Maybe you have seen shaving bowls on our site. Maybe you have seen popular YouTube wet shavers use a bowl to create a lather, or maybe you are looking for an alternative to face lathering. If you are looking for a bowl to create a great lather, here are some tips on finding the right bowl for you.
Material of the lather bowl should be considered. Do you want something made out of ceramic, metal, plastic, or some other material? Each material has their pluses (and minuses) to keep in mind. This list is by no means meant to be an all-inclusive list of materials from which lather bowls are made, it is simply a list of the most common materials used.
- Metal: Metal is a great material for lather bowls (take a look at the copper lather bowl from Captain’s Choice). Metal is durable (depending on the metal used), light weight (again, depends on materials), and will not break or crack if dropped onto the counter. Metal bowls can retain heat if you are looking for a nice, warm lather during a cold winter day. On the down side, in order to have a nice, hot lather, the bowl can almost become to hot to hold. There can also be a certain lack of, shall we say “artistic flair” with a metal bowl since a lot of them are made using molds.
- Ceramic and other similar materials: Ceramic is a very common material for lather bowls. Ceramic bowls, even made by the same company or artisan, are very difficult to have every bowl be exactly the same, especially if hand thrown. One positive in that is that every bowl, while it may share characteristics of another bowl from the same artisan/manufacturer is going to be unique in some way. Ceramic bowls also have the tendency to hold heat for a warmer lather. On the down side, ceramic is fragile and can easily be broken. There have been several pictures posted in various Facebook groups of broken ceramic lather bowls. Just imagine how devastating it would be to be preparing for a great shave and have your lather bowl break and all that perfect lather now on the floor or in the sink. Or perhaps you have just finished the perfect shave and you are cleaning your gear and your favorite lather bowl breaks. Talk about ruining your day!
- Plastic: Plastic bowls are durable, uniform from one to the next (coming from the same source), easy to clean and sanitize (some are even dishwasher safe), and tend to be light weight. On the down side, some feel that due to the unique characteristics and the lack of being “handmade”, plastic lather bowls lack a certain something. Heat retention is also almost non-existent with plastic bowls.
- Wood or a wood/resin hybrid: A wooden, or a wood and resin hybrid bow tend to be very durable, unique from one to the next (from the same artisan) and can have a lot of character. Different woods will offer different colors, the grain patter can be vastly different (even from the same tree) and with the option to have a wood/resin hybrid from an artisan almost guarantees a one-of-a-kind lather bowl for your den. The downside to a unique wooden bowl that is hand turned by an artisan is always going to be the price as each piece is hand made.
- Stone: There are not too many companies offering stone lather bowls, but there is at least one. Stone bowls are very durable, but can also be on the heavier side. There are not many options out there as far as manufactured or artisan made, so finding one meets all your checkmarks may be difficult.
Now that you have decided on the material for you next lather bowl, the next question is will it be a smooth, or textured bowl? Both options have their up and down sides. Some say the textured bottom (with ridges, bumps, or some other design) helps produce a lather faster in aiding in introducing air into the lather better than a smooth bowl. Some say the textured bowls have a propensity to damage natural hair brushes (this can be especially true if the texture is not completely smooth). For that reason, some prefer to use a smooth bottom bowl. The best advice I can offer it to pick up a few different types of bowls (who doesn’t like variety?) and see what works best for you and your preferred lather creating style. I use ceramic/stoneware bowls as frequently as a metal or plastic bowl. The bowl used really depends on what soap and brush I’m using and what I’m in the mood for at that moment.