Despite the lengthy learning curve, shaving soap holds the loyalty of many traditionalists. There’s a reason why these hard soaps have been around for a couple of hundred years.
Creams, foams, and gels only take a few seconds to lather. Shaving soaps requires technique, patience, and a fair bit of self-indulgence. So, if you want a few moments to groom yourself in a systematic and enjoyable manner, shaving soaps are your best bet.
You have to use the right shaving brush to get a rich, creamy lather. While it’s easier to use a shaving cream or gel, the experience just isn’t the same. These hard soaps are found in round, packaged pucks. Some cheaper versions come wrapped in paper or aluminum foil.
They may be traditionally round in shape but can often be found in small sticks too. Modern-day trends influenced the shape to mimic that of a bar of soap. It’s not hard to detect quality material, though. The old-fashioned pieces will allow you to use the puck as a shaving scuttle. Higher-end brands come with their own compositions.
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Why Shaving Soaps are Good for Your Skin
With a little practice and a few tricks up your sleeve, you can get a far superior lather than what you get from creams.
The key to rejuvenation
With the thick lather, shaving soaps deliver an elevated hydrating experience that other shaving products cannot. Shaving soaps remove the natural oil from your skin, allowing water to penetrate your follicles thoroughly. Once your beard softens and limpens, your razor can smoothly run across your skin without interruption.
Shaving is also a time of self-reflection. You get to reassess or reflect your goals for the day and enjoy a moment of peace. So, for those of you who enjoy methodical activities, shaving soaps will give you that momentary relief.
Avoid TSA’s 3-1-1 rule.
Grooming is important, especially if you’re traveling for conferences or meetings. Do you frequently travel and get caught up with TSA’s liquids rule? With hard soap, you won’t have to worry about that! This compact product will neither take space nor leak.
Say goodbye to unnecessary chemicals!
Most shaving creams, gels, or foams are loaded with chemicals and preservatives to keep them “extra soft and creamy.” Shaving soaps are devoid of any of these chemicals and can hydrate your face better. The razor will gently glide through your face after application.
If you’re someone who’s environmentally conscious, remember that shaving soaps leave less carbon imprint than alternative shaving products do.
Feel in sync with nature.
Creams or gels are loaded with overpowering artificial fragrances along with countless other chemicals. On the other hand, shaving soaps have a wide range of earthier fragrances. This woody, musky or spicy smells don’t overwhelm your senses and leave a pleasant sensation.
Through good times and bad
These soaps are hard molded. That’s why they outlive the other creams and gels. Shaving soaps may be costlier than other alternatives, but they’re economical in the long run—all you need to invest in the soap along with a sturdy shaving brush.
What Makes The Best Shaving Soap
It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the descriptions of various shaving soaps. What might be best for you won’t be the same for others? There are only good brands and questionable ones. The only way to find out the ones which are good for you is through meticulous research. Experiment with a few different soaps and see which suits your skin the best.
Manufacturers will ensure that the product descriptions will flatter their products. It’s your responsibility to look into the properties, ingredients, and dimensions. Most shaving soaps are tallow- or glycerin-based. The animal fat in tallow acts as the lubricant that helps reduce the number of razor cuts on your skin.
Ultimately, you need to ask yourself a few questions to find the shaving soap for your skin type. You should also consider a few matters of convenience. Does the soap lather easily? Is the fragrance nice and subtle? Will the soap lubricate properly? Finding the answer to these will help you narrow down your desired shaving soap. If all else fails, go through online reviews and recommendations.
How to Get The Perfect Shaving Experience
There is no right way to use shaving soap. Everyone has one’s own rituals. But there are some things you need to pay close attention to.
You need to make sure you have a quality shaving brush. Go through different lathering methods to see what works best for you. Some soaps require a specific method for lathering, so always read the instructions carefully.
Preparing your soap and brush is a vital step in the entire process. Soak your soap and brush in water before use. Many men do this step before popping under the shower. The soap softens enough to be loaded on the brush after a few minutes. If your soap doesn’t come in a container, submerge it in a bowl of warm water. You can use your sink too. Just make sure that the surfaces are fully covered.
Soaking the brush is just as important. This is because it builds up the best lather after this step. The brushes that are better in quality only need a minute or two. The lower end ones need a few minutes for effective results.
Finally, make sure your face is clean! So let’s break down all the points into simple steps.
Soak your shaving brush and soap
Fill a bowl with warm water and let your brush soak for the required time period. Make sure your soap is softened with warm water too. Once it’s complete, take the items out of the water and get rid of the excess liquid.
Small tip: Leave a small amount of water in the bowl to prepare the lather.
Prepare the lather
Swirl your brush over the soap for a few seconds, and transfer the remnants to the bowl. Now, whip up a lather! Use only a light amount of pressure to ensure you don’t damage your brush. The more you swirl, the more lather you’ll get. If you don’t see a creamy finish, add a couple of drops of water and swirl again.
Time to use it!
Once you’ve reached the desired consistency, start the application process. Use a back and forth motion to apply the cream on your face. This makes the beard on your face upright, and so, you can shave more easily. Make sure you cover the areas you want to shave with a generous amount of lather.
Take your razor out
Once you’ve lathered your face, carefully start shaving. Pay attention to the angle you’re shaving in. Take account of the direction of your beard’s growth. You’ll irritate the follicles, otherwise, and end up with splotchy, red skin.
Hydrate your skin
After shaving your beard, rinse the residual lather off your face. If you’re happy with the results, dab some cold water on your face to reduce irritation. Take out your moisturizers or balms and get on with your post-shave skincare routine.
How to Take Care of Your Shaving Brush
Brushes are often coarse when you initially make the purchase. It’s worse if it’s made of cheaper quality. This is a common characteristic of badger bristles. While animal bristles are great for longevity, they often come with an odor. It gets worse once the brush is dampened.
None of these is truly problematic, though. It can be easily rectified with a little patience and a couple of special products. You want in on the secret? The special products are none other than hair conditioner and washing-up liquid! Just remember that this process works best for organic bristles than chemical ones.
- Soak your brush for a few minutes.
- Add the two special products to a cup of warm water and whisk it.
- Transfer the brush in the mug with the solution.
- Let it soak overnight.
- Rinse the brush out the next day and leave it to dry.
Not too shabby, isn’t it? You might lose a couple of bristles in the process, but the number is insignificant. Repeat the process a couple of times if the odor persists. Make sure your shaving brush is thoroughly dried after use. If you want to preserve your brush for longer, make sure it’s stored in a dry area away from your bathroom.
How to Make Your Shaving Soap Stick Around Longer
This is a trickier process, but an easy one. Preserving your shaving soap doesn’t require a change of conditions but habits instead. Don’t waste your lather. Remember that it’s just soap and water. It won’t harm your soap if you place the lather over it. It’ll dry up by the time you next use it. You can also whip up lather faster the next time you use it.
Shaving Soaps vs. Shaving Creams: The Final Showdown
Before getting into the details, learn the key differences between the two products. Shaving creams are fun and familiar. They don’t require much effort, nor do they come with a pretty price tag. But shaving creams have their share of demerits.
They do more harm to your skin than you expect. Canned shaving creams usually contain cheap, harmful ingredients that can damage your skin. These ingredients remove all the moisture from the skin, cause unwanted breakouts when you least expect it, and make razor burns more prickly.
This is why shaving creams are desired by many die-hard traditionalists. They come in multiple shapes and forms. You’ll find different consistencies, fragrances, and varying price tags.
It all comes down to personal shaving preference. Do you want a quick shave? Are you on a budget? Is this your own form of therapy? Let these answers guide you to your pick.
Assessing Shaving Soaps and Shaving Creams:
Now that you can differentiate between the two products, here are the advantages and disadvantages of each.
Advantage: A Quick Lather
All you need to do is take a dollop of shaving cream on your hands and rub it on your face. This option appeals to busybodies who are constantly in a rush. It doesn’t provide the best results, but it wins in terms of convenience.
Disadvantage: Cheap but Questionable
Sure, it doesn’t take too much from your budget, but will you really forsake your skin for that? Canned shaving creams come with a long list of questionable ingredients, and the tubed ones are not much better.
Advantage: No Overwhelming Chemicals
Shaving soaps leave you refreshed. The product doesn’t carry those nauseating smells that most shaving creams do. Instead, it has those subtle natural scents from essential oils. Some don’t have any lingering scent at all. The best part is that it hydrates your skin and provides a cleaner shave.
Disadvantage: Not an Easy Lather
While you might get a superior and thicker lather with shaving soaps, you’ll need to work a fair bit too. It takes longer and requires some practice. Once you’ve mastered the technique you’re comfortable with, the job is much easier.
Shaving soap may not be a common commodity in everyone’s bathroom, but it’s a precious one. Once you start, it’ll be hard to let go. It’ll take you a while to find the techniques and brushstrokes which work best for you. However, the result is worth the wait. Just remember, there is no right way. Experiment with brushes. Lather more. Add less water. There is a long list of possibilities.
If you still don’t achieve a superior lather, the problem might not lie on your soap or brush. It might lie on your water instead. Hard water often prevents you from getting the perfect lather. The minerals in the water interfere with the process. Switch to distilled water to avoid that problem.
Once you get the hang of the process, it’ll be a rewarding experience. Don’t let the first couple of attempts run you ragged!