The "science" of shaving?

What is your opinion on fine shaving creams and hard soaps? Do you like Trumpers, Coates, Taylors, Truefitt & Hill? Post your reviews and opinions here!
mikehart82
Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Nov 24, 2015 1:19 pm

The "science" of shaving?

Post by mikehart82 » Tue Nov 24, 2015 2:53 pm

Hey everyone,

I'm just wondering from a strictly scientific point of view, shouldn't we be using the slickest substance available to shave? And if that's the case, is shaving cream/soap really the best option?

I don't know, I'm just asking...

CMur12
Posts: 6809
Joined: Mon Dec 18, 2006 8:41 pm
Location: Moses Lake, Washington

Re: The "science" of shaving?

Post by CMur12 » Tue Nov 24, 2015 3:07 pm

Hi Mike, welcome to SMF!

We use lather to soften the beard, to provide glide/lubricity/slickness, and to provide some protective cushion to the blade. It has to do all of this, and it has to allow the blade ready access to the whiskers for an easy cut. Shaving soap and lathering creams do a pretty good job of meeting these requirements and they are the most popular such products on traditional shave forums. Non-lathering creams can work very well, too. Other products that are less popular here are aerosol foams and gels, which are convenient, but most here find them inferior by a goodly margin.

You could apply grease to your skin for slickness, but it might prevent the whiskers from absorbing water and softening and it might prevent the blade from effectively cutting the whiskers. So, the product needs to do more than just provide slickness. Of course, you can experiment with different products and share your experience here.

- Murray
Give me Soap or give me death!

User avatar
ShadowsDad
Posts: 2991
Joined: Thu Sep 29, 2011 1:13 am
Location: Central Maine

Re: The "science" of shaving?

Post by ShadowsDad » Tue Nov 24, 2015 3:29 pm

Actually that's a good question and one that I've never seen before. Obviously you're thinking and I like that! It's awfully hard (impossible?) to beat good lather for all of the above that Murray mentioned.

:-) Maybe cable lube, the stuff electricians use would work since it's water based, but I'll pass and stick with lather. If you learn to make a great lather it'll do everything required. If you make something better than what's currently state of the art I want to buy it and I'll be first in line. But I use vintage soaps and even those use the same technology we find good today. One soap that's from an extremely old formula (MWF) and still used today is just as good as many soaps made today but some are better. Better can be quite expensive to do, but it reaches that last 10% of perfection. But faces and technology for whisker removal simply hasn't changed in all of those years, hence shave soap and water for lather.
Brian

Maker of Kramperts Finest Bay Rum and Frostbite http://www.krampertsfinest.com/
Or find it here: Italian Barber, West Coast Shaving, Barclay Crocker, The Old Town Shaving Company at Stats, Maggard Razors; Leavitt & Peirce, Harvard Square

brothers
Posts: 19309
Joined: Sun Sep 14, 2008 7:18 am
Location: Oklahoma City USA

Re: The "science" of shaving?

Post by brothers » Tue Nov 24, 2015 4:35 pm

Some guys use shaving oil, cheap and readily available at the big box retailers. Someone here recently reviewed it (ShadowsDad possibly?). Many of us consider it to be nothing more than mineral oil or some such, not really very good at what it is supposed to do. The canned foams and gels still account for probably 99% of the most commonly used shaving lubricants for male and female alike.
Gary

User avatar
Squire
Squadron Leader
Posts: 18970
Joined: Mon Apr 18, 2005 3:41 pm
Location: North East, MS

Re: The "science" of shaving?

Post by Squire » Tue Nov 24, 2015 8:06 pm

Hey Mike, welcome aboard. I can't say that science factors much into my shaving choices but like to think I keep an open mind. What shaving stuff/techniques work best for you?
Regards,
Squire

User avatar
ShadowsDad
Posts: 2991
Joined: Thu Sep 29, 2011 1:13 am
Location: Central Maine

Re: The "science" of shaving?

Post by ShadowsDad » Wed Nov 25, 2015 7:28 am

It might have been me Gary. I'm on a few forums though and I didn't find it here. But I seem to remember mentioning it here. Oh well.

I thought it was so bad (Shave Secret) that I just couldn't bring myself to spend much time in panning it. It would have been like shooting fish in a barrel. I just gave it very close to failing marks and left it at that. I think the bright spot during the shave was when I gave up on it and built a lather to complete the shave. Yes, we did discuss it and thought it was expensive mineral oil.
Brian

Maker of Kramperts Finest Bay Rum and Frostbite http://www.krampertsfinest.com/
Or find it here: Italian Barber, West Coast Shaving, Barclay Crocker, The Old Town Shaving Company at Stats, Maggard Razors; Leavitt & Peirce, Harvard Square

User avatar
BPman
Posts: 409
Joined: Thu Jun 11, 2015 1:57 am

Re: The "science" of shaving?

Post by BPman » Wed Nov 25, 2015 10:12 pm

mikehart82 wrote:Hey everyone,

I'm just wondering from a strictly scientific point of view, shouldn't we be using the slickest substance available to shave? And if that's the case, is shaving cream/soap really the best option?

I don't know, I'm just asking...
Yes, it is. I guess you could use STP if you wanted to, but your skin would fall off. :P Many creams/soaps have bentonite clay in them to aid glide. If you can stand the overpowering smell try Noxema face cream as many have had good results with it.

brothers
Posts: 19309
Joined: Sun Sep 14, 2008 7:18 am
Location: Oklahoma City USA

Re: The "science" of shaving?

Post by brothers » Fri Nov 27, 2015 8:10 am

I heartily recommend Noxzema as a brushless and very slick shaving cream. If I had never stumbled into the world of various creams and soaps, brushes and razors, my prayer is that at the very least, I would have discovered all of the miracles of Noxzema as a replacement for the canned shaving cream that I once used. It is dirt cheap and always available in my part of the world.
Gary

User avatar
Ouchmychin
Posts: 1595
Joined: Sat Sep 30, 2006 12:03 pm

Re: The "science" of shaving?

Post by Ouchmychin » Fri Nov 27, 2015 3:44 pm

I have not found the old Noxzema face cream for several years. I have used shaving oils and white mineral oil as a pre-lather slipping agent but didn't find any benefit. I do use a brushless cream about once a week. The secret of using them is water. Your face must be very wet before you start. Your hands must be as wet as possible. I rub them together to mix water and cream; then apply to my wet face. If you use it too thick you will never get a close shave. It is too protective. Some brands are also pasty and are hard to rinse off a razor. I am currently using Kiss My Face and it does this unless well diluted.
Ouchmychin (Pete)

User avatar
ShadowsDad
Posts: 2991
Joined: Thu Sep 29, 2011 1:13 am
Location: Central Maine

Re: The "science" of shaving?

Post by ShadowsDad » Fri Nov 27, 2015 10:20 pm

Pete, have you tried using KMF with a brush? I know the directions state that it's brushless, but it's even better with a brush IMO.
Brian

Maker of Kramperts Finest Bay Rum and Frostbite http://www.krampertsfinest.com/
Or find it here: Italian Barber, West Coast Shaving, Barclay Crocker, The Old Town Shaving Company at Stats, Maggard Razors; Leavitt & Peirce, Harvard Square

User avatar
Ouchmychin
Posts: 1595
Joined: Sat Sep 30, 2006 12:03 pm

Re: The "science" of shaving?

Post by Ouchmychin » Sat Nov 28, 2015 5:31 am

I'll give it a try but It's so greasy that I will have to wash the brush in dish soap afterward.
Ouchmychin (Pete)

User avatar
drmoss_ca
Admin
Posts: 9227
Joined: Thu Jul 08, 2004 4:39 pm

Re: The "science" of shaving?

Post by drmoss_ca » Sat Nov 28, 2015 8:48 am

KMF was the best of the brushless creams I tried, but it couldn't match the softening effect of a water based shaving lubricant. Perhaps one could soften the beard enough with hot water and soap, then apply it, but then if hot water and soap are available why use a brushless product that is designed to make the best of a bad job when neither hot water nor soap are to hand? At the end of it all, you must use whatever you find best for you. But if science is to be involved, softening the beard by fully hydrating the hairs before applying whatever lubricant you fancy has been proven to be the best method so far discovered.

Chris
"Je n'ai pas besoin de cette hypothèse."
Pierre-Simon de Laplace

User avatar
Ouchmychin
Posts: 1595
Joined: Sat Sep 30, 2006 12:03 pm

Re: The "science" of shaving?

Post by Ouchmychin » Sat Nov 28, 2015 2:09 pm

I like to rotate products. The brushless is just to keep in touch once a week or if I am pressed for time (like getting ready for church in a hurry).
Ouchmychin (Pete)

User avatar
drmoss_ca
Admin
Posts: 9227
Joined: Thu Jul 08, 2004 4:39 pm

Re: The "science" of shaving?

Post by drmoss_ca » Sat Nov 28, 2015 2:20 pm

Ouchmychin wrote:I like to rotate products. The brushless is just to keep in touch once a week or if I am pressed for time (like getting ready for church in a hurry).
OK, you win: I don't have to get ready for church (in a hurry or otherwise)!

C.
"Je n'ai pas besoin de cette hypothèse."
Pierre-Simon de Laplace

brothers
Posts: 19309
Joined: Sun Sep 14, 2008 7:18 am
Location: Oklahoma City USA

Re: The "science" of shaving?

Post by brothers » Sat Nov 28, 2015 4:15 pm

Nothing beats a hot shower before shaving.
Gary

User avatar
ShadowsDad
Posts: 2991
Joined: Thu Sep 29, 2011 1:13 am
Location: Central Maine

Re: The "science" of shaving?

Post by ShadowsDad » Sat Nov 28, 2015 4:33 pm

Ouchmychin wrote:I'll give it a try but It's so greasy that I will have to wash the brush in dish soap afterward.
Are you using the moisturizer or the shave cream? The shave cream isn't greasy at all, but water based and soapy. I almost made that mistake of confusing the two products when I bought my KMF shave cream.
Brian

Maker of Kramperts Finest Bay Rum and Frostbite http://www.krampertsfinest.com/
Or find it here: Italian Barber, West Coast Shaving, Barclay Crocker, The Old Town Shaving Company at Stats, Maggard Razors; Leavitt & Peirce, Harvard Square

User avatar
Ouchmychin
Posts: 1595
Joined: Sat Sep 30, 2006 12:03 pm

Re: The "science" of shaving?

Post by Ouchmychin » Wed Dec 02, 2015 6:41 pm

Today I tried using a brush with Kiss My Face brushless. It was wonderful. When I loaded up the brush it foamed a bit and spread very evenly and thick. One of the best shave creams I have used. When I tried to rinse the brush the handle had an oily/greasy film. This is a water based product but it is also "super fatted". Might keep the bristles soft but eventually I will have to wash my brush in dish soap to get it all out.
Ouchmychin (Pete)

User avatar
ShadowsDad
Posts: 2991
Joined: Thu Sep 29, 2011 1:13 am
Location: Central Maine

Re: The "science" of shaving?

Post by ShadowsDad » Wed Dec 02, 2015 8:43 pm

Pete, that doesn't sound at all like the KMF shave soap that is brushless. The stuff I use rinses free the same as any shave lather.

PM an address to me and I'll send you some pumps of the KMF I have.

Here's a link, do you find yours there? http://kissmyface.com/face/grid/natural-moisture-shaves
Brian

Maker of Kramperts Finest Bay Rum and Frostbite http://www.krampertsfinest.com/
Or find it here: Italian Barber, West Coast Shaving, Barclay Crocker, The Old Town Shaving Company at Stats, Maggard Razors; Leavitt & Peirce, Harvard Square

User avatar
Ouchmychin
Posts: 1595
Joined: Sat Sep 30, 2006 12:03 pm

Re: The "science" of shaving?

Post by Ouchmychin » Thu Dec 03, 2015 2:23 pm

Mine is the Cool Mint Moisture Shave. Thanks for the offer but I think these are similar products with different scents. It is the 4 in 1 part that seems to be the same, meaning the same base.
Ouchmychin (Pete)

notthesharpest
Assistant Dean SMFU
Posts: 9449
Joined: Mon Apr 18, 2005 10:32 am
Location: Vancouver, BC

Re: The "science" of shaving?

Post by notthesharpest » Fri Dec 04, 2015 12:39 pm

In its normal state, your beard is a bit like thousands of pieces of dry spaghetti, with their lower ends embedded in a steak. Your job is to trim off the spaghetti ends that are showing, without ruining the steak - and, importantly, without even disturbing the embedded parts of the spaghetti, because even doing that would do too much damage to such a tender "steak".

Oiling the steak will help to prevent damage, but you still have a major problem, because as you know cutting spaghetti dry is always unreliable and rough. You have to have a way to soften the spaghetti. :)

(This is one of the reasons why old-time barbers used uncomfortably hot water in those soaking towels - they knew, though they didn't say it this way, that they were doing something like cooking spaghetti, and the first requirement for that is to use a lot of hot water.)

Of course we can't actually boil our "spaghetti" without ruining the steak :) - so we have to resort to other methods of forcing water to soak into it and soften it up. This is where all the soap-based or detergent-based products come in - they soften the beard by making it absorb water.



OK, maybe enough with the food metaphor... but shaving lather has at least three important characteristics:

- It forms a physical barrier between skin and blade (the reason that lather is thick and cushiony)

- It pulls more water into the whiskers (the reason that lather contains soap or detergent)

- It lubricates the skin (the reason that lather is slippery).

Different brands and kinds of products combine these capabilities in differing proportions; some lathers form a weak physical barrier but are extremely good at wetting the hair, some are very protective of the skin even though they're not all that slippery, and so on.

Using only an oil product would probably be a disaster for most men to shave with. But there's at least a chance for the oil method if you start by having a hot soapy face wash of some kind to soften the beard. The advantage of a great lather is that it gives all three characteristics in one product. Poor lather products are usually deficient in one of the three characteristics, perhaps because the makers of those products simply didn't know they had so many bases to cover.

Post Reply