Following up on a post about lathering with a shaving soap, I thought it would be a good idea to write about how to use shaving cream.
The art of face lathering with shaving cream…
Few days before I started writing this post, I was browsing on internet. Well, I do this every day. Procrastination at its best!
I was checking out images with wet shaving and lathering with shaving cream and soap.
What I came across, were different images with a shaving brush with rich lather and beautiful shaving bowls right next to them. The lather looked so rich and with the right thickness that all I had in mind was to start shaving! Or eat it!
I can only relate this feeling to that of a child that goes inside a chocolate store and put the chocolate on their face.
So, how do you use shaving cream?
There are 5 ways to build up lather:
- In a shaving bowl/mug with a shaving brush.
- Directly on your face with a shaving brush.
- In your palm with a shaving brush.
- Directly on your face with your hands.
- In your palm, rubbing your hands together.
+1. Same thing with #5 but instead of building up lather in your palm, you do it directly on your face.
Let’s get started!
Few words on shaving creams
Shaving cream as one would imagine, isn’t something new. First signs of shaving creams were first documented around 3000BC.
Why do you think all the Egyptian statues seem to be well shaved or with a goatee? They must have used some sort of lathering.
However, this type of shaving cream is nothing compared to what we’re using at the moment. It was made from wood alkali and animal fat and you wouldn’t call this shaving cream pleasantly scented.
Don’t you feel lucky with the way you shave?
How to use shaving cream like a lathering boss
Before we discuss how to use shaving cream I think it’s worth asking why would you use one instead of a shaving foam or gel?
That’s a good question…
Shaving foams (a.k.a. pressurized creams) or gels are designed for flexibility, speed and simplicity but not performance.
Even though they create instant lather by applying it directly on the face, they do suffer from 2 flaws in my opinion.
- They dry out quickly, which could make shaving a less comfortable experience, especially for someone who has a sensitive skin.
- The lather does not reach the roots of your beard easily. This means that the hair follicles don’t get as soft as with a shaving cream or soap.
Nevertheless, both shaving foams and gels do serve their reputation. The fact that you can create lather immediately, when you decide to start shaving, make them indispensable. Even if you’re not a big fan, you’ll use them at some point. Especially when you need to shave and you’re in hurry.
But what about shaving soaps?
Shaving soaps are very similar to shaving creams in terms of rich lathering and they could be characterized as the shaving’s cream little cousin. However, building up lather with a nice shaving soap requires technique and more practice than with shaving cream.
Using a shaving brush
A shaving brush is the only tool you’ll need to build up great lather with your shaving cream.
When it comes to shaving brushes, you’ve got some options to choose from.A synthetic or natural hair shaving brush. Depending on the brand and quality of the brush, you’ll find the one that’s best for you.
At the moment, I don’t own any synthetic brush [EDIT June 2017: I own 3 at the moment]. I’ve got five shaving brushes, both with natural hair bristle. Three are badger hair brushes and the rest have boar bristle hair. [EDIT April 2017: My favorite boar as of now, Atto Primo GOLD].
I mostly like the badger hair brush because it’s got better water retention and feels softer on my face while making better lather. However, this varies depending on the brush you select. I recommend you try a few before you buy one (if possible) and judge which one is better for your skin and your needs.
If you want some help finding a good brush, you can have a look at my detailed guide to selecting the best shaving brush.
With the use of shaving brush, you can either build up lather in a shaving mug or directly on your face.
Building up lather inside a shaving bowl
The title is self explanatory really. So how do you do it?
- Before you start, make sure you have a wet face for optimal results.
- Soak the shaving brush in hot water for a few minutes. Be extra careful with the temperature, so you don’t get your face burned. Once you do that, get rid of the excessive water so the shaving brush doesn’t drip.
- Get a shaving mug or bowl. If you don’t have any, use any mug that would fit a shaving brush and have enough space for circular moves in it.
- Inside the shaving mug, pour a few drops of water. Once you do that, get the shaving cream and put a dime size amount inside the mug.
- Now, the fun part! Start swirling the brush until foam starts building up. In the beginning, it will be foamy but as you swirl the brush inside the mug, the shaving cream will finally turn in a very nice thick lather.
There might be a chance that the lather is too thick. In this case, pour a few drops of water to dilute it a bit and continue swirling for a few more seconds.
However, if the lather is too watery, continue swirling until it gets thicker. If this doesn’t work, consider putting a bit more shaving cream inside the mug/bowl and keep on going with the swirling.
And a great video by Men’s Biz that shows you exactly what we’re talking about:
Lathering on face
I think that this is the fastest way to use shaving cream and it’s the lathering method that I personally prefer.
So, let’s get to the details, shall we?
- Wet face again. If this step was important when lathering inside a shaving mug, with this method, it’s crucial. If your face is not wet, you won’t be able to build up lather on your face. Even if you do that, there’s a great chance that lather is too dry.
- Do the same thing with the brush as with previous method. This time, when you want to get rid of the excessive water, make sure you leave some on the brush. If you feel that the brush is too dry, then pour some more warm water on the shaving brush.
- Put a dime size amount of shaving cream on each cheek.
- Now get the shaving brush and start swirling on your cheeks. Continue for a few seconds and you’ll soon see foam and after a few seconds, it’s going to get thicker.
When you swirl against your face, there is a high probability that the lather gets dry and thick. This depends on the amount of water that both the shaving brush and your face had before you start. If this happens, put a few drops of water on the shaving brush and continue building up lather.
A different way to build up lather directly on the face is to put the shaving cream on the shaving brush that is already wet and then start swirling on your cheeks. In this version of the particular method, the shaving cream won’t start dripping from your face if you’re not quick enough or if your face is more wet than necessary.
Lathering on your hand
This is a combination of the two previous methods.
Needless to say that this method isn’t the most comfortable and efficient way to build up lather. Not sure why you would want to try this but I explain in any case.
- You start again by making sure that you have a properly wet face and a brush which was already soaked in water.
- Put same amount of cream (dime size) on your palm.
- Now, get the brush and swirl against your palm with the shaving cream until lather starts building up.
You should expect a similar result as with building up lather directly on your face. That said, if the lather is not as you expect either because it’s watery or too dry, repeat until you get the desired results. Add some water if it’s too dry or continue swirling/add shaving cream if the lather is too foamy.
How to use shaving cream without shaving brush?If you want to use shaving cream without shaving brush, it doesn’t seem to be the best day in your life.
Luckily enough, there’s a way to do that. And yes, I’ve already tried that myself. One time, I went on a trip and I forgot my shaving brush at home, so I had to be creative with lathering.
At first you might find it a bit awkward to use shaving cream without a brush, but the results are better than you might expect.
So how do we do this?
There are two ways to do this, but the idea is the same.
One way is to use your hands. So, here we go.
- Again, you need to have a properly wet face.
- Put some cream on your hands and start rubbing them just like you would do if you wanted to wash them. While you rub them against each other, pour a few drops of water and continue with the rubbing. You’ll see that soon after a few seconds, foam starts producing. Unfortunately, it won’t get any better than this.
- Once you got enough foam, start applying it on your face until you distribute it evenly.
Is it the best way to lather? Certainly not! But if things come down to this, it simply works.
The other way is very much the same thing. But instead of rubbing your hands against each other, you need to rub your hands against your cheeks and produce the lather on your face directly.
The second method is even worse than the first. Most probably, you’ll make a mess in the bathroom from all this physical activity. Nevertheless, it works!
Shaving Creams to Consider
If you’re searching for a shaving cream, I included below a few good ones that you can find on amazon:
- Proraso Shaving Cream, Eucalyptus & Menthol, 150 ml, New Formulation
- Taylor of Old Bond Street Sandalwood Shaving Cream Bowl, 5.3-Ounce
- Taylor of Old Bond Street Eton College Shaving Cream Jar, 5.3-Ounce
- The Art of Shaving Shaving Cream, Sandalwood, 5 fl. oz.
- Truefitt & Hill Ultimate Comfort Shaving Cream, 6.7-Ounces
- Geo F. Trumper Sandalwood Soft Shaving Cream Jar
- Avalon Organics Moisturizing Cream Shave, Aloe-Unscented, 8 Ounce (Pack of 3)
- Dreadnought Luxury Shaving Cream (100ml)
- Baxter of California Super Close Shave Formula, 8 fl. oz.
- Gentleman’s Hangar Genuine Old School Natural Shaving Cream for Sensitive Skin
How to use shaving cream? You know now!
There are a few ways to use shaving cream and build up lather. As you understood by now, most ways require a proper wet shaving set up as well as a good preparation for best results.
If you’re just starting out with wet shaving, you’ll get to experience different shaving creams that have different lathering capabilities. These capabilities are sometimes able to determine what kind of lathering method you need to use each time.
There’s only one way to find out.
Get your safety razor in your hands and enjoy the shave!
How do you use shaving cream?
Image Courtesy: flickr.com/scottfeldstein