#1
Gentlemen, I normally always use soaps and face lather, and I do not seem to have a hard time getting a very nice, thick, pasty lather that has a sheen. I do however have a few creams that I don't regularly use and decided this week to give them a go and bowl lather them. Currently, I have two flavors of St James of London and some Nivea lather cream.

Well, for whatever reason when I attempt to bowl lather a cream, I end up getting these really frothy, airy, thin lathers that do not protect like my soap lathers do. They just seem to start out really thin and bubbly and no matter how much I work them and add water, I cannot seem to get them to turn into the really shiny, thick lathers that soaps do for me. They are peaky, but not really thick and protective and I've thrown many out, only trying a couple of them to shave because they just look like shaving foam out of a can or something, really airy.

Any tips out there for bowl latherers and users of creams? Perhaps my brush is too wet to start? Maybe I'm expecting something out of creams that I'm not going to get as opposed to soaps? If any of you are bowl latherers of creams and can get a nice thick, shiny lather I would sure like to hear what your method is.
#2
(This post was last modified: 12-03-2018, 08:01 PM by MntnMan62.)
Well, there are some creams that aren't all that slick to begin with, just like there are soaps that aren't slick either. You mention that no matter how much water you add, it continues to be frothy, airy and thin. That description suggests that you are adding too much water. You don't mention how much cream you use or which creams you are using. I find an almond sized dollop works great for most and can actually be too much for some creams. But when I experience the kind of lather you describe, I'll typically add a little more product which always solves the problem. And I bowl lather both soaps and creams exclusively. As for brush wetness, I soak my brush in hot tap water while I take out a blade and apply pre-shave oil to my face. Then I empty out the water and shake the brush. Twice for badger and boar and three times for synthetic. I find synthetics hold more water than natural fiber brushes. I then slowly add water by running my hand under the water and allowing a little of the water to dribble into the lather. Meaning very small amounts at a time. You will never find me holding the lather bowl under the tap and allowing water to go from the tap directly into the bowl which is a sure recipe for too much water. In addition, I pay closer attention to how much water I add with creams and stop just shy of where I might with soaps. My reason, rightly or wrongly, is that with creams the additional water on my face after the first pass tends to impact the lather more than with soaps. Not sure why but that's just what I've seen. As with everything shaving, YMMV.

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#3
As far as how much cream I am using, probably a bit more than almond-sized dallop. I'm also using St James of London Cedarwood/Clary Sage and Nivea Sensitive Lather cream.

I will try adding more product if I see a fluffy lather henceforth and see if that corrects the issue. The point you make about the synthetic brush hits home, because the majority of the poor lathers I've made were with the only synthetic brush I have. Here I was thinking the synthetic held less water than a typical badger, the latter of which probably made my best shaveable cream lather. Perhaps I'll stick with one of my 2-bands, leaving it kinda damp and well shook out.

If too much water is my problem it would make sense as I'm used to adding tons of water to a shave soap to make the kind of shiny lather I'm used to using. I just want to make a creamy, yogurt type lather in a bowl with a shaving cream and so far, most of them are just too fluffy and don't shave well.

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#4
(12-03-2018, 08:04 PM)SCShaver Wrote: As far as how much cream I am using, probably a bit more than almond-sized dallop.  I'm also using St James of London Cedarwood/Clary Sage and Nivea Sensitive Lather cream.

I will try adding more product if I see a fluffy lather henceforth and see if that corrects the issue.  The point you make about the synthetic brush hits home, because the majority of the poor lathers I've made were with the only synthetic brush I have.  Here I was thinking the synthetic held less water than a typical badger, the latter of which probably made my best shaveable cream lather. Perhaps I'll stick with one of my 2-bands, leaving it kinda damp and well shook out.

If too much water is my problem it would make sense as I'm used to adding tons of water to a shave soap to make the kind of shiny lather I'm used to using. I just want to make a creamy, yogurt type lather in a bowl with a shaving cream and so far, most of them are just too fluffy and don't shave well.

Everything you say makes sense. I'm guessing your issue is too much water. You are definitely describing my ideal lather. A nice sheen with soft peaks, yogurt like consistency, no air bubbles.

Interestingly enough I once read on one of the shave forums a post from someone who suggested that his most slick lathers are from lathers that he barely whips at all and is full of bubbles. I haven't actually tried that approach because it runs opposite to everything I've read everywhere else. And I don't recall anyone agreeing with him.

Try making sure your brushes are nice and shaken out and see if that makes a difference. You don't want to have to add more product because once you get it to the right consistency, you'll have enough lather to shave 20 people. But starting with less water, you can always add more water without creating massive amounts of lather. Good luck.

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#5

Member
Ferndale, MI
(This post was last modified: 12-03-2018, 08:25 PM by wyze0ne.)
I think the issue with the synthetics is not so much that they hold more water, it's that they dump it all at once as soon as you start loading whereas badgers hold onto it and release it gradually. Combine that with the fact that creams contain more water than soaps to begin with and it may be that there's just too much water in the mix.

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- Jeff
#6
(12-03-2018, 08:24 PM)wyze0ne Wrote: I think the issue with the synthetics is not so much that they hold more water, it's that they dump it all at once as soon as you start loading whereas badgers hold onto it and release it gradually. Combine that with the fact that creams contain more water than soaps to begin with and it may be that there's just too much water in the mix.

This could certainly be part of my problem, too much initial water. The lather hasn't become teflon yet before its hammered with water. I'll take these comments by all into consideration before I whip up another cream. Much much less water and again, perhaps a 2-band brush instead of a synthetic just to take that out of the equation until I see a few lathers nailed.

Thanks gentlemen!

wyze0ne likes this post
#7

Member
Los Angeles
I went back to bowl lathering a long time ago. I understand what you mean but it depends on the soap or in your case cream. Some will completely cover your face others do not. You may need more product in your brush, or more water, or take another minute or two to make the lather. However, anytime this happens to me I merely paint my face with a brush full of lather and that solves the problem. I have several St. James of London creams and they work fine. Is your water hard? If so, use distilled. Also all of my brushes are badger.

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