Sunday, November 23, 2014

Unusual Use of the Arko Shave Stick

Last week I tried an experiment with my Arko shave stick, using it in a way that few probably have.

Most use the shave stick as intended; that is, they wet their beard and rub the soap stick directly on the damp whiskers. Then with their wet shave brush, they face lather. Others will press the malleable stick into a mug or bowl and make lather there as one would do with a common puck of shave soap.

I split the difference.

Let me explain: I have a 5-inch-diameter plastic bowl that I have used both as a separate lathering bowl when storing the soap in another mug or cup, but I have also used the bowl as a soap-storage-and-lathering container. For those days when it was doing the double duty of both storage and lathering, I had roughed up with sandpaper about a four-centimeter-diameter circle in the center of the bowl bottom to give the soap puck a better surface to cling to, thus minimizing the tendency of the puck to swirl around the bowl as I was making lather.
The roughed-up center of the bowl bottom shows clearly here.

So on this fateful morning, instead of rubbing the Arko stick on my wet beard, I rubbed it into the rough circle in the bottom of the lathering bowl. Then I used my damp badger brush to make lather in the bowl. The first lather was a bit thin, so I swiped the lather away from the bowl center and applied soap again, and then made more lather. I probably should have done this a third time because the lather continued to be more frothy and less creamy than usual. Instead, I just applied it to my face and had the shave.

The resulting lather wasn't as slick or as creamy on the face. But I made the best of it, took a three-pass shave that, though not terribly close, didn't result in a single weeper or nick, and was irritation free. This is probably a testament to the razor-blade combination and the wisdom of a conservative, not-terribly-fussy shave.

I think that the limiting factor in this process was the small area of rough surface in the bowl. Had the area been significantly larger, I probably would have been able to rub off sufficient soap onto the bowl to yield the familiar slick, creamy lather of a more normal shave with Arko.

Will I try to get this process right by roughing up more of the inner-bowl surface so I can get more soap onto the bowl? No. I don't really see the point beyond this little trial. In the future, I'll just use the shave stick as intended: rubbing on my face and making lather there.

Happy shaving!


  1. This is quite a nice experiment you did there, but I think shave sticks are best to be used as intended.

    1. Based on my experiment itself, I have to agree with you! :-)