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The Secret to Easy Williams Mug Soap Thick Lather: A Good Quality/Low Cost Boar Brush

Hi Everyone. My new quality Blondie boar brush easily produces excellent lather from a puck of Williams Mug shave soap. Details as follows:

Background: I've been a fan of Williams Mug Shave Soap since my return to DE shaving a couple years ago thanks to its glide and slickness. Also it is the most similar product to the Colgate my grandfather used that is still on the market. After a few months I began blending my Williams with Van Der Hagen (VDH) Deluxe (new formulation with great lather though limited slickness) for thicker lather further modified with a bit of Ivory Soap to maintain slickness (40% Williams, 40% VDH and 20% Ivory by weight) in an IvanDerWilliams (IVDW) blend that has been my go-to soap for about a year. Also as this blend is somewhat softer than the Williams alone it works well with my go-to synthetic plissoft brush noted below.

I started with a basic VDH boar brush and after a few months migrated to a Razorock synthetic Monster Brush that is excellent. The Monster allows me to quickly whip up (via face lathering) lots of rich lather from my IVDW blend. As my VDH boar brush has kept losing hairs I recently procured a new Blondie Boar from Razorock. This is a rebranded Zenith 80N boar with a 64mm loft, 26mm knot and plastic handle that is much larger and more densely packed than the old VDH brush. From online research it appears to be similar to the Omega 10049 boar brush. The blondie was priced at $8.99 so is a good value. So far it has not lost any hairs and after two weeks of use (every other day) it continues to bloom as the boar hair ends split.

Boar Brush on Williams Experience: When used on my IVDW blend the Blondie boar produces lather that is almost too thick requiring the addition of extra water for sufficient hydration and slickness. Took a few uses to dial in on the right amount of added water needed. Based on this result I decided to try the brush on a new puck of Williams Mug alone to see the result. This was a new dry puck and I soaked the brush for about 30 seconds in warm water before use. The result was amazing with lots of thick rich Williams only lather with its typical high level of slickness that provided an excellent shave. Lather was the perfect thickness that formed easy peaks with no bubbles. Never had to re-lather my face when shaving. Squeezed the excess out of the brush back onto the Williams puck and 12 hours later it has not dissipated or collapsed. Spent about a minute loading the brush on the puck (adding water repeatedly) and then face lathered. The Blondie Boar/Williams combination will become a regular part of my rotation.

My synthetic Monster brush will continue to be my go-to for my IVDW blend and the tub of Proraso red (suspect a boars backbone would be counterproductive on this softer croap) that I recently acquired. The overall feel and lathering ability of this plissoft brush is excellent though I now see why many have posted that a good boar brush is best for hard soaps like Williams. The boars backbone clearly drives a much more productive brush loading process.

Have others discovered that a good boar brush is the secret to excellent Williams lather?

P.S. The Proraso lathers easily and I love the aroma (also love Williams). Slickness is OK, better than the VDH Deluxe but not at the level of my IVDW blend or Williams alone. Plan to blend a bit of it with my next batch of IVDW and will report on the results.
 
Yep, you are right!

I was exclusively Williams+boar for decades. My drugstore boar was as cheap as they came. Omega 10066 and 10065 are great cheap boars, far better than mine from back in the day.

I grated one of my Williams pucks into a stick, so now I can bowl or face lather with Williams, or build it right on the puck like the old days.
 
It all comes down to tools and technique for dissolving a sufficient quantity of soap and achieving the right water to soap ratio. My first VDH boar brush and even my Monster synthetic did not dissolve enough Williams Mug soap (WMS) for a thick enough lather over the minute or so I typically load. Bottom line I did not have the right technique for WMS when I first started.

The new Blondie boar easily loads what is needed to the point where I add some extra water during the loading and lathering process. Suspect the natural boar hairs also continue to absorb water through the loading/lathering process unlike my synthetic. The other change has been my technique. When I used WMS alone two years ago I built the lather on the puck in my mug. Adopted face lathering as my standard technique after I'd moved on from WMS to my custom IVDW blend.

Suspect that someone used to softer/easier loading soaps will run into the same issue I did with a softer brush. While YMMV is always a factor my guess is that the key diffentiator for WMS lovers is that we figured out the ideal tools and technique.

Other hard tallow based soaps, such as mid-range Mitchells Wool Fat (MWF), generate a similar range of reactions as WMS. Also, I suspect, often due to technique and tools. Interesting that MWF has the same top three ingredients as WMS (Sodium Tallowate, Potassium Stearate, Sodium Cocoate) possibly contributing to the similarities in posted loading/lathering characteristics.

For those that use other hard tallow-based soap pucks are the techniques described above for easy WMS lathering, including use of a good boar brush, also what you find works best for your preferred shaving soaps?
 
I concur with your experience. A brush with good backbone will get more out of Williams. Personally, I grate mine into a bowl and give it a good soaking (about an hour) before draining the water. Before I use it, I wet the soap before I get into the shower and by the time I finish, the soap is ready to go. I get great, rich lather without much effort.
 
When grandpa passed on in 1965, he left me his brush, a straight razor, and mug with some Williams in the bottom. Now knowing any better, I simply dipped the brush into warm water and made great lather without any fuss.
Several decades later, I find the Williams recipe to have changed, and that it's now necessary to soak, bloom and perform other contortions, while chanting incantations.
Not being a trendy person, craving acceptance by following the crowd, I did soak a new Semogue Boar for 5 minutes before attacking a dry puck of the new formula Williams. It lathered beautifully. My water is on the map of the hardest in the US,so I use DI or distilled water. Works like a charm!
While synthetic brushes also work well, my boar brushes all seem to work the best. Perhaps it's the stiffer bristles?
 
My first brush was the cheap boar VDH used to sell in a $9 set with a little lather bowl at Walgreens. It was a shedding, stinky monster compared to the brushes I use today but they were a decent brush for Williams once you got it broken in well. I probably built better lather with that brush on Williams than any other brush I've ever used on that soap, but I don't have that brush any longer, and even my Omega 49 boar doesn't seem to like Williams as much as that old VDH did.
 
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