When I first started wet shaving with good shaving supplies and shaving bowls, I had no idea how to properly lather shaving cream in a bowl. It’s okay if you don’t either. Most of us grew up watching people getting shaving cream out of a can. I’m going to give you a quick guide on how to get a good lather with shaving cream in a shaving bowl.
Step 1. Get the shaving brush soaked in hot water
It’s important that you have a very receptive shaving brush. Whether you’re using badger, horse, synthetic or boar hair, you’re going to want your bristles to be nice and loose from soaking in hot water. I have a good guide here on some of the best shaving brushes you can buy if you don’t have one or are in the market for another brush.
A good soak does two things. It gets water deep into the bristles and it softens the brush hair so that they can whip up the lather.
I like to set the brush in the sink and let warm water run on top of it while it’s in the bowl. I realized this may not be the most ecologically friendly option, but it’s what I do. If you’re looking to conserve water than you may just want to fill your shaving bowl up with water as hot as you can get it and allow your brush to soak for a few minutes.
Step 2. Empty the water and shake the excess water out of the shaving brush
This is a very important step because you don’t want to have too much water or else you’re going to get a very thin and soapy lather. Give your shaving brush a few knocks against the side of your cup or sink to get at least 80% of the water out, but leave some for the lather.
Step 3. Apply a generous amount of shaving cream
There are different ideas on how much shaving cream you should use, but I’m of the belief that a little more is better. When you figure out exactly how much shaving cream to water ratio you need, then you can dial back. I think a quarter sized dollop of shaving cream is usually enough to start.
I like to apply the shaving cream directly to the brush, but many people put it directly in the bowl. It’s your preference. It haven't seen significant differences in the result when I go either way.
Step 4. Add hot water to the bowl
This is probably the most important step. You don’t want to add so much water that you end up making your lather too thin, but you want enough water to create a nice rich lather. I’d say that just enough water to cover the bottom of the bowl is a good place to start.
Remember: You can always add more, but you can’t take water out. If you get the lather too thin then you’re going to have to add more shaving cream to balance it out.
Step 5. Stir in a circular motion around the bowl
This step is more art than it is science and really depends on how saucy you like to get. There really isn’t a wrong way to make a rich lather. The key that you want to remember is that you’re mixing water, shaving cream and a bit of air to get that fluffy shaving cream. I like to turn my bowl sideways and stir in an oval motion like your whipping eggs with a fork.
I know people who enjoy stirring the lather around vigorously like they are mixing paint. Whatever floats your boat. All that matters is that you get the lather you’re looking for.
Step 6. Add more water or shaving cream as needed
Pretty self explanatory.
If the lather is too thick, then add more water to thin it out.
If the lather is too thin, then add more shaving cream to thicken it.