03-09-2013, 04:50 AM
#1
  • Mike D
  • Junior Member
  • Germany
User Info
Hi Fellows. This is my first post and I have a question about role of the brush in the lathering technique for the shaving soap.

The foam is a mixture of soap, water and air. I would imagine that it should reach an equilibrium that depends on the soap/water ratio after enough work with the brush.

My question is how much of a role (if any) does the texture of the bristles on the brush play in getting the foam to its full potential? After watching several videos I can understand the difference between Boar, Badger and synthetic brushes and that they have different water holding characteristics.

Or will any reasonable shaving brush get the lather to its full potential?

Mike D.

0 29
Reply
 03-09-2013, 06:08 AM
#2
User Info
Any brush will get you there... eventually. Some faster than others. The main difference the "texture" of the bristles will affect is the loading process. Softer tips will take longer to load soap than scritchier tips.

31 7,914
Reply
 03-09-2013, 08:50 AM
#3
  • TexBilly
  • Moderator Emeritus
  • Austin, TX
User Info
Brian is right. My softer tip brushes do take longer to load and I have to take care I don't get "airy" lather by not loading long enough.

By the way, make sure and introduce yourself in the Introductions forum!

35 2,703
Reply
 03-09-2013, 11:10 AM
#4
  • Mike D
  • Junior Member
  • Germany
User Info
(03-09-2013, 08:50 AM)TexBilly Wrote: Brian is right. My softer tip brushes do take longer to load and I have to take care I don't get "airy" lather by not loading long enough.

By the way, make sure and introduce yourself in the Introductions forum!

Thanks Fellows,

Airy Lather...not thick enough but not runny because of too much water? Air/Soap ratio needs adjustment?

0 29
Reply
 03-09-2013, 01:37 PM
#5
User Info
(03-09-2013, 11:10 AM)Mike D Wrote:
(03-09-2013, 08:50 AM)TexBilly Wrote: Brian is right. My softer tip brushes do take longer to load and I have to take care I don't get "airy" lather by not loading long enough.

By the way, make sure and introduce yourself in the Introductions forum!

Thanks Fellows,

Airy Lather...not thick enough but not runny because of too much water? Air/Soap ratio needs adjustment?

Airy lather = large air bubbles & weak lather. You can see it in my video here (2:26 mark):



Along with the solution.

9 2,988
Reply
 03-09-2013, 01:55 PM
#6
User Info
Solution = keep loading. Biggrin

31 7,914
Reply
 03-09-2013, 08:03 PM
#7
User Info
Hi Mike,

What you're looking for isn't foam, it's lather. Foam is either too dry and drying out, or more probably too wet (not enough soap/cream/croap).

OK some of the characteristics of great lather...
> Bubbles so small they really can't be seen with the naked eye. A really great lather almost appears silky or takes on an irridescent sheen.
> Extremely cushiony when tested between the fingers and thumb
> extremely slick when tested between the fingers and thumb
> When brushed on the arm (as a test) it should last for 5 minutes or more before drying, in humid weather even longer.
>the very best lather, ultralather, will have an almost yogurt like consistency.

Foam won't be any of those things. Foam is an almost certain guarantee of razor burn. If you've made foam, just get rid of it and start over. Your skin is worth far more than the little bit of soap you'll waste.

Lather can be made with a wide variation of water/air/ soap ratios, but the more soap in the mix the better the lather will be as far as skin protection. That and lubrication are the 2 most important roles of lather, another role being the removal of the cut off whiskers.

IMO lather and particularly ultralather is a critical technique one should master. Again, IMO, you'll never achieve the very best and most comfortable shaves possible without possessing the critical skill of making perfect lather.

Brian Sharpspine has a video (look for the thread) about ultralather. That's the very best sort of lather IMO. It takes all the characteristics of a great lather and knocks them completely off scale. It's not dry lather, it's simply on the outer limits of the soap/water/air mix by using a larger than required quantity of soap/croap/cream.

32 6,309
Reply
 03-09-2013, 08:11 PM
#8
User Info
You really need to get all the different kinds of hair to see how each performs and which you like and which you don't.
Have fun with the experimenting.

75 20,883
Reply
 03-09-2013, 08:28 PM
#9
User Info
 03-10-2013, 03:41 AM
#10
  • Mike D
  • Junior Member
  • Germany
User Info
Ah...of course...Lather...not foam. Well, that demonstrates the level of supervision that I require at this point

ShadowsDad:

Thank you for listing the qualities. From your post I take it the goal is to maximize the solids and keep the water and air to a Minimum. I see a 3 component Phase Diagram in this. The question is now to design a Soap that maximizes these characteristics.

Nice vidoes SharpSpine. A bit of feed back... When you compared the Ultra to the Macro there was no commentary. The occational text in the Video would have been helpful to emphasize differences in the techniques and the result thereof...especially for us beginners who need these things pointed out.

0 29
Reply
 03-10-2013, 03:52 AM
#11
User Info
(03-10-2013, 03:41 AM)Mike D Wrote: Ah...of course...Lather...not foam. Well, that demonstrates the level of supervision that I require at this point

ShadowsDad:

Thank you for listing the qualities. From your post I take it the goal is to maximize the solids and keep the water and air to a Minimum. I see a 3 component Phase Diagram in this. The question is now to design a Soap that maximizes these characteristics.

Nice vidoes SharpSpine. A bit of feed back... When you compared the Ultra to the Macro there was no commentary. The occational text in the Video would have been helpful to emphasize differences in the techniques and the result thereof...especially for us beginners who need these things pointed out.

One thing you should notice from all my videos is that I don't talk & really don't plan to. I'll type out some more explanation as needed but usually a picture is worth a thousand words & lather videos are much more helpful than any words I could say. There is really only 1 difference in the techniques; water quantity, especially at the start.

31 7,914
Reply
 03-10-2013, 12:45 PM
#12
User Info
Hi Mike, sorry if I implied that there would be a special soap that made an ultralather. I believe that any soap that actually lathers can make one (there are products that really suck and one wonders WTF(?) after having bought one.). Then of course ordinary lather requires nothing special at all, just make lather and not foam and you're good. Ordinary lather is very useable. But ultralather only requires using more product to maximize the soap solids on the face and then not making as much lather as that amount of soap would normally produce.

I've made it with a $1 shave stick and a $50 soap. If it lathers it'll make an ultralather. In fact every lather I make today is an ultralther.

I believe if noobs concentrated on making lather first, then ultralather, a great deal of razor burn could be avoided. It only takes some time in front of the sink with brush, soap, and a hand to make lather in. Too, practice making lather and deliberately take it too far until it turns into foam and then breaks down into water. One must know what that looks like so as to avoid it.

But don't think UL will cure everything. No pressure is still critical also; lather can only do so much to aid in a great shave. If one understands just how sharp the blades are that we use it would go a long way to reduce folks applying pressure. I've seen sheets of skin cells in my sink after the shave. Just a little more pressure and I'd have sheets of living skin and a major problem. As long as one only removes sheets of dead skin cells it's no problem. Deeper and there's major razor burn, deeper still, well, there's blood down deeper. The blade is easily capable of doing it if misused. The point of all this is to use no pressure.

32 6,309
Reply
 03-11-2013, 01:25 AM
#13
  • Mike D
  • Junior Member
  • Germany
User Info
(03-10-2013, 12:45 PM)ShadowsDad Wrote: Hi Mike, sorry if I implied that there would be a special soap that made an ultralather. I believe that any soap that actually lathers can make one (there are products that really suck and one wonders WTF(?) after having bought one.). Then of course ordinary lather requires nothing special at all, just make lather and not foam and you're good. Ordinary lather is very useable. But ultralather only requires using more product to maximize the soap solids on the face and then not making as much lather as that amount of soap would normally produce.

I would not say a “special soap”. However there are oils and butters that are conducive to enhancing the desirable properties in the lather and thus would perhaps aid in achieving the “Ultralather” state.

Those 4 points that you made were very helpful in focusing my attention to these desirable properties.

0 29
Reply
 03-11-2013, 05:47 AM
#14
  • Songwind
  • Soap Slinger & Scuttle Pusher
  • Burnsville, MN
User Info
(03-11-2013, 01:25 AM)Mike D Wrote:
(03-10-2013, 12:45 PM)ShadowsDad Wrote: Hi Mike, sorry if I implied that there would be a special soap that made an ultralather. I believe that any soap that actually lathers can make one (there are products that really suck and one wonders WTF(?) after having bought one.). Then of course ordinary lather requires nothing special at all, just make lather and not foam and you're good. Ordinary lather is very useable. But ultralather only requires using more product to maximize the soap solids on the face and then not making as much lather as that amount of soap would normally produce.

I would not say a “special soap”. However there are oils and butters that are conducive to enhancing the desirable properties in the lather and thus would perhaps aid in achieving the “Ultralather” state.

Those 4 points that you made were very helpful in focusing my attention to these desirable properties.

Stearic and palmitic acids (either in refined form, or from tallow and palm oil) make for a creamy, stable lather. Olive tends toward bubbly and unstable, coconut is bubbly but more stable.

The best soaps I have for a thick creamy lather tend to start with stearic, palm or tallow oils in the ingredients list.

10 1,858
Reply
 03-11-2013, 08:37 AM
#15
  • Mike D
  • Junior Member
  • Germany
User Info
(03-11-2013, 05:47 AM)Songwind Wrote: Stearic and palmitic acids (either in refined form, or from tallow and palm oil) make for a creamy, stable lather. Olive tends toward bubbly and unstable, coconut is bubbly but more stable.

The best soaps I have for a thick creamy lather tend to start with stearic, palm or tallow oils in the ingredients list.

According to the INCI regulations for listing ingredients of cosmetics on the packaging, the ingredients have to be listed in the order of their content. Stearic and palmitic acids, tallow and coconut oil have a higher content of unsaturated fatty acids in their construction and add a creamy or bubbly property to the soap.

Olive oil on the other hand can contain over 85% unsaturated fats…the majority being oleic acids. This oil adds a conditioning property to the soap. Lather from pure olive oil soaps has a character all its own…it is really flat. I made pure olive oil soap before but not anymore except for a special request. I do make a 25% coconut oil and 75% olive oil mix and the coconut oil perks up the lather quite nicely.

An exception to the Saturated Fats creamy/bubbly and Unsaturated Fats/Conditioning rule is castor oil. It tends to do all three. However it has an alcohol group in the fatty acid carbon chain so this sets its triglyceride apart from all the others.

I would say if an olive soap is bubbling it is due to the other ingredients in the mix. Here is a link to an article on triglycerids.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triglyceride

This is the way that all fats and oils basically look. What imparts the different properties is the different combinations of the 3 fatty acid chains.

0 29
Reply
 05-15-2013, 11:44 PM
#16
User Info
Just wanted to add that Mike is a great guy and very, very helpful! Thanks for all the info in this post!

1 50
Reply
Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)