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Advice: Shaving Mug Lathering

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Matt writes:

I have a question about mug lathering. I recently got my first shaving mug. I am able to get a good lather, but when I put the lather on my face I don’t get as good coverage as I do when I face lather. When lathering, I use the brush to bring down the lather that has risen to the top of the mug walls. I try to get the lather in the middle of the brush, but I’m just not getting enough of the lather on my face. Usually when I face lather, the lather stays towards the tips of the brush and I am able to get all the lather on my face. When I bowl lather, the lather gets on the sides of the brush too and I am unable to get the lather on the sides of the brush on my face. I want to figure this out. Your help is greatly appreciated.

It’s hard to tell from the description what the problem with mug lathering might be. There are a lot of variables (type of brush, hard/soft water, how long you’re lathering, etc.) but my best guess is you might need to load the brush a bit more than you’re doing now. You also might try “the upside down lathering trick” —

Matt replies:

I’ve never heard of loading the brush upside down before. I just watched the video. It makes sense that I would get more doing it upside down. I just tried it, and I was able to get more lather from it! Also, I’ve seen on your videos plus other people that after you massage the lather into your face, you do a kind of paintbrush motion to get more from it. I had never tried that before, so I did just now, and that worked really well too! Those two things together made it go a lot better.


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2 thoughts on “Advice: Shaving Mug Lathering”

  1. Aha!! That explains it! Recently I changed my lathering technique with soaps for no particular reason. I had been thinking of Zach's video on lathering with a boar bristle brush. I recalled how he held the bowl on its side because he used a very wet brush and whipped it vigorously, and with the bowl on the side, the slag (is that the right term?) could easily drain.

    So I held the bowl on its side (this was a triple-milled soap in a wood bowl, the kind where the soap goes right up to the edge). I started loading the brush, and then (remembering Zach's video) I really worked it vigorously over the soap—undoubtedly driving the soap deeper into the brush as you describe.

    And then earlier this week I noticed the very different quality of the lather: a very fine texture, denser than normal with much tinier bubbles—almost, I wrote I at the time, as if I had spread Nancy Boy shaving cream on my face.

    Because that was the first time I was so vividly aware of the phenomenon, I couldn't figure out the cause. Was it the Floris 89? Was it the brush? Etc. Lots of variables to eliminate.

    I started trying different soaps and brushes, and I kept getting the very fine lather. I couldn't figure out what had changed. But this clears it up: I stumbled across the same phenomenon, noticed the result, and hadn't figured out the cause.

    And, of course, I kept getting the fine lathers because I kept using the new technique, which I liked for its messiness at the sink.

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