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Droopy Shiny Peaks Cream Lathering Method

I wanted to share a methodology I have developed for obtaining outstanding shaves with cheap-to-mid priced creams. For context, I recently switched to using creams as my mainstay, after more than a decade of using only the best artisan soaps. I wanted to simplify and stop spending so much.

After switching, I researched proper methodology for generating a lather in a bowl, and found a lot of useful stuff. I also found a lot of people who thought that generally, soaps provide better slickness, protection, and skin nutrients, than do creams. And I couldn’t find a post specifically dedicated to the methodology below.

After about half a year of trying various creams and tweaking my methodology, I have found that optimal cream lathering methodology differs significantly from soap methodology. If you follow the steps below, relatively cheap creams such as Speick Active are able to provide a shave that is every bit as slick and protective as even the best soaps.

A necessary thanks is owed to Marco, whose Marco Methodology provided the starting point. The Marco Methodology is, in short form: use a ton of soap and a ton of water. Your lather should be shiny by the time you are done with it. The water ensures slickness, and the product ensures protection.

With creams, especially with creams that come in a small tube such as Speick, I just cannot use a ton of product. The tube has a very small opening, and there is just not that much cream in the tube. Although many users say they use an almond-sized dollop of cream, I don’t want to use that much from my tube of Speick, because the tube wouldn’t last that long. I have found that with the DSP Methodology, a dollop between half an inch to an inch works fine (the opening on Speick tubes is quite small, so the amount is far less than an almond in size.)

You should try to use more water than you may think you need. But, you should add it gradually, about 10 drops at a time. You should start with a well-squeezed brush. The three broad stages of lather generation are:

  1. Lather contains many bubbles, and the lathering has just started with a relatively dry brush. There is not yet enough water! I run my hand under the faucet and add some water - I want to say between 10 to 15 drops.
  2. “Stiff Peaks” - this is where most people stop. The lather has fully integrated the water, may be shiny, and contains “peaks”. This is where all the glamour shots that people post are at in terms of stage. At this stage, the lather is just beautiful. But don’t stop here! Add a good amount - 10 drops give or take - of additional water. Depending upon how much cream you used, it may take even more. The crucial point is don’t worry about adding too much water! I have found creams actually have a wide range of acceptable water amounts, once you have added a minimum amount of water.
  3. “Droopy Shiny Peaks” - lots of additional water has now been integrated. Peaks from the previous step still form, but they are now droopy with the extra water. The peaks should look a bit like a shiny upside-down umbrella. There are likely a few bubbles that are starting to form, leading you to wonder if you have added too much water. You haven’t! The lather should be very shiny at this point. You can stop here.

At this point, the cream will be slick as anything, and despite the saturation bubbles, will still provide way more protection than you really need.

What has happened here? What is going on?

Any worthwhile cream will provide ample protection (cushion). And you have loaded the cream with as much water as it needs for optimal lubrication, which provides awesome slickness. I use extremely efficient razors, and with this method I get a BBS shave, with no nicks, irritation, or skin sadness. Unlike when I used artisan soaps, I can shave every day for week after week, without having to take a break. Overall this method gives me much better slickness and residual slickness than soaps ever did.

Anyway, hope this helps...
 
Thanks for writing up your methods. Speick is a great cream, reminds me I should use it again soon.

I've been wet shaving for 6 or 8 years now and feel fairly experienced, but I always feel I continue to learn and refine lathering techniques. This post was helpful in that regard.

I think you mentioned a few important considerations in your post. First, was adding water slowly, I think that's important to making a good stable and hydrated lather. I wonder if adding too much water too quickly results in a sloppy mess that isn't as protective. The second, was the droppy shiny peaks, hydrating a lather to that stage is important and as you said, I think some stop before that point.

Out of curiosity, have you tried this method that's successful on creams with an artisan soap?
 
Absolutely agree, work it enough, add water slowly gives the most consistent lather.

But personally I'd lean more towards having enough soap/cream to start with. Half an inch is just not enough.
 

AimlessWanderer

Remember to forget me!
I use slightly less than 1ml of cream. Imagine a 1cm or 3/8" cube, and that's 1ml. That is a slightly wasteful for me, so I aim to scoop out a little bit less.

I then load in a lather, but don't work the lather in it. Starting by scooping up water, and dumping it straight out, so the inside of the bowl is wet, I add the cream, and start to load as though loading from a soap. Sometimes i can do this with a dry synthetic brush, and sometimes it needs to be a little wet. Depends on the product being used.

Next, I face lather. Continuing to build lather in a bowl leads to too much air being incorporated, and I get stiff (peaked) lather. Even if I continue to add water, that air won't come out, and as far as I am concerned, the lather is ruined.

With face lathering, that doesn't happen. I can continue to add water to get the slickness I need, without bulking it up with air. My aim is to avoid "protection" or "cushion", as that impairs my shaves, not improves them.

When I dunk my razor in the mug to rinse it, the lather should collapse instantly, and not float on the surface like little icebergs. Bobbles of lather on the surface, mean I got it wrong.

Exceptions:
I have found that some creams, Taylor's was one, lost slickness when taken to the consistency I prefer. I had to use that richer to get it slick, and ended up with something "protective".

This numbed shave feel, leading to a greater risk of operator error. With pressure free shaving, it also made the cap and closed comb want to float, leading to tugging and lack of closeness. My solution is not to use products which need using richly in order to get sickness. If I don't get good slickness at the consistency I want, then that product is not for me.
 
Thanks for writing up your methods. Speick is a great cream, reminds me I should use it again soon.

I've been wet shaving for 6 or 8 years now and feel fairly experienced, but I always feel I continue to learn and refine lathering techniques. This post was helpful in that regard.

I think you mentioned a few important considerations in your post. First, was adding water slowly, I think that's important to making a good stable and hydrated lather. I wonder if adding too much water too quickly results in a sloppy mess that isn't as protective. The second, was the droppy shiny peaks, hydrating a lather to that stage is important and as you said, I think some stop before that point.

Out of curiosity, have you tried this method that's successful on creams with an artisan soap?
With soaps, I use a similar method - the @Marco Method. That method is, basically, load wet soap with a wet brush, and take a long time doing it. More soap + more water equals happiness.

I just basically adopted his method for creams. I was noticing that adding extra product was not really helping, but adding extra water was. So I ran from there.
 
I use slightly less than 1ml of cream. Imagine a 1cm or 3/8" cube, and that's 1ml. That is a slightly wasteful for me, so I aim to scoop out a little bit less.

I then load in a lather, but don't work the lather in it. Starting by scooping up water, and dumping it straight out, so the inside of the bowl is wet, I add the cream, and start to load as though loading from a soap. Sometimes i can do this with a dry synthetic brush, and sometimes it needs to be a little wet. Depends on the product being used.

Next, I face lather. Continuing to build lather in a bowl leads to too much air being incorporated, and I get stiff (peaked) lather. Even if I continue to add water, that air won't come out, and as far as I am concerned, the lather is ruined.

With face lathering, that doesn't happen. I can continue to add water to get the slickness I need, without bulking it up with air. My aim is to avoid "protection" or "cushion", as that impairs my shaves, not improves them.

When I dunk my razor in the mug to rinse it, the lather should collapse instantly, and not float on the surface like little icebergs. Bobbles of lather on the surface, mean I got it wrong.

Exceptions:
I have found that some creams, Taylor's was one, lost slickness when taken to the consistency I prefer. I had to use that richer to get it slick, and ended up with something "protective".

This numbed shave feel, leading to a greater risk of operator error. With pressure free shaving, it also made the cap and closed comb want to float, leading to tugging and lack of closeness. My solution is not to use products which need using richly in order to get sickness. If I don't get good slickness at the consistency I want, then that product is not for me.
Your lather style caught my eye because it's vastly different from mine. I like my lathers wetter with the water well mixed into the soap as uniformly as possible, and as you'd expect that results in volume. TOBS works for me because of that, but I hadn't considered your point on volume leading to a lack of control/information from the blade and razor. Which soaps and creams work better for your dryer and less voluminous lathers? If I have any that work with your method, I'd like to try it out to see if the grass is greener on the other side.
 
I wanted to share a methodology I have developed for obtaining outstanding shaves with cheap-to-mid priced creams. For context, I recently switched to using creams as my mainstay, after more than a decade of using only the best artisan soaps. I wanted to simplify and stop spending so much.

After switching, I researched proper methodology for generating a lather in a bowl, and found a lot of useful stuff. I also found a lot of people who thought that generally, soaps provide better slickness, protection, and skin nutrients, than do creams. And I couldn’t find a post specifically dedicated to the methodology below.

After about half a year of trying various creams and tweaking my methodology, I have found that optimal cream lathering methodology differs significantly from soap methodology. If you follow the steps below, relatively cheap creams such as Speick Active are able to provide a shave that is every bit as slick and protective as even the best soaps.

A necessary thanks is owed to Marco, whose Marco Methodology provided the starting point. The Marco Methodology is, in short form: use a ton of soap and a ton of water. Your lather should be shiny by the time you are done with it. The water ensures slickness, and the product ensures protection.

With creams, especially with creams that come in a small tube such as Speick, I just cannot use a ton of product. The tube has a very small opening, and there is just not that much cream in the tube. Although many users say they use an almond-sized dollop of cream, I don’t want to use that much from my tube of Speick, because the tube wouldn’t last that long. I have found that with the DSP Methodology, a dollop between half an inch to an inch works fine (the opening on Speick tubes is quite small, so the amount is far less than an almond in size.)

You should try to use more water than you may think you need. But, you should add it gradually, about 10 drops at a time. You should start with a well-squeezed brush. The three broad stages of lather generation are:

  1. Lather contains many bubbles, and the lathering has just started with a relatively dry brush. There is not yet enough water! I run my hand under the faucet and add some water - I want to say between 10 to 15 drops.
  2. “Stiff Peaks” - this is where most people stop. The lather has fully integrated the water, may be shiny, and contains “peaks”. This is where all the glamour shots that people post are at in terms of stage. At this stage, the lather is just beautiful. But don’t stop here! Add a good amount - 10 drops give or take - of additional water. Depending upon how much cream you used, it may take even more. The crucial point is don’t worry about adding too much water! I have found creams actually have a wide range of acceptable water amounts, once you have added a minimum amount of water.
  3. “Droopy Shiny Peaks” - lots of additional water has now been integrated. Peaks from the previous step still form, but they are now droopy with the extra water. The peaks should look a bit like a shiny upside-down umbrella. There are likely a few bubbles that are starting to form, leading you to wonder if you have added too much water. You haven’t! The lather should be very shiny at this point. You can stop here.

At this point, the cream will be slick as anything, and despite the saturation bubbles, will still provide way more protection than you really need.

What has happened here? What is going on?

Any worthwhile cream will provide ample protection (cushion). And you have loaded the cream with as much water as it needs for optimal lubrication, which provides awesome slickness. I use extremely efficient razors, and with this method I get a BBS shave, with no nicks, irritation, or skin sadness. Unlike when I used artisan soaps, I can shave every day for week after week, without having to take a break. Overall this method gives me much better slickness and residual slickness than soaps ever did.

Anyway, hope this helps...

This was difficult to do with this particular soap.
But I like to shave with droopy shiny peaks.
In the tub you can barely see the counter peak.

DSCN1136b.jpg
 
I do the same. Start on the dry side with a shaken out brush. Lather under a dripping faucet until peaks start to droop. Same procedure with soaps and creams but I tend to prefer creams these days.
 

AimlessWanderer

Remember to forget me!
Your lather style caught my eye because it's vastly different from mine. I like my lathers wetter with the water well mixed into the soap as uniformly as possible, and as you'd expect that results in volume.

It seems I wasn't as clear as I hoped.

I like my lathers as wet as possible too, without being voluminous or stiff. if I bowl lather, they bulk up, more than the volume of soap/cream and water I used. The rest of the bulk is air, and that is what I am trying to avoid adding.

TOBS works for me because of that, but I hadn't considered your point on volume leading to a lack of control/information from the blade and razor.

It's not so much the volume that causes those problems, but the density, although sheer volume doesn't help either. Taylor's cream starts off well for me, in the apply it rich stage, but doesn't let me wet and thin it down to the level I prefer during face lathering, without losing slickness.

My two favourite creams are St James of London Black Pepper and Lime, and Erasmic. My soap choices include Phoenix and Beau, Wickham 1912, Haslinger, and Mitchell's Wool Fat, among others. They all let me wet is to a very high level of slickness without bulking up, and lay off to a nice thin layer conducive for pressureless shaving. No Santa beards and meringues here :)
 
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