Long before you actually put the blade to your face, you have to start at the beginning, which means create a lather with your shaving soap. You must know, therefore, how you can build a lather, when to apply it, and how to apply it. Only once you have figured that out will you be able to have an easy shave that doesn't leave you bloodied and irritated.
If you use a shaving stick, you will create a lather on your face. But with a traditional shaving soap, you will need to use a shaving soap mug in which to create the lather first. Of course, you also have to prepare your skin before you shave, which means rinsing it in warm water and making sure it is fully clean. This is hugely important, because facial skin in particular is very sensitive. Once you have done that, you will be ready to use the shaving soap mug.
Start by filling up the mug with hot, not boiling, water and leave your brush to soak in it for a couple of minutes. Don't soak your brush in a sink, however, because sinks tend to not be very clean and you don't want any bacteria to touch your skin. Do also make sure you have a good quality brush. As said earlier, one made from badger hairs tends to be the best, as it is nice and soft but can retain water very well.
Next, you need to take the brush out of your mug and empty most, not all, of the water, leaving about a teaspoon inside. Shake out the brush as well so that it no longer drips. If it is too wet, your lather will be too wet to hold as well.
Now, you need to start softening the soap as well. Simply add a couple of drops of hot water to the top. This softens the soap, making it easier to lather up. Now, you're ready for the most important step: making the perfect lather.
Take your brush and swirl it on the top of the soap. You have to do this a couple of times, lasting between 10 and 15 seconds. Once you have done that, you are ready to use your mug. You keep around a teaspoon of water in there after soaking your brush, so you should now start swirling the brush in the mug. This should start the lather from building up. It should start bubbly, but as you continue to swirl, it will start to thicken up.
It is all too easy to get a bit too excited now and start applying and shaving. You have to contain yourself a little bit, however, and make sure that the lather is actually right. Three things can happen at this point:
If you feel your lather is finally perfect, then you can use the brush and put it on your face. Make sure it covers every part of skin that you actually want to shave. Remember, as well, to add more of the lather when you go for your second and third shave.