Lathering in a shaving bowl or face lathering – which is better?

You’ve probably already realised that the world of classic shaving is wider and richer every day that goes by. Those who’ve been enjoying traditional shaving for a while will find themselves with stronger opinions about a variety of details. Today we’re talking about one of the most important debates: what’s better, lathering in a shaving bowl or directly on the beard?

Both options are equally valid —as anything related to shaving, the answer will depend on a combination of factors: personal taste, the type of skin, the type of hair… Everybody has an opinion. Let’s discuss the pros and cons of each option!

    Why lathering in a shaving bowl?

    In traditional shaving, one of the most popular options is using shaving bowls where to lather your shaving soap. Why are these bowls perfect for lathering? It’s very easy: these products are specially designed for this. The design of shaving bowls and mags is based on thermal insulation. They’re made with materials with low conductivity (porcelain, ceramic or glass) and their walls are thick enough to isolate the liquid we pour inside of it, so it keeps its temperature. Besides, they have a rim in the lower part, so the content is even more isolated from the temperature of the surface where we put the bowl.

    With a shaving bowl you’ll be able to keep your foam warm during the whole process, so it is perfect if you like your foam nice and warm. Besides, if you enjoy the process of lathering the soap, it will become an essential tool for you, as it allows you to have greater control over the foam. Shaving bowls are also very useful if you shave with several strokes, since your foam will be ready to be used at all times.


    At Gifts&Care you’ll find beautiful shaving bowls, such as the Epsilon Ceramic Shaving Bowl with Holder, with an elegant and simple design, or the Antiga Barbearia de Bairro Porcelain Shaving Bowl a classic model inspired in a 1970 design with handmade decorations, a must for your collection.

    Ridged shaving bowls

    Lathering directly over the beard has its advantages too. It’s faster than doing it in a shaving bowl and, besides, we also give more time to soften the hair, so this options can be very useful for those men with harder and thicker beards. Besides, there are products, such as bar soaps, that are better conceived for face lathering, whereas others, such as shaving cream, are better for bowl lathering.

    What are scuttles for?

    Scuttles are the tool that will turn you into a real traditional shaving expert. They allow you to lather by using the brush directly on the soap so you can then apply the foam over your beard. A scuttle is a sort of little jar with a deposit —you introduce the hot water through the pipe, where you then place the brush, so its hair softens. The shaving soap is placed on the upper part, which is like a soap dish with, where you can then lather the soap. This soap dish usually has little holes that drain the excess water, so we end up with perfect foam. Since we already put the brush in the hot water, the scum will retain the heat while shaving. Scuttles, same as shaving bowls, are made with materials with low conductivity, so they can keep the water’s temperature.

    Did you know that the first patent for this kind of jars is from 1867? Scuttles originated in England and were invented because, as there was no running water, men had to heat the water in the kitchen to then shave in their restroom. This way, they could keep their water hot during the whole process of shaving. At Gifts&Care you’ll find two beautiful Victorian models, the Truefitt & Hill Slate Ceramic Shaving Mug and the Taylor of Old Bond Street Victorian Ceramic Shaving Scuttle. As you can see, even if you don’t like lathering in a bowl there’s no excuse not to add another shaving tool to your collection. Scuttles are perfect for you!

    So, what to you prefer, bowl lathering or face lathering?