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Handmade Shaving Soap - Traditional Wet Shaving at Its Finest
Tallow. Lanolin. Cocoa Butter. Shea Butter. Avocado Oil... Basically everything you could want or need in a shaving soap. Add great scents to the mix, and you've got the makings of a fantastic shave experience.
The shaving soap you see below is the result of extensive research and careful formulation. It's tested daily, by us, and by happy wet shavers all over the world.
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1. Soak the Brush and Wet the Soap
Start by soaking your brush in warm water. You can do it in your bowl or mug, or in the sink if you prefer. Using a bowl or mug frees up the sink for you to brush your teeth and whatnot while the brush soaks. For a hard soap, I like using my mug, since it has the benefit of softening the soap (which is in the mug), which in my opinion makes it easier to lather. For a softer soap, I use a lathering bowl for brush soaking. If you're going to soak the brush somewhere other than in the mug with your soap, you might want to dribble a bit of water on top of your soap while you soak your brush. Washing your face before shaving incidentally, can make shaving easier, as it softens up the hair. It gets even easier if you shave after you shower.
2. Drain the Brush and Soap
After the brush has been soaking for a few minutes, remove it from the water. How much water you remove from the brush (by shaking or squeezing it) depends on whether or not you will use the damp brush method or the wet brush method for making your lather. For the damp method, you start with a drier brush and add water (usually while building lather in a bowl). For the wet method, you start off with lots of water, letting the large-bubbled "pre-lather" spill into the sink until higher quality lather (with tiny bubbles) remains. I favor the damp method for veggie soaps and a somewhat wetter method for tallow-based soaps. With the veggie soaps I've used, adding too much water at the start seems to make a big mess from which it's hard to recover, so damp seems to be preferable. However, your experience and preference may be different, so experiment some to find what works best for you.
3. Load the Brush
"Loading" the brush is the process of transferring soap from the puck to the brush so that you can whip the soap into a lather. To load the brush, work it into the soap. The more time you spend loading, the more soap you'll have in your lather in comparison to the water that's in the brush, or water that you add later. The amount of loading will depend on the soap and your lather preferences. I load Shannon's shaving soap for about 30 seconds, which gives me the creamy, dense lather that I like.
4. Create the Lather
After loading, start building your lather by "whipping" it in your bowl. Working more air into your lather, it will get stiffer, not unlike whipping cream. If at this point you start to get a lather that's too thick and a bit stringy, you can add water, a few drops at a time, until things get back in line. Be careful though, as too much water will make a runny lather that doesn't last. Experience will eventually teach you how much water you need and how much loading you need to do to get the most out of your soap.
5. Apply the Lather
Now it's time to apply your lather. Use painting strokes and circular, swirling motions to thicken the later up on your face and work it into your stubble, so as to stand the hairs up, enabling your razor to do its job better. Your goal is to get enough lather on your face so as not to be able to see the skin beneath it. You don't need a deep layer of lather on your face, but you do want to make sure your face is well covered. Sufficiently lathered, you can now begin your first pass with your razor. Good luck!