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#1

Member
Utah
About 16 years ago I worked for an industrial water purification company. We set up water purification systems for offices and manufacturing. I lived then and also now live in a part of the country with really hard water (25 Grains per gallon is the average of my tests!)

Hard water has a negative effect on soap, it affects the lather, the glide, slickness and dries it out.

If you have extremely hard water, you know what I'm talking about, perhaps if your water is very hard, you have even seen the dry looking foam (crust) that can float in your sink water with some soaps. But more frequently is the slow build up of deposits on your sink. I'm talking about soap scum. Even soft water has this to some degree. Calcium and magnesium ions react with soap killing it's suds and making your soap all around less awesome.

So, weather you have extremely hard water or not, that lather that sits in your tub of soap is just slowly forming soap scum in your tub. Rinse it out, this will clear out any lather that has started to to form soap scum. Set the tub upside down for a 1/2 or so let the excess water drain out, then cap it up. The gains from doing this are likely not HUGE if you have soft water, but for many every bit counts.

Corporate owned cosmetic companies combat hard water issues by using detergents along with or instead of soap. It's cheaper and frankly it works pretty darn good, but people often have skin issues with detergent they will never be as nourishing or luxurious as true soap. About three years ago when I first started developing my soap formula, I wanted to do something unique. So I pulled from my knowledge of dealing with highly mineralized water to create a soap that actively disrupted the
formulation of soap scum. What happens is a part of one of the ingredients has an even higher affinity to calcium and magnesium ions than does soap, So the majority of these hard water ions are dropped out of the equation leaving the more of the soap to just be soap instead of sud killing scum.

While for the fun of it I've created a "suicide puck" of soap by repeatedly pouring off my bloom water into dish letting it thoroughly dry, between each soap, this is not an ideal situation for soap. Each time the soap gets wet, you are adding more minerals to your soap.

Maybe another day. I'll talk about the TWO big benefits of a traditional water softener for shaving. The first benefit is removing most of the calcium and magnesium, the second huge benefit is less obvious and more interesting.

Let me know if you have had issues with soap scum or hard water and what you've done to deal with it. What soaps work best for you in hard water.

Marko, primotenore, MattM97 and 5 others like this post
#2

Member
Gilbert, AZ, USA
This was an interesting read. I live in AZ and have hard water, and I do not have a water softener. I usually use my finger to get any remaining proto lather out of the tub and leave the top off of the Soap while I shave and clean up. Some of the best Soaps for me are Grooming Dept, Wholly Kaw, and Barrister and Mann Reserve. Something I have noticed with my shaves is that I get a better shave with my B&M Reserve Soaps than I do with B&M Soaps in the Glissant Base. I know Will made his Reserve Base to be Hard Water tolerant, and whether this is the difference or not between my shaves I don’t know.

Mickey Oberman likes this post
Hunter
#3

Member
Utah
(11-22-2017, 07:10 PM)TheHunter Wrote: This was an interesting read. I live in AZ and have hard water, and I do not have a water softener. I usually use my finger to get any remaining proto lather out of the tub and leave the top off of the Soap while I shave and clean up. Some of the best Soaps for me are Grooming Dept, Wholly Kaw, and Barrister and Mann Reserve. Something I have noticed with my shaves is that I get a better shave with my B&M Reserve Soaps than I do with B&M Soaps in the Glissant Base. I know Will made his Reserve Base to be Hard Water tolerant, and whether this is the difference or not between my shaves I don’t know.

My brother lives in Gilbert, so I've had the opportunity to try a few soaps in the water there. I know what you are up against. These issues are not unique hard water, just magnified by them. Have you ever cold water shave? Have noticed a difference in the lather with cold vs hot water?

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#4
I have had the opportunity to use water from a small town in southwestern Ontario, called Harrow, which has extremely hard water 49 gpg, and it was a vast difference from the water we have, here, in Vancouver 0.3 gpg. Nevertheless, by using more time and adding more water to load the soap, greatly assisted in allowing me to load enough soap onto my brush.
Having had the opportunity to try this type of water, I am very fortunate to live where I live and be able to use such lovely soft water for my shaves. Shy

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Celestino
Love, Laughter & Shaving  Heart
#5

Member
Minneapolis
(11-22-2017, 07:10 PM)TheHunter Wrote: This was an interesting read. I live in AZ and have hard water, and I do not have a water softener. I usually use my finger to get any remaining proto lather out of the tub and leave the top off of the Soap while I shave and clean up. Some of the best Soaps for me are Grooming Dept, Wholly Kaw, and Barrister and Mann Reserve. Something I have noticed with my shaves is that I get a better shave with my B&M Reserve Soaps than I do with B&M Soaps in the Glissant Base. I know Will made his Reserve Base to be Hard Water tolerant, and whether this is the difference or not between my shaves I don’t know.

One of the reasons B&M Reserve is hard water tolerant is that it contains a detergent...sodium cocoyl isethionate. That may be why it works so well in your hard water.

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-Mark
#6

Member
Woodstock, VT
(This post was last modified: 11-22-2017, 09:25 PM by vtmax.)
I have fairly soft water in my Boston area at 1gpg but that fluctuates at various times in how the town treats it. Up in Vermont our water in Woodstock is rock hard so I had a water softener installed a few years back.

I love emptying the pellets into the barrel on the weekends. Smile The Boston shaves are great but the water softener Vermont shaves are magical. Can’t recommend water softeners enough unless one is moving next door to Celestino.

I always wash out the soap containers thoroughly and let them dry 2 days uncovered before capping. Works great for me.

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#7

Member
Gilbert, AZ, USA
envyshave I actually live in Gilbert as well. I’ve never tried cold water shaving, could it make a difference compared to using hot water? I’ll have to give it a try. I’ve never had a water softener, so I don’t know any better as far as building lather with hard water compared to soft. I definitely do notice a difference though when I use B&M Reserve vs. Glissant base, I get a much better shave with the Reserve. I wish this wasn’t the case as several of my favorite scents are in the Glissant base. It might be time to look into getting a water softener.

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Hunter
#8

Veni, vidi, vici
New Vegas
(11-22-2017, 09:25 PM)vtmax Wrote: I have fairly soft water in my Boston area at 1gpg but that fluctuates at various times in how the town treats it. Up in Vermont our water in Woodstock is rock hard so I had a water softener installed a few years back.

I love emptying the pellets into the barrel on the weekends. Smile The Boston shaves are great but the water softener Vermont shaves are magical. Can’t recommend water softeners enough unless one is moving next door to Celestino.

I always wash out the soap containers thoroughly and let them dry 2 days uncovered before capping. Works great for me.


+1

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~~~~
Primo
Shaving for 46+ years; enjoying my shaves since 2014
Ah, che bel vivere, che bel piacere per un barbiere di qualità...
#9

Super Moderator
(This post was last modified: 11-25-2017, 03:57 PM by Marko.)
Thanks for that post envyshave , its always interesting to get a glimpse at the science behind the product. I'm looking forward to your follow up post on water softener benefits.

The water is very hard where I live so I've had a water softener for years. I can easily lather any soap or cream I've encountered although those soaps that have been optimized for hard water like Barrister and Mann's reserve base take a little bit more time and water to get to the perfect lather. I really do feel quite fortunate and I highly recommend water softeners. It more or less takes the lather out of the equation and lets you focus (obsess?) on other aspects of your shaving experience.

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#10
This is the kind of thing I come to the forum for!

I'm obsessed recently about deposits building up deep in my brushes.

What's a sensible solution in everyone's opinion to approach the effects of hard water on our gear? It's fairly easy for me to approach cleaning and maintaining my razors without worrying about harming them over the long run. I am concerned that I may do more harm than good if I overdo it trying to keep my brushes "fresh" for lack of a better word. There's a certain sweet spot I've noticed where my brushes tend to perform best between being brand new or freshly cleaned with a brush specific cleaner and a few dozen uses. Diligence in rinsing my brushes well has made this window of optimal performance larger for me. I'm always looking to find a solution that might be the better balance. I want to spend more time enjoying the shave and focusing like Marko said.

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Shave yourself.
-Todd


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