Groom Like a Grownup – the Lather

For many wet shavers, one of the hardest things to master is the lather. By lather, I mean the soap or shaving cream coating on the face which enables the razor to slide across the face more efficiently. For wet shavers, there is a lot more to this than a can of shaving cream, since those who choose more traditional methods of shaving stay away from aerosol cans and opt for a block of shaving soap. This is where the brush comes in:


Usually made of badger or boar hair, the brush is used to stimulate said lather in a mug or shaving bowl and then used to spread this lather on a wet, pre-oiled face.

I would like to share with you my lather technique, which for me makes shave soap a more fulfilling experience. Start with your shaving bowl (or mug) with your shaving soap and brush. With a sink of warm to hot water, get your brush nice and wet. Give it a couple of light shakes to get the excess water off, then let a couple of drops of water from the brush drip into your bowl, hydrating the soap.

Then, use the brush to work the soap with circular motions until the product begins to froth and “load” the brush.

Once the brush is loaded, begin to work the lather onto your face with circular motions until the desired area is covered. Feel free to re-load the brush if your lather is looking more like suds and less like what you’d expect out of a shaving cream can. I have found that working a good lather can often times be a bit thicker than the can and make my shave more comfortable by providing a slicker surface to run my razor across. As for what kind of soap to use, stop by a Walgreen’s for starters (especially if like me, you’re too impatient to order soap online) and look through the shaving products until you find this little box for about $3.00: Most of the time, I use this soap for my shave, and I’ve found if works great for working up a great lather and since a shave soap lasts me close to 6 months, it’s WAY cheaper than a can of shaving cream.

As for the brush and bowl, I found this little set: a shave soap, brush, and bowl for about $12.00 at my local grocery store. I recommend replacing your brush yearly and with the soap lasting about 6 months, I’ve noticed that I have a little extra cash in my pocket and a smoother face.

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Richard Buznego

Punk rock stepdad. Plays rock and roll, works retail, wears bow ties.

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