Later On

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

Sometimes a shave really hits the spot

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You coffee drinkers have doubtless noticed how you can drink the same coffee, brewed the same way, every morning, and on some occasional morning find that the cup of coffee is unusually delightful in its aroma and taste. The same thing happens with shaving — everything comes together and the experience and result are a cut above the usual pleasure. 

In the case of shaving, an ensemble production, it’s difficult to assign to any single element the reason for the upgrade. The razor is usually praised, but the razor occupies but a single role and in this sort of shave everything has to come together into a harmony of action, pleasure, and result — a euphonious whole (or, as Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks had, a “Euphonious Whale”).

This morning my shave was one of those. To credit each player, the synthetic brush — a limited edition, as it turned out — is from Chiseled Face, and though I especially like the handle — a Polo variant in treated wood — the knot is just a regular good synthetic knot of the Plissoft variety. 

The soap is a good soap. Mike’s Natural soaps to me seem a bit light on the fragrance, but they do turn out a very good no-nonsense lather from sensible but not exotic ingredients:

Distilled water; saponified tallow (beef) and stearic acid; vegetable glycerin; saponified kokum butter, avocado oil, and shea butter; lanolin, fragrance and/or essential oil(s); saponified coconut oil; kaolin clay, vitamin E.

For an artisanal soup, this is not an unusual list (though it would be exotic indeed in a mainstream soap), but of course some of the magic comes in the making: how the ingredients are cooked, combined, and cured. Mike’s soaps are hard (though not triple-milled or the like), and they produce a reliable lather. Of this particular soap, he writes:

Orange, Cedarwood, & Black Pepper (EO) – While orange is the dominant scent here, a judicious blend of cedarwood and black pepper is easily discerned and provides additional complexity.

As I said, the fragrance is light, but it is detectable, and his description is accurate.

I applied the lather to stubble that had been prepped with Grooming Dept Moisturizing Pre-Shave, which plays a strong supporting role in the production.

The iKon stainless open-comb, now with a B1 coating, is always well-behaved while at the same time ruthlessly efficient at removing stubble. It feels very good in my hand — the handle’s chequering is crisp — and on my face, but the stubble falls swiftly to it. When I felt my face following the final rinse, no real cleanup was needed, though I did run the razor over a couple of spot just because I enjoyed wielding it and feeling its glide across the skin.

The blade was a previously use Personna Lab Blue, which for me is a good brand. I’d buy another box of 100 except that I have so many blades on hand it seems silly to add more to the pile. But certainly the blade deserves a round of recognition, it’s the blade that does job in the sense that it’s there that the rubber hits the road, as it were.

And the final finishing touch that left my face feeling new: a good splash of Stirling Soap Company’s Executive Man, upgraded with a squirt of Grooming Dept Hydrating Gel. Executive Man touts its fragrance as “inspired by” Creed Aventus, a very nice fragrance indeed, and it carries that fragrance in a good blend of ingredients:

Denatured Alcohol, Witch Hazel, Fragrance Oil, Aloe, Glycerin, Hydrovance

That’s a straightforward, skin-friendly mix, but again it’s not something typical of a mass-market aftershave.

Together that combo started my weekend with a pleasurable experience — and that’s the best way to start a weekend. IMO.

Written by Leisureguy

21 August 2021 at 9:35 am

Posted in Shaving

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