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Thread: I think I figured out my lather problem

  1. #1
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    Default I think I figured out my lather problem

    I'm new to DE shaving, having just started a couple of weeks ago. Things have been going pretty good for me, and I feel I'm quickly coming up the learning curve (thanks to B&B!). One thing, though, has been a source of frustration, and that is lather building.

    I fell into the habit of face lathering on my second shave. I love face lathering because it feels like I'm massaging my face. Very relaxing. However, from the beginning, it's always seemed like I'm not getting enough lather. I've tweaked my methods by starting off with a wetter brush, then a dryer brush, soaking the soap, putting a bit of water on the soap, starting with a dry puck, and so on...but I never been 100% satisfied with the result. I'd get just barely enough for 3 passes, but I'd have to squeeze the brush for that third pass.

    Tonight as I was finishing up my shave it it finally clicked. After each pass, my face was pretty dry. Up until that point, my efforts to increase lather volume have been to try to load more soap onto the brush, not on experimenting with the amount of water being used. After cleaning up I decided to whip up another batch of lather in my apothecary mug and keep adding water until it negatively affected the lather. Below is a picture of the result.

    I soaked my brush, squeezed it, made 40 slow swirls in the jar of Tabac, then started to build the lather in my mug. I added a bit of water every so often, whipping it in as I went. I wish I had kept track of how much water I used, because it was quite a bit more than I expected I could. The photo below shows the volume of lather I ended up with. Well, most of it anyway, I lost some of it as the mug started overflowing. If you look closely, you can see my brush, almost covered in foam.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 2012-01-05_20-19-55_41.jpg  
    Last edited by 5savages; 01-06-2012 at 11:40 AM.

  2. #2
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    Wow...mereng lather!

  3. #3
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    How did that feel when rolled between the finger and thumb? Looks like a little too much foamy, not enough cushion. At least when mine get to that stage, is how it feels. I am still working on lathering soaps well, though. With cream I can get a lather that will cling and protect, soaps alone still end up looking about like that in the mug w/out the glide that I want.
    --koni

  4. #4

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    Definitely test the lather with your fingers...you don't want it to be all airy foam like the stuff that comes out of can.

  5. #5
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    Looks pretty good to me, but the real test is to feel it.

    Personally, I'm a face latherer. If that is what you like, you should look into shaving sticks. They are basically soaps that are 'on a stick' instead of inside a bowl. You wet end of the stick and rub in on your wet face to transfer product. Then just build the later with your brush directly on your face. I love it, myself, for the same reason you quoted. It feels good on my face! Ha. Anyway, my favorites are Irisch Moos and Speick. They're both great performing sticks.

    I keep plenty of dish soaps and creams around, but those sticks are what I reach for 95% of the time.
    -Adam

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by jadam318 View Post
    Looks pretty good to me, but the real test is to feel it.

    Personally, I'm a face latherer. If that is what you like, you should look into shaving sticks. They are basically soaps that are 'on a stick' instead of inside a bowl. You wet end of the stick and rub in on your wet face to transfer product. Then just build the later with your brush directly on your face. I love it, myself, for the same reason you quoted. It feels good on my face! Ha. Anyway, my favorites are Irisch Moos and Speick. They're both great performing sticks.

    I keep plenty of dish soaps and creams around, but those sticks are what I reach for 95% of the time.
    +1. You can actually rub any hard soap on your face this way, provided you can get a grip on the soap. The shaving stick offers purpose-built convenience for face-lathering, though. Plus, there are plenty of excellent sticks. Your spare couch cushion change could buy you some Arko, and Palmolive is reasonably cheap as well. Moving up in price, there are quite a few others to choose from — browse a bit in the Shaving Soaps forum to hear some B&Bers' opinions on all these.
    Dan | Shut up, I'm having a rhetorical conversation!

  7. #7
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    Now that's lather!!

  8. #8

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    Always like to see when somebody 'figures it out'!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by dgilman View Post
    +1. You can actually rub any hard soap on your face this way, provided you can get a grip on the soap. The shaving stick offers purpose-built convenience for face-lathering, though. Plus, there are plenty of excellent sticks. Your spare couch cushion change could buy you some Arko, and Palmolive is reasonably cheap as well. Moving up in price, there are quite a few others to choose from — browse a bit in the Shaving Soaps forum to hear some B&Bers' opinions on all these.
    I've never really thought of rubbing a puck on my face. That's a great idea!

    . . . hmm . . . MWF face lathering is sounding like a weekend shave . . .
    -Adam

  10. #10
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    The lather in the picture had just reached the point where it was no longer building in volume, and larger bubbles were starting to appear. I take this to mean that it had reached it's water holding limit. I had been whipping it up for about 4 minutes, and used maybe 2 tablespoons of water (both guesses). After putting it on one hand and pressing my two hands together, there was definitely a point at which the lather put up a fair amount of resistance, at maybe a half inch between hands. The urge to clap my hands at that point was almost unbearable . I didn't shave with this batch because I had just finished saving.

    The point of my exercise was not to switch to bowl lathering, but to more easily play around with the amount of water used. What this taught me was that I'm getting plenty of soap on the brush, in fact maybe too much, and that I need to dip the brush in the water more often when I'm face lathering.

  11. #11
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    I'd suggest, rather than trying to sell you on soap sticks, to keep working with what you have. Also, try your experiment again by cutting your soap swirling down to maybe 20 from 40 and then work in the water and see if you can get enough quality lather for your shaves.

    If you can get enough quality lather for your shaves with less soap (product), then obviously your soap will last a lot longer. The more you practice this the more quickly you'll be able to build a quality lather and fix a poor lather in the middle of a shave and develop a good lather from a new product.

    Good luck!
    - Dan G. -

  12. #12
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    That's exactly what I plan on did/plan on doing. After this batch I mixed up a batch using 25 swirls and that was more than enough for 3 passes. Now I need to go through this a few more times while paying more attention to the quality of the lather, and transferring what I learn to face lathering. Practice lathers are something I can do while I wait for my whiskers to grow out so I can shave again.

    I did pick up one shave stick (La Toja) but I bought that for travel, rather than home use. I have now have 3 soaps but I'm going to work on mastering the Tabac before I start working on the others.

  13. #13
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    holy lathermoly
    As long as your going to be thinking anyway, think big.

  14. #14
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    Looks like you have just helped a lot of people with the same lathering problems.
    -Rich-

    "Two roads diverged in a wood, and II took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference." Robert Frost

  15. #15
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    Congratulations! Looks like you have enough there for the whole week now! Squeezing that brush for the 3rd pass will be a distant memory!

  16. #16
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    Looking good. Just remember to add a few drops of water at a time.
    Jim P. - St. Petersburg, FL

    ackvil (at) badgerandblade.com

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