As you know, good shaving gear is non-existent in mainland China and I've been experimenting with different bathroom soaps for 16 months now, eventually settling on Dove Beauty Cream Bar as an acceptable alternative to real soap. I also found that adding glycerine after giving the soap a good soak, made a big difference. But last week I got more creative.
I got 3 cakes of DBCB and put them in a big traditional Chinese earthenware mug that has a lid, then poured about 50ml of glycerine over them, to cover and let soak overnight. As the days have progressed, I've avoided using water in the mug, instead topping up the glycerine after rinsing out the lather at the end of the shave, so the soap is always covered and marinating in it. Over time, the soap has become more and more cream-like; softening as it has been soaking in the glycerine and is now producing oodles of high quality lather. The moisture from a flicked brush is almost enough by itself but a tiny dip or 3 once the emulsion is getting going, really makes a moisturising, creamy leather with good slickness and cushion. More importantly, it holds for more than long enough to concentrate on your shave.
For any of you hitting a country that doesn't do real shaving, this is my suggestion.
In fact the water here is so hard that my MWF was lacklustre while it lasted. Anyone willing to give this method a go and report back?