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Pro Tip: Shave Soap and Lather

How to use your shave soap

This is a quick and easy tutorial on how to use and lather your shave soap to get the best results and to conserve your supply as much as possible. I see people all the time using their giant tubs of soap to work up a lather, but I prefer a bowl myself. I also like to switch it up daily, so in order to use a bowl, you have to transfer some soap to the bowl and prepare it for lather.

Your Brush

Really simple here, just soak it for a bit to get some serious moisture in it.  But remember you will need to dry it out as best as possible when you are done as to not ruin the brush.

Shave brushes have thick bristles, many are badger hair and they do not absorb water, unlike a boars hair brush which is a little more sensitive and will absorb water.  Personally, I like badger hair but a well-used boars hair brush will give you a bit of a softer feel on your face.


The Soap

Soap loves water, but don’t give it too much love.  You want to create a balance between the amount of soap you are using with the water to create the correct lather for your face.

Usually, I start out by putting the amount equal to the size of a quarter or even nickel into my shave bowl.

For this, I am using a little more than I normally would simply to demonstrate. This is Stirling Soap’s Ozark Mountain soap. 


Soap prep

Add some water to your soap, I use about 2 tablespoons and let it sit for a few to soften up.


When you have your brush and soap both soaked, its time to make some lather.

For this, I will start to slowly move the water around the soap with the brush in a circular motion to agitate the soap on the bottom and mix it with the water.

If you find that the lather seems thick and isn’t making more, add  A FEW DROPS of water.  Don’t go overboard here, because if you add too much it will thin out the lather and ruin it. Remember, soap loves water but we are looking for a thicker lather to use for our faces.

Below is the water you see in the above picture with literally 3 drops of water added.  It reached a point where it just needed a little extra love to soften it up a bit. If you enlarge the pic, you can see its a thick but smooth lather.  That’s exactly how I like it.  You may not, but it’s your shaving experience and it’s your soap.  Do what feels right but maintain the guidelines above.




All soaps are not alike and some are going to lather different than others.  Some may need more or less water, so be conservative with how much you use.  Remember, it’s easier (and less expensive in the long run) to add more water than to add more soap.

Play around, with it.  A lot of sites preach gospel on how to lather, but it’s your experience and you need to see what works right for you.  If you learn the basics of how to lather, you won’t make a ton of mistakes once you get it down.



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