01-22-2017, 12:00 PM
#1
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I have a question on lather. People seem to make a big deal about getting lather right. They talk about loading the brush forever and then swirling the brush in a bowl forever (I bowl lather)


I have a RazoRock Synthetic Plisoft and Bowl (Symmetrical Pottery) that has all these bumps on it  that helps make lather. Maybe my equipment is just really good so it makes lather well without any skill. I also get the same results on my Shavemac 2 Band Silvertip.

I probably only have to swirl the brush in the soap 10 times to load. None of this 1 minute stuff. And then with seconds, I get a lot of lather in the bowl without adding much water. I only swirl longer because videos all say to and not rush the process.

The lather seems great to me, but I have no benchmark. Maybe its crappy lather. How do I know? Sometimes I add water, not because it really needs it, but because videos say to do it and it will keep taking on water but its not like its a huge difference. One time I added too much water and had big bubbles and this was clear. But usually my lather feels great and there is a lot in the bowl

Bubbles seem small to me so this seems right. Any suggestions or tips or benchmarks to see if I am making lather correctly? It just seems like people "big deal" the lathering making process and I have not struggled and that seems odd which makes me think maybe my lather could be better.

And if I made better or perfect lather, I am wondering how much better my shaves would be?

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 01-22-2017, 12:07 PM
#2
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Videos are nice in my opinion if you have literally no clue what you are doing. I would say if you are getting a lather that works for YOU and you are happy with your shave then you are doing it right. I think sometimes videos are too narrow. What I mean is if adding a lot of water, or loading for a minute or longer that could be soap specific and not necessarily lather specific. Each soap performs different so does each brush. If you have arrived at an end result that produces a quality shave, I say stick with that.

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 01-22-2017, 12:47 PM
#3
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Very good question. IMO the best way to figure out how you like your lather is to palm lather a few times. That way you get to feel how it changes as you whip, do paint brush strokes, add more product, more water, etc. You can feel the differences in glide, thickness, etc by pressing it between your fingers. When you decide what you like best, make sure you take note (mental is ok) of how it looks like and how you came to it. Then you can reproduce in your bowl. 

I have tons of fun playing with lather so I really enjoy that process. 

Have fun!

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 01-22-2017, 01:43 PM
#4
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When I'm trying out a new soap, I'll do a couple test lathers where I add water little by little till the lather is ruined by too much water. This allows you to get a feel for how the soap will look and feel at various hydration levels. 

Not everyone is going to like their lather exactly the same way. You might like yours with a little more or less water than other guys. Experimentation is key, I thought my lather was great for a while, but after looking around the forum I found Merkur Man's method, and it made a big difference in how thick and protective my lather is.

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 01-22-2017, 02:43 PM
#5
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I agree with Tappan's comment above.  If your lather seems great to you and you're getting good shaves, you're fine.  All the opinions in the videos and forums can be overwhelming.  Experiment and finds what works best for you.  There is more than one way to make great lather.

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 01-22-2017, 05:11 PM
#6
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As one of "those guys", you know the ones I'm talking about, one who has made a couple of lather making videos, I always feel a bit bad when people worry about what their lather looks like.  Honestly, if you're making a lather that is giving you comfortable shaves stick with what you are doing, there is no reason to change.  If you start wanting to experiment to see what your preferred soaps can do by all means feel free to experiment.  Shaving is hardly an exact science.  I posted the videos I have simply because others were asking what I was doing to get the kind of lather I was showing in the Lather Shots thread, not as any treatise on lather making.

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 01-22-2017, 06:48 PM
#7
  • Viking
  • Artisan - Soap & Cosmetics
  • Ames, Iowa
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Only thing I'd add is that even if you don't think you need to add more water, it can help with slickness in certain soaps. But like the others have said, your benchmark is you and if you are creating lather that is suitable for a good shave, then you're good.

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 01-22-2017, 09:50 PM
#8
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Personally, I think you should load much longer than you are currently - just so that you can experience a very dense, hydrated lather. You aren't going to get that off a 10 second load. My shaves took a big step forward when I stopped being frugal when loading ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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 01-23-2017, 08:26 AM
#9
  • chazt
  • Senior Member
  • Bayside, NY
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You'll know if your lather is sufficiently hydrated if it lasts on your face for an entire pass without drying out too quickly. Don't stop experimenting with adding water slowly to your lather.

You may want to try face lathering. My shaves improved dramatically when I started creating lather on my face rather than in a bowl. It softens and lifts my whiskers efficiently and readies my beard for a good razing. Ymmv, of course.

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 01-23-2017, 10:57 AM
#10
  • SRNewb
  • Senior Member
  • No. Va, USA
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Agree with those who say if you are getting lather that you enjoy and that is working for you, press on with it. Video smideo. Shaving is a personal thing. Do it your way. As long as you are happy, don't worry about it.

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 01-23-2017, 06:46 PM
#11
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If you are getting close and comfortable shaves, don't worry about your lather.  

That said, you can likely get denser/thicker lather by starting off with a dryer brush and adding water a few drops at a time while loading.  This technique, or variants like Nathan's method, are just ways to ensure you get a good thick proto-lather.  You don't need to load for two minutes.  Usually 30-60 seconds.

I would consider loading more if you are using a badger brush, particularly one that is larger than 24mm.  One thing I have noticed is that badger brushes seem to only work well when fully loaded.

If you like saving time, use a cream or a soap that loads quickly.  For me, one such soap is B&M Latha.  You can also save time by using a synthetic.  Unlike badgers, they seem to work fine only partially loaded.

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 01-23-2017, 06:49 PM
#12
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Oh I just read you use a synth.  That partially explains your experience of getting decent lather with such a short load.  Frankly I think of all qualities Lather can have, thickness (not density) is the most overrated.

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 01-23-2017, 06:58 PM
#13
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(01-23-2017, 06:49 PM)surfshaver Wrote: Oh I just read you use a synth.  That partially explains your experience of getting decent lather with such a short load.  Frankly I think of all qualities Lather can have, thickness (not density) is the most overrated.

You raise a good point.  There was a thread on this called "Do You Find Synthetics Require Less Soap."

http://shavenook.com/showthread.php?tid=44493

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 02-11-2017, 04:26 PM
#14
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(01-22-2017, 06:48 PM)Viking Wrote: Only thing I'd add is that even if you don't think you need to add more water, it can help with slickness in certain soaps. But like the others have said, your benchmark is you and if you are creating lather that is suitable for a good shave, then you're good.

Dear Viking;  im interested in buying your products, but all of them appear ¨out of stock¨ in your web site.  :-(
Do you have any distributors????

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 05-03-2017, 04:33 AM
#15
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+1 on the whip and rip
Method. I'm still learning how to master it.

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 05-03-2017, 06:12 AM
#16
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Some above nailed it.  In my experience, when I use a badger it takes longer, and thus I feel like I can get a more dense and hydrated lather (Merkur Man method convert here)

My synthetic can look at a puck and get lather.

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 05-03-2017, 06:19 AM
#17
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(01-22-2017, 09:50 PM)mike_the_kraken Wrote: Personally, I think you should load much longer than you are currently - just so that you can experience a very dense, hydrated lather. You aren't going to get that off a 10 second load.  My shaves took a big step forward when I stopped being frugal when loading ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Absolutely.  My lather wasn't bad prior to this but the difference was dramatic.  Still, some soaps load and produce lather very quickly (MdC, PannaCrema are examples for me) but in general, I default to a long load time.

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