Ok, folks, here we go. I took a lot of pictures, so I think I am going to break this article into two parts to make it easier. This part is the "before" section, where I will try and illustrate what I used to do and some of the issues.
I decided to use a tub of QED sandalwood and my Savile row SR212 brush to make things more challenging. I find the sandalwwod a bit harder to get lather out of than the lime, etc. Perhaps it is some interaction with the sandalwood EO, or perhaps I am just imagining things. The Savile Row is a soft-bristled brush which in principle should make things harder. I think you'll see there is no real barrier, though. With my SMF brush the lather literally explodes, so if you can learn with softer, less-dense bristles, you'll be in great shape.
Remember, this part is on what the issues are, not what to do better! Stay tuned for Part 2 which describes the method.
Here is the soap and my lathering bowl:
Soaking the brush:
I love the way I can stand up the brush while it soaks.
I would swirl around 15-20 times, until the brush was loaded with soap:
(It looks a bit dry here, but that is just the time it took to take the picture)
Then hit the lathering bowl for about 45 seconds to a minute.
After a few swirls:
and after a minute or so:
Looks pretty decent, right? Wrong! This lather is under-hydrated and over-aerated. On my palm, it looks like this:
I'll put some on my arm (so you don't have to see my ugly mug):
After a few minutes, it looks like this:
Dried out and disappearing fast. I would continually have the problem of the lather literally disintegrating as I shaved. by the time I got to the end, there was basically no lather on my face!
So this is what I used with varying degrees of success, for many months. I would get adequate shaves, but nothing approaching what I could get with a cream. Very disappointing.
Over a few weeks, I really played around, taking suggestions from people on this board. I came up with some techniques and theories which have really changed the way I think about soaps. Stay tuned for Part 2 when I will show you the dramatic difference!!