I’ve long enjoyed shaving with hot lather, applied with an English boar bristle brush purchased up in Carmel-by-the-Sea over twenty years ago, when we attended a round of the AT&T golf tournament at Pebble Beach. My wife-to-be and I drove up with a couple we were friends with and we spent the weekend attending a round of professional golf and sightseeing. It was while we were in Carmel-by-the-Sea that I added this luxurious brush to my shaving routine.
I had been using a brush I somehow—the details have receded into the mists of time—inherited, which was worn down and sparse compared to the new one. I didn’t even realize just how sparse it was until I first shaved with the new one. The difference was immediately noticeable and immensely enjoyable. I’ve used shave cream from the can and shave gel that foams up as you apply it, but for me there’s nothing like running a thick brush under the hottest water available, whipping up a nice lather with a creamy shaving soap (Colonel Conk’s Almond is my current goto) and applying it while it’s still hot and wet. It not only feels good going on, but it softens the beard and makes shaving much more pleasurable. At least that’s my experience.
When the pandemic hit and we were locked down for a while, I stopped shaving and grew a beard. I kept it until this past August, when I decided to shave it off for a job interview I was going on. I’ve gotten kind of lazy in my old age and I don’t shave as often as I used to. I also use an electric razor when I’m feeling particularly curmudgeonly. All that, coupled with the over a year and a half I went without shaving, meant I had forgotten how I used hot lather. It wasn’t until today that I finally put it all together. Believe it or not, it takes a little planning and coordination to get the lather at the right richness and temperature for a truly enjoyable shave. I look forward to my next shave, though I’m unclear on when that might be.