04-18-2012, 08:00 PM
#1
  • Tonality
  • Attempted Soap Sabbatical
  • Boston
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First some background, I live on the Eastern border of New Mexico in an area going through a big drought with water impurity levels just under the unsafe limit.

I first started wet shaving the beginning of this year and have been getting what I thought were good lathers and great shaves. I watched videos on line and knew my lather never looked as massive and luxurious as the videos, but I tallied it up to just bad technique that would improve over time.

Fast forward to today as I test lather some Mike's Natural Peppermint & Rosemary and for the first time from any soap, I just cannot get a good lather from it. I try with a bowl and on my palm and it always turns out wet and thin. Now, I haven't had this problem with any other of Mike's soaps, so I email him and asked how he goes about lathering to see if I could pick up anything I missed out on. It was while reading his response that something clicked in my head... "what about that distilled water you bought a while ago but never thought you actually needed?"

Curious, I got a mug of distilled water and soaked my brush 20mm TGN Silvertip brush in it, a brush I considered one of my least favorite performers. Few minutes later I take it to the soap after one slight flick to get rid of excess water, swirl for ~30 seconds then start mixing in a bowl...

Needless to say, the lather was extremely exceptional after the brush tips were dipped in the distilled water a couple more times and whipping for a minute or so.

I guess I learned my lesson, I already knew how hard the water was here, but due to my slight ignorance I've been missing out on top quality shaves for the past few months.

That all said and done, tomorrow's shave is going to be excellent!

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 04-18-2012, 08:08 PM
#2
  • TexBilly
  • Moderator Emeritus
  • Austin, TX
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It's amazing how water alone can affect lathering in a big way and you seem to have zeroed in on the culprit so well done!

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 04-18-2012, 08:24 PM
#3
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Thumbsup

I've been wondering for awhile how Mikes would work with severely hard water.

Great solution!

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 04-18-2012, 08:51 PM
#4
  • Tonality
  • Attempted Soap Sabbatical
  • Boston
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(04-18-2012, 08:24 PM)ShadowsDad Wrote: Thumbsup

I've been wondering for awhile how Mikes would work with severely hard water.

Great solution!

Mike's face-lathered well enough for me even with hard water. It was bowl lathering that brought the problem to my attention.

Would you like a bottle of water from here to try for yourself? Tongue

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 04-18-2012, 10:58 PM
#5
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I've often wanted to test my lathering abilities, but no thanks, I'll pass. Thanks though!

It's been 40 years since I've used hard water for anything, but it hasn't been long enough for me to forget.

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 04-18-2012, 11:10 PM
#6
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We are extremely fortunate up here in Vancouver on the west coast; all this soft water is amazing! Only problem is that we get an excess of it!!

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 04-19-2012, 05:42 AM
#7
  • EHV
  • Senior Member
  • Milford,PA
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I used distilled water for every shave. While not likely as bad as your water, our well water is too hard for decent lather. I originally got this from Lesiureguy's great book.

Even though I soak my brush and make my lather with the distilled water, my initial face wash and hot towel is done with sink/well water just for convenience sake and this doesn't seem to have any ill effect on the whole protocol.

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 04-19-2012, 07:19 AM
#8
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I think water quality is a factor often overlooked and neglected in wet shaving discussions and tutorials. It's good to see your testimonial.

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