Monday, September 1, 2014

Palmolive Vs. Arko Shave Sticks: First Comparison

Today, Labor Day, a holiday in the U.S.A, was my first shave using the Palmolive shave stick. I had been looking forward to this first use since the stick arrived in my mailbox a few days ago. I was drawn by the mild cheap-men's-cologne fragrance, which pleasantly reminded me of a barber shop -- or of many years ago when I would use a cheap after-shave splash. This was in comparison to the Ivory-soap fragrance of the Arko that I've been using for most of last week.
The centerpiece of today's shave was this Palmolive shave stick. Both the Arko and Palmolive sticks come wrapped in foil of some kind, but the Palmolive is then stuck into the green plastic stand-handle ring that you can see at the bottom of the stick in the picture. When I opened the Palmolive stick, I removed the green ring, then completely removed and discarded the Palmolive's foil wrapper, and then put the ring back onto the fully-exposed soap stick. When the stick is dry, I put a re-purposed pill vial (not shown) over it. The vial completely covers the soap and rests on the top edge of the green stand/handle.

I went away from a minimalist shave today, returning once again to the full-bore ritual including a face wash, pre-shave oil before each of the two passes with the Merkur slant, alum block post shave, and an after-shave balm. I did, however, remain true to my commitment to cool-water shaves.

I should also mention that I used a shave oil with yesterday's shave as well, which was done with the Arko shave stick. This is important because I'm going to compare the lather of the Palmolive to the Arko, and the pre-shave oil had no discernible affect on the characteristics of the Arko lather.

Since it was first use of the Palmolive stick, I applied it generously to my wet face -- more than I would have used with Arko. Extensive swirling with a damp badger brush on my Palmolive-slicked face did NOT yield the rich lather that I have become accustomed to with the Arko. By comparison, it was thinner, weaker. It was adequate for a single pass, but there was not enough lather in the brush for a second; I had to apply Palmolive stick to face a second time to have adequate lather for the second pass.

The shave was fine -- no issues. However, the frugal shaver within me was disappointed by the Palmolive stick requiring much more product application than the Arko. The shaving aficionado in me was disappointed by the characteristics of the lather, which was not as creamy or slick feeling as the Arko.

So, anyway, the round-one comparison is in the books, and the decision goes to Arko, which seemed to provide a more generous, rich, creamy, slick lather. Palmolive gets a consolation nod, though, for its more masculine shave-like smell.

Tomorrow I'll use (at least try) the Palmolive stick in a minimalist shave to see how it performs as a solo act. I will also try to remember to get the boar-hair brush out of the closet for shave two with the Palmolive shave stick. The extra backbone of the boar bristles may make a difference in my ability to face lather the Palmolive product to a more rewarding and generous consistency. Until then....

Happy shaving!

1 comment:

  1. Interesting ... I have had the same sort of experience, but reversed, being disappointed with Arko after having been impressed with the rich lather of Palmolive.