Friday, January 16, 2015

Rethinking (Again) My Synthetic Brush for Face Lathering

Yesterday's article caused me to ponder further my Omega Syntex brush and the difficulties I've had getting a great lather when face lathering.

It is true that the bristles in this brush are synthetic, meaning their ends are likely stubbier than natural bristles. They also absorb no water, yet the knot holds a great deal of water due to water tension, which will be discussed further below. The bristles also feel much stiffer than natural ones, meaning they are much more coarse when rubbed against one's face.

After giving this issue more thought, I suspected that my face-lathering results with this brush, which were less than optimal, have been due to a combination of two factors: 1) the relatively large volume of water that this brush can hold, and 2) the coarseness of the bristles.

The reason these factors work together to inhibit easy face lathering is that the generous amount of water held in the knot makes a the initial lather thin and watery, while the coarseness of the bristles discourage the user (me) from working the initially-thin lather sufficiently to whip up a thick, rich foam.

So I gave it another go yesterday after posting my article, "Shave Brush as Olympic Power Lifter?", in which I was critical of the Syntex's ability to face lather well. But this time I was armed with better information due to yesterday's post-article ruminations.

So I shook out water from the brush just a bit more than usual before loading it with soap; but I didn't make it too dry because my Grandad's shave soap does work with generous water. Then I loaded the brush with soap -- not excessively, but I made sure not to skimp either. Then my final step in my modified face-lathering process was to ignore the friction of bristle tips against face, and just keep working the soap on my face until the appropriate lather texture was achieved.

It really didn't take much extra effort or time; it just took some confidence in the outcome. Bottom line: it worked! I achieved a good lather and got a fine shave.

So this means that my initial travel-gear plan wasn't flawed after all. For trips away from home that call for light packing, I'll take a small soap stick, the Omega Syntex brush, and a razor. The Syntex will offer the anticipated advantages of being small, light, quick drying, and less susceptible to any moisture-driven damage to the bristles from drying bristles up on the bathroom counter.

Happy shaving!

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