04-02-2014, 06:20 AM
#1
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Since I started wet shaving in December, I've always used creams. For me, it's just easier, or so I thought. I ordered a sample puck from Stirling, Ozark Mountain scent, and used it today for the first time. I love the scent of this. WOW!!

I don't think I lathered it quite right, as it seemed a bit thin for me, but it got better every time I lathered. I face lather, and the first pass seemed thin, but I think I had too much water on the brush. The 2nd and 3rd passes were much better.

The shave itself was great. I used my Merkur 1904, with the handle from the $8 Stirling razor I got, Gillette 7 O'clock Green, and Shave Secret for a pre-shave. This turned out to be a very close, smooth and comfortable shave, no nicks or weeper.

Is this soap just that much better than the creams? For reference, I use TOBS Eton College and Shave Shop creams, as well as Proraso Red and CO Bigelow Green.

Thanks!

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 04-02-2014, 06:30 AM
#2
  • v4257
  • Always chasing the perfect shave
  • Boston, USA
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While I don't know exactly why this is - my best soaps perform much better than my best creams.

If you take a gander at the ingredient lists - some soaps & creams are very similar (in the simplest case Stearic acid and a lye) - so I'm not sure what causes the difference in performance.

Perhaps the soap-making experts can provide some insight?

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 04-02-2014, 06:39 AM
#3
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A common mistake when first using soaps is not using enough product. Using a wetter brush to start with is not a problem, so long as the product quantity is a match for it.
Soak your brush, give it 2 or 3 light shakes, then swirl on the soap for at least a minute. The wetter the brush, the messier it can become, but this way always seems to give me the best lather. Then take brush to face and proceed to build the lather.

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 04-02-2014, 07:01 AM
#4
  • TheMonk
  • Super Moderator
  • Porto, Portugal
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(04-02-2014, 06:39 AM)Optometrist Wrote: A common mistake when first using soaps is not using enough product. Using a wetter brush to start with is not a problem, so long as the product quantity is a match for it.
Soak your brush, give it 2 or 3 light shakes, then swirl on the soap for at least a minute. The wetter the brush, the messier it can become, but this way always seems to give me the best lather. Then take brush to face and proceed to build the lather.

Agreed. A considerably damp brush invariably provides me with better results also. My mistake as a newbie was always starting with an almost dry bush, as a consequence of the advices of most online shaving sites I'd read at the time.

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 04-02-2014, 07:34 AM
#5
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Stirling lathers great, but I have a couple of points -- despite what The Monk says, load with a fairly dry brush (shake out most of the water). Drip some water on the puck while you're showering. Load generously.

Then add the water back when lathering it -- whether on your face, or in a bowl. That water is needed, but it inhibits pulling enough product off the puck if you've got a lot of water in there with the puck. You want to get to a nice zone where those bristles have activated the surface of the puck, and are sort of sticking to it and pulling off product. The proto-lather should be dense and white, and not at all wet and foamy.

Then in the next step you can be generous with water. But there needs to be enough product on that brush and sometimes the tallow soaps are sort of waxy and resistant to loading.

After a while none of this requires thought. It seems to lather easily no matter what, because you get a sense for when it's loading well.

(04-02-2014, 06:39 AM)Optometrist Wrote: A common mistake when first using soaps is not using enough product. Using a wetter brush to start with is not a problem, so long as the product quantity is a match for it.

I don't disagree with this, but for someone needing to see what it does with enough product, loading with a fairly dry brush (on a pre-wetted puck) really shows what it looks like to be pulling enough product off the puck.

Getting some of that water out removes one of the variables for a beginner to really see/detect how much product is loading.

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 04-02-2014, 07:55 AM
#6
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I love the whole process of loading the soap or rubbing it on my face to face-lather. I have never enjoyed creams very much. Good luck. Smile

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 04-02-2014, 10:52 AM
#7
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Good info. Thanks!! It seems like bowl lathering is the way to go with this soap. I'll try it.

Now, when you finish, what do you do with the residue left in the bowl, on the soap? Do you rinse it, just scoop it out, or just leave it?

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 04-02-2014, 08:22 PM
#8
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Just a note, if you're using a synthetic brush don't soak it. It serves absolutely no purpose with one and it will just make a mess when it unloads that water that's in the base of the knot. And that's if you really dry the brush off. Shake it off as though it was a natural fiber brush and well, all I'll say is that it's a mistake to do IMO.

Dip the extreme ends of the tips only and go back as required for a small amount of water. Or put the water directly on the soap and control the water that way.

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 04-03-2014, 02:26 AM
#9
  • BobH
  • Senior Member
  • Thunder Bay Canada
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(04-02-2014, 08:22 PM)ShadowsDad Wrote: Just a note, if you're using a synthetic brush don't soak it. It serves absolutely no purpose with one and it will just make a mess when it unloads that water that's in the base of the knot. And that's if you really dry the brush off. Shake it off as though it was a natural fiber brush and well, all I'll say is that it's a mistake to do IMO.

Dip the extreme ends of the tips only and go back as required for a small amount of water. Or put the water directly on the soap and control the water that way.

You have the 100% right about synthetics in my experience too.

Bob

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 04-03-2014, 02:45 AM
#10
  • TheMonk
  • Super Moderator
  • Porto, Portugal
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(04-02-2014, 07:34 AM)Face Bannon Wrote: Stirling lathers great, but I have a couple of points -- despite what The Monk says, load with a fairly dry brush (shake out most of the water). Drip some water on the puck while you're showering. Load generously.

Then add the water back when lathering it -- whether on your face, or in a bowl. That water is needed, but it inhibits pulling enough product off the puck if you've got a lot of water in there with the puck. You want to get to a nice zone where those bristles have activated the surface of the puck, and are sort of sticking to it and pulling off product. The proto-lather should be dense and white, and not at all wet and foamy.

Then in the next step you can be generous with water. But there needs to be enough product on that brush and sometimes the tallow soaps are sort of waxy and resistant to loading.

After a while none of this requires thought. It seems to lather easily no matter what, because you get a sense for when it's loading well.

(04-02-2014, 06:39 AM)Optometrist Wrote: A common mistake when first using soaps is not using enough product. Using a wetter brush to start with is not a problem, so long as the product quantity is a match for it.

I don't disagree with this, but for someone needing to see what it does with enough product, loading with a fairly dry brush (on a pre-wetted puck) really shows what it looks like to be pulling enough product off the puck.

Getting some of that water out removes one of the variables for a beginner to really see/detect how much product is loading.

I understand your technique, and have used it on occasion, with some particular soaps, but the damp brush works 99% of the time, IMHO. I believe most of the difficulties to lather MWF, for instance, derive from an excessively dry brush.

Another reason the damp brush works for me, is that I wet my soaps with fairly hot water before showering, and so even the damp bristles have no problem extracting the soap. Smile

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