How to Keep Your Shaving Lather Nice and Warm [VIDEO]

by Brett on May 25, 2012 · 55 comments

in Dress & Grooming, Shaving

For those of you shaving with a safety razor or straight razor, I wanted to share this quick tip on how to keep your lather nice and warm.

  • Create your lather in your mug or bowl.
  • Place your lather mug or bowl in your empty sink.
  • Fill up the sink with piping hot water until the water reaches about halfway up the mug.
  • Enjoy a nice hot lather your whole shave through.

Until next time ye brothers of the badger brush.

{ 55 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Hunter May 25, 2012 at 1:56 pm

I use a wood bowl. Would that work?

2 fitzage May 25, 2012 at 2:03 pm

Cold shaving is where it’s at.

3 Scott W. May 25, 2012 at 2:06 pm

Great mo.

4 Eric Granata May 25, 2012 at 2:24 pm

Great tip! Can’t wait to try this. Another thing I do is let the lather sit on my face for a minute or two while i run the comb through my hair, apply deodorant, etc. I find my body heat warms things up well.

Also, I started using a pre-shave oil on my whiskers that I put on underneath the soap. It’s a miracle worker.

5 Jim W. May 25, 2012 at 2:25 pm

I use a DirtyBird scuttle. Same theory – fill the scuttle with hot water and enjoy!

6 Nate May 25, 2012 at 2:28 pm

I actually went another direction. I bought a ceramic dip chiller bowl. It is basically a set of nestled bowls with a lid. I fill the larger outer bowl with hot water (out of an electric kettle because my hot water doesn’t produce in my apartment). and then place the inner bowl on top. I then build my lather in the top bowl. It stays super warm through three passes. My wife likes it because it looks good on the counter top (that sort of thing is important for her). Best of all, the one I bought online set me back $14, compared to $30 for a shaving mug or scuttle.

Here is the link to what I bought:

7 Rogin May 25, 2012 at 2:54 pm

I’ve tried this before, but didn’t seem to notice that much of a difference. I also prefer to wash my razor underneath the faucet rather than in a pool of water in the sink. I feel it’s a little more sanitary that way, especially when people wash their hands, spit, etc in the sink.

Really liked the video, though. You should continue using video for your articles!

8 Andy Dustman May 25, 2012 at 4:49 pm

Some other ideas, none of which I’ve tried yet:

Heat up a microwaveable hot/cold compress pack and put your shaving bowl on that.

Pop your shaving bowl full of foam in the microwave for a few seconds. (This one should make for a smashing video in any case)

9 Andy Dustman May 25, 2012 at 4:51 pm

Ive been trying to find ways to avoid wasting water and energy. Some other ideas, none of which I’ve tried yet:

Heat up a microwaveable hot/cold compress pack and put your shaving bowl on that.

Pop your shaving bowl full of foam in the microwave for a few seconds. (This one should make for a smashing video in any case)

10 Blake May 25, 2012 at 6:34 pm

I have a shave scuttle as well (don’t know if it’s from Dirty Bird, but same idea), and I love it.

11 The Dutch Dastard May 25, 2012 at 7:03 pm

I always preheat the mug by pouring some hot water in beforehand, and let it rest for a bit. That usually does the trick, and prevents the mug from going all dirty and hairy on the outside….

12 Mick May 25, 2012 at 8:33 pm

DItto Fitzage! Cold water shaving is the best.

13 Craig May 25, 2012 at 8:35 pm

For a growth that has been developing for a couple of days, I apply standard hair conditioner before lather and this makes the bristles a lot softer and easier to shave.

14 Philip May 25, 2012 at 8:37 pm

I never understood why you need a shave bowl. Just rinse the brush with hot water, apply the cream onto the brush and lather up directly on the face. The warmth of your face and the heat of the water will keep the lather warm.

15 Pat May 26, 2012 at 12:00 am

I used to do this until the plug on my bathroom sink broke. None of my sinks work now. :(

16 Glenn May 26, 2012 at 12:11 am

Brett, I just wanted to compliment your mustache.

17 Jon May 26, 2012 at 12:16 am

Brett, that is brilliant! I already fill the sink up, now I can keep my lather hot. Bully!

On another note, Excellent mustache.

18 Ben May 26, 2012 at 5:50 am

That’s a *ahem* hot tip, but I took you up on the cold shave technique and it’s the way to go for me – works brilliantly every time!

19 Rick May 26, 2012 at 6:57 am

I use a small diameter Waverly shaving mug set on a coffee cup warmer or candlle warmer. Although any type ceramic cup or small bowl will work. I turn the warmer on and place the cup on it prior to beginning the first shave. This will preheat the cup. Then I put a small amount of water in the cup or wet the brush before placing it in the cup on the warmer to help conduct the heat through the bristles. This has worked great for me, but a word of warning. Between passes, the brush can actually get pretty hot… although it’s never burned me. If you have sensitive skin, use some caution. The brush can be cooled some during the lathering stage, unless you are using a shave stick applied directly to your face. Also, I apply double stick foam tape to the bottom of the cup warmer to secure it to the sink counter top, so it doesn’t end up in the sink under the facet. I’ve been using this method for about three years now without incident and my brush doesn’t seem to have suffered either. I actually started wet shaving while researching a hot lather dispenser for aerosol shaving cream, and then realized that hot water and a brush would work better!

20 Rick May 26, 2012 at 7:03 am

A not of clarification for the above, I use a separate mug for lathering or lather cream in the palm of my hand. The mug/cup on the warmer is only for heating the brush.

21 Christopher J. Maurer May 26, 2012 at 8:57 am

What’s wrong with good old Barbasol from a can? It’s cheaper, faster and it does the job perfectly. Splash warm water on your face, slather it on, and shave. If you want to do a second round of passes with the razor, splash more warm water on and repeat the process!

22 Matt May 26, 2012 at 9:50 am

Great shaving tip. Love the old jazz tunes. Who was that?

23 Nate May 26, 2012 at 12:01 pm

I second the Coffee cup warmer. Picked one up at a thrift store for $1.

24 Tom May 26, 2012 at 12:04 pm

Now that is a manly man.

25 Chris May 27, 2012 at 9:22 am

You can find the above tip plus everything else you ever wanted to know about shaving with a safety razor at Matic59′s youtube channel:

26 AaronW May 27, 2012 at 10:44 am

I use time, not heat. I wash with soap and water, then rub a thin layer of inexpensive foamy shave cream into the whiskers.
Then I apply a thicker additional layer, then set a countdown timer to about five minutes.
Whiskers are uber-soft by then and practically glide off my face. I get shaving cuts maybe twice a year – and always when I’m in a hurry or distracted.

27 Marty H May 27, 2012 at 1:41 pm

Heating the brush & mug with the hot water for a few minutes before mixing your lather seems to provide some benefit as well. I believe it is the heat retention in the brush that mostly makes the lather feel warm.

28 logan May 27, 2012 at 3:09 pm

i didnt know you had to make multiple swipes with the razor, ive been clean swiping one time

29 GardenStater May 27, 2012 at 5:51 pm

I use a badger brush with scalding hot water. But I rinse my 1940s safety razor with cold water. (I’ve done it this way for years–not sure why.)

That provides me with a nice hot lather, but a refreshing swipe with the blade.

As to needing to lather up several times: Unless I’m interrupted, that’s never been an issue. But my beard, while needing a daily shave, is pretty light.

30 Nic May 28, 2012 at 7:33 am

+1 for the DirtyBird scuttle – I’ve been using the DB1.5 for a while now, can’t say enough good things about it – fantastic

31 dogg May 28, 2012 at 11:34 am

Here’s the ultimate manly shaving tip.

Don’t use shaving cream. Merely wet your face with your preference of cold or hot water, and shave away.

I saw this suggestion in another magazine and thought it was crazy, but gave it a try anyway. It works!

My blades last longer, I get fewer nicks and cuts, and there is no mess from cream all over the place. I find it tends to work better with the razors that have fewer blades that 4. I haven’t used cream in more than a year, and I intend to keep it that way.

32 Ryan May 28, 2012 at 4:26 pm

If you have a ceramic mug use a coffee mug warmer. They keep it warm as long as you need it to be!

33 Tupakka Haitat May 29, 2012 at 9:13 am

Hi, I’m from Finland but I still enjoy following your blog and it is much because of posts like this.. useful little tricks..

34 Jeremy May 29, 2012 at 9:53 am

Even better, use a Dirty Bird Scuttle from Dirty Bird Pottery. Top Notch!

35 Chad May 29, 2012 at 11:25 am

So, I have a dumb question. If my mug is in the sink, how am I supposed to get at the water to rinse my face? I’m just a novice safety razor user, so maybe I’m just missing something.

36 Jim May 29, 2012 at 12:08 pm

I tried lathering from a cup once. Didn’t like it at all. I lather right on my face. So, after i soak the brush (or more likely, just run hot water into it) and swirl it through my soap puck, it goes right on my face. It’s still nice and warm from the initial soak. Then after that, for each successive pass, I dip it into the hot water in my sink. Not a lot, but just enough to rewet. Oddly, the soap and cut whiskers tend to stay to the right side where I dip my razor and thus, I dip the brush on the left.

37 Sveyden May 29, 2012 at 12:17 pm

After trying all the tricks, I find the best, easiest way to shave is in the shower. You can install one of those anti-fog mirrors that uses hot water circulating or just use a small hand held to get the details. (if you rub a little soap on the mirror it does not fog). I don’t use any shave cream anymore, just lather up some soap and go. No muss no fuss and everything goes down the drain.

38 Brian May 29, 2012 at 2:23 pm

I agree with fitzage. I switched to coldshave and have had closer shaves then with my safety then I ever did with hot.

39 Tyler S. May 30, 2012 at 10:18 am

Better just invest in scuttle. Reason is that with a sink, it is curved edges and bowl. Therefore the mug has to sit in the center of the sink…guess where the faucet will hit when turned on to rinse the straight razor. You may be thinking, well I will rinse it in the water next to the mug…unless you keep your sink spotless and continuously clean it, there is bacteria in there which will get put on your face and may cause infection…or you may go to rinse the blade and knick the cutting edge causing you a world or trouble to try to hone out the knick. Scuttles work just as well and you don’t risk damaging anything.

40 Mike May 30, 2012 at 2:36 pm

I shave in the shower and I bought a metal mug in the camping section of K Mart for under three bucks. It’s an over sized coffee mug. I hold it under the shower head and the water surrounds the mug. In 20 or 30 seconds, it’s as hot as the water. Get the brush wet, slap it in the mug and the lather’s hot.
I also recently tried using hair conditioner on my whiskers prior to the shave and was impressed with the smoothness of the final shave.

41 Charles James May 30, 2012 at 3:03 pm

Beard like a yak!!! LOL

42 Bryan Sullo May 30, 2012 at 4:55 pm

I asked for an antique safety razor and badger hair brush for my birthday. Here’s hoping my wife can find one.

43 jaklumen May 31, 2012 at 1:21 am

I haven’t stepped up to shave soap and a brush yet, but I did get a Merkur Model 180 and I’m absolutely loving it. Wish I’d made the switch from my years of Gillette multi-bladed stuff sooner.

I get really good results when I shave at the gym; I’m usually swimming at the pool and spend a little time in the steam room before shaving. I’m using a gel foam but I follow up with a little tea tree oil and that’s been working very well so far. I also usually just rinse directly under the faucet but I’ll consider a scuttle, maybe.

44 Skip June 4, 2012 at 3:27 am

Yo, Brett: Most excellent video on keeping lather hot. Also, have you seen all the stuff on shaving with no lather at all? Seems to be getting a following. Got a good look at your ‘stache in the video. You should be proud. Good job! Skip.

45 Brad June 4, 2012 at 9:45 am

Good tips!

I used to suffer from terrible razor bumps and ingrown hair. I simply stopped pulling my skin taut when shaving. This was done by not helping to shave with my free hand.

46 Jason Oliver June 4, 2012 at 7:44 pm

Here is a mug that does the same thing by letting you add hot water to it under the soap.

47 Phil Sanchez June 10, 2012 at 11:22 pm

Another great article Brett, hey if you ever need any Shaving Products Donated to help with research let me know! I have a small Shaving Store called The Classic Edge Shaving Store. Anything I can do to help with these great Articles!

48 Brad June 13, 2012 at 8:14 am

I have to lather up 8 times. 4 for the face and 4 for the head shave. How about a the steamy hot towel to finish it off?

49 Daman June 18, 2012 at 4:14 am

Just here to compliment that stache!

50 Jimi October 24, 2012 at 9:27 am

I recently took up safety razor shaving. Being military a good shave can mean the difference of looking like a squared away Soldier or a total sh*tbag. I’ve found that even the highest quality gimmick razor don’t even come close to my standard safety blade. The money isn’t as much in the blades as it is the shaving cream, oil, and after shave.

51 Sean February 16, 2013 at 2:21 pm

Works like a charm! I’m still trying to use up a pack of 4 blade razors, and it works fine for those too, the warm lather is a nice addition to any morning routine.

52 Matt G February 17, 2013 at 11:36 am

Great tip. Thanks! I’ll try this tomorrow.

53 David May 9, 2013 at 12:19 pm

Before I start my shower, I fill my mug with hot water and then microwave it for one minute.
Then after the shower, I get my brush ready, then dump the mug.
Then I mix my lather in the hot mug and get a nice warm shave.

54 George H July 9, 2013 at 10:13 pm

Great job on this article Brett as usual. I have a four dollar fix for hot lather. Go to walmart or another place with a garden section and get a self watering pot. Put water in bottom put top pot in and micro for 1 minute. Lather up in top bowl. Will keep lather hot for a solid 10 minutes no problem. Lather was just as hot for second pass as was for first. This is called a poor man’s scuttle.

55 Jimmy D February 21, 2014 at 9:35 am

First thing when I get up I head to the bathroom. I put a small amount of the Aveno brand moisturizing body wash into my shaving mug –t hen a little water and swish it around. I have one of those coffee mug warmers that I turn on which is located under the mug. I place the brush in the mug and go down stairs and have my coffee. I don’t worry about the warmer as I have it plugged into GFI outlets. These are code for all new homes. Twenty minutes I am upstairs, brushing, flossing and such. I enter the shower, putting the Aveno moisturizing soap on my face, then I rinse. When I exit the shower I head to the mug. By now the soap in the mug is hot and goes on so well. Also, I have a device called the blade buddy where I can hone my blade prior. Fifteen one way swipes on this “rubber” pad gets the blade ready. I continue to hone the blade between blade passes on my face.

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