07-07-2016, 04:33 PM
#1
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And, I mean HARD. I'm away on vacation and am staying in a little coastal town with the hardest water I've ever encountered.

As I normally do on driving holidays, I bring a major shaving kit—2 brushes, 2 razors, 3 kinds of blades, 2 soaps, witch hazel (just a little bottle), and 2 aftershaves. Here I was about to enjoy a lovely ocean-side shave, and...YECH! Terrible.

I'm not used to hard water. Is it really this bad to shave with?

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 07-07-2016, 04:36 PM
#2
  • bullgoose
  • The Enabler
  • Redondo Beach, California, U.S.A
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Were you swimming in the ocean? I have learned the hard way that that is definitely a lather killer.

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 07-07-2016, 04:37 PM
#3
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HaHa.  Ya, the salt water would be an entirely different experience.

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 07-07-2016, 04:42 PM
#4
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I remember reading somewhere a man explaining that a swim in the ocean was a great way to prepare the skin before his shave.

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 07-07-2016, 04:43 PM
#5
  • bullgoose
  • The Enabler
  • Redondo Beach, California, U.S.A
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(07-07-2016, 04:42 PM)zaclikestoshave Wrote: I remember reading somewhere a man explaining that a swim in the ocean was a great way to prepare the skin before his shave.

It might be a good way to prepare the skin but, it is a horrible way to prepare the lather. Biggrin

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 07-07-2016, 05:11 PM
#6
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I have a few bottles of hard water from a small town in southwestern Ontario with a reading of 49 gpg and I don't find it very difficult to lather my main soap.
You may just need to readjust your technique to get the lather you need.
Try loading for longer and good luck. Shy

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 07-07-2016, 05:16 PM
#7
  • kav
  • Banned
  • east of the sun,west of the moon
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Go down to the local store and pick up a jug of distilled water.

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 07-07-2016, 05:19 PM
#8
  • Viking
  • Artisan - Soap & Cosmetics
  • Ames, Iowa
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Does anyone know what the actual chemical interaction is with the hard water that makes it so hard to lather with? I live in a part of the country that is considered to have hard water, but certainly not the hardest, and I don't really have any problems with lathering.

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 07-07-2016, 05:35 PM
#9
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We have hard water here in Cleveland. Making good lather is possible, but it does take more time. I end up loading for about 60 seconds. I also use very little water. I imagine less water equals less calcium to react with the fatty acids in the soap. All this gives me a good, creamy lather with enough for three passes.

You might also try a detergent-based soap. If I'm not mistaken, detergents were developed in part to deal with hard water. Something like sodium lauryl sulfate in the ingredient list indicates a soap with detergents. I try to avoid these however, as my skin doesn't seem to like them.

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 07-07-2016, 05:38 PM
#10
  • kav
  • Banned
  • east of the sun,west of the moon
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Lather is formed when soap molecules reduce the tensile strength of water. If the water has minerals IE calcium and Magnesium They react with the soap to form insoluble precipates. That's about all I remember from High School chemistry besides Jennifer Metcalf's tight jeans on the lab stool  in front of me.

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 07-07-2016, 05:44 PM
#11
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https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?seq=...=1&num=353

I read this years ago at the bakery as part of a course on the science of baking and technical ingredients. It's relevant and interesting.

Over 60 years after the first edition was published and the author's work is still being taught. Not much has changed with flour water and yeast.

I suppose the same could be said for soaps in a way.

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 07-07-2016, 06:05 PM
#12
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From my understanding: 

Water hardness can be described as:
  •   Soft water = 0 to 3 grains per gallon
  •   Moderately hard water = 3 to 7 grains per gallon
  •   Hard water = 7 to 15 grains per gallon
  •   Very hard water = greater than 15 grains per gallon 
Where I live, the water is 14-17GPG - so right on the edge of hard/very hard. MW is the only soap that I have trouble with, and I believe it may be known to be somewhat sensitive to water hardness. I tend to load heavy, add water incrementally, and take my time.

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 07-07-2016, 06:29 PM
#13
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I have very hard water, I think 13-17 GPG. 

ppm (parts per million) X .056 gives you GPG 

When learning to make lather with soap I had a little difficulty with tap water so I switched to distilled, it's just been part of the routine for so long it seems normal to me.  I always got nervous about the hardness damaging the hairs in my brush as well, so I incorporated the distilled water final rinse into the routine, which is as follows:

I use distilled water in a mug to soak my brush. Squeeze out whatever, load my brush on the puck, then use tap water to finish making the lather. When it's time to rinse, I use tap water, shake it out, brush on a towel, then throw it back in the mug of distilled water, shake it out and set it out to dry. 


It may seem like more steps than some would care to do, but that's just the way I do my routine. It works for me =)

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 07-07-2016, 06:45 PM
#14
  • kav
  • Banned
  • east of the sun,west of the moon
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Climate change may keep many from experiencing real hard water. Sir Earnest Shackleton[Image: nIwSZPi.jpg]

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 07-08-2016, 05:03 AM
#15
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WOW.  Thanks for the information.

I see there is a drug store here in town, so I'm buying a jug of distilled water.  Miserable shave this morning. Had to switch to a Gillette 7 o'clock from a Feather soon after I started.  And, I shaved very carefully.  Very, very carefully.

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 07-08-2016, 07:02 AM
#16
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(07-07-2016, 05:16 PM)kav Wrote: Go down to the local store and pick up a jug of distilled water.
I agree I live in LA and like most cities we have hard water.  A few years ago I started using distilled water.  My wife buys it fir $0.88 to $1.00 a gallon.  I soak my brush in it while I am taking a shower.  If I decide to bloom my soap or ad more water I use the distilled water.  I never have a problem getting a great lather.  This way the hard water issue is in my rear view mirror.

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 07-08-2016, 02:10 PM
#17
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I live in a 25+ grains area.  It's a pain, and I even have a water softener.  You can get a lather, but even the creamiest lather is gone from a boar brush by the time I'm done with a 2nd pass.  I'm not the fastest shaver, so I'll estimate a good lather lasts 10 minutes or there abouts.  The brush eats it.  The minerals and soap react to eat it.  I don't know.  I quit fighting it and do a 25% re-load for a 3rd pass.  My recommendations are these:  1)  use a synthetic brush  2)  don't be too proud to not go back and load more soap.

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 07-08-2016, 03:17 PM
#18
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I live in Copenhagen, Denmark - and we have very hard water here, in fact among the hardest water in Scandinavia.

I always had trouble lathering - and did not understand how easy it was for others to see lather explosions in seconds, when I could stand there for minutes and NOTHING happened.

Now I know, that I need to load extra product and just have patience.

I also started to super lather, because of my hard water. Mixing a cream and a soap makes wonder for my lather, and when I have time I always super lather these days.

Superlathering is the solution for people with hard water, unless you plan on buying distilled water or use a water softener in your home.

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 07-08-2016, 04:47 PM
#19
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I use your excellent Super-Lathering technique all the time when I'm at home.

For this trip, I'll try loading lots of soap.  The local drug store here didn't have any distilled water, unfortunately.

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 07-08-2016, 04:56 PM
#20
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(07-08-2016, 04:47 PM)David Wrote: I use your excellent Super-Lathering technique all the time when I'm at home.

For this trip, I'll try loading lots of soap.  The local drug store here didn't have any distilled water, unfortunately.

This probably isn't of any help right now, but I've read that a little (a pinch) citric acid ( available as a powder, typically used for canning) will soften your water enough for making lather. I doubt they will have that if they don't have distilled water, but it's worth taking note for future reference. 

Good luck!

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