Last night and today I really wanted to mix two of my favorite soaps of the season; Petal Pusher Fancies “Ciderhouse-5” and Synergy “Pumpkin 3.14”. These are amazing soaps on their own, and after lathering them together today with added Glycerin I have my opinion…., but that is not the focus of this article. I questioned last night is there a fancy name for when you mix two soap ? There are names for soaps and creams, and soaps, creams, and glycerin. Is there a name for two soaps ? or, a soap and croap ? The majority agreed on all the traditional lather “sub” categories and we also all agreed that two soaps is basically just blending which as far as I’m concerned is just as cool ….let’s call it Dopple-lathering ! It pays homage to my brewing as well, Dopple is German for Double.
As the conversation on the Wet Shaver Review went on, many members had no idea or, heard of super-lathering or, uber-lathering. Well that is why the WSR is here. We are not only a Facebook group, but a resource to cross educate one another, and really make this renaissance of traditional shaving all that it can be for everyone. So I am going to bring you through each type of lather. I hope this helps and never be afraid to experiment !
Soap or, Cream lather
A basic lather is just that a single soap or, cream that is either loaded (the brush is coated in soap or, cream) onto your brush or, squeezed into a mug or, bowl. Now in the case of soaps a good rule of thumb is 30 seconds of swirling with a semi-wet brush or, to a pre-soaked puck of hard soap will generate an adequate lather. Now in the case of a cream the size of an almond some time called a “snurdle” is placed onto the brush or, into a bowl. Start by swirling on the face or, in the bowl for appx. a minute and feel the lather…chances are it is still too thick, and not slick enough. Add water slowly and if for whatever reason it becomes too thin; you can always add more soap or, cream. No one ever seems to mention that part though I agree it is easier to add water slowly than to play the back and forth game to get it correct. A good rule of thumb is peaks will form in the bowl as well as on your brush’s hair think like the peaks of a meringue after bating egg whites, this is a great visual comparison. Whether you face or, bowl lather is a matter of preference, but usually once a routine is established people quickly identify with their style of lathering, and will often say “I’m a face latherer” or, “I’m a bowl latherer”, in my case personally it depends on what I am doing for the day.
Remember we just created that word for the use of two soaps or, two creams. It is inventive and is for me; a way to blend two like scents or, two complimentary scents to hopefully achieve an aroma I/we/you enjoy. As wet-shavers this is as close as we get to really being creative, and inventing unique blends that the soaper did not originally intend. For example I blended as I said above Pumpkin 3.14 and Ciderhouse- 5 ….. I called it Pumpkin Apple Delight. I learned use less Ciderhouse-5 as it is a more dominant scent, but that is the fun in blending ! 30 seconds here on one soap and 45 on the other or, whatever the case may be…. let your creative side flow and take notes !
Okay this is a real deal style of lathering. Typically here forward you will be bowl lathering though it is possible to face lather any of these methods. A super lather is the best of both worlds a Soap and a Cream combined ! This is a very generalized statement as creams are known for their ease of lathering and slickness and soaps for their moisturizing and volume. These are generalizations, and I can cite many soaps and creams that fall way outside that “mold” no pun intended. So how do you make a super-lather ? Simple as can be ! take your bowl and add that snurdle of cream or, even a bit less (remember you are using soap too), next with your brush load for 30 seconds on your soap. Now the hard part….. start mixing the two in the bowl LOL !! really that is it, and like a regular lather you add water slowly until a slicker than a normal lather is produced, and those tell-tale lather peaks are forming on your brush. I find Super-lathering to be great, and truly enhances even the best soaps or, creams out there. The trick is to use complimentary products and not conflicting aroma’s or, otherwise. A great example I find myself using for a Super-Lather is Mitchell’s Wool Fat and Proraso cream. You get that awesome lather full of lanolin, the menthol and slickness from the Proraso…and the scents work well together. I find a one minute load on the MWF and an almond sized dollop of cream to be perfect, and just add the water to the proper consistency.
This is an easy one and a very important one to say the least. I cannot stress the importance of the Uber-Lather. An Uber-Lather is exactly the same as a Super-Lather except you add 3-5 drops of liquid vegetable glycerin to the Super-Lather. It really is that simple, but here is why it is so great. Glycerin is a humectant and a hygroscopic agent that acts as a lubricant, it draws moisture into the mixture making it super slick and often thickens up the lather making it more protective. I add glycerin to all the above lather types to achieve a “similar” but not exact result even if only doing a single soap lather. One of the most reported claims of an Uber-Lather is how soft and silky your skin feels after the shave, this is due to the glycerin puling moisture into your skin, and it acting as a slippery maker 🙂 !
No matter what type of lather you make the important thing to remember is know your brush and soak it accordingly and don’t expect a 14mm knot to hold as much lather as a 26mm knot. Know the soap or cream you are using. Is said soap water hungry or, the moisture in the brush is more than adequate ? I have seen many a soap not need a drop of added water, and others so much was added I almost gave up on shaving ! and Finally know “why” you are mixing soaps and creams or, adding glycerin. Your face or, legs or, whatever will guide you and use these methods as a way to pamper yourself or, as a practical way to enhance your daily shave. I hope this has helped you and enjoy your shaves ! Dopple-Lather spread the term it started here 🙂 !