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12 Wet Shaving Bargains You Can Buy Today

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Most wet shaving aficionados are all about the luxury experience.  Most don’t mind paying more for products that give them what they want.  There’s also the supply and demand concept at work.  But that’s not to say you have to pay more for something that works great.  I have my own “bargain” favorites but I recently asked around the shave forums for some other recommendations and I tried a few products that cost wayyyyyy less than they should, based on their relative performance.

AliExpress (Yaqi), Amazon, and West Coast Shaving links are affiliate.

Bargain Creams And Soaps

There are actually several shave soaps and creams that have been around for a while and are well known as “bargains.”


Arko is probably one of the best known (if not the best known) “bargain” wet shaving product.  It’s just stupid-cheap…so cheap that it can be difficult to find a single stick for sale because shipping might cost more than the product (Maggard Razors is one of the few US vendors where you can get a single stick).  Amazon sells a two-pack for about five bucks (US).

Arko’s only real downside is its scent.  It’s been described as “urinal cake.”  Still, evaluating it strictly on its price/performance ratio, Arko is tough to beat.

Ingredients: Potassium Tallowate, Stearic Acid, Potassium Cocoate, Aqua, Sodium Palm Kernelate, Glycerin, Parfum, Paraffinum Liquidium, Cl 77891, Tetrasodium EDTA, Etidronic Acid, Disodium Distrylbiphenyl Disulfonate, Amyl Cinnamal, Citronellol, Geraniol, Hexyl Cinnamal, Linalool.

Palmolive Shave Stick

Palmolive Shave Stick, although available mainly in Europe, it can be found on Amazon US (for under US $3!).  It’s scent is relatively weak and has been described as generally “soapy” with some spice (though one reviewer termed it as licorice and pine).  For a trip down memory lane check out this review of the Palmolive shave stick on Sharpologist from a few years ago.

Ingredients: Potassium Hydrogenated Tallowate Sodium Tallowate Sodium Cocoate Aqua Glycerin Parfum Olea Europaea Elaeis Guineensis Tetrasodium EDTA Tetrasodium Etidronate BHT Butylphenyl Methylpropional Citronellol Coumarin Hydroxyisohexyl 3-Cyclohexene Carboxaldehyde Limonene Linalool CI 11680 CI 12490 CI 74260 CI 77891

Palmolive Shave Cream

Palmolive Shave Cream is in a similar vein, more widely available mainly in Europe but available in the US from online sources.  Although the most common version is the “Classic” formulation, there are a few variants (mentholated, sensitive skin, lemon-scented, etc.).  The scent has been described by some as similar to Irish Spring soap in the US: mild notes of mint and citrus.

Ingredients: Aqua Stearic Acid Glycerin Potassium Hydroxide Coconut Acid Cocos Nucifera Oil Sodium Hydroxide Parfum Potassium Chloride Sodium Silicate Cocos Nucifera Extract Hydroxyisohexyl 3-Cyclohexene Carboxaldehyde Limonene CI 15985 CI 42051 CI 45350 CI 47005

Stirling Shave Soaps

Stirling Soap Co. is a well-established artisan cranking out great products (like their new liquid body soap) at more-than-reasonable prices. In fact, they’ve earned themselves praise in the community for a wide selection of excellent shave soaps at a price point way below other artisans.  Vendors such as West Coast Shaving, Maggard Razors, and The Shave Shack of Texas stock them regularly.

Ingredient example (Unscented): Beef Tallow, Stearic Acid, Distilled Water, Castor Oil, Potassium Hydroxide, Vegetable Glycerin, Almond Oil, Shea Butter, Coconut Milk, Lanolin, Sodium Hydroxide, Sodium Lactate

Noble Otter

A fair chunk of the artisan crowd on the shave forums recommended Noble Otter, too.  Relatively new on the scene they have quickly made a name for themselves with shave soaps that “punch above their weight” given their price point.

Ingredient example (Unscented): Stearic Acid, Beef Tallow, Coconut Milk, Aloe Vera, Glycerin, Potassium Hydroxide, Castor Oil, Coconut Oil, Avocado Oil, Lanolin, Tucuma Seed Butter, Kokum Butter, Sodium Hydroxide, Bentonite Clay, Tocopheral Acetate, Citric Acid, Watermelon Extract, Whitewillow Bark Extract, Tussah Silk.

Italian Barber

Italian Barber’s reputation is to offer “high value” products, and some of their shave soaps are no exception.  There are some particular stand-out products in other categories, too.  Check out the other sections below.

Speick Classic Shave Cream

speick creamSpeick is a personal favorite “bargain” of mine.  Although they expanded the product line a couple years ago, the original shave cream is  somewhat spicy (peppery) and has always performed way above its price tag for me.  Widely available, too! Check out this review on Sharpologist from some years ago.

Ingredients: Aqua, Potassium Stearate, Potassium Palmitate, Potassium Cocoate. Glycerin, Sodium Stearate, Sodium Palmitate, Cera Flava, Sodium Cocoate, Cetyl Palmitate, Potassium Myristate, Sodium Myristate, Lavandula Angustifolia Oil, Valeriana Celtica Extract, Fragrance.

Bargain Shaving Brushes

Shaving brushes are the most expensive wet shaving item for some people to acquire, particularly if they’re are looking for high-end badger hair on handles made with exotic materials by back room artisans.  That’s not to say you can’t get a brush that performs great for a reasonable price though.  In fact, there are a few genuine “bargains” out there.

Razorock Blondie Boar Brush

I mentioned the Razorock Blondie brush in a recent Sharpologist article on the best shave brushes for your individual needs.  As I mentioned in that article, it can take a while for the brush to break in properly, but after some use it performs as well as brushes costing much more.

Yaqi Synthetic Brushes

Granted some shavers have issues with Yaqi‘s business practices.  But from the pure price vs. performance standpoint some of their synthetic shave brushes definitely classify as bargains!  Their “Tuxedo” and “Cashmere” brushes in particular perform far above their price (under US $20).  You can sometimes score a “factory second” brush well for under US $10.  If you are uncomfortable with ordering off AliExpress, West Coast Shaving carries some Yaqi brushes, too.

Maggard Badger Brush

This brush uses upgraded “two band” badger hair for a price that is significantly below its competition.

Bargain Razors

Razors are the “bread and butter” of wet shaving, so there is a wide variety of razors in all price ranges.  But there are a couple that deserve special mention for their price vs. performance value:

Razorock Game Changer

The Razorock Game Changer razor is a Stainless Steel razor that costs a fraction (half or better) of competing Stainless Steel razors.  It is also available with an alternate base plate for a different blade exposure.

Maggard V3 Razor Heads

Maggard Razors off several versions of their own well-built double edge razor head, for as low as US $3.95.  It uses a standard screw thread so you can add it to the handle of your choice if you already have one, or a handle from Maggard that runs under US $10.  So you have an all metal razor with the aggressiveness of your choice for under US $15.  Bargain!


I know it’s not really a priority with a lot of “old school” shavers but I think it can be a lot of fun to search around for products that work better than their price would indicate.

Do you have a “bargain” shave product?  Leave a comment here so others may benefit!




Shave tutor and co-founder of sharpologist. Also check out my content on Youtube, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest!View Author posts

18 thoughts on “12 Wet Shaving Bargains You Can Buy Today”

  1. Hi Mark

    Thanks for these insights.
    I’m new to DE shaving. After about 20 years of very expensive cartridge shaving.

    Starting out with a Rex Envoy and very much enjoying it, though it took a few weeks to get the knack of it.

    I was wondering if you might elaborate on the questionable business practices at Yaqi?


  2. Great article. I bought the Arko in the box. Came out to about a buck a stick. Cella is available on a 1 kilo brick, as well as smaller tubs. The brick can be found on Amazon for about 35 bucks. I love the mild marzipan scent and the “croap” formula. The same family has made it in Italy for over 100 years. The kilo is soft, cuts like cheese, and can be stuffed into any mug or bowl. It lathers without any effort, and will reportedly last for about 4 years of daily shaving. A bargain!

  3. Only on your recommendation I tried Arko. I was amazed that the lathering, glide and cushioning was really as good as soaps I’ve used costing 15 times more. There were three drawbacks. Worst fragrance of any soap I’ve ever used. To be charitable I’ll call it “industrial”. The post-shave moisturizing was commensurate with its price. Lastly, because it’s a rub-on stick there is no saving the excess lather for the next day as I do with pricier products . Overall if you can hold your breath for the duration of the shave and use balm afterward it’s an excellent value.

    1. Brian Fiori (AKA The Dean)

      Saul, I’m no fan of Arko’s scent, but it is a good performer. Here’s a tip. Unwrap it and keep it out for a few days. The scent will dissipate. I don’t think it will ever by a “great” scent, but it will be less vile.

    2. The scent fades quickly. I think it just smells like soap. I smash it into a soap bowl. That way I can work the puck, and bowl lather.

  4. We should add here Mark, the Speick Stick with Tallow, along with La Toja Stick & Cream.

    Noble Otter is a Bargain? 16$/4oz…. 🙂

    1. Agreed on LaToja. I keep a stick in my travel bag and have used the cream in the past. Great products and I really do like the scent.

  5. I keep a stick of ARKO in my travel bag; have for several years. As mentioned above the smell to me is close to Ivory Soap. The Stirling line of soaps are great especially at the price. My local HEB has the Thayer’s Witch Hazel line available at what to me are reasonable prices. One bottle will last a long time. And I use plain old Noxzema as a face wash and pre-shave product.

  6. Arko stays in my rotation as it’s just an all around great soap. As for the scent, I’d describe it as just like the old Ivory bar soap, definitely not a urinal cake. If you haven’t tried Arko, you’re missing out.

  7. Hi, Mark,

    Terrific article.:) Some nice bargains. Especially your offer on the OneBlade Core.:) That’s a nice deal.:) Doubly nice is the free shipping as their website says, “Free US Shipping on orders over $75.” So, the $79.00 price gets you the free shipping.:) Just wanted to point out.:)

    Regarding bargain shave soaps, I recently tried and reviewed Soap Commander’s Courage shave soap. At $15.00, you’d think it wouldn’t fall into the bargain category. But it’s a 6 oz. solidly packed puck of soap that, so far, lasts and lasts. Very little needed to get a rich, thick, luxurious lather. I’d say that’s a bargain given that it’ll take a long time to burn through it.:)

  8. I saw the Palmolive shave stick on Amazon recently and ordered three because they were so cheap ($2.78ea. + free shipping from the UK.) I liked it so much I ordered three more.
    BTW Mark, has this product been discontinued? I’ve heard both yes & no.

    1. Larry, as a matter of fact I’ve been wondering what’s going on myself. I need to reach out to a VDH rep soon!

  9. Thanks for the, as usual, great article.. I have a couple of these products but I’m curious about a couple I don’t have and think I might pull the trigger.

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