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Glycerin Soap Tutorial - Part 2

In the first part of this article, I showed you how I used to deal with glycerin soaps, leading to unsatisfying results. Now I will attempt to show you how to get ridiculous quanitities of lush, hydrated lather!

There are a few key tenets:

(1) More soap
(2) More water
(3) More agitation

Sounds easy, but the variables are tricky. Here we go!

Here is our trusty tub of QED sandalwood again:

The first thing I do is prep the surface of the soap by getting some hot water on it:

I put some hot water on the soap and let it sit for a minute while I am shaking out my brush, etc. This helps get things started. After that, pour off the water, but don't rinse the soap again.

Note: getting good lather out of these soaps is a messy business. Even the tubs don't provide enough room. Expect lather coming over the sides of the tub, etc. Don't worry - it is all in the name of a good shave! Flick out some of the water, maybe one or two light flicks - less than you would flick out for a cream. The soap will need more water.

Time to work the soap:

Note that I am pressing down a fair amount here. This is where things start to diverge from where I was before in part 1. Instead of stopping swirling when there is visible soap in the bristles (15-20 swirls), I am going to keep working that soap until there is real lather going. This might take a bit of work, especially if you have hard water like I do. For me, it takes a minute of working the bristles into the soap to get a starting point that looks like this:

Note the difference between this and what I showed in part 1:

Make sure you have real lather forming before you proceed!

At this point, you can hit the bowl and start twirling. After a few swirls:


Spend about a minute here, swirling and pumping the brush up and down hard to get the lather deep into the bristles. At this point, lather should be almost flying out of your bowl.

At this point, you may think you are done, but you are not. You need more water. Add a small amount of hot water to the bowl, perhaps 1/4 of a shot glass amount. Then whip the heck out of it. I mean really whip it. Don't stop for at least a minute or two. You want to build a very stable mixture, and much like egg whites into meringue, it takes some work. Don't skimp here. You are going to have lots of lather in your brush and bowl, but keep going, pushing the lather back down into the bowl with your brush, pumping as necessary, etc.

At this point, look at your mixture. It should look very glossy and rich. If it is at all matte, add a few drops of water and repeat the above.

Now we are talking!


At this point, you should be ready to lather up your face. Enjoy! If you have done it correctly, you will note that the second and subsequent passes will actually get thicker. This is due to evaporation of the water in the brush. The lather you have now should be as thick and rich as you get with a cream. if it isn't, go back and practice. More than likely you didn't get enough soap and water into the mixture, or you didn't whip it long enough.

One pass on hand:

(Go back to part one and compare the difference!)


This is after several minutes on my arm:

Notice no drying out whatsoever, unlike what I showed you in part 1.

What is left after a three-pass shave:

Excess squeezed out of brush:



So there you go. This method should get you way more lather than you need. Start with lots, and you can learn to ratchet it down to a more sane level as needed. If you have any questions, please drop me a note and I would be happy to answer, take more pictures, whatever.

To reiterate,

Work the soap longer than you think you need.
Add more water than you think you need
Whip it way longer than you think you need

And you should be in business.

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Well done, Scotto!

Now I need to try your method on my QED Lime tub. You do mention this is for glycerin soaps. Have you tried this technique on a Proraso tub?

Maybe something to try on my Proraso Day (Sunday).

Plain-O TX
Coche_y_bondhu said:
Well done, Scotto!

Now I need to try your method on my QED Lime tub. You do mention this is for glycerin soaps. Have you tried this technique on a Proraso tub?

Maybe something to try on my Proraso Day (Sunday).

Plain-O TX

Believe it or not, I have never used a non-glycerin soap, Proraso or otherwise. I am deciding which one to pick up, but I am not sure which yet.

My impression from reading around was that the Proraso soap was very soft, almost in between cream and soap. I would proceed with caution on that one.

Of course, if someone has some tallow-based soaps they want to donate to the Pictorial cause, PM me for my address. :001_tt2:
Wow, I wish I had found this post sooner. I have been realy struggling getting a good lather with the soaps. Basically, my lather and routine looked exactly like part one (what NOT to do). It's a shame I just finished shaving. I might have had a much better lather. I may just go back into the bathroom and practice this! Thanks so much for this great tutorial.
The thread is a year old now; since then I have added dozens of other soaps to my arsenal, including the wonderful Tabac (as you mention).
Hi, This is my first post on this forum. I learned about wet shaving from a friend of mine on another board, and saw the YouTube videos that are out there. However, apparently I haven't been getting a proper lather. . . .Until tonight! Thank you so much for this thread! I didn't even shave tonight, but I went and whipped up a nice thick yummy lather using my Mug Soap (I'm going to buy some better stuff tonight). Wow, what a difference it was!

Thanks again!
Hey great work Scotto! Will do my best and try using your tutorial as soon as Sue's Sandalwood Vanilla arrives :biggrin:
I tried it last night with regular Neutrogena glycerin soap. I got a great lather and a great shave. Still had plenty of lather after four passes!

if you have any spare lather do what I do .... just apply it on your face and shave ... does not matter whether you already wiped them whiskers .... just shave :drool: :drool:
This thread should be required reading for all newbies! I must have spent over an hour tonight in my bathroom trying to whip up a lather with my first soap (L'Occitane.. not glycerin, I don't think, but the directions worked) and never could get anything that looked decent to shave with. Was ready to give up and just stick to creams.

Came to the forums and stumbled across this thread, went right back in to the bathroom and had great success almost immediately! Thanks, Scotto!
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