“Blooming” a shave soap–filling the jar, mug, or scuttle containing the shave soap with hot water before the shave–can enhance the shave experience. Here are three benefits I get from blooming shave soap.
How To Bloom A Shave Soap – And Use The Process To Your Advantage
Blooming a shave soap is a pretty straight-forward process: it’s really a variant of just soaking the soap prior to use to make it a little easier to load a shave brush. The soap needs to be in a heat-resistant container (the soap’s jar, a mug, a shaving scuttle, etc.) that has at least one-half inch of “head room” (the distance between the top of the soap and the top of the container). Personally I prefer a bit more than that to help prevent accidental spills.
The term “blooming” was coined just to represent promoting the spread of a soap’s scent. It has since come to include other things as well, but this is the original meaning.
The reason? The heat from the water supercharges the scent characteristics of essential (and even synthetic) oils, helping to bring them out of the soap and into the air.
Some soaps will see a stronger result than others, but if you’re looking to enhance your shave ‘environment’ there is quite a pleasant, mellow aroma that can permeate the area.
It’s also worth noting that a soap’s scent can often be different while bloomed and lathered than when smelled dry off the puck. So before you crinkle up your nose at a shave soap you just purchased and consign it to the bottom of your product pile, soak it in some hot water and give it a fair chance!
Step #1 (The Fragrance Benefit)
Fill the container with hot water, at least a couple of tablespoons (I like to fill the container with more than that, almost to the top), and set it near where you are going to shave. Then partially fill your sink with warm water as well (more on that in a moment).
You’ll want to keep it there for several minutes before you start your shave.
Step #2 (The Skin Preparation Benefit)
You’ve got the area smelling all nice and you’re almost ready to start shaving. Now is the time to use that water on the soap a different way.
First, drain the soapy water from the container into the sink of warm water.
Now, cupping your hands, rinse the area you are going to shave thoroughly with the water from the sink. Not just a couple splashes, I mean give it a good rinsing for at least 30 seconds (you may have to experiment with the time to find how long works best for you).
You may feel a kind of residue forming on the skin. In this case that is a good thing: you’re building an “interface layer” between water and skin. Think of it as the solid foundation on which the lather will be built.
Step #3 (The Brush Loading Benefit)
You are now ready to build your real lather. The soaking of the soap puck will both slightly soften the puck and also build that “interface layer” but this time it will be between the puck and the shave brush. Most shavers know this bit already so I won’t dwell on it but basically the brush will pick up more soap “product” (not just a soapy foam) and will promote the hydration of the lather inside the brush.
“Blooming” a shave soap can have some tangible benefits to your shave, from not only the pleasant aroma it promotes but also the better performance you will get out of your lather. Give it a try and report your results in the comment section below!