There are many benefits to ditching the toxic chemicals and artificial lubricants of commercial shaving creams and using an old fashioned wet shave soap. It's better for your face, and it's better for the environment. Using a high quality wet shave soap can not only help you get a closer shave, it can also reduce or eliminate razor burn and other skin irritation.
However the key to a great lather lies in the wet shave brush. If you've never used a wet shave soap and brush, here are here are a few tips.
- Prepare your face. Begin by applying a warm towel or taking a shower to soften the hair and skin. Warm water on a clean face is the key to softening your beard and lubricating your face, leading to a closer shave.
- Prepare your brush. You'll also want to adequately soak your brush in warm water for a least a few minute before you whip up that rich lather in your lather bowl. Higher quality badger hair brushes may only need a minute or two of soaking, while synthetic brushes only need to be run under water for a few seconds.
- Prepare your soap. Soaking the soap is also important, as it softens it up to allow it to be loaded on the shaving brush. Submerge the soap puck in the sink or lathering bowl of warm water so that the surface of the soap is fully covered and also allow it to soak in for a minute or two. You can create your lather in a bowl or in the palm of your hand. Remove the excess water from the brush by giving it a quick light, shake and pour the excess water off your soap puck.
- Load your brush. Begin by rubbing it in a circular pattern on the soap. Press just hard enough so that the bristles begin to become splayed. Keep swirling the brush until the bubbles you see in the lather are tiny. The point is to coat the brush well enough with soap.
- Build the lather. If you’re using a cup or lathering bowl, you may want to add just a few drops of warm water at this point. The soap will start to slowly build up a lather. After about 30 seconds, dip the tip of the brush back into the water before continuing the process. The more you work it with your brush, the more the soap will lather. Keep building until you're satisfied with the consistency of your lather. You’re goal should be a foam that forms small, rounded peaks when you pull the brush away. It may take a few extra minutes, but it will be worth it.
- Now you're ready to shave! Now that you've built up a stable foam, use a gentle painting motion with the bristles of the brush until you cover the beard with and even A painting motion lifts the hairs by going against the natural growth of the beard and produces a rich creamy lather. A rotating motion on the face generates more friction between the bristles than a painting motion. So limiting the rotation motions and painting instead helps prolong the usable life of your brush. If the lather is too stiff, just add a few more drops of warm water to the soap. Once you're lathered up, the razor blade should now effortlessly and gently glide over your skin.
- Care for your bush. When you're done shaving, rinse it off with warm water, wring it out and let it dry.