Sometime last year I discovered Colgate Shaving Mug Soap for the first time.

I was perusing SuperSaver’s shaving cream section when I came across the row of tiny boxes, and I immediately was taken in by their classic simplicity. I thought of all the men who had grown up before the days of air-compressed shaving cream. Back then, it was either mug soap or nothin’. So that’s what they grew up using. That’s all they knew. And as I stood there in SuperSaver holding my Edge Active Care Gel, I was grateful to Colgate for still making mug soap for all the old men of the world. I imagine it’s not a big seller. But for the few that faithfully purchase it, it means a lot.

I didn’t see the mug soap again until last Monday night when I was shopping at Russ’s Market with Ben and Ashley. I pointed it out to Ashley and shared with her my like for its packaging. Then I noticed something sitting next to it: the Burma-Shave Shaving Brush.

I picked up the box and read, “Stores are full of shaving aids, but all you need is this and blades.” At this, I chuckled. There I was, standing amidst an entire row of shaving supplies. How right you are, Burma-Shave, I thought. How right you are.

When I turned the box over I found another slogan: “Feel your face as you ride by. Now don’t you think it’s time to try.” I’ll admit, I didn’t quite understand what the “ride by” had to do with anything, but I did wonder if it was “time to try.”

Ashley wasted no time wondering. She said, “I think you should buy them.”

I picked them up and carried them with me to the other end of the aisle. Then I carried them back and placed them in their spot on the shelf. Then I took them down again and looked at them severely. Do I need you? I thought at them.

We’re reasonably inexpensive, they thought back at me. Have you ever used a shaving mug, brush, or soap to shave with before? What is the purpose of living if not to experience new things


The next morning after my shower I got a mug, placed the soap inside, wet the bristles of my shaving brush with hot water, and went to work. The box said to “stir brush in shave mug to whip up hot lather.” Simple enough, I thought. But it took quite a lot of stirring in the shave mug to get any lather at all. And then by the time I had enough lather to even begin thinking of brushing it on my face, it wasn’t so much a “hot lather” anymore as much as it was the tepid, shivery kind.

When I touched the brush to my cheek I could barely feel the lather. I’m accustomed to a shaving gel that becomes rich and creamy, and I’m accustomed to using way too much of it. Whereas this lather seemed to soak into my skin and disappear as I brushed it on. And, speaking of the brushing, it felt, and smelled, like I was rubbing a wet horse all over my face. It took two painstaking layers before I was satisfied enough to start shaving.

Looking back at my Colgate Shaving Mug Soap experience, I’ve ended much in the same place as I began.

I’m grateful that the men who are accustomed to, and hopefully skilled at, using this stuff are still able to do so.

Furthermore, I’m grateful I don’t have to.

Maybe there’s a better kind of mug soap. Kingsley, Williams, and Colonel Conk all have their own varieties. You try them out if you want, but it doesn’t make any difference to me. I know what suits my fancy, and it looks a little something like this:


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6 Comments on "Classic"

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I love shaving. I currently go with the Mach 3 Power razor, with Edge Active shaving gel. This summer I went to the Captain’s Chair for a barber shave. They have a heated foam machine, hot wet towels, and baby powder. I liked the pampering, but I give myself a better shave.

Carissa J

Thank you for sharing this, Ben. I had to put my hand over my mouth so as to not disturb the girl on the computer next to me with my giggles.


Hi Ben!
This cracked me up! You crack me up. Thanks for sharing the every day life-y stuff.



thankfully, i’m in the office alone so my laughter doesn’t give me away. i love this. i’m so glad you tried it even though you prefer modern methods. seriously, i’m so delighted. thanks for the visual of you brushing up too.

by the way, how was the “ride by”? is that what they called it in the add?

I’m not such a big fan of shaving myself. I try not to do it more than once every couple of weeks, but I can perhaps shed some light on the ‘ride by’ slogan on the Burma Shave brush. I’m surprised and delighted that Burma Shave is even still around. It was a very famous shaving cream back in the 1920s-1960s, and it was most famous for how it was advertised. Rhymes having to do with shaving were posted in sections by the side of the road, and every rhyme ended with the words ‘Burma Shave.’ If man bites doggieThat… Read more »

“like I was rubbing a wet horse all over my face”, i think i snorted and let out a little delighted yelp before i quickly covered my mouth with my hand as i read this line at work. still giggling as i write this.