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Thread: How thick should my lather be?

  1. #1
    Junior Member EODBombBoy's Avatar
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    Default How thick should my lather be?

    I'm just getting started with the art of straight razor shaving. I'm still waiting for my razor to arrive however my brush and soap are here. I have decided that I will go ahead and try to master the pre-shave techniques. According to everything I have read and watched I'm making my lather the right way but it doesn't feel nearly as thick as the shaving cream in a can, however I'm getting a closer shave and my face feels better. When I brush the lather onto my face it is about a quarter inch thick and has a dense appearance. I just want to confirm whether this is right or wrong.

    Thanks,
    Adam

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    Scale Maniac BKratchmer's Avatar
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    Adam-
    Good shaving lather will not be so thick or dry as the stuff from a can, but slicker and moister.... not necessarily less dense, though, if that makes any sense at all. I think you'll recognize it when it happens.
    As for having lather 1/4" thick... probably more than you need. It won't hurt the shave at all, especially if you like lots of hot lather.

    In essence, if you find yourself getting a good shave with your current technique, that's all that really matters... although you can always experiment.

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    Senior Member claytor's Avatar
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    Sounds like you're getting a good start of lather, but I prefer mine with a little bit more water than that. I like it to just be thick enough to not be able to see through. That way you get nice glide and nice moisturizing properties. Also, thinner lather sometimes means less wiping off of the blade.

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    Senior Member blabbermouth niftyshaving's Avatar
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    +1 on the above.

    It should be to "your liking", to "your face" and to "your shave".

    The best way is to practice with a puck of inexpensive soap
    and add too much soap, then too little, too much water then
    too little, Add it in a glug, add it drop by drop, hot, cool, cold.
    Lather in a cup, in a soup bowl, in your hand, on the puck, on
    your face....

    Just tinker.. A two dollar puck of soap worried away over
    a month of Sunday's will teach more than I can tell.

    A common error is not working enough water into the lather.
    Start with less water and more soap then add drop by dribble
    and keep lathering.... It is astounding how much water it
    can take and for many of us it is the water that softens whiskers.
    Because water is so key try splashing cool water and no
    soap on your face at the start.

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    Senior Member leadduck's Avatar
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    If it works for you, it's right for you. However, what works with a safety razor woon't necessarilly be the same with a straight. I'm sure you whip through a shave in a few minutes. That will all change when you begin your journey to mastering the straight razor. Plan on getting up a lot earlier. By the time you finish your first pass, the lather that seemed to be perfect, can turn to a hardened, caked on batter by the time you're done, if it's too thick. In my early days, I actually had it harden and crack on my face. It should be thick enough to stay on the edge of your bowl but not so thick that you'd mistake it for cake mix. It should be just a litte thicker than the thick foamy head on a glass of Guinness. And if you don't know what that's like, do yourself a favor and go out an buy a case.
    russell4cook likes this.

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    Straight shaving lather is more practical and less showy than what is in a can. Wetter and slicker/soapier.

    Pabster

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    I like mine like this:


    Images of the build-up.

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    The Electrochemist PhatMan's Avatar
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    Adam,

    +1 on personal preferences.

    A couple of general points:

    1) The lather should be wet enough not to dry during the pass.

    2) It is too easy, especially with good soaps/creams, and over enthusiastic whipping action of the brush to incorporate far too much air into the lather. It is the water in the lather that does the business not air. Too much air will mean the lather is less protective and less lubricating.

    Best of luck

    Have fun !

    regards

    Russ

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    Junior Member EODBombBoy's Avatar
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    Default Thank you for the advice.

    I didn't expect to get that many replies that fast, thank you. Since I have an extra cake of soap I will go ahead and whip up five or six batches of lather every day until I master what is just right. I'm very eager to get my razor; the shaving soap alone has been an improvement. I never thought I would enjoy shaving in fact when I joined the Army I learned to despise it. Now I don't mind taking the time to shave, I actually look forward to it.
    Thanks,
    Adam

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    Senior Member dward's Avatar
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    Nearly the consistency of whipped cream. If it is like meringue it will dissipate rapidly on your face. Hope that helps...

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