Shaving nowadays is as simple as grabbing a disposable razor and an aerosol can of cheap shaving foam, and you’re done in a couple of minutes. But not everyone is contented with this rushed shaving routine. If you are the kind of man who enjoys shaving the traditional way, then you know the importance of owning the right equipment. One of these is shaving bowl. Of course, your choice of shaving bowl is not as important as a high-quality razor and lather, but it does come in handy when shaving the traditional way, especially if you are using a shaving soap.
Shaving soaps are often sold as a round puck, either with a rounded bottom intended for use with a shaving scuttle or a flat bottom for use in a mug. The way this process works is by placing the soap in the mug or scuttle along with a little warm water and vigorously swirling the brush along the top of the soap in order to coat the bristles. The brush is then rubbed along the inside of the bowl to create lather.
If you are interested in switching to the traditional way of shaving, or if you are looking for a new shaving bowl, then this article is the best place to start. We have put together a list of the best shaving bowls for that luxurious old-school wet shave.
As we have already said, shaving bowls are not as important as a good razor and a rich lather, but there are some benefits to owning one, such as:
It is not uncommon for some men to create the lather directly on the soap, but this method uses up more soap than necessary. Using a separate bowl for lathering up your brush will help your soap last longer, and will significantly reduce the amount you spend on shaving soaps.
Insulation. Shaving bowls were originally intended to hold in heat, which made it easier to create a rich, warm lather. They were made of either ceramic or stoneware, which are insulating materials, but nowadays, there are shaving bowls that are made from non-insulating materials like stainless steel.
Since the advent of modern shaving creams and foams, shaving bowls have become somewhat redundant for the modern man. However, it does have a following among traditionalists who enjoy shaving the same way their forefathers did. Again, the shaving bowl is not an essential part of the shaving process, but it can provide that luxuriously comfortable close shave that only a traditional shaving routine can provide.
If you are seriously considering buying a shaving bowl, there are a few things you will have to think about before you make your decision:
Most men use only one of these, but the hardcore traditionalists use a bowl and a mug or scuttle. But what’s the difference, you ask? Mugs and scuttles are used to hold the puck of soap along with some warm water so that it can get soft enough to load the shaving brush. The loaded shaving brush is then vigorously swirled around the inside of the bowl to create the lather.
The shaving bowls are generally made of ceramic or stoneware since these materials are good at holding in heat, enabling you to enjoy your shave with warm lather. In addition to feeling nice, warm lather works better for a really close shave. However, ceramic and stoneware are somewhat brittle, breaking quite easily when dropped. So if you tend to be clumsy, then you might want to consider going in for a metal shaving bowl. Metal does not hold in heat as well as stone and ceramic, but it will still do the job of lathering up your soap. You can also get wood shaving bowls that are also not great at holding in heat, but they look stylish and also get the job done satisfactorily.
There are some brands of shaving soap that come in a container that can double as a mug or a scuttle, and they lather better if you work it directly into your face, thus eliminating the need for a bowl. So make sure you are well informed about your shaving soap to determine whether you need a shaving bowl or not.
As we have already mentioned, working up a lather directly on your soap is wasteful since you only need a little bit of soap to make enough lather for your face. Shaving soaps also tend to be expensive when compared to shaving creams, foams, and gels. So investing in a bowl would be a good idea if you want to save money in the long run.
You should also keep in mind that shaving bowls, shaving mugs and scuttles would only be useful to you if you use a puck of shaving soap and a shaving brush. If you use something other than shaving soap, then you can lather up normally, using your fingers.
While all shaving bowls will basically work, we have made a list of our favorites to help you make a decision.
This Austrian-made shaving bowl is designed for durability and easy cleanup. It is the perfect size for all the best brands of shaving soap; 3.5 inches in diameter at the top, 4 inches at the bottom and 2.25 inches deep. It also comes with a lid if you prefer storing your soap in the bowl itself.
Reviewers like this sheen of the stainless steel bowl with a chrome finish. It is very well made, durable and light. It fits in the hand very well and the lid fits the top snugly, not too tight and not too loose. The wider base adds distinction and a unique, eye-pleasing aesthetic.
Detractors complain of the metal being too thin and the product being very light, but this is definitely not a major issue since it does the job it was designed to do.
This classic porcelain bowl is ideal for wet shaving. It is perfect for most of the shaving soap refills out there in the market, and allows you to mix a rich lather using your favorite shaving soap and some hot water. This is really a must have and a perfect complement with your favorite shaving brush.
It has a very refined look. The three ridges on the inside help to blend a good lather and keep your hard shaving soaps from sitting in any residual water at the bottom, allowing the soap to dry. The porcelain is excellent at retaining heat, and the handle is very sturdy. Reviewers appreciate the elegance of this product and the fact that their shaving routines are enjoyable as opposed to feeling like a chore.
Some reviewers complain about the price of this shaving bowl, but most of them agree that it is worth it for the high quality and classiness that it embodies. Others found this bowl to be too small for their liking. The lather would get unto the handle of the brush while mixing it up. Purchasing a shaving soap that lathers directly on the face, or a mug or scuttle to make the lather separately can solve this problem.
Made from genuine mango wood, this bowl is hand carved and of exceptional quality. The wood is tough and can take quite a beating without losing any of its quality. The exterior dimensions of the bowl are 4 inches wide and 1.75 inches deep and the interior dimensions are 3.25 inches wide and 1.25 inches deep.
The finish of this wooden bowl is of high quality, making it waterproof and effectively resistant to mildew – it holds up well even in a humid climate. It looks very classy, giving you the added bonus of being a decorative piece in your bathroom. The size of the bowl is perfect for all the popular shaving soaps in the market.
Some reviewers complained that this bowl is too small for their shaving soaps. Melting the soap and pouring it into the bowl, or cutting the soap into a piece that fits can easily remedy this.
This elegant mug comes with a 3.75-ounce puck of soap that contains avocado oil and vitamin E. The scent of the soap is random, varying between almond, bay rum, and amber. Made in a classy design; this glazed ceramic mug will liven up your bathroom with its vintage look.
Reviewers like the sturdiness of this product. It is deep enough to accommodate any kind of soap, but not so deep that the lather gets on your brush handle or your hand. The handle is comfortable and will not slip out of your hand that easily. The design is handsome and somewhat reminiscent of an old-fashioned “handlebar mustache” barbershop.
Some reviewers complain that the mug is flimsy and cracks very easily. Keep in mind that this mug is made of ceramic and therefore is not unbreakable. As with any other small ceramic object, some amount of care has to be taken when handling it.
This stylish shaving mug comes with an easy to grip handle and is shaped perfectly to allow you to rest your brush in it while you shave. It is made of high-quality stoneware, which is excellent at retaining heat, giving you a luxurious and warm wet shave.
Reviewers like the ergonomic design of this mug – it is just the right size for all the common brands of shaving soap, with very little gap between the sides of the soap and the sides of the mug, ensuring that the foam rises up instead falling to the bottom of the mug. It is bottom-heavy, allowing you to rest your brush on it without it tipping over. It retains heat as promised and looks good in the bathroom.
Some reviewers find it to be too big for their shaving soaps and others find it to be too small for their shaving soaps. A good workaround is to go to an authentic beauty products store and see the product for yourself before making the decision to buy it.
Marvy Rubber Shaving Mug is one of the best in the market. It is made of rubber, which makes it unbreakable and prevents it from slipping and sliding on wet surfaces. It comes in a gorgeous green color and is very easy to wash.
Reviewers love the color of this mug, and the solid material it is made of. There is a ring at the bottom of the mug, which perfectly accommodates any kind of shaving soap. It has good depth and ample width for whipping up a good amount of lather fairly quickly.
The only negative point brought up by the critics of this product is that the ring at the bottom of the mug that holds the shaving soap in place makes it difficult to clean the bottom of the mug efficiently. This is something unavoidable but shouldn’t put too much of a damper on your daily shaving experience.
This simple shaving off-white mug is made of ceramic and has a ball grip. It has no image or text on the sides making it a nice subtle decoration for your bathroom. It is 3.5 inches tall, 3.25 inches wide at the bottom and 3.75 inches wide at the top.
Reviewers like the functionality of this simple looking mug. It is sturdy, giving it a stable base and preventing it from getting washed off the ledge and breaking. Its narrow base makes it easy to fit on almost any shelf. Being wider at the top, it is easy to swirl the brush around and whip up a good lather in very good time. It is easy to clean and looks dapper on your bathroom counter.
Detractors complain that this mug is too narrow for their soaps. The fact is that shaving soaps come in different sizes, so you will have to properly do your research before making the decision to buy this product.
The shaving bowl is not a crucial element of the wet shaver’s routine, but as we have shown you, it can come in handy from time to time. If you are in the habit of making lather directly on the soap, then you should seriously consider buying a shaving bowl to avoid unnecessarily wasting soap. If you have sensitive skin, then a ceramic or stoneware shaving bowl will be a great help for you because of its heat retention capability. It will keep the lather warm, which will help in opening up your pores and giving you a smoother, cleaner shave. And if nothing else, then do it for the nostalgia. There is no shame in trying to emulate your forefathers, even if it is only in your shaving routine.
Before you make your decision to buy the best shaving bowl, remember the following tips. Make sure you know the difference between a bowl, a mug and a scuttle. If your shaving soap can lather up directly on your face, then you don’t really need one of these items. Remember to examine the material of the product you may want to buy. If you need a warm lather for sensitive skin, then narrow your choices down to a ceramic or a stoneware bowl that can retain heat. On the other hand, if you are clumsy, then you may want a sturdier metallic or wooden bowl to avoid breakage. Make sure you think of your shaving soap when you are shopping for bowls or mugs. If your soap has its own container, then you may want only a bowl for making the lather. Either way, remember to check the size of the product you are planning to buy in comparison to the soap you use.
If you are still undecided about which one to try first, give the Marvy Rubber Shaving Mug a go. It is unbreakable and does not slip and slide on wet surfaces. It comes in a lovely green color, which will liven up your bathroom, and it is very easy to wash. It is perfect for quickly whipping up some lather for a smooth and comfy wet shave.