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Thread: Water for lathering

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    Padawan Learner dewey81's Avatar
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    Default Water for lathering

    So the fam and I recently moved to an area with absolutely terrible water. I'm going to have to buy water for shaving just so I can manage to get some lather from my soap. Anybody know which works better, drinking or distilled?
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    Senior Member blabbermouth
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    If by terrible you mean hard water you could try loading the brush longer or adding some lemon concentrate/citric acid to your sink shave water to soften it.

    Bob
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    Senior Member blabbermouth edhewitt's Avatar
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    Or even just getting a decent water filter.
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    Senior Member blabbermouth
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    Or glycerin, about 6 buck at CVS, just a couple drops. Have tried bottled, never tried distilled. Works well.

    Really any more, I’m not into super thick lather, I don’t find it improves the shave, for me.

    You might try a different soap, some like MWF just need much more water, been using MDC lately with good results.
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    Nemo me impune lacessit RobinK's Avatar
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    I found that this post by SharpSpine over at The Shave Nook sums the situation up nicely:
    I just had a bit of a revelation with a simple phone call to my local water plant. Quite often I hear that we blame water hardness for the inability of a soap to lather. I am guilty of this as well and even skipped on getting a certain soap because of my hard water before. However, lately I've been achieving some great lathers even in my hard water. I won't say that creating my lather is easy as I'm pretty certain from reading how long people typically spend creating their lather that I have to work my soaps longer and harder to get the lather I like. However, I was still getting great results with soaps that notoriously are hard to lather with hard water. Soaps such as MWF, Cade, and modern Williams. These results started to befuddle me to the point where I was questioning if I really did have hard water. So this morning I made a quick call to the water department who kindly gave me the number to the local water plant. I asked the gentleman at the plant if he could share some water hardness information with me and he was very happy to. He gave me 2 different measurements of the average hardness of our local water and here are the results:

    1. 180 parts/million also listed as mg/L
    2. 11-12 grains

    With the following chart we can see what category my water falls into:

    Water Hardness Scale

    Soft: < 1.0 grains; < 17.1 ppm or mg/L
    Slightly Hard: 1.0 - 3.5 grains; 17.1 - 60 ppm
    Moderately Hard: 3.5 - 7.0 grains; 60 - 120 ppm
    Hard: 7.0 - 10.5 grains; 120 - 180 ppm
    Very Hard: < 10.5 grains; < 180 ppm

    So it appears that even in the best case scenario that my water is considered hard, and more likely stays in the very hard range.

    This was a revelation and validation to me that these soaps which are definitely high quality can be lathered even in hard water. Yes, they may take some extra loading time (I typically load for 60 seconds and have plenty of leftover lather). Yes they may take some extra elbow grease whipping up the lather to the right consistency. Is it worth it? Well that is entirely up to you to decide and I'm sure plenty will say that it isn't when so many other great products lather just by showing them a shaving brush. To me, however, it was kind of a challenge to get anything that I owned to lather. With some practice and patience I'm happy to say that I've succeeded. For me this journey and effort without a doubt has been worth it. MWF is my favorite soap all around. Cade is my favorite scent right now and I can actually shave with it; it doesn't need to be relegated to a bath/shower bar. The jury is out right now on modern Williams as I haven't shaved with it yet, but I've done quite a few test lathers and to be honest it just explodes into lather for me (I'm very thrilled about this since I just invested a little over $6 for 11 pucks of the stuff!).

    I hope this encourages you to buy whatever soap interests you and not to get too frustrated if things aren't working for you right away. Everyone's setup is unique so it really comes down to trial and error for each shaver. I certainly hope though that my experience from this journey may be able to assist some others in their lathering education as well.

    This post would not be complete without a thank you to all who have helped me along the way with my lathering abilities (unfortunately lathering was not a God-given birth talent to me). I've gleaned so much from so many with their posts so I can't even begin to list people, but thanks to all!
    And then there's this...
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    Senior Member blabbermouth
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    Yea, not many that more water and more soap won’t fix.

    I tried MWF years ago and never could see what everyone raved about, put the container on the shelf and it sat there over a year, (I did have hard water), then someone said flood it in water overnight, so it did, the next morning super lather.

    Moral of the story, not enough water.
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    Padawan Learner dewey81's Avatar
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    Interesting on the wool fat soap. That's what I use and get nowhere near those results going from city to well water. I'll have to try the other suggestions as well.
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    Senior Member blabbermouth
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    Flood the container, cover and let it sit overnight, My cake was all cracked the first time it did it,

    Now when I use it I splash a tablespoon of water on the puck when done and put the cover on it, Good to go the next day, I soak my brush and keep adding water to the brush if you want more, thicker lather.

    I would read these raving reviews on MWF and I could not get any lather at all out of it, then boom… more water…
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    Nemo me impune lacessit RobinK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Euclid440 View Post
    I would read these raving reviews on MWF and I could not get any lather at all out of it, then boom… more water…
    Either that, or go for Scottish Fine Soaps instead. Almost the same, but more refined, scent, and better performance. MWF is a cult item, but like many cult items, it is not necessarily the best you can get these days.

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    Think about investing in a water softener, hard water can turn lathering into quite the chore.
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