Putting the wet in wet shaving

Ever stop to think about why wet shaving is called wet shaving? Okay, electric shaving is dry. But a disposable Bic and a can of Rise also require the use of water.

Well, here's my take on the matter. One of the keys to a successful shave is a wet lather. I don't mean just that it's made with water. I mean, it ought to be WET. Pretty much all the water it can hold without running down your face. Lots of people like a big ol' lather. That can be useful -- a more voluminous lather can hold more water -- but whipping air into the lather for the sake of it is a waste of time. It looks cool, kind of that "lather porn" look, but it is creates too much friction to be optimal for shaving.

Ever bake or make whipped cream? "Beat until stiff peaks form," or until soft peaks form. Well, you are after the soft peaks. Or at least softish. It's kind of gross to have lather running down your shirt, but honestly it's not too bad to shave on.

Not that a big lather is useless. You can get more water in it, and this alleviates a big problem: the lather drying out. Especially in the winter or in a dry climate. It's not as big a deal in humid conditions. Here in the east, any lather will start to get dry in about five minutes in the winter time. If your lather becomes unacceptably dry, it will compromise the shave. The solution is pretty straightforward: put a little water on your brush, then extend the lather.

After the first pass, the ratio of water to soap tends to increase, and the dry lather thing is not as big a problem -- at least initially. However, there's also less lather, and less volume of water. So it will dry out even faster than on the first pass. Again, just add water and, if needed, some more soap or cream, and you are good to go. Incidentally, cream lathers are usually a bit better than soap lathers at retaining water. But I still prefer soap. :-)

If you are a fan of a big, dry lather, try out a wet lather. It is not only quicker and easier to make, you will get a better shave. And, oh yeah, use hot water.

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