06-20-2014, 10:08 AM
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After trying a bunch of new soap brands lately, I've come to a realization about loading the soap onto the brush. A lot of people say they load the soap for 10 swirls or 20 seconds or 60 seconds. Even I would do this. But from what I've seen, this turns out to not be very helpful to other people.

I always would whisk the tips of whatever brush I was using very lightly, and do that for 45-60 seconds. I've never had a problem generating lather like this, but if anything it may have been a bit too thick on the first pass and lighter on the subsequent passes. Recently though I've used more forceful swirls and only loaded for 10 seconds. The result? The exact same lather! And due to the soap penetrating a bit deeper into the brush, the lather seemed to be a bit more consistent from one pass to the next. I experimented with LA Shaving Soaps, Tiki Bar soaps, and Wet Shave Obsession. In each case left some water on top of the puck for a few minutes beforehand. The results were similar for each.

So this just shows me that like everything else, the act of loading a brush is a YMMV activity. But when giving someone advice, telling them to load for a specific amount of time isn't very useful. A visual observation of the soap being fully loaded onto the hair/bristles is a telling indicator.

(Sorry for the lack of pics, I didn't think of it at the time and I'm writing this thread during lunch at work).

10 2,062
 06-20-2014, 10:24 AM
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John, very astute observations and you definitely are a dedicated wet-shaver doing this on your lunch break! Biggrin

I guess we will never be able to eliminate the YMMV thing, which is actually quite nice as it provides us with so much to discuss! Biggrin

89 21,190
 06-20-2014, 10:28 AM
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Yes, good points. Like most everything else in wet shaving, including lather application, blade edge qualities, razor angle and pressure, and all the various scents, it is a matter of balance. And for each of us the balance is different.

214 12,701
 06-20-2014, 10:47 AM
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Giving a suggestion of a time can be a good start, but it's best accompanied by advice on how to modify that time for their needs.

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 06-20-2014, 01:22 PM
  • Leo K.
  • Senior Member
  • Mankato MN
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Very good observation and I'm glad for this discussion! I've had this question for awhile now - how forceful should I be when loading the brush!

I usually stir forcefully to load soap but my arm gets terribly achy and sore and then shakes when I'm shaving. It's one of the reasons I pick up my Barbasol can!

It's good to now a light touch will work too, I'll have to try that.

1 751
 06-20-2014, 02:07 PM
  • ben74
  • Senior Member
  • Perth, Australia
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Just be careful not to load with too much pressure as this may damage the knot.

Excessive pressure when loading (and building lather) can collapse the inner core of the shaving brush.
Pressing hard down on the product, especially when combined with hard circular motions can cause the hairs to twist and break.
This usually occurs in the centre or core of the knot.
Many manufacturers advise against pressure and circular motions and recommend back and forth paint-brush motions as best when loading and lathering.

I always use circular motions when loading (and building in a bowl), but choose more time over pressure.
I paint brush when building or applying lather on the face.
Other options for loading include wetting the product first, shredding hard soaps or stirring/breaking the top layer of croaps prior to loading.

[Image: 7wz3hNx.png]

101 18,029
 06-20-2014, 02:33 PM
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While YMMV is so true, most soaps behave differently. Some are so finicky that unless you get the load just right, you are not going to get a good lather. I find that most of the Artisan soft soaps require a slightly longer load for me to get that thick creamy lather. Some, like Jabonman seem to lather really easy regardless of load.

I use 30 seconds with light pressure as a starting point and adjust from there based on the soap. Good points though to show that there is more than one way to load the lather.

32 344
 06-20-2014, 03:24 PM
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Good point about potential damage to the brush, Ben. That's originally why I used such light pressure, and could hardly believe it when people said they could load in 10 seconds or less. Even with using more pressure I'm not going nuts with it and doubt I'm using enough to damage it. Although I could see how some could get carried away.

10 2,062
 06-20-2014, 03:30 PM
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I think the main pint is, as you say, to observe the brush and the load in the bristles. No matter how forcefully you load, if you soak the soap, use a boar vs a silvertip what matters is the quantity of soap in those bristles.

Sent from my GT-I9300 using Tapatalk

0 84
 06-27-2014, 02:26 AM
  • Mouser
  • Senior Member
  • Forest City, Florida U.S.A.
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Ben is spot on, although I follow procedure just because what's the hurry? I usually have an old Ali/Frazier fight playing on you tube or an old Vikings game from the Page/Eller days or even the news. I take my time, use all my equipment with the prevailing thought that I want it to survive me.

8 2,485
 06-27-2014, 05:01 AM
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Very true! I don't think that shortening the longevity of a fine brush is worth saving a few seconds on an activity I enjoy anyway. This was just an experiment Biggrin

10 2,062
 06-27-2014, 07:10 PM
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I like this post.

Of course one should be carefull not to put excessive pressure on the brush while swirling and loading, to avoid damaging the inner core - but it's a brush, it's meant to be used.

It WILL at some stage fall apart.
This calls for buying a new brush......Tongue

Yeahhh so maybe you can't get hold of Simpson 2-Band hair in that specific hair quality - so what, that's life - take good care of the brush, but use it and swirl it.

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