Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

More on making Creamy Lather

with 13 comments

Joe, proprietor of the Italian Barber shaving store, has an excellent comment (with photos) of the process he follows, and he seconds Zach’s statement that the secret is in using a boar brush. Take a look.

UPDATE: Oops: Joe’s excellent post follows Tim Butterfield’s post (at the link), which is the one with the good photos. Joe confirms the method and gives more background—and explains why Italian barbers like boar brushes.

Written by LeisureGuy

31 May 2011 at 12:57 pm

Posted in Shaving

13 Responses

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  1. I don’t know Joe, but I’m sure I’d like to; Italians know barbering, as far as I’m concerned, better than anyone else; they have a real world approach that’s based on results, and that’s what matters to me. If you can smell nice and feel pampered along the way, that’s nice too, but what you see in the mirror must always come first.

    Perhaps I will re-post the videos for you under a different user account. Despite some of the nonsense you’ve possible read, I took them down for one reason only: I am not SMFZach any more; and if you’ll recall, I took them down exactly at the same time you had a problem there (your last, thankfully) and Bruce made this post.


    31 May 2011 at 3:22 pm

  2. Zach, glad to see you’re catching this discussion. I can’t believe how dense I was (and my lather wasn’t) not to understand what you quite clearly and explicitly were saying. And you describe quite well the substance you create. But it’s almost as if it has to be experienced in person. (I don’t think it photographs well—somehow I had to play with it myself. Colloids are like that, I think. Why Jell-O is so popular.)

    At any rate, I’m so glad I discovered it. Now that I’ve put together (belatedly) the pieces, I’m getting to be a dab hand at it.


    31 May 2011 at 3:47 pm

  3. I try to read your site daily, but had been tied up this weekend. I will post the old video this week for you; I created the new channel, the easy part; now I have to find the old video.

    Essentially, all you have to do is to start out with a lot of water, and then keep working it until you hit the sweet spot, which is the brush loaded with the consistency of the ‘cream’ you are looking for. The stuff that comes off initially that you referred to as ‘slag’ is not good for shaving, but, you can use it as moisture, to keep working it into the lather and allowing it to remove more soap from your puck, transforming itself into cream, and filling your brush.

    You use a lot more product this way, of course, but I think it’s worth it if you like the performance and get better shaves from it; there is nothing more wasteful than a bad shave, which is a wasted opportunity to have a great shave.


    31 May 2011 at 6:46 pm

  4. I will happily host Zach’s video on my youtube channel if it will help.


    1 June 2011 at 6:29 am

  5. Mark, I would be embarrassed with such a shoddy production on your site! Also, it might cause you a fair amount of aggravation from the loud echo chamber. Still, I don’t look past your gracious offer, and if you’re still interested I will dig it up for you.


    1 June 2011 at 6:40 am

  6. Zach,

    I just wanted to let you know that I think you article is the best piece ever written on ‘using a boar brush’ and ‘creating desirable lather’; when I was reading it the other night, I was truly blown-away by the depth of your knowledge. You basically talked about everything I’ve ever learned from Master Italian Barbers and even took it up one step further. When I read the section on de-funking the boar hair, I thought back to when my father in-law (retired Italian Barber) shared the method with me. In his shop, they would do it repeatedly for 10-14 days because they wanted the brush to be ‘funk-free’ before using it on a customer. Also, the repeated wetting and drying would cause the ends to start slipping, making the tips very soft.

    If you don’t mind, I’d love to set up a link to your article on our web-store ‘shaving info’ page.

    I hope you find those videos because I think they would be a tremendous value to the wet-shaving community; especially the newer wet-shavers. I personally would love to watch them.

    You have done a tremendous service to the wet-shaving community; I can only speak for myself, but I want to extend a huge *THANK YOU* for the time, effort and knowledge you put into the article.

    One thing I try to drive home with people is… ‘Wet shaving can really be an inexpensive passion’. A lot of clients feel they aren’t getting the best shave they can unless they are using a $200 brush and $60 cream; which from my experience is definitely not the case. One point I try to drive-home is that I am a vendor and I wouldn’t be recommending a $10-25 brush if I honestly thought a $100 brush was vastly superior. It only take an elementary education to realize I make more money when I sell badger brushes and $35 creams.

    Anyway, I will stop rambling.


    Thanks for post this on your blog; I have been reading your blog for a while and it’s first-class and fantastic; IMO, one of the best blogs on the WWW. I appreciate you bringing Zach’s article to my attention; I wouldn’t have found it without you.


    It doesn’t take much to see you are a true Gentleman. Your videos are amazing and I try to send all new wet-shavers to your youtube channel so they can watch them. You are a huge asset to the wet-shaving community!

    tanti saluti,



    1 June 2011 at 5:05 pm

  7. Joe, thank you for your kind words; I had spent a lot of time and energy on the hobby a few years ago; I’m talking a lot here. Every once in a while I would question if the effort was worth it, but then I would read a comment like yours and know that it was.
    I agree completely with the part about how a great shave can be had for very little money; spending $100 or more on a brush or $30 for soap is fine if that makes you happy, but you’re wrong to believe that you’ll get better results. Feel free to link to anything I have written, or I can send you a copy as well. I took a look at your site and I loved the story about how you started your business!

    auguri per il suo successo,

    (I am Greek but my wife is Italian)


    1 June 2011 at 6:13 pm

  8. Zach,

    For me, the amount of time and effort you spent is super evident.

    I have linked you in…

    I will be sending your article to all my first time Boar brush buyers and urging them to spend some time and thoroughly read it.



    1 June 2011 at 7:26 pm

  9. Zach, if you will send me the original video for reference purposes (via yousendit or some other way) I will re-shoot it as an episode of Shave Tutor, giving you full credit.


    2 June 2011 at 10:48 am

  10. I will do that this weekend; I think it’s on my old laptop. I don’t want any credit Mark; if it’s of any use to you at all, I humbly offer it as gratitude for all the work you’ve done to enlighten and enhance our hobby. If for some reason I can’t find it, I will shoot a new one!


    2 June 2011 at 11:23 am

  11. Zach, I too want to thank you for the boar brush article and now for this lather info Leisure Guy is reminding us of. I was really bummed not to find any of your videos still out there last November when I started this DE shaving thing, so any video you can put back out there or help Mantic do would really help us out. Have a great weekend.


    4 June 2011 at 5:04 am

  12. I was just curious if Zach’s videos have been reposted anywhere. I can’t seem to find them and I’m quite interested to watch them. Thanks.


    17 February 2013 at 10:17 am

  13. I also have not seen anything about them. The method he used I describe in this comment.


    17 February 2013 at 10:40 am

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