06-06-2012, 02:52 PM
#1
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I don't know about other people, but I use a few indicators to determine when my lather is 'done' and ready for application.

I'm a bowl latherer, for the most part. I use a dryish brush to pick up the soap, and then start adding water a little at a time until the lather is wet enough to shave with. I absolutely hate it when the lather starts to dry on the face. Also, I've figured that straight razors work better with lather that's a little more watery than I would use with safeties.*

I use several markers to tell me when the lather is done. The 'lather bloom' is one of them (the point at which the lather suddenly blossoms).

My end point is when the lather gets a sheen. Under-hydrated lather seems to be dull, but when the lather hits the point of being done, it gets a sheen that I've learnt to recognise.

* Basically, I think that safeties need slickness and cushion in the lather. Straights don't need cushion as much and in fact, a less cushioning lather can result in a closer straight shave without any loss in comfort.

--------------------

So how about you guys? Do you have any markers that you consciously look for when you're building a lather? Let us hear about them.

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 06-06-2012, 02:59 PM
#2
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Nice tips Yohann. I definitely go for the sheen in my lather but usually stop before the "bloom" or "explosion" of lather.

What is it that makes the lather "bloom" or explode suddenly?

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 06-06-2012, 03:27 PM
#3
  • Johnny
  • Super Moderator
  • Wausau, Wisconsin, USA
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Since I mainly use a Schick injector I like my lather just a little on the watery side as well. After all, one could almost consider the Schick blade (stiff with no flex) a tiny straight stuck inside a razor head.

Now, when shaving with one of my DE razors, I like the lather just a little thicker (I guess you could say less water) to give me that extra cushion.

To me the bloom is when the lather looks like whip cream.

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 06-06-2012, 03:32 PM
#4
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I face lather and go by lather feel, but the lather also has an irridescent sheen to it. I use far more soap than I need to and stop well before the explosion. I don't want airy lather, I want it to be like cake icing, but that isn't a dry lather, it's just loaded with soap and has the water it needs but no more.

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 06-06-2012, 06:53 PM
#5
  • Songwind
  • Soap Slinger & Scuttle Pusher
  • Burnsville, MN
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The sheen is a big one for me. Also, when the lather starts to smooth out a bit, but before it starts peaking.

Slightly too dry and the lather will streak, in the bowl and on my face. Too wet and it has no texture left at all.

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 06-06-2012, 07:09 PM
#6
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(06-06-2012, 02:59 PM)SharpSpine Wrote: Nice tips Yohann. I definitely go for the sheen in my lather but usually stop before the "bloom" or "explosion" of lather.

What is it that makes the lather "bloom" or explode suddenly?

I don't go by sheen, I go by how it smooths out (just a thing I do at the top of my bowl). The explosion is what many people think is how the lather should be, but IMO that's when you've gone to far. Fluffy lather typically sucks and is either caused by too much water or too much air being whipped or pumped in. I try to keep the air out. I know my lather is bad if it has any bubbles in it.

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 06-06-2012, 07:14 PM
#7
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(06-06-2012, 07:09 PM)Johnny9 Wrote:
(06-06-2012, 02:59 PM)SharpSpine Wrote: Nice tips Yohann. I definitely go for the sheen in my lather but usually stop before the "bloom" or "explosion" of lather.

What is it that makes the lather "bloom" or explode suddenly?

I don't go by sheen, I go by how it smooths out (just a thing I do at the top of my bowl). The explosion is what many people think is how the lather should be, but IMO that's when you've gone to far. Fluffy lather typically sucks and is either caused by too much water or too much air being whipped or pumped in. I try to keep the air out. I know my lather is bad if it has any bubbles in it.

Yeah, I'm with you Johnny. When I keep the air & excess water out I get my best lathers. Now that you mention the smoothness that makes sense too. I can notice, however, that when my lather crosses from too dry to just right that not only does it smooth out, but I see it switch ever so slightly from a matte finish to a semi-gloss.

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 06-06-2012, 09:33 PM
#8
  • Brent
  • Active Member
  • Columbus, OH
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I find the exact same as you on straights Yohann. I only use straights and too much cushion is a bad thing for me.

I go by sheen but also go by the bloom. I'm not looking for "explosion". I think bloom and explosion are different things. As Johnny and Songwind mentioned, I'm not looking for airy lather. To me, bloom is then point where there is enough water where it changes from paste to lather (I'm also a dry brush or UltraLatherer as SharpSpine documented).

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 06-07-2012, 02:58 AM
#9
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Brent - Agreed! The Bloom I'm thinking of, and the lather explosion are two different things.

I think the lather blooms once you have enough of water for the brush and the amount of product you have in the bowl (or on your face). As you say, it changes from a paste to a real lather at this point.

The explosion occurs when you've gone too far.

This is why BrianSS's videos are much more informative than words in situations like this - if a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video must be worth a million. Biggrin

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 06-07-2012, 03:51 AM
#10
  • Howler
  • A calamophile and vintage razor lover
  • Fort Smith AR
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Personally I equate lather making to making frosting for a cake.
I want my lather to be thick but not overly, to peak, also to a have a sheen.

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 06-07-2012, 09:19 AM
#11
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I like to leave my lather underdeveloped and stop before the explosion. If necessary, I dip the tips in water when applying it on my face, adding water until the brush stops making streaks. If I wait for the explosion, I know I have to add soap on the second or third passes. My indicator to stop whipping the lather in the bowl is when it stops making spikes, starts getting creamier, making nice slick rings on the walls.

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 06-07-2012, 09:40 AM
#12
  • Striky
  • Senior Member
  • Reipå, Norway
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(06-07-2012, 02:58 AM)yohannrjm Wrote: This is why BrianSS's videos are much more informative than words in situations like this - if a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video must be worth a million. Biggrin
I have not seen these videos. Do you have a link?

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 06-07-2012, 10:14 AM
#13
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(06-07-2012, 09:40 AM)Striky Wrote:
(06-07-2012, 02:58 AM)yohannrjm Wrote: This is why BrianSS's videos are much more informative than words in situations like this - if a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video must be worth a million. Biggrin
I have not seen these videos. Do you have a link?

Here you go...

Lather types & techniques

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 06-07-2012, 10:50 AM
#14
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I definitely look for the "sheen" and I like the yogurt type consistency otherwise it is too airy for me.

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 06-07-2012, 09:06 PM
#15
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Good tip, Yohann. Thanks.

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 06-07-2012, 09:15 PM
#16
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how about some illustrative photos of the good, the bad, and the ugly for us newbs?

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 06-08-2012, 08:01 AM
#17
  • Brent
  • Active Member
  • Columbus, OH
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(06-07-2012, 09:15 PM)andrewjs18 Wrote: how about some illustrative photos of the good, the bad, and the ugly for us newbs?

Good idea - and maybe linking into SharpSpine's videos too.

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 06-08-2012, 08:34 AM
#18
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Lather pictures and videos are often deceiving. The only way to tell if a lather is any good is to shave with it. I can't count the number of times I have seen people talking about how great lather has a "jiggle" to it. For me, I like a very thick and gooey lather. If my lather "jiggles" it isn't right. Others may prefer it that way. Lather is very much a YMMV aspect of shaving though many try to impart rules on it and how lather should look. The best way I have found to find the lather sweet spot is to palm lather and feel it at different stages. I generally face lather but often palm lather new products when I am testing them to see how they react.

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 06-15-2012, 07:52 AM
#19
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I face lather, so I go by how the lathers feels as the major indicator of when it is ready.I like a nice cushion no matter what razor type, so I add water and work it on my face untill it is thick and cushiony and I can no longer feel the tips of the brush on my skin.

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