Later On

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

The Rooney meets Mike’s Natural

with 9 comments

This morning I tried the Rooney with Mike’s Natural Barber Shop shaving soap—which does indeed have a pleasant and muted traditional barberhop fragrance. I loaded the brush heavily and followed Mike’s advice about working in more water. This time I worked it on my beard, and I did have sufficient lather for three passes, though the lather (for me) thins considerably in the third pass. But the Rooney Victorian I have is a generous brush and hoards no lather, so the shave went well.

The Progress with its Swedish Gillette blade did its usual very nice job: three passes, no problems—none of the “cuts and bleeding” the some who have not tried DE shaving think is the inevitable result. Just a very nice and comfortable shave.

A splash of Speick and I’m ready for the day. In the meantime, the HBR discussion of P&G’s shaving products and plans continues unabated. The most recent contribution, which I like because he directly contradicts the “cuts and bleeding” narrative, is from Collin Walker:

I feel I must weigh in on this discussion.  I am the average mid 30s male.  In seventh grade I got a Sensor, and a can of Edge gel, and a lesson from my father.  I shaved with it till the Excel came out, promising that it would be a better shave.  I still suffered from ingrown hairs on my neck, and hated shaving.  When I went to college I got an electric, which was better, but it still gave me an ingrown or two per week.  I then went eighteen years with an electric buying the newest $100 plus model when they came out.

Now as my hair is thinning I have decided to shave my head.  The electric could not do it to a level I was happy with in a reasonable amount of time.  I tried the Fusion ProGlide on my face, and the ingrowns appeared again, plus it was priced at a level that irritated me.  I was at my wits end, I wanted my head cleanly shaven, but the two ways I was aware of were unacceptable.  I then stumbled on a post on a head shaving forum that mentioned using a DE.

I look forward to every morning’s shave now.  This coming from someone who hated shaving for the past twenty three years.  I did not nick or cut myself on my first shaves, and have once and for all ended the ingrown hairs.  In addition I can shave my head…

The whole discussion has intrigued me greatly (as you can see).

Written by LeisureGuy

19 April 2012 at 9:47 am

Posted in Shaving

9 Responses

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  1. Michael,
    I have been watching, and greatly enjoying, the discussion on the HBR article by John Moran, who seems to give new meaning to the old dismissal, “but that’s just academic.” Your parrying of his arguments is nothing short of masterful. I am willing to bet that Moran is privately ashamed of himself, or at least of writing out of such stunning ignorance. Keep it up, and keep us posted.

    Todd O.

    19 April 2012 at 10:20 am

  2. I have to say that it’s being fun. I wrote elsewhere that it reminds me of those debates in which astronomers debate flat-earthers. The astronomers usually get their ass handed to them because they don’t really prepare—they know that in fact the earth is round—so they confidently trot out their arguments, not realizing that the flat-earthers have heard ALL the argument for the roundness theory a million times and have lined up counter-arguments and valid-sounding rebuttals to every argument they’ve encountered. The astronomers are generally totally outclassed: the sandlot team playing a professional team that’s in shape: no contest.

    The guys favoring the cartridges—particularly those whose preference is based not on trying out alternatives but simply in accepting common practice and the statements of ads—are the astronomers in this case: they haven’t really thought about (or tried) the alternatives so they find themselves in the unenviable position of not knowing what they’re talking about. I will not refer to shooting fish in a barrel, but I will say that I have not seen much substance to the counter-arguments so far advanced, whereas the testimonials from experience (from other guys than myself) seem quite convincing.


    19 April 2012 at 10:37 am

  3. I skimmed the HBR discussion yesterday. Only thing I thought was Schiller’s line ” against stupidity even the god’s contend in vain”.Now I mean MIchael is the one with the uphill battle here.


    19 April 2012 at 2:32 pm

  4. It’s not stupidity, exactly, at least not as usually defined. It’s an inability to grasp an experience one has not hand—sort of related to lack of empathy, but also (I believe) to lack of imagination: to be unable to reach an understanding of an experience until they’ve had the experience. Plus, of course, there’s the standard resistance to change and also an attitude I’ve encountered in other contexts: “A cannot be good, because if A were good, I would already (choose one: know about it, own it, have eaten it, have visited it, have read it, etc.): the notion that there could be excellence that they have not previously encountered is beyond the ken of some. I also note a certain amount of searching for anything to prop up one’s argument with little interest in new information or reaching objective conclusions, but maybe I’m overanalyzing. I do that sometimes.


    19 April 2012 at 2:56 pm

  5. Michael: I did a quick perusal and those aguing against you come across as pompous a-holes. BTW I love Mike’s Barbershop soap. Takes some time to figure out, but worth the effort, imho. Keep up the good work. Regards, Bradley


    19 April 2012 at 3:50 pm

  6. Michael
    I don’t think you are overanalyzing just presenting the whole of the possible mindset,seems plausible to me.


    19 April 2012 at 5:45 pm

  7. Thanks for the tip about the HBR controversy; I found your ripostes pretty devastating. As on other occasions, i’m struck by the missionary zeal of the newer is better crowd. Why must they get so worked up about things? Even when newer is better–which i don’t think is true in this case–what’s the worse that can be said of enthusiasm for , e.g., traditional shaving, mechanical watches, fountain pens, tube amplification, phonograph records, to pick a few familiar examples? What would be so terrible if nostalgia–the idea of maintaining continuity with what had gone before, of standing in a relation of apprenticeship to previous generations–played a role in these enthusiasms? In fact of course lots of them have more going for them than simple nostalgia. Often the new is better in some ways but at a price in others. And sometimes the tide does change. When I grew up in the US and when you did (i think there is about twenty year age difference between us) coffee was usually foul. People drank instant coffee and used percolators. (Instant coffee was also very big in Britain.) Instant coffee is not a misnomer, there is no denying that, but it bears only the most distant relation to the real thing, which can be had with only a little more time and effort. I still remember the first time I had a cup of espresso; actually I even remember the first time I had a cup of flitered coffee (made in a Chemex pot). Both were revelations. Now one can get a pretty good coffee just about anywhere. I suspect that traditional shaving is, in a smaller way, undergoing something like what happened to traditional coffee drinking.


    19 April 2012 at 8:49 pm

  8. @Hanzo: It occurred to me that those who reject traditional wetshaving out of hand, without trying it, exhibit exactly the mindset discussed in this post: craving closure to the degree of being closed to new information and new experience.


    19 April 2012 at 9:16 pm

  9. @JV: Yeah, I remember percolator coffee: it was foul. Restaurant coffee, made with vacuum brewers, was way better. And I, too, remember the miracle of Chemex coffee—we immediately got one. That was when I discovered my favorite mix was 2 parts mocha to 1 part java.

    The rush toward the new does, of course, get a continuous heavy push from big business—not just ads and commercials, but video programs, movies, news reports—all public communication pushes consumerism, and that basically means replacing what you have now with newer stuff You’ll recall how George W. Bush’s advice to the American public, eager to pitch in after 9/11, was to shopping. (How idealism has fallen.) This article on the origins of consumerism is quite interesting.


    19 April 2012 at 9:28 pm

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