Archive for the ‘Shaving’ Category
I using the Omega R&B brush exclusively this week, to see whether its break-in will make it more accommodating of lather. I got a very nice lather with my Institut Karité 25% shea butter shaving soap, and had three good passes with the vintage Merkur Slant holding a Swedish Gillette blade.
The lather lasted, but was failing, and when I tried lathering a fourth time the results were disappointing—but the fact is that the first three passes went well. It’s as though the brush is getting better at supporting lather.
The ATG pass required some work, so I replaced the blade following the shave. Still, I got a very fine shave, and a dot of IK aftershave balm was quite pleasant. I don’t like the initial feeling on my face, but it dries (or is absorbed) quickly, and within a few minutes the face feels very good to the touch.
Tomorrow: Same brush, another soap.
A return to the original situation, and once again I experienced lather collapse disorder. The brush had very good lather for the first two passes, but by pass three, no lather remained. Very strange. This brush works great with other soaps, and I found that the soap worked pretty well with other brushes. I think I’ll just have to abandon this effort without solving the problem.
Still, the shave itself was great. (I reloaded the brush with another soap for the third pass.) The Maggard razor is quite nice and delivered a BBS result, and Krampert’s Finest is an excellent Bay Rum. The weekend begins in style.
As promised, I returned to Hallows and tried again, this time with one boar brush and one silvertip brush. Today I had no lather-longevity problems, and so tomorrow I will try the Omega R&B brush a second time. Maybe it was just one of those things.
I used both brushes, just to see whether lather-collapse disorder was specific to (say) boar. But, as I say, no problems ensued. Three passes of the Maggard razor left my skin BBS, and a tiny drop of Alt-Innsbruck’s aftershave balm finished the job. However, the balm (now several years old) smelled a bit “off,” so I’ve discarded it. The same thing happened with Primalan, another first-rate aftershave balm. Both Alt-Innsbruck and Primalan balms are great in cold, dry weather, and I do recommend them. OTOH, they also seem to have a shelf life that doesn’t go much beyond a few years, so if you get one of these, use it regularly—and that’s not a problem: they are both excellent.
Another excellent shave, with no lather problems (though I do not get superabundant lather with Barrister & Mann soaps, the lather I do get is easily enough for a shave). Tomorrow I will return to Hallows with a different brush and see what obtains. (Hallows was a lather failure, but it may have been the brush.)
The snakewood brush from Strop Shoppe is quite a nice brush, and the Weber polished-head razor with a UFO handle did a good job, though I did swap out the Astra Superior Platinum blade at the end: it didn’t seem to cut quite so efficiently as it should.
A good splash of 4711 aftershave, and we draw closer to the weekend.
A very fine and comfortable shave this morning. The HJM black synthetic brush quickly created a very fine lather—which easily lasted the duration of the shave with plenty left over. The Feather stainless-steel premium razor is extraordinarily comfortable (“mild”) but also extremely efficient (“aggressive”) when used with a Feather blade. The stubble is wiped away effortlessly.
Three passes produced a trouble-free BBS result, and a good splash of Mr. Taylor’s aftershave finished the job.
Today I used a horsehair shaving brush with Dickens shaving soap by Barrister & Mann. No problem in getting three good passes of lather from the fully loaded brush. The shave itself was extremely good: the Progress left my face BBS after three passes. I should add that I state when my shave is BBS because I think novices will be interested to know that a BBS result is actually pretty common after several years of practice and experience. By that time you’ve found the brands of blade that work best for you, your prep and technique are polished, and a really fine shave is pretty much routine.
A good splash of TOBS No. 74 aftershave, and the day begins.
I’ve decided to use my Barrister & Mann soaps this week, a different soap with a different sort of brush daily. Today’s brush is the superb R&B (Razor & Brush) limited edition unclipped-boar brush. I understand from comments that some prefer badger brushes to boar, but of those who enjoy boar brushes or simply enjoy variety in their brushes should, I think, give this brush serious consideration. (I was right about the bakelite slant, remember.) The softness of the brush tips is remarkable.
Obviously a brush with a long loft will feel different on the face than a brush with a short loft, and some have preferences of a narrow range: that is, they like only brushes with long, or medium, or short loft, and don’t like variation from that. My own idea is to approach the brush on its own terms and see what it can do, adapting my technique to the brush, whether a short-lofted dense silvertip (e.g., the Chubby 1, or the Duke 3, both of which I enjoy) or a brush of greater loft of whatever material. In any event, you must determine your own preferences, and the only way I know to do that is to try things: our expectations and assumptions regarding an experience we’ve yet to have are so often wrong that they must be assigned little weight. (Think of those who have not tried DE shaving and the expectations they have of the experience: “cut your face to ribbons,” “cannot get nearly so good a shave as from a Fusion cartridge,” and so on.)
At any rate, my experience with this brush has been excellent, except that today the lather in the brush totally died and was gone after the first pass. I suspect the soap, Hallowe’en by Barrister & Mann. I relathered with another soap and the lather easily persisted through the next two passes and was still going strong when I rinsed the brush. I’m not sure what happened: I certainly loaded the brush well—I was enjoying the action of the brush—and I’m wondering whether it could be some sort of reaction with the boar bristles. I’m going to try the soap again, using a synthetic brush.
My bakelite slant did a superb job on the two-day stubble: completely BBS finish with nary a nick. (So much for the supposed superiority of a Fusion shave.) A good splash of TOBS Shaving Shop aftershave, and the day belatedly begins.
Just to be clear, “R&B” in the title means Razor & Brush, not Rhythm & Blues. The R&B limited edition premium brush (the bristles are not cut at the ends: the brush ends with the natural taper of the bristle) is based on the ever-popular Omega Pro 48, but the R&B brush has the special knot and also a solid resin handle in the colors of the Italian flag.
Since the two brushes are related, though, I decided to use both this morning. I made the decision after the photo was taken, unfortunately. My Pro 48 is pretty well broken in and the R&B brush is new.
Both brushes loaded easily and both made a superb lather from HTGAM’s Pumpkin 3.14 shaving soap. On the face, the R&B was noticeably softer: it was like a premium silvertip brush in feel. The Pro 48 was also soft but firmed—as though bristles were thicker.
I used an iKon open comb and achieved a BBS finish in 3 passes. Since Pumpkin Pie has a fragrance redolent of spice, I again used Booster Oriental Spice aftershave, a good choice: it’s a very nice aftershave, albeit inexpensive.
An extremely good shave today. The Simpson Chubby has the same cushiony feel as the 24mm Whipped Dog, slightly augmented. I got a very fine lather from Strop Shoppe’s limited edition Russian Tea shaving soap, which has a spicy fragrance. Three passes with the Standard holding an Astra Superior Platinum blade and a splash of Booster Oriental Spice and I was done. BBS result, with no nicks. The Standard really is an excellent razor.
Extremely smooth result today. My BestShave.net horsehair brush ($2.45) created an extremely good lather, thanks in no small part to Creed’s Green Irish Tweed shaving soap: a wonderful soap, but is a price category distant from the tools used today.
Ri Mei, I have to say, is an excellent razor, and when measuring performance against price, it beats every other razor. The price is around $3, depending on wnere you purchase it. This one has the new solid handle, but seems to have the same, excellent, stainless steel head it’s always had. And today, with a Gillette Super Thin blade, the shave was wonderful: comfortable and close, with no nicks or burn.
A good splash of Creed’s GIT EDT, and the day is launched.
Responding to a query, I used two of my Whipped Dog silvertip brushes today: a 22mm (on the left) and a 24mm. Both made a superb lather, helped no doubt by Martin de Candre’s excellent shaving soap. Either is completely satisfactory, but they each have a distinct feel on the face, somewhat difficult to describe. The 24mm feels a bit more cushiony—like a soft cushion on the face—and the 22mm less so. I tend to gravitate to the 22mm, but if I had only a 24mm I would not feel bad.
Three passes (and three small nicks, all on the second pass, I think—one doesn’t generally feel a nick from a sharp blade) and the result is BBS. My Nik Is Sealed took care of the nicks in a trice. The razor is by Maggard and the blade is a Super Max Titantium.
A good splash of Floris No. 89, which smelled particularly nice this morning, and the week lumbers on.
Skipping the shave Sunday still seems worth it for the great Monday shaves. This morning I used QED’s Vetiver shave stick, and this is one of my favorite vetiver lather sources, the other being Cyril R. Salter’s French Vetiver shaving cream. Vetiver is a particularly nice fragrance for springtime—or when you want to be reminded that Spring is coming.
The lather was excellent, and I do like like the very traditional handle shape of the Rooney Style 3 Size 1 (small) Super Silvertip brush. (“Super Silvertip” is their own category: badger grades are not standardized.) I started with a dryish brush, since with a shave stick the brush is loaded on the face, and added driblets of hot water to the center of the brush as needed. Today one good driblet was enough.
The Merkur 37G did a superb job: completely BBS finish, without a nick and no trace of burn. Very easy shaving, very fine finish, comfortable throughout. The blade was a newish Gillette 7 O’Clock SharpEdge, a good brand for me.
A good splash (actually, several sprays into the palm of my hand) of Guerlain’s Vetiver EDT, and the week is properly launched. This will be a good week: a new computer for The Wife, a new recliner for me, and Junior’s cheesecake to celebrate.
An excellent result today, though I changed blades at the end: just a little too much effort in cutting.
First the prep: the Mühle silvertip is a wonderful brush and it ginned up an excellent lather from my Taconic Bay Rum shaving cream. Three passes with a Gillette 7 O’Clock SharpEdge blade produced a BBS result, and a splash of Stetson Classic finished the shave in fine style. The razor is the second model that iKon made. It’s stainless, but I had it replated in gold because I like it so much.
Extremely good shave today. The soap at the left in a plastic wrap is a pre-shave soap that HowToGrowAMoustache.com is working on, and I gave it a try this morning. It’s quite nice. I do like the fragrance, and for me it worked much better than the HTGAM pre-shave butter stick.
I haven’t used the Omega 11047 mixed boar and badger brush for a while, which is a shame: it’s a terrific little brush and does not feel little at all on the face. Once again I brushed my cupped palm briskly with the fully loaded brush to develop the lather. I like the result. The lather in this case is from the HTGAM with the label shown above. (On his site, you can see that the soap is named Gondolier, but the container doesn’t carry the name.) The wonderful HTGAM lather was, as always, a pleasure, and the fragrance is pleasant if unassertive.
Three passes of the very comfortable Wilkinson “Sticky” holding a Feather blade, then a good splash of Creed Aventus as an aftershave.
Feeling good, with the weekend just ahead.
I set up the stuff and forgot to take the photo. So it goes. I’ll use the same soap—HTGAM’s Gondolier—tomorrow.
I did try HTGAM’s pre-shave butter stick. (I was going to link to it, but the site is not cooperating.) It seemed to me to be somewhat of a lather-killer, though I did follow the instructions. I did not better glide, especially on the first pass but also the second. By the third, my lather was done and I had to make new. I was using my Mühle silverfiber synthetic brush, since I thought that brush would be less affected by any oils picked up. I washed the brush out, reloaded, and had a fine lather for the final pass.
If you’re a guy who likes shaving oils, the HTGAM pre-shave is definitely worth a try. My own preference seems to be away from pre-shave oils in general.
The Gondolier shaving soap is excellent, though the fragrance is light. One oddity: nothing on the label of the tin identifies the soap, so anyone who gets it as a gift will know the maker and not the soap. I think the tin probably should carry the name of the soap. And while I’m offering ideas, it would be very nice indeed if a small label on the side of the tin—on the base, not the lid—would carry the name of the soap. This would be a major convenience when the tins are stacked, and I now have quite a few.
Three passes with a Schick Krona holding a Feather blade: perfect smoothness, a couple of small nicks. A good splash of Hâttric aftershave, and I’m ready for the day.
A wonderful shave. After reading the instructions and cautions for HTGAM’s preshave butter balm, I decided to skip it until I was using a larger brush. My concern is that in the Wee Scot’s small knot a little oil would have a big effect. I’ll try it tomorrow, with a larger brush.
In the event, the Wee Scot provided plenty of great lather from HGAM’s Coconut Bay shaving soap, which has a pleasing fragrance, though I detected more bay rum than coconut. Withal, a fine lather, and then the Gillette Fat Boy with an Astra Keramik Platinum blade did an exceptionally good job.
A splash of Dominica Bay Rum and we begin the day.
Naturally QED’s Special 218 is the soap of the day, and it made quite a fine lather with a beguiling woodsy fragrance. Lately I have been trying working up the lather in a cupped palm, a technique that Mantic59 and (reputedly) barbers at Geo. F. Trumper’s London store use. It does seem to result in a very fine lather, and as a bonus it is fun. Brush vigorously the palm of your nondominant hand for a while and soon the brush is puffy with good lather.
Three passes with the Standard Razor (brand name) holding an Astra Superior Platinum blade: effortless and trouble-free smoothness resulted.
A good splash of Creed’s Green Irish Tweed, and the day is launched.
A totally wonderful shave to start the week: my Plisson Chinese Grey worked up a superb lather with a spicy fragrance from Strop Shoppe’s Russian Tea shaving soap. The anonymous German slant, holding a Personna Platinum Super Stainless blade, did an impeccable job. I like the head design, quite curvy, and with the correct angle it simply wipes off the stubble.
A good splash of Royall Spyce, and the day is well launched.
The Honeybee Soaps Lavender Vetiver shaving soap is excellent, with a good strong note of vetiver and the kind of lather than curls up on the razor like rolling up Spring snow: thick and cohesive. That Omega 20102 is getting to be well broken in and a great pleasure to use. Apparently some shavers still labor under the delusion that boar brushes are second rate, but using this brush would quickly disabuse them of that erroneous notion.
When I first used a Wilkinson “Sticky”, I thought it was too mild, but with a Feather blade it does a superb job: an efficient and quite comfortable route to a BBS result, almost always without nicks or burn. Three pleasurable passes, a final rinse, dry, and good splash of Saint Charles Shave’s Very V aftershave, and the weekend is upon me.
The Wife brought me the Gerson brush and razor from a Paris trip a few years back. The razor is clearly a rebrand Mühle Sophist, and this one has the new head (same as the current Edwin Jagger head). Penhaligon’s Blenheim Bouquet was quite nice when I purchased it some years back; it may or may not have been reformulated.
The lather was very good, the shave mediocre. The problem was not the razor, but a Swedish Gillette blade that should have been swapped out one shave ago. Still, it will do for a Friday shave, and the razor now holds a new Super Max Titanium.
A splash of Blenheim Bouquet aftershave, and the weekend lurks just around the corner.