The Art of Creating Warm Lather

The other day I went for my usual haircut and decided to get the neck shaved at the end.  Have you tried this?  It's a nice treat (sort of like getting a lollipop after a doctor's they do that still?)  They normally start with a very warm or hot towel and then they apply a really warm lather.  When it touches your neck, the feeling you get makes you feel like a million bucks.  I think shaving with a warm lather is a real treat and often this is something people forgo while they're shaving.  I promise once you've tried it a few times, you'll want to incorporate this into your routine.   Typically, at a barbershop, the warm lather comes from a lather machine.  You to can own one and a quick search on Amazon shows them ranging from 125 dollars and upwards.   The high-end model sells for over 460 dollars!   Unless you win the lottery- or perhaps have a barbershop, save your money and follow these steps:

What You Will Need

1) The first thing you need is to have access to a hot water (not boiling).  While boiling water will certainly produce a hot lather, it can be dangerous if you slip or mishandle the bowl or mug.  Boiling water can also damage the brushes you use.  If you have a brush that sheds a lot, consider the temperature of your water- it might be too hot. In most cases- your common tap water from your sink will suffice.  If you're out camping- consider bringing a thermos of hot water- but you'll still need a large container or basin to be your sink. 

2) The second thing you'll need is a lather vessel.  Something that you'll make the lather in.  This might be a bowl, a mug, a scuttle- the latter of which holds hot water in one chamber and lather in the other.  Overall- I prefer anything that is ceramic.  I find they hold the heat much longer.  However, if you have a bowl or mug that is insulated or retains heat well- I would use that.  

3) Thirdly, you'll need a brush.  It goes without saying that a brush will help you build the lather and move it around and get it nice and warm.

4) Finally, your shave soap or shaving cream.  Any type will work, but preferably one you can scoop or scrape out into the bowl.  You won't need a lot- no bigger than the size of an almond.  


1) Fill your sink with hot water and plug the sink.  Place the bowl, mug or scuttle in the sink and make sure it's completely submerged.  The warm water will take the "chill" out of the vessel and help you get a warmer lather.  Be careful when you submerge the vessel that you don't drop it.  You can always place a wash cloth at the bottom of the sink so the vessel has a soft place to rest while it warms up.  Don't be afraid to fully submerge the bowl or mug.  

2) While the vessel is "pre-heating" take this time to prep your skin.  Use a pre-shave treatment or shower and be sure your skin is conditioned for the shave. 

3) Drain all of the water in the sink and apply an almond size amount of shave soap or cream to the vessel. 

4) IMPORTANT- you're going to fill your sink again with hot water-- and have the vessel in the sink.  Don't overfill! We don't want to submerge it this time.    Add just enough water that it surrounds the vessel but it doesn't cover it completely.  Leave 1/2 inch to 1 inch from the top of the vessel.  

5) Begin making lather like you normally do, however, do it while the vessel is in the sink.  Having that washcloth at the bottom will help keep the vessel from slipping, cracking or chipping.   The heat of the water will heat the vessel which in turn heats the lather.  A good lather takes time.  If you have lots of bubbles, keep moving that brush in circles and side to side, back and forth.  Once the bubbles disappear, keep lathering up- this may take you 45 seconds to a minute.  A good lather takes time and remember that you're giving the lather a chance to warm up.

6)  Enjoy your shave!  Leave the bowl in the sink...the water will continue to warm the lather.  If you're taking your time or doing a multi-pass shave, consider draining the water and filling it a 3rd time so the lather stays warm.  You can rinse your razor in the water around the bowl or mug, or move the vessel out of the way and rinse under the tap.  I admit this part isn't perfect- maybe even a little messy, but it will keep the lather nice and warm.  

May all your shaves be smooth.....and lathers warm!

Until next time.





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