04-19-2016, 03:17 PM
#1
  • Mel S Meles
  • On the edge, ouch
  • 44.4899° south of the North Pole
User Info
In an earlier thread (link), I discussed a new and different method of generating lather with a puck of soap and a brush; and I now prefer  that method to all other methods of generating lather (and employ it daily) — while acknowledging that Portland’s very soft water may make the method more accessible for me than it is for some other visitors to Shavenook.  

As a side effect of employing that lather-generating method almost exclusively over a period of seven plus months, I have bern a witness to how different shaving soaps respond to repeated immersions in hot water over a period of time when the softened top layer of soap resulting from blooming is not wiped off by a brush after each immersion in preparation for a shave.  Executive summary:  they behave quite differently. 

First up is a puck of Provence Santé Green Tea shaving soap, which is a vegan soap.  The puck was not a “virgin” when I adopted the Bloom Water Lather method; I had already been using it, in a rotation, for more than a year.  A hard milled soap, its shape had changed little over that year, mainly in the corners of the original puck rounding off.  I keep it in a small colored glass bowl with a plastic lid salvaged from a tin of supermarket spicy almonds fitting snugly over the top of the glass bowl when the soap is not in use, allowing me to stack another soap container atop it.

[Image: epSMb1R.jpg]

As may be seen from this shot from above, even after many immersions and pourings-off over the last seven plus months, the puck still is very close to the shape it was when I opened it the first time.  The soapy residue at the bottom of the bowl is an artifact of the phenomenon that when I pour the bloom water out of the bowl into the shaving mug, the puck as often as not slides out, too, and some of the softened surface gets rubbed off onto the inside of the bowl when I put the puck back into the bowl.  Of the three soaps pictured in this posting, this is the only one that ever has slid out of the bowl when I was pouring the bloom water out; it never has, and I expect that it never will, form any lasting bond with the bowl in which it sits.  (The black speck at 1:00 o’clock on the puck is a fruit fly that landed on the puck as I was taking the picture.)  

Contrast that behavior with this puck of Haslinger Schafmilch:  

[Image: qlZmCVF.jpg]

The surface of the puck and of the surrounding solid within the clear Luminarc glass bowl are pearlescent, quite pretty really, and reflect ambient light from the surface more differently from the reflection from the surface of the Provence Santé puck than these photographs do justice to.  The dished center of the Haslinger Schafmilch puck is probably a result of my practice of moving the bowl under the running faucet to introduce the bloom water, with the stream of water hitting the center of the puck.   That artifact aside, as you can see, the Haslinger Schafmilck puck and the bowl have become one, as the puck has gradually “melted” into the bowl like a cube of butter on a warm day.  The Haslinger Schafmilch not only has not fallen out of the bowl when I pour the bloom water out, I suspect it would take some real scraping to get the puck fully out of the bowl were I to have reason to remove it from the bowl.  (FWIW, I also keep a lid — the inner portion of a Kerr canning lid — on this bowl when the soap is not in use.)

The last soap is the same puck of Mystic Water Bergamot, Cedarwood, and Juniper soap that I showed also in the September 2015 link at the top of this message, though obviously most of the puck has ben consumed in the intervening time.  I had smushed the puck into the metal-plated plastic Omega soap cup from the outset, so there never was space around the sides of the puck as there has been around the sides of the Provence Santé and Haslinger Schafmilch pucks.  The greenish grey ring below the rim of the bowl, and the bright green flecks, are where the plating on the inside of the bowl spontaneously flaked off; apparently the plating comprised a copper alloy of some sort.  

[Image: I1WSip5.jpg]

The surface of the Mystic Water puck, smushed fairly level from the outset (see how it looked last September in the first link above) has descended down the inside of the bowl evenly on all sides as if the puck were a liquid, though the surface of the puck is a bit uneven, like the surface of the moon, not nearly as shiny as the Provence Santé puck and certainly not pearlescent as the Haslinger Schafmilch puck is.  The “moon craters” probably are a result of bubbles formed (without aid of a brush, as no brush has touched the surface of the puck this year) that persisted as the puck dried after use.

The lather produced by all three of these soaps is superb and makes for a great shave or three.  In that regard, I found it remarkable how differently they reacted — as shown in their visual appearance — to the repeated bloom water immersions, given that they are all performing the same ultimate function and are performing it well.

1 1,086
Reply
 04-19-2016, 04:58 PM
#2
User Info
Can you post side profile shots?

23 656
Reply
 04-19-2016, 07:27 PM
#3
User Info
Fascinating photos and it is good to hear you are enjoying your method of lathering. Thumbsup

82 21,077
Reply
 04-19-2016, 08:12 PM
#4
  • Johnny
  • MODERATOR EMERITUS
  • Wausau, Wisconsin, USA
User Info
I don't know how I missed the first link listed above, but that thread combined with this thread is very interesting.  I now have some new things and methods to try.

178 23,806
Reply
 04-19-2016, 08:26 PM
#5
  • Mel S Meles
  • On the edge, ouch
  • 44.4899° south of the North Pole
User Info
(04-19-2016, 04:58 PM)Starkicker Wrote: Can you post side profile shots?

I’ll see what I can do; but two of the three pose difficulties.  The remains of the Mystic Water puck occupy only about 1/4" at the bottom of the relatively deep Omega bowl that you can see in the September 2015 post linked at the top of this thread.  That, and that the bowl is opaque, pretty much rule out any profile of the remainder of the soap; think of how you could not photograph a side profile of the last few swallows of coffee sitting at the bottom of an opaque coffee cup.  

The green glass bowl that the Provence Santé puck sits in is translucent, not opaque, but it was not cast for its optical qualities and probably will contribute distortion to any shots taken through it.  That said, if you realize that the puck is roughly the shape of a cylinder sitting in the center of a flat-bottomed bowl the sides of which flare outward, the photo in my posting above should take little imagination to interpret; that is, the photo above is an undistorted picture.  

The bowl the Haslinger Schafmilch puck sits in is a Luminarc Glass 3.5 inch Stackable Bowl, just like the bowls shown on amazon.com as ASIN number B016X2MXYO.  It is colorless and transparent, but, again, its calling card is not as a camera lens or filter, and I am not sure how much distortion the bowl will contribute to a side view of the puck taken through the side of the bowl.  We shall see.  

1 1,086
Reply
 04-20-2016, 06:06 PM
#6
  • Johnny
  • MODERATOR EMERITUS
  • Wausau, Wisconsin, USA
User Info
I tried this for the first time tonight (your method) and it did not work.  I will call it operator error.  I believe I poured to much of the bloom water in to my scuttle.  I will try again tomorrow.

178 23,806
Reply
 04-20-2016, 06:55 PM
#7
  • Mel S Meles
  • On the edge, ouch
  • 44.4899° south of the North Pole
User Info
(04-20-2016, 06:06 PM)Johnny Wrote: I tried this for the first time tonight (your method) and it did not work.  I will call it operator error.  I believe I poured to much of the bloom water in to my scuttle.  I will try again tomorrow.

There are variations by soap, also.  And not just in how the pucks look after repeated immersion (as shown in post #1 of this thread).

Using common lathering techniques, Mike’s Natural soaps and Mystic Water soaps are very close in performance, but Mystic Water is more amenable to yielding solids to the bloom water when the warm water is merely sitting atop the puck.  Mike’s keeps more of the solids to itself, and therefore is not as stellar a performer as Mystic Water is when using the bloom water lathering technique.  Water softness also comes into play.  How hard is the water in your part of Wisconsin?

1 1,086
Reply
 04-20-2016, 07:00 PM
#8
  • Johnny
  • MODERATOR EMERITUS
  • Wausau, Wisconsin, USA
User Info
(04-20-2016, 06:55 PM)Mel S Meles Wrote:
(04-20-2016, 06:06 PM)Johnny Wrote: I tried this for the first time tonight (your method) and it did not work.  I will call it operator error.  I believe I poured to much of the bloom water in to my scuttle.  I will try again tomorrow.

There are variations by soap, also.  And not just in how the pucks look after repeated immersion (as shown in post #1 of this thread).

Using common lathering techniques, Mike’s Natural soaps and Mystic Water soaps are very close in performance, but Mystic Water is more amenable to yielding solids to the bloom water when the warm water is merely sitting atop the puck.  Mike’s keeps more of the solids to itself, and therefore is not as stellar a performer as Mystic Water is when using the bloom water lathering technique.  Water softness also comes into play.  How hard is the water in your part of Wisconsin?

The water where I live is not hard at all.  All my soaps lather like crazy using my conventional way of building lather.  I did this with Mystic Water so tomorrow I will try to remove the top part of the bloom water and just use what's towards the bottom.  I like the concept and will keep trying until I make it work.

178 23,806
Reply
 04-20-2016, 07:29 PM
#9
  • Mel S Meles
  • On the edge, ouch
  • 44.4899° south of the North Pole
User Info
(04-20-2016, 07:00 PM)Johnny Wrote: The water where I live is not hard at all.  All my soaps lather like crazy using my conventional way of building lather.  I did this with Mystic Water so tomorrow I will try to remove the top part of the bloom water and just use what's towards the bottom.  I like the concept and will keep trying until I make it work.

On the off-chance that you missed it in the 2015 post, you do not pre-wet the brush, so the first liquid that the dry brush sees is the bloom water.  The total volume of my bloom water is usually about two tablespoonsful, perhaps a bit less.  You probably will not need any additional water.

On the theory side, there should be very minimal variation in soap-to-water concentration throughout the brush, as all of the soap solids used have been fully dissolved in the bloom water before being worked up to a lather by the dry brush.

1 1,086
Reply
 04-20-2016, 07:51 PM
#10
  • Johnny
  • MODERATOR EMERITUS
  • Wausau, Wisconsin, USA
User Info
(04-20-2016, 07:29 PM)Mel S Meles Wrote:
(04-20-2016, 07:00 PM)Johnny Wrote: The water where I live is not hard at all.  All my soaps lather like crazy using my conventional way of building lather.  I did this with Mystic Water so tomorrow I will try to remove the top part of the bloom water and just use what's towards the bottom.  I like the concept and will keep trying until I make it work.

On the off-chance that you missed it in the 2015 post, you do not pre-wet the brush, so the first liquid that the dry brush sees is the bloom water.  The total volume of my bloom water is usually about two tablespoonsful, perhaps a bit less.  You probably will not need any additional water.

On the theory side, there should be very minimal variation in soap-to-water concentration throughout the brush, as all of the soap solids used have been fully dissolved in the bloom water before being worked up to a lather by the dry brush.

Yes, I started with a totally dry brush.  I see my problem now.  I did not have tablespoons, I had ounces.   Let's put it this way.  I have a standard MW plastic container.  With the soap in there (about half a puck), I filled the container with warm water to cover all the soap.  I poured all of that water in my scuttle.  Yep, operator error.

178 23,806
Reply
 04-22-2016, 04:01 PM
#11
  • Mel S Meles
  • On the edge, ouch
  • 44.4899° south of the North Pole
User Info
(04-19-2016, 04:58 PM)Starkicker Wrote: Can you post side profile shots?

Haslinger Schafmilch:
[Image: AEqIB8R.jpg]

Provence Santé Green Tea:
[Image: Q2f2qw3.jpg]

Mystic Water Bergamot, Cedarwood, & Juniper:  
[Image: AxWVFHg.jpg]

1 1,086
Reply
Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)