Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

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This is the reference page for the seventh edition of my guide.

Another ultra-premium shaving soap. Grooming Dept. makes a wide variety of superb shaving soaps in various formulae and fragrances, along with a highly rated pre-shave that I’ll try soon. Highly recommended. Note that Grooming Dept. products are available from West Coast Shaving and (for Canadians) Italian Barber. The vendors may have some soaps no longer available from the Grooming Dept. website, since he makes small batches and continues to develop new soaps.

Two useful links that were hard for me to find:

1) It is often useful to have empty shaving soap tubs on hand. For one thing, that allows you to buy refills of shaving soap, which are less costly that buying the soap in a tub. And since the quality and efficacy of the soap is unaffected if the soap is cut, it’s no problem to trim a puck to fit the tub (and press the trimmings into place in the bottom of the tub before pushing the trimmed puck down). Indeed, I just ordered a number of shaving soap refills from Mystic Water, and they come with labels I can use on my own tubs. Here’s a link for good empty tubs for shaving soaps.

2) If you have (or have made) a razor handle and you want an authentic Edwin Jagger head for it (rather than a clone or some other excellent head such as the Maggard V3A), then you can order the head alone from The English Shaving Compan

WARNING: Dr. Jon’s aftershaves are all mentholated. As of today (9 Jan 2021) unmentholated versions are not available. That is too bad, IMO. I like to use a matching aftershave when possible, but I do not like menthol. Since people can add menthol if they want it (menthol crystals are readily available), I do not understand why menthol is mandatory in his aftershaves, but there it is. Be warned. (To be sure, menthol is listed among the ingredients, but I did not see that. I think the description of the aftershave should include a warning.)

30-90 seconds of a cold-water ending to your shower may be worth a try. It may boost your immune system. I gave it a try this morning, but lasted about 4 seconds rather than (say) 60 seconds. Still, it’s something one might work toward.

Use the lid of the tub of shaving soap as a pedestal stand. Some tubs of shaving soap (e.g., Proraso, Dr. Selby’s 3X Concentrated Shaving Cream) have lids specifically designed to serve as pedestal stands when the product is in use, but lids in general can serve this purpose. This was pointed out to me by a reader (Steve Riehle) when I was kvetching about tubs that did not fit inside the upturned lid when I was using them, forcing me to find a place for the lid on the small amount of (crowded) counterspace available in my current bathroom. This solution has the additional advantage of keeping the tub bottom dry from any splashed water, the lid’s rim being easy to dry. (I keep a sponge on hand to deal with the splashes after I finish the shave.) I now always put the tub on its lid now, even when the tub fits within the upturned lid. (The upturned lid exposes the lid top to water; it’s much easir to dry the lid rim than the lid top.)

Why shaving dulls even the sharpest of razors: That’s the title of a report from researchers at MIT, were wondering why a blade becomes dull from cutting something much softer than the blade’s metal. And NPR also has an article on the research.

Why the Omega Pro 48 (10048) is moving to the top of my queue: I’ve always liked the Omega Pro 48, though I tended to prefer the 20102 (because of handle aesthetics). However, I have recently come to realize that the Pro 48 is a truly excellent brush — to the point that I would say it’s now my desert-island brush. I describe why in this post (and in the comments to that post ales describes how he upgraded the handle on his Pro 48). I find I’m using the Pro 48 more frequently now that I understand it, which took a while for reasons explored in these comments. If you’ve not tried the Pro 48, I highly recommend getting one, breaking it in for a week, and then using it with an open mind, focusing on your experience and not your expectations.

Neat trick from Victor Marks: If you tend to over-tighten your three-piece razor, try using a nylon washer, size M5. A vendor in Spain with a good selection and worldwide shipping.

Epicurus on life satisfaction: The first part of the preface to the 6th edition of the Guide (which is included in the 7th edition as well) touches on Epicurus and happiness. This post has an article from Aeon that takes it further.

The OneBlade Razor: I review the OneBlade in this SOTD post.

Beards and masculinity: Beards seem to become popular in response to threatened masculinity, which suggests that clean-shaven men don’t feel their masculinity is in question while men with beards doth protest too much. Christopher R Oldstone-Moore, a senior lecturer at Wright State University, where he focuses on gender and masculinity and author of Of Beards and Men: The Revealing History of Facial Hair (2015), writes in Aeon:

In the West, for many centuries, shaving has identified a good man properly oriented to a higher order, whether divine or political. Defying this regulation meant being ostracised. But on occasion, a general reorganisation of masculine norms has interrupted the shaving-respectability regime. . .

Read the whole thing. And from the beginning of his book:

One thing is certain: changes in facial hair are never simply a matter of fashion. The power of beards and mustaches to make personal and political statements is such that, even in the “land of the free,” they are subject to administrative and corporate control. That Americans do not have a legal right to grow beards or mustaches as they choose was confirmed by the Supreme Court’s 1976 ruling in Kelley v. Johnson, which upheld employers’ authority to dictate grooming standards to their employees. Such infringements of freedom are a strong hint that something more than style is at stake. In fact, beard history fails to reveal fashion cycles at all, presenting instead slower, seismic shifts dictated by deeper social forces that shape and reshape ideals of manliness. Whenever masculinity is redefined, facial hairstyles change to suit. The history of men is literally written on their faces.

Judith Butler, one of the luminaries of gender studies, has argued that our words, actions, and bodies are not simply expressions of ourselves; they are the way we form ourselves as men and women. Our identities, in other words, are made and remade by what we do and say.2 In this sense, cutting or shaping facial hair has always been an important means not just to express manliness but to be men. Society enforces approved forms of masculine personality by regulating facial hair. We arrive, then, at the first principle of beard history: the face is an index of variations in manliness. As religions, nations, and movements formulate specific values and norms, they deploy hair, as well as other symbols, to proclaim these ideals to the world. When disputes arise about contrasting models of masculinity, different treatments of facial hair may indicate where one’s loyalties lie.

The idea that facial hair is a matter of personal choice remains popular despite abundant evidence to the contrary. Choosing to wear a beard in modern America, for example, can still get you drummed out of the military, fired from a job, disqualified in a boxing match, eliminated from political contention, or even labeled a terrorist. This reality relates to the second principle of beard history: facial hair is political. Because ideas of proper manliness are bound up with social and political authority, any symbol of masculinity carries political and moral significance. This explains why facial hair has the power to outrage and why it is subject to social controls.

Another misconception holds that shaving or not shaving is a matter of convenience, and that developments in razor technology explain the prevalence of smooth chins over the past century. The truth is quite different. Shaving is as old as civilization itself, and the absence of modern conveniences has never prevented societies from taking advantage of the symbolic power of removing hair. We arrive, then, at the third principle of beard history: the language of facial hair is built on the contrast of shaved and unshaved. Using this basic distinction, and its many variations, Western societies have constructed a visual vocabulary of personality and social allegiance. . .

Steve Riehle on how to use pre-shave oil: This is from a comment on the blog:

I constantly learn new things. I never benefitted from using a preshave oil, until I realized I was using too much. I now use only one drop on the palm of one hand, and then I rub my hands together briefly. Then rub well into the facial skin, until the oil largely disappears.

I have not cut or nicked my old thin skin since my discovery on how properly to use preshave oil. I find the purpose and the benefit of preshave oil is to make the facial skin supple and resilient. And I find olive oil works as fine as the expensive professional products. Indeed, less is more!

BTW the easy way to get the equivalent of only one drop is to place the open palm tightly on top of the 1/2 inch opening of the bottle, and invert the bottle for a second. The result is a film of oil in the center of the palm about the size of a dime. Perfect.

Yaqi razors and shaving brushes: I just recently discovered a treasure trove of good yet inexpensive razors and brushes, thanks to Manuel Vazquez of Refineria de Caballeros. I have tried only one of the Yaqi razors—the Yaqi camouflage brass razor—but it is top-notch in comfort and efficiency. I am now eager to try more of that line.

And the Yaqi shaving brushes are also excellent and modestly priced. They currently have only three with a 22mm knot, but the 24mm knots are not bad at all. And this brush, with two interchangeable heads (base of knot is threaded and screws into the tapped handle), is very nice—and I particularly like the bi-color synthetic: very soft and comfortable. Manuel tells me:

Yaqi has a very good synthetic fiber production, in my opinion the best or the best currently. It has magnificent high mountain Manchurian badger. Plisson synthetic brush is known, then very imitated as Plissoft by several vendors (Fine AA among others) .. but it is Yaqi who made that model for Plisson .. the story is long and twisted. Most brands and vendors, and stores that sell their own models, are OEM jobs that Yaqi does for them.

He provides the name of that bi-color brush:

Some developments, such as the 4-quadrant brush (the Target Shot) are my ideas … corresponds to a military theme, what they saw in the periscope in German submarines of World War II, when they aimed their torpedoes against the ships to sink , of the allies, that black and white target divided into quadrants, it was a system of aiming at night against surface ships, hence its name: Target Shot.

Given the high quality and modest price of Yaqi razors and shaving brushes, the site is worth bookmarking.

Top-notch unscented shaving soap: Phoenix Artisan makes an unscented version of their ultra-premium CK-6 shaving soap. The soap is called Scentsless, and it’s available both in the CK-6 formulation and in their regular formulation, but I have to tell you that CK-6 formula is really something special.

New findings on blade sharpness: Sharpologist has a very interesting article on the science of blade sharpness, and it moved me to try a brand I’ve not tried before—and I was very pleased with the result. Take a look at the links.

Rockwell Model T TTO adjustable razor review: With the demise a few years back of the Merkur Vision 2000, no modern TTO adjustable was on the market—until now. Rockwell Razors are now shipping the Model T, and mine just arrived. Here’s my review. In it I point out how they avoided the Achilles’ heel that took down the Vision 2000

Reader recommendation for unscented shaving soap: Reader Craig comments:

If you are ever looking for a great unscented soap, or looking for a recommendation to a fan, I highly recommend Declaration Grooming unscented with bison tallow. It is wonderful, almost as good as D R Harris (whose almond is virtually unscented) and Declaration is much easier to work with.

A History of Shaving and Beards: Take a look. Shaving goes way back, though I would say that enjoyable shaving has a shorter history.

The value of rituals: In the Guide I suggest viewing (and approaching) the morning shave as a ritual, and in fact point out certain similarities of the morning shave ritual and the Zen tea ceremony ritual. (I suspect rituals work only if they are viewed as rituals.) Now we have objective evidence of the psychological efficacy of rituals. Read this Scientific American article by Francesca Gino (which I blog here).

NO LONGER ON REDDIT WICKED_EDGE: I did a required password change, and that involves an email verification. However, I had neglected to update my email, and the verification goes to a closed account at my old ISP. So far as I can tell, Reddit offers no support to resolve this dilemma, so I’m off Reddit and I will never see messages sent to me on Reddit. Apologies.

My current razor recommendations: Stimulated by this round-up review in Sharpologist, I thought I should give my current thoughts on razors. Guard shape (bar guard or comb guard) is irrelevant for anyone who shaves more frequently than once every week or two. For the daily shaver (or the every-other-day shaver) the guard shape is just a design detail, with the razor’s feel and performance determined by overall head design and choice of blade. (With any new razor, try 3-4 different brands of blade to determine which works best for you in that particular razor.)

[Update: I included this information in a brief article in Sharpologist, which also includes some explanations unnecessary for those who have read the Guide.]

All of the razors listed are, for me and for many others, extremely comfortable, disinclined to nick, and highly efficient. Their cost varies according to material and manufacturing method, but they are equal in comfort and performance, the only criteria I used (ignoring, for example, aesthetics, since aesthetic appeal varies a lot from person to person) and how they feel in the hand (heft, texture of handle). In order of cost in the US (prices in US dollars unless otherwise indicated)

$6 – Baili BR171 (also available from Amazon for $11 as the BD176, which includes a case). In Canada, it’s available for CDN$9 as the RazoRock DE1.

$6.50 – Dorco PL602. Because of its light weight (it’s molded plastic) and low cost, the PL602 is a good choice for a travel razor (since such razors are sometimes left behind), but it’s also good as a daily shaver. The PL602 is a two-piece adjustable razor: tighten all the way, then back off a fraction of a turn if you need more efficiency. (The Merkur Progress adjustable uses the same technique.) For me, the efficiency is fine with the razor fully tightened.

$15 – RazoRock Old Type. You can also buy the head by itself ($8) and use it with a handle you already own (one advantage of the three-piece design).

$21 – Yaqi camouflage brass razor. Extremely nice feel and performance. It’s the only Yaqi I’ve tried so far, so their others may be equally good.

$23 – Fatip Testina Gentile. Made of plated brass and available in chrome, black chrome, and gold plating. Note that VAT is not charged if you order from the US. I’ve ordered several times from this vendor with no problems.

$25 – Maggard V3A head on Maggard MR11 handle (or any other handle, really). The V3A head by itself is $10. The “A” is for “aggressive,” which is misleading. Although the razor is quite efficient, it is also quite comfortable and non-threatening, though it does have a bit more blade feel than the V3, but not at all unpleasant.

$30 – Parker Semi-Slant – Razor comes with a (rather long) handle in satin chrome or graphite (color). Although a slant, it is remarkably comfortable—as comfortable as any of these—and the fit and finish are excellent.

$30 – RazoRock Lupo – Made of machined and anodized aluminum, this razor comes in three colors. The head covers the razor tabs (and the ends are rounded. It has more blade feel than some others but is quite comfortable and well-behaved.

$30 – RazoRock MJ-90A. This razor is the apotheosis of the Edwin Jagger DE89: the head is CNC machined from aluminum so the threaded stud won’t break, the blade’s end tabs are covered, the handle is stainless steel.

$30 – Maggard V2 open comb head with Maggard MR7 handle (or any other handle, really), or Parker 24C or 26C. The heads are indistinguishable. One caution: the coating on the 26C’s black handle tends to chip. These heads are plated zinc alloy.

$40 – RazoRock Baby Smooth. Made of machined aluminum alloy.

$40 – Fine Marvel. Chrome-plated zinc alloy with good heft.

$45 – Fendrihan Mk II Stainless Steel. Striking appearance, excellent heft, and fine performance.

$50 – RazoRock Mamba. Machined from stainless steel. I got the Halo handle, which I like a lot.

$50 – Phoenix Artisan Ascension. A double-open-comb design (cap and guard both combs) machined from aluminum. Also available in stainless steel ($80).

$55 – RazoRock Game Changer. Machined from stainless steel. Review here.

$65 – iKon 101. Head is cast aluminum alloy. (Head by itself is $40.)

$100 – Rockwell 6S. Stainless steel with 6 different baseplate “settings,” R1 through R6. These accommodate not only different degrees of beard growth but also one’s personal preference, which can change over time.

Besides the conventional razors listed above, I also would recommend:

Slant razor: The iKon 102 ($40 for head by itself) or the iKon X3 ($35 for head by itself) seem best to me (and to many), with the 102 having a slight edge.  These heads are cast aluminum alloy The Merkur head (found on the Merkur 37C) is also good, and Italian Barber offers a clone, the German 37 ($20), made of zinc alloy in a three-piece design. (The 37C is a two-piece razor.) You can also buy the German 37 head by itself ($12). The Above the Tie S1 (machined stainless steel) is quite good, but it costs $185.

Adjustable razor: The Merkur Progress and the Parker knockoff, the Variant, are currently the best adjustable razors. Rockwell will at some point release their adjustable razor, the Model T, but that is some months away.

The Edwin Jagger head (zinc alloy) is widely available and is good, though not quite so comfortable as those listed. All EJ razors have the same head design; prices vary according to the handle used.

A little tip for aftershave splashes: Shake well before each use. Some aftershave splashes don’t require a shake, but quite a few artisanal aftershaves will separate slightly after sitting unused for a few days. Since shaking does not harm, I have developed a habit of always shaking any aftershave splash before applying. (A very few aftershaves actually advise “Shake before use,” but most just let it go, even when shaking is important to remix ingredients.)

Making a childproof razor holder from a prescription pill bottle: It looks easy.

Clogging of iKon Shavecraft 102 due to lather (too thick and dry) in at least one case: Report from the shaver:

Eureka!! I changed the thickness of the lather and the SC102 had NO clog issues on a good 3+ days of stubble.

When I whip lather I always make it very thick and creamy (opacity level = 1). So if we were to use a opacity scale, with 1 being no transparency while 10 being transparent. I made my lather with an opacity of about 7-8 and this solved the problem.

Extremely happy now!

If your slant is nicking you, try a Derby blade (more detail here): The Fine Superlite, though modeled exactly on the Merkur vintage white bakelite slant, has always been much more prone to nick. No more. Now it feels exactly like the Merkur white bakelite slant. The Derby blade made a big difference and is worth trying if you’re having slant tsuris. Another thing to check: blade angle. Make sure the cap stays in touch with the skin. Slants are highly sensitive to angle, and if the razor handle becomes closer to your face (so that the razor is riding on the guard more than the cap), nicks will inevitably ensue. Update: The Derby also cured my problems with the Phoenix Artisan Bakelite slant. Next up: Maggard slant. – Later: It didn’t help so much with the Maggard slant: still some good nicks. I’ll try it again someday, though. When I picked up my iKon 102 this morning I had a great sense of relief (and a wonderful shave).

Recent report on efficacy of using citric acid to soften shaving water. Useful feedback from a shaver in the field.

Nonstandard aspect of the Standard handle: A reader just queried me on whether the Standard handle works if you remove the little double-threaded lug. (I used LocTite to secure the lug permanently in the Standard head, so that my Standard works is now like any three-piece razor: a threaded lug attached to the cap, and a tapped handle to match.) I have used that Standard head on several different handles, and it now is on a Wolfman handle. I did not try the handle with other heads, since the reason I switched handles was that I didn’t especially care for the Standard handle, but prompted by the reader’s comment I experimented using the Standard handle with some other heads:

  • With Maggard V3A head: works fine
  • With iKon X3 head: works in terms of threading, but the Standard handle is not tapped deep enough so I could not fully tighten the head
  • with Above the Tie S1 and R1: doesn’t work because the threads are a mismatch

I don’t understand what is going on, but it seems clear that you can use the Standard head (with the little lug) on other handles, but the Standard handle in general doesn’t seem to work with other heads. It would be better to buy a handle separately—e.g., one of these.

Note change of ownership of Classic Shaving and Vintage Blades: They are no longer the same company as they were a few years ago. New owners acquired the name and now sell junk straight razors like Grim Blades, a junk razor. These seem to be operated by The Grooming Company, which also has other companies to avoid.

Always check ingredients: I advise that you always check the ingredients in your shaving soap or shaving cream and also in your aftershave. Here, for example, are the ingredients in Barbasol canned foam:

Water, Stearic Acid, Triethanolamine, Isobutane, Laureth-23, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Propane, Fragrance.

For comparison, the ingredients in Stirling Soap Company’s Bay Rum:

Beef Tallow, Stearic Acid, Distilled Water, Castor Oil, Potassium Hydroxide, Vegetable Glycerin, Essential Oil, Almond Oil, Shea Butter, Coconut Milk, Lanolin, Sodium Hydroxide, Sodium Lactate Jar Size:

Possible reason some have found that the iKon 102 tends to clog: In a comment thread on this post, Wally Root reports that, quite consistently, his 102 clogs if he uses shave oil and does not clog when he doesn’t. If you use a 102, I suggest you avoid shave oil. I avoid it in any case—as you know from the Guide, I could detect no improvement from using shave oil—which may be why the 102 never clogged for me.

Another shaver discovered that the 102 stopped clogging when he made the lather not quite so dry and thick: adding just a little more water to the lather ended the clogging problem.

Another possible cause of the clogging is the sticky scum formed when hard water combines with soap. You still can lather in hard water if you use enough soap, but the sticky scum is present anyway from the chemical reaction. It may be that this stickiness causes the clogging.

PSA: Going Bare Down There May Boost The Risk Of STDs: Read this NPR story, which begins:

Frequent removal of pubic hair is associated with an increased risk for herpes, syphilis and human papillomavirus, doctors at the University of California, San Francisco, reported Monday in the journal Sexually Transmitted Infections.

People who have “mowed the lawn” at least once in their lifetimes were nearly twice as likely to say they had had at least one STD. And “extreme groomers” – those who remove all their pubic hair more than 11 times each year — were more than four times as likely to have had an infection. “High-frequency groomers,” who just trim their hair a few times a month, fell between the two extremes. They were about three times more likely to have reported an STD.

Read the whole thing.

Some reflections on slants: Several years ago I polled men who had tried slant razors, and around 70% found the slant worked better than their regular razor. I repeated the poll recently and 50% find that the slant works better than their regular razor. (In both polls, the number who found that the slant worked worse than their regular razor is insignificant; the balance is mostly those who find the slant works about the same as their regular razor.)

So what happened? Why the change? I’ve thought about that at some length, and I’ve posted one possible explanation. It’s not proven, but at least what I think happened would indeed produce the results we see (though perhaps there’s an alternative or complementary explanation that hasn’t occurred to me).

Absolutely dynamite article on slants, with photos. Do take a look.

Very cool shaving site: I just stumbled across this today. Extremely well done, and the SOTD photos are works of art.

Operational definition of “enjoyable” when applied to shaving: When I was in high school I got a copy of Anatol Rapoport’s Operational Philosophy: Integrating Knowledge and Action, an enjoyable and enlightening book. (Inexpensive secondhand copies at the link.) Consider a man who knows he will be at home alone for the entire day. If chooses to shave, then he finds shaving enjoyable; if he doesn’t, then shaving for him is not enjoyable. When shaving is not enjoyable, one uses any excuse to skip the shave.

Interesting shaving brushes and razors made with 3-D printing: Take a look.

A book I wish I had pointed out in the 7th Edition: Edward de Bono’s Po: Beyond Yes and No, .so I’m pointing it out now. Link is to inexpensive secondhand copies. Well worth reading—obviously, I suppose: why else would I mention it.

Fix for bad linkFortune magazine moved the page in which Gillette claimed a 5-week life for cartridge, so the link in Endnote 18 is wrong. I corrected it below; is the right link for the new location of the page.

Useful information on the widths of DE blades: Full info in this post, and here’s the table created by Giovanni Arbate several years ago:

Blade widths table from Razor & Blade

Good source in the EU for blade samplers: You can buy samplers and individual blades of various brands: Razor Blades Club

How we got to this point: Well worth reading: “How Intellectual Property Destroyed Men’s Shaving.” From a few years back.

A thorough and good review of Chatillon Lux post-shave products: This thread on Wicked Edge provides much useful information on Chatillon Lux’s aftershave, toner, and salve, their three types of post-shave care, including information that the salve should be applied sparingly and to slightly wet skin. Worth reading. Chatillon Lux’s proprietor contributes to the conversation.

“Carefully groomed stubble is a mark of low moral character” – Hamilton Nolan writes a short piece worth reading. I had independently arrived at much the same conclusion, and he expresses it very well.

Soap, water, person: another 3-element system like razor, blade, person: In a Wicked Edge discussion, NeedsMoreMenthol clarified something that has long puzzled me: why some men find hard water is not a problem in lather production, while for others hard water does present lathering problems.

The key is that soaps differ in how well they tolerate hard water. Some (like Arko, Williams, D.R. Harris, and others) contain chelating ingredients, such as EDTA, that help soap perform well in hard water, while other shaving soaps lack such ingredients. So water varies in hardness and soaps vary in how well they work in hard water.

The “person” part of the system presents a third variable in the nature of the skin—for example, whether one’s skin tends to be dry or oily. Because of this variable, a soap that is good for one person’s skin may cause problems for another. (Example: I love Van Yulay soaps, but I’ve been told that they are not so good for men who have oily skin.)

So just as one must find the right combination of razor and blade for his beard and skin, he also must find the right combination of water and soap for his beard and skin.

Many simply stick with the water they have and use soaps that work well in that water. If they have very soft water (cf. Vancouver BC), any soap works. If the water is hard, soaps with chelating elements will be favored. And of the soaps that work in the water being used, one will naturally pick those that produce good shaves and work well with one’s skin.

Just as whether a brand of blade is “good” depends on the razor and the person, so whether a soap is “good” depends on the water and the person.

Some who have hard water will choose to use distilled water (with some of the hard water mixed in—see this article) or to soften the water (with citric acid or a water softener) to broaden the range of soaps they can use; others will prefer to keep the shave simple and choose soaps that don’t require softening the water. That’s a matter of personal preference, obviously. And if you’re using a soap that works well in hard water, it clearly is a waste of time to soften the water: you gain nothing in terms of soap performance. OTOH, if you happen to like an artisanal soap that lacks chelating elements, softening the water has the benefit of greatly improving soap performance.

Once again we see the need to experiment to find what works best for you in your situation and with your preferences.

Some very interesting and new high-end razors: Timelesss Razor currently offers two razors, and the open-comb is particularly interesting: like the Phoenix Artisan Double Open Comb, the cap and guard are both combs. Also, Sharpologist has a review of the Barbaros TR-1.

Interesting soaps, preshaves, and aftershaves: A new vendor for me, with quite a few interesting soaps: Van Yulay. (Note that there are two pages of shaving soaps. Most use clay, so you must add a little (about a teaspoon) of water as you load the brush, and you may have to repeat that if the brush is large. The more I use Van Yulay soaps, the more I like them, and the aftershave splash is also quite good.

Re: Slants — Maybe it comes down to finding the right angle – In this post I discuss how the feel of the Fine slant improved immensely once I found the optimal angle (and I include a note on how to do that). And here are my 3 pointers for new Fine slant users.

The puzzle of YMMV: Slant division – As is typical of products and procedures in shaving, slant razors work extremely well for some (me, for example), being extremely comfortable, extremely efficient, and quite easily producing a BBS result while encountering less cutting resistance than a regular razor. But—and here’s the YMMV part—they either don’t work at all for some who try them (about 7%) or are no better than a regular razor for some (about 23%). That does leave 70% who love slants after giving them a try, but a few of the other 30% are so moved by their own experience that they firmly believe a slant cannot be all that great, regardless of what others say. But then you see a report like this, and you have to recognize that—for whatever reason—a slant does indeed do a superb job for some.

Testing demineralized water for lathering: Chuck Falzone wrote a Sharpologist article in which, after using demineralized water (in his case, distilled water) over a period of days, he noted that the lather, though abundant, was somewhat airy and not so dense as normal. He recommends mixing a little hard tap water into demineralized water to get the best lather. I tested that today.

Alum’s effect on eczema: This post is worth reading if you suffer from eczema or other condition.

Pleasing aftershaves from Chatillon Lux: Last week I tried a different sample of Chatillon Lux aftershaves each day (six in all) and ended up liking three of those well enough to order a bottle. Note on this page that all their products are in fact “aftershaves”: the one they call “aftershave” is a splash with alcohol, but their “toner” formula is also an aftershave as is their “salve.” (I’ve suggested they revise the terminology. After reading the page at the link, I wish I had order the “toner” formula instead of their “aftershave” formula. Still, the samples are a good way to test.

Interesting article (from Jan 1933 Popular Mechanix) on the futility of honing DE blades. Worth reading, since the delusion that honing DE blades is effective is perennial. (The magazine at the time was called Science and Mechanics.)

Ideal razor for a beginner who wants a long-term razor: IMO the Rockwell stainless steel razor system ($100) is the best possible razor for the novice, as explained in this review. The system comes with three double-sided baseplates and thus offers six possible “settings.” A novice can start with the mildest baseplate, the R1, and advance as his skills improve. And those who shave at irregular intervals will quickly learn which baseplate works best for their current length of beard. I’m impressed by this system. I was surprised to find that all the sides, R1 through R6, are (for me) extremely comfortable. I have tried various baseplates in the Above the Tie razor, since they also offer a range, and with ATT I found that the R1 and S1 (slant) worked well for me, but all the others I tried were uncomfortable, bordering on harsh: the R2, H1, S2, and M1 just did not work. In contrast, the Rockwell baseplates were totally comfortable throughout the range, though certainly I got increasing blade feel as I progressed from R1 through R6. Moreover, although Feather blades generally work for me only in mild razors (Feather AS-D2, Gillette Tech, Schick Krona, etc.), I (accidentally) used a new Feather blade in the Rockwell for the R5 and R6 baseplates, and it worked like charm: no nicks, great comfort, fine shave.

Why I continue to believe that the slant is effective for many:  Here’s a brief summary of my reasons.

Australian dealer who carries artisanal shaving products: If you’re in Australia, take a look at The Stray Whisker, which is offering artisanal soaps such as Barrister & Mann, Captain’s Choice, and Catie’s Bubbles, and soon will have Fine aftershaves.

Martin de Candre shaving soap equivalent: Here’s my review comparing Wet Shaving Products Rustic shaving soap (also available in 1-oz size). Bottom line: So far as I can tell, the two soaps perform equally well, by design. (WSP’s explicit goal with their soap was to copy the MdC formula and performance.).

What is a “gourmet” shave? This question is raised in one of the reader reviews on, so I thought I should post the answer here: A gourmet shave is a shave that delights the senses. My hope is that the name will shift one’s focus to the quality of the overall experience instead of looking only at how smooth the skin is at the end of the shave. My view of the goal of shaving is that it’s to achieve a smooth face in a way that makes the entire process something that you enjoy and look forward to.

Excellent open-comb head for $15: Maggard Razors in the US sells a really excellent open-comb head by itself. They also sell razor handles, or if you have a three-piece razor you can probably just use that handle. The link is to a shave where I compare the Maggard OC head to the (also excellent) Parker 24C head.

The OneBlade razor: A very interesting single-edge razor, OneBlade gets its name because it can use only one particular brand and model of blade, a blade made by Feather. This eliminates the need for a blade sampler pack: you have only one choice of blade, so sampling is pointless. (Obviously, if Feather drops that model of blade, you’re out of luck.) It does seem that the razor works well—here’s a detailed review in Sharpologist. 

In the current Guide, you will recall that I requested that razors be designed to act as acoustic amplifiers for the quiet sound that results from the blade cutting through stubble. I had in mind designing the head as a miniature soundbox, but OneBlade seems to have solved the problem ingeniously, having the handle amplify the sound conducted through the razor. Mantic59 says audible feedback is pronounced and louder than any other razor he’s tried.

UK source for samples of soaps, creams, and aftershaves: Check out

Some nice custom razor handles: Some are stunning.

A mindful approach to loading the brush: It only recently occurred to me that loading the brush is as open to a mindful approach, with closely focused attention to what you are doing in the moment, as is using the razor. But because many soaps are sold in partially empty containers whose sidewalls in the empty part of the container play the same role as training wheels on a bicycle, some do not learn to load the brush neatly, just as permanent training wheels on a bicycle would impede mastering bike riding. I discuss this realization at some length in this post and in comments to it.

Exfoliating scrubs are worse than I thought: The Wife comments:

Exfoliating scrubs are quite hard on your skin and can cause microtears. If you feel the need for an exfoliant on the non-shaved part of your face, a chemical peel would be both gentler and easier to target specific areas. Check out Reddit’s SkincareAddiction subreddit for product suggestions and techniques.

The Copper Hat products: I visited The Copper Hat in Victoria BC and bought one of their shaving soaps, and this morning used. Excellent lather. I hesitated between Coastal Fair and Island Hopper.

The site unfortunately does not list the soap ingredients, which I think is a mistake because the ingredients are excellent. Those that caught my eye: glycerin, coconut oil, sustainably sourced palm oil, sunflower oil, goat’s milk, fair trade shea butter, cocoa butter, aloe vera oil, apricot oil, and essential oils for fragrance. Recommended.

They also offer some interesting shaving brushes that they make themselves (along with shaving brushes by Kent, Parker, and Vie-Long). Worth a look.

I got a sample of Anthony Gold’s Red Cedar aftershave splash, and I like that a lot.

Shy/bold in the animal kingdom at the colony level: In the Guide I discuss two mindsets, settler and explorer, and point out that the two approaches are also seen in animal species, where they are called shy and bold respectively (see page 35). From Science:

. . .  Some [ant] colonies are full of adventurous risk-takers, whereas others are less aggressive about foraging for food and exploring the great outdoors. Researchers say that these group “personality types” are linked to food-collecting strategies, and they could alter our understanding of how social insects behave.

Personality—consistent patterns of individual behavior—was once considered a uniquely human trait. But studies since the 1990s have shown that animals from great tits to octopuses exhibit “personality.” Even insects have personalities. Groups of cockroaches have consistently shy and bold members, whereas damselflies have shown differences in risk tolerance that stay the same from grubhood to adulthood.

To determine how group behavior might vary between ant colonies, a team of researchers led by Raphaël Boulay, an entomologist at the University of Tours in France, tested the insects in a controlled laboratory environment. They collected 27 colonies of the funnel ant (Aphaenogaster senilis) and had queens rear new workers in the lab. This meant that all ants in the experiment were young and inexperienced—a clean slate to test for personality.

The researchers then observed how . . .

Read the whole thing.

Superb artisanal shaving soap with interesting fragrances: Meißner Tremonia is a German shaving soap, available in the US from Straight Razor Designs and in the UK from Connaught Shaving. I posted a review with some photos, and this detailed review (which includes links to more sources of the soap) is worth reading. Definitely worthwhile.

Alum block update: I’ve just learned that alum will work as a styptic if you hold the alum block against the cut or nick for a moment, rather than just gliding it over the nick. I’m told that holding it in place (with a little pressure) will stop the bleeding as well as any styptic. I’ve now tried that, and it works. Thus:

Skin treatment use: glide alum block over your wet beard area following the final rinse, put block aside to dry and let the alum sit as you clean up around the sink and put things away; then rinse the alum off, dry your face, and apply aftershave.

Styptic use: hold a corner of the block firmly against the nick or cut for 20-40 seconds.

As a styptic, the cost per use of an alum block is much less than using a liquid styptic (My Nik Is Sealed, Pacific Shaving’s Nick Stick, et al.) and even less than using a styptic pencil—plus it seems to me to do a better job.

Citric acid update: In the Guide I suggest using a pinch of citric acid to soften hard water for shaving. I recently heard from someone who tried it and learned just how little is required. The idea is to go for the least amount that makes a difference. After a couple of unpleasant shaves, he contacted me and I suggested he try using much less citric acid than he had used. Start, I suggested with half a pinch. He responded the next day, “Had an amazing shave this morning. I used very little citric acid. I just touched two fingers to the crystals and that’s all I put in the water. So probably less than half a pinch. Super impressed!”

Interesting series on fragrances in shaving productsSharpologist is running the series by Craig K: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

Putting water on shaving soap: Some men put a little water on their shaving soap and let that sit for a while (while they shower, for example). The claim is that it makes the soap easier to lather. I tried it and found no difference in ease of lathering whether I wet the soap or not; for me, it was simply an added (and useless) step.

But jayhawk4eva on Wicked_Edge put a new spin on it. He pours the water into a cupped palm and uses it to wash his beard at the sink, then immediately applies lather to his wet (and unrinsed) beard. (I do much the same, but instead of using the shaving soap as the source of the soapy water, I use a bar of high-glycerin soap, typically MR GLO.)  Wetting the puck for this purpose is new to me and worth a try if you’re interested. My expectation, though, is that the glycerin of the shaving soap will aid lubricity more than shaving-soap water will. But experiment.

Another razor refurbishing/replating service: Delta Echo, located in Duvall, WA, has at the link a gallery of their work. The razors are amazing.

UK site for samples: Check out

More on mindfulness: One of the noticeable benefits of traditional shaving is how it promotes mindfulness, whose mental, emotional, and physical benefits have already been the subject of scientific study and are quite real. (I recently blogged an experiment soon to be underway in the UK.) Many have noticed that being in a natural environment—when one naturally is aware of sensory input and focused on the moment rather than thinking about the past or the future—makes them feel better, and they are not wrong. I am just now reading one of the defining books on mindfulness, Jon Kabat-Zinn’s Full Catastrophe Living. Despite the somewhat alarming title, it’s a book well worth reading. At the link are inexpensive secondhand editions. (The newly revised edition is also available in a Kindle edition.)

The Fine Classic $20 synthetic: I did not expect the Fine Classic synthetic to be so much softer after the first shave. It’s a really excellent brush at an astonishingly low price, but do make a couple of practice lathers when you get it so you’ll get the full benefit in your first actual shave. Nice design, too, at least in my eyes. Highly recommended brush. It seems a slightly smaller (20mm v. 22mm) brother to the Plisson synthetic, with the smaller knot making it feel slightly firmer. Comparison here.

Another source for brush knots for the DIYer: Check out Envyshave on Etsy.

iKon Tech: In this post I give some reasons why iKon might want to make a version of the vintage Gillette Tech: the Gillette Tech is very comfortable and very efficient, but (a) some men will not consider using a vintage razor that’s been used by others, and (b) many men today really want a stainless razor. So there would be a good niche for a stainless version of the Gillette Tech. But in my experience, the iKon Tech is not like the Gillette Tech. Rather it is, at least for me, much harsher. I’ve tried three brands of blades and haven’t been able to hit my stride with it. See also this thread on Badger & Blade. I passed the razor along to NeedsMoreMenthol on Wicked Edge. Here’s his review.

Layered soaps from HTGAM/PAA: I have been aware of dissatisfaction—indeed, anger—regarding the vendor who ran and closed that company to start Phoenix Artisan Accoutrements. I have observed over the years that from time to time some vendor or product will arouse the ire of a group and a sort of vendetta will ensue. I know of several cases in which the opprobrium was completely undeserved, so I tend to act on a presumption of innocence and want substantial proof before making a judgment.

But then I saw this photo in a thread on Wicked Edge. So I went to my own stash of HTGAM/PAA soaps and started prying the soaps from the tins. The first two—HTGAM Pumpkin Pie and PAA Coconut—were solid all the way through: no layering. But then I sliced open a puck of HTGAM Coconut Bay:

HTGAM Coconut Bay x-section

The red arrow points to the top layer of the cross section. As you see, it’s the same color as the top of the rest of the puck. The greater part of the soap is a different color and does look like a different soap. However, when I turned the puck over and built a lather from the bottom layer side, the lather had the same consistency and fragrance as the lather made from the top layer. The maker says that the soap pour included some small amount of foam (fine bubbles) and when poured these migrated to the top. That naturally produces a different color, though the substance is the same. (He points out that the foam on a glass of Guinness, despite its different appearance, is the same stuff as in the bottom the glass, just with some air mixed in.) I’m not a soapmaker, but a soap user. But when I made two different lathers, one from the top of the puck (the foam layer) and one from the bottom of the puck (the solid layer), I got the same quality of lather and the same fragrance in each case. And the top layer does indeed look like a solidified fine-grained foam.

I subsequently did an experiment: scraping off some of the top layer, melting it, and then comparing the result to the bottom layer. They look to be the same. Details and photos at the link.

As noted above, the top layer and bottom layer produce the same lather and, when melted, look the same. Those who said the top layer was a different soap altogether jumped to that conclusion (so far as I can without doing any testing at all, going simply by appearance), and so far as I can tell, that conclusion is incorrect.

JabonMan and the iKon Tech: In this post I give a brief review and tell how to order shaving soap from JabonMan. Basically, email Manuel Garcia (JabonMan himself) at UPDATE: I received the replacement soaps (see first link), and they are excellent. At the second link I also comment on the new Stirling “angel hair” synthetic shaving brush.

French shaving blog: For Francophones and -philes: Rasé de près

Omega Hi-Brush Synthetics: I recommend against Omega Hi-Brush synthetics because they are so resilient and “springy” that they are unpleasant to use, somewhat like The Grooming Company synthetics and Omega Pro-size S-Brushes and unlike regular-size S-Brushes and Plisson synthetics, both of which are quite pleasant to use. Obviously, personal preference plays a role here, but those I can “springy” do seem unpleasant in use.

Razor Emporium problems: See this thread. Note the specific response from RazoRock (Italian Barber). I have seen a variety of complaints about Razor Emporium that may have been “he said, she said” sorts of things, but this one seems pretty definitive. See also this thread.

Extremely interesting thought on the psychological benefits of shaving when undergoing a major life change: In this thread on Wicked_Edge, a bearded man (who uses a DE and lather to trim his beard) talks about how, in the midst of a painful divorce, the daily meditative activity of shaving has helped him maintain his calm at a time when emotions run high: in the midst of a divorce involving children.

ErogenousGnome makes a very interesting and profound point:

Having been through a divorce, and more recently another break up, I know the feel. Don’t miss a shave. Go baby-faced. It feels good to see something different in the mirror. . .

I think EG is definitely onto something: If a person changes his appearance—and thus the way he presents himself—he to some extent sheds the old persona and adopts a new one. By changing his appearance, he to a degree changes himself and—important point—signifies to others that he is changing. The old self, with its troubles attached, can symbolically be left behind as he moves into a new future.

The beard is ballast, thrown overboard to lighten the load and set the ship on a new course—and in addition, the longer shave allows more time for meditation and provides more enjoyment.

Facebook page: I just this week created a Facebook page for the book, and I’ll be posting various tips there. If you use Facebook and click “follow,” you’ll see notifications of new posts there.

Pro-size Omega S-Series vs. regular size: The pro-size S-brushes have a noticeably longer loft than the regular S-brushes, and I just tried the pro size. For me, at least, the regular size is much better. I didn’t care for the pro size at all. My own favorite is the S10005, mainly because of the handle. The S10065 has a knot diameter of 24mm vs. the 20mm of the S10077, and in a synthetic the slightly larger diameter works well, but both of those work fine for me.

New US vendorBlack Diamond Shaving: It’s new to me, but it’s been in business since September 2014. Good selection, including some artisanal soaps.

Some thoughts on feel vs. performance: We all (I think) want good performance from our brushes and razors, but in terms of feel, preferences vary: among brushes, some prefer soft and fluffy, others like stiff and scrubby (and both want good performance). The same sort of division seems to exist in razor preferences: see this post for some thoughts on analogous differences in dance and in piano playing.

UK high-end DE razor and artisanal bowl and soap: Thomas Clipper offers some nice-looking razors and bowl.

Five-bladed razors date from the 1930s:

Eva Nestorova goat’s milk shaving soaps: I finally figured out how to handle those soaps (e.g., Nestorova, The Holy Black, Bathhouse Soapery) that are sold as pucks shaped like a truncated cone: carefully peel off the label, wet the larger flat side of the soap, and stick the label there. Then when you use the soap, just hold it in your hand, label side against your palm, and load the brush while holding the soap. That does lather up your hand somewhat, but just rinse once the brush is loaded. I really like to keep the labels so I know the soap, and I don’t like finding containers. This is working well. Example. Now that I’ve figured it out, I’ve ordered a couple more of Nestorova’s soaps: they’re quite good and at $4/puck, very inexpensive.

Replacement top cap for Edwin Jagger/Mühle razors: As I note in the book, when Zamak razors (Edwin Jagger, Mühle, Parker, et al.) break, it is almost always the threaded stud from the cap that breaks off, typically in the handle. Thus my call for more robust top caps even if a Zamak baseplate is used. (Maggard Razors has taken a different tack, making a sturdier baseplate (from plated brass) while continuing to use a Zamak cap. Since the baseplate seldom if ever breaks, this innovation does not address the breakage problem.) You can now buy an Edwin Jagger/Mühle replacement cap—current price for US customers (who do not pay VAT) is $8.28 shipping. But we still await a sturdy top cap for Zamak razors.

Dr. Jon’s Handcrafted Soap Company: Yet another new artisanal soap—in the book I did write that this was a burgeoning field. The site provides a somewhat general list of ingredients on the home page (ingredient include shea butter, mango butter, avocado oil, evening-primrose oil, meadowfoam-seed oil, and coconut oil), but no specific ingredients by soap, which may indeed only by the fragrance. I had not come across meadowfoam-seed oil before; here’s a PDF comparing meadowfoam-seed and jojoba oil. It comes in two sizes: 2 oz ($7.95) and 4 oz ($14.95). The 2-oz tin is 3″ in diameter, a comfortable size for loading the brush, so if you enjoy having a variety of soaps, the 2-oz tin is the way to go.

New Canadian artisanal soap: First Canadian Shave came to my attention via this review on Wicked_Edge.

New on-line vendor: has a good line of products. Check it out.

Interesting TED talk on low-carb, high-fat diet: I mention the LCHF diet in the recommendations regarding acne, but really such a diet applies across the board: low in carbs (there are no essential carbohydrates required for health), normal levels of protein (there are some essential amino acids that we must consume), and high levels of fat (there are some essential fatty acids that we must consume), the calories lost by cutting carbohydrates being replaced from calories from fats. This TED talk discusses the science and health issues addressed by a LCHF diet. Here’s an introduction to such a diet. And this TED talk discusses the elephant in the room: sugar.

South African on-line shaving vendor: Check out Digital Barber in South Africa. (Scroll down at the link.)








Note: For Australians, sometimes it costs less to order from Connaught Shaving (UK) or (Ireland), even with shipping costs.

HimAge – option of looking at products by fragrance

Men’s Biz – broad line of shaving supplies

Occams – artisanal products including shaving cream

Otoko Organics – extremely interesting shaving soap

Pureman – men’s grooming and shaving supplies

Shaver Heaven – artisanal shaving soaps and other shaving supplies

Shaver Hut – men’s grooming and shaving supplies

The Shave Shed – 60-day return policy

Shaver City – good line of shaving supplies including cutthroat razors (aka straight razors)

Shaver Heaven – artisanal vegan soaps, also available from some vendors in Canada, US, and UK

The Stray Whisker – imports a variety of US artisanal shaving supplies, along with a good range of shaving products

The Razor Shop – an eclectic little shop: razors, brushes, shaving supplies, pressure cookers, etc.


Atkinson’s – Plisson brushes; store in Vancouver

Badger Shaving Co. – good selection of products including a fair number of artisanal shaving soaps – closed its doors Nov 2016

Classic Edge – good selection of straight razors and DEs along with shaving supplies

The Copper Hat – good range of shaving supplies, interesting brushes; store in Victoria; they make their own line of shaving soaps and shaving brushes, both excellent

Fendrihan – good range of shaving products, along with leather goods, writing implements, and knives (Canadians: Be sure to use and not

First Canadian Shave – artisanal shaving soap

Italian Barber – RazoRock products, including the Baby Smooth and Stealth razors; starter kits; broad range of shaving supplies; routinely ships to the US

Kent of Inglewood

Mark of a Gentleman – good range of shaving supplies

Men Essentials – broad range of products; store in Toronto

Moss Scuttle – the original modern scuttle

Shaving Style – straight razors, DEs, and shaving supplies

Soapy Bathman – artisanal soaps

Wolfman Razors – premium stainless razors and handles


Plisson – exquisite shaving brushes


Meißner Tremonia – superb artisanal shaving soap with interesting fragrances

Shavemac – excellent brushes along with German shaving equipment and supplies.

Wiborg – superb shaving brushes, often out of stock

Ireland—————————————————————– – broad range of products, routinely ships internationally at low rates


Shave and More – broad range of shaving products – URL for English-language storefront


The Portugal Online Shop – Claus Porto products (Musgo Real, Ach. Brito, and others), brushes. Ships readily to US.

Vintage Scent – Semogue brushes and interesting shaving supplies. Ships readily to US.


Gifts and Care – excellent selection of good horsehair shaving brushes and shaving stuff. Shipping to US is inexpensive.

JabonMan makes superb artisanal soaps. Email Manuel Garcia (JabonMan himself) at

UFO Razor Handles – excellent handles when available

Your Shaving – good selection of shaving products

South Africa—————————————————————–

Digital Barber – scroll down at link

Turkey—————————————————————– – inexpensive supplies


Caveman Grooming

Connaught Shaving – ships internationally

The English Shaving Company – home of Edwin Jagger

Executive Shaving Company – very broad range of shaving products and instructional guides

Fredricssons – artisanal shaving soaps

Gallant & Klein – limited range but good quality

G.B. Kent & Sons – excellent shaving brushes

The Gentlemen’s Groom Room – broad range of shaving products    

The Gentlemen’s Shop – good range of shaving supplies

The Groomed Man – broad range of shaving products

The Invisible Edge – straight razors

Man Machine Sample Shop – product samples

Nanny’s Silly Soap Company – artisanal soaps

New Forest Brushes – artisanal brushes

Niven & Joshua – good range of shaving supplies

Pens of the Forest –artisanal shaving brushes, handles

Safety Razors – good range of shaving products

Shave Lounge – broad range of shaving products

ShaveDash – samples of shaving cream, shaving soap, and blades

Shaving Station – good selection of artisanal soaps

The Shaving Time Company – good selection of artisanal soaps

The Strop Shop – straight razors

Thomas Clipper – high-end artisanal DE razors, bowl, soap

The Traditional Shaving Companybroad range of shaving products

Wickham – artisanal soaps, 5” puck; sold in the US as Huntlee


Above the Tie – premium stainless razors, shaving supplies

All Lathered Up – good range of samples of various mainline shaving products

Al’s Shaving Products – artisanal shaving creams, soaps, aftershaves

Appleton Barber Supply – inexpensive aftershaves, barber towels. – DIY supplies for brushes and razors, along with handcrafted brushes and razors.

Barclay Crocker – preshaves, soaps, creams, aftershaves

Barrister & Mann – artisanal soaps, aftershaves, etc.

Bathhouse Soapery – artisanal soaps, aftershaves

Best Grooming Tools – broad range of shaving supplies

Black Diamond Shaving  – good selection, with artisanal soap

Blankety Blanks – artisanal brushes and DIY brushes

BM Vintage Shaving – good range of shaving supplies

Bramble Berry – Soapmaking supplies, including DIY Melt & Pour Base for shaving soap

Brent’s Brushes – artisanal shaving brushes – artisanal shaving brushes

BullGoose Shaving Supplies – artisanal soaps, horsehair brushes, and other shaving supplies

Catie’s Bubbles – excellent artisanal soaps

Chatillon Lux – very nice aftershaves (and all three of their formulations are aftershaves: the “aftershave” contains alcohol, the “toner” does not, and the “salve” is indeed a salve, but all three are aftershaves.

Chiseled Face Groomatorium – artisanal soaps and aftershaves

Classic Shavingexcellent range of shaving supplies, including straight razors Company went out of business and name was acquired; more info here.

Cold River Soap Works – artisanal soaps

Crabtree & Evelyn – limited range of shaving supplies

Dapper Dragon – artisanal shaving soaps

Delta Echo – razor replating and refurbishing—some pieces are amazing

Dirty Bird Pottery – scuttles and brush warmers

Dr. Jon’s Handcrafted Soap Company – artisanal soaps, shaving brushes

eBarbershop – barber supply, shaving products

eBay – link is for safety razors

Elite Razor – beautiful custom razors and brushes

Enchante Online – home of Method Shaving, good range of products

Envyshave – A variety of brush knots (synthetic, boar, badger)  for the DIYer and some custom brushes.

Eva Nestorova – Etsy shop of good goat’s-milk shaving soaps

Garry’s Sample Shop – samples of soaps, etc.

The Gentlemens Refinery – superb preshave, shaving creams, aftershaves

Ginger’s Garden – Handmade “shaving-cream soap” that lathers abundantly, and also good aftershaves

The Golden Nib – DIY supplies for brushes and razors

Green Mountain Soap – artisanal shaving soaps

Grooming Dept. – unusual formulas and unusually good soaps (and pre-shaves)

The Handlebar Supply Company – excellent range of shaving products; has a brick-and-mortar store

Highland Mens Care – good range of shaving products

Honeybee Soaps – artisanal shaving soaps

Ian Tang’s Shaving Workshop – Frank Shaving brushes

iKon Razors – very comfortable and very efficient high-quality razors—my current favorites are the iKon Shavecraft #101 and #102.

Kell’s Original – artisan soaps

Knockout Shave – good line of products, including some excellent artisanal soaps, shaving creams, and aftershaves

LA Shaving Soap Company – artisanal soaps, starter kit, premium stainless razor (made by Wolfman Razors)

Lee’s Razors – excellent range of shaving stuff

Lijun Brush – Inexpensive shaving brushes

Maggard Razors – good selection of artisanal soaps including their own, good line of their own DE razors, starter kits, full range of shaving supplies, many samples available; has a brick-and-mortar store

Mama Bear – artisanal soaps

Men Essentials – broad range of products

Mickey Lee Soapworks – artisanal shaving soaps and aftershave milks. The Drunken Goat is well worth a try.

Mike’s Natural Soaps – excellent (and very thirsty) artisanal shaving soaps

Mongoose Razors – superb single-edge razors using Artist Club blades ( sells such blades and even sells a Mongoose sampler pack.)

Mystic Water Soap for Men – artisanal soaps

Nancy Boy – excellent shaving creams and skin care

Penchetta Pen & Knife  – Primarily custom and DIY brushes and razors, also shaving stuff (Web site currently incomplete, so you may have to call: 480-575-0729)

Phoenix Artisan Accoutrements – artisanal soaps and aftershaves, razors, and a broad line of other shaving supplies

Q Brothers – the on-line shaving store of Merz Apothecary in Chicago, with its own brick-and-mortar store

QED – good range of shaving products

Queen Charlotte Soaps – artisanal shaving soaps

Razor Blades and More – broad range of shaving supplies

Razor Emporium – See this thread and this thread.

Razor Plate – razor restoration and replating services

Razors Direct

Reef Point – artisanal shaving soaps

Reliable Electroplating – replating services

Retrorazor – good site for novice and aspiring DE shavers

Royal Shave – excellent range of shaving products

Rubinov’s Barber Supply – shaving products; also has a brick-and-mortar store in Phoenix AZ

Saint Charles Shave – artisanal aftershaves, eau de toilettes, shaving soaps and creams.

Shannon’s Soaps – artisanal shaving soaps and other soaps

The Shave Den Shop – artisanal shaving soaps and creams, aftershaves, colognes, and the like. Extra menthol on request.

Shave Nation – good range of products; also has videos

Shave Place –  also – good range of products, artisanal soap, shaving information

Shave Revolution – has closed its doors.

Shave Select – good range of shaving supplies, instruction

The Shaver Shop – custom shave sets, general shaving supplies

ShaveTools – broad range of shaving products

ShavingStyle – broad range of shaving products

Shoebox Shaveshop – excellent range of products, good prices

Smallflowerthe on-line site of the brick-and-mortar Merz Apothecary in Chicago

Soap Commander – artisanal shaving soaps and aftershaves

Soap Smooth – artisanal shaving soap; formerly Seifenglatt

Sport Shaving – restored razors and restoration services including replating

Stirling Soap Company – artisanal soaps with distinct fragrances, aftershaves

Straight Razor Designs – excellent straight razors

Strop Shoppe – Excellent artisanal shaving soaps made by a biochemist

The Superior Shave – good range of shaving products

Superlather – good US source for European products

Through the Fire Fine Craftartisanal shaving soaps and aftershaves

Tiki Bar Soap – artisanal soaps

Van Yulay – interesting shaving soaps, preshaves, aftershaves, along with brushes, and razors

Vintage Blades LLCstraight razors, DEs, and supplies Jim Ayars sold the business, and the name was purchased for a company in Idaho that sells substandard straight razors and other products.

Weber Razors – at one time razors, now only handles

West Coast Razors – no long in business; supplies, restored razors, restoration and replating services

West Coast Shaving – excellent range of products; has a brick-and-mortar store.

Western Razor – new razor maker

Whipped Dog – DIY and pre-made brushes, restored straight razors.

WhollyKaw – vegan artisanal soaps

Wolf Whiskers – artisanal shaving brushes


[1] Make a note of each time experience contradicts expectations.

[2] Dan Gilbert: TED talk on happiness
TED talk on why we make bad decisions
A report of some of Gilbert’s research

[3] Getting to Yes: Inexpensive used copies

[4] Managing Management Time: Inexpensive used copies
See also his classic 1974 Harvard Business Review article “Who’s Got the Monkey

[5] Mindset – strongly recommended for parents

[6] The Lantern Bearers

[7] Epicurus: See also the Wikipedia entry.

[8] Mihály CsíkszentmihályiFlow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience: inexpensive copies.

[9] Sharpologist article “Shaving-Tool Innovation and the Weber Razor
Harvard Business Review blog post on Gillette strategy in India; do read the comments.

[10] Establishing lifespan of a multiblade cartridge.

[11] Tug-and-cut action of multiblade cartridge in close-up video.

[12] A skeptical take on “progress”

[13] Obsidian razor macrophotograph

[14] Obsidian razor shave; also here

[15] Miracle shaving device

[16] Barber towels

[17] Skin care

[18] Gillette statement of cartridge life [link updated: they moved the article]

[19] Joanna Field/Marion Milner secondhand copies: A Life of One’s OwnOn Not Being Able to Paint

[20] Mindfulness: inexpensive secondhand copies. And see also Full Catastrophe Living, the seminal book on mindfulness by Jon Kabat-Zinn

[21] Prefer electric shock: See press release; news story. See also this piece.

[22] My recipe for Breakfast Bites

[23] Rituals do work

[24] Cognitive dissonance

[25] Ben Franklin story

[26] Pride and the common good

[27] Life changes resulting from new self-regard

[28] Other personal-renewal notes: See this and this.

[29] Products that require effort and skill

[30] Locus of control

[31] The pleasures of preparing for a party

[32] See

[33] The Ikea effect

[34] Health benefits of daily shave

[35] William James on Habit

[36] “Worth” as a function of wealth

[37] Kamasori razors

[38] Gillette did not invent safety razor

[39] Links for used straight razors:
Edson Razors
Gemstar Customs
Maggard Razors
Straight Razor Place classifieds

[40] The Art of the Straight-Razor Shave: PDF, book

[41] Straight Razor Shaving (PDF). See also this thread

[42] Shavette

[43] Wilkinson technology

[44] “How Intellectual Property Destroyed Men’s Shaving

[45] Gillette strategy in India

[46] Changing for Good

[47] My thoughts on the motivation that enables people to enjoy engaging in learning

[48] Shy/bold in animals

[49] Brain benefit of willingness to explore

[50] Explorer/settler brain chemistry

[51] Report on revisiting Mach 3

[52] “What was I thinking?

[53] Returning to cartridges

[54] Women using DE razors

[55] Cultural ebb and flow of body shaving

[56]  eBay safety razors

[57] A wonderful account of the first-time experience

[58] Difference the Edwin Jagger made

[50] Surprises along the way

[60] Decision Trapsinexpensive secondhand copies
Winning Decisions inexpensive secondhand copies

[61] Predictably Irrational: inexpensive secondhand copies

[62] Making a brush

[63] Restoring old brush: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

[64] Wire-bending tool

[65] Videos by Mantic59

[66] Videos by geofatboy

[67] Videos by Freedberg

[68] Videos by betelgeux (theshockwav)

[69] Slant solving neck problems

[70] Mantic59’s Advanced Shaving Techniques video

[71] Interactive beard-map diagram – deleted: site went bad and is infected. Use this Sharpologist article instead.

[72] Luca Turn and fragrances

[73] Photosensitivity

[74] Potentially harmful cosmetic ingredients: See this list and this list; also: “harmful cosmetics ingredients

[75] Good v. mediocre shaving soap: See here and here

[76] Hair conditioners

[77] Why to use a shower filter

[78] Plated brass shower filter

[79] High-velocity aerating low-flow showerhead

[80] Ach. Brito Glyce Lime Glycerin soap

[81] Pre-shave soaps article

[82] Emu oil therapeutic benefits

[83] 100% glycerin

[84] Pre-shave oil recipes

[85] indiexsunrise’s shave oil recipe

[86] Softens the beard

[87] Hydrosol

[88] Barbasol history

[89] Loading brush

[90] Somewhat drier

[91] Good brushless shaving creams

[92] Synthetic bristles
Edwin Jagger synthetic brushes
Mühle synthetic brushes

[93] Soft brush quickly making good lather

[94] Developments in synthetic brushes

[95] Horsehair brush anthrax scare

[96] Omega boar family

[97] Guide to boar brushes

[98] Several grades

[99] Made by hand

[100] Clear differences

[101] Simpson brushes: See here and here

[102] Gary Young on the Wee Scot

[103] Rod Neep artisanal shaving brushes

[104] Bruce Everiss review of New Forest brushes

[105] Rooney brushes and here as well

[106] Emilion, Victorian, and Thäter with hooked tips

[107] Gary Young on hooked bristles

[108] Andrew’s close-up photos of hooked tips

[109] Simpson measurements

[110] Omega brushes

[111] Omega brush measurements

[112] Kent brushes

[113] Bruce Everiss review of Morris & Forndran brushes

[114] Wooden-handled brushes

[115] Shaving brush innovations

[116] Leisureguy 10-second-brush-loading video

[117] Mühle travel brush

[118] Shaving bags: Eagle Creek; eBags

[119] Hair shaft and photos

[120] Stand no help in drying brush; photos

[121] Brush cleaning

[122] Gold Dachs Shaving Brush cleaner

[123] M.A.C. brush cleaner

[124] Moss Scuttle

[125] Georgetown Pottery

[126] Dirty Bird Pottery

[127] Rival Little Dipper lathering bowl

[128] Benefits of cold-water shave. See also here and here.

[129] Testing water hardness

[130] Improvement from softening water with citric acid: See here, here, and here.

[131] Quality of good shaving soap

[132] Water softener technology and options

[133] Surprising improvement from distilled water

[134] Hard-water regions

[135] Sunbeam Hot Shot

[136] Pump bottle for distilled water

[137] Interview with Al Raz

[138] J.M. Fraser shaving cream

[139] High praise

[140] Nancy Boy shaving cream

[141] An illustrated guide

[142] Bruce Everiss review of Otoko soap: See also a more detailed review

[143] Essence of Scotland shaving soaps

[144] Bramble Berry melt-and-pour shaving soap base  Also a Wicked_Edge thread
Another recipe

[145] More information

[146] This excellent tutorial

[147] Video of loading and lathering MWF in 10 seconds

[148] Another video, loading and lathering Col. Conk

[149] Photos of part of the collection

[150] To make a shaving stick from any glycerin-based shaving soap

[151] Superlather video

[152] StraightRazorPlace superlather tutorial

[153] Gillette myth

[154] Different shavers respond differently to the same brand of blade

[155] Blade reviews with photos

[156] Feather Blade Safe

[157] Pacific Handy Cutters blade bank

[158] The Art of the Straight-Razor Shave, by Chris Moss (PDF version)
Introduction to straight-razor shaving by Larry of
Introduction to straights (with diagrams)

[159] Three types of razors

[160] Thread pitches

[161] Razor handles from Pens of the Forest

[162] Edwin Jagger razor head

[163] Slant Bar history

[164] First slant patent

[165] Slant works well

[166] Gillette slide

[167] Slanted-blade mandolines

[168] Why the burst of activity in slants

[169] Pot metal

[170] Sintering

[171] Bruce Everiss and the three razor shave: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

[172] Above the Tie’s 3-part precision machine

[173] Edwin Jagger razors

[174] Inadvertent blind comparison

[175] Loading an iKon slant video

[176] Close-up of a vintage Walbusch

[177] Loading Progress

[178] Futur advice

[179] Vision user’s manual
Care of Merkur razors

[180] Common Gillette razors; and Super Speeds

[181] Dates of Gillette razors

[182] Fat Boy disassembly instructions

[183] Lady Gillette photos

[184] Bruce Everiss review of Eclipse Red Ring

[185] Schick Injector

[186] GEM Heavy Duty Flat-Top

[187] Mongoose Razor

[188] Schick models

[189] Pella single-edged blades

[190] Art of Manliness on restoring razors

[191] Ultrasonic cleaning

[192] Bleached Fat Boy: post; photo

[193] Maas metal polish

[194] Shadow-erasing building design

[195] Holding the tip

[196] Pointed out angle

[197] Tiny travel razor

[198] A similar approach

[199] The basic 4-pass method

[200] Advanced shaving techniques

[201] Hydrolast Finishing Balm

[202] Total Shaving Solution

[203] All Natural Shaving Oil

[204] Kinexium ST Shaving Oil

[205] Gessato Pre-Shave Oil

[206] Non-comedogenic chart: See here and here

[207] Natural 1 oz bottle

[208] Cobalt blue 1 oz bottle

[209] First Method video

[210] Method shaving supplies

[211] Wikipedia article on alum

[212] One woman notes

[213] Aluminum not hazardous and also this PDF

[214] My Nik Is Sealed

[215] Proraso Styptic Gel

[216] KDS Lab Liquid Styptic

[217] Lengthy review

[218] Mantic59 video on aftershaves

[219] Skin problems with aftershave

[220] Variety of fragrances

[221] Thayers Aftershave

[222] The story of bay rum

[223] Booster aftershaves

[224] Proraso pre- and post-shave cream

[225] Learning Herbs aftershave recipe; Straight Razor Place aftershave recipes; bonus bay-run aftershave recipe

[226] HTGAM Bay Rum Butter recipe

[227] DIY witch-hazel-based aftershave

[228] The Emperor of Scent: inexpensive copies

[229] Wikipedia perfume article

[230] Sulfur-based compounds

[231] See also this post and this post

[232] Good shaving towels: See eBay and Appleton Barber Supply and here

[233] Low comedogenicity

[234] Wicked_Edge acne reference post

[235] Mayo Clinic article

[236] Anticancer: A New Way of Life

[237] Findings on sugar: informative article and informative talk.

[238] Low-carb, high-fat diet: an example; introduction to a low-carb, high fat diet see and also here; more information, including why the medical establishment got it wrong

[239] Themba’s technique: See this thread and this thread

[240] Innomed Lice Comb

[241] Moore Unique Razor Bump Tool

[242] Bump Fighter Razor

[243] Barbicide

[244] Bump Fighter
Bump Patrol
Dermagen Skin Revival System
Elicina Biological Treatment
Follique treatment
High Time Bump Stopper Products
Moore Unique Products
Impeccable Aftershave
Prince Reigns Gel
Smart Shave Products
Tend Skin

[245] Homemade version of Tend Skin

[246] Eczema from shampoo

[247] Razor-blade collection

[248] Storage of soaps

[249] Brush restoration:
Part 1 – Photo and thread
Part 2 – Photo and thread
Part 3 – Photo and thread

[250] Interactive diagram

[251] “Exploring the Science of Shaving

[252] Write-up at MSNBC

[253] Mantic59 shaving videos

[254] Geofatboy shaving videos

[255] Michael Freedberg has a series of four instructive video tutorials—scroll down at the link.

[256] Reddit Enhancements Suite

[257] Details on the banning incident
Insight into the mindset

[258] A comprehensive list

Written by LeisureGuy

18 August 2006 at 3:57 pm

Posted in Books, Daily life, Shaving

2 Responses

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  1. I have multiple stainless razors and just bought a pils. I am having trouble finding the best angle of attack vs. a Mongoose, Feather etc. Can you give me any hints? Thank you.

    Conrad R. Jacobs

    28 May 2016 at 3:20 am

  2. The Pils is a difficult razor for many because the blade angle from the head seems almost flat. Another oddity is that the alignment lugs are on the baseplate rather than on the cap, as is more common. Thus when you load the razor you place the blade on the baseplate, not in the cap. (In loading a three-piece razor, the rule is to place the blade over the alignment studs or bar, then assemble: if those are on the cap, you place the blade on the cap; if those are on the baseplate, you place the blade on the baseplate.)

    The usual way to find the optimal angle is to hold the handle away from the face (more toward the perpendicular) until you reach the angle at which cutting stops. Then move the handle closer. At the point where cutting just resumes is usually close to the optimal angle. For some razors (e.g., the Fine Superlite slant) this may put the handle farther from the face than you expect. Judicious experimentation with the angle, just around the cutting start/stop angle, should result in finding the optimal angle.

    If you use the razor regularly, you will learn a lot unconsciously: the nicks will become less frequent and finally stop even though you can’t exactly tell why. (This happened to me on the razor I’m using this morning, the Apollo Mikron: at first I regularly got nicks to the point of thinking I would sell the razor, but I liked the look of it so much I persevered, and then the nicks just stopped. It now is an excellent razor for me.)

    As you know, it’s important also to try a blade sampler pack with a new razor: a brand that’s best in one razor may not be best (or even good) in another.

    Hope this helps.


    28 May 2016 at 8:04 am

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