Arko Shaving Soap (Bowl)

8 Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ (8)
Arko Shave Soap

Not sure if this is the same as the stick, but it carries the same legendary name.

Used with: Rapira Super Stainless (4th shave)

I didn’t add anything to the puck before loading with a shaken out badger brush. Lather quickly started to form and I had loaded plenty after thirty seconds. It did require some water to help build it for both passes. Slickness felt good, but I did pick up a couple of nicks, though they sealed themselves before I finished. My neck wasn’t especially close, but the only real roughness was along my jawline. WTG my face was smooth. ATG wasn’t bad, but neither was it especially close. Unsurprisingly, nowhere made it to BBS. It has the usual Arko scent. I don’t find it unpleasant as such, but I’m not a fan either. A pretty good shave.

Used with: Gillette Rubie Platinum Plus (3rd shave)

I again didn’t add any water to the puck before loading, this time with my boar brush. I had to use some additional water and a fair bit of work to load it. Slickness was okay and I didn’t pick up any nicks. My neck was very good with only a couple of hints of roughness. WTG my face was very good too. The same can be said for ATG, although I did find a few small rough patches, mainly around my mouth. Nowhere made it to BBS though. Post shave feel was pretty good, dry but soft. I got a blast of the distinctive fragrance at the start, but don’t remember it after that. A very good shave.

Used with: Ladas Super Stainless (1st shave)

I loaded for thirty seconds using my badger brush on a dry puck. No problems loading but I had to add some water to get the lather to explode. Slickness felt okay. I picked up a single nick, which sealed itself before I finished. My neck was pretty good, mostly close, but some roughness along my jawline and a significant rough patch low down spoiled it. No problems WTG on my face. It wasn’t especially close anywhere ATG and nowhere got vaguely close to BBS. Post shave feel was very dry. I didn’t pick up the fragrance much at all this time. A pretty good shave.

Used with: Personna Platinum Chrome (2nd shave)

I left it dry again and loaded for thirty seconds with my badger brush. Lather was no problem though I did have to add some water to get the best out of it. Slickness wasn’t great but I didn’t pick up any nicks. My neck was generally very good with only the odd rough patch to spoil it. The usual problems along my jawline was lessened. WTG my face was smooth. ATG wasn’t bad, but there were a couple of areas of roughness and nowhere approached BBS. Post shave feel was okay but nothing special. I picked up the distinctive fragrance throughout this time. A good shave.

Used with: Super-Max Blue Diamond (4th shave)

I loaded from a dry puck with my boar brush. Thirty seconds produced plenty of lather. Slickness was good but didn’t prevent me picking up a few nicks, though cold water sealed most. Aside from some roughness on my jawline and low down, my neck was very good. WTG my face was smooth. ATG was pretty good too, but I had a patch of roughness on one cheek. A couple of small areas did make it to BBS. Post shave feel was okay, but a little dry. Again, from the second I opened the tub and throughout I was able to pick up the strong fragrance. It did seem to recede into the background as I went on. A good shave.


I’m assuming this is the same stuff as the sticks, just in a different format, but I’m not certain as this feels a little firmer.

On the plus side it offers the same great performance and, in case it’s important, the same scent. I wouldn’t call it a favourite and it leans more towards the urinal cake than lemon for me, but I can live with it. Which you need to do as it’s strong.

It was very easy to lather and offered good slickness, though not always the best protection. There was certainly no need to bloom the puck as with some.

Post shave feel wasn’t as good as I’d have liked, often leaving my face quite dry (despite adding balm). Not hideous though.

As with a lot of the Arko products I have tried, what you get is a solid, if unspectacular, performer at a good price. You’re paying a premium for the plastic bowl as there’s not a lot more product than in the paper-clad sticks (90g v 75g), but it does make it easier to handle and load from.

So well worth keeping some around for those days when you just need a dependable soap.

Filed under: Soap, Software

These reviews are updated based on ongoing experience, so ratings and opinions may change.

Last updated: July 23, 2016