There are two distinct types of lather material.
Hard soaps like glycerin rounds, and shaving creams.
Both lather well with a brush but have slightly
different techniques and attributes. Some men prefer the
hard soaps, some prefer the creams and some actually use
a combination of the two. Glycerin and hard soaps are
generally more economical. They are thought to cut
closer, be more slick and rinse clean. On the other
hand, shaving creams are thought to create a denser
lather and provide more cushion. If youíre not sure
which type of product you will like try one of each to
experiment and find out what works best with your razor
of choice. Or, put a small dab of cream on top of soap
and get the best of both worlds... After all, a
good portion of the experience is enjoying the different
aromas available and the process of creating lather.
take a few days to learn the bristle's water retention
ratio in conjunction with the lathering product used
because each brush and soap/cream has its own
personality and technique. The lather application does
not need to be dense to provide a great shave. Soften
the whiskers with hot/warm water before lathering and
use a slow, light touch with the razor as you let it
glide over the prepared shaving area.
generally have a glycerin base and usually come in
rounds or tubs in a variety of scents. Rounds are placed
in a mug, bowl or other container and are kept there
until used up and replaced with a new bar. They can be
left in the open air between use, or kept in a covered
container after draining out excess water. The user
takes the wet/damp brush and stirs over the soap until
the bristles are well coated with soapy lather, and then
finishes lathering on the face. If the lather bubbles
are too big, loose or runny flick out excess water from
the brush and stir a little more. If the lather seems to
dry, put a touch more water on the bristle tips and stir
again. Soap is more forgiving because if you start with
too much water you simply drain off the excess, flick
the brush of extra water and stir some more.
new soap placed into a dry mug or bowl can slide around
when used with a brush for the first few times. You can
put about 1/16Ē of hot water in the containerís bottom,
place the new soap in and let it dry naturally before
use. This should help to form a suction type of seal
between the bowl and soap. Otherwise, the soap should
stop moving around after several uses because some
residual soap will help hold it in place. Wipe around
the container's edge as desired to keep clean, however
donít remove the soap between daily use or the suction
seal will be broken. For deeper containers, you can
place more than one soap round in at a time to make
reaching the soap easier. Just be sure to put the newer
round under the oldest one to maintain a rotation for
freshness, and rinse off the older one at the same time
to keep things tidy.
Tip> To make
lathering go faster you can cover the soap with warm
water, drain right away and let sit while you soften
whiskers. Or, you can stir an overly wet brush over the
soap a few times before draining off the standing water,
and in this case also shake out the excess liquid from
the brush. Then wet the bristles under warm water,
lightly flick and stir over the soap as usual. The
point Ė moistening the surface of soap first will
soften its outer layer and make lather creation fast and
easy. The quicker the lather is created, the warmer
it is on the skin. When finished shaving drain any
excess liquid from the soap container.
Shaving creams have a soft
or paste-like consistency depending on the brand. They
usually come in a tube, tub or other dispenser. Itís
best to saturate the bristles with warm water and then
shake a little to start on the drier side.
Then dip the bristle tips back in water as needed.
That way you can control creating lather without overly
diluting the cream. Once the cream has too much water
you need to add more cream or stir much longer in order
to make the optimum lather. The user can make cream
lather in several ways depending on preference:
By placing a dab (about a heaping dime's worth or almond
sized dollop) on the brush tips and then going straight
to the shaving area to create the lather. For a tub,
some people swirl the bristle tips directly on the
cream. However a consideration with this method is that
the tub of cream can get diluted over time by daily
dipping of a wet brush right into the tub itself.
B) By putting a dab into the palm of the hand and
then stirring the wet/damp brush in the palm to pre-whip
up some lather and then finishing on the face.
C) By putting a dab into a mug or bowl and
whipping up a lather first, and then moving to the face.
Tip> With both soaps
and creams you can squeeze the bristles gently moving
upward, and the lather inside of the bristles will bulge
out. This provides extra lather for touch up shaving
applications or makes rinsing out the brush go faster.
When finished shaving be sure to thoroughly rinse the
brush and shake out excess water. The bristles
will only be damp and not dripping with water.
How and why do you saturate the bristles with water
- There are several ways to do this. One way is to
sit the brush bristles facing down in a bowl or mug of
hot water (not boiling per brush maker's
recommendations) and letting them absorb water and heat.
Or you can point the bristles facing up under running
water and cup your hand around them to form a funnel to
keep the bristles from splaying outward while allowing
the water to heat up, and be absorbed by, the bristles.
The goal is to get the hair thoroughly wet, and the
internal hair warm from the water saturation. That way
when you flick out some excess water before stirring
with the soap or cream the lather generated will be
warm. While all shaving brushes will help to create a
warm lather, heat retention and water absorption are
especially pronounced with the higher end badger brushes
making that one of the reasons they elevate the shaving
experience and feel more luxurious. If you are new to
wet shaving with a brush it may take several times to
fine tune your technique based on the brush and lather
Creating lather can
be simple, fun and smell good!
Lather with Shaving Cream
Adding Essential Oil to Unscented Shaving Cream or
Glycerin Soap to custom scent
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