Quest For Best, Thickest Lather -- Help!

Discussion in 'Shaving Creams' started by texcattlerancher, Oct 30, 2007.

  1. I need some learnin, so to speak. I have used a brush for over a decade, but after reading many on this forum (which I have just discovered), I am not getting the lather I think I should.

    My usual routine (not anymore) was to wet my brush with the hottest water I could stand, squeeze a little cream out on the brush tips, and then go straight to my face with the brush. I would make small circles until my face got covered with a thin layer of bubbly lathered cream, and then shave. In my ignorance, I have been generally happy with the foregoing routine. It was certainly smoother and slicker than any foam or gel that came out of a can.

    However, I have been lurking on this site for a while, and have recently watched a couple of the Mantix (sp) videos on Youtube. I am jealous of the thick lather I saw on the videos and of what I suspect many of you can produce.

    I generally use Cremo Cream ("CC"), meant to be used brushless, with my brush. I think CC is a superior product, and that may be why I have been satisfied with my shaving routine heretofore. With or without a brush, it produces a very slick buffer between razor and face.

    In the past, I have used Williams shaving soap in a mug, a Conk soap or two many years ago, Kiehl's Lite Flight cream, a cream from the Art of Shaving (I don't remember what is was), and several creams (worthless) that I bought off the grocery store shelf. But, I have never produced the thick lather I saw on the Mantix videos.

    So, I am now on a quest to produce the absolute thickest lather I can. I now have a lather bowl, and I have been using a Vulfix 2234 brush. Vulfix calls this a Super Badger, and I assume this is "silvertip" badger. So, I think I am well equiped with a brush and bowl. Do I need a mug instead?

    For the thickest lather, I don't think CC is the right choice. Once again, it is meant to be used brushless. This morning I bought some Lucky Tiger Shaving Lotion off ebarbershop for $8.50 because I read a good thread on this forum regarding how thick a lather that product produces. We shall see once it arrives.

    Can anyone give some advice for creams that produce a rich, thick lather or otherwise direct me on how to make the richest, thickest lather possible? Do I need to change to a different brush or go to a mug instead of a bowl?

    All advice is welcome.
  2. TimmyBoston

    TimmyBoston Moderator Emeritus

    My favorite creams are Taylor's, they are very good and reasonably priced as well. IMO they are better than Truefitt and Hill and Trumpers which are both more expensive.

    For soaps, I do lather on my face, but for creams, I always use a lather bowl. I find it makes my lather FAR superior to that I can produce on my face with a cream.

    Use a cereal bowl the next time you shave and see if that helps your lather and be prepared to mix it for at least 90 seconds up to 2 minutes to get the most out of your lather.

    Good luck, give this a go and see if it helps.
  3. Lather is for your face, not for your bowl. Give up trying to whip it up, bowl or mug. A dollop on the brush, start it out in the bowl if you must, but I use my palm, and then go right to the face. There are some products that work out fine for me if I lather them in a bowl, but some end up clearly overwhipped. I haven't had a product give less than adequate performance since I started face lathering.
  4. I always lather my soaps directly to the face. I get much better results. For me, the jury is still out on whether face or bowl is better for creams. Face is getting the advantage for performance, but the bowl is less messy and sure looks nice when the cream has reached the soft peak stage.
  5. I feel your pain (literally). It was months and months before I could consistantly get decent lather. One thing I've found helpful for building a good lather is "priming" the brush (aka "Superlather"):


    So for example you might wet your brush really well, saturate it with some of the Col. Conk soap, then add some of the Art of Shaving cream. The saturated brush will help build a really good lather.

    You might also want to try a "throwaway" batch of lather as practice, starting with too little water and adding more and more to see what happens:


    Finally you might want to experiment with different lathering techniques to see what works best for you:


    Hope that helps.

  6. I started face lathering as I was having a clear problem with overlathering eshave cream into something too stiff and nonlubricating. It's no messier for me-- and is in fact one less thing to clean out when I'm done. Haven't looked back. Every product I use this way performs at least as well, and many perform better.
  7. I also prefer lathering on my face, after having done "the bowl thing" for a while. Regardless, though, the thickness of the lather is less important, IMHO, than other factors. Too thick and dense a lather is actually quite counterproductive, because it is often too dry. Lubricity seems to be the factor that is most important in my case. I can use gels and any kind of lathers as long as they lubricate sufficiently well. Others value cushioning as well, but I find too much cushioning won't get me as close as I want to be.

    Overall, if your current routine results in great shaves with no irritation, there is nothing that really needs to be changed. If not, then you need to play around with all those parameters.

    Best - MM
  8. jlander

    jlander Moderator Emeritus

    To each his on.

    I love using a scuttle and getting that warm lather on my face. Of creams, I have found the Castle Forbes creams to be unmatched when it come to simply superb, easy, thick, slick, & cushiony lather. Others that have been easy to work with are Fraser's and Kiss My Face scentless.
  9. I've found, with all the creams in my stash (Geez, do I really have that many?!?! ), that the C & E Sweet Almond Oil produces the thickest lather for me...and I use a boar brush.
  10. In my shave den, T&H and DR Harris shaving creams give me the best lather & consequently the best shaves. Taylor's is running a close third.

    I've never tried it but Castle Forbes is probably a home run too.
  11. Cremo Cream combined with an unscented soap and used with a brush produces some pretty thick rich lather.

    I always suggest using a superlather, (combo of ss/cream). Sue's, Colleen's, Sue's, Em's, Sue's and Suzie's products have never failed to provide me with a rich, slick lather.
  12. I've tried alot of different creams but this one builds the thickest best cutting cream that I've tried. Although I can get great shaves with other creams as well, this one is my overall favorite.
  13. Another vote for C&E SAO cream, or SAO cream mixed with Tabac. Sometimes I'll put in some KMF cream, as well. This stuff gives me a lather so thick that stirring it will make your hand tired. SAO cream on it's own though is fantastic. Extremely rich and cushioning, and at the same time very close cutting. I start out with an almost dry brush (with about a tablespoon of hot water sitting on the Tabac while showering, then poured into lather bowl), swirl on the Tabac really well, then very gradually add small amounts of water until I get where I want. A healthy serving of the above will rovide lather for a dozen passes :p.
  14. Lathering on your face deletes half the fun of wetshaving, IMO.

    I am mainly a soap man, but I get very nice results from Proraso with very little hassle. An almond-sized squeeze into the bottom of a mug, add a splash of water, whip it up. If it's dry, add a little more water. Repeat until it's perfect, and then put it on your face. You will look like you dipped your head in the cool-whip tub!

    I use a standard pure badger brush and it works great.
  15. Suzuki

    Suzuki Moderator Emeritus

    If you're using any decent product, you should be able to get a good lather regardless of how you build it.

    Similarly, any decent brush (your Vulfix is definitely in this category) can build a good lather.

    Your Vulfix is a little on the floppy side (most Vulfix brushes are) and while you can build a good lather on your face, it will take a little more work with a Vulfix than a brush with a more compact, less floppy knot.

    I don't know about the Cremo - I've not used it, but lots of people have and seem to get good results. The Lucky Tiger is also supposed to be quite good.

    I would try building your lather in a nice wide cereal bowl or large latte mug to start with - its easier to get a sense of how much cream and water you're using, which is the best way to get repeatable results.

    If you're getting thin lather, you're either using too little soap and/or too much water.

    Start with an almond or quarter-sized amount of cream and a nearly dry brush (give it a good shake or squeeze it with your hand).

    Work the cream around your mug/bowl and add hot water little by little (about a teaspoon at a time) remember, you can always add more, but you can't add less.

    You will get to the stage where you think you have a decent lather, but there will be visible bubbles (small but clearly visible) this means you're almost there - add another teaspoon of hot water and go to town.

    You should end up with lather that's somewhere between the soft and stiff peak stage (cooking term used when beating egg whites) with very small, barely visible bubbles - that's when you're done.

    It should take betwen 30 seconds and 1 minute to do this once you've gotten the hang of it.

    Don't be afraid to use some pressure with the brush (at the same time, you don't need to bear down with all your weight).

    It will take some trial and error, but you'll get the hang of both technique and cream/water ratio with some practice/trial and error.

    Good luck.
  16. I'm a soap guy, but I have used a few creams and nearly all of the cheap ones are better left on the shelf and the money saved for good ones.

    The Art of Shaving makes an excellent cream. I really enjoyed the tub of lemon cream that I picked up while on vacation last January. If you can't make great lather with this stuff you need help, serious help... maybe even call an ambulance.

    I have recently tried the C&E sweet almond oil shave cream after reading many raves about it. It is pretty good and I really like the way it superlathers with C&E sweet almond oil shave soap. This is my hands down winner for a superlather combo. Although, I would imagine any AOS cream and soap product would rock as well, but I have never had a reason to superlather an AOS product.
  17. Hey Mark,
    What's the brush that you are using in the last video?
  18. This is a learning experience to get the cream/water ratio just right. I followed Mantic's advice and just spent some time whipping and adding water, whipping and adding more water. For me, this was the best way to learn. For the last couple of days I have been able to produce very nice lathers with good peaks. The main thing to me was finding the right bowl so I could properly whip up the lather. I won't repeat the problems experienced with different mugs/bowls here (these are in a different post), but I think I have found my perfect match with a chili bowl of all things. It is about 2 and a 1/2 inches deep and about 4 and a 1/2 inches across with finger loops on both sides. You can really swirl your brush around in this bowl without clanking the sides. And, it is deep enough to sit in a sink of hot water to stay warm without water coming in over the sides.

    My best results thus far have been with a Savile Row brush and TH Ultimate Comfort cream. For some reason, I haven't been able to get my Cremo Cream to whip up as well as TH, Musgo, or Taylors.
  19. I agree with others that taylor's creams seem to almost lather themselves...and the scents are great (St. james is my favorite). Proraso also does a good job (I prefer the red tube, but the original green tube lathers wonderfully).

    I have found that face lathering helps to ensure I don't "over whip" the lather...the trick is to add water to the brush as you face lather...just dipping the tips of the brush in some water and continuing to build the lather on your face. I like this method as you can really "feel" when the lather is right (not pasty, not too wet). The only downside is you don't get the nice warmth in your lather that a scuttle or heated bowl will produce.
  20. For me, it's actually the other way around: making lather in a bowl takes half of the fun out of wet-shaving. Best - MM

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