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Am I crazy or is this normal?

Welcome aboard. Great you're making good lather with the synth. Lots of good advice above for the badger, just remember enjoy the experimentation, and trail and error - the journey is fun!
My badgers perform different compared to synthetic and different to boar and horse also.

Usually you need more soap since the badger more or less soaks it up.
And stupidly enough if I leave a loaded brush rest for a minute or so it is softer and it releases better.

Hmmmm still a reason to get a brush scuttle lol.

I would take a bowl and lather in that to get a better feeling for soap/water ratio.
You could try bowl lathering like mentioned and just try something a little different and try using a water mister, I have been experimenting with troublesome soaps and have had good success.
Try blooming the soap. Start to load with a damp brush, then add some water and load some more until it it get pasty. I have some high density badger brushes that do not release the lather well. They can be a challenge.
OK guys, I'm back with some updates. I've been experimenting some more with my Fanchurian knot and I've been able to get a good lather a few times with it. However, I was only able to do this with one soap. I still have trouble replicating this with my other soaps - I tend to get a super foamy/airy lather. The kind that when you squeeze it out of the brush looks like dish soap.

I think this is happening because I'm just not picking up enough soap. So how do I get my brush to pick up more soap? I know I can bloom the soap itself but I'd rather use this as a last resort. Would leaving more water in the brush before loading do the trick?

Again, any feedback is appreciated!
Less water in the brush. Add more water if it gets too pasty. Damp brush.
You do not need to add much water to the soap if you bloom it. It is just to soften the top layer.
Some soaps like MWF starts out foamy and needs to be worked to get a thick lather. What saop are you struggling with?

Chan Eil Whiskers

Fumbling about.
You may need more soap. That's my guess.

You may have a difficult or even bad knot. I don't know the badger you're using so how would I know?

I use all sorts of brushes - one synthetic, a bunch of boars, a good horse, a wide selection of good badgers - they're all different from one another, but also much the same.

Here's my little write up on a useful exercise to learn how to face lather properly and get a great lather every time. Enough soap or even too much soap is fine. Not enough soap is never going to work well.

Soaps differ, too, of course. Some require much more loading time.

Hope you figure it out soon.

Happy shaves,

I used synthetics for almost 4 years and recently have been using badger brushes and boar brushes. There was a small learning curve with the badger brushes and the way I like to lather with them compared to the synthetics.
Soak my bagger brush while I get ready for shave to make badger whiskers more pliable, spread soap in bowl.
Take the brush out of the cup and squeeze excess water out, start the lathering and make sure you go from foam to cream and then add a drops of water or I like to use mister atomizer(nothing fancy) 2 squirts is about 9-12 drops. Stir lather some more until you see it mostly creamy and mist another 2 squirts and even put a squirt on the brush and stir lather some more. Do this process until you get the lather you like.
As you get proficient with what to look for you will not need to squeeze out as much water out of the brush at the start.
I used CRS sandalwood cream this morning with a Yaqi 2band badger and my results were great. You might need a little more soap than your use to with synthetics. This is not a whole lot slower than with a synthetic brush from my experiences & I mostly use 2 band badgers and I have 1 silver tip and use this method on all 5 badgers.
Creams are not the easiest to lather with a badger but this method works IMO. This morning shave with my 2 band badger.
Cyril R Salter sandalwood cream......................................................$2.50 dollar store mister or atomizer(nothing fancy)
Spray 2 squirts in the balm of your hand to figure out 8-12 drops of water, misting seems a better way of measuring water IMO.
Brush collage, Nov 12, 2021 .jpg Lather mister from dollars store.jpg
Have some great shaves!
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OK guys, I just tried again this morning. Still no progress - nothing I do works for me. The lather I end up with on my face just ends up looking like dish soap - very foamy/airy. It's the same for both of my badgers. I used Stirling and got this foamy lather. The one soap that did work for me was Zingari man but I'm not going to keep a brush around just to use it for one soap.

I'm probably going back to my synthetics and boars for now because this just ends up killing my mood for shaving.

Thanks for all your help!
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