What Are the Best Ways to Lather Soap?

Megan Shoop

Whether a person is using shaving soap, body wash, or bar soap, there seems to be one common quality everyone loves: lather. It is luxurious, feels good on the skin, and helps a person feel as if they’re really getting clean. When shaving, knowing how to lather soap is necessary to help lubricate the skin and prevent cuts. In the shower, lathering soap can be a form of pampering oneself. There are several lathering techniques that can be applied to different kinds of soaps to ensure a nice, thick, silky lather almost every time.

A bar of soap.
A bar of soap.

Many men and women view shaving soap as one of the most difficult soaps to lather. It usually comes in the form of a flat, round cake that must be applied with a brush. The brushes typically look like large, fat paintbrushes. One of the keys to being able to lather soap for shaving is having a wet brush. The brush should be saturated with warm water and then gently squeezed between the fingers and thumb. After squeezing, it should still be thoroughly wet but not dripping.

Lather can be achieved by vigorously rubbing soap that has been wrapped in a washcloth.
Lather can be achieved by vigorously rubbing soap that has been wrapped in a washcloth.

The next step when trying to lather soap for shaving involves pressing the tips of the bristles down against the soap cake and moving them in a circular motion. When the brush is fully loaded with soap, it should be white and feel heavy in the hand. Men may then rub the loaded brush over the face and chin, while women can apply the soap from the ankles upward. The brush may need to be reloaded to coat the entire area to be shaved.

Applying soapy water can help protect the skin against cuts.
Applying soapy water can help protect the skin against cuts.

After the area is coated with shaving soap, the person should soak the brush again and rub it in a clockwise motion all over his or her soapy skin. The additional water should create a thick, foamy lather all over soaped area. Women may want to lather soap this way in stages, while men can generally lather their entire face at once because it is a smaller area.

Bathing soap, be it body wash or bar soap, typically produces lather with a simple technique. This usually involves adding some soap to a wet washcloth, pouf, or bathing brush. For body wash, users should squirt a coin-sized dollop onto the accessory. Those using bar soap should wrap it in the washcloth and rub it vigorously between the sides of the cloth, or rub it onto the pouf or brush. When the soap is spread evenly over the accessory, users should add a little more water, and rub the accessory to make bubbles. Knowing how to lather soap in this way should help produce enough suds to cover most of the body without adding more soap to the cloth, pouf, or brush.

Soap and bodywash are generally easy to lather.
Soap and bodywash are generally easy to lather.

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Discussion Comments


My grandfather used to shave the old fashioned way with a brush and soap. I remember watching shave in the morning as a child. He used to lather for such a long time. That brush would go back and forth on the soap minute after minute until there was a nice, thick latter. It was almost like whipped cream. And he got a great shave out of it.

I use a regular shaving cream and sometimes I wonder if I should go my grandfather's way. I think that these shaving creams don't protect as well as a good soap lather and cause more irritation.


@fBoyle-- Yes, you should get one. There are so many options out there. There are the typical plastic poufs that are very affordable. And then there are natural sea sponges that cost more but probably work better. By not using a sponge, you're actually not getting enough out of your soap. The better the lather is, the longer your soap will last because you will need less soap. So if you want to save money, it's best to use a sponge or pouf. You can even use a washcloth actually. That will also make some lather and it will be better than using nothing.

I use a pouf but it's a very cool one. It looks like a normal pouf except that there are several sponge cubes inside. So when I rub it on the soap, it makes more lather than a regular pouf. It's great, I love it.


I need to buy a soap sponge. I keep forgetting about it.

I've never been a fan of body washes. I like solid soap but since I don't have a sponge, I just try to make lather with my hands. Usually, when the soap is wet, the friction between the hands make a decent lather. But I'm sure it would be much better with a sponge.

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