Hello folks! New to wet shaving, first post...
I've been gifted a Merkur 34C HD and wish to try my hand at wet shaving. I don't yet have a shaving brush or any shaving soaps/creams. I have more ingenuity than money.
I've been doing a fair bit of research and think I understand the concept of a good lather for wet shaving. We're basically using saponified fatty acids as an emulsifier and glycerin as a humectant in order to suspend a maximum amount of water in a stable hydrophilic lather.
The HydroLast line seems to best embody the functional principles of wet shaving lather as I understand them. But with all due respect to the disciples of "Method Shaving", this Charles Roberts guy is a lunatic, inventing a whole made-up vocabulary of techno-babble to complicate simple ideas while hypocritically sneering at the marketing tactics used by Gillette to sell cartridge razors and canned foam. I wouldn't give this guy a dime out of my pocket. Sorry, but he just gives me the urge to hack his "system".
Okay, so the "Shave Cube" is a simple palm oil or olive oil hard soap. Not sure about glycerin content. The "Shave Paste" is a semi-soft glycerin soap. The "Cutting Balm" is mostly jojoba oil. The "Activator" is mostly palm oil. That's why I've been able to glean from Google-Fu.
I'd like to start my hack with a product I already have on hand and enjoy using. Dr. Bronner's soap is a simple product made by saponifying coconut and palm oils, retaining the liberated glycerin, and superfatting with olive, hemp, and jojoba oils. It has all the main ingredients present in the HydroLast "wet mix", plus the first ingredient is coconut oil, rich in saturated short-chain fatty acids which are well-known for excellent lathering performance.
The key variables are the proper ratios of glycerin and oil per unit soap. Dr. Bronner's might be short on glycerin and oil compared to a HydroLast mix. But glycerin and palm oil are cheap, and I think they should be reasonably miscible with the liquid soap.
Has anyone tried using Dr. Bronner's soap for building a wet shaving lather? Does it work? Were any additives helpful?
The shave cloth is also an interesting concept, because it's clearly a whole lot more economical to produce than a badger hair brush. It immediately invites comparison to those polyethylene mesh bath poufs, which are also pretty darn good at building lather. Maybe the cell size is too big and will over-aerate the lather? I can get nylon mesh filter cloth from McMaster-Carr...
Here's my proposition: if it's possible to build a great shave lather from a minimal number of simple all-natural ingredients and a cheap piece of fabric, as the proponents of "Method Shaving" very credibly suggest, then why do I have to buy a proprietary system? This concept should be easy to bring into the public domain for the benefit of all shavers.