Later On

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

Good to shave again

with 4 comments

Some new stuff to try. When I saw the Van Der Hagen Glycerin shave soap, I immediately thought it might make a very nice pre-shave option (and inexpensive to boot). It seemed to work quite well, so in the next edition I will list it as an option.

Recently on Wicked_Edge (haven’t been there for a while: the ukase against reading—I’m typing this with my eyes shut) one shaver spoke out against offering the novice shaver a lot of options. A novice, he declared, wants specific recommendations in each category, not a list of options.

The paralyzing effects of too many choices have been well documented, but too few choices is equally bad, especially in an arena so subject to YMMV as shaving—and, to be honest, I cannot offhand think of instances in which one choice works for all (think: foods, movies, books, fragrances, autos, clothing, music). Trying to squeeze down the range of possibilities to the one choice best for all is, I’m sorry to say, a mug’s game.

I can state that based on my own experience. In the current edition I list one (1) pre-shave soap choice: MR GLO. And indeed, for me and for many it does seem to be the best choice. OTOH, some men find that their skin becomes hot and red when they use it due to a sensitivity to one or more ingredients (probably the lime: citrus sensitivity is not rare). The next edition will list a range of choices, though of course I’ll list the choice that works best for me—I’m writing the book, after all. But I certainly no longer expect what’s best for me is best for all: One man’s meat is another man’s poison. Or as we now say, YMMV.

The VDH soap will definitely make the list: not bad at all.

Another list of options will be in the styptic area, thus I’m trying the Proraso styptic gel, which is new to me. I bet I’ll like it not quite so much as My Nik Is Sealed (convenience of applicator), but loads more than a styptic pencil, which I will not recommend. (Another feature of the 6th edition will be more of specific recommendations against certain products that seem to have high failure rates compared to other products or have in some other way struck me as undesirable, along with more frequent reminders that what I do recommend will not work for all—much as I discuss in the second-razor recommendation in the current edition: I believe there that I clearly indicate that the Slant Bar does not work for everyone (those who try it and find that it doesn’t work for them sometimes post the experience with a tone of having been betrayed: I want to avoid accusations of betrayal, and that means not recommending for all a single product in each category sans caveats).

Another new product is the RazoRock Lemon shave soap: I like a fresh-lemon fragrance, so I was eager to try it, and I was interested to note the rough-and-ready fit of the puck in the tub:

To my surprise, some guys are made extremely uncomfortable by this sort of fit. They want a uniform, tight neatness, as when soap is poured into a bowl or lathe-turned to fit. Indeed some seem they will not be satisfied unless the bowl is tapped and the soap threaded for a perfect join.

That’s not the way it works, guys. Now I admit that I have never been successfully accused of excessive neatness, but take a look around at real life: things are a little more slapdash than this sort of approach admits. Or—to choose a smaller venue—look at other shaving soaps. Mitchell’s Wool Fat is highly (and IMO rightfully) regarded as a superior shave soap, with the usual lack of universality: some are allergic to lanolin or other ingredients, some do not use animal products. Nothing works for everyone.

But the point is, when you put MWF soap in the MWF container, there’s a gap around the soap. No matter: works fine, and possibly even better than if the soap were a tight fit. I have many Mama Bear soaps from the day in which she molded the soap in a round puck, placed it in a plastic tub with a gap similar to the MWF gap between soap and container, and it all works fine (and, as I say, perhaps better than a tight fit). I would dump out any residual water that would remain around the soap to soften it, but that problem has never arisen.

So when I read about guys grating soaps to make sure that the soap fits tightly in a container, I have to wonder: are these the same guys who button their top shirt button even if not wearing a tie? Their ways are not my ways.

And also not RazoRock’s ways, as the photo shows. And in fact I did get a fine lather. The Morris & Forndran brush loaded up quite a bit of soap, to where I had to add water to the brush as I worked up the lather on my beard, and it did a fine job and had a great fragrance. For me. YMMV.

I do like Klar Seifen Klassik as an aftershave. And I now look reasonably presentable. Except for the left eye, of course. I have the sensation that it enter the room first and becomes the cynosure of all other eyes.

Written by LeisureGuy

9 March 2012 at 8:05 am

Posted in Shaving

4 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. I think VDH glycerin is a very good shave soap (not just pre-shave) for the price–competitive with Col. Conk at less than half the cost.


    9 March 2012 at 8:12 am

  2. Welcome back! I’m a new reader of the blog, to which I was directed by Gourmet Shaving ed. 5, because I only just discovered and read the book–with pleasure and profit.


    9 March 2012 at 5:10 pm

  3. Michael,

    We left the artisan soap in block form, this way it gives the consumer an option of either mashing it down into the container or removing it and mashing it into their container of choice. We may change this in the future depending on customer feedback.

    Kind regards,


    Joe at ItalianBarber

    9 March 2012 at 5:26 pm

  4. @JV: Welcome aboard.

    @Joseph: block works fine just the way it is, with no mashing down required. Indeed, my post later today is sort of an argument against going for excess precision in the soap/tub fit: approximate is fine is what I was trying to say.


    9 March 2012 at 6:49 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.