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I used shaving soap and a brush for the first time today, results were not as expected! What happened?

I would recommend the "Marco method" but perhaps skip the brush soaking step
since you have a synthetic. Proraso is a soft Italian soap so it should work well.
Don't be stingy with soap, especially something as inexpensive and easily obtainable
as Proraso. As YouTuber Anthony "The Stallion" Esposito says "load it like you hate it."

Looks good but that seems to be for face lathering. I'm using a bowl!
 
My experience with shave soap is limited, but I definitely understand that it takes some practice to get it right.

What has helped me is to use some pre-shave oil on my neck. I have not yet been successful in getting an irritation-free shave on my neck using shave soap without any pre-shave oil. Of course, it's probably due to the fact that my lathering is lacking (although it seems really nice and slick and not too runny), poor shaving technique (although I am getting better, I think), or some of both. I'll keep practicing...
Luckily I didn't get any irritation even though I didn't get the foamy lather that I expected. The shave was fine and the Proraso soap on it's own gave enough slickness to make it a decent shave.
 
Try and judge the lather by how the razor feels on the face. If it glides, then you're probably there. If it feels like you're plowing through chalk, it's likely a little too thick or too dry.

Like you, I spent a lot of time learning how to build a dense, yogurt-like lather only to find that it doesn't give me the best shaves. Several years later, I'm still tweaking my skills but this is part of the fun. Keep at it. You will know when you've cracked the code.
The glide (and shave overall) was surprisingly good!
But I guess I expected more foaminess.
I'll keep experimenting!
 
More soap and possibly more water too. Also I'd suggest using shaving cream rather than soap, especially to start with. It lathers more easily.

Personally I use an eBay silicone travel shaving bowl / pet food bowl. The massive protrusions in the base help create a huge lather in no time.
20211227_133635.jpg
 
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More soap and possibly more water too. Also I'd suggest using shaving cream rather than soap, especially to start with. It lathered more easily.

Personally I use an eBay silicone travel shaving bowl / pet food bowl. The massive protrusions in the base create a huge lather on no time.
More water?
My synthetic brush was soaked for like 10 minutes and I just tapped out some water before loading on the soap. Most everyone is saying to use less water but more soap. About the cream instead of soap, I'll be trying some as well!
But I noticed that the Proraso soap is actually kind of creamy. In between a soap and a cream!
I'm using an Amazon copy of the ceramic Captains choice bowl that has ridges so it's supposed lather up well:

Bowl.jpg
 
Good advice above.

Do a few test lathers before your next shave, if possible.

Start with a slightly damp brush, load more soap than you think you'd need and then keep adding water little by little while you work the lather. You can try the slickness with your fingertips, or you can palm lather if you prefer, which can also tell you about the slickness.

You can keep adding water until the lather breaks down, that would give you an idea how much it can take.
 
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What I do is just scoop a bit of soap out of the tub using the end of a spoon, just maybe the size between a dime and a quarter, depending on how much lather is needed.
The soap on the end of the spoon handle is then transferred to the bottom of the bowl.
As others have said, a synthetic brush needs no pre soak. Just get it all wet, then squeeze 70-80% or so, give or take, of the water out with one quick squeeze and lather.
You'll get the hang of the amount of water you need really quickly.
The soaps I use are all more cream like, like the Proraso, so this technique works best with those as they don't really need blooming and what not as harder soaps might. Also since the end of the spoon is always cleaned, the remaining soap remains fresh, needs no drying and should last forever.
 
Here is what I used:
The "Winning" razor with a Bic blade
Proraso Sandalwood red soap tub
Razorock "The Disruptor" synthetic brush
Imitation "Amazon special" Captain's Choice ceramic bowl

I left the brush in warm water while I took a shower, when ready I took it out and tapped it a bit to release some of the water, I wet the top of the soap a bit to activate it then drained the water, started loading up the brush by using a circular motion, then transferred to the bowl and continued the same procedure to build the lather. In the end I got "slight" lather and was enough to get a 2 pass shave but I never got the
puffy white lather that I see on videos. The shave was good but not 100%.

What could have gone wrong?
Not enough water on the brush, too much water on the brush, lack of pressure (or too much) while loading up in the circular motion?

I used one of Geofatboy's (credit given to him) you tube tutorials to learn. I watched it a few times beforehand and I watched it while doing my shave as well. I got nowhere near his results!

There are several things you might want to reconsider.

1. There are better soaps out there than Proraso. It is acceptable for some people, but I rate it as below average. I have evaluated well over 100 soap formulations.
2. If you add water to a soap tub to "bloom" the soap, never pour that water down the drain. Always pour it into your shaving bowl. That water contains water soluble ingredients from the soap that are beneficial to your lather.
3. If you bloom the soap as you did, you need very little water in your shaving brush. Squeeze and shake out as much water from your brush as possible before loading. If you do not bloom your soap then you will need some water left in your brush.
4. Forget about trying to develop a "puffy white lather" as seen in Instagram photos and YouTube videos. You only need a very thin layer of lather on your face IF you are using a excellent shaving soap. When Gillette came out with Foamy in a can, they convinced men that a thick, foamy lather produces the best shaves; it does not. A foamy lather contains a lot of air that does nothing to enhance the performance of your shave.

Please remember that Geofatboy is a shaving products vendor. Although you can learn some things from him, his videos are primarily designed to showcase products he sells. If you want to learn about great shaving soaps, I suggest you check out the Ruds Shaves channel. He has not released any new videos in over a year, but you can see hwhat his lathers look like and how he evaluates soaps. Some of the best soaps in my den have been released since he stopped producing videos.
 
Too much water too soon.

When first attacking the soap, work on transferring soap to the brush. Only use enough water to help with the transfer. You want lots of soap on the brush before adding any water, then only a little bit at a time until you start to see the lather develop on the side of the brush or edge of the bowl / mug. Then add water as needed to get the consistency desired. Once you catch on it is easy.
 
Don't go for a lather look.

Use less water to start and twice as mush soap. Add water SLOWLY while the lather is on your face. Finish with brush slapping motion to thicken it.

Puffy white lather is useless for shaving.
This!

This is a hard lesson that I have only learned recently. Making merengue-like lather is so seductive and picture perfect that it's hard to want anything else.

Thinner and slicker is what I try to achieve now.
 
Too much water too soon.

When first attacking the soap, work on transferring soap to the brush. Only use enough water to help with the transfer. You want lots of soap on the brush before adding any water, then only a little bit at a time until you start to see the lather develop on the side of the brush or edge of the bowl / mug. Then add water as needed to get the consistency desired. Once you catch on it is easy.

Sorry Jim, but I have to disagree with you on this one. If you are face lathering, then you have to add water slowly. However, if you bowl lather, that is less of an issue.

I add 1 Tablespoon of hot water to my tub of soap and swirl it around for 10 seconds (no more). I then pour that water into my lather bowl. I then load my damp (not wet brush) for 10 seconds and then start building my lather in the lather bowl. I start swirling slowly for a few seconds until the soaps starts to incorporate the water. With most of the better soaps in my den, it will take no more than 30-40 seconds of lathering time in the bowl to produce a lather ready to apply to my face . If I added water slowly, it would take me much longer to develop my lather.
 
More water?
My synthetic brush was soaked for like 10 minutes and I just tapped out some water before loading on the soap. Most everyone is saying to use less water but more soap. About the cream instead of soap, I'll be trying some as well!
But I noticed that the Proraso soap is actually kind of creamy. In between a soap and a cream!
I'm using an Amazon copy of the ceramic Captains choice bowl that has ridges so it's supposed lather up well:

View attachment 1434973
I have the exact same shaving bowl, and it's not bad. I have the Proraso red cream, not soap, which smells pleasant and lathers easily. You'd probably be surprised how wet a mix will lather well. There's no point soaking a synthetic brush, it won't make the slightest difference. I'm not convinced soaking a badger brush matters much either, to be honest.

Start with more soap and add water until it's the consistency of milk then whip it up. Have fun experimenting, it won't take long until it's second nature. Also don't be afraid to waste soap, it's not the end of the world if you have to wash it out and start over.
 
There are several things you might want to reconsider.

1. There are better soaps out there than Proraso. It is acceptable for some people, but I rate it as below average. I have evaluated well over 100 soap formulations.
2. If you add water to a soap tub to "bloom" the soap, never pour that water down the drain. Always pour it into your shaving bowl. That water contains water soluble ingredients from the soap that are beneficial to your lather.
3. If you bloom the soap as you did, you need very little water in your shaving brush. Squeeze and shake out as much water from your brush as possible before loading. If you do not bloom your soap then you will need some water left in your brush.
4. Forget about trying to develop a "puffy white lather" as seen in Instagram photos and YouTube videos. You only need a very thin layer of lather on your face IF you are using a excellent shaving soap. When Gillette came out with Foamy in a can, they convinced men that a thick, foamy lather produces the best shaves; it does not. A foamy lather contains a lot of air that does nothing to enhance the performance of your shave.

Please remember that Geofatboy is a shaving products vendor. Although you can learn some things from him, his videos are primarily designed to showcase products he sells. If you want to learn about great shaving soaps, I suggest you check out the Ruds Shaves channel. He has not released any new videos in over a year, but you can see hwhat his lathers look like and how he evaluates soaps. Some of the best soaps in my den have been released since he stopped producing videos.
Good info. Thanks. I'll check out those other videos that you mentioned. As per the soap, I'm sure much better exist but this is my first ever time using shave soap and Proraso seemed like a reasonable place to start.
 
Good info. Thanks. I'll check out those other videos that you mentioned. As per the soap, I'm sure much better exist but this is my first ever time using shave soap and Proraso seemed like a reasonable place to start.

Correct, and while Proraso is a fairly affordable scent to both use and learn on, artisan soaps are much more expensive, as I've recently discovered. So learning on the cheap stuff, even if you have to waste a bit to do it, is better then wasting expensive artisan soaps. You got a lot of advice here, put it to good use, and like I said before, practice practice practice, you will get the hang of it in no time. ;)
 
Sorry Jim, but I have to disagree with you on this one. If you are face lathering, then you have to add water slowly. However, if you bowl lather, that is less of an issue.

I add 1 Tablespoon of hot water to my tub of soap and swirl it around for 10 seconds (no more). I then pour that water into my lather bowl. I then load my damp (not wet brush) for 10 seconds and then start building my lather in the lather bowl. I start swirling slowly for a few seconds until the soaps starts to incorporate the water. With most of the better soaps in my den, it will take no more than 30-40 seconds of lathering time in the bowl to produce a lather ready to apply to my face . If I added water slowly, it would take me much longer to develop my lather.

I don't face lather. I bowl lather or mug lather and what I wrote is what works for me. I've been shving with a mug and brush for over 60 years. How long have you been doing it? YMMV
 
Well folks I was able to do it!
Great lather and a great shave tonight with my Lupo DE & the same Proraso soap.
Mildly dampened my brush, a little bit of water in the tub which I then transferred to the bowl, loaded the brush for maybe 30-40 seconds and finally swirled it in the bowl. Excellent & balanced lather without being overly puffy.
I'd like to thank all of you that gave me advice here by describing your methods. I have a better understanding now of how the loading/lathering process works in different ways. I'm sure that with practice I will perfect it!
I love being part of this community. You guys are the best!
LRod
 
Glad you got it figured out. Proraso naturally produces an airier lather even when well hydrated. When you get a nice artisan soap, you will be pleasantly surprised at the thick wet goop that is both hydrated and sticks to your face.
 
Glad you got it figured out. Proraso naturally produces an airier lather even when well hydrated. When you get a nice artisan soap, you will be pleasantly surprised at the thick wet goop that is both hydrated and sticks to your face.
Thanks!
I'll get to the Artisan stuff eventually. I'd like to find something though in a traditional scent (Sandalwood, Lavender etc.). I see a lot of scents in the artisan soaps that have too much for my taste. But I'm sure I'll find something.
I'm researching everyday and seeing what's out there from all these different soap makers.
 
Thanks!
I'll get to the Artisan stuff eventually. I'd like to find something though in a traditional scent (Sandalwood, Lavender etc.). I see a lot of scents in the artisan soaps that have too much for my taste. But I'm sure I'll find something.
I'm researching everyday and seeing what's out there from all these different soap makers.

Hello LROD! Just so you know, I think your doing great, and achieving success faster then I did, I took longer to learn. Also, something that I've learned is that, artisan soaps, and high end cologne share something in common. I was watching a video review for a cologne product, and I noticed the guy was not going to give it a 5-star review, because it had limited ingredient notes in it.

I quickly figured out that, the more notes a cologne product has, the higher it is usually rated by cologne connoisseur's. And I have since discovered that, artisan soaps share the same deal, more ingredient notes in them, thats what can make them smell nicer, and what clearly brings the price up on them. So ya, interesting, the more you know.

Keep up the good work LROD, I believe in you! :)
 
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