View Full Version : Help on creating a Proper lather with brush and soap
06-01-2011, 11:54 AM
Long time lurker, first time poster, and absolutely amazed and humbled by the B&B community. Amazing stuff. I could surf this site for hours. Well, I have. So my apologies if this post is falling under the wrong forum.
Been wet shaving with proper equipment for about 3 weeks now (Muhle razor, sampler of blades, Tabac soap, Semogue brush). I consider most of my technique to be decent but the one thing I'm having a pretty difficult time with is creating a proper lather with my brush, soap, and water.
I'm not sure what my issue is. Could be my soap to water ratio, wrist action, preparation, time, I really don't know.
Would love to hear your thoughts, tips, tricks, critique, etc.
06-01-2011, 12:10 PM
I started off with Tabac soap myself.... whether it was just something to do with my water, or it's the way Tabac is, I couldn't say... but I found it to be a very thirsty soap. Takes me much more water to make lather with Tabac than it does other soaps I have used. Something that seemed to help for me was to soak the brush, then squeeze it out really good, and then shake it 5 or 6 times to really get most of the water out. Then load it, and start whipping it in my mug without adding any water at all, and continue to whip it around for a bit, then slowly start to add water. For other soaps I have used (like the Mama Bear that I'm using now) I generally put some water in the bottom of the mug before I ever begin, but the Tabac didn't seem to like that for some reason.
06-01-2011, 12:13 PM
Or hard water.
Tabac normally is not too difficult and the combination of Tabac and a boar brush should produce some excellent lather.
Tell us how you make your lather, then we will have a better idea of suggestions that may help. Are you face lathering or making lather in a bowl?
06-01-2011, 12:36 PM
I usually start with a wet shaken brush and rinse the soap with hot water quickly to wet it. Put light pressure on the brush and swirl quickly for almost 45 seconds, until I have a thick slime on the brush. If I bowl lather, I whip the soap until it is smooth, then put the hot tap to a slow drip, and whip the lather while adding water drop by drop. Once the lather is a dense thick cream, add a few more drops. After the each pass, it may need a few more drips and more whipping. Load more soap, with a drier brush, add water slowly and more than you might think is needed. You will find the balance in time. Once you nail it, you will know how to get there next time.
06-01-2011, 12:40 PM
Thus far my attempt at a good lather goes something like this.
I soak my brush in a mug in really hot water for 3ish minutes.
Transfer the excess water of the brush.
Start swirling the brush in the Tabac soap (the ceramic dish) until I get a good amount of product. Usually I add a bit of water here. 10is plus drops or so.
Swirling 10, 20, 30, 100 or more times.
It's from here I never really get the proper lather going.
I've tried adding less water, more water. Tried to get the lather going in a separate little dish. Tried applying the concoction to my face and lathering from there. What I end up with is a fairly excellent shave, but I feel like I am shaving with more of a paste and cream instead of a nice lather.
This B+B tutorial (http://badgerandblade.com/vb/showthread.php/21136-How-to-make-great-lather-from-a-soap-Tutorial) will give you a good idea about how to go about consistently producing great lather from shaving soap. To me, it sounds as if you have plenty of product on your brush but you may need to add more water and keep mixing.
Please come back and let us know how you go.
06-01-2011, 12:51 PM
I have no idea if this is happening to you or not, but thought I'd offer this because it was recently happening with my friend (newer shaver) who was also using Tabac -- we have similar water, so hardness wasn't the problem. He was trying to lather in a bowl with plenty of tabac and plenty of water charged in the brush. He was whirling and whirling his brush around in the bowl, but all he was getting was a thin, liquidy puddle. I recommended that he squash (actually I said "sqwarsh") his brush down gently once in a while because it looked like a lot of product was hiding out up in the brush. Once he started doing this the brush released a little more and then the bubbles started getting happy all over the place and he had plenty of happy lather to shave with. Good luck and let us know how things work out for you.
06-01-2011, 01:03 PM
Thanks djh. That was exactly the type of tutorial I was looking for. Will give this another go in a few days.
Takezo - Very possible. That does sound pretty similar. As a shaving soap n00b it's hard to determine if I have enough, too much, needs water, too much water. I will try the tap and sqwarsh next time.
06-01-2011, 01:06 PM
The tutorial David (djh) linked is fantastic stuff.
You're working with a new (or newish) Semogue, right? Which one? Some models can take some time to break in.
What I end up with is a fairly excellent shave, but I feel like I am shaving with more of a paste and cream instead of a nice lather.
EDIT: I missed this part, sorry. It sounds like you need more water in the mix.
Give Marco's method (http://badgerandblade.com/vb/showthread.php/199887-My-lathering-technique-with-Italian-soft-soaps) a try -- it involves loading your boar with only the "gravity water" having dripped out. I use a similar method when loading Cella.
06-01-2011, 01:27 PM
Yeah Franz. Working with a brand new (maybe 5 shaves in) Semogue 1305 Superior Boar. My thought was to get a nice boar brush (less than a badger), see how I liked wet shaving compared to my old ways, and if it was something I loved I would pick up a badger as well.
06-01-2011, 03:35 PM
Try face lathering. It's always worked great for me with Tabac.
06-02-2011, 12:32 PM
Another thing I do to help me figure out my soaps/creams before trying to lather them up is a VERY important step (for me) and I never skip it. Every time I get a new soap/cream (Thanks Phil,.... again) I grab a brush (same brush every time) and run it under hot water for a minute, load up some product and then begin creating a lather in my palm. Using the same brush and following the same technique/method for producing lather has helped me to learn which of my soaps/creams need more/less water etc BEFORE I need to have a lather ready for shaving. Helps me to figure the nuances of the soap. Of course things will be different when you try a different brush, but for the time being simplify and you'll pick up the characteristics of the soap sooner rather than later.
Truth be told, I honestly do this because I can only shave once a day and a I can't bear to wait 'til morning to play with those fragrant bubbles. G' luck.
06-02-2011, 12:42 PM
Takezo has a good idea. A few test lathers wouldn't hurt, and Tabac is know to last a very long time due to its ability to rebuild while you sleep. I think I have more Tabac when when I first opened it:blink:
06-02-2011, 04:00 PM
There is some really great advice here already to help you. I'll just say that I never got into making large amounts of lather in a bowl, and had much more success face lathering. I find especially with soaps that lathering in a bowl makes too airy of a foam. Lathering on the face may not create the glorious mounds of lather we imagine, but it has worked well for me. Good luck.
06-02-2011, 05:38 PM
In a nutshell (although it depends on the soap your using):
1) Soak brush, whip dry.
2) Load brush on a damp soap puck.
3) Swish around in bowl, mug.
4) Once bowl is coated with the amount you want, add water by running your hand under the faucet and flicking some drops from your hand into the bowl.
5) Swish some more, if not fluffy enough add more water like above. Too much water and your runny. Practice makes perfect.
06-02-2011, 05:43 PM
Thanks everyone. From your suggestions and tips I do believe I have been using far too much water in my routine. I shall need to practice.
Now the real challenge begins. Some new soaps arrived today. Can I fend off their charms for another shave and go to Tabac practice, or will I test out the new guys? ;]
06-02-2011, 06:36 PM
Yup, much practice is necessary.
06-02-2011, 09:28 PM
Quick Note. Went with Castle Forbes lime this evening. Great shave. I have to wonder, it lathered easily and without much issue. I know, it's a cream and not a soap. Apples. Oranges. I get it. But my next question is, does anyone really soak up their dry soap pucks to load up the moisture prior? I noticed a few mentions of "damp soap puck" above. I would imagine it would help facilitate lather on my Tabac soap puck if I put some very hot water over it prior to lathering. Not a Noah's ark amount but a good dose of hot water. Thoughts?
06-02-2011, 09:50 PM
Not a Noah's ark amount but a good dose of hot water.
+1 And let it sit/soak a bit.
Powered by vBulletin® Version 4.2.0 Copyright © 2013 vBulletin Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved.