So I just finished writing in a contest thread about how my dad using Ivory bath soap to shave (rubbing it on, shaving as he applies). Well more as a thought experiment than anything, I've been wondering what kind of results Ivory would get if were to actually be treated as a shave soap: Brush, bowl, soaking, the works.
Admittedly this is a stupid question, the consensus seems to be that you don't get good, stable, slick lather with bath/face soap. I just want to know why. The ingredients of Ivory are actually pretty reasonable-looking at first blush:
(via wikipedia)sodium tallowate and/or sodium palmate, water, sodium cocoate or sodium palm kernelate, glycerin, sodium chloride, fragrance, one or more of the following: coconut acid, palm kernel acid, tallow acid or palm acid and tetrasodium EDTA.
Williams is kind of the standard for dirt-cheap tallow soap, so for comparison:
Both have sodium salts of tallow and coconut oil, both have water softeners, both have glycerin, and seemingly in similar proportions. I did some google-fu, and found a clue here (a highly informative read, I recommend it). While the OP there said something about palm oil and tallow being very effective, he also seems to believe that potassium salts produce more stable lather. Ivory does lack the potassium stearate of Williams, but could one ingredient really make that difference? Is Williams just such a poor, sodium heavy shave already that the subtraction of this one ingredient leaves it completely useless? This seems implausible because Ivory is kind of soft to the touch and seemingly highly water soluble, the two features the OP cites as being benefits of potassium.Sodium Tallowate, Potassium Stearate, Sodium Cocoate, Water, Glycerin, Tetrasodium Etidronate, Pentasodium Pentetate, Fragrance, Titanium Dioxide
Essentially, I'm wondering if any of you have experience using bath soaps for shaving, or if you can tell me why potassium matters so much. I'd also love to hear your own thoughts on what the key ingredients and attributes of a good soap are. Finally, maybe some of you will find that link as informative as I did in clarifying our understanding of the products we use so much.