02-28-2014, 08:11 AM
#1
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Hey Guys,

I'm a soap user; I don't have much experience with creams. I have 3-4 soaps in my rotation at the moment: Cella, RR Classic, Klar Kabinett (KK) and just yesterday I used a mystery Truefitt and Hill (TH) soap I acquired in a BST purchase.

I find that I get a smoother shave with I use RR Classic or KK than when I use Cella but after one use of the TH, i'm hooked. My face felt so smooth and soft.

Is what i'm experiencing an effect of the individual soaps (ie; do some soaps shave better than others) or is my issue my technique not being 100% all the time?

Thanks!

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 02-28-2014, 08:46 AM
#2
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No doubt soaps differ, and their lather qualities differ. Some are slicker, some are more protective, some leave a better face feel after the shave.

I can't speak to your technique, but I suspect everybody has some days that are better than others (as nobody is perfect).

However, your soap choice can and will influence the parameters of your shave.

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 02-28-2014, 08:53 AM
#3
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(02-28-2014, 08:46 AM)kingfisher Wrote: No doubt soaps differ, and their lather qualities differ. Some are slicker, some are more protective, some leave a better face feel after the shave.

I can't speak to your technique, but I suspect everybody has some days that are better than others (as nobody is perfect).

However, your soap choice can and will influence the parameters of your shave.

+1 It can also depend on how hydrated you make your soap. If you add enough water, most good soaps should do a very good job. With experience and time, you will find which soaps work best for you. Good luck.

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 02-28-2014, 09:12 AM
#4
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We all have unique chemistries and shave soaps have unique formulations. While we will all have our own personal preferences there are many variables that can effect your lather and how it leaves your skin feeling post shave. Personal hydration is one of the biggest variables that goes overlooked ofttimes. While YMMV certainly applies there is also much to be considered regarding our own abilities and how we "prep" the stage even before the lather hits the face.

Just search for what works well for you then have fun performing personal experiments. You may be surprised at how many soaps you once thought weren't for you can become your favorite. Or as in my case you may just verify over and over a specific ingredient or category of ingredients that you simply have to avoid. Just don't give up quickly as you can easily miss out on some really great soaps. Some issues can be fixed while others can't. The nice thing is that there is a ton of options in today's traditional shaving marketplace.

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 02-28-2014, 10:15 AM
#5
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Great posts by kingfisher, Celestino and SharpSpine. Agreed!

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 02-28-2014, 12:57 PM
#6
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I have received great shaves with, for example, TOBS Avocado and I have received lousy shaves with TOBS Avocado. Over the years I have discovered that the key is with the lather, no matter the soap. I have also learned that some soaps are easier than others to lather. I have built my soap and cream supply around those that best fit my shaving needs; however, I still need to pay attention to what I am doing when putting the brush to the soap!

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 02-28-2014, 01:25 PM
#7
  • Crag
  • Senior Member
  • Menifee, Ca 92586
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(02-28-2014, 12:57 PM)LookingGlass Wrote: I have received great shaves with, for example, TOBS Avocado and I have received lousy shaves with TOBS Avocado.

Ed, I had one of those crappy shaves today with a soap I've had wonderful shaves with...lol

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 02-28-2014, 02:47 PM
#8
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Great advice already offered from the posts above. I will add encouragement for you to try soaps made by some of the artisan soap makers. I have always enjoyed tallow based soaps and have come to appreciate some vegan soaps. I have found some vegan soaps that produce they same cushioning, slickness, and conditioning qualities as some of the tallow soaps.

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 02-28-2014, 03:10 PM
#9
  • Giorgio
  • Senior Member
  • Pennsylvania, US
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Technique and prep are certainly factors, but soap ingredients combined with the process by which it is made can also have an impact on performance and especially on post shave feel.

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 02-28-2014, 08:33 PM
#10
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IMO, We're discussing different issues and they need to be taken individually.

I think that the lather made greatly influences the shave, but the quality of the soap influences the feel after the shave. Some soaps just produce great lather more easily. Maybe that's part of what you're experiencing.

We don't discuss it much anymore, but I make an ultra lather every morning and that gives me a fantastic shave with ARKO, VdH, ABCBA, or MDC. But the after the shave skin feel is much better with the more expensive soaps, ABCBA and MDC in the case of my example soaps.

I haven't found any shave soaps yet (or creams or croaps) that I can't make an ultra lather with no matter the price. But that great skin feel after the shave certainly doesn't happen with ARKO (not to pick on ARKO, but it's the least expensive soap I know of).

IMO, the after the shave skin feel is best handled with a product designed specifically for that whether the soap left your face feeling great or not. Concentrate on the lather required for a great shave no matter what soap you use. That's the primary job of lather... the shave. Then finish up the shave with a great product for the skin.

Another factor that can influence the shave is face lathering. If additional time is built in to allow time for the lather to hydrate the whiskers they'll slice off with less effort and I think closer. About 3 minutes is optimum. Could it be that you liked the T&H experience more and thereby allowed it more time to soften the whiskers?

FWIW, any shave soap/cream/croap will do that whisker softening action. That's why I face lather and never hurry it.

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 02-28-2014, 08:36 PM
#11
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^^^ Bow ^^^

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 02-28-2014, 08:45 PM
#12
  • Teddyboy
  • Guilty, with an explanation
  • NYC
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I currently have 34 soaps in my rotation. At odd times I get a bad shave, but in general I doubt if any of them are significantly better than the others. This fortunate state results from me buying soaps that are widely acclaimed to be excellent, which would explain the generally excellent performance.

However, the single most important factor that affects my shave is face preparation. Only within the last couple of weeks have I revisited this issue by trying to ensure that my face prep is consistent. I have, in the past, been inattentive to prepping, only to have it dawn on me that I had been remiss. Once I get on track, my shaves greatly improve. I guess what I'm saying is that although one is consciously aware of its importance, it may slip one's mind to be consistently attentive in face prep.

Further, it may be useful to load the soaps for a longer time so that each soap is maximally loaded - 60 sec should be sufficient.

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 03-01-2014, 07:13 AM
#13
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I have been wet shaving for about 2 months and I have a couple of comments. I have 4 soaps in my rotation. PR Sandalwood is the easiest to lather. GFT is my favorite scent. EJ seems to be my least favorite. Point being, I spend more time with GFT because the lather is okay but I like the scent. I do observe differences in the soaps but they seem minor. The differences seem to be in building the lather and hydration. For me it really comes down to lather versus scent. GFT makes feel confident and I seem to do a better job shaving with it. Both soap and technique have played a factor in my shaving experience. Thank you for this threads.

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 03-01-2014, 08:04 AM
#14
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i care less about scents - and if all soaps were scentless i would be happy with that. ultimately i always judge a soap how my skin feels the next day.

i find great differences even within a brand and continue to search for the soap.

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 03-01-2014, 08:53 AM
#15
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Wow, thanks for the detailed responses guys!

So my new question is: how do you know when you have the right consistency of lather?

I've tried a few ways of making lather (soaking wet brush, damp brush, relatively dry brush, badger, horse hair, etc). I typically load the brush until I hear a "sticky/pastey" sound; this is typically about 30 seconds or 30 mississippis. Then I take this and build it on my face until I get a thick lather. I don't really know when to stop so I just keep going until it starts making a mess, but I dont know if this is the lather that I want or need.

So far i'm finding that Cella is the easiest to lather like this; the T&H felt a little thin; I couldn't really get it thick but the shave was great.

I've looked at various lathering videos on youtube, but it's hard to gauge the consistency of the lather from a video.

I also recently installed a water softener, so i'm not sure if that's had an effect yet (don't know if the softened water has fully been incorporated into my hot water tank.

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 03-01-2014, 10:52 AM
#16
  • XP100
  • Veteran Shaver!
  • Florida, USA
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Some soaps are definitely better than others, in terms of good lathering, skin hydration, lubrication, many things factored in can vary. Using s good pre-shave can also make a good soap work even better. As I've often said ingredients play the biggest role in how a soap performs for me.

A good lather will typically have a slightly buttery consistency when brushed over in straight paintbrush-like strokes, just a touch of foaminess at the onset, at least for me. When whipping up a bowl lather I look for s whipped cream like consistency, no visible bubbles, that usually works for me. If it gets too foamy the razor/ blade won't glide as well and it drips or plops, too much water. If too buttery the blade gap gets choked with soap and becomes less efficient. When face lathering I'll usually try to first get a rich foam, using gentle circular patterns to work my skin and lift the hairs, then use my brush like a paint brush to create that buttered toast like layer going against the grain to lift the hairs especially for the first pass.

Sent from my SlimBean Shoe-Phone!

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 03-01-2014, 12:16 PM
#17
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Here's how I make my lather and you'll get a good look at the consistency.


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 03-04-2014, 08:47 PM
#18
  • MaxP
  • Senior Member
  • Madison, WI
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(03-01-2014, 08:53 AM)Starkicker Wrote: I also recently installed a water softener, so i'm not sure if that's had an effect yet (don't know if the softened water has fully been incorporated into my hot water tank.

You will discover that soft water makes a significant difference in the quality of your lather and the amount of product you use.

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 03-04-2014, 09:15 PM
#19
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(03-04-2014, 08:47 PM)MaxP Wrote: You will discover that soft water makes a significant difference in the quality of your lather and the amount of product you use.[/font]

+1 Nothing like having naturally soft water! Best thing for lathering soaps! Biggrin

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 03-05-2014, 05:06 PM
#20
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Just got the water softener installed, I think i'm starting to see a difference in the lather. It feels creamier and "lusher".

I managed to get a sample of Strop Shoppe London Morning; I used it and while the lather petered out by the third pass, it was still slick an gave me a decent shave. I had to skip a day to shave because the next day I didn't feel any stubble growth.

I used Cella this morning and by evening I can already feel the stubble. What gives? How can some soap give me 2 days between growth and Cella barely give me a day? I used the same blade and same razor, and I would hope the same technique.

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