05-06-2015, 05:42 PM
#1
  • KRpdx
  • Member
  • Portland, OR
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I'm still honing my lather-making skills. I know there are many variables (especially the ingredients of the soap and the pH of your water), but generally speaking it seems the best performing lather should be wet enough to have shiny soft peaks (like yogurt), as opposed to drier, stiffer peaks (like whipped cream). Yes?

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 05-06-2015, 05:53 PM
#2
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http://shavenook.com/thread-next-13-shaves-with-new-soaps

Check out my thread. There are tons of lather shots.

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 05-06-2015, 06:56 PM
#3
  • Nero
  • Ban Groupthink from Earth
  • le montagne
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I am a big believer that lather should be applied to the skin while both the lather and skin are relatively wet (while lather still "thinner") and then build it to the final thicker consistency on the skin. Still though, water needs to be added during the thickening stage on the face (a little at a time, making sure to fully incorporate the water before adding more, about 15-20 seconds each time I suppose, but make sure you mix all of it evenly). I add water at least 4-5 times, some times many many more than that. TAKE TIME building it on the face. The longer the better (assuming you don't let it dry out)...this is where only experience can come in to find the specific soap's sweet spot/range, but until then, I promise 95% of the time you'd be better off erring on the side of too wet rather than too thick/dry.
The thing is, when you err on the side of wet, you can nearly always build it back up to a thicker consistency if you desire... Just takes a minute of elbow greasing.
I feel if I err on the side of dry, it is very very difficult to know when I've actually rehydrated the layer actually touching my skin.
And after all, this is wetshaving, water is our best friend.
In none of this am I suggesting a thin, bubbly, weak, flimsy lather. Your lather will still do all the peaks and everything.

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 05-06-2015, 07:18 PM
#4
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Primo's thread has very good photos of lather:  http://shavenook.com/thread-next-13-shav...-new-soaps

Primo, your link doesn't seem to be working for some odd reason, so I reposted it, here. 

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 05-06-2015, 07:40 PM
#5
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Here at some of my non-staged lather shots and how I like it. I believe these are all after pass one.

If you face lather, you'll never get the big pillowy, whipped cream mounds on your brush.

Bottom line, if it works for you, it doesn't matter what it looks like.

[Image: ff07dc884b2cba44122da06360f43e34.jpg]

[Image: 488b01f4a26ca91610ebf5ba1d948739.jpg]

[Image: de9529ecc7b964a06750145c6bb468b0.jpg]

[Image: 2565ea4d6eddd6d44f57ab9fd3bc7cc9.jpg]

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 05-07-2015, 05:16 AM
#6
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(05-06-2015, 07:18 PM)celestino Wrote: Primo's thread has very good photos of lather:  http://shavenook.com/thread-next-13-shav...-new-soaps

Primo, your link doesn't seem to be working for some odd reason, so I reposted it, here. 

Thank you Celestino.
OP: For the purpose of that thread, I bowl-lathered each soap, making it very possible to stage a picture for demonstration purposes. However, 'staged' or 'un-staged', the pictures clearly show what a well-prepared lather looks like--the sheen, the peaks, the volume, the micro-bubbles, etc. A protective, slick lather will have each of these attributes. Good luck!

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 05-07-2015, 05:29 AM
#7
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@primotenore I wasn't saying your lather wasn't looking good, as it is. Thick, creamy, sheen, peaks is what I go for too.

I just didn't have any staged pics and generally face lather so wanted to show what mine looms like and that it was from face lathering.

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 05-07-2015, 05:36 AM
#8
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It's all good Bruce.  Biggrin Feel free to use some of my pictures.  Wink

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 05-07-2015, 06:02 AM
#9
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(05-07-2015, 05:36 AM)primotenore Wrote: It's all good Bruce.  Biggrin Feel free to use some of my pictures.  Wink
Thanks for the offer, but I've never strived for a lather look. For me, it's more a texture how it feels going on my face.

The best way for me to sense of it's good lather (say during a test lather) is to feel it in my hands, between my fingers etc.

I'm a DE shaver as well and know some straight shaver guys like it thinner.

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 05-07-2015, 06:27 AM
#10
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Do you find different soaps give you different types of lather or do you work the lather until it's the same (consistency, texture, etc) regardless of what soap is being used?

I find that Catties Bubbles gives me a cream or thick paste while CRSW is more like a softy taffy. Mikes is a dense heavy foam, etc. They all shave well but I'm not sure if i'm working them all to the same consistency or if the soaps themselves behave differently.

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 05-07-2015, 07:13 AM
#11
  • BobH
  • Senior Member
  • Thunder Bay Canada
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One of the biggest things I found when making lather is to load enough soap/cream in the first place. I face lather and look for a nice thick and creamy lather that has a pearlescent sheen to it. When it gets that sheen I know the soap/cream to water ratio is about right. I use SRs mostly with the odd DE/SE thrown in for variety. The lather I like is the same for both and I do not like a thin lather or a dry pasty lather for either.

Bob

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 05-07-2015, 07:49 AM
#12
  • blzrfn
  • Butterscotch Bandit
  • Vancouver USA
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I would say there is no correct answer to the question.  Lather from different soaps and creams will have a different appearance and then there are different stages at which that lather may perform better.  Sure the shiny soft peaks make for great photos, but sometimes that lather is too wet to perform at its best.  For instance, I prefer MWF with very little water added which gives me a very slick and stable lather with good protection.  However there is very little sheen and it is dense so it won't be voluminous enough to make pretty peaks.  I believe there are those that call this Ultra-Lather.  On the other hand, my favorite artisan soap (Strop Shoppe Limited Edition) I like to add a lot of water to, almost to the point of it being to thin for peaks of any kind.  This lather again is very slick and has enough protection for what I require.  Whenever I am trying out a new soap or cream I load more than I think is necessary and start with very little water added, work the lather for a few minutes to insure it is well incorporated and then test the results.  If it isn't slick enough (this is always my top priority) I will add more water to see if it improves and continue to do so until I am satisfied.  The most important part of building lather is loading enough product and spending enough time to work the lather to a stable consistency.  Adding water to get your desired performance is the easy part.

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 05-07-2015, 07:52 AM
#13
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(05-06-2015, 05:42 PM)KRpdx Wrote: generally speaking it seems the best performing lather should be wet enough to have shiny soft peaks (like yogurt), as opposed to drier, stiffer peaks (like whipped cream). Yes?

I'd say this is a good rule of thumb, though the best performance for a particular soap + razor + face combination can vary. With Mystic Water, for example, I find I get my best shaves if the lather is even wetter than that, barely able to hold peaks at all.

Another warning sign to look out for is if the lather "breaks" as you're brushing it on. If you end up with little valleys in your lather with well defined edges it's probably a little too dry. (The best comparison I can make is the way Bob Ross paints snow on mountains and lets the paint "break" wherever it will, if that means anything to you.)

(05-07-2015, 06:27 AM)Starkicker Wrote: Do you find different soaps give you different types of lather or do you work the lather until it's the same (consistency, texture, etc) regardless of what soap is being used?

This has absolutely been the case for me. Different soaps (i.e. made from different oils) create different looking and feeling lathers, and additives affect this, too. I find something with relatively few ingredients and a lot of coconut + stearic, like Catie's Bubbles or MDC will make a fluffier lather when well hydrated. Soaps made with castor oil, and soaps that contain lanolin (Like Barrister & Mann or Mike's Natural) seem to be more likely to end up with a lower, more liquid lather. I find that they both perform fine during the shave, though.

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 05-07-2015, 10:04 AM
#14
  • Nero
  • Ban Groupthink from Earth
  • le montagne
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(05-06-2015, 06:56 PM)Nero Wrote: I am a big believer that lather should be applied to the skin while both the lather and skin are relatively wet (while lather still "thinner") and then build it to the final thicker consistency on the skin. Still though, water needs to be added during the thickening stage on the face (a little at a time, making sure to fully incorporate the water before adding more, about 15-20 seconds each time I suppose, but make sure you mix all of it evenly). I add water at least 4-5 times, some times many many more than that. TAKE TIME building it on the face. The longer the better (assuming you don't let it dry out)...this is where only experience can come in to find the specific soap's sweet spot/range, but until then, I promise 95% of the time you'd be better off erring on the side of too wet rather than too thick/dry.
The thing is, when you err on the side of wet, you can nearly always build it back up to a thicker consistency if you desire... Just takes a minute of elbow greasing.
I feel if I err on the side of dry, it is very very difficult to know when I've actually rehydrated the layer actually touching my skin.
And after all, this is wetshaving, water is our best friend.
In none of this am I suggesting a thin, bubbly, weak, flimsy lather. Your lather will still do all the peaks and everything.

Btw, just catching up on the thread since I've posted this… and I just want to make clear I was not saying Primo's lather isn't everything I am talking about   A6   Laughing1 , I was just giving a clue as to how I like to get there.  
I did this as a caution to new wetshavers, because I don't want them to make the same mistake I was making when I started using soaps: I used to think Thick was better all the time (because I felt Cushion was much more important than Slickness).  But after 10 months of crap-to-mediocre shaves with soaps, I realized I just needed to start wetter! (then you can bring it as thick as you want)
The real REAL problem is that I remember reading when I started "with soaps, make sure you don't add too much water because it is difficult to bring them back up to thickness"… and that is simply not the case… you have to add WAY too much water for that statement in quotes to be true. 
That was my only point.
Primo makes some ferocious yet beautiful lather, no doubt about that!!  Eeeeek

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 05-07-2015, 11:04 AM
#15
  • CRAusmus
  • Senior Member
  • Going from Texas to Georgia
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There is also this one with pages and pages of awesome lather shots that Brian started...

http://shavenook.com/thread-lather-shots...ther+shots

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 05-07-2015, 11:41 AM
#16
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(05-07-2015, 10:04 AM)Nero Wrote:
(05-06-2015, 06:56 PM)Nero Wrote: I am a big believer that lather should be applied to the skin while both the lather and skin are relatively wet (while lather still "thinner") and then build it to the final thicker consistency on the skin. Still though, water needs to be added during the thickening stage on the face (a little at a time, making sure to fully incorporate the water before adding more, about 15-20 seconds each time I suppose, but make sure you mix all of it evenly). I add water at least 4-5 times, some times many many more than that. TAKE TIME building it on the face. The longer the better (assuming you don't let it dry out)...this is where only experience can come in to find the specific soap's sweet spot/range, but until then, I promise 95% of the time you'd be better off erring on the side of too wet rather than too thick/dry.
The thing is, when you err on the side of wet, you can nearly always build it back up to a thicker consistency if you desire... Just takes a minute of elbow greasing.
I feel if I err on the side of dry, it is very very difficult to know when I've actually rehydrated the layer actually touching my skin.
And after all, this is wetshaving, water is our best friend.
In none of this am I suggesting a thin, bubbly, weak, flimsy lather. Your lather will still do all the peaks and everything.

Btw, just catching up on the thread since I've posted this… and I just want to make clear I was not saying Primo's lather isn't everything I am talking about   A6   Laughing1 , I was just giving a clue as to how I like to get there.  
I did this as a caution to new wetshavers, because I don't want them to make the same mistake I was making when I started using soaps: I used to think Thick was better all the time (because I felt Cushion was much more important than Slickness).  But after 10 months of crap-to-mediocre shaves with soaps, I realized I just needed to start wetter! (then you can bring it as thick as you want)
The real REAL problem is that I remember reading when I started "with soaps, make sure you don't add too much water because it is difficult to bring them back up to thickness"… and that is simply not the case… you have to add WAY too much water for that statement in quotes to be true. 
That was my only point.
Primo makes some ferocious yet beautiful lather, no doubt about that!!  Eeeeek
Thank you Nero!  Biggrin

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 05-07-2015, 11:43 AM
#17
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(05-07-2015, 07:13 AM)BobH Wrote: One of the biggest things I found when making lather is to load enough soap/cream in the first place. I face lather and look for a nice thick and creamy lather that has a pearlescent sheen to it. When it gets that sheen I know the soap/cream to water ratio is about right. I use SRs mostly with the odd DE/SE thrown in for variety. The lather I like is the same for both and I do not like a thin lather or a dry pasty lather for either.

Bob

Agreed.  Lots of product, lots of water, usually makes great lather for my needs.  If I'm bowl lathering, I look for thick and creamy with lots of sheen to let me know it's holding water.  If there is no shine, I know it's not right. 

This one was bowl lathered and played up...
[Image: eBtf1rB.jpg]

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 05-07-2015, 11:56 AM
#18
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(05-07-2015, 11:43 AM)Bruce Wrote:
(05-07-2015, 07:13 AM)BobH Wrote: One of the biggest things I found when making lather is to load enough soap/cream in the first place. I face lather and look for a nice thick and creamy lather that has a pearlescent sheen to it. When it gets that sheen I know the soap/cream to water ratio is about right. I use SRs mostly with the odd DE/SE thrown in for variety. The lather I like is the same for both and I do not like a thin lather or a dry pasty lather for either.

Bob

Agreed.  Lots of product, lots of water, usually makes great lather for my needs.  If I'm bowl lathering, I look for thick and creamy with lots of sheen to let me know it's holding water.  If there is no shine, I know it's not right. 

This one was bowl lathered and played up...
[Image: eBtf1rB.jpg]
Number_one

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 05-07-2015, 01:04 PM
#19
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One more for good measure...  Biggrin
[Image: j59I0Ht.jpg]

OP, now that you've seen what great lather looks like, go forth and create!

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 05-07-2015, 01:42 PM
#20
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Some guys like a dryer lather others a more watery type,for me it's not about looks but how it feels. Try palm lathering,starting with a brush loaded well but fairly dry. Not bone dry but not dripping wet either,build your lather and just barely dip the tips in the water every now and again then rub your fingers together to test the slickness of it. When your lather starts to peak it's about right. If bowl lathering whip it up until you can sit your brush in the bowl and the lather will support the brush and make it stand alone. Time and practice will let you know what kind of lather you prefer, some like it dry others not so much,I've seen barbers apply some of the most awful looking lather to a person, but yet pull off one of the best shaves a client has ever had (myself included )

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