Archive for the ‘Shaving’ Category
The brush is one of Vie-Long’s mixed badger+horse brushes, and it does a very fine job indeed. I did soak the knot, now that I know I can do that simply by wetting the knot well before I shower. The lather was sumptuous and thick and fully enjoyable.
Today I used another Gillette NEW, this one with the original handle. This is the short-toothed version. I have commented on how the smoothness, ease, and quality of the shave is inversely related to the number of blades: Using the 5-blade Fusion as the benchmark, the shaves get better in all respects as you move to the 3-blade Mach 3, and another step up in quality with a two-blade cartridge and again with the single-blade DE. This morning I discover that the absolutely smoothness of action of 0 blades is amazing, though it removes little, if any, stubble. I had thought the NEW had a blade. I loaded it with a Kai blade, and still it was very nice: easy and smooth but also removing stubble—and quite efficiently.
Three passes, a good splash of Musgo Real’s excellent aftershave, and I’m on my way to the weekend.
I just recommended the Gillette NEW to a guy who specifically wanted an open-comb razor. The NEW is a delight, and the long-toothed version shown in the photo I find particularly nice. The handle shown is not the NEW handle, but a red-bronze handle by UFO Razor Handles.
But first, the lather: my Mühle silverfiber synthetic brush worked up an immediate fine lather from Strop Shoppe’s Special Edition (with Tallow) Barbershoppe shaving soap. A very fine lather, modestly fragrant, and with three easy passes I exposed a BBS face hiding beneath the stubble. The Personna Blue Lab blade was a significant help in the effort.
A splash of a homemade Bay Rum a reader kindly sent me, and I’m already enjoying the day.
A very pleasant shave. I did wet the (horsehair) knot of the Vie-Long brush and let it stand, soaking wet, while I showered. I think that does help with horsehair—and it’s much easier than running water to immerse the knot (or brush).
I got an immediate good lather from The Holy Black, but for me the fragrance is faint. I still like best the Bay Whiskey Lime so far as fragrance goes.
The Swedish Gillette blade in my short-handled Super Adjustable is getting old, but still I got a very nice shave: the last for that blade.
A splash of Bulgari, and I’m readying the apartment for the cleaning ladies.
I noticed that my camera’s battery had very little charge, and I suspect that’s the source of the dim image.
The WSP Stubby brush did a great job. And I have to say that Wet Shaving Products makes exceptionally good shaving brushes. I have bought three, and this morning ordered a fourth: a Baroness. This is a brush maker to watch.
I got a fine lather from Kell’s Original Hemp+Aloe Blend Almond shaving soap, and the almond fragrance was strong and pleasing. Three passes with my Eclipse Red Ring holding a Personna Lab Blue blade left my beard BBS. A splash of Klar Seifen Klassik and I’m ready for the day.
A perfectly wonderful shave this morning: from two-day stubble to BBS.
The lovely top notes that introduce Saigon are impossible to ignore, a juicy citrus carried on some soft tropical grass. Next to emerge are a spice and bitter notes reminiscent of green galbanum, which seem at first to align. A dark, earthy accord and a very potent note assert themselves to turn Saigon abruptly from herbal oriental to a deep woody-green scent.
The lather is abundant, slick, thick, and protective, and three easy passes of my Merkur vintage slant holding an Astra Superior Platinum blade resulted in a BBS result.
A nice splash of Saint Charles Shave’s Bulgarian Rose with Lemon aftershave, and here I am.
How To Grow A Moustache has posted an interview with me.
A truly great shave: BBS throughout. It began with the Whipped Dog 24mm silvertip brush and Palermo shaving cream from AlsShaving.com. I love the Palermo fragrance, and the lather is amazing: terrific lubricity, ample protection, and works like a charm. I’m going to be using more of their shaving cream in the future.
The Sodial razor is a $2.30 item (including shipping costs) on Amazon.com, and it is surprisingly good as a razor. I put the head on a Weber handle and truly this razor could work fine as one’s only razor. The blade is a Personna Lab Blue blade, a very nice blade for me.
Three passes with no problems, a certain amount of blade buffing at the end, and a good splash of Musgo Real’s excellent aftershave: I’m a happy (and very smooth-faced) guy.
I like the feel of this little New Forest brush—need to use it more often. As you can see, I used a test sample (Palermo in the fragrance) from AlsShaving.com. I am embarrassed to say that I’ve had this sample sitting around for weeks if not months. I’m not a good person for testing because I find I’m inclined to wander around through the products I already have and only rarely now try something new.
It was quite a good shaving cream, but then I find Al’s regular shaving creams quite good. I do like the Palermo fragrance. I got a fine lather, and the Tradere Solid Bar produced an extremely smooth face in three passes using an oldish Astra Superior Platinum blade, which I replaced with a new Kai blade upon finishing the shave.
A good splash of Marlborough, and the day begins: Friday, the weekend’s vestibule.
A guy on Wicked_Edge was asking about the Fat Boy, which prompted me to bring out mine for today’s shave—and I’m very glad I did: perfect BBS.
It began with the lather. The Omega silvertip badger brush shown is enormous and fluffy and makes a wonderful lather, plus holds a ton. I used it with the Strop Shoppe Russian Tea shave soap, and again built the lather in my cupped palm. It was a fine lather, but I didn’t detect it as being better than the lather I build on my beard—but that’s why I try a whole week one way and a whole week another: the differences sometimes take a while to sink in.
With the wonderful lather, I applied the Fat Boy, holding a newish Astra Karamik Platinum blade, for three passes to perfection. A good splash of Krampfert’s Finest, and I’m good to do.
The Fat Boy in the photo looks extra sparkly because I had it replated in rhodium.
Absolutely wonderful shave this morning. I’m continuing a series in which I shave with heavy-headed razors: yesterday the Pils, today the iKon S3S (with optional “bamboo” handle), and the theme today is floral.
I tried “soaking” the WSP Monard this morning—i.e., wetting the knot thoroughly under the hot-water tap and then letting the brush stand, soaking wet, beside the sink while I showered. I didn’t note much difference in this badger brush, but it did help the horsehair brush yesterday.
Geo. F. Trumper has a shop in London where you can get a traditional shave, and I’m told that the barbers there build the lather in the cupped palm of their non-dominant hand instead of using a bowl or building the lather on the beard (my usual choice). I read this post on Wicked_Edge by rpin, and so I decided to try the cupped palm method this morning. The lather indeed was quite good. I’ll use this method for the rest of the week, my usual method of lathering on the beard next week, and return to the cupped-palm method for another week and compare.
In any event, a fragrant, rich lather on beard, I picked up the iKon, replaced the Swedish Gillette blade with one of the Astra Stainless blades justateaburrito, another WEdger, kindly sent to me, and did three very pleasant and trouble-free passes. The blade worked well for me, and the result was a BBS face.
A good splash of the rose-fragranced Coral Skin Food, and I’m off to a good start.
For some reason—I think I got a few nicks—I fell out of the habit of using my stainless-steel Pils razor. (The gold color it the photo is due, not to lighting, but to my having it gold plated because I liked it so much.) It has a heavy head with a slightly odd design: the alignment studs are on the (massive) baseplate rather than the cap, so you load the baseplate instead of (as with most razors) the cap. It’s a two-piece razor: the handle is attached to the baseplate with a roller bearing so the handle turns freely while the baseplate remains fixed.
But let’s begin at the beginning. I now understand that “soak” for shaving brushes is a term of art and really means only that you wet the knot thoroughly before you shower and let the wet brush stand beside the sink. It does not (necessarily) mean that the brush knot is submerged in water in a mug or sink. Simply wetting the brush is no problem, so I now “soak” my boar brushes in that way, and today decided to “soak” the horsehair Vie-Long brush. It did indeed make the brush softer—as soft as it is by the end of my usual shave with an unsoaked brush. So I think I’ll be “soaking” the horsehair crowd from now on—i.e., wetting the knot and letting it stand while I shower.
Tabula Rasa is a superb shaving cream, and the lather was fragrant, abundant, and effective. The Pils, with an Astra Superior Platinum blade, did a terrific job. Perhaps my skills have improved—well, no “perhaps” about it: the fact that my morning shave is now leisurely done in such a short time with such a high proportion of BBS results pretty much demonstrates that my skills continue improving over time. So now the Pils is great again, as it was in the beginning. I’ll be using it more often.
A splash of the Bulgari EDT as an aftershave, and I’m ready for the Big Event: getting Megs to vet for an overhaul.
A perfect shave. Guys who are buying Whipped Dog silvertips with the optional deeper setting of the knot (to make the knot more resilient) might want to consider a Vie-Long badger+horse brush: excellent resilience and body, and a very nice brush overall. You can try soaking it before use: wet it throughly under hot water, then let it stand on the base while you shower. That makes it even nicer.
The soap is the Martin de Candre limited edition Fougère shaving soap. I got a very fine lather very quickly, and I was interested to note (in looking up the link) that the oils used are olive and coconut. Olive oil can obviously be used to make a wonderful shaving soap, but I still treat its presence as a cautionary warning, particularly with small artisanal soapmakers. My attitude is based on my experience in trying to get a good lather from a variety of olive-oil-based shaving soaps. But Martin de Candre has solved whatever problem olive oil presents, and his soap is wonderful. (So is Queen Charlotte Soaps shaving soaps, which also use olive oil—but that is far down in a list of ingredients that includes other oils: tallow; castor oil; shea butter; glycerin; cocoa butter; coconut oil; avocado oil; palm oil; olive oil; and lanolin.)
Great lather, at any rate, and three very nice passes with my new slant, holding a previously used Trig blade. Smoothness reigns. One very shallow, very small “nick”: a dab of My Nik Is Sealed took care of that. Then a hearty splash of Floris JF and the day and week begin.
Sorry for blurry photo.
Today’s shave is to cap a week of slant-razor shaves, and I thought I’d repeat the cover set-up on the book. However, my supply of Castle Forbes, a luxury shaving cream, is gone, so I substituted instead a luxury shaving soap: Creed’s Green Irish Tweed. That also determined the aftershave I’ll use.
The brush is also a substitute for the brush on the cover: that one is a G.B. Kent BK8 and I discovered that I preferred the Kent BK4, which is slightly smaller—but still has the G.B. Kent power to make lather very quicly. Creed’s shaving soap is superb—as it damn well should be—and I quickly got a creamy, fragrant lather.
I put a new Kai blade in my trusty ’40′s Aristocrat—and this is the one shown on the cover—and executed three comfortable passes, leaving me BBS with nary a problem.
A good splash (i.e., several sprays into the palm) of Creed’s Green Irish Tweed EDT, and I’m ready for a big day.
As usual, I had a good amount of lather left in the brush, so before cleaning it out, I gave my bathroom mirror a treat and lathered it well and then, after letting it sit a minute or two, rubbed it off with a dry paper towel. That should fog-proof the mirror for a while.
Today seemed a good day for a shave with a Slant-Bar razor. This Merkur 37G replaces the 37C I had previously owned: I just wanted up an upgrade because I liked the razor so much—and indeed it does provide a wonderful, friendly shave: close and comfortable.
But some credit must be given to brush and cream. The brush is my Simpons Duke 3 Best, a wonderful little brush, and the shaving cream is Dr. Selby’s 3x Concentrated, a terrific shaving cream that I recently recommended as one of the shaving creams shaving soap users ought to try. A wonderful lather and a unique format for shaving cream.
Some misunderstand the nature of shaving cream—it’s more detergent-like than soap in its formulation so works better with hard water—and refer to any hard source of lather as “shaving soap” and any soft source as “shaving cream”, but the difference is not firmness: there are soft soaps (Virgilio Valobra, Cella, Vitos) and hard creams (Dr. Selby’s 3x, Tabula Rasa, Figaro). “Hard is not a synonym for “soap,” nor “soft” for “cream.”
Three very pleasant passes with the Merkur Slant and the Gillette 7 O’Clock SharpEdge blade it holds, a final rinse, and then a pleasant amount of Guerlain’s Vol de Nuit as an aftershave. What a fine shave!
Today’s shave was exceptionally easy and smooth. I worked up a good lather from the Barrister & Mann soap whose name I can no longer make out, using the Ecotools brush. As usual, I spent some time simply enjoying the lather, then picked up my vintage Merkur Slant and set to work. The shave was surprisingly easy and comfortable, even for a slant, and I think the Astra Superior Platinum blade in the razor must be close to new: it glided through 3 passes of stubble removal.
A final rinse, a splash of Creed’s Green Irish Tweed, and the day await.
In contrast to my previous experience with The Holy Black, this lather was good—and I really like the fragrance. I loaded the brush longer, and I found no problems. I will return to the earlier soap, and I have a third bar to test, but this one I like. My butterscotch Rooney Emilion produced abundant good lather, and the Fasan slant with a Trig blade did a fine job. This is not so “natural” and comfortable a slant as my other bakelite slant, but quite serviceable withal. I have no idea of the purpose of that red dot on the cap. I can’t tie it to anything meaningful. It does not seem to be for cap orientation.
Three passes, BBS result, and a splash of Floris No. 89 to get me going. I noted that today the nick site of a couple of days ago is back to normal—and it didn’t trigger a nick.
Another fine shave. My Rooney Victorian worked up a fine lather from the TFS puck, and then I set to work with the new slant razor holding a previously used Trig blade. I noticed that this razor, which not so light as the bakelite, is still pretty light. Including blade:
This slant: 57 g (Virtually all of that is the handle: the head is quite lightweight.)
The bakelite slant: 19 g
The slant I’m using has a prominent knob at the base, very handy for the ATG pass. Very smooth finish. I got a tiny nick at the site of yesterday’s nick, which seems to happen: the previous trauma apparently raises the skin slightly. Still, it was a much smaller nick, barely worth My Nik Is Sealed. Tomorrow should be back to normal.
An application of the Annik Goutal, and I’m good for the day.
A wonderful shave, but I gave myself every advantage: D.R. Harris shaving soap always makes me say to myself, “What a great lather today!”, and today was much the same. The Lavender shave stick rubbed over my wet beard after a wash with MR GLO and partial rinse deposited plenty of soap, which the WSP Monarch immediately converted in a superb lather. I mixed in one additional driblet of water, then set to work with the bakelite slant holding a Trig blade of a few uses.
Very easy, and almost BBS after the second pass. A small nick on the upper lip (which My Nik Is Sealed immediately fixed), then a splash of l’Occitane’s Verbena, which has a wonderful summer fragrance. I found that it stings a bit more, but that fades quickly.
Great shave, and now to walk.
MR GLO first, of course, then a good lather from the Green Mountain Cheaha shaving soap:
Triple milled shaving soap formulated to provide a creamy, sturdy, slick lather. Essential oils of cedarwoods, patchouli and exotic florals, citrus, moss and leather are reminiscent of Mount Cheaha, the highest point in Alabama.
The lather was not so creamy as from some soaps, but quite adequate for a good shave. My Weber ARC razor, holding an Astra Keramik Platinum blade, produced a BBS finish in three very comfortable passes.
I’m enjoying using EDTs as aftershaves: just use a little less, and the result is fine (so far). Today’s “aftershave” is Annik Goutal’s Eau de Sud:
The main notes of this symphony of scents are bergamot, mandarine, and grapefruit, displaying the savors of sun-ripened citrus fruits. Then the fragrance reveals more generous, warm, woody, resinous accents, reminiscent of voluptuous hours of farniente. Eau du Sud reflects the heat of the Mediterranean sun…
Eau de Sud reminds me of the fragrance and stillness of a ssun-drenched summer countryside on a still afternoon in the South of France—”reminds” being a term of art, since I’ve never been there. But it’s what I imagine it must smell like.
A very pleasant start to the weekend.
I was sitting in my pyjamas when the telephone guy called to say that he would be over to check our phone lines. (Turns out to most likely be a modem problem.) He said he would arrive in 20 minutes. So it was a somewhat brisk shave. No nicks, but quick.
I really like that little Omega boar brush: a champ. The Holy Black shaving soap was (for me) meh. I like the color, I don’t like the tissue-paper wrapper, and the lather was only s0-s0. I never did detect much fragrance. Certainly there are some fans—I picked it up after seeing praise for the product at Wicked Edge—but it didn’t do much for me.
The Futur with a Personna Lab Blue blade did 3 quick passes. I find the blade okay but not stellar, but I’ll try again. It’s sort of odd: the Personna Lab Blues in this package were excellent—those I really liked. This morning’s is from this package, and the plates carry different printing and, as I say, on first acquaintance did not seem so keen. I’ll do more comparisons. Certainly they’re not twice as good (for me) as Astra Superior Platinums, though they cost twice as much.
A good splash of Captain’s Choice, jump into clothes, cook breakfast cereal, and sitting calmly in my chair eating when the phone guy knocks. He was a nice guy, and I have some spare Sodial razors. He was clean shaven, and I asked, “Out of curiosity, do you like to shave?” and got the standard response, “I hate it!” but he added that he really liked being clean shaven, he just didn’t like what it took to get the result. So I gave him a Sodial and a copy of the book: getting the word out.