How to use shaving cream: 4 Different Techniques in Lathering Up

by Garrick Dee | Last Updated:
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One of the best ways to get a world-class shave without spending $$$ on a barber would be using shaving cream.

How to use shaving cream

In this guide, we will be specifically talking about how to properly lather shaving cream to the best possible results in wet shaving.

This is a follow-up article to our previous guide, how to use a bar of shaving soap. If you have not read that guide, please take a few minutes and read it.

So how do you properly use shaving cream?

That would depend on the type of product you have right now.

There are different kinds of shaving creams, again you’d have to read our shaving cream guide to get a better picture of what options are available, pros and cons and some product suggestions.

You can apply shaving creams 4 different ways:

  1. Lather shaving cream in a shaving bowl/mug and a shaving brush
  2. Direct on the face with a shaving brush
  3. Lather on palm
  4. Apply using hands-only (no brush or bowl)

1. Lathering shaving cream using a shaving bowl/mug and shaving brush

If there is a best practice for using shaving creams, this has got to be on top of the list.

Using this method allows you to create the richest and warmest lather that provides the slickest lather that you can use for a multi-pass shave.

And since only a pea-sized drop of cream is needed for a creamy lather, it allows you to maximize each tube you buy, saving you some $$$ in the long haul.

Choosing a bowl or mug

The first thing to look in a bowl or mug would be the size and depth. It has to be wide and deep enough to accommodate the amount of lather you’ll be creating with a shaving brush.

A shallow bowl may not be able to keep lather inside the container as you swirl it around. If it’s too deep, then it’ll be hard to move your hand when stirring it. This is why a lot of mugs don’t work very well.

Another thing to look at is the material of the bowl/mug. Choose something that’ll efficiently insulate heat like ceramic, glass, or metal.

Ceramic would be the best at retaining heat from hot water.

Prepping the shaving brush and cream

One technique that a lot of men use to save time would be soaking the shaving brush in hot water in a mug while taking a hot shower.

Also, fill the bowl up with hot water. Doing this does two things, heat from the water leaves residual heat on the container. And there’ll be remaining wetness left behind – you’ll need it for lathering.

Soaking the brush loosens and softens the bristles. A warm bowl also helps create warm lather – something that’s essential to minimize irritation, especially if you have sensitive skin.

Lathering up

If you have not done it, take out the brush from the bowl and shake it a bit to remove excess water.

Apply a pea or almond-sized amount of shaving cream on the tips of the bristles.

Then proceed to start twirling the brush on the bowl or mug in a circular motion.

As you twirl the brush around, you’ll notice lather starting to build up. In as little as 15 seconds, you’ll have something that looks like whipped cream.

If you notice it lacking water, you can add a few drops of water.

Be careful not to add to much water too soon, or it’ll be too bubbly.

Don’t worry, if there’s much water just continue the swirling motion until you get this type of consistency.

Air packets can be removed by pushing the brush on those areas while twirling the brush around.

2. Direct on the face with shaving brush without a bowl

circular lather

Let’s say you’re on a business trip, and the only thing you can pack is shaving brush and cream, not to worry. You can still use shaving cream even without a bowl.

The first step would be soaping the shaving brush in a mug or cup for a minute or so.

After the brush is soaked and ready, apply an almond-sized drop of shaving cream on the tips of the brush using your finger.

Then proceed to start lathering the face in a circular motion.

The process is similar but minus the extra step of lathering in a bowl which makes it the fastest method of applying shaving cream, if you want to save some time use this technique.

Remember to add some water if you feel the lather drying out. Don’t worry, as long as you add a little water, you’ll never run out of lather.

Some men prefer this over using a bowl, while others would prefer using a bowl.

3. Lather on palm

This technique is a combo method 1 and 2 but without the shaving bowl.

Before starting this, make sure to do everything you need to do to prep – hot shower and soaking the brush in hot water.

The first step would be putting an almond-sized amount of shaving cream on the palm of your hand.

Then get your shaving brush, which already soaked, and start the twirling motion until you get a rich lather. Please be mindful of the water content in the lather.

If you feel that it lacks water, then gently soak the tip of the brush in water then continue the lathering process.

With both hands filled with shave cream, it’ll be very slippery, and you’d have to wash off the cream from one hand to shave.

Sure, you could still stretch your face, but it’ll be slippery.

Between lathering directly on the face and hand, I’d go with the former because you’ll have both hands at your disposal.

4. Applying with hands

If you don’t have access to a shaving brush or cream, then you’ll have to use this technique. I would not recommend it unless the product is made for such.

As with the other techniques, make sure to prep your face before applying any shaving cream on your face.

The first step would be washing your face and leave your face damp.

The next step is adding an almond-sized amount of shaving cream at the palm of your hand.

Slowly rub your hands together to build lather. It’s like washing your hands with soap, but instead of using soap, you’re using shave cream. Just don’t rinse!

After you’ve built enough lather with your hands, apply it on your face.

Obviously, this technique is the messiest since both your hands will have shaving cream all over.

And you’ll have to wipe off the shaving cream on the hand that you’ll be using to handle the brush

In my opinion, this technique is applicable if you’re using a brushless cream like the Cremo Cream for Men that works great if you’re using an electric razor.

To Wrap It Up

Out of the four techniques, I’d say the first or second technique is the best, depending on your preference. If you don’t mind the extra step of lathering on a bowl, then I’d go with the first, but a faster way would be directly lathering on the face.

It doesn’t matter since you’ll never run out of lather as long as you’re using a good quality shaving cream.

I hope this guide helped you in choosing the proper technique for lathering. There’s really no right or wrong way. It’ll depend on your preference and what you’re comfortable with.

Expect some trial and error if you’re doing this for the first time. But as you get more experience, creating lather becomes second nature.

Bear in mind that every brand will utilize different ingredients, so lathering time may vary.

You’ll also have to look at your water source, whether you have hard water or not, that would also affect the result.

The shaving brush is also another variable. Make sure to check out our guide to shaving brushes if you have not done so.

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