Why I face lather

As I have stressed repeatedly everything about traditional shaving is personal to you. You do exactly what you want no matter what anyone else says. This is part of the whole anarchic joy and is the exact opposite of the constrained, walled garden, approach that the big global shaving companies try and force on their customers.

To make a lather to shave with we can use either soaps or creams (there are also soft soaps which are half way between) then using a bit of elbow grease, a good brush and some water we magically convert this into a superb, luxuriant cushion and lubricant for our shave. 1,000 times better than any aerosol foam or gel.

There are three techniques to build a lather. Firstly you can use a mug, bowl or scuttle, gradually adding the water and working till you have a rich lather. The second technique is the same but using the cupped palm of your left hand in which to build the lather. Thirdly you can actually build the lather on your face, just load the brush then work it on your face till it delivers the results you want. I go for this third option and here’s why:

  • It is simpler, there is no intermediate step. It is also quicker.
  • The action of building the lather with the brush is good for you. It massages and exfoliates your face.
  • This process gives more time for the lather to soften your stubble which makes the whole shave better and easier.
  • It keeps the lather warm.
  • A good brush will hold enough lather for multiple passes, you don’t need to use a bowl.
  • I shave in the shower, a bowl would tend to get unwanted water in it.
  • Face lathering is much less complicated when you travel. One less item required.
  • With shaving sticks it is awkward not to face lather.
  • It gets the concentrated soap, at the beginning of the process, right into the stubble.

You may well completely disagree with all of this, which is your choice and which does not make either of us right or wrong. But face lathering works just perfectly for me.

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3 Comments


  1. Just starting out in wet shaving but face lathering just feels the right thing to do and when bowl lathering I am just not getting consistent results, which adds to it.


  2. If I face lather I tend to start on the same spot, and this creates soreness. So I always bowl (using a ramekin pot actually) and this gives good results.

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