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Any tips for lathering soap samples?

i was wondering if any of the experienced shavers on the forum have hints for lathering soap samples. I have had no problems generating good lather from full sized soap tins but seem to struggle with samples. Typically I face lather. I do not own a shaving bowl. When I use samples I press about a quarter size piece of soap to the bottom of small kitchen bowl. I think my main issue is I struggle getting my brush adequately loaded from the small sample which then results in a substandard lather. Any suggestions??

My method's been working well for me: I use a boar brush (after soaking in hot water and then shaken out) and with my thumb and index finger, I gather/surround the bristles tightly down near the knot (while holding the brush pointed upwards). Then I take the little sample jar (already bloomed with a little hot water) with my free hand I sort of turn/spin it on top of the bristle tips to load it.
Proceed to lather bowl or face and have at it! :a39:
I also have a hard time with samples. I just can't seem to get the same great lather as I do from a full soap tin. What works best for me is to put the all of the soap from the sample on the bottom of a bowl or latte mug, and sort of mash it down so the entire bottom of the bowl/mug is covered in soap. I then load from this and do a face lather.
It depends on the size and cut of the sample. I've even put some in a baggie and hammered them flat to make a thinner, but wider, surface easier for lathering. Weird, but it works. I favor the Stirling samples as they are (thin, but) about 3" wide, soft and easy to press in any size bowl.
I press mine into a bowl, but I agree with Chad. My first few samples, I was trying to stretch them. Don't. Use more soap.


I’m not a fan
I hear ya OP. I too find it difficult to lather from tiny samples. My advice? Scoop the sample out into a bowl of some sort and load it as normal. Works for me...
Not the best, but had fair success scooping a bit out of a tiny container, throwing in a tbsp of hot water, letting it sit for 15-30 minutes, then bowl lathering. Agree that you need to use more soap than you expect.
Thank so everybody for the pointers. Going to try a sample tonight. Will try using more soap and smearing around the bowl surface. Will let you know how it goes.
The problem with lathering soap samples is that all soaps are different, then you add in other variables like how much water a particular brush holds. It's really easy to guess wrong and end up with a complete mess or a less than ideal lather from a sample.

Like others have said, use a little more soap and smear it around the bowl surface. You'll also want to start with a rather dry brush. As you start to build the lather add about four drops of water at a time, then lather some more, then add some more drops. Continue adding the drops of water slowly as you lather and seeing what effect they have on the lather. This way you won't overshoot the water right from the start. You can always add water but you can't take it away. Plus by doing this slowly you can stop any time the lather is perfect.

I can lather just about any soap perfectly this way with just about any brush. It takes the guessing out of it.
Had the best luck to date lathering a sample tonight. Ended up spreading half the sample in the bottom of a bowl and started with a damp brush. Added water a few drops at a time like @dfoulk suggested. I was able to make a very nice lather with my Eufros Sample. Probably could have added a bit more water to the mix. Had more than enough lather to complete two passes on my face and another 2 passes on my head. I clearly need more practice but I am headed in the right direction.

Good reading of others experiences and techniques.
I've got some Darwin soap samples I'm going to try digging out of the tiny containers, and pressing into a bowl. May work better than what I've been doing.
Press the whole sample into a larger plastic bowl from like Walmart or similar, will give you more room to load up then face lather off the brush.
As mentioned, "SMEAR" it quite thinly around the bottom of a bowl so you have a good large surface to load into the brush without getting chunks. A bowl with a little texture makes this easier. Use more than you think you need.
I smash the whole sample to the bottom of my MWF ceramic dish or an old spice mug. I spread it out over the bottom and load like usual. I've yet to come across a sample that won't cover the majority of the surface area of the dish so its no different than loading a full size product in its last week or so of useage. I've never had a problem but I'm also not trying to guess what 1 shave worth of soap is. I smash the whole sample into the dish and use until it's done. I don't think you can have any real estimation of what a soap performs like until you've used it for a week or 2 and have a feel for how to work with it, so if I'm going to sample it I want to use it everyday for as long as the sample will last.

Hannah's Dad

I Can See Better Than Bigfoot.
I tried to conserve the B&M Reserve samples -- but realized that I had to pluck out a good amount, smash it all over a bowl, then load and face lather as usual.
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