How to Shave
with Soap and Water
in 4 Easy Steps

In a pinch, its nice to know how to shave with soap and water. For those awkward times in your life when you forget to pack shaving creme, here's how to do it in 4 easy steps.

  1. Wet your face with soap and water.

    This is the most important step! The wetter you can make your face, the better.

    More accurately: The more water your beard absorbs, the better. The primary thing that shaving creme does for your beard is to enable it to absorb more water.

  2. Lather your face by making a rubbing motion with your hand.

    This is important! It is the primary difference between soap shaving and shaving with shaving creme. With soap, you must lather your face continuously; otherwise, the soap fails to retain its lather.

    Actually, soap will never be as good a lathering agent as shaving creme is. Shaving creme is incredible stuff!

    To try and make up the difference, you must force the soap to produce a decent lather through continuous mechanical action. The more you lather your face, the better off you will be.

    When shaving with soap, be sure to allow a little extra time for lathering the soap mechanically with your hand before applying the razar blade. Remember! Lather is what causes your beard to absorb water and absorbed water is the key to a comfortable shave.

  3. Repeat the previous steps as many times as necessary until your beard feels soft to the touch.

    There's no reason to apply the razor blade if your beard has not yet absorbed all the water it can. You'll just end up cutting your face if you are impatient and start to shave too early in the process.

    It's frustrating but shaving with soap and water is just not as quick a process as shaving with shaving creme. Why? Because it takes longer for the beard to absorb water using soap than it does using alchohol.

    Shaving creme is basically alchohol. For some reason, alchohol causes the beard to absorb water relatively quickly.

  4. Alternate between shaving and lathering, shaving and lathering, shaving and lathering . . .

    You must never stop lathering your face mechanically with your hand! The more lather you produce, the better your shaving experience.

    This is the key difference between shaving with soap and shaving with shaving creme. With shaving creme, you are allowed to stop lathering your face and just shave. With soap, it is best to lather your face in small patches and then shave small patches.

    Why? Because soap lather starts to disappear almost as soon as you create it. It takes continuous application of a rubbing hand to offset the continuous decay of the lather.


Shaving creme is an incredible concoction. It does its job well.

For those times when you just don't want to leave your hotel room to buy shaving creme, soap will do.

Be sure to take the time to shave slowly and carefully the first time you shave with soap and water. You are likely to cut yourself if you are not extremely careful.

Remember that soap is not shaving creme. You will need to exercise more caution and better preparation in order to avoid blood-letting.

©Edward Abbott, 2002. All rights reserved. Revised August 20, 2002.

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