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Williams Mug Soap, perfectly fine.... don’t hit me.

I fell in love with Tabac early on. Loads easy, thick and creamy, and I actually like the subtle baby powder/ tobacco scent. i find it a bit pricy, but I find most popular shaving soaps and creams to be pricy.
Another reason I settled on it was because all other popular products I tried are too spicy and smelly and they irritate my skin.
But this is about Williams. Based on YouTube videos, the Yugo of shaving soaps.
I saw pucks of it selling for 99 cents at my local grocery store. Soooo cheap! Had to try. Small enough to fit in my tall shaving mug (so I can finally use it!)
Honestly it works just fine! It is more work than Tabac or similar quality soaps, but not that bad. I fill the mug to the top of the puck and leave it for 5 or 10 minutes, work it with my brush for 30 seconds to a minute, and I get workable lather with about as much residual slickness as my Tabac.
Downsides: pedestrian Dial soap scent, a little more work.
But for 99 cents, it’s hard to argue with! 😉
Tabac is still my fave, but I personally find Williams a decent alternative, especially if I’m not in the mood to spend more than 3 bucks an ounce for soap. 😘
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Between that and trying out my $14 knock-off DE89, it seems I’ve been on a cheap-kick lately! 😉
 
When they stopped making Old Spice, Williams was all I could get. It was noticeably worse, but it worked. After years of frustrating and the advent of online shopping, I moved on.

It’s OK, but just meh for me. I like the scents and feel of others.


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I can see why it might leave you cold, it’s not great. But IMHO it’s not the unusable hellfire of awfulness I hear from most reviewers.
My guess is that they either don’t put the work into it, try to face lather with it, or try to compare it to $30 artisan pucks.
I sadly never had a chance to try Old Spice. It seems to be well remembered by many.


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I can see why it might leave you cold, it’s not great. But IMHO it’s not the unusable hellfire of awfulness I hear from most reviewers.
My guess is that they either don’t put the work into it, try to face lather with it, or try to compare it to $30 artisan pucks.
I sadly never had a chance to try Old Spice. It seems to be well remembered by many.


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Old Spice was night and day better. I think that’s why Williams gets a bum rap. We had something taken from us.

I never had trouble getting a lather out of Williams. It just wasn’t as rich and creamy.

Discovering scents in other soaps makes the loss of Old Spice palatable.


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I've bought exactly one puck of Williams in my life so far. It was more an experiment than anything. Scent was borderline. Lathering was a bit of a chore. I think I ended up super-lathering with shaving cream, but eventually finished the Williams. There are so many better choices out there, I don't expect to use it again.
 
I was more of a Colgate guy back in the day, but I keep Williams around and have used it more frequently lately. I don't have any more trouble lathering it than I do Tabac or Pre de Provence or VDH or my last remaining puck of C&E's Nomad; it lathers easier for me that Stirling's soaps. I lather it in a bowl after loading it in my Williams Bicentennial pewter mug.
 
I love the fresh clean scent of William’s and really wanted to make it work, but never could. I went to their website to see if they had any suggestions. The only suggestion was “Don’t spare the hot water!”. I thought well, lets take that to the extreme, then dial back as I experiment. I soaked my boar brush in the mug on top of the soap while I showered. Removed brush to dump water, put soaking wet brush back in mug, and somewhat slowly worked brush for about a minute. Resulted in a nice wet, yet creamy, lather that did not dissipate and was slicker than any soap I have tried. It’s my go to now when using a straight razor.
 
It's an OK soap. Perfectly usable. Would not be my first choice, but I do have a few pucks here... I've always wondered why people say they have trouble lathering the soap, because even with my hard water I manage to create a fine Williams lather in 60 seconds. You know... in a mug.
 

Ad Astra

The Instigator
Ambassador
It works, but will take a minute longer of work since the bean-counters reformulated it ... "Gramps will never notice! Besides, he'll die any day now. I don't even know why we make this stuff. We should be focusing on soy beard wax!"

Ironically, they probably didn't even do the reformulation that well, since there are similar $1 soaps (Arko) that explode into lather with less time and work.

That said, an American icon. In my rotation. But I can get lather out of a rock.

AA
 
Sometimes I think negative feelings towards modern Williams is tied to the shavers age. If I was 35 and had mostly used canned goo and carts, then some kind soul or an online forum like B&B taught me about hard soap and brushes and the proper way to lather Williams I’d think Willams was pretty sweet, especially a buck a puck.

If I was older and had started shaving back when Old Spice and what we now call vintage Willams and Colgate was cheap and on the shelf of every store a person may tend to view reformulated Williams as being a poor substitute.

I fall in the second group. As a teen and young adult I primarily shaved with Colgate and Williams. Old Spice in a mug was a luxury that came along once or twice over the years at Christmas. I never gave Williams any thought, I just used it, for decades. Then the formula changed. I can get a serviceable lather from it, but in my eyes they ruined the soap of my youth for the sake of profit. When Williams cheapened their soap many men like myself had to turn to what was available locally, and that was mostly canned goo. Those of you that are younger imagine for a moment having used your current favorite shaving soap for years, then being forced to use canned goo because it’s all you could get. Remember, internet shopping wasn’t fully operating yet. Yeah, it was a bitter moment.

So, I will always have sweet memories of Williams. It’s what my father taught me to shave with. Sure, I can get a serviceable lather from modern Williams but you will never find it in my house.
 

lancre

Contributor
I'm in my 70s, but didn't start using a brush until 2016, with modern WMS. I tossed it into an old margarine container, let it soak while I showered, and matched @RhoCurly's experience (after he got the hot water tip from Williams). Now I toss it into a Marvy mug, but the performance is the same. I've used it more than any other soap. Unlike a lot of the other posters here, it was the soap that I learned on. As a result, all of my lathering technique was based on WMS. Today, I find it easier to lather WMS than any cream.

Since I'm not a scent-hound, the lack of scent in WMS isn't a negative, and being able to get 60-120 daily 3 pass shaves out of a $0.99 puck us definitely a positive.
 

Steve56

Ask me about shaving naked!
I tried a puck for $0.99. IMO, it’s just not worth it. It's the only soap that Arko smells better than, and Arko lathers pretty darn well. They’re both about the same price.

Keep in mind that modern Williams is not the same soap that our fathers and grandfathers used, nor is it the same company. It’s an entirely different soap and different company. The box looks about the same though.

If any modern artisan soap maker made modern Williams, they’d go bust in a week.

The vintage stuff is quite a decent soap, but not exceptional.
 

BigJ

Ambassador
The vintage Williams held its own against vintage Old Spice — at least in tallowy goodness, if not scent. The new Williams makes a serviceable bath soap when you run out of Ivory.
+1! Vintage OS was great!! :a29:

I also prefer vintage Williams to the current product, but YMMV for sure.
 
...If I was older and had started shaving back when Old Spice and what we now call vintage Willams and Colgate was cheap and on the shelf of every store a person may tend to view reformulated Williams as being a poor substitute.

I fall in the second group... Old Spice in a mug was a luxury that came along once or twice over the years at Christmas.
Started a twice per week mowing the stragglers in '69. Always have used a mug. Didn't notice any change whenever it happened and still use Williams. Probably just barrelled through it since there wasn't much else except Colgate. How does that go, ignorance is bliss?

Love the Old Spice for Christmas comment.

 
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Totally agree with you, only replace Williams with Arko. Oh, and super easy to build a lather.
If the smell is not to your liking, let it sit out until the industrial top notes dissipate and you’re left with an Ivory scented soap.
 
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