A shave bowl can be a key component to building good lather, and a good bowl can make it even better. Pereira Shavery makes a bowl that gives great results.
Once we accept that people are strangely loyal about their shaving habits, it’s should come as no surprise that people line up carrying the banners for face lathering or bowl lathering. For a long time, I preferred bowl lathering, because I felt it was easy to see the effects of how much water I was adding to the brush tips, and how much lather I had made. It also gave me a handy place to rest the brush and lather while shaving.
I’ve used all sorts of bowls, with different shapes, textures, and materials. What I’ve learned is that there is a difference: Some shapes and some textures can help me whip up a lather faster than others. Some shapes are easier to dry than others after using the bowl. And yet, I’ve found what I think I like in shape, texture, and materials.
Pereira Shavery, a company based in Portugal, sent me an early sample of their travel bowl. While there are going to be colors available (black or blue for example) I received it in a marbled, slightly metallic red color. The bowl is about 125mm across at the top and 105mm in diameter at the bottom. The handle is wide at the top to give me a place to rest the brush. The inside of the bowl is where the texture is, and it allows me to whip up a nice, heady lather in 20-30 seconds. (I’ve repeated this number, timing from the time I’ve finished loading the brush until cloud-like lather has filled the bowl about an inch in from the edges, which is more lather than I need for a shave, but looks impressive on a brush.)
The texture appears to make a difference. I used to believe that it didn’t. Here, there are raised ribs with squared edges, rounded dots, and a round dot just off center with a raised six-pointed star and the letter P, Pereira’s logo. The ribs spiral away from the center to the edges and then rise up the sides of the bowl.
In practice, I found that I could make lather quickly and with good results in the Pereira bowl. When I finished shaving, I could fill it with water to clean my brush and rinse down the sides of the sink. A quick shake of the bowl, and it was bone dry, a property that makes it excellent for its advertised travel use.
I have a few quibbles about it, a wishlist for a version 2.0. As it is now, from the profile view, it’s nearly square. The bottom diameter is very similar to the top diameter. Other bowls, like Shavebowl, my collapsible silicone dog dish, Fine Accoutrements, or Van Yulay all have a more tapered profile, with the bottom diameter much smaller than the top diameter. The benefit here is, when lathering, it’s a lot harder to bang the side of the brush handle against the inside of the bowl. I like my brushes. I don’t want to bang them on the inside of the bowl. Another reason for this is, the bottom diameter is too large to hold the bowl in the palm of my hand comfortably. I can, with all the other named bowls. The bowl is tall. This also contributes to banging the brush handle against the side of the bowl. The handle is a little uncomfortable unless you hold it with thumb in the brush rest (as it was designed to be). The handle profile is flat, and I’d like it to be rounded on its inner surface, peaking in the center of the inside of the handle, so it’s a little easier for the thumb in other holding positions.
But these issues are minor. In short, I like the material and the texture very much. While I wish I could transform it into a shape more to my liking, it’s hard to argue with results: lather in 30 seconds is a very good thing. The Pereira Unbreakable Shave Bowl is available from their crowdfunding campaign and Pereira’s website.