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"Hard Water" Issue Is Actually a Subsitute For Poor Technique

So, I spend almost all my free time browsing these forums and watching videos and reading up on the history of wetshaving just for fun when I'm relaxing. I've noticed something becoming really, really common. I have hard water, and the only soap I can't get to lather is Williams (I test lathered through 3/4 of a puck varying loading times and water amounts over a period of 3 hours, that is thorough testing, not one or two tries.) I think having hard water is just becoming a cheap excuse for poor technique. People get into this and dont want to work at it or take the time to learn. ITs NOT an instant can of goo. You need to find what formulation works for you. I've seen it just as much with experienced shavers on occaison. People still wanting to get it done as quickly as possible and calling a soap crap because they lathered it for 5 seconds in a bowl and complain about bad lather. Or don't watch how much water they are using to the amount of soap. Not taking the time to experiment and figure out what works the best. While every soap and cream are somewhat similar they each are slightly different in their own way. While there is no "Correct Lather" in my opinion, and everybody should use whatever style lather works for them. I think it's getting out of hand with the hard water thing. To an extent I can see it. I might not get as perfectly foamy lather as somebody with hard water, but I can still make a damn nice lather. I face lather for reference. I've seen a lot of people try it and dont realize for the most part it takes just as long to build a lather on your face. They forget that you're lathering for the brush firstly, to get it good and filled up, then for your face. I see a lot of people complaining about not getting enough lather with face lathering, and I watch their videos, and they simply arent taking enough time to build the lather into the brush. Im not trying to be mean, but I know I'm not alone on this, and that's fine if I'm the only person who will say it. Not trying to be hostile by any means. I just find it interesting. Anywho (steps off soap box) that's my rant. Have a good day gents.
In some cases, probably yes, but some soap just doesn't lather well in hard water, whereas others do fine. I've had a few big name soaps that just won't perform in my water, but I've got enough that will that it isn't worth messing with the ones that won't
About the only one that I just can't get is Williams, mwf and others are fine, I've tried most of the big name products now. I guess cella made a nice lather but didn't seem slick enough. I'm still trying to figure out the water combo on a mystic waters tub I have.
About the only one that I just can't get is Williams, mwf and others are fine, I've tried most of the big name products now. I guess cella made a nice lather but didn't seem slick enough. I'm still trying to figure out the water combo on a mystic waters tub I have.

Mystic Waters was actually the one I was thinking of. I want to try it with distilled water I suppose, but it is really finicky. It is nice when it works, but I've got plenty of stuff that works just as well everytime with much less effort.
You are certainly entitled to your opinion, to be wrong but not judge others.

Where are you getting your hard water from, a well? Minden, Ne municipal water is 22ppm. Hard water is +120ppm
I'm not necessarily judging people, I'm talking about just the obvious things of not taking enough time. Like I said. I didn't mean any hostility by it. I live in a trailer court just outside city limits. Its not a nasty run down one either, it's pretty nice and up to date housing. (town of 3,000 people give or take). I don't think its run off city water. People in town without softeners seem to have much better quality of water in town. They don't have to de scale coffee pots or anything. I don't know if it's our piping or what but the water is definitely not soft. The city and county do not maintain our streets either (dirt) so I can't really give you a straight answer on that. By all means if I'm wrong I'll retract my statement on me having hard water. But I don't see how it would be soft.
I have a coworker who relocated from LA and is a fellow wetshaver. We were talking one day when he mentioned he could no longer achieve a good lather from MWF from our tap water, but with Tabac he could produce an okay lather. So, I gave him a puck of Haslinger Schafmilch. He was blown away by the fantastic lather the Haslinger produced.

So, although he may have been able to make the MWF work if he spent the time to dial it in, hard water is a major factor in how a soap performs.

I have no trouble with MWF, but then, I didn't learn to make lather with the softer water my coworker used when he learned to lather shaving soap.
Im not saying hard water has no adverse effects on lather. Believe me, I get that. I'm talking about people not taking the time to see if a product truly works or not.
Im not saying hard water has no adverse effects on lather. Believe me, I get that. I'm talking about people not taking the time to see if a product truly works or not.

The fact that I can make an excellent MWF lather with the same water my coworker uses leads me to believe your premise is often the case.
By all means I'm sure people are taking this thread way wrong. I probably should apologize for how it seems. But there's no anger or resentment or whatever. I'm just saying what I see.
I think you're looking at it backwards. While some individuals may indeed be lazy, I don't think that's what's usually happening; instead they are using decent technique that has served them well on other soaps but doesn't work for the latest soap they try. They might then be able to substitute increased effort and technique for poor water, but why bother when there are other great options that work with their water?

I have my own well with what I believe is very hard water. I do not have a water softener, just some plain filters that get full of orange rust/crud, and unfiltered water from my outdoor cold water hose spigot comes out visibly rusty at times. I get scale buildup, etc. I can lather Williams ok, it certainly does take more effort and technique.

Wikipedia says: "With hard water, soap solutions form a white precipitate (soap scum) instead of producing lather, because the 2+ ions destroy the surfactant properties of the soap by forming a solid precipitate (the soap scum). "
Im not saying hard water has no adverse effects on lather. Believe me, I get that. I'm talking about people not taking the time to see if a product truly works or not.
I'm thinking me learning how to lather for 10 months or so is enough time. Haven't had the water tested or anything. :huh:
Making good lather is easier with soft or distilled water. Many beginners are not quite sure what good lather feels like, so I think it is important to make the learning process as easy as possible.

Think of it as learning to swim in the shallow end of the pool. Some people might be able to handle being thrown into the deep end, or even the ocean. But the shallow end is a safer bet.

After that? Sure, some gents probably reject perfectly good products. Tastes differ.
I've not had any bad luck with the very hard water I have, but like you except for Williams. But I'm starting to think I just can't lather that stuff somehow anyway? Does create a large nuisance with my coffee maker and kettle though!
I think technique is the most over looked part of anything shaving related. With that said, water quality makes a big difference in the ease of making lather. I have hard water where I live and moved from a town that had fairly soft water. Before we got a water softener here I was able to make good lather, but it was much harder for most soaps. Now I use my lather as a gauge for the water softener, when it begins to be more difficult to make good lather I know the salt is low. I probably just need to check the levels on a more regular basis but it works for me.

The one soap that I used to love, but can not get to work in my new home is Williams. In soft water it was one of my favorite soaps because of the scent but it also preformed fairly well. Even when I am using the softened water, which is still worse than my old town, I am unable to get a good lather and my stockpile has turned to bath soap.
Our water in the mountains of central Mexico is very hard. Most will not make good lather. It isn't
a matter of technique. It's a hard water issue, pure and simple. I have badger, boar and horsehair
brushes. They all work fine in the moderately hard water in Indianapolis with a variety of soaps, croaps
and cremes. Here, if you want good lather, it's distilled water only.

The water here is so hard that they sell water softener salt by the 50lb bag at the gas stations. I have to soak the faucet heads in CLR one a week just to keep them from crusting over with calcium too much. That being said, I still manage a great lather with pretty much everything I've tried. At the end of the day, I think it all comes down to more product. It sucks that those of us in hard water areas have to go that route, but thats life. I can still make a 3 pass lather with MdC using 10 swirls (if that). I have to say though, bottled water definitely makes it easier.
It was 6F yesterday morning as I got in my antique daily driver equipped with carburetor and manual transmission. As I sat there freezing my butt off, giving it more product with my right foot trying to keep it running on such a cold start then roaring down the road in first gear to keep my engine speed up, I realized that it is a very good analogy for this thread. I do it because I love that car, but if I didn't love that car so much I would leave it home in this weather and drive something easier.

You wouldn't say fuel injection and an automatic transmission is a substitute for poor technique, would you? You'd say that if you really wanted to drive a finicky carburetor and manual transmission in this weather you'll need to do stuff that you wouldn't need to do with a normal car.
My water is very hard - 285 ppm. But I still get good lathers with most stuff I've tried as long as I use enough product to counteract the water hardness. Williams just doesn't work with hard water though. I tried exactly what you did probably a year ago. Went through most of a puck trying to make a decent lather, varying the amount of water and all that. Finally decided it's just not going to work for me unless I use distilled water and I don't need to do that with any of my other soaps or creams. Add to that, I don't like the scent of Williams at all and it's not worth the trouble for me.
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