HOW TO BUILD LATHER WITH YOUR BRUSH AND MUG
1. Fill your mug with hot water and place your shaving brush in it to soak. Set this aside for a few minutes (some wet shavers will take their shower and let the brush soak through the duration). Not only will this hydrate your brush, but it will also heat the mug to help to keep your lather warm during your shave.
2. Pour out the water from the mug and give your brush a LIGHT squeeze or a few shakes to remove some excess water. Do not squeeze out the water completely otherwise your lather will become too dry as you mix it.
3. Add some cream to your bowl (about the size of a nickel) and begin mixing it with your brush. After 20-30 laps, you should notice the cream swirl around the sides of the mug and look more like a paste rather than begin to foam. If so, add a small amount of water to the mug (about a teaspoon) and continue mixing. This technique of adding water as you go is called the Load/Hydrate Method. Note: It is important to start with little water and add more as you go to ensure the cream will not become too wet. Wet lather will be runny and lack the protection your cream should provide.
4. After adding more water, your cream should begin to foam, if it still looks to dry after another 20-30 laps, add another round of water and continue mixing. Repeat this step as needed until your lather looks thick.
HOW TO KNOW WHEN YOUR LATHER IS JUST RIGHT
Use the Load/Hydrate Method until the right consistency is met. Once the correct cream to water ratio has been achieved, the lather will appear rich and creamy in texture with little to no visible air bubbles. This may look more like the thick foam from canned shaving creams but will perform much better. Properly hydrated lather loads into the brush easily and spreads across the face smoothly and evenly. Lather that is too dry will begin to flake on the face as the shave progresses, lather that is too wet will look bubbly and be runny on the face. Both of these lack the smooth quality and protection needed and will lead to an uncomfortable shave and irritated face. A good lather should maintain its consistency in the loft of the brush and provide consistent protection when reapplied between passes.