03-04-2013, 05:34 PM
#1
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So I'm assuming it's user error but I'm having some poor experiences with shave soaps. I've tried:

Mama Bear
Mystic Water
Stirling Soap Co.
VHD (good performing)
Williams
Honey Bee Spa (good performing)

I am following the scripts on proper loading and building lather...(I think I am anyway) but nothing seems to give me the thick slick lather unless I add some creme to the mix.
So any guidance would be appreciated. Soaps aren't overly expensive but after 6 tries and several pucks in my cabinet I'm a bit gun shy (or soap shy).

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 03-04-2013, 05:52 PM
#2
  • beartrap
  • Resident Цирюльник
  • Southern California
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Judging by you statement that VDH is a good performer, I assume you are not loading properly the other soaps.
What technic did you try on your other soap? Did you swirl semi-wet brush until it was loaded and was almost sticking to the soap surface? Did you add water, a few drops at a time? Did you try bowl lathering?

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 03-04-2013, 06:11 PM
#3
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Many of those soaps give even experienced lathermeisters fits; Williams, Mamma Bear & Mystic Water for sure. VDH is easy enough but I don't know much about Stirling or Honey Bee.

99% of all lather troubles can be fixed by using more product.

That said:
  1. Is your water hard or soft?
  2. Bowl or face lathering?
  3. How long are you loading your brush for?
  4. Are you starting with a really wet brush or a damp but not dry brush?

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 03-04-2013, 06:12 PM
#4
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I'll start the chorus of "not enough product." Most of my early soap issues were due to simply not loading enough soap, as beartrap suggested.

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 03-04-2013, 06:25 PM
#5
  • beartrap
  • Resident Цирюльник
  • Southern California
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The main reason of "not enough product" issue is the timings all over internet: load this soap for x seconds, that soap for x minutes. Don't listen and don't count, just load and load until it can load no more. You will adjust latter with more experience.

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 03-04-2013, 06:33 PM
#6
  • tgutc
  • Senior Member
  • Michigan
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Follow suggestions given and you will see better results. However, I would could call it just bad luck that those are the soaps you started with. Personally, I found Mystic Water to be impossible to create lather with. Mama Bear is better but tough to get that really dense slick lather your looking for. Williams is largely thought of as being very tough to lather. I've never used Stirling but I have heard that can be tough as well. It might be worth your time to start a thread asking members for soap suggestions based on ease of lathering alone.

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 03-04-2013, 06:44 PM
#7
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Mystic Water is worse than MNS. It requires a very very long loading period and some fine tuning during the loading too. Definitely not for the faint of brush.

I think you should try croaps instead. Or Tabac, just to see what an easily latherable triple milled soap is really like. Smells bad, but....

Or, if you know you'll stick to it, DR Harris.

Any other soap requires some skill to get it to work IME. IMO.

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 03-04-2013, 06:51 PM
#8
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TABAC is definitely one of the easiest to lather hard soaps. De Vergulde Hand is another along with Dr. Dittmar.

Or you can just jump to the front of the easy to lather train & get some Martin de Candre. You'll get there eventually anyway. Getting it now will just save you from spending money on all the others.

Yes, that was slightly tongue in cheek but there's also a bit of truth to it too (for me anyway)!

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 03-04-2013, 07:07 PM
#9
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(03-04-2013, 06:51 PM)SharpSpine Wrote: TABAC is definitely one of the easiest to lather hard soaps. De Vergulde Hand is another along with Dr. Dittmar.

Or you can just jump to the front of the easy to lather train & get some Martin de Candre. You'll get there eventually anyway. Getting it now will just save you from spending money on all the others.

Yes, that was slightly tongue in cheek but there's also a bit of truth to it too (for me anyway)!

MdC is the king of hard soap for sure. Did not recommend it because it does not exactly fit into the "cheap" category.

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 03-04-2013, 07:10 PM
#10
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I'd steer you toward Provence Sante soap. It's easy to lather and top notch to boot.

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 03-04-2013, 09:13 PM
#11
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(03-04-2013, 06:44 PM)asharperrazor Wrote: Mystic Water is worse than MNS. It requires a very very long loading period and some fine tuning during the loading too. Definitely not for the faint of brush.

I think you should try croaps instead. Or Tabac, just to see what an easily latherable triple milled soap is really like. Smells bad, but....

I find Mystic Water soaps to be one of my easiest lathering soaps. No matter how I load it or lather it, it never fails to impress me for lather, performance or skin conditioning. All part of the grand YMMV that is wetshaving.

I'll echo your thoughts on using a croap. Pick a RazoRock in a scent you think you'd like a go to town. The Fresco is fantastic!

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 03-04-2013, 09:22 PM
#12
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I don't get along well with MW either. Frustrating stuff. I find Mike's to be almost fool-proof by comparison.

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 03-04-2013, 10:57 PM
#13
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(03-04-2013, 09:13 PM)5Savages Wrote:
(03-04-2013, 06:44 PM)asharperrazor Wrote: Mystic Water is worse than MNS. It requires a very very long loading period and some fine tuning during the loading too. Definitely not for the faint of brush.

I think you should try croaps instead. Or Tabac, just to see what an easily latherable triple milled soap is really like. Smells bad, but....

I find Mystic Water soaps to be one of my easiest lathering soaps. No matter how I load it or lather it, it never fails to impress me for lather, performance or skin conditioning. All part of the grand YMMV that is wetshaving.

I'll echo your thoughts on using a croap. Pick a RazoRock in a scent you think you'd like a go to town. The Fresco is fantastic!

I wonder if it's batch variance. We can't lather that differently.

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 03-05-2013, 03:01 AM
#14
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Try a soap stick, this way you dont have to be concerned with loading your brush, just rub it on a moist slightly damp face then build your lather on your face with a damp brush, adding a few drops of water as needed until you hit the sweet spot.

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 03-05-2013, 04:48 AM
#15
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Get a stick of Arko, it will almost lather itself!

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 03-05-2013, 07:16 AM
#16
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John - what might also be helpful to know to try to figure out why you're having a hard time is what brush you're using? This is an obvious statement, but the type of brush and how you handle it prior to loading makes a difference.

For a personal example, I recently bought a Rooney Stubby 1XL, which is short, stiff, and dense. I've been spending the week getting sub-optimal lathers, because I've been used to less dense brushes. This morning I decided to let it soak for longer than I usually do and the lather was really good and what I was looking for when I bought the brush. I realized it needed longer to soak to let the water get through the dense "wall of badger."

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 03-05-2013, 08:29 AM
#17
  • blzrfn
  • Butterscotch Bandit
  • Vancouver USA
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I would agree that all of those soaps you mention have been known to give many users lather issues. Not that they can't be lathered, but are a bit more tricky to dial in. Mystic Waters is one that I just gave up on, I didn't care for the overpowering scents and it was easy to go from almost perfect lather to magical disappearing lather with one dip of the brush.

I have had amazingly easy success from Italian soft soaps, in fact all that I have tried produce a wonderful thick and stable lather. Cella, RazoRock, Vitos, Proraso, P160 and I'm sure many others will be a real joy to have in the den and have a nice easy to achieve lather sweet spot.

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 03-05-2013, 08:45 AM
#18
  • Songwind
  • Soap Slinger & Scuttle Pusher
  • Burnsville, MN
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(03-04-2013, 10:57 PM)asharperrazor Wrote:
(03-04-2013, 09:13 PM)5Savages Wrote:
(03-04-2013, 06:44 PM)asharperrazor Wrote: Mystic Water is worse than MNS. It requires a very very long loading period and some fine tuning during the loading too. Definitely not for the faint of brush.

I think you should try croaps instead. Or Tabac, just to see what an easily latherable triple milled soap is really like. Smells bad, but....

I find Mystic Water soaps to be one of my easiest lathering soaps. No matter how I load it or lather it, it never fails to impress me for lather, performance or skin conditioning. All part of the grand YMMV that is wetshaving.

I'll echo your thoughts on using a croap. Pick a RazoRock in a scent you think you'd like a go to town. The Fresco is fantastic!

I wonder if it's batch variance. We can't lather that differently.

Personally I think a lot of people overload and under-work MW, just based on the threads I've read where people can't make it work.

This is not to suggest I find it foolproof or anything. For that I'd point you at RR or Proraso. But the only real issue I ever had was too much soap:water, and not working the lather long enough to get the water incorporated fully.

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 03-05-2013, 11:44 PM
#19
  • Mynorx
  • Active Member
  • Southern California
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get a palmolive shave stick

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 03-11-2013, 03:49 PM
#20
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You can eliminate one variable easily by using more product. I mean much more than you think. If we use an almond size of shaving cream, try using an almond size of soap. That way you'll have a lot of lather to work with.

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