First shave with production X3, and using Vie Long and Arko to test
The prep was done to experiment and trouble-shoot a report from a WE user. He had trouble maintaining lather in his Vie-Long using an Arko stick.
I did my usual pre-shave beard wash with MR GLO, then rubbed the stick of Arko against the grain all over my beard, rubbing especially well those areas (e.g., just under my chin at either side) where the stubble seemed especially tough (and thus removing more soap). Guys with very thick, tough, cheesegrater beards may find that rubbing a stick over their entire beard leaves too much soap on the face, making the lather too thick unless lots of water is added, in which case the lather is too much. For such men, rubbing the stick just on the Van Dyke area—the chin and around the mouth—is enough. They can work up the lather and then work it into the rest of their beard. I have a normal beard, though, so I rub the stick all over.
I had wet the Vie-Long knot well before my shower, so it was ready. I re-wet it under the hot-water tap to warm it up, and then shook it with two good shakes: too much water is not a good idea since it will run down your face and neck. You want the brush just dampish.
I brushed briskly, and the lather did its usual magical appearance. I did then add a driblet of water to the brush, once the lather was established, and work that additional water into the lather, and then I repeated it. At that point the lather seemed good to my practiced eye. I did note that I never brush in a circular or swirling motion: it is always back-and-forth, side-to-side, briskly and firmly. And I have to say that Arko gives good lather.
I picked up my brand new X3. This production version is on the iKon Bulldog handle, and the prototype I have is on a UFO handle, so I can distinguish them.
The production X3 felt, in this first shave, just like the prototype I have: extremely comfortable and with almost no blade feel, but the stubble was whisked effortlessly away. I did get one tiny mysterious nick in the middle of my upper lip, probably on the XTG pass, but that is probably a one-off. Tomorrow I’ll use both the prototype X3 and this one so I can do a side-by-side comparison.
I applied a good splash of Speick—what a great aftershave—to my BBS face. My morning shave is a true pleasure, and I don’t understand men who put up with a way of shaving that makes the task a chore. It seems much better to enjoy the five minutes it takes and to feel good as a result.