5 Shaving Soaps That Shaving Cream Guys Should Try

Leisureguy recently wrote a post titled “5 Shaving Creams That Shaving Soap Guys Should Try.”  I thought I would turn that around and suggest 5 shaving soaps that shaving cream aficionados should try.  I based these suggestions on how easy they are to lather (even in hard water), performance, and I tried to cross scent and price ranges so there’s something for everyone.  These aren’t the only choices of course but they should give you great results.

1. Arko

Arko shave soap’s scent tend to get a “love it or hate it” reaction but for its ridiculously low price and wide availability (Arko on Amazon) it is worth a try.  It is usually sold as a shave stick, where you rub it on your wet face then use a brush to build lather, but it can also be found in a tub as well.

2. Shaveplace/Emsplace

I think Shaveplace (Emsplace) soaps are a forgotten treasure.  Emily doesn’t promote or  advertise herself much so most of her business comes from word-of-mouth recommendations and repeat business.  She’s sometimes overlooked in the shaving forums but she’s a well-established vendor (in the business going on 15 years) with a great reputation.  Her glycerin-based shave soap pucks have a variety of (mostly “outdoorsy”) scents, are fairly priced, lather easily and generously, and perform as well or better than many more expensive products.

3. Strop Shoppe “Special Edition” (Tallow)

Strop Shoppe’s Special Edition line have tallow and non-tallow versions in shaving soaps in a number of different, interesting scents.  The non-tallow versions are still very good but the tallow versions are exceptionally conditioning and moisturizing to the skin.  Prices are a bit on the high side but in-line with other quality tallow shaving soap.  They also offer samples in some cases.

4. RazoRock

RazoRock is another artisan shaving soap that deserves a look from “cream guys.”  I find their “La Famiglia” line of hard shaving soaps in particular to be excellent performers with easy, generous lathers.  And the price-point isn’t too bad either.  Their new “King of the Castle” line looks very promising too, at an exceptional price-point.

5. DR Harris

Finally, a traditional, established name in the wet shaving world, DR Harris.  Classic scents (Arlington is a personal favorite of mine), luxurious lather, and outstanding performance are hallmarks of DR Harris.  Just make sure you select one of the tallow-based soaps and not the “Naturals” line.  Unfortunately DR Harris soaps tend to be pricey but you can reduce your cost by selecting a refill puck or a shave stick.


Honorable Mentions

I very recently tried some of Mikes Natural Soaps and the Barrister & Mann line and found them both excellent.  More coming after I have had a chance to use them for a while longer.

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  1. says

    Mike’s Natural is good for me, too, once I figured out how much water it requires: more than I expected. Add water as you load the brush and work up the lather.

    +1 on the ShavePlace.com soaps from Em. Really good. And her shaving cream isn’t bad, either.

  2. Martin says

    The Mike’s really changed my view on hard soaps, and I now have four of his tins!

    Love the scents and the moisturizing effects of the soap.

    Essence of Scotland should also have a mention, try it, it’s really nice!

  3. Darren says

    Is Arko gentle on skin? My skin isn’t overly sensitive but I have found from past experiences with shave sticks like Palmolive and Erasmic, that they tend to cause me some irritation when compared to applying a lather built from a puck or tube of cream.

  4. Palladio says

    Nice suggestions, though I am not overwhelmed by the quality of RazoRock sandalwood. I am overjoyed by Proraso sandalwood, simply luxurious and odiferous! I would put it in my top five in a heartbeat.

  5. Midwest Blade says

    Mileage will vary on this one but IMHO, the soaps from Haslinger give me a cream like lather with ease and deserves a consideration when talking about the “best shave soaps”.

    • says

      I concur wholeheartedly on this assesment. I just received a couple of pucks from an Austrian buddy of mine and couldn’t be more pleased with the ease of lather and fresh soapy scents. It reminds me of Mike’s Natural Soaps in that regard.

  6. says

    At first I was surprised not to see “the fat” up there, then I put two and two together… not the easiest latherer, hence not a good introductory soap… Tabac however……

  7. says

    A great list with some worthy software suggestions. In line with the Shaveplace recommendation, I think very highly of the Mama Bear’s Soaps, which are also glycerine based and easy to lather. They have some amazing scents such as Ye Olde Barbershoppe (which I used this morning) and Bear Ice (a chilly mentholated offering). Very reasonably priced and a high quality product!

  8. scott schmitz says

    Love the list. I just tried two (new to me) soaps. Eshave mandarin and a soap called I Coloniali. Both are fantastic. Eshave is a bit of work to build but is amazing once it get there. The I Coloniali is easy and gave me possibly the slickest, closest shave I ever had. In one pass I was were I normally am at with two passes

  9. todd says

    I’d rank Palmolive stick above Arko for price and performance, plus it doesn’t smell like a urinal puck (a common complaint about Arko).

  10. Clean Face says

    Great list however, Al’s Shaving Sapone da Barba should be added to the top of the list. This product has excellent performance, leaves my skin soft and conditioned. The scent transforms during the shave into a very delightful luxurious scent.

  11. Tero says

    For a cream like lather, one needs to go French. Martin de Candre, L’occitane, etc. There is no going back to the British stuff after these…

  12. SoapMonster says

    Hmm, have you guys ever found a poor performing soap?

    Or, are we just talking about different grades of satisfactory to superb?

    • mantic59 says

      Oh yes, there are shaving soaps (and creams) that do not perform well. For example, Burts Bees had a shaving soap that was terrible (luckily they stopped making it). Herbal Cowboy’s shaving soap gets very few positive comments. Trumper’s Eucris could certainly stand improvement. Some people have trouble with Col. Conk soaps. DR Harris’ “Naturals” shaving soap line is a disappointment for many. I need to do a seperate post about this I think. :)

      • Bearded Dragon says

        My technique is still lackluster, to be complimentary to myself, and I’m the kind of guy who will just ‘tough it out’ for the most part. That said, as a neophyte wetshaver striving for gradual gains, I must sit tall in the saddle for Herban Cowboy.

        The company sounded like a darling of the eco-friendly community, earning interest and praise from me on the basis of its philosophy and ingredient choices, so it was the first soap I tried.

        Crappy lather, yes, and I can’t get it to bulk up very much even with my admittedly ersatz attempts at your Uber-lather — if I’m making the right distinction between the Super and the Uber. I specifically picked up a bottle of glycerin at the time of my Herban Cowboy purchase, anticipating the need to tweak and experiment based on the mostly unfavorable opinions about it which you mention.

        I’m very much still pedaling around with training wheels. I’m using my Van DerHagen boar brush which I fortuitously scored in a pinch at my local Rite-Aid. Clutch performance from a roughneck, remember. You should know that I was first looking to find the bushiest makeup brush available on that fateful Rite-Aid visit, only mildly expectant that I’d locate a shaving set in a wasteland of disposables, cartridges and ‘pressurized goo’.

        Anyway, I get agitated by my lathering results in general, so I’m not overly distraught about the runniness and quick disappearing act of Herban Cowboy’s negligible yield. I’ll make a miracle happen yet. The biggest defense I have to offer is for its scent. Some bozo’s ‘review’ on Amazon, if memory serves me, derided HC for it smelling like feet. Pause for effect. “My face should never smell like feet. Ever” was his statement, verbatim I believe. He must either have deficient olfactory nerves, or he’s led a privileged existence and only encountered the absolute best-smelling feet on the planet.

        Herban Cowboy’s shaving soap, given the name ‘Dusk’, is fantastically fragranced. I’m no better a perfumer than I am a latherer, so I’ll term it ‘masculine’ minus machismo. Sweetly outdoorsy without being one of those ‘pretty boy’ scents which have pervaded the market as part of the attempted emasculation of modern men.

        Herban Cowboy’s shave soap needs some critical attention, but I wouldn’t throw it out with the proverbial bathwater. A saponification expert should be able to bring Herban Cowboy’s ‘Dusk’ out of the shaving shadows and allow it to shine. Based on scent alone, this soap is worth ‘saving for shaving’, and as a brush monkey, I can still get an acceptable shave out of it.

  13. JJP says

    Martin de Candre, MWF, and Cella, should be added. All are excellent and Cella is ideal for folks that are used to creams.

  14. says

    I got the Arko Shaving Stick as well and I’m not to fond about the scent and their are better shaving soap sticks available like the Wilkinson Sword Shaving Soap Stick, La Toja Shaving Soap Stick and ofcourse the Palmolive Shaving Soap Stick.

    But one shaving soap that I really liked a lot is the France Monsavon Shaving Soap, it got a great lavendel scent and the performance is great as well. In France it can be get for less then € 1,50

  15. says

    I will definitely try Arko, I need one that is easy to use or transport and everything, this one seems the best for it. And of course, it is cheap.

  16. Hector says

    Thanks for taking the time putting this list and reviews together. As a loyal user of Castle Forbes products, this list will assist me in branching out to the world of soaps.

    I’m a simpleton when it come to products, once I find what I like, I stick with it. So I will be getting a few of these products and see which one earns the right to be displayed on my bathroom counter top, and more important, my face!

  17. says

    Love the list, the strop shoppe is definitely a soap that has a great lather and a great cushion as well, I think the best lather soap I’ve tried is elvado! This soap is a lather beast and also a thirst soap as well, but the more water you add the better the lather and it keeps it’s consistency as well, I’m a huge fan of elvado and it’s also bio-vegan, I think soapcommander is a great soap as well, the container it’s packaged in leaves enough room for a great lather to rest in the container, I’ve tried a couple of very nice soaps that lather nicely and are thirsty, thirsty is not bad it just means more experience and a great learning experience! It’s all about having fun with your shaving products right fellas!

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