05-31-2012, 07:27 PM
#1
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So what started out as a simple PM between BrianK (ShadowsDad) and I started me on a lather quest. BrianK mentioned something he noticed when lathering his beloved P.160 that he termed "UltraLather". The concept intrigued me and we set out to test it some. It seems that the best UltraLathers come from the super-fatted soaps but other soaps can achieve it as well though they might not have as good of skin care. Since adopting this lathering technique my shaves have reached the next level. I can easily and consistently get the best out of any and all my soaps. After all, it is the goodies in the soap that we're after, not the water, right? 

So what is UltraLather? UltraLather is all about soap solids, not loads and loads of saturated lather. Instead it's an ultra-dense lather that is very creamy, provides great cushion, and has enough water incorporated into it to be very slick. If you were to fully saturate the soap solids with water you would end up with heaps & heaps of lather, but that's not what we're after with UltraLather. Instead we want the most soap solids around our skin & hair as possible with just enough water for some great lubricity. 

To accomplish this a drier brush approach (damp, not dripping) is needed. Once the brush is loaded you only add enough water through dipping the tips to prevent the lather from drying out & sticking to your razor. 

The Marco Method will not produce an UltraLather. There is just too much water involved to realistically get the abundance of soap solids required for an UltraLather. So while you can still create a rich, creamy, slick lather that shaves well, it won't be the UltraLather that is possible. 

While I've tried to describe this in previous posts, BrianK and I have gone back & forth discussing it via PM & email, there just is too much that can't be expressed in words. So I've decided to make an attempt at some lathering videos comparing the two techniques (UltraLather & MarcoMethod) using both a badger & a boar brush. 

1st video (hopefully in a series to come): 
Soap: Cella
Badger: Vulfix 2234 Super
Boar: Semogue 820

Video 1 - Vulfix 2234S UltraLather

Video 2 - Vulfix 2234S MarcoMethod

Video 3 - Semogue 820 UltraLather

Video 4 - Semogue 820 MarcoMethod



These videos represent my very first attempt at any type of demonstration. Please bare with me & don't tear me up too bad. I didn't take the time to dub any music over it nor is there any sound as I found that preferable over hearing me breathe in the background. Winky

Thank you & please let me know if it's worth seeing these comparisons with some other soaps. If I have it, then I'll make it happen... eventually! Biggrin

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 05-31-2012, 07:57 PM
#2
  • Songwind
  • Soap Slinger & Scuttle Pusher
  • Burnsville, MN
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I think it would be worth it with a harder soap.

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 05-31-2012, 07:59 PM
#3
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(05-31-2012, 07:57 PM)Songwind Wrote: I think it would be worth it with a harder soap.

Yeah, I've got TABAC & MNS on my list along with MWF since so many have trouble with it.

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 05-31-2012, 08:32 PM
#4
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Which method do you prefer, and why?

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 05-31-2012, 08:37 PM
#5
  • Tonality
  • Attempted Soap Sabbatical
  • Boston
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Well I'm pretty amazed. I know what I shall be doing in the morning... mimicking your videos and seeing if I can get the same results. I though I had some good lathers, but you have shown me a completely unexplored world.

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 05-31-2012, 08:51 PM
#6
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Yeah, MWF makes a nice UL.

So does KMF cream- it's actually easy to make with it.

Since we've been working on it I also tried Williams, that water hog. It's still a water hog, but use lots and I mean lots of damp brush loading and give it some of the water it wants and it turns into something really good. Yes, I know that's heresy.

But it's soap solids with enough water to make a lather that isn't dry, but has enough hydration for stability and to make a dense, slick lather. The really high quality soaps/creams make the richest and best for the skin (They're like cold cream) but even Williams can make it and turn itself into a really decent performer.

Oginally I thought only the high end soaps could pull it off but I had to change my tune on that. The high end stuff is the equivalent of caviar for the shave lathered this way, but the low grade stuff is pretty darn good. KMF, which I always liked is easy to make UL with, and it rivals or bests some of the best soaps on the planet. I use one full pump, but I have soft water- use what you need.

Yes, it uses more soap. Yes, soap is a tool, use it any way you wish. It's also inexpensive. What is a close, irritation free, shave worth? I can't answer that for you, only you can.

It isn't dry lather, that needs to be stressed. It's properly hydrated lather with maybe 2x the soap solids in it for cushion and lubricity that's off the scale. It's not fully hydrated if that means taking the lather and making the full amount of lahter that the quantity of soap can produce. We give quantity up and go for quality with Ultralather (UL).

Don't be surprised if you find you need a more aggressive razor, or if the SS works, that you don't even feel the blade. For a quick touchup, if the UL has been made right, just a little water film gets you the slickness you need for a light touchup - no actual lather required. In use density(cushion) is way off the scale, so is slickness.

Just be aware, you want to make a soap paste, or you can start with a cream, the lather won't lack for water, but will have plenty yet still won't be made into as much volume as it could be. If it dries out in use it was dry. If it's like cold cream consistency and doesn't dry out it's right. Williams is tricky, the higher fatted and super fatted soaps are easier. Still learning about it, so bear with us.

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 05-31-2012, 09:59 PM
#7
  • tgutc
  • Senior Member
  • Michigan
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Good job! This is great stuff.

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 05-31-2012, 10:27 PM
#8
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(05-31-2012, 08:32 PM)slackskin Wrote: Which method do you prefer, and why?

SS, the videos are of UL (UltraLather) compared to a standard lather made with a soaked brush. Compare the 2 types at the end. The standard lather is good, but compared to UL, it's a poor second.

In use the UL is just off the scale in every respect, cushion, lubricity, density, stability. There's just no comparison.

I recently posted a reason that items tested can't be tested because we use different methods and materials. I posted that after mentioning during a soft Italian soap test that my results were entirely different than the posting testers results. That simple unassuming post was the catalyst for all of this. After Brian SS and I (BrianK) got to discussing it. Basically in our PMs back and forth I realized what the differences with those soaps tests were. It was like a bolt of lightning struck me and I bounced it off of Brian SS. Then it took off for both of us since we were in tune to it. Brian with his Dr. background and me with my test lab background.

We still have a test that we completed (P.160 vs DVH) that we haven't posted yet, but that may change now that this UL technique is out in the open. BTW, it was that test that got me to change my tune about only superfatted soaps were able to make ULers. I still think they make the best, with P.160 at the top of the heap (so far) but we're still testing. It really is one absolutely luxurious shave lather and that's no lie.

I thought everyone was making these ultra lathers and hadn't a clue until Brian SS asked what I was talking about. I didn't know it was anything special.

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 05-31-2012, 10:38 PM
#9
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(05-31-2012, 10:27 PM)ShadowsDad Wrote:
(05-31-2012, 08:32 PM)slackskin Wrote: Which method do you prefer, and why?

SS, the videos are of UL (UltraLather) compared to a standard lather made with a soaked brush. Compare the 2 types at the end. The standard lather is good, but compared to UL, it's a poor second.

In use the UL is just off the scale in every respect, cushion, lubricity, density, stability. There's just no comparison.

I recently posted a reason that items tested can't be tested because we use different methods and materials. I posted that after mentioning during a soft Italian soap test that my results were entirely different than the posting testers results. That simple unassuming post was the catalyst for all of this. After Brian SS and I (BrianK) got to discussing it. Basically in our PMs back and forth I realized what the differences with those soaps tests were. It was like a bolt of lightning struck me and I bounced it off of Brian SS. Then it took off for both of us since we were in tune to it. Brian with his Dr. background and me with my test lab background.

We still have a test that we completed (P.160 vs DVH) that we haven't posted yet, but that may change now that this UL technique is out in the open. BTW, it was that test that got me to change my tune about only superfatted soaps were able to make ULers. I still think they make the best, with P.160 at the top of the heap (so far) but we're still testing. It really is one absolutely luxurious shave lather and that's no lie.

I thought everyone was making these ultra lathers and hadn't a clue until Brian SS asked what I was talking about. I didn't know it was anything special.

I've been using a damp brush and lots of loading for some time now. I like starting with a paste on my face and then adding water till I get what I want. I didn't know there was a name for it until now.

Nice job on the vids, BrianSS and a good explanation and write up of the technique BrianK.

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 06-01-2012, 09:57 AM
#10
  • Tonality
  • Attempted Soap Sabbatical
  • Boston
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I've been trying out this technique this morning with various soaps and I'm getting mixed results. With the Italian soft soaps (Razorock Artisan, Razorock La Famiglia, and Vitos Red) I'm able to replicate your results nearly perfectly. However, some other soaps aren't quite the same. MWF produced about the same lather as it always does for me, but I was unable to get Mike's Natural to reach the same degree of creamy thickness as the others.

Even with very successful soaps I never got the stringy trails between the brush and soap. I've been used my FS 25mm 2-band for all the trials.

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 06-01-2012, 10:44 AM
#11
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My initial videos that I shot on my phone were with MWF and I can get 2 completely different lathers from these methods. I figured MWF would be the next one I use for some videos. Just have to get settled in my new place first.

I'm glad you were able to see the differences though with your soft soaps. Have you tried a shave yet with UltraLather or were they just test lathers?

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 06-01-2012, 10:48 AM
#12
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It appears that the method that I've been using for the past few years is now called 'ultra lather'. I thought this was just the other way to lather soaps.

Marco's method is quite good but I found it to be a little messy but before his method was widely publicised, I never knew any other way other than 'UL'.

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 06-01-2012, 10:55 AM
#13
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(06-01-2012, 10:48 AM)Dipesh Wrote: It appears that the method that I've been using for the past few years is now called 'ultra lather'. I thought this was just the other way to lather soaps.

Marco's method is quite good but I found it to be a little messy but before his method was widely publicised, I never knew any other way other than 'UL'.

Yes, when BrianK & I started discussing this he didn't think too much of it as he kinda thought most people lathered this way. But from telling him about my lathering issues in hard water & the MarcoMethod he explained this to me & I'm very thankful that he did. There seems to be a lot of momentum behind the MarcoMethod & deservedly so. It just wasn't best for me and I wasn't smart enought to try the opposite extreme on my own. All of my traditional shaving knowledge comes from the Internet so I didn't know much different. I was steered early on to the MarcoMethod and that's just what I did. I think many others are in the same boat and I just hope some videos & discussion can broaden some horizons & lead to better shaves for everyone. Whether it's with UL or MM doesn't matter a ton, though I feel you'll get the most possible out of UL.

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 06-01-2012, 11:06 AM
#14
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I guess it looks like we got into this hobby at different times. My first forum was TSR which I am still an active member and there is a soap tutorial there which uses a similar method to the above (not marco's). This was quite a while before the Marco method got popular.

I too have hard water so you have to a fair bit more soap to get things going so for me, the only methods that work are going heavy with the soap on a damp brush, as you say, ultra lather or Marco's.

It's good of you to do some video's and show that there are other methods out there.

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 06-01-2012, 11:20 AM
#15
  • Tonality
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  • Boston
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(06-01-2012, 10:44 AM)SharpSpine Wrote: My initial videos that I shot on my phone were with MWF and I can get 2 completely different lathers from these methods. I figured MWF would be the next one I use for some videos. Just have to get settled in my new place first.

I'm glad you were able to see the differences though with your soft soaps. Have you tried a shave yet with UltraLather or were they just test lathers?

No yet, probably tomorrow with some Chumba Cheech. I would be very interested in seeing a video with MWF using this method to compare it with my results.

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 06-01-2012, 01:01 PM
#16
  • slantman
  • Expert Shaver
  • Leesburg, Florida
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Great videos. I am going to try the UL method with a horsehair brush and Mike's Natural soap.

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 06-01-2012, 02:49 PM
#17
  • Songwind
  • Soap Slinger & Scuttle Pusher
  • Burnsville, MN
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Very interesting. I have actually been using Marco's Method and long loads to get fairly close to your ultra-lather. It's a very comfortable shave.

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 06-01-2012, 08:32 PM
#18
  • Brent
  • Active Member
  • Columbus, OH
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(06-01-2012, 10:48 AM)Dipesh Wrote: It appears that the method that I've been using for the past few years is now called 'ultra lather'. I thought this was just the other way to lather soaps.

Marco's method is quite good but I found it to be a little messy but before his method was widely publicised, I never knew any other way other than 'UL'.

I've thought the same. At first I thought this was the only method to lather soaps, then I started hearing of the Marco Method. Tried it a few times, wasn't impressed and went back to this way. I'm surprised so many don't use this method.

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 06-01-2012, 08:46 PM
#19
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It seems like two methods that have been around for a long while.

Dry brush loading - damp brush that has been shaken or squeezed, load soap and then add water until texture achieved

Wet brush loading - very wet brush then add soap until texture achieved

Both can accomplish whatever result you want and people seem to have a preference for one or the other.

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 06-01-2012, 08:54 PM
#20
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(06-01-2012, 08:46 PM)SteelTown Wrote: It seems like two methods that have been around for a long while.

Dry brush loading - damp brush that has been shaken or squeezed, load soap and then add water until texture achieved

Wet brush loading - very wet brush then add soap until texture achieved

Both can accomplish whatever result you want and people seem to have a preference for one or the other.

I'm sure they both have been around a long time. The issue is to realize what we are really after with our lather and how to best achieve it.

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