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Soft Water is Strange

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Soft Water is Strange

Postby Quarterstick » Tue Dec 06, 2011 2:33 pm

Or perhaps I should say, it acts differently than what I am used to. My new home has a water softener. The water in this area is not particularly hard so I am not sure why the former owner had one installed, most likely preference. The jury is out on whether I will bypass the system or leave it in.

Since wet shaving is... wet, the water obviously has an impact on how the process works. When I first started wet shaving I had problems using too little water, but now a little bit of water seems to make a massive amount of lather. Yet, the lather dries out quickly. To make it more tricky, the soft water seems to make lather feel more slippery. I keep tweeking the ratio and have determined that less soap/cream with more water seems to work. Any additional things I may be missing or different experiences?

Thanks
Andy

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Postby ShadowsDad » Tue Dec 06, 2011 7:47 pm

Well, I don't know. I have soft water also and that's all I've known for the past 30+ years.

Yes, you'll get mounds of lather with very little product, sometimes you'll need to ignore that and use more product anyway to get the lather you want. Too little product and the lather will break down with the addition of just a little more water. You'll think before that point that you're OK, then it goes to hell with a smidgeon more. All because of soft water and too little product. That happened to me when I was reviewing Top Ten For Men cream. If that happens, more product and more water and waste what lather you don't use.

Soft water isn't bad, just different. It'll give you more options, it's just in knowing how to get what you want and working with it.

Yes, it'll be slicker too, and you'll need to rinse for quite a while to rinse it off too. It just takes getting accustomed to it.

For drinking I'd bypass the softener, but you probably know that. I can pick up on the sodium in softened water in a heartbeat. Our home water is naturally soft, so no sodium, but soft is soft as far as soap is concerned.

I'd stick with the soft water when it comes to soap, but drink the unsoftened water if I could- even if I had to run a separate line for drinking water. Your body doesn't need the extra sodium.
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Postby m3m0ryleak » Tue Dec 06, 2011 10:19 pm

Living on a well for the past two plus decades with hard, acidic water has certainly had its effect on this one time city boy. I still use bottled water for consumption if for no other reason than the treatment system does not really change the "taste" of the well water. As for human sodium intake, here's an updated look from the witch doctors:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/20 ... 132935.htm
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Postby Squire » Wed Dec 07, 2011 11:59 am

Andy I shave with both hard and soft water, different places of course, and don't find enough difference to really matter. For me it's more about matching the brush to the soap in question.
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Postby jww » Wed Dec 07, 2011 12:17 pm

We are pretty lucky in Ottawa as we have pretty soft water. I notice a significant difference when I travel as I find most places I go to tend to have harder water.

I find that hard water tends to use up soap more quickly than hard water does. Also -- lather tends to break down more quickly and so as a result I often double-dip in harder water areas. If there is a high content of iron, then that's a different issue.
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Postby fallingwickets » Wed Dec 07, 2011 1:19 pm

I dont like my well water at all.....I long for the toxic hard city stuff i used to have :lol: :lol:

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Postby Quarterstick » Wed Dec 07, 2011 1:32 pm

Thanks for the input as always gentlemen.

Part of the problem is that I had gotten so used to how things worked with my previous water. It is getting back to basics, focusing on look and feel, and not skimping on the product or water. Tweaking and figuring this stuff out is part of the fun after all.

Squire wrote:Andy I shave with both hard and soft water, different places of course, and don't find enough difference to really matter. For me it's more about matching the brush to the soap in question.


There is a tangible difference for me. I suspect that the hardness is set very low on the softener. I will need to do some research on checking the hardness and adjusting the softener as necessary. Also, at this point I only have one brush. All my nickles and dimes go to the house currently so that is not going to change any time soon.

ShadowsDad wrote:For drinking I'd bypass the softener, but you probably know that.


No worries here. The house also has a reverse osmosis filter for drinking water. I really appreciate it too because although the local water is not particularly hard without a softener, it does taste funny.
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Postby brothers » Sun Dec 11, 2011 6:58 am

Andy, our city has hard tap water. In the beginning days of trying to make really good usable lather with soaps was very frustrating. I had no idea if our water was hard or soft, and thus I totally ignored the advice commonly given here and on the other shaving forums about the use of soft water to improve the lathering of soaps.

More than one highly recommended soap came and went before I finally got the clue. Distilled (soft) water was my big breakthrough. I am able to use any soap I choose, and with the proper brush and technique, can get great lathers, by NOT using my tap water with soaps.

Creams are a bit different. Distilled water seems to cause my creams to over-achieve, making what I consider to be a lather that's too fluffy in some cases. So I use tap water freely when using shaving cream, and I only use distilled water to lather any soap.

This has proven to be one of the greatest improvements I've experienced so far, right up there with the use of badger brushes instead of boar.

I'm certainly not going to get a water softerner installed. Our hard city water is just fine for everything except the use of shaving soaps.
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Postby Sargon » Sun Dec 11, 2011 3:04 pm

it does make a difference. Where I live the water is hard and iron laden. I often stay at a friend's house to care for their horses, and their water is less hard ( still hard, but less so), and lathering is much easier there. Likewise, it is very different when I use a product with a lot of tetrasodium edta ( water softening agent) like arko. I have to adjust how I lather or it "looks" okay, but is really anemic.
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