Can You Use Any Bowl as a Shaving Bowl?

by Jay Kang | Updated on February 4th, 2023

Do you want to up your shaving game? Are you looking for a way to create a luxurious experience in the comfort of your own home?

If so, then this blog post is for you! We’ll be exploring the different types of bowls used as shaving bowls and how they can help you get the perfect shave.

shaving bowl

What are Shaving Bowls?

Shaving bowls are usually made of ceramic, metal, plastic, or wood, and each material has particular qualities that will help you decide which is the best choice for you.

Generally, these bowls have a shallow depth to hold the lather generated with a shaving brush or badger hair brush. The size of the bowl also matters, as it should hold enough lather for multiple passes with the razor. With a larger bowl, you can create enough lather for more than one shave and keep it warm.

Can You Use a Coffee Cup or Cereal Bowl?

No, you cannot use a coffee cup or cereal bowl for shaving. A shaving bowl is specifically designed for creating and maintaining lather and is usually larger and shallower than a coffee cup or cereal bowl.

While it is possible to use either of these items, they are not ideal and can be uncomfortable.

Coffee cups, for example, tend to be too small and shallow, making it difficult to build a rich lather. Cereal bowls are often too wide, making it hard to access the lather in the center.

You can also use a wide shallow dish, such as a small soup bowl, as an alternative to a dedicated shaving bowl.

Shaving Mugs: The Relatives of a Coffee Mug

Shaving mugs and bowls look like coffee cups, but they are designed for a specific purpose. Shaving mugs are usually made of ceramic, porcelain, or earthenware, with a wide bowl shape and thick walls.

The wide bowl shape allows the shaver to whip up a thick and creamy shaving lather while the thick walls of the bowl retain heat to keep the lather warm. Shaving mugs often have swirls on the surface that add texture and character to the mug. Some may even have an engraved monogram or design. So if you’re looking for a practical and stylish way to lather your soap, a shaving mug is an excellent choice.

Using a Dedicated Shaving Mug or Lathering Bowl

A dedicated shaving mug or lathering bowl is the best way to get the perfect lather and shaving experience. These mugs are specifically designed for shaving and are larger than coffee mugs, usually with a handle. The handle makes it easier to hold the mug while you swirl the brush to create your lather.

These mugs’ material also helps create a richer, warmer, longer-lasting lather. Additionally, they are often beautifully designed and offer an aesthetically pleasing look that can add a touch of elegance to your daily shave.

Why Does the Material of the Bowl Matter?

Close up of man hairdresser in sterile gloves putting shave brush into bowl with shaving cream

When selecting a shaving bowl, the material is just as important as the size. Different materials can greatly impact the temperature and quality of your lather. For instance, marble has a thermal conductivity that is three times greater than ceramic, which is the most popular material for shaving mugs.

Ceramic retains heat very well, so a ceramic bowl is the best option if you like your lather to be pleasantly warm before applying it to your face. On the other hand, if you prefer a cooler lather, then marble may be a better choice.

Ultimately, your chosen material will depend on your temperature and lather consistency preferences.

What Material Should You Choose?

When choosing a shaving bowl, there are a few different materials. Ceramic bowls are the most popular option, as they retain heat well and are easy to clean.

The Benefits of Porcelain Bowls

Porcelain is popular for shaving bowls due to its thermal insulation properties. Porcelain can retain heat, making it ideal for keeping lather warm and ready. Porcelain is also known for its durability, making it a great option for those looking for a long-lasting bowl.

Additionally, porcelain bowls are available in various sizes and styles so that you can find the perfect bowl for your needs. The sleek design of porcelain bowls can also add an elegant touch to your grooming routine.

Wooden Bowls: Pros and Cons

Wooden shaving bowls are a great choice for those who want a more natural and rustic look. They offer a unique texture and color that stands out from other materials. Wooden bowls are also very durable and resistant to corrosion, making them a great choice for frequent use. On the downside, wooden shaving bowls may require more maintenance than other materials, as they must be treated regularly with oil or wax to prevent the wood from cracking or warping.

Metal Bowls: The Best Choice?

Metal bowls are a great choice for those looking for a durable and long-lasting shaving bowl. They can retain heat well, so your lather will stay warmer for longer during your shave. Metal bowls are also much easier to clean than other materials and can be found in various sizes and shapes. They may not have the same aesthetic appeal as a porcelain bowl or the warmth of wood, but metal bowls are a great option for those looking for a reliable and robust shaving bowl.

Plastic is a lightweight, inexpensive option but is not as durable as other materials. Ultimately, the choice of material depends on your personal preference and needs.

What is the Best Size for a Shaving Bowl?

Regarding the size of a shaving bowl, there is no “one size fits all” option. However, choosing a bowl at least 4 inches in diameter and 2 inches deep is generally recommended. This provides enough space for the brush to swirl freely and generate enough lather for a close shave.

If you’re looking for something that’s more travel-friendly, then a smaller bowl with a lid is ideal. The lid will help keep your lather from spilling out when you’re on the go. Additionally, larger bowls can be beneficial as they provide more room for building a rich, warm lather.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Using a Shaving Bowl

When it comes to using a shaving bowl, there are some common mistakes you should avoid.

Avoid using a bowl that is too shallow.

When choosing a shaving bowl, it’s important to avoid using a too-shallow bowl. A bowl that is too shallow will not hold enough lather to adequately coat your face and beard, resulting in an unsuccessful shave.

Additionally, a shallow bowl may cause your brush to drag on the bottom, damaging the bristles and reducing the quality of your shave. To ensure a successful shave, choose a shaving bowl that is deep enough to hold a good amount of lather without causing your brush to drag.

Avoid using a bowl that is too large

Using a too-large bowl may seem like a good idea because it allows more space for making lather. However, this can be a mistake, as too much space can lead to an overly dry lather. This is because the water used in the lather has more room to evaporate and will not stay as it should.

Furthermore, larger bowls can be difficult to maneuver when making lather. Therefore, for an optimal and consistent lather, it is recommended to use a bowl that is neither too shallow nor too large.

Do not use a bowl with a rough surface

When choosing a shaving bowl, it’s important to ensure the surface is smooth. Bowls with a rough surface can cause irritation or cuts to your skin, making it more difficult to create a creamy lather. To ensure the best shave possible, opt for a smooth and even finish the bowl.

Porcelain and metal shaving bowls are generally the best options, as they offer a smooth surface that won’t cause any irritation when used. Wooden bowls are also an option, but check for rough surfaces before use.

Remember that no matter what bowl you choose, it should be deep enough to contain the lather without spilling over the sides.


Using a shaving bowl has several advantages over using other types of bowls. Shaving bowls allow for a rich, warm lather to be built quickly and easily, and the lather can be kept warm and ready for multiple passes.

Additionally, shaving mugs and lathering bowls come with lids, which can hold leftover lather without contamination. They are also more aesthetically pleasing and come in various styles to suit any decor.

Finally, a dedicated shaving bowl is more hygienic as it prevents other bowls from being contaminated with soap residue. Using a shaving bowl is the best way to get a great shave every time.

Jay Kang

Just because i'm asian does not mean I don't need shaving. I always wanted to grow a beard when I was young, now I need to shave because hair growth for me is a problem. I'm going through what every man will and has gone through before.