Shave Techniques

General Usage Information

Ethos Shave Soaps are easy to whip up into a rich, creamy, yogurt like lather that provides great protection, slickness and post shave.

A half to a whole almond size amount of Shave Soap is enough for three to four passes. Begin with a wet shave brush that is well shaken out, then start building your lather by adding a few drops of water at a time until the desired consistency is achieved. Because the water in every area is different, you may need to experiment with the amount of water used. Distilled water is also an option. ETHOS recommends using warm water, as either hot or cold water can have a negative effect on your skin and your shave.

Our Shave Soaps work well with all types of shaving brushes, both natural and synthetic.

If you like to use a shaving bowl to create your lather, just scoop out the recommended amount and smash it in the center of the bowl. Then begin to swirl your brush. Add a few drops of water at a time until a rich, creamy lather is built up.

You may prefer to load out of the jar, and that is perfectly fine, but to prevent getting too much water into the soap puck, we recommend you turn the jar upside down and swirl your brush to load it. We believe adding water to any ETHOS shave soap jar is counterproductive to our curing process, where we eliminate as much moisture as possible.

Loading time is approximately 30 seconds. Once the brush is loaded, apply the lather to your damp skin with a few painting strokes at first, then begin swirling it around your face. Add a few drops of water if needed. Then finish by painting WTG, XTG, and ATG until you get a nice non-translucent dense coating of rich, creamy lather. Begin your shave.

Specific Instructions for ETHOS Shave Soap and Crème Bases

If done correctly, all ETHOS Shave Soaps are easy to lather. If you have a problem, this more detailed information can help you achieve the best lather possible for a great shave experience.

S Base Shave Soap

The S Base Shave Soap is a tallow shaving soap on the softer side compared to our F Base soap. Although it can be loaded right from the jar, we recommend building the lather in a shave bowl or shaving scuttle.

F Base Shave Soap

Our tallow F Base Shave Soap is firmer than the S Base and is perfect for those that like to load their brushes with lather right out of the jar. Of course, you can also use a shave bowl or shaving scuttle by scraping some soap off the surface of the shave soap, then use the method of mashing the soap on the bottom of the bowl as mentioned above.

Roll–On Face & Body Shave Soap

This base is a firm non-tallow shaving soap in an easy-to-use roll-on container. Perfect for travel, shower shaving, or in front of a mirror, it is easy to use and not at all messy. This shave soap works for the face or head and for body shaving for both men and women. To use, roll it on the area you want to shave, creating a transparent film that covers the area. Then with your shave brush, begin building your lather as you normally would and don’t forget to paint! NOTE: you can also build the lather with your hands, especially when body shaving.

Tallow and Vegan Shave Crèmes

Ethos Shave Crèmes don’t need much more load time than our other Shave Soaps. The Shave Crèmes are soft enough to be scooped out easily. Loading from the jar is not recommended, as you may get too much on your brush. Instead, use a scoop, a small spoon or your fingers. If using a bowl, place a nickel size amount of shaving crème in the bottom of the bowl between the ridges and begin to build your lather. Another way is to put the shave crème on the head of the brush and build your lather right on your face, head or body. The final way is to take some out with your fingers and apply it to the area you want to shave, then build your lather with your brush or hands.

NOTE: Though loading from the jar is very popular, we’d like to inform our customers that we believe adding water to any ETHOS shave soap jar (blooming) is counterproductive to our curing process, where we eliminate as much moisture as possible from our soaps. When taking soap from the jar with the brush, we recommend turning the jar upside down, then adding the water to the tip of the brush before applying it to your face.

Tools for Building Lather

Shaving Bowls

A shave bowl is an important purchase, so do some research to make sure you pick one that meets your needs. Width and height are factors, as you want a bowl that’s not too high to avoid hitting the sides of the bowl when you’re swirling your brush as this can damage the brush handle. Also, you want a bowl with plenty of width so you have enough room to mix your lather. Ridges on the bottom of the bowl help to create friction, and this type of shave bowl is highly recommended. Dimples in a shave bowl also work well

Shaving Brushes

Choosing a shave brush is a very personal decision, and it’s good to know that ETHOS Shave Soaps and Crèmes work well with all types and sizes of shaving brushes, including natural animal hair shaving brushes like Badger, Boar or Horsehair. Our soaps also work great with synthetic shaving brushes. Remember that animal hair shaving brushes retain quite a bit more water than synthetic ones, so be sure to shake or squeeze out excess water before starting to load your brush. When using ETHOS Shave Soaps and Crèmes, try different knots (if you have multiples) until you find the one that best suits that particular soap or crème.

General Lathering Methods

Step 1: Begin by soaking your shave brush in warm water.

Step 2: Take the scoop provided with your ETHOS Shave Soap and scoop about a half to a full almond size amount of shave soap from the jar.

Step 3: Mash the soap on the bottom center of the shave bowl and spread it out from there. NOTE: if loading from the jar then just get a good amount of soap on the tip of the brush and take it into the shave bowl.

Step 4: Begin to gently swirl the damp tip of the shaving brush on the surface of the shave soap in the bowl, then gradually pick up the pace and add a little bit of pressure to get a little more friction going but don’t splay the brush too much. Mix up your movements, sometimes going side to side or using a figure eight motion.

Step 5: While building the lather, it may begin to get a little paste like and if you see this happening, the soap is telling you to add some water. One option is to use a bottle with a dropper top as it’s easy to control how much water you add. Some like to use their fingertips, so do whatever works best for you. Don’t add too much water all at once, but rather a little at a time. Too much water can ruin a lather! Generally, shave soap takes around 30 seconds to build into a nice, rich and creamy lather, but water type, the brush used, and many other factors may add to or subtract from the time.

NOTE: If you are going to face lather right from the jar, build a nice paste on the tips of your brush and paint some on your face. There usually is a bit of lather left in the jar so use your brush to pick some up on the next pass or use your fingers to spread it out on your face. No sense in wasting good lather, and you may need it for more passes or buffing.

Step 6: Begin to work the lather around the area to be shaved with a swirling motion, followed by more painting. You can also use a figure eight pattern when painting on the lather. Continue to paint until your lather has a rich, dense, yogurt-like consistency that stays close to the face. You don’t want to look like Santa Claus with mounds of fluffy lather falling off your face!

STEP 7: Begin the shave, and after finishing the 1st pass, rinse and repeat Step 6. The traditional way is to rinse off the lather completely and then apply another layer. I have found a little trick that works great for me that I thought I’d share: after finishing the first pass, instead of rinsing off all the lather, I run one of my hands under the water, then rub the water into any of the lather left from the 1st pass all over the area I’m shaving. Then paint more lather right over that for my next pass, and begin my second pass. I do the same thing on each pass, no matter how many I take. Also, when painting on my lather, the last paint I do is the opposite of the pass I’m doing with my razor. So, if I’m shaving WTG, my last painting of lather is ATG. This goes for both XTG directions and the ATG pass. These nontraditional techniques seem to give me optimum shave results.

Final Thoughts on Lathering a Shaving Soap or Shaving Cream

The most important thing is to have fun with your shaving ritual and experiment with all kinds of products, aromas, techniques and hardware and get a great shave as a result!

Great Shaves All.