The Kit – Before You Start
The shaving soap included with the kit is actually pretty good, although the soap puck itself is a little small. The shaving brush is a synthetic hair model that is basic but functional. Here are some suggestions on how to get the best performance out of them.
The first thing I would do is take the shaving soap puck out of the little tin it comes in and instead use a large latte cup, soup mug, or even a plastic storage dish like the one I’m using here. If you moisten the soap then leave it to dry in the bowl overnight the soap will stick to the bottom of the bowl securely. The will make it easier to load the brush later.
When you’re ready to start lathering, soak the soap in warm water for a few minutes to help hydrate and loosen the outer skin of the soap. That will help transfer some of the soap from the puck to the brush.
Wet the brush thoroughly then give it a shake or two to remove excess water. As you learn how to use the brush you will find the right amount of water to use, but to begin with it is better to start out with not enough water, adding as you go, rather than start with too much water and end up with a foamy mess.
Rub the brush onto the soap so you get a thick coating on the tips of the brush’s bristles. You need more than just a soapy foam here, so make sure there’s a relatively thick coating. Depending on the mineral content of your water this could take a minute or so.
After you have loaded the brush, wet your face then start massaging the soap onto the skin. Using circular motions to start with will help mix water with soap, gently remove tiny bits of debris from the skin, and surround each hair with lathery goodness. After the first 30 seconds or so take a pause and look at the lather. If it looks flat, dry, or pasty add a little water to the tips of the brush and continue massaging with the brush. Repeat the process every 30 seconds or so until you have a creamy lather built up, looking shiny and more like yogurt or pie meringue. Then use a painting motion to even out the lather across the skin. Lathering properly could take several minutes but can be one of those zen-like moments in the shaving process. Take this time to enjoy the feeling of warm, fragrant lather on your face and a quiet moment for yourself.
If you continue to have trouble lathering there are a few shortcuts that you might try. If you have water with a high mineral content (“hard” water) try heating up some distilled water to use for the shave. This can often noticeably improve the quality of lather.
Another shortcut is to add some products in the lather. One common additive is pure glycerin: you can find it in many large grocery stores, megamarts, or drug stores. You can usually find it in the either the skin care section or with the first aid products. Add a few drops of glycerin to a loaded brush before massaging into the skin and you should see an improvement in the lubrication and cushioning of the lather. You may have to experiment with how much to add but be aware that if you add too much glycerin it will have a rebound effect, actually drying out the skin and making shaving more difficult.
Or you can try using a small amount of shaving cream along with the shaving soap. Like using glycerin, shaving cream can help stabilize the lather, keeping it wetter, longer, and improving performance.
Enjoy your lather, and your shave!
Related Post: 30 Days To A More Enjoyable Shave – Lather (included in Sharpologist’s free ebook)