#1

Member
Los Angeles
Several days ago I started a thread titled “Tabula Rasa Here Today Gone Tomorrow”.  In addition Robini started a thread titled “Soap Collection by Percentage”.

Starting with Soap Collection by Percentage.  I thought it was a brilliant idea.  However, I was disappointed that it only received 16 replies.  I would have liked to have seen at least double that number because it gave some insight into how members are purchasing and assembling their soap collections.  I was surprised to see that the only other member who had a large collection of manufactures other than me was 13.  As of today I have 101 soaps and creams consisting of 46 different manufactures.  There are only 9 manufactures where I own more than 3 or more of their soaps.  The rest consist 2 or 1 each.  My method is to purchase as many 1s so as to be able to sample as many variations as I can.  In my reply #14 of Soap Collection by Percentage I stated “there are several bands which I own that only make one product such as Mitchels Wool Fat, Dr. Dittmar, I Coloniali (gone but not forgotten), Bath House Spanish Fig, Alvarez Gomez Baberia and Tabac to name a few”.

This leads mr into my thread of  Tabula Rasa Here Today Gone Tomorrow.  I purchase several soaps that I already have as backups because I rather not be without them when the are completely used, discontinued or no longer available.

I started out mentioning Tabula Rasa which was a very popular soap several years ago.  There is only one mail order house that stocks it so, I stocked up on it especially Steampunk.  It is obviously not selling like it used to and I can’t blame retailers for not stocking it any longer.  It was not an inexpensive soap.  When I found out that I Coloniali was being discontinued I purchased several refills.  Dr. Selby is made in Uruguay and you can’t find it any longer so I purchased several tubes.  Another soap I consider to be in my top 10 is Institut Karité currently there is only 1 mail order house that stocks it so I purchased more.  And the one which goes without saying is XPEC only 1 retailer has it in stock so I now have a back up.

So, what I am attempting to say I like experimenting with several manufactures and stock up on soaps that I believe will no longer be available.  I do however purchase several soaps from manufactures who produce many soaps with different formulas such as Tcheon Fung Sing, Catie’s Bubbles, Barrister & Mann and Van Yulay, etc.  

It would be interesting to find out the theory of buying habits of other members as they assemble their soap and cream inventories.  Do you purchase soaps as back ups so you will always have them?  Are you interested in accumulating all soaps from specific manufactures?  If you feel you have more than enough soaps what will make you purchase more?  What do you rely on, manufactures hype, reviews, suggestions from acquaintances, etc?  Any other criteria would be helpful.

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#2

Member
Virginia, USA
(This post was last modified: 04-30-2019, 09:25 PM by HighSpeed.)
Everyone needs principles to live by, whether they realize it or not.  When it comes to buying soaps, I have two inviolable rules:

  1. I buy too much.
  2. I buy too often.
However, to maintain a sense of balance, I do intersperse other activities between purchases, such as watching moralistic videos like this one ...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aLuyLU10398

My serious advice:
  • Watch your budgets amigos.
  • Maintain a level of change control consistent with your skill levels.
  • Never forget that you don't need to know who is buying how much of what from whom to figure out what is right for you.  Your skin will tell you everything you need to know.

Happy shaves amigos.


Tidepool: It may not be obvious, but no offense is intended. I am reminded of Garfield the cat, who quipped "Hay, I resemble that remark." Well, I resemble, or have resembled, a lot of the worst that might come up in a thread like this, and I only wanted to insert some sobering ideas in a way that might get enough attention to be effective. ... Happy shaves! Thank you for starting this thread.

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Be Cool, be Kind, and be Well
--  Mike  --


The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our razors, but in our technique.
#3
I've only been DE shaving since January but I've developed some thoughts on how I want to purchase soaps and why. I'm not a big scent guy. I don't want to retch when I smell a soap but neither do I fall in love with a scent and got to have it. As long as it's pleasant I'm OK with it. I've found that I very rarely even notice the scent once I start shaving. For that reason, I don't need to accumulate a lot of different scents from a maker. I buy mostly on base performance. I've based my most recent purchases of full tubs on the samples I tried or what I've read on the forums and reviews. After saying I'm not big on scents, I have to contradict myself. I just ordered the Barrister&Man collaboration with WCS, Baudelaire. Ruds described it as smelling like depravity. I had to try that to see if it lines up with my memories.

I like to shave with the same soap for a week. Then I switch off.

This is currently what I have based on memory:

WSP - 2 One Formula T and one Rustic. These were the first shaving soaps I bought over a year before switching to a DE razor. I like the operation and he does a wonderful job with the scents. Not overpowering. I'll probably add one more, Olympus.

Barrister & Man - 2 Reserve bases plus 1 Excelsior on the way from WCS.

Wholy Kaw - 2 Donkey Milk

GD - 2 A Janus Vegan and a Lusso base

Noble Otter - 2

Siliski 2 I liked what I read about the maker and took a flyer on these. Not bad

Murphy & Mcneil - 2

Fitjar Islands - 1 Slatteroy I liked the idea of ordering something from a small place in Norway. Great smell. Good balm also. Maybe the only soap I have that I would buy again based on smell alone.


I'm putting together a Christmas list already. I'm not sure who will be on that list but probably Tallow and Steel and Lisa's Natural Herbal Creations. May look to add an SV soap with their new 4.3 base.

That would probably do it for me. A nice representative sample of artisan soaps in mostly top performing bases.

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#4

Member
Virginia, USA
(05-02-2019, 10:42 PM)Southernman Wrote: I've only been DE shaving since January but I've developed some thoughts on how I want to purchase soaps and why. I'm not a big scent guy. I don't want to retch when I smell a soap but neither do I fall in love with a scent and got to have it. As long as it's pleasant I'm OK with it. I've found that I very rarely even notice the scent once I start shaving. For that reason, I don't need to accumulate a lot of different scents from a maker. I buy mostly on base performance. I've based my most recent purchases of full tubs on the samples I tried or what I've read on the forums and reviews. After saying I'm not big on scents, I have to contradict myself. I just ordered the Barrister&Man collaboration with WCS, Baudelaire. Ruds described it as smelling like depravity. I had to try that to see if it lines up with my memories.

I like to shave with the same soap for a week. Then I switch off.

This is currently what I have based on memory:

WSP - 2 One Formula T and one Rustic. These were the first shaving soaps I bought over a year before switching to a DE razor. I like the operation and he does a wonderful job with the scents. Not overpowering. I'll probably add one more, Olympus.

Barrister & Man - 2 Reserve bases plus 1 Excelsior on the way from WCS.

Wholy Kaw - 2 Donkey Milk

GD - 2 A Janus Vegan and a Lusso base

Noble Otter - 2

Siliski 2 I liked what I read about the maker and took a flyer on these. Not bad

Murphy & Mcneil - 2

Fitjar Islands - 1 Slatteroy I liked the idea of ordering something from a small place in Norway. Great smell. Good balm also. Maybe the only soap I have that I would buy again based on smell alone.


I'm putting together a Christmas list already. I'm not sure who will be on that list but probably Tallow and Steel and Lisa's Natural Herbal Creations. May look to add an SV soap with their new 4.3 base.

That would probably do it for me. A nice representative sample of artisan soaps in mostly top performing bases.

IMO you have several fine soaps already, and the three soaps on your Christmas list are excellent soap bases too.  I also think it's good that you stick with a soap for a week at a time. One thing: You may find that for some time to come, fewer soap bases will work better for you than more soap bases, and so will slowly rotating other items in your kit (brush, razor, blade). It is not that uncommon for people to stick with one soap, razor, etc. for a month or more. Good luck regardless, and

Happy shaves.

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Be Cool, be Kind, and be Well
--  Mike  --


The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our razors, but in our technique.
#5

Member
San Jose, California
Rather than making a generic statement about my 74 soaps, I will explain my last 5 purchases:

1. MdC Original - I had a sample back in 2016/17 and I loved it. So bought it for my birthday. Love the simple yet elegant scent. My wife loves it too. I don't mind MdC base.

2. Storybook West Egg - scent description sounded good, plus another soapmaker explained how Storybook base is very good at not colluding with soap scents. Also, it is an exclusive from the subreddit I frequent. So I bought it. Really like it.

3.  B&M Beaudelaire - I did not like the scent back in 2016. But since then my nose has evolved a lot, I also enjoyed Vespers (another B&M soap that has Mousse de Saxe) and usually love fougeres. Wonderful scent - love it.

4. APR Fenchurch - this scent was universally praised by folks whose opinion I value. Also I love a good pipe tobacco-ish scent. Heard great things about the base as well - so bought it. Absolutely love it.

5. Bufflehead Elephant Walk - I used bufflehead fletcher before, while I loved the performance it burned my face. The scent description wasn't anything to die for, but seemed okay. Also, Maggard was selling it - so bought it.


So basically, now that I have so many stuff I am fairly selective regarding my purchases. Soap has to offer a unique and enjoyable experience for me. 90% of the soaps in the market is more than adequate for me, so I buy primarily for scents (yes I know scents don't last, but I eat food for 30 mins only too, I still care about the taste). Every once in a while, I will buy a soap or two for the base - if it is praised highly by people I trust - e.g. Grooming Dept, Wholly Kaw Bufala (yet to buy one). I also buy samples a lot.

Finally, apart from Art of Shaving Sandalwood tallow, I have sold all of my backups - too many good stuff out there to have backups.

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Sourav
#6
(This post was last modified: 05-03-2019, 12:06 AM by Drifter.)
I’ve been wet shaving for a decade. Soaps are my huckleberry(s).

I’ve always read reviews on soaps on forums to get an idea as to what’s out there and what’s good vs ok. Ten years ago I needed to read as much as possible to know anything about soaps. But at the end of the day, ten years ago, scent and price dictated what I bought. And I bought so much, I went on a hiatus until about a year or so ago.

Yup.

Now my priorities are scent and how it makes my face feel after prolonged use. Mostly feel. Soaps last forever, I don’t view expensive the way I used to. I still read forum reviews to get an idea as to what’s going on out there, but I’m vetting a lot of the classics too. AdP, ABC, MdC. Etc., etc.

I like variety. So I try to spread the love between makers, but I’m limiting myself to ten soaps/creams at any given time. I piff something if I go over. Ten is an arbitrary number.

Oh and if I knew how to store soaps so they didn’t lose any scent - I’d stock up. But I don’t know how to hoard knowing the soaps will keep thier flavor.

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#7
My habit has changed dramatically in the past month as I have stepped back and done a personal assessment of this and have decided that once I eliminate fragrance and any post shave feel out of the equation that old standby soaps such as Palmolive, Arko, Speick & Valobra shave just as well and I am tired of putting some artisan's kids through college. Confused Sure, I may buy one or two artisan soaps on a whim down the road, but any big splurges are over. I am stepping back from the Kool-Aid.

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“...As I use a Rim Fire Winchester Rifle, I would like to have one of your .44 pistols that would fire the same cartridge, as carrying two sizes of or kinds of cartridges in this Indian country is a nonsense.”


George D. Merriam letter to Smith & Wesson 9 June 1873.
#8
(05-03-2019, 03:27 AM)BPman Wrote: My habit has changed dramatically in the past month as I have stepped back and done a personal assessment of this and have decided that once I eliminate fragrance and any post shave feel out of the equation that old standby soaps such as Palmolive, Arko, Speick & Valobra shave just as well and I am tired of putting some artisan's kids through college.  Confused  Sure, I may buy one or two artisan soaps on a whim down the road, but any big splurges are over. I am stepping back from the Kool-Aid.
I just don’t see it that way anymore. I used too, but not anymore. Even if you couldn’t care less about ingredients and don’t believe in the artisans quality vs mass made stuff, it still pretty darn cheap!

Let’s go with Wholly Kaw who’s pretty darn expensive - say $25.00. Well, I know I can get at least 100 shaves out of a tub making each shave $0.25. That’s pretty reasonable if you ask me. The toilet paper I use in a day costs more! Of course there’s a ton of great artisan soaps under $25.00.

Anyway, outside of the cost per shave, and anything else, I also get enormous pleasure from fragrance. That’s worth an extra 5 cents a shave for me. YMMV and does of course.

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#9

Vintage Shaver
Seattle, WA
I rarely buy any soaps these days, just the occasional one that I want to try out of curiosity and almost always end up reselling after a few uses. I have enough soaps and creams (both groups nearly all vintage) for a full 28-day rotation, with 29 stored backups, enough probably to last the rest of my shaving lifetime. They are all favorites, which I determined by lots of trial and error over the years, and don't feel any need to search out others now, especially new artisan ones.

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John
#10
During my first 4 years at this hobby I was buying whatever I read about that sounded good. I started with creams and accumulated a good amount. Then found soaps and started buying them. And I've been receiving samples with some of those soaps and have also bought samples of stuff I wanted to try out. I've now become quite selective as to what and how I buy going forward. First, I have way too many creams and soaps such that it is no longer easy to pick what I want to use for each shave. So, I've stopped buying and am trying to use up some of the samples I have. Of the 50 or so different scents I have, there are only a handful that I truly crave to use. My criteria for what I like involves a combination of performance during the shave (needs to offer good slickness and cushion), post shave feel and scent. All three are equally important to me. Obviously I want my shave to result in a comfortable and moisturized face afterwards. But the scent is equally moving for me. I've found that scent is the thing that will end up cutting my soap collection down long term. Also, as far as buying new soaps is concerned, I'm no longer as willing to just buy a full tub without having tried a sample first. My current favorites that seem to cover all the bases are Stirling Barbershop, WCS Gatsby No. 1, Moon Soaps Old School and a combination of two popular soaps, MWF and Haslinger Schafmilch. I call that one The Fat 'As. I have to say, I think The Fat 'As is the best performer of them all. I do have some soaps on my list to try that get good reviews from people. They are Barrister & Mann Seville, Noble Otter BarrBarr and Mike's Natural Barbershop. I'm sure as I read about other soaps some will get added. But I'll be trying samples first. At this point I now have 14 tubs of soap, 23 creams and 15 samples (mostly soaps but one cream). I'd like to get the sample count down. At some point I may start selling some of the stuff that sits or has disappointed me. I have to keep in mind that I have a 16 year old who has told me there is no comparison between shaving with a cartridge razor and a double edge. But he insists on using only one cream for some reason. TOBS Almond. I'll hold an open tub of something in front of his nose to get a reaction but he's fairly scent sensitive as well, but to an extreme so he hasn't asked to use any of them. But he knows they are there for him anytime he wants them. Anyway, that's my approach at the moment. It may change as much of life does.

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