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SR Essentials: Natural Sponge

I found natural sponges too irregular for wiping a straight razor clean between passes, but I do agree that there are huge differences between the various types of synthetic sponges and some work better than others.

For wiping the blade clean between passes, I use this when I use a sink full of water (rather than running the tap throughout the shave):
1633178696369.jpeg
(Picture curtesy Gifts & Care)

It seems to be a Spanish ‘thing’ and when I bought one a few years ago I did not care much for it at first, but - after discovering one in my traditional barbershop - I have started using one again and have grown to quite like it.



B.
 
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I found natural sponges too irregular for wiping a straight razor clean between passes, but I do agree that there are huge differences between the various types of synthetic sponges and some work better than others.

For wiping the blade clean between passes, I use this when I use a sink full of water (rather than running the tap throughout the shave):
View attachment 1338452
(Picture curtesy Gifts & Care)

It seems to be a Spanish ‘thing’ and when I bought one a few years ago I did not care much for it at first, but - after discovering one in my traditional barbershop - I have started using one again and have grown to quite like it.



B.
It looks very pretty but what is it and how is it used?
 
I admit I’ve read this thread 3-4X and still can’t understand the need and benefits of this type of sponge.

I’ve Never had a problem rinsing my blade with tap water between passes, and I absolutely love just throwing my face down under the tap for the final rinse with cold water. Then patting my face dry with soft cotton washcloth (mine are anything but rough) is just the icing on the cake.
 
Just started with mine so not sure how long they last for. The cheap synthetics went several months before they got replaced. The natural one seems to dry faster as the structure is more open. Apparently they last a long time and are naturally resistant to funk. I expect they would fair similarly to a badger brush in that department and it could depend on the soap that’s being used and how they are stored.

Mine cost $26 AUD and I cut it in half so it’s not a huge investment. Plus there’s a spare ready to go.

They don't really get funky, and yes - they last a long time. I remember going to Santorini over ten years ago and my father getting very excited by how easily available they were, and he still has quite a few that he picked up then. I might nab one next time I'm back.

$26 is a very good price I think - natural sponges can be quite expensive. (And colour me flabbergasted that Mediterranean sponge is allowed to be imported through Aus quarantine!)
 
I admit I’ve read this thread 3-4X and still can’t understand the need and benefits of this type of sponge.

I’ve Never had a problem rinsing my blade with tap water between passes, and I absolutely love just throwing my face down under the tap for the final rinse with cold water. Then patting my face dry with soft cotton washcloth (mine are anything but rough) is just the icing on the cake.

This is going to sound a funny thing to say, but one reason might be - in a lot of Australia tap water is something people are very conscious about. My wife thinks it's incredibly bad and wasteful of me to run the tap for the couple of mins it takes to brush my teeth.

(Though actually @Tomo is in Melbourne and it rains there the entire time, so maybe not ;))
 
My wife thinks it's incredibly bad and wasteful of me to run the tap for the couple of mins it takes to brush my teeth.
sir, I believe your wife is right (isn’t she always?).

I’ve lived in places and eras where water rationing is/was a reality and I’m very conscious about it. It’s a nightmare not to have running water and we all should do our best to preserve it as much as possible

I try to rinse my face as quick as possible, it takes less time than rinsing my brush clean. That’s definitely a benefit of using a sponge or wet washcloth, thanks for pointing it out!
 
sir, I believe your wife is right (isn’t she always?).

I’ve lived in places and eras where water rationing is/was a reality and I’m very conscious about it. It’s a nightmare not to have running water and we all should do our best to preserve it as much as possible

I try to rinse my face as quick as possible, it takes less time than rinsing my brush clean. That’s definitely a benefit of using a sponge or wet washcloth, thanks for pointing it out!

Ah you must know her then! She is indeed always correct ;).

(Before moving to Aus I'd only ever lived in the UK and Ireland, where water is less of a concern. So it was quite new to me when people started talking about it here. I do still run the tap while brushing my teeth tbh, but I certainly think about water usage now, and try to modify what I do a bit).
 
It looks very pretty but what is it and how is it used?

The orange part is made from a fairly hard rubber material.

When the blade of the straight razor has collected too much lather, you slide the blade flat over the rim of the bowl and the discarded lather accumulates in the bowl.
While a small amount of lather remains on the blade, the bowl does help to avoid lather dripping on my beer (red wine??) belly, sink, or onto the bathroom floor.

After the shave you just rinse it out.

Probably not much use for people who keep the tap running during the shave, but when water is scarce, or you don’t want to come too close to the faucet with the razor during the shave, it works well.


It’s mainly used by barbershops where a sink is not always next to the barber chair.



B.
 
I prefer the old fashioned barber method:

Run the blade backwards on the palm of your hand to remove the accumulated lather , then scoop it up, off the palm of your hand using the back of the blade and flick it into the sink. -Very stylish and cool looking technique as some barbers will demonstrate to impress their customers creating an attention grabbing audible 'plop' sound as the lather splatters into the sink when they flick the razor.
 
I tried the sponge but … my mileage varied.

It was kind of pleasant as a facecloth, though. I might try again sometime, I'm flexible that way. But for now, back to rinsing under the tap. As with toothbrushing, I never leave the tap running though … I just turn it on to rinse, then back off. I like to 'read' my lather by how cleanly it rinses off the blade. If a bit clings, I know it needed or needs a bit more hydration.

The silicone bowl has appeal too. But I think I'd still end up back at the tap.

Feel free to mock me later when, inevitably, I'll be bemoaning the ding I put in my favorite razor (i.e., whatever I used that day).
 
I admit I’ve read this thread 3-4X and still can’t understand the need and benefits of this type of sponge.

I’ve Never had a problem rinsing my blade with tap water between passes, and I absolutely love just throwing my face down under the tap for the final rinse with cold water. Then patting my face dry with soft cotton washcloth (mine are anything but rough) is just the icing on the cake.
I feel the same
 
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