Spencer & Devon
Totally wonderful shave. A reader suggested I try Spencer & Devon shaving cream. I chose the Spice fragrance and used it this morning with the Mühle silvertip brush shown. The cream has a very nice fragrance and is of the soft variety: wet brush well, shake it out well, and twirl the tips to coat them with cream. Brush that on your (wet, washed) beard to coat the entire beard, then run a driblet of hot water into the center of the brush and work up the lather, adding additional water as needed.
This is a premium (read: expensive) shaving cream and contains shea butter, which doubtless increases the moisturizing properties. Shea butter is a favored ingredient in many shaving products: from l’Occitane, Insitut Karité (of course), Shea Moisture Three Butters Lotion, and quite a few of the artisanal shaving soaps and creams (e.g., HoneybeeSoaps.net, Strop Shoppe, and others). Not to put too fine a point on it, you can get the benefits of shea butter at a lower price. Still, this is an excellent shaving cream.
The lather comes up quite readily—the sort of lather that really doesn’t give the shaver much to do, unlike soap lather (which is perhaps why I prefer lather from soaps: I feel then as though I contributed). It feels nice and shaves well, this morning with the bakelite slant (treasured now all the more since the supply is exhausted), holding a Gillette 7 O’Clock SharpEdge blade.
I realized recently why some don’t like this razor (without trying it that is: a dislike similar to those who say they dislike a food they’ve never tasted): their criteria include the material of which the razor is made (i.e., the criterion is “metal”) rather than the characteristics of the material of which the razor is made (i.e., the criteria used to define the material that will be used). The former is more like a marketing criterion, the latter more like a materials engineering set of criteria.
For example, looking at the criteria for the material to be used, one thinks of things like:
- Stable over time and in the special environment of shaving (e.g., it must withstand constant exposure to water and humidity, be unaffected by alcohol and relatively high temperatures (as high as the boiling point of water));
- Light in weight (a significant advantage for a slant, whereas for a straight-bar razor this criterion would be the opposite: a massive head aids a straight-bar’s chopping action);
- Low heat conduction (several have commented how nice it is to rinse the razor under very hot water and then touch it to their cheek and not feel heat-burn);
- Amenable to molding and mass production; and
- Ideally, inexpensive (i.e., cost-effective: getting the biggest bang for the buck).
Using these criteria, stainless steel fails easy molding, low heat conduction, and inexpensive. Regular steel fails badly in stable in the shaving environment. Brass plated with some other material (nickel, gold, rhodium) fails only heat conductivity and (relative) cost.
I did not start out with these criteria, but rather came up with them after discovering what a superb razor this is and got to wondering why they decided to make it from Bakelite. That made me think of the criteria one would use to select the material from which to make a slant-bar razor. As I thought about the criteria, I realized that Bakelite really is an optimal solution.
In any event, I enjoyed an excellent shave, followed by a splash of Pashana so I will be in top form for the dentist this morning.