Thursday, April 8, 2010

One for the Guys: Shaving Soap

(Thanks to DH for the suggestion for this post!)

Gentlemen have a lot of choices when it comes to shaving.  While most guys who came of age in the past fifty years probably reach for the can of shaving foam and the disposable safety razor, there is an option that is better for the planet and, more important, infinitely sexier:  shaving soap.

DH suggested I take a look at shaving soap as something that is FC&G.  We looked at prices and waste, and here is what we found:
  • Pricewise, there is not a bunch of difference between shaving soap and shaving foam.  In our local grocery, any brand of shaving soap (and there are Williams, Colgate, and others) comes in a few cents less per cake than a can of the cheapest shaving foam.  However, you do have the start-up costs of a shaving mug (I got DH a pretty one, but you can certainly demote one from your kitchen cabinet for free) and shaving brush (which seem to last almost forever, but you'll have to replace them occasionally in your lifetime).  DH estimates a cake of soap probably lasts about as long as a can of foam, although I think it is easier to accidentally use too much foam and be wasteful.
  • As far as solid waste, the soap wins.  A new cake of shaving soap comes in a small cardboard box.  Shaving foam comes in a large metal can with plastic parts.  No contest.
  • DH says the soap gives a better shave than the foam.
  • And this one is key:  watching a man shave by foaming up with a brush and mug is undeniably hot.  Think about it, guys.

The Analysis

Fast:  I don't believe it takes any longer for DH to lather up with a brush than to spray foam in his hand.  If so, we are talking a very small amount of time.

Cheap:  You won't be winning this one on money.  Lifetime shaving expenditures are probably the same whether you use soap or foam.  Any financial impact you realize will have to come from using razors with disposable blades and reuseable handles and caring for them well to make them last.  (Has anyone priced using a straight razor?  Is the cost savings worth the hassle of learning to shave without killing yourself?

Good:  This tip is all about impact.  A switch to shaving soap will mean less solid waste, a better shave, and perhaps an intrigued wife.  Your call, guys!
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  1. My DH said he it reminded him of his days in the Navy when that is what a lot of sailors used including himself.

  2. My DH said it reminded him of his time in the Navy when a lot of Sailors used soap including himself.

  3. I remember my father having a shaving mug around; maybe that's why I like it so much!

  4. Just as a heads up, shaving soap last much longer than a can of shaving cream. I swithced to using shaving soap with a disposable blade razoralomst 10 years ago. The shaving soap lasted me at least 4 months. Now recently I have swithced to using a straight-edge razor to shave with. I did so for the vintage feel and heard about the incredible shave one gets with such a razor. This is by far the most sustainable option. There is nothing to dispose of.To top it off you can make your own soap and use a little vegetable glycerin, and essential oil to scent it and you have shaving soap. The razor can last forever in fact you can pick up some raozrs at an antique sotre for really cheap. A local barber can re-hone the blade and can teach you how to do it so in the future you will be able to resharpen the blade yourself. All in all straight-edge shaving not only gives you the closest shave, but also saves you money every month in blade replacements.

  5. Thanks for running the experiment, Chrbia1! I don't think I've seen DH purchase a new bar of shaving soap in several months now, so that confirms your results. Way to go on saving money and getting a better shave!