Overlooked Nemesis: Hard Water
Hard Water Products
I found traditional shaving creams to be more forgiving with water quality because they generally lather well anyway. Reputable creams from Geo. F. Trumper, Art of Shaving, and others were fine despite the hard water. Lathering soaps with hard water could be a challenge, but I had my favorites that always performed well.
Soft Water Products
Since installing the new water system, the lather from my creams and soaps is more abundant than I expected. Even shaving soaps that never lathered for me no matter the techniques I used now lather up without a problem. For example, I never understood the raves of Mitchell’s Woolfat Shaving Soap because I could never get a workable lather, but now it is quickly becoming one of my favorite products.
Consider Your Water
Water softeners can be expensive, so if you’re not interested in purchasing a system you can experiment with other ways to change your water properties. Some men use bottled water when traveling to regions where the water quality is different from home. You could use consumer water filtration, such as Brita or Pur, to see if that improves the quality of your shave. If you’re having a hard time lathering a product that others recommend, it may not be your product or technique, but may be the water that you are using.