Shaving bowls, shaving scuttles and mugs are not actually one single product. Instead there are different variations depending on how you want to shave so finding the best shaving bowl can be confusing.
There are also different materials of shaving bowl. Stainless steel tends to be cheap and durable but ideally the best shaving bowl should retain the heat of your lather and so should be made from porcelain or marble.
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- Top Choices
- Types of Shaving Bowl
- Best Shaving Bowl Other Considerations
- The Best Shaving Bowl
- Best Shaving Scuttle
- Shaving Bowls For Puck Soap
Types of Shaving Bowl
Shaving bowls have a long history and are quite a simple tool. As such it is no surprise that they’ve evolved into a wide array of different types. It wouldn’t be right to say that a single style of shaving bowl is the best shaving bowl as they each perform slightly different roles and so style is down to your personal preference.
Lathering Bowl Or Shaving Mug
Our Choice: Supply white marble shaving bowl
A lathering bowl is the simplest type of shaving bowl. Many people think the bowl a lot of shaving soaps like Proraso and Taylor of Old Bond Street come in is all you need for lathering. However, these bowls are simply to hold the soap.
To lather properly you need to work the brush with hot water to build up more foam. That can’t be done in one of these shaving soap bowls as you simply load up more and more soap, which is not the ratio you’re trying to achieve.
You can use face or palm lathering where you work the brush against your skin to build up the lather, but the more advanced method means using a separate lathering bowl. This has no soap in it until your brush meets it and you can stir up a good mix of shaving soap, hot water and air.
This is where it pays to have a shaving bowl in a good material like a ceramic or stone as you can warm it up and it will then keep your lather warm. A great way to heat a shaving bowl before shaving is to use it to soak your shaving brush in hot water.
That’s ideal if you like to perform multiple passes as you shave so you don’t need to keep going back to your shaving soap and instead have ready made lather kept warm and ready to go. It’s also a great way to save money as a little shaving soap goes a long way and even further if you use a lathering bowl.
If you bloom your hard soap to soften it up with a layer of water beforehand, many shavers like to save this water as it contains some of the soap. Pouring it off into a lathreing bowl is a great way to avoid waste.
Shaving Bowl To Hold Puck Soap
Our choice: Edwin Jagger
But maybe it’s not a lathering bowl specifically you are looking for. While it’s a great upgrade to your shave it can be more hassle. The most popular shaving bowl type on the other hand is simply to hold a hard puck of soap.
Puck shaving soap tends to be more economical than softer cream-style shaving soaps. Plus there’s a satisfaction in buying a hard puck refill wrapped in paper rather than a full plastic tub of cream.
These rounded pucks of shaving soap require a bowl to use properly which explains their shape. This type of shaving bowl relies much more on personal preference: do you want a handle on the side or would you rather cradle the whole bowl in your hand? Do you want a traditional ceramic or a more modern stainless steel bowl?
One thing to watch for is features intended to help grip the soap. While over timw ith use a puck of soap will gradually weld itself to the bottom oyour shaving bowl it can be very annoying if it just spins round seamlessly for the first few weeks. The best shaving bowls for holding soap often have ridges to grip the puck better.
Best shaving scuttle: Truefitt & Hill
The shaving scuttle style of shaving mug feels much more traditional as it recalls a time when hot water was a luxury and heated on a stove. These were popular around 1860 – 1920. A puck of shaving soap fits into the bowl at the top while you fill the inner reservoir with hot water. That means you can soak your brush in the hot water underneath which also heats the ceramic and the soap.
There are some downsides to this style. For one it is very heavy. It is also unlikely that the warmth of the water will actually heat the upper surface of the soap you are using. Many shavers like the maneuverability of a bowl of shaving soap whereas moving this is hard work and risks splashing hot water on you.
Shaving scuttles are quite hard to find and Truefiit & Hill seems to be the last mainstream retailer. Geo F Trumper offer some but they don’t appear on their website which suggests these may have been discontinued, or are perhaps more seasonal.
Lots also use a very small spout so you can’t actually soak your shaving brush in them.
Best Shaving Bowl Other Considerations
Integrated Shaving Kit
Most of us love shaving gear and can’t get enough of it. But it can get tedious if you have lots of different pieces that don’t fit together or match. A safety razor shaving kit is a popular gift and can integrate the shaving bowl within a stand that also holds your razor and brush. See our best shaving kits here or go with out top choice the Merkur Futur shaving set.
You want good heat retension unless you are only using a shaving bowl to hold shaving soap. Durability is also a concern here. If you have clumsy housemates or pets a fine ceramic might not be best for you.
A shaving bowl is an easy way to upgrade your shave but it doesn’t have the same impact as your razor or the shaving soap you use. Save money for these things
For a lathering bowl you want steep sides so you don’t loose any lather. The Supply marbel shaving bowl even comes with tiny ridges to enhance the lathering process. If you are keeping soap in your shaving bowl then consider the shape of your soap puck. This is normally quite standard and bowls are usually designed to accomodate a wide range. If you have any issues then you can shave down your puck or soak it soft to fit.
Big traditional ceramics look great but if they are uncomfortable to use then you just won’t use them. Consider if you want a heavy bowl or a lightweight shaving bowl made from steel, wood or horn. If you have a big sink area that’s not too crowded then you can have a nice big and heavy shaving mug but a little sink and you want something you can carry throughout your shave.
The Best Shaving Bowl
Best Lathering Bowl: Supply Marble Shaving Bowl
Supply are a new high quality shaving brand with their flagship product the impeccably-designed Supply single edge razor. They have an ethos all about superior design and materials.
Their shaving bowl is no exception and reinvents what could be a very mundane product. Instead the gorgeous white marble fits comfortably in the hand and features small grooves to generate a better lather – ideal for use with their shaving cream which is thinner than most.
The white marble retains heat nicely so it might be worth heating it up before hand with some hot water. Perhaps soak your shaving brush in it first.
Runner up: Charmman Granite Shaving Bowl
A very similar bowl to Supply, the Charmman bowl is instead made of granite which shares excellent heat retention properties but with an attractive colour and texture. It too features textured grooves inside the bowl to improve lathering.
One drawback is that the finish can be a little rough which could cause problems if you are using a high quality badger shaving brush that you need to care for.
Best Shaving Scuttle
Truefitt & Hill Shaving Scuttle
As mentioned previously, Truefitt & Hill seems to be the only major supplier of traditional shaving scuttles currently. But that’s no loss given their excellent design.
Truefitt & Hill are the appointed hairdressers to the Duke of Edinburgh and have been going since 1805. That makes them one of the top suppliers of traditional wet shaving products alongside classics like Taylor of Old Bond Street.
Their shaving scuttle comes in a range of colours in fine bone china with their crest elegantly painted on the side. This is a very regal shaving bowl.
Geo F Trumper Shaving Scuttle
Another classic London brand, Geo F Trumper seems to be the other remaining scuttle retailer but even these seem to be in short supply. They only seem to be featured in a few rather thin Amazon listings while the main Trumper website doesn’t feature them. It may be that these are seasonal stock or that they have been discontinued.
Shaving Bowls For Puck Soap
Edwin Jagger Porcelain Ivory Shaving Bowl with Handle
Edwin Jagger is a high quality classic shaving brand based in Sheffield in the UK. They offer a range of shaving mugs to suit different people but our favourite is this ceramic with handle. This version is designed entirely for holding a puck of shaving soap as it has sloping sides to find the right diameter and ridges at the bottom to help anchor the puck.