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William's Mug shaving soap

Williams Mug Shaving Soap is probably the one soap that I’ve seen that has the widest retail availability of any soap on the market. Or at least in North America. I’ve seen it available in drug stores and grocery stores and Wal-Marts in at least a few provinces and states.

After having tried it, I suspect the primary reason behind its availability doesn’t have much to do with its performance. It’s not really all that good. The balance of thickness and glide wasn’t all that good; I found I had to thin it out far too much to get the glide I need, and even that was easy to overshoot. And the stability of the lather left something to be desired. What lather I could whip up certainly didn’t stick around long enough.

One thing I will give this soap: it’s the example that proves the point that you can’t tell how good a soap is solely by a few ingredients. Normally, I’d expect a soap whose top 2 ingredients are stearic acid and tallow to be a quality product. Just proves the point that there is no magic ingredient which makes a good shaving soap: it’s the sum total of everything.

As for the scent, it’s a fairly neutral soapy scent. My girlfriend declared it to be an “old lady soap” smell when she sniffed it. Personally, I found it to be so-so. Not unpleasant mind you, but not exactly a great smell to my nose. It is however, rather weak. Pretty much all of that was discerned by sniffing the puck itself, since once lathered up, it was neigh undetectable.

  • 7/10 Scent Pleasantness
  • 3/10 Scent Strength
  • 4/10 Lather Quality

Anyways, I think it’s safe to say I don’t really like this soap at all. 4/10. In fact, given the ubiquitousness of the soap, I think that it’s doing a disservice to the art of wetshaving; I suspect a fair number of men try this soap because it’s available easily to them, and abandon the idea of shaving with a soap and brush because of the poor performance. Without having a chance to realize that perhaps that’s not par for the course.

  • Cost: As for why it’s available everywhere? It’s cheap as heck. I picked it up for something like $1.75 at the local Save-on-foods. I’m sure you can find it just as cheap somewhere else.

Gear used:

Ingredients: Potassium Stearate, Sodium Tallowage, Sodium Cocoate, Water/Eau, Glycerin, Fragrance/Parfum, Sodium Chloride, Titanium Dioxide, Steari Acid, Pentasodium Pentetate, Terasodium Etidronate. May also contain Sodium Palm Kernelate.