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Foolproof Lather Method (TM) - any soap - any brush

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mtcn77

I think face lathering and bowl lathering results differently.
When bowl lathering, I can see the soap go through more definitive transitions and they are in reverse order, funnily enough.
It starts as a bubbly wet batter, then frothy milk, then a dry lather surface like settled snow and lastly it fully incorporates into a fully congealed lather that is translucent on the face and resists drying sufficiently throughout the shave.
 
M

mtcn77

I forgot the ice cream stage which is defined by the melting at the bottom that occurs between packed snow and final lather stages.
 
Wow. So used your second method on Vander Hagen. So so so much lather I could never use it. Great results and fun. I usually ran the brush under a faucet rather than dip also didn't wet the soap prior. Also, went slower with whipping. Slower works better? How does that work? It works though.
 

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So tried PAA with method 3. Omg it truly made a difference! More lather and better texture. I think I finally see the difference! I can't believe techniques make such a difference!
Also with the PAA I used to not load from the tin and used a super wet brush. This time I did the opposite like was suggested. Big difference imho
 

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I've found this method especially helpful when trying new soaps or different brushes (every brush seems to hold a different amount of water). I can use the @Marco Italian barber method with both of my usual boars on any of my Stirling soaps but @JCinPA 's method is perfect for my horse and synth (which don't hold much water) and my badgers (which hold a LOT of water) and it really does work on any soap. Once you get it down you can dial in just how much soap you need to load with whatever brush is up to bat that say.
 
I use the Cris Maden (Another Cut Above on Youtube) method which I think is a good face lathering analogue to @JCinPA 's excellently written Foolproof Lather Method.
1) Take a damp brush and load it with enough soap. If you're familiar with your brush and soap, you know the sweet spot of enough soap for your desired passes without wasting additional product. If you're learning your soap and brush, better to overload than risk underloading. If you feel the brush is too dry, add some water to the brush and go back to loading from the puck.
2) Paint the heavy pasty gummy load in the brush onto your face. Do not splay at all yet, just keep painting until you have a heavy and uniform pasty covering on your entire shaving area.
3) For this step I am just painting water. I'm not building the lather or splaying the brush. Dip the tips of the brush into water and paint (no splaying yet) the water into the pasty soap on your face until there is enough water to make the soap translucent enough to see your skin. Keep dipping the tips as much as necessary for the paste to turn translucent. This part usually takes me a couple of minutes. When all is said and done, the soap should look translucent and even a little runny on a good amount of my face.
4) Now it's time to splay. There should be enough water in the soap on my face and in the brush for me to get a very well hydrated lather. The goal is to work every last bit of water from the brush and in the soap into all of my face. This part usually takes me three to five minutes depending on how heavy of a load I had. Within the first twenty or so seconds the lather is exploding. After that it's just making sure I'm mixing the slick and wet lather with the dry and pasty lather to get that nice uniform hydration across my face.
5) Do any touch ups to dry areas by dipping the tips and apply directly to the dry lather.
6) Start shaving.

The one downside to this is that there is a lot of brush on face action going on and it can leave the skin feeling a little tender for daily shavers, but as an every 2-3 days shaver it works great for me.

@JCinPA , you're a legend for making this guide that has definitely resulted in hundreds if not thousands of more enjoyable lathers/shaves for so many people.
 

JCinPA

The Lather Maestro
I've found this method especially helpful when trying new soaps or different brushes (every brush seems to hold a different amount of water). I can use the @Marco Italian barber method with both of my usual boars on any of my Stirling soaps but @JCinPA 's method is perfect for my horse and synth (which don't hold much water) and my badgers (which hold a LOT of water) and it really does work on any soap. Once you get it down you can dial in just how much soap you need to load with whatever brush is up to bat that say.

Exactly! This really wasn’t supposed to be a “method”, as in use it all the time. I wish I had titled it differently, now. It’s a remedial process to be used when one is having trouble dialing in a new product, or for newer shavers having issues. I originally wrote this for @ylekot to get him over a problem he had lathering a soap. It worked.

I used it when I started using B&M Reserve Lavender, which behaved very differently for me than other soaps. And as you mention, different brushes are wildly different in the water they can hold. But once dialed in, you move away from this. I almost never lather this way, actually. Only when I’m learning a new product. Today, I used B&M and started with a teaspoon of water on the soap and a damp brush. I get to my lather right away.

But when one is having trouble lathering something successfully, this is the remedial process to fall back on. It was never intended to be the way one normally lathers with familiar products. Just a process to make a product familiar. Then you move away from it.

Anyway, glad you like it! :)
 

JCinPA

The Lather Maestro
@rally Thank you! I’m almost getting embarrassed by this. :blushing: The whole “lather maestro” was just some humorous schtick to get the points across (which @Marco made stick :lol: ). But I am glad so many found it helpful. I was really trying to build confidence for newer latherers, but it’s taken on quite a life of its own!
 
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"The key to all this should make perfect logical sense. If you start with more product and less water than needed, you will be able to creep up on the proper hydration level slowly. If you start with either not enough product or too much water, or both, you cannot salvage things."

THIS! It's amazing how more product and less water can improve your lather making. Nice write up.

It was #1 and #4 on my tips from a previous thread found here.
 
Great tutorial and post! How exactly would I proceed when using a cream? I was thinking about putting some cream into the bowl dry, with squeezed and shaken brush after it has been soaking and creating that "paste" which you get when loading the soap.
 
That sounds right to me!
I did try that today. I took out my bowl and some body shop shaving cream which I don't really use to train. I tried a method of keeping the brush full of water and I did create tons of lather, but it was unusable. I think the issue was too much water and air from the begginig.

When I tried starting with a shaken and squeezed brush after it soaked, by adding small amounts of water over time, I got a really nice slick lather - exactly what I need.

The best results I got by soaking the brush, squeezing it, loading a bloomed soap and lathering on the face. It was incredible to finally achieve that much glide of the razor. I felt like I could go for 10 ten passes no problem! My neck is still not in a condition to be shaved after a shave with useless lather which gave me terrible irritation. I am certain that with the help of this lathering method, nothing but great shaves are ahead of me! Big thank you to the author.
 
This is very similar to a method I hit on a while back when I got tired of lather dissipating on my face.

Much like the OP's pictures I found that the first stage of lather building should be little more than a smear on the bottom of the bowl then, after a litle water is added, worked into a paste like consistency.

From then on you can add and build gradually until the lather is very well hydrated and highly unlikely to break down while you're shaving.

@JCinPA
Great job putting into an easy to follow tutorial :thumbup:
 
You freaking nailed it, @JCinPA!

I have been doing something similar with face lathering. Starting with a not very wet brush, paint a layer of soap onto your face, and then apply the principle of gradual hydration until optimal wetness. And if you screw up, you can always add a little more soap. About how much soap to paint onto your face, you will figure out over time.
 
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