Books could be written on how to shave the old-fashioned way. And, in fact, they have. But, I’m going to go over just the very basics, and I’m going to focus just on how to use shaving soap itself — not razors or shaving methods or anything.
Believe it or not, there is actually quite a bit that can be written on just about how to use shaving soap. There are different kinds of soaps and different ways of building lather. On this page, however, like I just said, I’m gonna keep it simple.
Now, let me say here that the steps below are how I use shaving soap. They are not the end-all, be-all, one-and-only-correct-way to use shaving soap. You, or your friend, or some other guy out on the web may have different methods. Fine! This works for me, and I may even change how I use shaving soap in the future, but this is how I do it right now. I’m also trying to keep the process as simple as possible. So, without further ado, let’s look at the five steps.
The 5 Simple Steps: How to Use Shaving Soap
Step 1: Soak the Shaving BrushThe first thing you need to do, is soak your shaving brush in hot water for 30 seconds. You can put it in a container of hot water (like a mug or glass or bowl) or fill your hand sink with hot water and soak the brush in that. There’s lots of ways.
Step 2: Remove Excess Water from Shaving BrushSecond, drain, squeeze, and/or shake the excess water out of your shaving brush. If you have too much water in the brush, it’ll make for thin, frothy, lather. Not enough water and it will be hard to develop lather at all.
How wet the brush should be will vary by what brush and what soap you’re using, and experimenting with different levels of brush wetness is the only way to get good a feel for how wet the brush should be. But, in general, one or two good, firm squeezes and/or a good, single shake should be fine.
Step 3: Load Shaving Brush with Shaving Soap
Third, load the brush.
You do this by gently swirling the brush around on the surface of the soap for a minute or two — until you notice a good creamy lather start to form. You alternate the swirl direction (between clockwise and counter-clockwise) every few moments to help work the lather into the brush’s bristles. This is demonstrated in the video to the left.
You don’t have to, but, for hard soap pucks, this step is easier if you soften the soap first. To do this, put a little hot water (say, a tablespoon’s worth or so) on the surface of the shaving soap and let it soak for 10 or 15 minutes. Then, pour off the excess water. Lots of people will put the hot water on the soap just before entering the shower.
Step 4: Work Shaving Soap Lather into Brush (Optional)
Fourth (this is optional), you can work the lather deeper into the bristles—and develop the lather a little more—by buffing the brush (whose tips are now filled with luxuriant cream) around in a dry shaving bowl. By “buffing,” I mean rapidly swirling the shaving brush around in the bowl while applying some downward pressure on the brush. Again, remember to try to alternate the swirling direction every few moments.
Remember, you just need some lather in the brush to paint on your face once or twice. This was accomplished in step 3 above (Loading the Brush). So, this whole step is optional (unless you’re using shaving cream in a tube), but it does help combine the water that was further up the brush into the lather and, at the same time, to press the lather further up the brush. Therefore, you need to do this only for a few moments.
If you keep your soap in a biggish bowl or a shaving mug, you can achieve this in step 3 above by simply applying some downward pressure on the brush while loading it.
You’ve probably seen people build their lather up so that they get like a cup of lather from a little bit of soap.
If you wish to build lather, just continue this “buffing” action for a few minutes. Basically, you will be whipping the original lather you developed in step 3 above. You will incorporate air into the lather, and you will work more of the water held by the brush into it as well. This will make the volume of the lather increase — it will increase a surprising amount actually.
Generally, building lather like this this is not really necessary. Fun, perhaps, but not necessary.
Step 5: Apply Shaving Lather to Face
Paint your face with the lather using the shaving brush. You can use back-and-forth strokes, up-and-down strokes, swirly strokes, or a combination.
Well, there you have it, how to use shaving soap in 5 easy steps.