Later On

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

A perfect shave: So satisfying

with 8 comments

When everything works, a morning shave can light up the day. Today:

Soap: D.R. Harris shaving soap uses a good formula, and so far as I know they have avoided the mistake of outsourcing its production. The lather is first-rate and the format — their shave stick — is well-designed for travel and seems particularly suited to my Monday shave, which tackles a two-day stubble. The fragrance is an English classic: Lavender. Floral fragrances (lavender, rose, honeysuckle, etc.) seem particularly welcome in winter, when by February is becoming wearisome.

Bush: This Rod Neep brush has an excellent silvertip knot and the handle is a well-designed one-off with a coin set in the base: 1984, the year I left Iowa City to live in Santa Cruz. It easily worked up a good lather from the soap the stubble scraped from the stick, and with just a little water added as I worked up the lather on my face, prep was perfect (preceded, of course, by washing the stubble with MR GLO).

Razor + blade: Italian Barber’s Stealth, now sadly discontinued, is an exceptional slant, one of the most comfortable slants I’ve tried, and for all its comfort a stubble ninja, assassinating every whisker with lethal efficiency. It works well with a range of blades, so I’m unsure of the brand it currently carries — but it did the job: my face is utterly smooth with no trace of damage, despite shaving briskly.

Aftershave: To continue the Lavender theme, D.R. Harris’s Old English Lavender Water was the perfect finish to a great shave.

What a wonderful way to start the week.

Written by LeisureGuy

8 February 2021 at 11:00 am

Posted in Shaving

8 Responses

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  1. My wife finally talked me into a Kinetico water softener, so I have been enjoying lathering my shaving soaps.

    Ryan D. Tucker

    8 February 2021 at 7:24 pm

  2. I think if the water is very hard at all, a water softener pays off not only in cleaner laundry and dishes but also in extending the life of plumbing, water heater, valves, and so on. I assume you left kitchen cold and outdoor faucets unsoftened. I originally had a single-tank water softener that regenerated on a clock (thus waking me up in the middle of the night every few nights), but then I got a Kinetico and loved it — regeneration during the day and based on actual usage — if you’re away on vacation, it doesn’t regenerate; if you have house guests, it generates more often, when it needs to. And it made a world of difference in shaving when I lived in Iowa.


    8 February 2021 at 7:29 pm

  3. “I assume you left kitchen cold and outdoor faucets unsoftened.”

    Interesting: why? I always thought water softeners didn’t add salt to the water, but use the salt to clean the filtration. Or have i misunderstood how they work?

    Mark Mitchell

    9 February 2021 at 2:43 am

  4. The role of salt is to replace the calcium and magnesium ions that make the water hard with sodium ions. Thus softened water is (relatively) high in sodium, which it is to good to minimize, whereas hard water is high in calcium and magnesium, with calcium in particular being a mineral that for most is good to consume (thus the popularity of milk). Moreover, hard water has a better flavor than soft water. See this article.

    For this reason, people generally leave the kitchen cold water hard. The outdoor spigots are left hard because it seems pointless to pay to soften water for one’s lawn and garden.


    9 February 2021 at 3:05 am

  5. High sodium soft water isn’t healthful drinking. Hard water’s minerals are. Why osmotic softeners are dominant now.


    10 February 2021 at 6:36 am

  6. I think even with an osmotic softener I would not soften kitchen cold water (because of taste) nor outside spigots (because why?).


    10 February 2021 at 7:15 am

  7. After asking, I did some searching on the web I found some interesting stuff like:

    Although the amount of sodium consumed in soft water is minimal and poses no serious health risks, some people would prefer not to drink it. In those cases, an ideal addition to your home is a reverse osmosis (RO) system. These drinking water systems remove sodium, chlorine from city water, and a host of other unwanted contaminants, providing great-tasting water.

    Mark Mitchell

    10 February 2021 at 9:42 am

  8. Good point on removing chlorine and contaminants (e.g., lead). I think I am wrong about not softening the kitchen cold water use a reverse osmosis system. It occurs to me that Brita filters produce good-tasting water (though they do not soften the water: if the water contained dissolved calcium and magnesium, they would still be present). I think leaving kitchen cold and outdoor spigots unsoftened might well apply only to water softening systems that use sodium.


    10 February 2021 at 10:11 am

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