mind. I recently tried colonel conk around the 12 dollar mark. The other day I was down to my last shard of shave soap. I happened to go to the store for groceries and they had William's mug for 1.92 per puck. I bought all they had (2) because I figured what the heck, I need soap and its an emergency. I figured if it didn't work well I would only be out two dollars. I came home and read on it, and saw that some liked it and some hated it because they said it was hard to build up a lather.

I threw it in the shave bowl and filled the shave bowl with water. I also made sure my shave brush was wet. I built a lather in the bowl immediately and it was one of the nicest lathers I have ever had. the soap was really thick, and because I soaked it in hot water it felt really nice on my face. The thing that stuck out to me about the after effect. My face felt "refreshed" from the soap.

I will admit I built the lather on the puck and that was one reason it was easy for me, but at the same time this was two dollar soap, and it produced one of the nicest shave experiences I have ever had.
I love these Williams Mug Soap threads. I used some of everyone's best ideas.... The puck was dry in a coffee mug, combo boar badger brush soaked then shook the water off. Loaded really well. Drops of glycerin on brush. Wet washed face. Only added water as needed. It was perfect. I was amazed. I threw some pucks away in frustration before. This just goes to show...put anything troublesome in a drawer and come back to it later. Loved it.
 

steveclarkus

Goose Poop Connoisseur
I read a few threads on this and saw that this is a rather polarizing soap. I normally have used soaps that cost around the 20 dollar mark cold water soap works comes to mind. I recently tried colonel conk around the 12 dollar mark. The other day I was down to my last shard of shave soap. I happened to go to the store for groceries and they had William's mug for 1.92 per puck. I bought all they had (2) because I figured what the heck, I need soap and its an emergency. I figured if it didn't work well I would only be out two dollars. I came home and read on it, and saw that some liked it and some hated it because they said it was hard to build up a lather.

I threw it in the shave bowl and filled the shave bowl with water. I also made sure my shave brush was wet. I built a lather in the bowl immediately and it was one of the nicest lathers I have ever had. the soap was really thick, and because I soaked it in hot water it felt really nice on my face. The thing that stuck out to me about the after effect. My face felt "refreshed" from the soap.

I will admit I built the lather on the puck and that was one reason it was easy for me, but at the same time this was two dollar soap, and it produced one of the nicest shave experiences I have ever had.
It has only been in production since 1840. Wonder why? It is a very good soap maybe.
 
To say the least. Remember the guy who was so sure safety razor blades were about to be discontinued by PPI? As if after all that investment to dominate so much of the global market they would just walk away and let competitors take their profits. Sure, the industry would like the whole world to buy expensive multiblade disposable razors and cartridges, and almost as overpriced canned foam. But given economic conditions in the world, that will happen no time soon. WMS is as safe as any such product can be. The biggest threat likely would be if Combe was taken over by a competitor. But even that likely would change little in the short term.
Like many of us Williams is a favorite of mine and I hope it continues on the market. My sense is that, as the shaving soap market continues its ongoing shift from loyal users, who grew up with Williams and have used it for decades, to more recent DE shave converts that manufacturers may perceive as hobbyists, Williams could be at risk as more and more retailers drop it from their assortments of shaving products. Retailers look at gross margin contribution per product facing and a 99 cent puck of Williams is far less profitable than other mass market shaving soaps that sell for $4 - $15 each. For now the few grocers that carry Williams are selling it for one of two reasons:

1) They want a low cost product in the shaving assortment for its price halo effect (creates impression that entire assortment offers good value)
2) Analysis has identified pockets of local market demand where the low profit Williams soap in important to the overall basket of products purchased by consumers. Drop Williams from the assortment and the consumer may shift a portion of his/her shopping trips to the competition

We've already seen significant evidence of this market shift away from "old school" shaving soaps like Williams with the discontinuation of Colgate a few years back in the USA and the recent end of Palmolive shave stick production in Europe. Only a handful of retailers continue to carry Williams in-store. Combe does not support Williams with any marketing support. From Combe's perspective Williams is likely considered a near end-of-life "cash cow" that it will drop when it no longer generates sufficient profits.

Van Der Hagen has figured out that the more recent DE wet shaving converts exhibit the lower price sensitivity one might expect from hobbyists as they have shifted from $2 basic/deluxe pucks to the $4-5 Luxury pucks of very similar soaps. The rapid shift to Luxury from Deluxe on retailer shelves a few years back likely generated lots of extra profit contribution.

Bottom line that there is a significant risk that Williams could be discontinued. In my case, since our local grocer sells it for 99 cents and it has a shelf life of almost forever, I've stocked up on it in similar fashion as our B&B Palmolive Shave Stick users across the pond who did the same when that product was available for 50p in local stores.

P.S. Interesting that Walgreens, who sells Williams on-line, has been out-of-stock for the past few weeks.
 

Steve56

Ask me about shaving naked!
That clean, gentle scent of soap and dry citrus.
That’s citronella Owen, as @mozartman notes. Lol, old noses ….

It has only been in production since 1840. Wonder why? It is a very good soap maybe.

That’s not literally true I think. The box graphics have been in production that long maybe. The current soap is not the same soap that our fathers and grandfathers used, and it is not the same company making it. Current Williams is a completely different soap made by a completely different company in pretty much the same box.

The last vintage Williams formula made AFAIK was the South African rose stick. Shave-a-Buck sold them for a while and I have 4, bought 5-6 years ago. It’s decent soap, La Toja is better, probably Palmolive.

There was a post somewhere here on B&B, where someone asked the current owner (Coombe?) when Williams was reformulated. They told him that it had never been reformulated and they were right - it hasn’t been reformulated while they owned the brand. They’re not Williams historians and don’t really care what came before them - Williams is a day job for them.
 
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steveclarkus

Goose Poop Connoisseur
That’s citronella Owen, as @mozartman notes. Lol, old noses ….



That’s not literally true I think. The box graphics have been in production that long maybe. The current soap is not the same soap that our fathers and grandfathers used, and it is not the same company making it. Current Williams is a completely different soap made by a completely different company in pretty much the same box.

The last vintage Williams formula made AFAIK was the South African rose stick. Shave-a-Buck sold them for a while and I have 4, bought 5-6 years ago. It’s decent soap, La Toja is better, probably Palmolive.

There was a post somewhere here on B&B, where someone asked the current owner (Coombe?) when Williams was reformulated. They told him that it had never been reformulated and they were right - it hasn’t been reformulated while they owned the brand. They’re not Williams historians and don’t really care what came before them - Williams is a day job for them.
I used a lot of the vintage back before it was vintage and it was a decent soap. Still a decent soap. I picked up a puck at the grocery today. Haven’t used it in over a year. Still prefer Arko.
 
When all choice has been eliminated and the only thing available is pricy, limited edition, unobtanium croaps that last ~30 days with recipes that have more in common with your favorite Bistro's salad dressing than shaving soap I'll make my own.

Fortunately European shavers appreciate shaving soap. MdC, La Toja, Speick, Arko to name a few and Spanish vendors are more than willing to help the world enjoy a clean shave.
 
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