In the first part of this article, I showed you how I used to deal with glycerin soaps, leading to unsatisfying results. Now I will attempt to show you how to get ridiculous quanitities of lush, hydrated lather!
There are a few key tenets:
(1) More soap
(2) More water
(3) More agitation
Sounds easy, but the variables are tricky. Here we go!
Here is our trusty tub of QED sandalwood again:
The first thing I do is prep the surface of the soap by getting some hot water on it:
I put some hot water on the soap and let it sit for a minute while I am shaking out my brush, etc. This helps get things started. After that, pour off the water, but don't rinse the soap again.
Note: getting good lather out of these soaps is a messy business. Even the tubs don't provide enough room. Expect lather coming over the sides of the tub, etc. Don't worry - it is all in the name of a good shave! Flick out some of the water, maybe one or two light flicks - less than you would flick out for a cream. The soap will need more water.
Time to work the soap:
Note that I am pressing down a fair amount here. This is where things start to diverge from where I was before in part 1. Instead of stopping swirling when there is visible soap in the bristles (15-20 swirls), I am going to keep working that soap until there is real lather going. This might take a bit of work, especially if you have hard water like I do. For me, it takes a minute of working the bristles into the soap to get a starting point that looks like this:
Note the difference between this and what I showed in part 1:
Make sure you have real lather forming before you proceed!
At this point, you can hit the bowl and start twirling. After a few swirls:
Spend about a minute here, swirling and pumping the brush up and down hard to get the lather deep into the bristles. At this point, lather should be almost flying out of your bowl.
At this point, you may think you are done, but you are not. You need more water. Add a small amount of hot water to the bowl, perhaps 1/4 of a shot glass amount. Then whip the heck out of it. I mean really whip it. Don't stop for at least a minute or two. You want to build a very stable mixture, and much like egg whites into meringue, it takes some work. Don't skimp here. You are going to have lots of lather in your brush and bowl, but keep going, pushing the lather back down into the bowl with your brush, pumping as necessary, etc.
At this point, look at your mixture. It should look very glossy and rich. If it is at all matte, add a few drops of water and repeat the above.
Now we are talking!
At this point, you should be ready to lather up your face. Enjoy! If you have done it correctly, you will note that the second and subsequent passes will actually get thicker. This is due to evaporation of the water in the brush. The lather you have now should be as thick and rich as you get with a cream. if it isn't, go back and practice. More than likely you didn't get enough soap and water into the mixture, or you didn't whip it long enough.
One pass on hand:
(Go back to part one and compare the difference!)
This is after several minutes on my arm:
Notice no drying out whatsoever, unlike what I showed you in part 1.
What is left after a three-pass shave:
Excess squeezed out of brush:
So there you go. This method should get you way more lather than you need. Start with lots, and you can learn to ratchet it down to a more sane level as needed. If you have any questions, please drop me a note and I would be happy to answer, take more pictures, whatever.
Work the soap longer than you think you need.
Add more water than you think you need
Whip it way longer than you think you need
And you should be in business.