What did the "Old Timers" use?

Discussion in 'Shave Soaps' started by Rkep01, Jan 22, 2019.

  1. Rkep01

    Rkep01 Well-Known Member

    I got thinking about this the other day and wondered how many affordable shave soaps were used, say, in 1900 and before? I know that there were many that were marketed, but how many were actually used? Most people were not well off, then, and wouldn't or couldn't spend extra money on an item that had only one use - shaving. There probably is no way to actually determine this, but I imagine there were many who just used regular bar hand soap with a brush or maybe even without a brush! In an attempt to see if this would work, I decided to sacrifice myself and my face to an experiment. Not having any bar soap because we shower and bathe using liquid soap, I tried some of this.


    Reading the label, it seemed like it would work. It lathers beautifully in the shower.


    I keep this in a foaming type pump bottle on the bathroom sink, so I shot a few squirts into the mug...


    Then whipped it up...


    and shaved with it. All in all, it was a pretty good shave. I'd rank it a little below a DFS. It worked up a nice lather, albeit, a little thin. But, it was quite wet and slick and made for a decent shave - no nicks cuts or abrasions. So, I guess it's quite possible that many people back then just used their normal hand soap. Any thoughts?
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  2. wristwatchb

    wristwatchb wristwatch "danger" b

    Growing up, I remember that my Dad always shaved with whatever bar soap we had at the sink. He'd apply it with his hands...no brush. That's how I started shaving as well. It wasn't a pleasant experience, but it worked. I'd guess this was fairly common.
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  3. Rkep01

    Rkep01 Well-Known Member

    When you think about it, it does make sense.
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  4. oscar11

    oscar11 Well-Known Member

    I'm 65. My Dad always had Williams or Old Spice pucks around. Williams even had a menthol shave puck. A neighbor that used a straight razor used a shaving cream called Stag, I think it might have been a Rexall Drug Store brand but could be wrong on that. Of course Burma Shave was around but don't ever remember my Dad using a cream.
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  5. jluc

    jluc smelling pretty

    I shaved for thirty plus years with whatever bar of soap was at the sink. I've seen the light and there's no turning back.

    Sent from my SM-G965U using Tapatalk
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  6. Rkep01

    Rkep01 Well-Known Member

    Did you use a brush? Or just your hands?
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  7. jluc

    jluc smelling pretty


    Sent from my SM-G965U using Tapatalk
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  8. brit

    brit Well-Known Member

    i have a rexall stag soap container from the 40-50s. bakelite..could be older..
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  9. jmudrick

    jmudrick Well-Known Member

    Shave soap does go back a long way...ads for Williams (1900), Gibbs (1906) and Palmolive (1916) for example...[​IMG][​IMG]
  10. Badgerstate

    Badgerstate Well-Known Member

    Id say they likely shaved with whatever bar soap they had. I highly, highly doubt there was such a thing as special shaving soaps.
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  11. jimjo1031

    jimjo1031 never bloomed myself

    Shaving soaps, according to The Gentlemen's Gazette and others, have been around since the 14th century. Then creams came about around WW I.
  12. jmudrick

    jmudrick Well-Known Member

    1900 Williams ad above includes a cream. Barbasol was indeed 1919.
  13. oscar11

    oscar11 Well-Known Member

    The only razor I remember my Grandfather use was electric.
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  14. Rkep01

    Rkep01 Well-Known Member

    a quote from the OP.
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  15. Chuck Naill

    Chuck Naill Well-Known Member

  16. Rkep01

    Rkep01 Well-Known Member

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  17. jmudrick

    jmudrick Well-Known Member

  18. MacDaDad

    MacDaDad Well-Known Member

    Wiki says that "Ivorine" became Ivory and there was some 'Williams' guy associated with Ivory soap. ;)

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  19. MR41

    MR41 Well-Known Member

    I guess there is something to be said for perceived value. A lot of folks probably didn’t see the value in a special soap to shave or didn’t see the value relative to their means. And others did. I’ve shaved with bar soap when times were tight, but a stick of Palmolive is $3 and lasts for months. I guess it was similar 50-75-100 years ago. And preference for what you know probably has a lot to do with it.
    I remember my grandmother- worked all her life saved like crazy and at 75 years old had a whiskey sour made with “ten high” rot gut whiskey when she watched Gun Smoke. She had probably 3-4 drinks a week and at that point could have easily afforded single malt scotch, butTen High is what she knew, thats what she liked.( She had to go to a specific store because it was so cheap most places didn’t carry it.:)) I guess shaving soap might have been similar.
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2019
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  20. oscar11

    oscar11 Well-Known Member

    I just used a Palmolive stick for this mornings shave. Good stuff.

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