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Thread: Lather building woes

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    Default Lather building woes

    After 5 shaves with a DE razor I'm still having trouble building lather. Usually I'll have enough for 2 passes, but after that my lather begins to dry up, or I simply don't have enough to cover my face. (I've tried adding water, but it just turns it into a bubbly mess) Also I've noticed after passes that my face is quite dry.

    This is my lather building routine:

    1. I soak my brush (Edwin Jagger Best Badger) in hot water for about 10-15 minutes. (Depending on how long my shower takes)

    2. I shake my brush out once.

    3. I then squeeze out an almond sized amount of Florena shaving cream into a glass mug.

    4. I start stirring for about 5 minutes until a decent amount of lather is produced.

    Anyone have any idea on what I may be doing wrong, or do I just need more practice?

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    I'm most certainly not an expert, and I'm sure some more guys will chime in, but if you have to whip it for 5 minutes before you get a decent amount of lather, you may be starting with too little water. I usually have to put in a little water (4-5 drops) even with the large amount of water my Chubby 3 holds. I shake it a couple of times (not vigorously) and start in. About 30 seconds in, I have to add some water and usually again about 90 seconds in. But, I have plenty of good lather for 4-5 passes in under 2 minutes. Maybe you need more water up front, instead of at the end.

    YMMV.
    Larry C

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    I think you're soaking your brush for too long, and the water it's soaked in isn't warm enough by the time you come out of the shower. The water on the brush needs to be pretty warm when you come to build the lather in the bowl, otherwise it will a) take you longer to build a good lather and b) the lather will only probably last for 1, 2 passes at the very most. Maybe try and just pour some hot water into the shaving mug when you come out of the shower, apply a warm towel/facecloth to your face for just 2-3 minutes and then start building the lather. You should be able to build a good lather pretty quickly if the brush is coated in pretty hot water (although not boiling). If the water the brush is soaked in has cooled down a little bit (i.e. by leaving it for about 10 minutes or so), then in my experience it can have quite a negative effect on the overall quality of the lather.
    Last edited by Nick75; 09-24-2006 at 06:24 PM.
    Nick

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    HYour brush needs a cleanin' my man.

    Soak it for 10-12 minutes in a solution consisting of 1 part vinegar to 9 parts hot water.

    Repeat if necessary.

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    I'm not familiar with Florena, but what you are doing sounds close to right to me... except for the amount of time it is taking you to whip up a lather. I cannot imagine that it could take 5 mins to whip up a good lather. As Joe suggests, I would think that a good cleaning of your brush is in order (if you don't want to go the water and vinegar route try to just wash and condition it like you would your own hair). In addition, you may wish to consult Joel's Comprehensive guide to building superlative lather!... hang in there, you'll figure it out.

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    Desibabu

    A couple of questions-

    How much water are you shaking out of your brush a flick, a shake ?

    Have you tried any other soaps and had the same problem?

    Do you have hard water?

    Can you describe the lather you make? Shinny, Matt ??


    Try this when you are not shaving-as an experiment.

    Soak your brush as usual,don't shake it just stand it up on the sink to drain.
    Put you cream in your bowl skip the mug for now.

    Whip it -like scrambling eggs- the water should start to mix with the soap and become soupy, pump it a few times to work the cream/soap into the brush-at this point you should start to have a foamy soupy lather keep whipping it push the lather off the sides of the bowl down and work into the brush -whip it up some more you should have some decent lather by now. 2-3 minutes

    Use a spoon to add water 1 teaspoon at a time whip it for 30-40 seconds and work- add again and again. The goal is to ruin it with water-you will be amazed at the volume of water that the lather will hold and how wet the lather will look.

    There are two things that could be affecting your lather outside of you technique.

    Hard water and substandard cream/soap I have never used the product that you mentioned so I dont know about it.

    A bowl- give yourself room to work try a few.

    Take care

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    Answers to your questions:

    When I shake my bursh a lot of water comes out. (On the inital shake)

    The only other cream I tried, is Trufitt & Hill. (It was a free sample) The results were pretty much the same, except I didn't get a soapy residue all over my brush handle.

    The water here is quite soft.

    The lather I produce is definatly matt.

    I'll try that lather experiment once I get home, thanks for the idea Goosemeplease.

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    Here is something I noticed the other day. When I first started building lather, I would shake a lot of water out of my brush. I was getting a good lather, but not a whole lot of it, and I would have to constantly add water. Then, I decided to take my brush out of the water, let some water drain (no shake) and sit it on its base while I put some cream in the bowl. Doing this, whith much more water involved, I got so much later, I couldnt hold it all in the bowl. It does start out a little bubbly and soupy, but after pumping and whipping, it now turns out great.

    I'm using Proraso shaving cream and a Proraso boar hair brush btw.

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    Maybe this video might help....

    --Mark

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    Attaboy Mark!

    Ol' Kev

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    Quote Originally Posted by Desibabu
    After 5 shaves with a DE razor I'm still having trouble building lather. Usually I'll have enough for 2 passes, but after that my lather begins to dry up, or I simply don't have enough to cover my face. (I've tried adding water, but it just turns it into a bubbly mess) Also I've noticed after passes that my face is quite dry.

    This is my lather building routine:

    1. I soak my brush (Edwin Jagger Best Badger) in hot water for about 10-15 minutes. (Depending on how long my shower takes)

    2. I shake my brush out once.

    3. I then squeeze out an almond sized amount of Florena shaving cream into a glass mug.

    4. I start stirring for about 5 minutes until a decent amount of lather is produced.

    Anyone have any idea on what I may be doing wrong, or do I just need more practice?
    Here are the steps I take which have served me well for both soaps and creams.

    1. Soak the brush as long as you want

    2. Give the brush a couple of hard shakes

    3. Add your cream (you may want to use a bowl allowing for more working room)

    4. Add water in small amounts as needed. It's easier to add water than work with too much. I've found the temperature of the water has no bearing on the end results.

    5. Begin creating lather making sure to use only the tips of the bristles. A heavy hand here will not allow all those wonderful bristles to work their magic.

    6. Enjoy the copious amount of lather you just created.

    A side note is make sure you only use one brush while perfecting your lather building skills. Each brush requires a different soap/cream to water ratio.
    Take care,
    Rik

    A good lather is half the shave.
    William Hone

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    I know its been mentioned but I got a lot better once I switched from the mug I was using to a wider bowl.

    Just sharing :)
    Paul
    What I'm consistently shaving with - Merkur 38C
    Brush I'm using - Simpson Wee Scot
    Blades - Merkur

    -- "Enjoy Every Shave" --

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    Begin creating the lather with the tips of the brush, but you'll also need to pump the brush a bit to make sure that the lather is worked up into the brush and---more important---that the water at the base of the bristles is worked into the lather. Otherwise the lather will become thin after the first pass as that water drains down.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rik
    1. Soak the brush as long as you want
    I'll quote from Joel's article:

    "Once you have got boiling water, it is important to keep as much hot water as possible on the badger hair right up until you are ready to begin building lather".

    Hot water from the badger brush does mix into the lather when you begin lathering. Therefore, won't water which has lost a considerable amount of heat have some kind of negative effect on the overall quality on the lather? I mean, after a 10-15 minute (or even longer?) period, as what I gather you are implying by advising to 'soak the brush as long as you want', the water will lose a considerable amount of heat. I see that as a fact, at least within the bounds of my experience and experimentation to date. Joel quotes the brush being 'lava hot' as it's being pulled out of the cup for the lathering process, which is a description that somehow doesn't register in my mind as a brush which has been left for as long as 10-15 minutes, or even longer, from water that has been poured into the mug which wasn't even at boiling point initially?

    Let me quote another excerpt from Joel's article:

    "It is surprising how much better of a lather is generated in a hot bowl VS a cold/room temp bowl or mug."

    So does a brush with lukewarm/cool/cold/freezing water on it, which also falls into the context of what you are implying (i.e. any period of time could in fact be interpreted 'as long as he wants', couldn't it?) not have some kind of a negative effect (i.e. a cooling effect?) on the overall temperature of the lather inside the bowl?! Judging by the fact that a badger hair brush is capable of holding a considerable amount of water at the time when the lathering process begins (shall we agree on that one?), if this water isn't at the optimal temperature ('lava' hot??) as what is or at least seems to be implied in the article, isn't this a negative factor to maybe consider?
    Last edited by Nick75; 09-26-2006 at 08:53 AM.
    Nick

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nick75
    I'll quote from Joel's article:

    "Once you have got boiling water, it is important to keep as much hot water as possible on the badger hair right up until you are ready to begin building lather".

    Hot water from the badger brush does mix into the lather when you begin lathering. Therefore, won't water which has lost a considerable amount of heat have some kind of negative effect on the overall quality on the lather? I mean, after a 10-15 minute (or even longer?) period, as what I gather you are implying by advising to 'soak the brush as long as you want', the water will lose a considerable amount of heat. I see that as a fact, at least within the bounds of my experience and experimentation to date. Joel quotes the brush being 'lava hot' as it's being pulled out of the cup for the lathering process, which is a description that somehow doesn't register in my mind as a brush which has been left for as long as 10-15 minutes, or even longer, from water that has been poured into the mug which wasn't even at boiling point initially?

    Let me quote another excerpt from Joel's article:

    "It is surprising how much better of a lather is generated in a hot bowl VS a cold/room temp bowl or mug."

    So does a brush with lukewarm/cool/cold/freezing water on it, which also falls into the context of what you are implying (i.e. any period of time could in fact be interpreted 'as long as he wants', couldn't it?) not have some kind of a negative effect (i.e. a cooling effect?) on the overall temperature of the lather inside the bowl?! Judging by the fact that a badger hair brush is capable of holding a considerable amount of water at the time when the lathering process begins (shall we agree on that one?), if this water isn't at the optimal temperature ('lava' hot??) as what is or at least seems to be implied in the article, isn't this a negative factor to maybe consider?
    I usually soak my brush for 10-15 minutes in a mug with water as hot as it gets out of the spigot. However, I put a folded hand-towel over it while its soaking to trap the heat in there. I don't think much heat is lost, but I know the hairs of brush are softer and more apt to hold the water after an "extended" soaking. That does the trick for me. YMMV.

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    Magnum P.I., (Sorry I couldn't resist)
    I was going to tell you to check out Mantic's vid, but Mark already chimed in. It's his, he deserves first dibs But I wouldn't soak the brush so long, only about 2-3 minutes and make sure you're starting with a fairly dry bowl. Run your fingers down the bristles, so a lot of the water comes out of the brush it will still have some in there don't worry and start whisking. Add water slowly a few drops at a time until your lather picks up. Another thing I wondered about if your building it for 5 minutes minutes it may have built itself up and then broken. The same thing will happen with starchy foods or cream in cooking. If you are making whipped cream and you keep the mixer going eventually the whipped cream will break and you'll end up with butter. The lather may have peaks and then just broken back down to goo and water. Just try next time mixing for just 1 minute and see how things are, then go on as needed checking the brush every 25 seconds or so. Check out Mark's (Mantic) vids "the art of lather" and his video "Part 2 Lathering". They are truly fantastic. I have a boar brush and the longest I've ever mixed was just over a minute and I've always had enough lather for 4 passes plus plenty more.
    I too don't know anything about the cream you have, but you could try Proraso, its available at Target (in the Spa section next to the cosmetics) and its about 6 bucks or it's available online. It's a great cream and it's cheap.
    Tim

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    I just used Castle Forbes shaving cream for the first time this morning: COPIOUS lather! Great shaving cream.

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    Mark,

    I watched the lathering video and then this morning tried adding more water to the lather than I've been using. The amount of water I could add was amazing (it amazed me, at any rate). I suspect I could have added more -- I quit before the lather started to sag down the bottom of the bowl when I tilted it. The difference in the quality of the lather on my face was noticeable.

    Based on this, I'd suggest to anyone having lather trouble to try adding more water -- a lot more -- than you think you'll need.

    This is very cool -- and a little scary. I've been shaving a looonnngg time, and I've only been here a short time, but I'm finding that experience doesn't necessarily mean I know what I'm doing. Thanks, guys.

    Gene.

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    Quote Originally Posted by charleton
    Mark,

    I watched the lathering video and then this morning tried adding more water to the lather than I've been using. The amount of water I could add was amazing (it amazed me, at any rate). I suspect I could have added more -- I quit before the lather started to sag down the bottom of the bowl when I tilted it. The difference in the quality of the lather on my face was noticeable.

    Based on this, I'd suggest to anyone having lather trouble to try adding more water -- a lot more -- than you think you'll need.

    This is very cool -- and a little scary. I've been shaving a looonnngg time, and I've only been here a short time, but I'm finding that experience doesn't necessarily mean I know what I'm doing. Thanks, guys.

    Gene.

    The videos are great. Gig 'Em!
    -Homer

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