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Thread: Newbie: Soap vs. Cream

  1. #1

    Question Newbie: Soap vs. Cream

    I am new to shaving with a DE razor. Had my third shave this morning. Hope that slow and steady will ultimately win this race. Have found B & B to be a very helpful site and have learned a lot in the past couple of days. I started my first shave with four passes and that was too much. Two passes until I get the swing of things. Is there a significant difference in shave using lather made from soap versus lather from a concentrated cream?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Biggypops View Post
    Is there a significant difference in shave using lather made from soap versus lather from a concentrated cream?
    Yes, best to try them both and decide on your own.
    ~Anthony~

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    Welcome to B&B.. As to which lather is better, that is something you will have to experiment with (YMMV). I like both, so I like to uber lather where I charge up my brush with soap and dab a bit of cream in another bowl and watch it explode.

    Try each one by itself for a trial period and see which one is better for your face.. Good luck.

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    Welcome to B&B!

    Is there a significant difference between soap and cream (especially for someone new)? No, but with one caveat - that assumes that you're making a "good" lather with both.

    Most of the folks here seem to agree that for someone new, a cream is easier to build a good lather with. Making good lather to start with is really important as the better your lather is, the more it will protect you from mistakes in technique.

    Can you tell us a bit more about the gear you're starting with? What soap or cream? What razor? What kind of brush? Also, what is your pre-shave prep? I think good prep and the ability to make good lather with whatever product you're starting with is a little more important than if it's a soap or a cream.

    Anyway, welcome again, and good luck with your shaves!


    -----------T_M

  5. #5
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    TM and others, thanks for your advise.
    I am using a Merkur HD with the Merkur blade that came with the razor. My brush was ordered from Lee's - it is badger and bears his logo. I like the brush and it seems of good quality. I am using a preshave oil made by Art of Shaving and my soap is Arlington. I finish up with an after shave balm. I have other blades not yet used including Israeli Personna, Feather, Derby and Lord.

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    The AOS pre shave seems to get a bad rap around here, but I like it lots!
    -J

    One foot on the gas, one foot in the grave... -Streetlight Manifesto

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    Well, you've got some top-flight gear to start with. If you're in the US and you want to try an inexpensive but good performing cream, you can go to Bath & Bodyworks and get a tube of C.O. Bigelow cream. Bright green box, can't miss it. It is the same product (from Italy) that is sold under the Proraso and Omega names. The small tube is $5 and it works great. I also like the AOS creams a lot, but they are more expensive (although the cost for the travel size is not bad if you just want something to try).

    If you want to stick with your soap for now (DR Harris is excellent too) make sure to read the sticky posts here on how to lather soaps, and watch Mantic59's videos on YouTube. They helped me a lot when I was starting. Just remember that you're looking for something more like yogurt or "real" whipped cream than Cool Whip.

    Also, I can't stress pre-shave preparation enough. Look up "Kyle's Prep" here on B&B. Doing that made a big difference in my shaves. Since my skin was better prepared, I could start to do 3 and 4 passes with less irritation. Once I got that and learned to prefect my angle, I started getting great shaves.

    ----------T_M

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    Also, on blades, if you've had three shaves with that first Merkur, it's probably time to toss it. The Merkurs don't have a great reputation here anyway - more for how much they cost given their mid-level performance I think.

    You may want to try the Derbys or the Red IPs next. Try to stick with one brand for a week or two unless it's clear that particular brand is just tearing you up. And probably save the Feathers for last unless you're feeling that your technique is very solid (ie, no nicks, minimal or no irritation). They're great, sharp blades but unforgiving of poor technique.

    ----------T_M

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    TM- Thanks again for great advise. I will check out the shave cream at Bath and Bodyworks. I have watched several of the mantic59 tutorials on youtube. I will read Kyle's prep and move on to trials of the Derby and Red IPs. You are the man!

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    Welcome to B&B. Cream may be easier for you to lather when you are first starting out, but try them both.
    John

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    Quote Originally Posted by Biggypops View Post
    TM- Thanks again for great advise. I will check out the shave cream at Bath and Bodyworks. I have watched several of the mantic59 tutorials on youtube. I will read Kyle's prep and move on to trials of the Derby and Red IPs. You are the man!
    That's very flattering, but I am not the man...at least not yet. I just happened to see your post early on. There are guys here that have been doing this decades longer than I have. I've got about 15 months with a brush and cream and about 6 months with a DE. I'm just happy to pass on the couple of things I've learned. It's more of a "standing on the shoulders" of shaving giants thing though, believe me.

    ----------T_M
    Last edited by T_M; 03-08-2010 at 08:58 PM.

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    Welcome to B&B !!
    There comes a time in every man's life, and I've had plenty of those. - Casey Stengel

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    My bad cream lather worked better than my bad soap lather when I first started... however, it was all bad lather. I've gotten better at both, and actually prefer soap right now (have a couple pucks of Conk, and a Surrey) unless I'm shaving in the evening, when I use AoS Lavender cream.

    Of course I'm also waiting on a Kent (MWF) puck and a stick of Irisch Moos, and... oh dear...
    -Josh

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    Welcome to B&B!

    I will also throw out an inexpensive cream recomendation--Kiss My Face! This stuff is the easiest I have ever seen to lather, and it is cheap to boot! It can be found at local Whole Foods, Rite Aid, etc for around $8 for 11oz.

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    I consider myself a soap man. I started with soaps. However, I never felt like I had a really good lather. Someone PIF'd me a TOBs cream and I tried it out. Wow, so that's what a lather is supposed to look like. Once I new what a good lather should be like, I knew what to shoot for with the soaps and now I can duplicate it with any of my soaps.

    I guess what I'm recommending is, start with a cream, but don't be afraid to go to soaps. As many have suggested, try them both. For me, the creams where easier to learn on and when you switch to a soap, the learning sort of starts all over again but your improvements will come very fast.

    Good luck and most of all, enjoy the adventure.
    R. Lee Ermey for President 2012!!!

  16. #16

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    there is a good wiki entry on how to lather with soaps, high recommend that. Tried Col Conk's myself and my first lather was dry and sticky. Really bad for shaving. Read the entry and learn how to load the brush correctly and end up with some GOOD lather.
    Merkur 38C barber pole razor; Tweezerman's badger brush; TOBS rose cream

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