If you’re looking to experience a more traditional wet shave, picking up a pot of shaving soap is a good place to start. These soaps were first introduced back in the 14th century, yet they still remain a popular alternative shaving option. Not only does shaving soap have some great benefits, it also makes you seem pretty classy.
Why use a shaving soap?
If you suffer from sensitive or dry skin, switching to shaving soap could be the solution you’re looking for. The rich, creamy lather produced by these soaps offers extra protection from cuts and burns. This deeper lather also helps to keep your skin moisturised and hydrated, even after you’ve finished shaving.
The fancy soap works by softening your facial hair and lifting it away from the skin, giving you a closer shave and a cleaner cut. Thanks to the slickness of the lather, your razor should be able to effortlessly move across your skin, making sure no spots are missed.
Plus, if you like to save a few coins every now and then, shaving soap can be great value for money. A traditional, hard soap will give you many months of use — some even last up a year!
How to lather up shaving soap
If you’re going to use shaving soap, you need to do it properly. It also helps to have a good quality shaving soap and bowl.
Wet the brush
First things first, time to wet your shaving brush. If you’re using a brush with natural bristles, you’ll need to give it a good soak. Pop your brush in a warm bowl or cup filled with water just covering the bristles and allow it to sit there for a few minutes. If your brush has synthetic bristles, you just need to wet it rather than soak. This step is important for ensuring the bristles soak up and maintain some of that moisture.
Bloom the soap (optional)
It might have a rather unique name, but blooming the soap simply means to add a little hot water to it and allow it to soak. Just hold your soap bowl under the warm tap and let a small puddle form on the surface. Leave this water to soak into the soap for around 15 minutes. If you’re a beginner to the world of traditional wet shaving, it might take you a few attempts before you find the perfect consistency. Remember, practice makes perfect!
Load up your brush
Remove your brush from under the tap or out of the bowl, but try not to flick too much excess water off. If you opted to bloom your soap, tip out the water that rests on top. Now it’s time for the fun part. Take your brush and swirl it on the soap in circular motions for around 30 seconds. Be careful not to apply too much pressure to the brush, as the bristles can be delicate. You should end up with a thick, smooth lather that coats the brush.
Lather up the soap
And here’s where it gets even more fun. Once you’ve scooped up a brushful of soap lather, transfer it into a shaving bowl or, if you’re a more experienced shaver, you can put it directly onto your face. Then, it’s time to swirl your brush around inside the bowl until you reach a good, light consistency. At this point, you might feel like you’re whipping up cake batter rather than shaving soap…
If you think your lather is a little thick, either dip your brush back into the bowl of warm water or hold it under the tap before swirling the soap around again. Or, if the lather is too bubbly, you’ll need to add some more soap into the bowl to thicken it up.
Time to shave
Once you've achieved that perfect lather, you can start applying it to your face. Using the brush, work the lather in circular motions onto your face and up your neck. Moving the brush in these circular motions, helps to exfoliate the skin and soften the hair before shaving. Up and down motions are also good for ensuring you have an even covering.
Can you lather shaving soap without a brush?
Using a shaving brush is important for this kind of shave, as it works to lift up the hairs and transfers moisture to your skin. It is possible to use your hands or a cloth to lather up the soap, but this would be more difficult and the finished result may not be as good.
Cleaning your soap and brush post-shave
It’s good practice to take care of your shaving soap and brush, since this will help them to last longer.
To clean your brush, hold it under water and point it downwards to let the soap drain out. You can then use your hands to gently squeeze out any remaining soap — just be careful not to pull any bristles out. Once you've finished getting all the soap out, give the brush a quick flick to get rid of any excess water.
But what do you do with all that soap? To dry out your shaving soap, simply leave the top off for a couple of days to allow it to return to a dry state. If you forget to leave the lid off and close it whilst wet, it can be difficult to open again next time.
So why not give the traditional method a go? It’s cool, it’s great for your skin and we think it’s pretty fun...what’s not to love?