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What Are the Best Tips for Applying Shaving Lather?

By M. Kayo
Updated: May 17, 2024

The proper creation and application of shaving lather is easily achieved by following a few simple tips. Proper lathering can make the difference between an adequate shave and a truly enjoyable shaving experience. The old-fashioned wet lather shave used by men everywhere over the millennia is not only an effective way of shaving, it is better for a man's skin than other methods. The proper way to make and apply shaving lather to get the perfect, baby-skin-smooth shave without the usual skin irritation was typically passed down from father to son over several generations. Disposable razors and quickly applied commercial shaving cream have all but eliminated the enjoyable experience and ritual of proper lather application and shaving.

Before shaving lather can be applied properly, it must be prepared using the right tools and materials. A shaving mug, a good quality badger-hair brush, quality shaving soap, and hot water are essential. The quality and type of water actually has a lot to do with the quality of shaving lather produced, and since water differs in mineral content, temperature, and quality in different locations, attaining the perfect lather can prove difficult. Hard water makes it more difficult to get a great lather, so some wet lather shavers resort to heating bottled water in a microwave to get the best shaving lather. A good quality shaving soap will work nicely and produce a great homemade lather that can be applied easily while providing adequate skin lubrication.

Applying shaving lather is a misnomer as the lather is actually created on the surface of the skin. To make and apply shaving lather properly, a good quality badger-hair shaving brush should be thoroughly saturated in hot water and the excess allowed to drain from the brush without shaking it. The shaving brush is swirled on top of the cake of shaving soap in the mug without pressing down. The intent is to gather lots of soap on the bristles, not make lather in the mug. When lather just begins to develop in the mug, it means there is enough shaving soap loaded onto the bristles.

Having already prepared the facial skin by thoroughly washing with hot water to open the pores, the soap-loaded shaving brush should be moved in a circular motion over the entire area to be shaved. About two minutes creating lather on the skin and allowing the brush to work lather deep into the pores and hair follicles is sufficient. This process of applying lather will allow the soap's moisturizing and lubricating qualities to work on the skin, ensuring less skin irritation and uncomfortable razor burn. The brush should not be rinsed after this first lather application, as it will be needed for a second application of lather and razor.

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