Rethinking my lathering

Discussion in 'Straight Razor Shave Clinic' started by monco, May 16, 2019.

    I've been struggling with dry, tight, and itching skin after WTG pass with a straight razor and decided to take a closer look at my lathering.

    I currently use Tabac and Cella.

    For Tabac I use bowl lathering and I follow quite precisely the instructions in this tutorial. Now, as per tutorial, the lather starts as a soapy paste in the bowl and I add only few drops of water one or two times only. Then I apply the later to my wetted face, which brings some more water into the equation. I think the lather is still quite paste-like, maybe something like thick but wet paint or something, but that seems to work best for me. So, at best, I get lather that a) doesn't dry that soon (but eventually bit too soon for my taste) and b) doesn't stick into my razor.

    The problem with Tabac is, if I try to add any more water, no matter how slowly and in small quantities, the end result is that the lather grows in volume but becomes essentially foamy, like thin, whipped cream or something, and dries up way too quickly and does not seem wet or protective at all (even though I can see that the water indeed is there).

    With Cella I use Marco's method and face lather. The lather dries faster than Tabac but otherwise seems ok, though it is easier to mess up. I have no idea how to add more water to it since the lather starts very wet and slowly becomes thicker. If I work it too much, it becomes too thick: dries very fast and also sticks to my razor, which is rather annoying.

    Any ideas how I could apply more water into lather while keeping it thick and like "wet paint", little more than paste-like, at the same time? Is that even a goal I should look for? I am not sure if I can explain this very well, but more I work the lather, more foamy and drying it becomes.
  1. I bearly dip the brush bristles in water
  2. I boarly dip the brush bristles in water.

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  3. Guys, English is not my native language, I already checked "bearly" in dictionary :lol:
  4. He meant 'barely' lol, I was just pulling his leg

    He means that he just touches the bristles in the water.

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  5. Yeah, I got it, just joking here myself, as well :a12:

    But every joke has some truth in it. As a non-native speaker you never know, my first, rather quick impression was that "bearly" would mean something in lines of:

    bearly adverb
    1 : in a strong, forceful manner (i.e. like a bear)
    2 : opposite of barely

    Ok, I'll stop now :001_rolle

    Any ideas why adding more water would make lather too foamy? I add water very carefully and in small quantities, but doing that more than few times spoils the lather.
  6. I have a degree in English and you guys confused the hell out of me. Anyway, regarding lather. I do the paste thingy in the bowl, apply it to my face then wet my brush bit by bit and essentially face lather until I get the hydration I want to shave with.
  7. +1

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  8. Proper English or American English?

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  9. Nay, I hoarsely dip my hare brush in water.
  10. Sorry guys about the bearly. However, if you need to hydrate your lather a bit do a wee dip/touch in ye water container of choice.
  11. Proper. I even punctuate my posts (usually).
  12. Cella's lather dries out faster than Tabac due to the higher proportion of coconut oil. It helps generate fast lather and bubbles but tends to lead to faster drying out. This can be ameliorated by the soapmaker with "superfat" (butters and such), a lower proportion of coconut oil, glycerin, or emulsifiers. By the shaver, it can be combated with additional water up to a point, but then things get airy and fluffy as you said. Tabac has not dried out excessively on my face, but I've been a DE shaver up to now (my straights are due to arrive Saturday!). I would say that the main thing is not overworking the lather. I get it looking right on my face and then do the bristle tip dip if needed. If Tabac is still giving you fits, you might try Speick, which has a similar recipe but adds some emulsifying agents that help keep it hydrated and dense when additional water is added.

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  15. naughtilus

    naughtilus Contributor

    I find it impossible to get foamy lather with Tabac. It's always dense, yogurty, soap makers would say low structured. I too find it drying unless I give it enough water. Cella IME is much more foamy and less drying.
  16. Not criticizing Marco's method and it definitely works, but my preference with Cella or any other soap is still "dry" loading in that I feel I have more control over the lather. I load a bit heavy, adding a little water about halfway through and then proceed to face lather adding more water 'til I reach the desired consistency. Never had any problems with Cella drying out and it's my go to soap. Of course, even if your wet loading using Marco's method, there's still no reason why you can't add more water as needed.
  17. I did exactly that, bowl lathered Tabac to a soapy paste (didn't add any extra water, only the contents of the soaked brush) and then applied it to my face and added water, by barely dipping my brush each time.

    I would call the resulted lather a great success! It was wet and heavy, to a point that few big drops came straight down during the shave. No lather got stuck to the razor; it was really easy to clean up. And extra benefit was that the soapy paste in the bowl seemed to last longer than a ready-made foamier lather would, so it was easy to use it for relathering by applying to face and adding water.

    Shave was smooth and razor was gliding well. I still got the same irritation/dryness of skin as before, but it is hard to believe that the problem would be in this clearly superb lather--unless it is some ingredient in Tabac that causes the irritation.

    I'll try to repeat the same with Cella (not forgetting that it is a bit different beast). Let's see if it leaves my skin irritated in the same way.

    I also have Speick, Monsavon, Col. Conk Bay Rum and Wilkinson Sword soaps lying around somewhere. Might try those out, as well.
  18. I believe it will work with all soaps. Basically, you are face lathering. And yes, you will likely use less soap.
  19. Seems like you got the lathering techqinue corrected but you're still experiencing dryness? I haven't used tabac and haven't used Cella in quite some time. How you tried using a preshave oil? I find it can help with moisturizing the skin for a better post shave feel. Soaps with high coconut oil tend to dry the skin out but a good aftershave can fix that. What are you using as an aftershave?

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