Arko Shaving Soap Stick – Review

Price: 5
Lather: 5
Scent: 2
Moisturizing: 3
Overall: 3.5 – 4

For some reason, until this week, I have managed to, unintentionally, avoid using the Turkish made Arko Shaving Soap Stick. Which really doesn’t make sense because the price is more than right, and the packaging is fantastic – visually anyways.

Arko Shaving Soap is my first experience with a shaving stick, but before I get into performance just a quick word on the packaging itself, which screams of days gone by. It is reminiscent of 1950/60s style design packaging. It looks great in my shave cabinet, to the point where I almost didn’t want to use it (for the price I could purchase a bunch of them and just use them as a border, lining my shelf – standing in my way would be the disapproving eyes of my wife). The only downside to the packaging is that it really doesn’t work well as packaging – in the end it is only foil and paper.

arkoWhen I finally opened the packaging and took a smell I was a bit disappointed, but at the same time I didn’t expect too much given the cost of the soap. Either you will love the smell, or not mind it. I can’t say that it would repulse anyone really, but to each his own. I have read reviews of people describing the Arko Shave Stick scent as being similar to Irish Spring soap, all the way to urinal pucks (oddly the person who described it as similar to urinal pucks admitted to enjoying the smell – again to each his own). I would describe the smell as being soapy, perhaps a bit like Irish Spring soap. One thing for sure – it smells clean.

When it comes to the lathering of the Arko Shave Stick you have some different options and approaches which I broke down below:

Stick to Face

I started with the Arko Stick to Face method because it seemed the most logical. You simply take the stick, wet the end of it, and rub it liberally on your face – be sure to get a good amount soap on there. You then take your wet brush and start building lather directly on your face. The stick to face method produced the best lather, but at the same time took the most amount of time to build and apply.

Brush to Stick

I expected the brush to stick method to perform more or less the same as the stick to face method, and although I was able to build a nice lather, it wasn’t as pleasing as the stick to face. Applying the soap to the brush was a bit awkward, however it did prove to be much quicker than the stick to face method.

Bowl Lathering

Lathering the Arko Shave Stick in a bowl was my least preferred method. Of the three approaches this produced the least desirable lather – it was more difficult to control the amount of water vs. applying on the brush or directly on the face. In the video I cut a piece of the stick off and drop it in the bowl, but you could mash the entire stick in there, or use a grater to drop bits of soap in, and I’m sure there are countless other methods.

As for the shave itself the performance was surprisingly good, definitely better than the price would suggest, I may even have to say that I preferred the performance of the Arko Shave Soap over that of Col Conks Soaps. The soap didn’t dry out on my face and it created a comfortable shaving surface.

The Arko Shave Soap Stick can’t be considered in the same company as some other shave soaps and cream – Taylor of Old Bond Street or Geo F Trumper products for example – it doesn’t necessarily smell great, not the best at moisturizing, but it does provide a nice lather, a slick shaving surface, and a close shave. I see myself using the Arko Shave Soap Stick for travel; while at home I would more than likely reach for my TOBS Avocado shave cream or something along those lines.