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How much long do you load your soap and subsequently build your lather?

I want to bring my lathering skills to the next level and the first thing I want to look at is loading time and building lather time. I think I might be under on both counts - it works as I do it, but Mike’s Natural Soap I am using this month is questioning my technique.

I was wondering how long you guys load your brushes with soap. 30 seconds, 60 seconds?

And obviously the follow up question would be how long do you build your lather? 1 minute, 2 minutes, longer?

Thanks for your assistance!

I think it depends on what soap you are using.

For example, I only need to load for about 15 seconds when using Cella but need about 45 seconds when using a hard puck (like RazoRock's What the Puck line).

I would start with what you are doing and add 30 seconds to it and see how it does. Take notes on the results and alter from there until you get what you are looking for.

Edit to add: Building the lather also depends on the soap. In the Cella example, it takes about 1 minute tops. If the soap is vegan, it may take 2 minutes. I don't think I have ever had something take longer than 3 minutes total

(unless it had the words 'Barrister and Mann' on the label :devil2:)
Overworking lather is just as bad as underworking it. Frankly I use shaving soap about half the time I shave and the other half an incredible non lathering cream by a New York company called Blu Atlas. For a long time I used Cremo, which I thought gave a fantastic shave. So when I use a soap I spend about a minute developing lather. Stirling and Proraso build fast and I prefer a wetter lather.
I almost always overload my brush. Regardless of the type of brush, the loading will end the same. The hairs at the tip of the brush will be stuck together with soap. I'll use less water to get there with a synthetic, and more with a natural brush -- adding as I load. Once loaded, building time on the face doesn't take long at all -- sometimes I'll add more water but most of the time I won't need to.
As much as you think then double it and add some more. Load until there is a thick paste on your brush, then paint it on your face and add water there. I made a lot of mistakes early on with lather and they all were related to too little soap.

Here is a video that helped me:

Ron R

I survived a lathey foreman
What I do mostly when it comes to shave soaps is just scoop or cut some slivers off from a hard puck and press into the bowl and just load right out of the bowl and I never had any issues since using that method, you make the lather amount and consistency as you like it and if you need more lather you just swirl some more and add a little water as needed.
There is always some hard soap left over and could be used with a little more soap added in for the next day. I shave every day also and do not like to waste soaps and after a while you get the routine dialed in and I would not change it.
I do load on brush with my CeraVe hand bar cleanser for cleaning face every morning for a pre-shave for 5-10 seconds load is all that is needed with that soap with a dedicated 24mm Cashmere knot . I can make nice shave soap lather with any type of brush with any cream, croap or hard soaps under 2 minutes easily and consistently.
Some soaps work best with a pastier lather out of the bowl and applied to a wet face for what ever reason but you still have reduce scrubbing and painting strokes to your face when using a bowl to create lather.
I watch some fellows on YOUTUBE when they load their brush and they over scrub their face just to get their lather perfect 4-5 minutes lathering directly on the face which is not good for anyone's skin IMO and I'm not a doctor even.
Shave soaps are slightly alkaline mostly on the PH scale and with soap just sitting on your face to long will not feel nice or comfortable at all, if a person would like to trial some lathered soap on their face for 5 minutes with out any scrubbing or painting IMO it will confirm what I'm saying. When I get my lather made and go through my shave routine I'm usually done in under 10 minutes to just shave the rest of my time is clean up it seems. I like to lather on a wet face (cold water rinse to calm the skin )before each new pass is started also is very enjoyable to myself.
Every one is different with different lathering routines and it all works in the end any ways as so long as your enjoying it is what matters.
For Mike's Naturals I'll load while I count to 30, so less than an actual 30 seconds. Lathering it is definitely less than a minute.

As others have stated it will vary wildly with different soaps. The hard puck PdP 63 takes only a few seconds while the hard pucks from Razorock will take close to a full minute. Eventually you'll be able to look at your brush and tell when you've got enough.
Thanks everyone for your feedback! I usually am happy with my lather, so maybe it’s just Mike’s (and potentially MWF).

I loaded for 30 seconds initially and let my boar brush soak overnight. Lathering took about 1 minutes, but I used too much water this time and ended up with thin lather on the second pass, so I had to reload.

I will keep peddling.



Blade Biter
Never quite timed it, but I count the # of swirls. I swirl fast, so 2 turns for every count, and I usually count to between 50-80, so 100-160 swirls.

Soap and brush dependent of course. If not sure, I'll do 120 as a starting point.
With Mike's and a boar brush, I drip a lot of water in the jar to soften it up some, generally for the same 10min or so I soak the boar. Overnight sounds like quite the presoak!! I read an interesting post I can't find right now about someone testing different soaking times for boars and found he could really fine tune the backbone. You might want to try a 10min presoak and see if it lathers any differently.

I'll pour that blooming water into the brush, then load the brush for a 30 count - I run about two swirls per count normally and I'm inbetween a wet load and a dry load. This results in almost four passes worth of lather for me.

Then I build the lather for about 90-120 seconds, maybe a little more, adding a little water to the top of the brush every 15-20 seconds or so. I go till the lather is dripping down the brush and over my hands (I face lather) and I can see that the brush has a full knot of lather. I'm also looking for a high amount of shine.

I find Mike's to be a thirsty soap and I've been trying to thin down my lather lately so I've been experimenting with adding more and more water. I use a TON more than with Arko, for example. I've been shooting for less structure, thin yogurt vs foam.

Another idea to keep the 2nd and third passes from getting too thin is to just soak the bottom 1/4rd of the brush, or maybe the bottom 1/3rd, I bet that'll give you more control over the feel of the later pass lathers.

I think you are on the right track!
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More Deep Thoughts than Jack Handy
For me...loading the brush usually doesn't take long...60 to 90 seconds of swirling in both directions. The brush physically looks saturated with product. But, building the lather in the bowl...that could take 4 to 5 minutes until it gets to the right moisture and consistency.
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