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Finally made a decent looking lather in a bowl! It SUCKED!!!

I still mess up lathers sometimes, usually its "I put in too much water" or similar (I didn't quite shake the water out of the brush enough) etc etc, and while the lather whips up and -looks- good, its too airy and doesn't protect as much as a more yogurt-y one would.

Great post. I don't bowl lather. But it would seem to be common sense to me, if one was practicing their bowl lathering, in attempting to get consistency with the quality of their lathers. Especially, if the soap is in stick form? Do not cut a wedge from the stick and place in your lather bowl.

Instead, just simply, grate a stick into one bowl, pressing it down and making a bowl of soap in which to swirl and load your brush. Then, simply transfer the now loaded brush to a clean lather bowl. If the soap looks too dry? Sprinkle in more water from your finger tips. If it looks to wet? Simply take your brush back to the soap bowl and load a bit more soap?

Practicing going back and forth in attempting to get that thick, creamy, shiny and yogurt looking lather everyone desires, how could you not get better in bowl lathering?

If I had to choose, between never getting it right, because of over thinking it with "too much" thought & effort and just pulling out a can of foam? I would choose the can also. Making lather on the face or in a bowl, (I prefer face, but I can easily do bowl also) should be fun, relaxing and easy. While there are some soaps that are hard to make good lather from, (Arko isn't one of them) This isn't rocket science. Wet your brush, load your brush, apply it to your face or bowl. As you lather your face or the bowl, adjust in small increments with water or soap from the appearance or feel of the lather.

That's it. Nothing more, nothing less. Resist the urge, of doing more or doing less. As always, your miles may vary. :)
 
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Natural chain of events:
...It took about a full quarter of an Arko stick...
...worst shave I have had in years...
... watched the videos and read the tutorials and tried and tried...
...I do not understand...
How predictable.:biggrin1:

You are safe here:
 
I plan on trying this myself. :)
I found pressing soap or Croap in first and then heating the bowl works the best.
I tried making lather first and then heating the bowl and it did not work all that well I found, and it makes sense because your trying to heat a airy mass and the foam acts like a insulator IMO.
Ceramic or marble bowls work better than a thin metal bowl because it retains heat where metal dissipates quicker.
Enjoy the warm lather @OkieStubble.
 
I tried bowl lathering probably more for the warm lather than anything else. Not wanting to hinder the effort I bought a heavy copper Captain’s Choice bowl. The bowl looks great, but I have found face lathering to be much more to my liking.

In a face lathering thread, a brush scuttle was mentioned. A simple genius idea. Now I can face lather and have warm lather for each pass. My brush scuttle is made by Dirty Bird and was like all their products custom made in my choice of color.

Simply a face scuttle is like a double boiler. A bowl to hold the brush inside a bowl filled with hot water.

MdC has been my top soap and used almost everyday for the last four or five months. I load a fairly wet badger (7 of 8 days) or boar (1 of 8 days) brush for 50 swirls and have more than enough lather to face lather for three passes.

Bowl lathering isn’t for everyone and I would give face lathering especially with a brush scuttle a chance before going to the canned stuff.
 
This kind of situation will occur. It is very likely that you "add too much water/then have to add more soap" and repeatedly form a large basin of lather with too much air.

It is purely because the user is not familiar with bowl lather, not the original sin of bowl lather.
 
This kind of situation will occur. It is very likely that you "add too much water/then have to add more soap" and repeatedly form a large basin of lather with too much air.

It is purely because the user is not familiar with bowl lather, not the original sin of bowl lather.


Lol'd @ 'the original sin of bowl lather.' This was funny. :) We definitely make ourselves, too serious at times.
 
Don't worry about how it looks when you lather, go by performance you like. Typically, the thick yogurt-y lather is good for protection, while a wetter lather is normally slicker, with all variations in between. Depends on what you prefer and get the best results from in a lather. Personally, I like slick wet lathers but not so wet to drip off my face.

Keep trying different lathers and see how they perform for you. I am in the face-latherer camp and find it suits me better to dial in the lathers that I like - it allows me to observe development of the lather. I recommend face lathering but lots bowl lather and love it.
 
The nice thing about bowl lathering is I can have warm lather anytime, winter months beats any goo any time with =>lather qualities.
All I do is press a little soap in the bottom of the bowl at first turn the bowl upside down & run hot water to warm up my ceramic bowl for 20+ seconds and then with my warm wet brush make some nice warm lather. You can not get that out of a can of goo.
View attachment 1323229
Have some great shaves!
I prefer your method but if you want hot gooo

for me I dunk my ceramic or stone bowl with my razor and brush in a hot sink while soaking my face under a hot towel.
 
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No harm in beginning the lathering process in a bowl. But then you must face lather, if you really don't want to start on the face directly.

It's not whipping the cream in a bowl that makes the shave, but how much water you make your hair drink. Soap is only a vector for water, it's not meant to look great (not even smell great, but the latter point is more understandable).

Yep, lather is a verb, an act you perform on your stubble. Back in the day, Gillette recommended giving your stubble 3 minutes in the lather to wet and soften. A little scrub, scrub with a boar helps keep you from getting bored as the seconds tick by.
 

AimlessWanderer

Remember to forget me!
Bowl lathering never gives me good results. It always incorporates too much air, which gives the photogenic meringue look, but performs appallingly. The only time I use the bowl nowadays, is for loading cream onto a brush, or for starting slow lathering soaps, to avoid getting brush burn. By slow lathering soaps, I mean soaps like Martin de Candre, which I find slow to incorporate water, and transform to lather.

Face lathering is how I get my best performing results, and my best performing results look nothing like the lather porn pics. If I were ever to make a lathers that formed peaks, I'd know I'd ruined it, and would have to start again.
 

JCinPA

The Lather Maestro
Yep....I quit...Barbasol is good enough....this is becoming too much like work

1. Arko is a stick soap. Wet your face, rub it liberally with a damp brush, adding lather as needed, and it will be awesome. People who grate this into a bowl have too much time on their hands and are running out of ideas on what to do with it. (hint: find a good book) If you cannot get a good lather with Arko this way, you should not be playing with razors, you are a danger to yourself and others.

2. With any other soap (yes any--croap, hard soap, B&M's famous 'low structure lather') forget the Marco method, forget counting swirls, or timing your load. Use a damp, nearly dry, not wet brush, to pick up soap, it's called loading the brush. Bring this to the bowl and start lathering it. (see photo)

brush_cr.jpg

3. It will start to cream up. You will likely need more water, but dip just the very tips of the brush in water, add water s-l-o-w-l-y and continue to work the lather for 90 seconds to maybe two minutes, it takes a little time. Stop at the stiff peak stage, or continue till it is a little more wet looking for more slickness.

This is not rocket science, people. The method above works with every soap, I state that as a categorical. I'm not saying it's the only way, or the best way, I'm just saying it works, and we make this too complicated. Play with the Marco method later, face lather later, quit screwing around with the soap, use Arko like it was intended to be used.

my apologies for the original post.
 
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I postponed responding to this so I would not sound too irritated, I really want to be helpful, but the OP is so ridiculous--it is simply not worth the lengthy responses it has drawn.

1. Arko is a stick soap. Wet your face, rub it liberally with a damp brush, adding lather as needed, and it will be awesome. People who grate this into a bowl have too much time on their hands and are running out of ideas on what to do with it. (hint: find a good book) If you cannot get a good lather with Arko this way, you should not be playing with razors, you are a danger to yourself and others.

2. With any other soap (yes any--croap, hard soap, B&M's famous 'low structure lather') forget the Marco method, forget counting swirls, or timing your load. Use a damp, not wet brush, to pick up soap, it's called loading the brush. Bring this to the bowl and start lathering it. (see photo)

View attachment 1323542

3. It will start to cream up. You will likely need more water, but dip just the very tips of the brush in water, add water s-l-o-w-l-y and continue to work the lather for 90 seconds to maybe two minutes, it takes a little time. Stop at the stiff peak stage, or continue till it is a little more wet looking for more slickness.

This is not rocket science, people. The method above works with every soap, I state that as a categorical. I'm not saying it's the only way, or the best way, I'm just saying it works, and we make this too complicated. Play with the Marco method later, face lather later, quit screwing around with the soap, use Arko like it was intended to be used. And with over 500 posts, you had to know a 1/4 stick was too much. It's like you were bored and looking for a way to have fun with the rest of us by spooling us up. And I fell for it. :001_rolle

This is 5 minutes of my life I just wasted.


Actually I was using the Arko to try to learn how to do this before ruining the sample of "good" soap that I have. I made several attempts over the course of a rainy day using varying amounts of soap/water and so I went through quite a bit in multiple attempts and I used what I thought was finally a decent lather. It didn't work and I am extremely frustrated at my inability to succeed at what seems like such simple task. My apologies for being ridiculous as I vent about my trials and tribulations trying to learn how to do this. No one forced you to read it, or reply. Perhaps you need to block me so you won't waste 5 minutes of your time again.
 
So I finally made a decent looking lather in a bowl. It took about a full quarter of an Arko stick but it was thick and rich and man it looked GREAT!!

Lathered on my face and proceeded to shave. YIKES!!! Might just as well have used plain water, worst shave I have had in years. Plus most of the lather got flushed down the drain when I was done with a three pass! If I rub the stick on my wet face and lather it with a brush it is at least comparable to Barbasol, this was horrid.

Are you folks actually using a whole bunch of soap and washing most of it down the drain? I have watched the videos and read the tutorials and tried and tried, it seems to be less effective and WAY more wasteful of product than simply face lathering. I do not understand.
It’s ONLY SOAP stop complaining about wasting too much lather from the bowl going down the drain, when you become an old fart one day and your arms get too tired to face lather, that’s why bowl lathering has become a lot easier and stress FREE!!!
 

JCinPA

The Lather Maestro
It sounded like you used 1/4 stick and making lather with that, my apologies, I misunderstood. My suggestions hold though. You cannot fail using armor like it is meant to be used, and you cannot fail with my instructions. It’s not the only way. But it is the foolproof way to start, and you won’t fail.

My apologies to the OP, edited my earlier post.
 
Actually I was using the Arko to try to learn how to do this before ruining the sample of "good" soap that I have. I made several attempts over the course of a rainy day using varying amounts of soap/water and so I went through quite a bit in multiple attempts and I used what I thought was finally a decent lather. It didn't work and I am extremely frustrated at my inability to succeed at what seems like such simple task. My apologies for being ridiculous as I vent about my trials and tribulations trying to learn how to do this. No one forced you to read it, or reply. Perhaps you need to block me so you won't waste 5 minutes of your time again.
I think the impression that many got reading your initial post was that you used 1/4 stick in one go which sounds a bit extreme.
Going by the old B&B adage „Soap is cheap use plenty“ you have choosen the right soap to experiment. Arko works from the stage of soapy water to nearly cotton candy fluff.

I had my issues getting decent lather with a Synth until someone here told me to squeeze out excess water…
 
I both face lather and scuttle (bowl) lather and there is no difference between the lathers. If you're finding a difference you need to adjust your technique.

It certainly sounds like you used too much water. The first thing I would recommend is that you never, ever look at any "show me your lather" posts!!!! There are frequently pictures of ridiculous mounds of lather that are great for pictures, but not shaving.

Building lather is the same process in the bowl as on the face: start with enough soap and slowly add water until you get where you want to be. It's not golf, anybody can learn how.

Try a few test lathers, soap is cheap. Maybe try starting with less moisture in the brush and add slowly (4-5 drops at a time). A brush with less moisture may take longer to load.

It's also perfectly fine to start with a chunk of soap in the bowl. If you try this I'd suggest mashing the soap down with your thumb as thin as you can get it (speeds up the process).

You definitely want to experiment a little. As long as you start with enough product there are only two variables: how much water to add and how long to swirl the soup. There is no great advantage to over-working the lather, add a bit of water and incorporate it into your lather (10 seconds or so). Everyone's water, soap and brush can vary, but it generally takes me about 60-90 seconds to make lather.

How hard can it be, thousands of people do it every day. Enjoy the journey.
 
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