Later On

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

Great shave, and thoughts on lathering

with 2 comments

SOTD 22 Nov 2014

A wonderful shave today, with a BBS result with little effort.

I used the Wet Shaving Products Monarch brush shown and Martin de Candre’s excellent shaving soap. In this case, the soap goes to the brim of the bowl, but the surface is slightly concave. As I have described my lathering method, I have said that I start with a dripping wet brush, hold the tub on the side over the sink, and lather briskly and firmly, letting excess water and the first sloppy lather spill away into the sink, gradually righting the tub as I continue loading, watching for the bubbles being formed to become microscopic. And it’s true to this degree: I first started making a good lather using that technique.

But as I observe what I now actually do, I can see that I have unconsciously adapted the technique with experience, probably (I don’t really know the motives of my unconscious) to save time and effort by eliminating the part of the process where excess lather and loose sloppy foam spills into the sink. I now give the brush one moderate shake—that takes care of the excess water, so cuts out that—and I brush with a bit more restraint: still briskly and firmly but with a more restrained action so all the lather produced during the loading goes into the brush as it is loaded. The tub, which does start somewhat tilted (habit), is turned upright quickly, and I’m more aware of the soap and lather loaded, so I don’t need the clue of the microscopic bubbles: I can tell from the appearance and feel of the brush when it’s loaded and time to move to my beard.

I brush lather all over my beard, and twice I added a driblet of hot water to the center of the brush and brushed that into the developing lather. At a certain point, I recognized that the lather was done (experience again). No muss, no fuss.

I think part of the polishing of performance through practice and experience is the gradual elimination of inefficiencies. At first you start with too much water and get rid of the excess; eventually you find yourself starting with the right amount of water for the task. And, too, one adapts the technique (with experience) from soap to soap: e.g., with some soaps I add the driblets of water as I load, rather than after loading, because I’ve gradually learned/observed that some soaps require more water.

Probably this evolution of technique stems from observing the admonition to experiment: to try different things, and note what one is doing and what results. The adaptive unconscious then molds practice to fit, in the direction of efficiency.

At any rate, I got a really good lather, and the Shavecraft #101 did a great job. I’m beginning to think that razor is an unappreciated gem: extremely comfortable, highly efficient, and quite handsome. As we start making wishlists, keep that one in mind.

Three passes with a Personna Lab Blue blade, and after the final rinse and dry, a good splash of Fine Clean Vetiver aftershave, with the menthol a bit chilly this morning. (Still haven’t turned on the heat, but we are approaching stubbornness in this regard.)

TL;DR: No nicks, great shave.

Written by LeisureGuy

22 November 2014 at 9:53 am

Posted in Shaving

2 Responses

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  1. I’ll look forward to trying the Shavecraft 101 next, after I find out how the RazoRock Stealth Slant works for me (finally managed to snag one of those). These are the two mildest-efficient DE’s I’ve heard of. The Progress I once had was another (set to a 1.5), so if neither of the other two pan out I’ll grab another Merkur. Thanks for your reviews.


    22 November 2014 at 11:37 am

  2. The Progress is a terrific razor. I think mine is at 2.5. The Shavecraft #101 is a jewel, and the #102 slant is also terrific. Somewhere I have a review comparing the Stealth (also superb) and the #102…. here.


    22 November 2014 at 11:40 am

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