|The bowl with my custom shave soap, SS#1E, pictured about an hour after|
my morning shave. This left-over lather stays with the puck in its bowl and
isn't relegated to the generic left-overs bowl.
My shave preparation has varied though throughout the week. On Father's Day and the following couple of shaves, I was washing my face with bath soap (always with cool water) prior to lathering. The last two shaves, yesterday and today, I skipped the bath soap and simply wetted my beard with cool water. During the dry-heated-air winter, I have been going with cool-water shaves and generally skipping the bath-soap face wash because both tend to remove precious oil from my dry, sensitive skin. On a whim this spring, I have started using bath soap occasionally as part of my shave prep. Father's Day, however, may have been a perfect storm of factors: uncoated Lord-brand blade, TTO razor, bath-soap-pre-shave wash, and the shave soap used, which is what I want to discuss today.
For several weeks, off and on, I've been using my own shave soap. After doing much research, I came pretty close with my first formulation. Then I took that recipe and tweaked it with all-natural after-cook additives to enhance its shave and skin-care properties. My first formulation, SS#1 (that's Shave Soap #1) was used in its basic form and had five variations, identified as SS#1A through SS#1E. I also adjusted the basic soap to create SS#2, which currently has one derivative, SS#2A. I have also created recipes for SS#3 and SS#4, but haven't made those yet. Of the custom shaving soaps that I've made so far, I prefer SS#1E, which I used for the shaves yesterday and today.
My SS#1E lathers quickly, but initially is a bit frothy. Then with a bit more swirling of the brush, the lather becomes thicker and more creamy. I have experimented with varying amounts of water, and too much will definitely ruin the lather, rendering it thin and foamy again. But if just a wet, slightly-shaken brush is used, the lather tends to be slick and creamy. It goes on the face rather thin and economically, unlike canned foam, but creates a slick, creamy layer that doesn't dry out quickly, and lubricates and cushions rather well, IMHO.
So the last two day's shaves have been very nice. Yesterday a three pass (with the straight bar), and this morning a two-pass (with the slant bar), both very close. When compared to earlier shaves this week, the difference, in addition to the hardware, was skipping the pre-shave face wash, and using my own SS#1E shave-soap formulation.
My Father's Day shave was done using left-over lather from my left-overs bowl. Now, when I use a soap that I like, I put the left overs back in that soap's bowl, rather than the generic left-overs bowl. So lately, my left-overs bowl has become a combination, a hodge podge, of the various custom and commercial soaps I've been using but weren't my favorites. So it's a small factor, but just using a better shave soap like SS#1E probably helped a bit to improve the quality of the morning shave.