When it comes to traditional wet shaving, a very important skill to master is the art of creating the perfect lather with your shaving cream or soap. Too much or too little lather can cause problems, making your shave less comfortable and effective.
Soak your shaving brush in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes. This gives the bristles enough time to soften and absorb plenty of water, which is essential when whipping your shaving soap or cream into a lather.
After letting your brush soak for a few minutes, shake and squeeze excess water from the brush. Even though water needs to be absorbed to create a lather, water dripping from the bristles means the brush is too wet (which causes your lather to be way too thin). Then take the brush and either apply a garden pea-sized dollop of shaving cream to the end of the brush, or swirl your brush in circular motions on the surface of the shaving soap (usually 30-60 complete circles is enough to load the brush).
Now that your brush has absorbed the perfect amount of water and is loaded with product, whip your shaving cream or soap into a lather using quick circular motions. Keep adding small amounts of water to your lather every few seconds if necessary, until you have created a lather that resembles whipped cream or meringue. This lather is soft and bouncy, and will stay put on your skin throughout the entire shave.
If you don’t add enough water to your lather, it will be thick, sticky and difficult to apply to your skin, it makes rinsing your razor much more difficult, and your shave will be far less comfortable due to the lack of cushioning moisture to protect your skin. A too-dry lather will also cause skin irritation, and your face will likely feel sore after you shave. As a general rule, if your lather has the consistency of toothpaste it's too dry and needs more water.
If you add too much water, your lather will be extremely thin and runny. This type of lather is also difficult to apply to your skin. Due to the excess water, your cream or soap will run down your face between strokes and won’t provide proper traction for your razor, which in turn will cause skin irritation. As a general rule, if many visible bubbles are present in your lather it's likely too wet and you need to add more product to compensate.
After you finish shaving, it’s important to properly rinse and dry your shave brush. Storing your brush when it still contains excess water or soap will ultimately ruin your brush, so to protect your investment as it’s crucial to ensure the bristles are clean and dry. Never store your brush in a closed container like a medicine cabinet as the brush requires air circulating around it to fully dry properly.
Once you master the perfect lather, your shaving experience will only improve. It may involve multiple attempts, but once you get in the rhythm of lathering your cream or soap, it will become second nature.