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3 Shortcuts To Better Lather (+ Bonus Idea)

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Shortcut To A Better Lather

I think it’s safe to say everyone has experienced trouble making traditional shaving lather at one time or another.  Here are 3 shortcuts to making a better, more stable lather, more quickly.


Suuuuuuuuper Lather!

Priming the brush with a shave soap then adding shave cream (AKA “Superlather”) can be an effective (albeit perhaps a bit messy) way to get a stable lather.  Loading a wet shaving brush with shave soap (or even a gentle glycerin-based facial soap) will “trap” water and hold it where it needs to be.  Then adding a shaving cream will fully hydrate the lather and also create a really slick cushion to work with.  This was actually the topic of one of the first shaving videos I made six years ago:


A trick similar to “Superlather” is “Uberlather.”  Uberlather is the process of adding a few drops of pure glycerin to the shaving brush before lathering with shaving cream or soap.  The extra glycerin will create a more stable, long-lasting lather.  Glycerin can be found fairly easily: look for it at your local mega-mart, drug store, or large grocery store.  It is usually in either the skin care or first aid area.

Distilled Water

Sometimes lather is not very good because the water is not very good, with too many minerals or contaminants (e.g. “hard” water).  If you have hard water try using distilled water.  Just heat some up (not to boiling!) and pour into your sink (with the stopper closed, of course).

Bonus Idea: “Brush Friendly” Brushless Shave Cream

There are some brushless shave creams that are “brush friendly” and therefore are very tolerant of the ratio of water to cream.  Two of the best in my opinion are Truefitt and Hill Authentic No. 10 Shaving Cream and Pacific Shaving Caffeinated shave cream.


Shave tutor and co-founder of sharpologist. I have been advocating old-school shaving for over 20 years and have been featured in major media outlets including The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and Lifehacker. Also check out my content on Youtube, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest!View Author posts

13 thoughts on “3 Shortcuts To Better Lather (+ Bonus Idea)”

  1. I really like your lathering videos!! The face lather video,
    Is that COlonel Conk almond shave soap in your mug ?
    I read great reviews for that soap, and it looks hard to beat for the price

  2. @ Brad:
    I would use the “vegetable glycerin”,
    that’s usually the better. [Comes from coconuts, I think.]
    I just ordered 16 oz for $12.76 on ebay.
    Have a GREAT day, and a GREAT shave, neighbors!

  3. Are there different kinds of glycerin?? I see some labeled as vegetable glycerin on Amazon.. Any suggestions?

  4. i use truefitt & hill, and it is awesome. i just take a dollop, and massage it into my face. no problems at all. i do this after the steam room at the gym. i feel like i’m missing something, because it’s better than gel, but maybe not as good as it could be??

  5. Superlather, always, for me. My method is to apply a thin layer of shaving cream by hand to a wet face and massage it into the whiskers for about half a minute. This preps the beard. Then I load the brush with soap and face-lather. I always get a burst of excellent lather with this method. And it’s fun to experiment with different pairings of soap and cream.

  6. I’m a beginner wet shaver. I use a pure badger brush (would have bought a best or silver tip if I had came across your videos beforehand) and a Trumper soap. I have a very hard time getting a good lather with these products. Before trying your shortcuts would you say it’s a good idea to try lathering with a shaving cream instead of a hard bar of soap ? I heard they are easier to work with.

    1. You may want to try a boar brush on soaps. They’re stiffer and more aggresive,so they dig into the soap and pull up more product. Semogue and Omega make good boar brushes. I’m not speaking as an expert mind you, as I got my first boar brush 2 weeks ago. That being said, my $200 silvertip is languishing on the shelf, while my $23 Semogue is being used daily. I think I’m gonna put the Silvertip on Ebay.

    2. I mainly use badgers as well. When I use a hard soap I just let some hot water sit on the puck for a few minutes (usually while I shower) then when I’m ready to load the brush I dump the water off then load away! I’ve used this method with Mitchells Woolfat, W.M. Neumanns among other well known hard lathering soaps and it works like a charm.

      1. Great suggestion. I was going to say the same thing until I saw you’d already mentioned it. A little bit of warm or hot water on your shaving soap will go a long way towards softening up the surface. That softened outer layer of soap will then pull off easily with your shaving brush, and you’ll quickly be ready to build a great lather.

  7. I use Prorazo and I make my lather in a bowl. Then I steam my face with hot cloths, 3 times. Prior to the 3rd time, I squeeze a good dallop into my palm and rub it on my beard. After the final steaming, most of the Prorazo is still on my face, and I began working the bowl lather on my beard. Builds an awesome lather everytime.

  8. I was having trouble getting my shaving soaps to produce a good lather on a consistent basis. I was almost ready to swear off soaps until I tried the glycerin trick. It helps every soap I have tried to be more stable and creamy. Thanks for the tip

  9. Ted Pettinicchi (TAP119 on B & B)

    I’ve tried my own way to make Überlather: I added a small amount (~a tsp.) of preshave oil to my lathering scuttle and then build my lather. I noticed that the lather I made was a bit slicker than plain soap or cream lather and it smelled nicer with the added oil’s fragrance.
    (picture in your mind, the Dos Equis Man)
    I don’t always Überlather, but when I do, I add oil to my lather.

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