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#1

Super Moderator
San Diego, Cal., USA
When I started wet shaving about 10 years ago, I didn't know much about the products I was using and certainly nothing about artisan shaving soap makers. In fact, my first shaving soap and shaving cream were both Caswell-Massey and both were, to be kind about it, awful.  (There might be children watching otherwise I'd tell you what I really think of them. Wink ) The first artisan soap I tried was Mama Bear, which irritated my skin, followed by The Shave Den's products which just didn't work for me.  Then came the revelation of some of the better mainline and artisan products like Taylor of Old Bond Street and Geo. F. Trumper (mainline) and Prairie Creations and Ginger's Garden (artisan) and there has been no looking back.  Artisans like Barrister & Mann, Mickey Lee's Soapworks, Dapper Dragon, Mike's Naturals, and others have truly upped the ante for incredible shaving soaps.  So much so that with the exception of I Coloniali Mango Shaving Cream, which is really a soap, I rarely look at mainline soaps anymore.  Creams, however, are a different story for me.  Artisan creams seem to be fewer than mainline and some of the mainline creams, from inexpensive to high end, are superb for both performance and scent.  Creams like TOBS Grapefruit, I Coloniali Rhubarb, MEM from Israel, and so many others make lathering up almost foolproof.  Because of this I generally, though not always, look to mainline products for my shaving creams and artisans for my soaps.

Is there anyone else who has been wet shaving as long as I have, or longer, found that their buying habits of soaps and creams have changed over the years or have they remained pretty static?
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#2

Maker of Soaps and Shaver of Men
Cooperstown, NY, USA
(06-12-2015, 07:50 PM)Freddy Wrote: When I started wet shaving about 10 years ago, I didn't know much about the products I was using and certainly nothing about artisan shaving soap makers. In fact, my first shaving soap and shaving cream were both Caswell-Massey and both were, to be kind about it, awful.  (There might be children watching otherwise I'd tell you what I really think of them. Wink ) The first artisan soap I tried was Mama Bear, which irritated my skin, followed by The Shave Den's products which just didn't work for me.  Then came the revelation of some of the better mainline and artisan products like Taylor of Old Bond Street and Geo. F. Trumper (mainline) and Prairie Creations and Ginger's Garden (artisan) and there has been no looking back.  Artisans like Barrister & Mann, Mickey Lee's Soapworks, Dapper Dragon, Mike's Naturals, and others have truly upped the ante for incredible shaving soaps.  So much so that with the exception of I Coloniali Mango Shaving Cream, which is really a soap, I rarely look at mainline soaps anymore.  Creams, however, are a different story for me.  Artisan creams seem to be fewer than mainline and some of the mainline creams, from inexpensive to high end, are superb for both performance and scent.  Creams like TOBS Grapefruit, I Coloniali Rhubarb, MEM from Israel, and so many others make lathering up almost foolproof.  Because of this I generally, though not always, look to mainline products for my shaving creams and artisans for my soaps.

Is there anyone else who has been wet shaving as long as I have, or longer, found that their buying habits of soaps and creams have changed over the years or have they remained pretty static?

I haven't been wet shaving for as long as you have (started in February 2012), but I've gotten to the point that it takes a lot to get my attention. I just don't buy that much product anymore, both because I have LOTS of it (and am trying to get rid of it) and because my overall take is that, once you really use top-tier products that work for you, the differences between their performance will be minimal. I can MAKE any scent that I'm particularly looking for and cannot find, so it's generally a matter of some artisan doing something really fascinating.

For instance, my most recent purchase was a tin of Bufflehead soap. I was intrigued both by its replacement of coconut oil with palm kernel oil (something with which I'd like to experiment a bit myself) and its use of duck fat, which is unique among shaving soaps. It's extremely good stuff, if a little finicky, but that's the only soap or cream I've bought in the last............oh, maybe 7 months now? Aftershaves are a totally different story, though; my skin is so sensitive that I'm constantly researching new aftershaves and ingredients in pursuit of the perfect formula for my skin. I'm getting close.
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#3

Administrator
Philadelphia, PA
I think people like the smaller artisan products more for several reasons. I believe there's more variety and the prices tend to be a lot cheaper. for example, a typical tub of GFT will run you $25-$30, whereas a comparable soap/cream from a smaller artisan will run you $10-$15. also, I think people like the fact that a lot of the smaller artisan shops out there are very active within the community. You don't see GFT or TOBS really interacting with their client base on facebook or in forums.
Tu ne cede malis, sed contra audentior ito.
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#4
I agree, the closer the vendor is to the user, the more likely people are to move to them.  When I started out, I stuck only with the older soap makers, but most are set and stick to the tried and true.  I recently opened up my soap hopper and I don't have a single vendor over 4 years old and I'm more than fine with that.
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#5

Administrator
Philadelphia, PA
(06-13-2015, 02:12 PM)Hardtop01 Wrote: I agree, the closer the vendor is to the user, the more likely people are to move to them.  When I started out, I stuck only with the older soap makers, but most are set and stick to the tried and true.  I recently opened up my soap hopper and I don't have a single vendor over 4 years old and I'm more than fine with that.

the only reason I have any larger brand creams is because there aren't many artisans that make a shaving cream right now. creams load a lot easier for me with how hard my water is.
Tu ne cede malis, sed contra audentior ito.
#6
Interesting topic Freddy. I also have not been wet shaving as long as you, but just started my seventh year. Like Will it takes a lot to get my attention.

I Split my soap usage probably 50/50 between artisans and the old chestnuts. Last week was typical with one day each of MWF, Palmolive, Dr. Jon's Hydra, Cella, Reef Point sublime, RazoRock Don Marco and Dr. Harris Arlington.

For a long time, I would find a soap that I particularly liked and use it as my primary lather tool for a long time. Tabac, MWF, Mike's Natural, RazoRock Zi Peppino,, Arko, Palmolive and Soap Commander have all seen seasons where they were the "go to" soap. I'm more likely to do this in the winter when I'm looking for good moisturizing qualities.

Sometimes I'll enjoy periods of shave cream useage, particularly Indian and Bulgarian creams which have unique scents and perform wonderfully.

I've read some old threads dating back to the start of shave forums and realize what a challenge it was simply to find product in the U.S. and yet a few years later when I started there were a lot ot choices. Today I"m amazed at how many wonderful products that are available - particularly with the artisan movement.
Bob: 

Good Lather = More product + More Water + More Time lathering
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#7
(This post was last modified: 07-03-2015, 05:38 AM by stroppinglad.)
(06-12-2015, 07:50 PM)Freddy Wrote: When I started wet shaving about 10 years ago, I didn't know much about the products I was using and certainly nothing about artisan shaving soap makers. In fact, my first shaving soap and shaving cream were both Caswell-Massey and both were, to be kind about it, awful.  (There might be children watching otherwise I'd tell you what I really think of them. Wink ) The first artisan soap I tried was Mama Bear, which irritated my skin, followed by The Shave Den's products which just didn't work for me.  Then came the revelation of some of the better mainline and artisan products like Taylor of Old Bond Street and Geo. F. Trumper (mainline) and Prairie Creations and Ginger's Garden (artisan) and there has been no looking back.  Artisans like Barrister & Mann, Mickey Lee's Soapworks, Dapper Dragon, Mike's Naturals, and others have truly upped the ante for incredible shaving soaps.  So much so that with the exception of I Coloniali Mango Shaving Cream, which is really a soap, I rarely look at mainline soaps anymore.  Creams, however, are a different story for me.  Artisan creams seem to be fewer than mainline and some of the mainline creams, from inexpensive to high end, are superb for both performance and scent.  Creams like TOBS Grapefruit, I Coloniali Rhubarb, MEM from Israel, and so many others make lathering up almost foolproof.  Because of this I generally, though not always, look to mainline products for my shaving creams and artisans for my soaps.

Is there anyone else who has been wet shaving as long as I have, or longer, found that their buying habits of soaps and creams have changed over the years or have they remained pretty static?

My experience is similar. When I started shaving with a DE about twenty years ago, the exotic soaps were Trumper, TOBS, and DR Harris, pretty much, and even Proraso was exotic. There were few if any artisans. Yesterday I was at Pasteur, a pharmacy here in New York that is like the world's greatest toy store for shaving nerds such as myself. Artisan products claim far more shelf space than the mainline brands. And I find that I am drawn to the artisans over the big boys. I love the idea of supporting small businesspeople. And the products are excellent. I have not tried an artisan soap that I disliked. I have preferences, but it's remarkable how so many artisans are making so many great soaps, aftershaves, etc. There will always be room in my shave den for Proraso, Tabac, Palmolive but the things the artisans are doing place them ahead of the old guard for my money.
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