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Favorite Lather Consistency and Feel

Hi ladies and gents. In the last year of wetshaving my personal lather preferences have changed tremendously, and it made me want to start a dialogue on different lather consistencies and feels so that we could all experiment outside our comfort zone with the guidance of the fine people on B&B. I'll get the ball rolling.

I used to like my lathers very voluminous and peaky because I misappropriated peaky volume for quality. A big reason why I fell into this mindset was that my Stirling soap was high structure and just looked incredible when built up. Lately however I've stopped going for that kind of lather. Now, especially with B&M Omnibus and Lothur V2, I've shifted to a very wet and medium volume lather.

I changed my mentality entirely from hydrating the top layer of the lather which never touches my face to hydrating the bottom layer of the lather which is in direct contact with my skin. If my brush cannot move the lather to reveal a very translucent layer of soap above my skin, I paint water on the top layer and lightly agitate until I notice the volume increasing so I can stop adding air and keep repeating as many times as necessary. This has given me the slickest shaves I have experienced to date.

That's my favorite lather, what about yours?
 
I like low structure, wet and almost runny lather. Except for B&M (which for me is like Elmer's glue) the consistency I aim for is almost like "wet paint" or "melted marshmallow", just enough structure to start forming peaks. Definitely not merangue. Perhaps that is why I prefer Southern Witchcrafts, Saponificio Varesino, Barrister and Mann, they are super easy to make my desired lather.
 
Thanks for the post, Sir rally!

TBCH, I can't figure out what is hydrating my top layer or my bottom layer!

I do know that sometimes the lather gets dry and I have to add some water and refresh it.

Otherwise, I just lather and enjoy!!

mwf-lathering-anim-dec-17-2014.gif
 
Interesting comments. After a fair amount of experimenting I've decided that I prefer lather more on the "dry" end of the spectrum. Definitely not runny.
 
It is a bit hard to describe how I like my lather. I have mostly used Stirling mostly. If I barely west the brush and gather up some soap where it's almost like a paste. I apply that to my hand or face add a little water to the paste it comes out perfect for me at least.
 
In the picture above IMO, that lather is too bubbly/airy. I like mine like whip cream in the tube that has been in the fridge for a week. It has a little structure, but couldn't hold peaks if it had to. If I can get peaks then I add more water. A peak should slop down but not drip. That's the best I can do to explain. It's still dense and not airy, but a bit on the sloppy side.

But I start with big peaks! When it's next to dripping I work it a little more to dry it some then shave.
 
It would be wonderful to see pics of medium volume lather. In my mind I usually have either meringue or super airy slop.
I'm not really sure if this counts as a *medium* structure or not, but this is my ideal lather consistency.

Or perhaps, more correctly, this is the thickest lather consistency I will use. Most days it's even wetter.

Southern Witchcrafts Fougere Nemata :clap:

No bubbles.

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When I fisrst started I learned somewhere that you need lather that has peaks.
I dont care about that anymore. I want a well hydrated lather. I just don't want it to slide off my face.
 
When I fisrst started I learned somewhere that you need lather that has peaks.
I dont care about that anymore. I want a well hydrated lather. I just don't want it to slide off my face.
This is pretty much my goal. If it's running off my chin, it's too wet. If it won't rinse off my blade, it's too dry. I've gotten good shaves from pretty much everything in between. Same goes for how long I work it. If I'm lathering in a bowl, I might take the time to get it nice and shiny/sheeny. If I'm building lather on my face, I don't spend much time. Just enough to work it into the whiskers and then add water by wetting the tips of the brush until it's somewhere near the consistency I want.
 
I've never tried face lathering. I have some skin issues so I don't... but I do take a shower before each shave.. and use a nice pre-shave. Bowl lathering seems to be somewhat of an art. Took me a couple times to master it... and now, when I try a new soap or cream, I have to figure out how much water to add... not all that difficult since I always start at the same place: soap or cream spread thin in the bottom of my bowl, gently shake out the brush and add water as needed.

I don't get a whole bowl full of lather. Just enough to fill up my brush all the way. That seems to work for 3 passes and some touch up. Now... I have some boar and mistura brushes on the way. That will be another learning curve, I'm sure.
 
Thinner, more hydrated lather was a game changer for me in terms of slickness. I quit chasing the picture perfect lathers I see on YouTube.

For me, if the lather stays put, but runs down my neck as I shave north/south, I've achieved the right consistency.
 

steveclarkus

Goose Poop Connoisseur
Hi ladies and gents. In the last year of wetshaving my personal lather preferences have changed tremendously, and it made me want to start a dialogue on different lather consistencies and feels so that we could all experiment outside our comfort zone with the guidance of the fine people on B&B. I'll get the ball rolling.

I used to like my lathers very voluminous and peaky because I misappropriated peaky volume for quality. A big reason why I fell into this mindset was that my Stirling soap was high structure and just looked incredible when built up. Lately however I've stopped going for that kind of lather. Now, especially with B&M Omnibus and Lothur V2, I've shifted to a very wet and medium volume lather.

I changed my mentality entirely from hydrating the top layer of the lather which never touches my face to hydrating the bottom layer of the lather which is in direct contact with my skin. If my brush cannot move the lather to reveal a very translucent layer of soap above my skin, I paint water on the top layer and lightly agitate until I notice the volume increasing so I can stop adding air and keep repeating as many times as necessary. This has given me the slickest shaves I have experienced to date.

That's my favorite lather, what about yours?
I use a thin wet lather. The wetter the slicker.
 
I've never tried face lathering. I have some skin issues so I don't... but I do take a shower before each shave.. and use a nice pre-shave. Bowl lathering seems to be somewhat of an art. Took me a couple times to master it... and now, when I try a new soap or cream, I have to figure out how much water to add... not all that difficult since I always start at the same place: soap or cream spread thin in the bottom of my bowl, gently shake out the brush and add water as needed.

I don't get a whole bowl full of lather. Just enough to fill up my brush all the way. That seems to work for 3 passes and some touch up. Now... I have some boar and mistura brushes on the way. That will be another learning curve, I'm sure.

WOW, you have come a very long way since you started, I am so proud of you! You are so right about the lather consistency. But I wished to clarify, you know how you have enough lather in your brush for 3-passes? This is because you have a dense brush, it can hold all that lather, much like how my Maseto silver tipped extra dense badger brush can.

However, if one has a less dense brush, its not going to hold as much lather. For me, I like a good heavy lather on my face, so I will make sure to make plenty in my bowl. If one has plenty of soap puk's, you never have to worry about excess amounts being used, when you got plenty of soap available hehe. Good stuff Phoenix, your doing great over there buddy!
 
WOW, you have come a very long way since you started, I am so proud of you! You are so right about the lather consistency. But I wished to clarify, you know how you have enough lather in your brush for 3-passes? This is because you have a dense brush, it can hold all that lather, much like how my Maseto silver tipped extra dense badger brush can.

However, if one has a less dense brush, its not going to hold as much lather. For me, I like a good heavy lather on my face, so I will make sure to make plenty in my bowl. If one has plenty of soap puk's, you never have to worry about excess amounts being used, when you got plenty of soap available hehe. Good stuff Phoenix, your doing great over there buddy!
Yeah with the synth brushes, there is always enough. I’m sure I’ll have to adjust when using a natural hair brush.
 
I found that lathering up in a bowl a big fluffy lather to be time consuming and wasteful. Everything above the hair is just excess, so I use face lathering and keep it rather thin, say a quarter an inch thick, somewhat dry, and creamy. If you really want smooth, put a layer of Cremo on your face before you lather up with soap. A nice firm brush like a Semogue 1305 or a 620 works nicely.
 
I try to aim/get on the wetter side of things, so yogurty, then an extra dip of water and go from there. I've tried formula-y it (timing of swirls, number of dips etc) and it's just easier/better if I just sorta make it as I go and rely on sight/feel everytime. I dislike when it's gets too bubbly/foamy and I over-water it.
 

musicman1951

three-tu-tu, three-tu-tu
When I bowl/scuttle lather - which is a lot - I play this game where I try and guess the correct amount of water left in the brush for a perfect lather. Not surprisingly, I don't always win the game. If it needs more water I usually add some, but if it's over hydrated (relative to my norm) I just use it.

I don't notice much/any difference in the results of the shave (although I'm not on the extremes of the possibilities here), but I do sometimes notice a difference in the comfort. The too-thin lather offers a better chance for some post shave razor irritation for me. I suppose if I used it daily I would adjust my technique to accommodate the lack of cushion.

I would describe my lather as somewhere in the middle, similar to Goldilocks and her porridge. The exception for me, similar to Ed, is the glue-like consistency of BM. The conundrum: it gives me a great shave, but I can't imagine buying it again. It always makes me think of smearing Titebond on my face.
 
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