Tuesday, June 3, 2014

The Frugal Shaver: Left Overs Aren't Just For Dinner Anymore

[UPDATE:  I no longer save left-over lather. When using the same puck of soap in a lather bowl every day, it seemed to work fine; no problems.  However, with little-used shave-stick leftover lather or sporadic use of certain soap pucks, interesting micro fauna seem to spring up such as the most visible one, which displays a pinkish-fucia color. No thanks.]

 I originally started shaving with a double-edge razor (DE) and shaving soap for two reasons:
  • To further reduce my environmental impact
  • To save money
(I quickly discovered that I also get a better shave, and enjoy the process of DE shaving with brush and bowl more than using cartridge razors and goo from a can.)

Since frugality was one of my two initial objectives, it soon began to bother me that every morning as part of my clean-up process, I would rinse mounds of lovely, unused shave-soap lather down the drain. So it didn't take long for me to begin to squeeze the unused lather from the brush back into the bowl with the soap puck. It also didn't take any significant additional effort, when I used a separate bowl to make lather, to use my finger to squeegee the unused lather from the bowl, and add that back to the soap puck as well.

The process became automatic: squeeze and squeegee left-over lather into the source bowl, pour out any accumulated standing water, leave open to dry, and when dry, cover to keep out dust and any water that may be splashed from activities around the sink.
This has become my left-over-lather bowl, which I use any morning that I'm
not using a specific soap or cream.
There are tangible benefits to this process. I found that re-lathered lather is as good or perhaps slightly better than lather from the hard puck. It is certainly a bit quicker to make lather from left overs. Also, my soap pucks last twice as long, and, daily, I'm rinsing fewer chemicals (albeit it's only soap) into the waste water.

As I began to try different soap pucks and creams, I would lather creams and samples in my stainless bowl, but since there was no puck semi-permanently stored in a mug or bowl, I started to put all left-over lather in the bowl with my Van Der Hagen puck, shown above. This has become my left-over bowl, which I go to any time I am not evaluating a new soap or cream, or using a shave butter. (Shave butter doesn't lather, is a cream product similar to a thin ladies' cold cream, and is usually applied with the fingers, not a brush. Shave butter is also chemically very different from shaving soaps and creams that are lathered with a brush. So left over shave butter goes down the drain, not into the left-overs bowl.)

So what do you think? Is this something you do or would try? I'd love to hear your opinions and experiences.

Happy shaving!


  1. How come you don't get any bits of hair in your leftover lather? Do you rinse after every pass?

    1. Yes, I do a quick rinse after every pass. This allows me to verify by feel those areas that tend to easily shave smooth and those areas that always require a bit more attention.