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

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.
Just an FYI…
While there certainly is some snobbery involved, many of these people are trained to recognize the individual scent components.
However, the vast majority of people experience them as a single scent or a few distinct scents. There is some real art going on with scent creation, but there is nothing wrong with enjoying simple stuff too. Fragrances are another rabbit hole, but you have one the most popular and recognizable colognes that you can use to train your nose.
 
Looks good but that seems to be for face lathering. I'm using a bowl!

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
First of all... a huge "congrats".... I remember the first time, just a few weeks ago, when I got my first successful lather in my bowl. It's a very satisfying feeling.

So, my two cents... I was struggling to get soaps to lather in my bowl... I have a Stef Baxter bowl from Executive Shaving Co.... but it wouldn't have mattered, I don't think.

I ended up watched a guy on Youtube... he said, don't just leave your scooped out hard soap in a lump... spread it around the bottom of your bowl until it's thin. I was just taking it off the spoon... and hitting it with my brush. That just wasn't working and I wasn't smart enough to figure out why on my own. I was glad for the suggestion. I don't have to do that with a cream, obviously... but for the hard soaps, man, did that make a difference.
 
First of all... a huge "congrats".... I remember the first time, just a few weeks ago, when I got my first successful lather in my bowl. It's a very satisfying feeling.

So, my two cents... I was struggling to get soaps to lather in my bowl... I have a Stef Baxter bowl from Executive Shaving Co.... but it wouldn't have mattered, I don't think.

I ended up watched a guy on Youtube... he said, don't just leave your scooped out hard soap in a lump... spread it around the bottom of your bowl until it's thin. I was just taking it off the spoon... and hitting it with my brush. That just wasn't working and I wasn't smart enough to figure out why on my own. I was glad for the suggestion. I don't have to do that with a cream, obviously... but for the hard soaps, man, did that make a difference.

If you watch GeoFatBoy on Youtube, that is 100% exactly what he does. He likes to use his own brand of lathering bowl usually though, which has a small divot at the bottom of the bowl to place some soap in. Then he just swirls the brush around, working the soap at the bottom, until it becomes a really nice lather.

You don't have to search far to find those video's either, he does that pretty much in all of his video's, understandably, he does what works for him, and with his own bowl design. And I must admit, even despite the fact it doesn't have ridges, I am always amazed at how well it works!

And while I am and still will always be, a strong advocate of Captains Choice lather bowls, I have to give Geo credit, his bowl clearly does work. But keep in mind, regardless of which lathering bowl you do have, ultimately, it will be your proper technique that gets it done in the end.

Following the advice that I read in this thread, last time I shaved yesterday, after blooming the soap, I dumped the bloom water in the lather bowl, instead of down the sink. By doing so, once I began working the soap in my bowl, yes, it began being too sudsy, but I kept working it for at least a minute, and I got a really nice lather out of it.

Point is, that was excellent advice, totally recommend it after applying the technique myself. In the words of the Mandalorian creed.................

This Is The Way

Star Wars Disney Plus GIF by Disney+


Even Mando knows how to appreciate a good lather in the morning, when he's not caressing his shinny iron.
 
I received my Razorock Plissoft 400 yesterday and had a first shave with it today. I use Proraso Green. I had a similar experience to yours and is it indeed too much water. Synthetic brushes load way better than non synthetic and therefore it is better to add more water as you go than starting off with much water. Similar actually to a boar brush in my experience (should you intend to buy one of those as well).

Not sure which of Geo’s videos you watched but there is one on creating super lather which actually is werkt watery. Does work by the way you just have to keep wiping longer (than you think)

One of my favourites is a post by Mantic59. I use his method when using my badger brush.

Welcome to DE shaving by the way assuming you are just starting out.
 
Quick couple of thoughts. Cream usually lathers quicker and easier than soap. A boar brush makes super quick work of whipping up lather. I love synthetic brushes but most lack backbone to make lather fast but feel great. I shake my brush once after the pre soak, the leftover water is usually plenty to make lather without adding more. My opinion is a small bowl works better than a larger bowl…why less surface area to chase the soap around plus you only need so much lather for a six pass shave. I only do a single pass unless I miss a patch, so having a large bowl of leftover lather makes no sense to my shaving style. A small salsa bowl is plenty of room, unless it’s a shave party with your buddies or girlfriends.
 
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!
Hi LRod, My go to brush is also a Razorock plissoft and I've had Proroso red croap in my rotation for about a year. Based on the process you described the issue is most likely too much water.

First synthetic brushes do not absorb water as to boars and badgers. There is no reason to soak it. Just wet the brush with warm water when you are ready to use it. For the Proraso croap shake out most of the excess water. Also, per your description, you added water to an already soft croap likely thinning it out too much. There's no need to add water to the Proraso red as it's already well hydrated. The technique you described of wetting the soap to activate it is best applied to harder triple milled pucks that are harder to load. Proraso red croap is already easy to load because it is so soft. Bottom line use a dryer brush and don't add water to the soap when you load. So long as you load the brush sufficiently you should be able to easily build great lather.

I've found that the Proraso croap acts like a super lathering agent. It builds into a thick lather very quickly by itself and I've added it to other soaps to help the lather building process.
 
Hi LRod, My go to brush is also a Razorock plissoft and I've had Proroso red croap in my rotation for about a year. Based on the process you described the issue is most likely too much water.

First synthetic brushes do not absorb water as to boars and badgers. There is no reason to soak it. Just wet the brush with warm water when you are ready to use it. For the Proraso croap shake out most of the excess water. Also, per your description, you added water to an already soft croap likely thinning it out too much. There's no need to add water to the Proraso red as it's already well hydrated. The technique you described of wetting the soap to activate it is best applied to harder triple milled pucks that are harder to load. Proraso red croap is already easy to load because it is so soft. Bottom line use a dryer brush and don't add water to the soap when you load. So long as you load the brush sufficiently you should be able to easily build great lather.

I've found that the Proraso croap acts like a super lathering agent. It builds into a thick lather very quickly by itself and I've added it to other soaps to help the lather building process.
Based on my inexperience, I was following one of Geofatboy's video which showed him using the Proraso red tub. I'm assuming he was using a badger brush though which is why he got a huge lather by using plenty of water. And he also added water to the soap. But in the last week or so I've been following what I've been advised here and it's worked out much better. Just a wet brush with no soaking!
But you mentioned not wetting the soap. I've still been doing that but I'll try lathering without that step. I'm sure it will work even better based on the results that you've described.
Thanks for the advice!
LRod
 
Based on my inexperience, I was following one of Geofatboy's video which showed him using the Proraso red tub. I'm assuming he was using a badger brush though which is why he got a huge lather by using plenty of water. And he also added water to the soap. But in the last week or so I've been following what I've been advised here and it's worked out much better. Just a wet brush with no soaking!
But you mentioned not wetting the soap. I've still been doing that but I'll try lathering without that step. I'm sure it will work even better based on the results that you've described.
Thanks for the advice!
LRod

Hello LRod! :)

The reason for confusion, is because every soap is different. Some soaps require more water, some soaps require less water. Some brushes hold more water, some brushes hold less water. There is no set in stone guidelines, because every situation is different. What GeoFatBoy was doing, was not wrong, for his setup he was using.

I've seen video's where he builds just standard lather. And then in another setup, I've seen him build super lather. But those were different setups. Sometimes he even uses different bowls too. Sometimes, he just puts some cream at the bottom of the lather spot in his shave bowl, and of course a cream is going to whip up super quickly!

I think that following recommendations from both GeoFatBoy, and following recommendations from B&B, are both a good plan. Each will teach you lessons. And as you've gained experience, sometimes you will find, that implementing combinations of what you've learned from Geo, and this site, at the same time, offers the best results too.

Its just like in drivers ed school, they can teach you how to drive all they want in a classroom. But until your behind the wheel gathering experience, do you really learn how to drive, and develop what works best for you. Every vehicle is different, so the way you drive them will be different. Shaving hobby is no different in that regard.

So take what you've learned from both, gain experience, and develop your technique. My two cents.
 
Hello LRod! :)

The reason for confusion, is because every soap is different. Some soaps require more water, some soaps require less water. Some brushes hold more water, some brushes hold less water. There is no set in stone guidelines, because every situation is different. What GeoFatBoy was doing, was not wrong, for his setup he was using.

I've seen video's where he builds just standard lather. And then in another setup, I've seen him build super lather. But those were different setups. Sometimes he even uses different bowls too. Sometimes, he just puts some cream at the bottom of the lather spot in his shave bowl, and of course a cream is going to whip up super quickly!

I think that following recommendations from both GeoFatBoy, and following recommendations from B&B, are both a good plan. Each will teach you lessons. And as you've gained experience, sometimes you will find, that implementing combinations of what you've learned from Geo, and this site, at the same time, offers the best results too.

Its just like in drivers ed school, they can teach you how to drive all they want in a classroom. But until your behind the wheel gathering experience, do you really learn how to drive, and develop what works best for you. Every vehicle is different, so the way you drive them will be different. Shaving hobby is no different in that regard.

So take what you've learned from both, gain experience, and develop your technique. My two cents.
I'm only shaving my face, so I don't really need a bowl full of lather. So I thin out the soap (not necessary with a cream, for the most part) in the bottom of my bowl... get most of the water out of my synthetic brush and start making a lather. I'm really only needing enough to load my brush full... nothing extra... a brush full will give me 3 passes plus any touchups.

Lots of these YouTubers either sell soap... or are getting free soap samples, etc.... they encourage us to use much more soap than necessary... or at least, that is my opinion. I use around an almond shape bit of soap... to get the lather they do, I'd need 4X that, most likely... so I'd be using 4 times the amount of soap.
 
Hello LRod! :)

The reason for confusion, is because every soap is different. Some soaps require more water, some soaps require less water. Some brushes hold more water, some brushes hold less water. There is no set in stone guidelines, because every situation is different. What GeoFatBoy was doing, was not wrong, for his setup he was using.

I've seen video's where he builds just standard lather. And then in another setup, I've seen him build super lather. But those were different setups. Sometimes he even uses different bowls too. Sometimes, he just puts some cream at the bottom of the lather spot in his shave bowl, and of course a cream is going to whip up super quickly!

I think that following recommendations from both GeoFatBoy, and following recommendations from B&B, are both a good plan. Each will teach you lessons. And as you've gained experience, sometimes you will find, that implementing combinations of what you've learned from Geo, and this site, at the same time, offers the best results too.

Its just like in drivers ed school, they can teach you how to drive all they want in a classroom. But until your behind the wheel gathering experience, do you really learn how to drive, and develop what works best for you. Every vehicle is different, so the way you drive them will be different. Shaving hobby is no different in that regard.

So take what you've learned from both, gain experience, and develop your technique. My two cents.
Yep, I've figured out thus far that absolutely everything in shaving can have a different result;
Choice of razor, blades, soap, scent etc..
I completely understand why I read "YMMV" so much on here, LOL!!
 
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.
Thank goodness, on all of the above, I thought I was the only one.
 
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.View attachment 1434971
My favorite bowl, too! A few years ago, I spent a bundle buying fancier bowls -- handmade ceramic, etc -- and a few scuttles. But this cheap plastic, foldable dog food bowl works better than anything else. BTW, sometimes folks wonder if the protruding nubs might not be good for a brush. I actually asked two different very well known brush makers and they said the nubs, being rounded as they are, are just fine. Want to make lather easily? Get one of these bad boys.
 
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.
Good for you to have had at least one good shave now. As you proceed, you'll have good days and bad days. That's to be expected. And then at some point, perhaps a month in, you'll feel you got it. And then about three months after that you'll realize that NOW yo might have it. And then about a year later, you'll realize that you have truly gotten on top of shaving. It's a great feeling at each point to have a smooth shave and not having nicks, cuts, or irritations. BTW, if you've not realized it already, this is a deep rabbit hole! Soaps come early in that progression, of course, and the are so so so many different soaps. But one thing you can do is go to an online vendor like Maggard and try out samples. It's a great way to start to focus on soaps and/or scents - aftershaves - that you really like. And don't be surprised as your taste in scents changes. Like you, I started with some traditional scents, even by traditional companies but I've found, to my surprise, that there are a whole lot of interesting scents out there!
 
If there's one aspect of wet-shaving I've never come to like at all, it's loading soap from a tub. I have found it very inconsistent, way too easy to use too much or too little. If you're going to lather in a bowl anyway, I'd just start with a cream since it's way easier to start off with the same amount. And I do not know why this is but....badgers always give me a better lather than boars or synthetics do.

If I wanted a Proraso Red shave I'd squeeze out about an inch and a half of cream, spread it around my face and take a sopping wet badger brush to it. Do it however you like, but make sure you try it that way at some point, you might just be blown away by how awesome a shave you have!

:shocked:
 
I've been struggling with brush selection, personally. I don't own any badger brushes. I've mentioned this in several threads. So.... I don't really understand exactly what badger brush users feel on their faces... what they desire or seek out.

I have 4 synthetic brushes at the moment and have a couple more on the way. The only one I really love is my Executive Shaving Company Ultimate G4. Why do I like it? It's soft of my face... spreads the lather effortlessly... isn't scratchy, if I'm understanding what "scratchy" really means. I'm not sure I do. Backbone? another one I'm not quite sure how it feels. I know the definition... but what does it mean in actual use? The brush has some resistance to splaying? Is that "backbone"?

Anyway, I'm about to give away 3 out of the 4 of these brushes. They all lather wonderfully... the handles are ok, one is great. But they don't feel like the Ultimate. It isn't a pleasure to use them... they spread the lather... I'm guessing all brushes do that. I just want the experience to be pleasant.
 
I'm late to this party, and admit I haven't read all the responses, so at the risk of being redundant:

- You don't need to soak your synthetic brush.
- Wet your brush and give it a few good shakes.
- Try more soap. My lather has improved since I increased the amount of soap. I use a small vintage butter-spreader and scoop Proraso red into my shaving bowl. Soap is cheap, use enough.
- Work the soap vigorously in your bowl until lather starts to form, then add water by droplets and continue whipping/adding water until you get the desired consistency.

I was using a 24mm fan-shaped synthetic brush and I think it was absorbing the little bit of soap I put in the bowl. Adding water increased the lather a bit but it also thinned the lather too much. I tried using more soap and - bam! - problem solved.
 
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If there's one aspect of wet-shaving I've never come to like at all, it's loading soap from a tub. I have found it very inconsistent, way too easy to use too much or too little. If you're going to lather in a bowl anyway, I'd just start with a cream since it's way easier to start off with the same amount. And I do not know why this is but....badgers always give me a better lather than boars or synthetics do.

If I wanted a Proraso Red shave I'd squeeze out about an inch and a half of cream, spread it around my face and take a sopping wet badger brush to it. Do it however you like, but make sure you try it that way at some point, you might just be blown away by how awesome a shave you have!

:shocked:
I'm only using a shaving bowl and it's gotten really consistent every time. I'm just scooping out the same amount of cream every time and using the same amount of water. I tried gave lathering and although it's faster, si didn't get the ritual/therapeutic effect that I get with the bowl. I'll try your method at some point is I ever get soap in a tube. Everything I have is either a soap or cream in a tub.
 
I've been struggling with brush selection, personally. I don't own any badger brushes. I've mentioned this in several threads. So.... I don't really understand exactly what badger brush users feel on their faces... what they desire or seek out.

I have 4 synthetic brushes at the moment and have a couple more on the way. The only one I really love is my Executive Shaving Company Ultimate G4. Why do I like it? It's soft of my face... spreads the lather effortlessly... isn't scratchy, if I'm understanding what "scratchy" really means. I'm not sure I do. Backbone? another one I'm not quite sure how it feels. I know the definition... but what does it mean in actual use? The brush has some resistance to splaying? Is that "backbone"?

Anyway, I'm about to give away 3 out of the 4 of these brushes. They all lather wonderfully... the handles are ok, one is great. But they don't feel like the Ultimate. It isn't a pleasure to use them... they spread the lather... I'm guessing all brushes do that. I just want the experience to be pleasant.
I've been at this for a short time (about 4 months) but have already tried tons of razors, blades, brushes etc..
All my brushes have been synthetics due to the ethical (or lack of) aspect of badger & boar.
But if you want to try something different, new and ethical that's actually animal hair, try a horse hair shaving brush. Vie-long makes them (made in Spain). I bought my first one and it's great!
By the way, I really want to try one of the ESC Ultimate G4. They look fantastic!
 
I'm only using a shaving bowl and it's gotten really consistent every time. I'm just scooping out the same amount of cream every time and using the same amount of water. I tried gave lathering and although it's faster, si didn't get the ritual/therapeutic effect that I get with the bowl. I'll try your method at some point is I ever get soap in a tube. Everything I have is either a soap or cream in a tub.
Wow that was a cell phone autocorrect mess. Too late to be able to edit:
face lathering not gave lathering!
I didn't not si didn't!
if I ever not is I ever!
Lol!!
 
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