Generally speaking, and in my experience, “natural” and “organic” products do not perform differently than their conventional counterparts. And in most cases “natural” and “organic” refers to (or should refer to) the quality of ingredients, not the finished product – but that’s a whole other blog post! There are, however, exceptions to this rule, and I believe shave soap is one of them. The absence of ingredients like synthetic foam stabilizers in natural shave soap means that these products perform a little differently. And of course, shaving with shave soap and a brush is a much different experience than shaving with foam or a gel. But with just a few minor tweaks to your routine, and a little understanding and know-how, it is possible to experience a really great shave with natural shave soap.
Tip one: prep the shave soap
Badger Shave Soap is a hard puck made of traditionally milled soap, so it’s meant to last a long time. But in order to get a good lather going, you’ll first need to “loosen” up the bar by wetting it at least 5 minutes before you begin. I find that prepping my shave soap while soaking my horse hair brush not only saves time but also makes building lather even easier. First run the tap until it’s hot, and fill the sink just enough to keep the bristles of your shave brush covered. Then, dip the brush in the hot water, removing it only to sprinkle some water onto your shave soap before placing it back in the water. The hot water softens both brush and shave soap. While the shave soap and brush sit, this is a great time to prep your skin with gentle exfoliation and apply Badger Pre Shave Oil.
Tip two: Pre Shave Oil
Pre Shave Oil is meant to be used in conjunction with shave soap and a double edge safety razor or straight razor. But it can also be used with any wet shave system. Pre Shave Oil provides “slip”, which allows the razor to move smoothly across the skin, reducing the chance of irritation from hairs being pulled. While Badger Shave Soap has naturally occurring and added glycerin, I find that using Pre Shave Oil best mimics the experience of shaving with foam or a gel. Pre Shave Oil not only adds more “slip”, it also helps to soften hairs resulting in a nice, close shave.
Tip three: 2-minute lather
In my experience, the key to building a great lather with Badger Shave Soap is to work the puck with the horse hair shaving brush for at least 2 minutes. This creates foam that more closely resembles canned shaving foam. I know 2 minutes may seem like a really long time. But keep in mind, the longer you swirl your brush over the Badger shave soap, the smaller the bubbles become, the longer the lather lasts after it’s applied to the skin. For the first couple of times, try timing yourself. Eventually you will become a Zen shave soap master, able to build the perfect lather every time.
Tip four: swirl, then paint
After building the perfect lather, apply it to your skin using what I like to call the “swirl and paint” method. First, apply the lather onto your skin in a circular motion, over the Pre Shave Oil. This gently exfoliates the skin and feels really good. Then, paint on additional foam using an up and down (or side to side) motion. This will deposit more foam onto the skin. Start shaving. If the foam thins out during the shave, feel free to paint on more.
Following these tips is the key to enjoying an award-winning shave with a totally natural and 85% organic Badger Shave Soap—every time.
What is your experience shaving with natural shave soap? Share your own tips for the Badger community in the comments below!