Whether I use circular or painting strokes to apply lather is dependant on a few elements; what brush I’m using, what soap or cream, whether or not I am building lather in a bowl or directly on my face. In the end, like many things in wet shaving, it really comes down to what works best for each individual. Some brush makers suggest using painting motion to prolong the life of the brush – personally I like to use my brushes – not destroy – but really use my brushes.
If I am going to face lather more often than not I am not reaching for my badger brush, instead opting for my firmer boar or horse hair brush. I find that the added firmness to the bristles helps in the building of the lather, while providing some added exfoliation. Softer brushes like my badger hair, lack the firmness, which in my opinion, doesn’t seem best suited face lathering with circular motions. Although I start my lathering process with a circular motion, more often than not I end up using a painting motion to finish up my application.
Here is how I face lather:
If I am using a bowl or scuttle to initially lather my soap I move straight to the painting motion because I feel that by this point the circular motion is a bit redundant. The type of brush I use when bowl lathering is dependant on whether or not I am using a cream, in which case I use my softer badger brush, if it is a soap I opt for my horse hair or boar brush.
Here is how I bowl lather:
There really is not right or wrong when it comes to lathering, there may be a more ideal way, but it really comes down to what works best for you and feels best. If you are concerned about destroying your brush, I wouldn’t be, it is meant to be used. Don’t go out to destroy it of course, but I wouldn’t be afraid of giving it a workout.