Best-Kept Secret: Tabula Rasa
Getting the lather just right requires a multi-stage approach from getting the cream broken down and into the brush, then adding additional water in stages to moisten and volumize the lather. While this takes a few extra minutes work at first, once you become proficient with it, lathering becomes very quick and the resulting shaves are amazing!
Trying to build lather with Tabula directly on the face or in a mixing bowl is very difficult to do. The cream never takes on a good volume and has a tendency to just get runny and fall apart rather than produce a usable lather. I found through trial and error that starting with a drier brush and lathering in the palm of my hand allowed the cream to fully break down and load in to the brush very well. I named this process the Load/Hydrate Technique:
Start with soaking the brush as normal, but shake it a bit more than you normally would when using a regular cream or soap. The brush should be well softened and moist, but not have any excess water. Start with a hazelnut size amount of Tabula in the open palm of your free hand, and start the lathering process by using the brush to get the cream broken down and absorbed into the brush. Once the cream is broken down, continue adding small amounts of water by dipping the tips of the brush into hot water and working the brush in the palm of your hand while the lather builds in volume. You will notice after adding water one or two times that as you continue working the brush in your palm, Tabula starts to take on a very rich and thick foam consistency.
Once you get the lather to your liking, apply to the face as you normally would and proceed with your shave. Tabula really excels with straight-razor shaving as the lather is very cushioning and moisturizing on my skin throughout the shave. This is one of the few shaving creams I have used that leave my face feeling so soft and well moisturized that I can skip using an aftershave splash or balm.
Tabula Rasa is not a low-cost cream; however for $28 you get a large-size tub that will last for many shaves. It is available in both unscented, which is superior for those with sensitive skin, or a Dark Lavender which has a wonderful natural lavender oil scent with a warm grassy undertone, similar to a good vetiver. Try this product for a while and you will find that you will never want to be without it.