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Thread: Arko shaving soap stick

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    South Central Oregon


    Viewing the packaging of Arko Shaving Soap reminds me of something Marty would have found in the first "Back to the Future" movie. Very out of date, yet quaint. But what matters is inside. Peel back the foil wrapper, and you'll find a white "candle" of shaving soap. It's a shaving stick, and one that is easy to use. Twice the price of a puck of Williams Shaving Soap, but 10 times the soap. The scent it nice, but faint. This stuff lathers easily, and provides the basics for a good, quality shave. Definitely worth a try!

    "I won't be wronged. I won't be insulted. I won't be laid a-hand on. I don't do these things to other people, and I require the same from them." J. B. Books
    Another memorable quote!
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    Remember Alex Brown

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Southeastern, MI

    Thumbs up

    This has surely become on of my favorite soaps. To me, it's second only to my beloved Tabac soap.

    While I realize this is heresy - I think it quite handily trumps T&H shave soap as well, especially when you look at the value of the product.

    I basically mashed 4 'tubes' of the soap into a square Rubbermaid container (laying on their sides) and use it as a large soap dish. It works like a charm with any brush from a larger Vulfix to a Polo 8. The soap is very moisturizing and cuts nice and close with great lubrication.

    I think I paid $1.95 per 'tube' with shipping included (I bought 12 tubes, I think).

    The smell is clean and "soapy" and it also works great as a hand/shower soap.
    [FONT=Tahoma][COLOR=Blue]Howard L. Sheppard

    "I wish I were less awkward around strangers. I never know what to say when someone asks me who I am and what in the world I'm doing in their house." -- Andy Ihnatko

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2005


    Gents, I can honestly say that I find this soap to be mediocre. I have used it a total of 3 times to make sure it was not my technique. I did not find this soap to be of high quality despite all the rave reviews. I also found this soap to dry rather quickly on my face. Nevertheless, the price is very attractive.

  4. Default Arko... not a fan.

    Arko, arko everywhere... everyone seems to love it... well... not I fellas. I've used quite a few shaving soaps in my day, and I can think of a dozen I like a lot more than arko. Although it starts of its life as a stick.... it just sucked as a shave stick for me, so I squashed (NOT MELTED) the arko into a tupperware. It will give a decent shave, but it really doesn't do much in the luxury department, and it sure isn't fun, pleasurable, or interesting to use. See results below....

    After 30 swirls - using a TON of soap (as it is soft) without much lather.....

    Sad looking spectacle... the brush is soaking wet, but it looks dried out.

    15 swift back and forth brushes down the length of my hand....

    BASED ON MY EXPERIENCES I feel Arko is highly over-rated. It is very inexpensive, but it is also soft, and doesn't work very well, so albeit cheap, it takes a lot to get going, and when it does "get going" it doesn't go very far. RIGHT after I "lathered" up the arko, I promptly cleaned out the brush and lathered up some Tabac as a comparison (see below)

    After 10 swirls (1/3 of the amount from the above arko) - notice how much deeper the lather penetrates the brush?

    15 swift back and forth brushes down the length of my hand rewards you will lather up the yin yang....

    In my opinion.... 2 words.... arko sucks. Hey - if you like it do not get your panties up in a bunch, to each their own, but as far as arko is concerned... I won't be buying it again. The Arko shaving cream is much better than the arko soap.
    - Joel
    joel (at)

  5. #5


    I'm pretty surprised anyone couldnt get this stuff to lather up amazingly, it shoudnt matter but id try it again as a stick, this stuff lathers quite easily and cream like for me without much effort

    Jerry: Why are you buttering your face?
    Kramer: I'm shaving with it.
    Jerry: Oh Moses smell the roses.
    Kramer: Jerry, it's vastly superior to any commercial shaving cream. Now feel my face.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Southeastern, MI


    I put Arko on par with my beloved Tabac in the "ease of lather" department. They both explode into lather quickly and easily.

    That said, Tabac's lather is slicker and more moisturizing (but not by much). Using either one gives me a phenomenal shave and both cut closely, yet comfortably. Scent is obviously subjective, but I love the soapy, clean scent (in the shower as well).

    I am NOT a fan of the "format" or packaging of the Arko soap. Like many, I squash it into Tupperware and use it that way. To be fair, I don't like using my T&H soap because THAT packaging sucks as well. The soap is great, but more of it ends up flying around the bathroom or in my hand than in the brush or my bowl (neat freaks HATE that!).

    Still, I could easily use this soap for damned near everything from shaving to shower/hair. (if I had to, that is... "variety is the spice" and all...)

    For less that $2 per tube shipped (in bulk) - I don't think you can do much better.

    Joel - I don't see how you can possibly be enamoured with Will G's soap and rate Arko crap. I know, to each his own.. but I just don't get it. Will G.'s soap is very moisturizing, but it doesn't shave nearly as close. In your review, you stated the price/value repeatedly and I agree. That same "weighting" of price/value seemed to disappear with this review.

    Also, the pics of the lather on your hand are obviously done differently. The Arko pic was a few longitudinal swipes with your brush across your palm, which is fine. The Tabac was clearly laid on thicker with more "brush action" that a couple of swipes. I don't care how "good" a soap is, you would still see brush marks from the swiping action, not little "peaks." I don't mean to sound like a pr!*k, it just seemed a bit disingenuous to me.

    The whole point of those types of pictures in a review are to give an "apples-to-apples" point of reference, no?
    Last edited by HlSheppard; 04-24-2006 at 01:53 PM. Reason: (oops) forgot I voted on this already!!
    [FONT=Tahoma][COLOR=Blue]Howard L. Sheppard

    "I wish I were less awkward around strangers. I never know what to say when someone asks me who I am and what in the world I'm doing in their house." -- Andy Ihnatko

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    North of the Red River

    Default Quality without Luxury

    Price - Arko is priced so disgustingly low that you have to order 10+ products to make the shipping costs worthwhile.

    Packaging - Honestly, I kind of like the packaging. It is kind of sheik in it's own retro kind of way.

    Lather - This soap lathers easily and quickly. It builds a very thick and lubricating lather.

    Moisturizing - I find Arko to be a very good soap in terms of moisturization. It should easily be usable during both the hot/humid summer months and cold/dry winter months.

    Scent - Ho-hum. It is plain and utterly unfantastic. Additionally, there is a hint of something (I wish I knew what) in it that makes me feel like I just spent the night in a hotel that charges by the hour.

    Quality/Efficacy/Luxury - I get excellent shaves with this soap every time I use it. I would definitely say that it is a quality soap. Arko may very well be the absolute best value soap on the market. It is not, however, luxurious to me. If my only goal/purpose in wet shaving was to get great shaves, then this product would be great. I have, however, begun to develop quite a taste for pampering myself and for that, this soap is not the answer. I do not care for the scent and will not be re-ordering this soap again.

    *I realize that some gents quite enjoy the scent/performance of this product. Excellent for them. With this review, I do not wish to incite a battle over opinions, merely to state mine.
    ...the police often question him, just because they find him interesting...his blood smells like cologne...

  8. #8

    Default Better than Williams, as good as Floris

    This soap was kind of a revelation for me after Williams.

    I use it as a shavestick because I enjoy building the lather on my face- but with a trick. I drop the stick in the same bowl of hot water I soak my brush in. After a couple of minutes it is much softer on my face than when cold, and leaves more soap to be lathered with. I do the same with Floris soap, btw.

    After building up a huge amount of lather I drop the brush into my DIY Moss scuttle and it is good for 3 more passes- each of which is thicker than the one before. which works well if you're into slower velocity cutting as your beard reduces. Finally I rub the stick against the difficult areas for the touch and cut.

    Folow-up edit: It has been a while since I wrote the above. Since then I've tried Floris, Nancy Boy, different versions of the 3 T's, Proraso, and a few others. I tried Arko again two nights ago and it is better than ALL of them! Better, wetter lather, and more of it. It cuts closer than any of them, and while it protects less than some of the creams the way I shave that isn't such a factor. I even like the scent, though I' wih it came in different flavors.
    Last edited by Harkonnendog; 07-10-2006 at 02:41 PM. Reason: Follow up to original post.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    The Netherlands

    Default not a bad soap

    All in All I tried it as a shave stick after advice from Scotto and Randy,

    It lathers like an idiot immediatly when the Brush hits your face got a pretty good lather, it was slick very slippery and the blade cut like a knive thru hot butter

    The Scent is A$$ !!!!!!!! I cant help it but it smells exactly like the cleaning ladies solution they use here at my work. and I just cant pretend anymore it is something different , I used old spice a/s , still on the couch that odor didnt leave me. other then that price is an absolute unbeatable price it performs not bad at all and the local Town IDIOT could lather it up even if he has no clue in hell what to do with the stick.. dont eat it ! .......

  10. Default

    All I can say is that this stuff works - but smells like industrial strength detergent.

    it is undisputedly cheap (and has the cheap packaging to proove it) and it lathers easily and shaves well.

    But for me, smell counts and I'm happier spending $7.50 on a stick of great smelling QED soap than saving a few bucks and using something that, to me, stinks. This is the first soap I've had that I will only use very occasionally due to the smell.

    If you want a cheap soap that works for the gym or travel bag, and don't care about the smell, by all means pick up a tube of Arko. If the olfactory aspect of shaving is important to you, then you should go elsewhere.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Washington State


    It gets the job done. I like some of our local inexpensive soaps like Williams and Surrey better, but I wouldn't complain if I just had Arko to shave with. I don't like the smell, but I don't hate it either.

    Great package!
    Last edited by Howard; 08-16-2006 at 06:54 PM.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2006

    Default Arko Berber Tras Sabunu

    The ARKO soap, which I have read so much about (good and bad), finally made its way to my stock. I have come to enjoy soaps more than creams, and this one has quickly made its way to the top of my favorites list.

    Price: no comment, its almost free

    Quality: one of the best I've used

    Scent: similar to williams mug soap, but more potent and longer lasting

    Lather: top notch, it lathers very easily, and thick. I either build lather on brush against the stick, or rub the stick on my face then lather. Either way, mounds of long lasting lather ensue

    Efficacy: gives a close, smooth shave

    Moisturizing: leaves the skin very soft, supple

  13. #13

    Thumbs up The king of the inexpensive soaps

    Arko Barber's Shaving Cream stick is the king of the inexpensive soaps. To use this stuff properly, thoroughly wet your face and rub the stick with a bit of pressure on the stubble until you can see a layer forming (you shouldn't use the stick to build lather). Then, take a wet brush and build the lather on your face. There's no need for a mug. Just keep in mind that this stuff requires a bit more water to get going properly. I find the most slippery, effective lather is one that is wet almost to the point of being runny.

    The scent is a classic barbershop note. This soap moisturizes well, lathers well, and provides enough lubrication that I can use it with any of my razors. It does require some fine-tuning as far as figuring out how much water to use when lathering. But it's fantastic stuff -- especially given its price -- once you make it work the way you want.

  14. Default TheSmell

    A lot of people seem to be bothered by the smell, myself included - I have a simple solution to this. Bring about 1/3 pint of water to the boil in a small saucepan and gradually add 2 grated sticks of arko, stirring all the time. Keep boiling until the scent has been driven off, if it gets too stiff, add a bit more water. What you´re left with is the soap without the scent (I suppose you could scent it with something else, but I don´t bother). Boiling soap does it no harm, and depending how much water you drive off at the end, you can choose between a bar of soap or a creamier consistency, which I prefer in a shaving mug.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Consett, Co. Durham, N-E England


    This to me is one of my favourite soaps! I first read about it here on the forum and couldn't wait when we went to Marmaris, Turkey for a holiday to check out this product. It was everywhere and I wasn't disappointed with the results!!

    The fresh smell is the first thing that hits you coupled with the ability to make more than enough soap. The lather, I found to be rich and plentiful. Scrubbed onto the stubble, the brush brought out, for me, the reminding smell of the holiday. Everytime I use it in my rotation I think of Turkey.

    The price was so cheap. For around 1 euro, 37p, Under $1, you got 1 stick or candle. One guy only had 4 left so I let the guy keep the change from 5 euros!!. I'm STILL using the first one 6mths on!!

    Not available here in England, but easily available online in various places.

    Getting a cut-throat shave by a Turkish barber, with this smell, was sheer

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Seattle, WA

    Default A Pleasant Old World Shave Stick.

    Just finished my first shave with Arko. Very pleasant, very satisfying. More lather than I expected from a drugstore euro stick.

    Price: Low. Savings aren't as good if you are buying from the US though. (at least online)..

    Quality: Surprisingly high for a drugstore shave soap.

    Scent: Definitely artificial, but really began to grow on me during the shave. A sharp, bright scent that is a wonderful change from the thick cloying scents of the modern eBay soaps and the three-t creams. I thought during my shave that this would be perfect soap for a summer island vacation.

    Lather: Much more than I expected. I usually re-swipe the sticks on my face between passes. By the third pass my brush was overflowing. An excellent thickness too.

    Efficacy: It works. There is also a nice slickness that is obtained especially after the first lathering. My shave was consistent with a nice balance of cushion and glide.

    Moisturizing: Good. The slickness remains and does a good job of tending to the skin. Neither drying nor greasy.
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  17. #17
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Inkpen, Berkshire

    Thumbs up Soap powder in a stick

    The thing that struck me most about the Arko shave sticks is the scent. It was like Daz Automatic in shaving stick form. Washing powder is the only thing that it really reminds me of. Having said that, it lathers up really easily and provides a fine shave. I love the retro design packaging and the price is ridiculously cheap. If you can look past the unusual smell for a shaving stick, its a fine product and one I will use from time to time for the novelty factor. Comparing it to Tabac is a waste of time as they are in completely different price brackets. Arko shaving sticks are one of the easiest sticks to create a lather from so I can only assume that water quality is an issue for those that can't create lather with these sticks. I would also disagree that it outshines the finest soaps and sticks. At its price level it is certainly unbeatable but it will not outperform quality triple milled soaps at the higher end of the market.
    Last edited by StGeorge; 08-21-2007 at 05:23 AM.

    667....neighbour of the beast.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Plano TX, but I wish I was in the mountains


    Man, for the price, this stuff is great. Mine cost a whopping $1.49. My only complaint is that I only ordered 1 instead of 10. The scent is almost like Ivory soap. So keep that in mind when using this. It lathers great and gives shaves that are easily as good as soaps costing 10X more. I love Williams soap, but for the price, this easily beats it. Since it is a soft soap, I was able to unwrap it and press it into the bottom of a mug. Lathers very well and is just a great little soap to use.
    Jp - Horse power is how hard you hit the wall. Torque is how far you drag it behind you

  19. #19
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Vernon, NJ


    This stuff might not have classy packaging or a charming scent, but it lathers and shaves as well as my Tabac, Penhaligon's, MWF, Harris, AOS, et al. What more need be said about a soap that costs $1.49?


  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jan 2007


    Great shave stick. Very nostalgic scent, great lather, dirt cheap. 100 years ago, something like this was what most guys used to shave. Still works fine today.


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