09-09-2016, 06:52 AM
#1
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After about 2 1/2 years back into wet shaving, I have learned many things; many from the knowledgeable members of this and a few other forums. One very important part of the shaving equation is lather preparation. This thread is mostly intended for the newcomers, but perhaps there are those seasoned wet shavers that have of late neglected this aspect of lather preparation.

Don't quit on your lather, just because it looks ready!

These days there are many soaps on the market that seem to "explode" with fantastic lather. And just because the lather appears thick and rich, that doesn't mean it's necessarily hydrated sufficiently. 

Water is your shave's best friend. 

Do some experimenting. See how much water your lather can incorporate. You will be amazed. 

More H2O=better slickness.

In my experience it also means a better post shave. Add it slowly; work the lather (bowl or face, it doesn't matter); add some more. Do this until you have added too much; then start again from the beginning and back off the water amount slightly. Take a look at Nathan's lathering videos. See how shiny his lather appears? That's because it is well-hydrated. Now he builds the lather on the puck, which works wonders for him and others. I choose to build it on my face. You may prefer the bowl. Try them all. Make your shaving experience the best it can be and don't be in a hurry. Your face will thank you for it. 

Thanks for reading and have a great shave!

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 09-09-2016, 12:42 PM
#2
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Definitely agree. I usually keep adding water to my brush while face lathering until I get that perfect slick yogurty lather. I've had to help a couple buddies of mine who don't add enough water and they have this pasty sticky mess.

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 09-09-2016, 12:49 PM
#3
  • gp569900
  • Senior Member
  • Franklin, TN USA
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This was the hardest lesson I had to learn.  I face lather 95% of the time.  Getting the right amount of water was a challenge.  I also ran into the difficulty of the great variances between soaps and creams and the amount of water they need to work perfectly.  I didn't give up.  Great advice.

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 09-09-2016, 12:54 PM
#4
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(09-09-2016, 12:49 PM)gp569900 Wrote: This was the hardest lesson I had to learn.  I face lather 95% of the time.  Getting the right amount of water was a challenge.  I also ran into the difficulty of the great variances between soaps and creams and the amount of water they need to work perfectly.  I didn't give up.  Great advice.
Thank you. 

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 09-09-2016, 12:55 PM
#5
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(09-09-2016, 12:42 PM)youngunn2008 Wrote: Definitely agree. I usually keep adding water to my brush while face lathering until I get that perfect slick yogurty lather. I've had to help a couple buddies of mine who don't add enough water and they have this pasty sticky mess.

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True enough. It's easy to be fooled by what LOOKS like great lather. BTW, Happy Birthday (Belated... Blush )

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 09-09-2016, 12:57 PM
#6
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(09-09-2016, 12:55 PM)primotenore Wrote:
(09-09-2016, 12:42 PM)youngunn2008 Wrote: Definitely agree. I usually keep adding water to my brush while face lathering until I get that perfect slick yogurty lather. I've had to help a couple buddies of mine who don't add enough water and they have this pasty sticky mess.

Sent from my Nexus 6 using Tapatalk

True enough. It's easy to be fooled by what LOOKS like great lather. BTW, Happy Birthday (Belated... Blush )
Thanks man!

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 09-09-2016, 02:06 PM
#7
  • evnpar
  • Emeritus
  • Portland, Oregon
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Excellent, Primo! When I find a new soap isn't performing well, it's usually either from not loading the brush enough, or not adding enough water. If the soap doesn't easily rinse off my straight on my first pass, I'm back to adding additional water. At least for me, slickness is the most important quality I'm looking for.

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 09-09-2016, 02:19 PM
#8
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I am a soap junkie, I usually load my brush off a puck for at least a minute and add water about a teaspoon at a time and keep adding until I get whip cream, for me and using a straight razor, if it does not easily rinse from the blade it's to dry and needs water.

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 09-09-2016, 05:17 PM
#9
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(09-09-2016, 02:06 PM)evnpar Wrote: Excellent, Primo! When I find a new soap isn't performing well, it's usually either from not loading the brush enough, or not adding enough water. If the soap doesn't easily rinse off my straight on my first pass, I'm back to adding additional water. At least for me, slickness is the most important quality I'm looking for.

(09-09-2016, 02:19 PM)Panther308 Wrote: I am a soap junkie, I usually load my brush off a puck for at least a minute and add water about a teaspoon at a time and keep adding until I get whip cream, for me and using a straight razor, if it does not easily rinse from the blade it's to dry and needs water.
Thank you Richard. Good point gentlemen.

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 09-09-2016, 05:57 PM
#10
  • RSP1
  • Active Member
  • Western NY
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Great advice for both novices and experts!


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 09-09-2016, 06:03 PM
#11
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Very good post, I have to keep reminding myself of this as different products behave differently.  I have been wet shaving for over 50 years and still learning!!!

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 09-10-2016, 01:21 AM
#12
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Hear hear.

The quality of the lather plays as much of role or even bigger than the kind of razor you use. The best razors can't work with sloppy lather, but mediocre razors can shine with the right lather.

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 09-10-2016, 10:17 AM
#13
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Good post Primo.  Sometimes the answer lies in the simple basics.

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 09-10-2016, 11:10 AM
#14
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(09-10-2016, 01:21 AM)1Geralt Wrote: Hear hear.

The quality of the lather plays as much of role or even bigger than the kind of razor you use. The best razors can't work with sloppy lather, but mediocre razors can shine with the right lather.

(09-10-2016, 10:17 AM)TheLegalRazor Wrote: Good post Primo.  Sometimes the answer lies in the simple basics.
Thank you Ricardo.

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 09-10-2016, 11:11 AM
#15
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(09-10-2016, 01:21 AM)1Geralt Wrote: Hear hear.

The quality of the lather plays as much of role or even bigger than the kind of razor you use. The best razors can't work with sloppy lather, but mediocre razors can shine with the right lather.
Thank you.

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 09-10-2016, 06:46 PM
#16
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(09-09-2016, 06:52 AM)primotenore Wrote: Water is your shave's best friend. 

Do some experimenting. See how much water your lather can incorporate. You will be amazed. 

This is spot on.  It would be the first tip I would send to anyone having trouble lathering a soap.  This is often the difference between a lather not worth mentioning and one that allows you to drag barbed wire across your face without discomfort.  

Well said for all Primo.

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 09-10-2016, 07:12 PM
#17
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(09-10-2016, 06:46 PM)Streambrewer Wrote:
(09-09-2016, 06:52 AM)primotenore Wrote: Water is your shave's best friend. 

Do some experimenting. See how much water your lather can incorporate. You will be amazed. 

This is spot on.  It would be the first tip I would send to anyone having trouble lathering a soap.  This is often the difference between a lather not worth mentioning and one that allows you to drag barbed wire across your face without discomfort.  

Well said for all Primo.
Thank you Matt!

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 10-08-2016, 08:33 AM
#18
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Great thread and advice. Also add the complications of having a number of soaps in a rotation. It pays to slow down and focus on a couple of soaps and creams until lathering techniques are mastered


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 02-17-2017, 08:55 AM
#19
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I was looking for some help with this...
It's my first week with cream and brush (Truefitt & Hill West Indian Lime and a Kent Blk4). My lather looks good, feels goods and performs better than foam in a can but I think the point made here is spot on. I noticed it might be a bit thick as it's clogging the entire underside of my blade and won't rise away. Today I added more water and the clog was only in spots but still I'm thinking more water. Not sure what too much will look like when I get there?

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 02-17-2017, 11:32 AM
#20
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(02-17-2017, 08:55 AM)RetroRon Wrote: I was looking for some help with this...
It's my first week with cream and brush (Truefitt & Hill West Indian Lime and a Kent Blk4). My lather looks good, feels goods and performs better than foam in a can but I think the point made here is spot on. I noticed it might be a bit thick as it's clogging the entire underside of my blade and won't rise away. Today I added more water and the clog was only in spots but still I'm thinking more water. Not sure what too much will look like when I get there?

Hello Ron,

Your lather will be runny and unstable; and it will dissipate very quickly. Then you back off on the water and you should be good to go. Keep in mind that the sweet spot for each soap can be a little different. Better to start out a little thick and add water then to have to go back to the puck and add more product. Practice makes perfect, my friend. Good luck.
One more thing, a great lather that is well hydrated will have a beautiful sheen.

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