Later On

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

Archive for the ‘Shaving’ Category

Green Tobacco and Blue Tea

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A shaving brush with a white "keyhole" handle (a bottom is a truncated cone that holds a sphere, which holds the knot — in profile, the traditional keyhole pattern), with a tube of shaving soap whose label shows tobacco flowers, next to a clear glass bottle of aftershave. In front is a slant razor on a stainless steel handle with a barber-pole spiral design.

Today is sunny and clear, and I’m celebrating with the photo uplifted a bit. My RazoRock Keyhole brush made quite a nice lather from Tcheon Fung Sing’s Tabacco Verde shaving soap. I think “The first Hard Shaving Soap” must mean the first in Italy — TFS was founded immediately after the war, so perhaps the Italian market still had only the soft shaving soaps — croaps, as some call them, a portmanteau word packing in “cream” and “soap” — and Tcheon Fung Sing made the first actually hard soap. I think hard shaving soaps were already common in, say, the UK.

At any rate, it’s a very nice little soap, and I loaded the brush well to get a thick lather. The razor is the iKon Shavecraft X3, an excellent little slant, mounted on a RazoRock Barber Pole stainless-steel handle. It did a sterling job and my face is wonderfully smooth — the Monday shave always starts the week on a very pleasant note.

A splash of another Prospector Co. aftershave, K.C. Atwood today, augmented with a couple of squirts of Grooming Dept’s Aion Hydrating Gel, and the shave is done.

The tea this morning is special, a gift The Wife brought back from Paris. This tea is, as the label says, “Thé Bleu Parfume” — Fragrant Blue Tea — and specifically Bangkok in Love. The color is actually pink, presumable from the rose petals, and the aroma is a delight.

Mariage Frères Blue tea™ sounds as though the tea is blue — and there are teas that are blue (in color), typically from including butterfly pea flowers in the tea. But for Mariage Frères, “Blue tea™” is a term of art (thus the ™).

Blue tea™ represents a half-way stage between green and black tea. The leaves undergo a brief oxidation. Blue tea™ is also called Oolong which means “black dragon”, and occasionally Bohea (or Bohe or even Bou) which is a deformation of Wu Yi, the name of the famous mountain in China’s Fujian Province where the most highly esteemed blue tea is made.

So when Mariage Frères says “Blue tea™”, they are, in effect, saying “oolong” (no ™). My beloved Murchie’s Hairy Crab Oolong would presumably be Blue Hairy Crab for Mariage Frères.

Written by Leisureguy

30 January 2023 at 12:25 pm

Posted in Caffeine, Shaving

Two slants, contrasted

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Small Omega shaving brush (the Mixed Midget, boar and badger), a tiny tub of Nancy Boy Signature shaving cream, a rough-textured brown bottle of Stetson Sierra aftershave, and an plastic, light-orange slant razor with an extreme slant.

My tiny tub of Nancy Boy Signature Shaving Cream is almost empty. I think I am going to replace it, even though I have a fair number of shaving soaps. The fragrance and performance of this shaving cream are really extraordinary, and if I had a full tub I would use it more frequently. 

Given the tiny tub, I used a tiny brush, Omega’s Mixed Midget (badger and boar), soaking it while I showered for the sake of the boar. Loading the brush was easy — though the tub holds little shaving cream now, the cream has no place to hide.

Well lathered (and enjoying again the fragrance and refreshing feel of the Nancy Boy formula), I set to work with my El Fantasma “Naranja” Double Slant razor. What a contrast with yesterday’s painfully careful shave! This slant is so comfortable and non-threatening, once you apply it to your face (its appearance is somewhat intimidating), that you shave without care and with considerable pleasure. And this slant is amazingly efficient, both in stubble removal and in the absence of any cutting resistance at all.

As I note in the slant post I mentioned earlier, one benefit of the slant design is that it sharply reduces cutting resistance, but that benefit depends on the amount of cutting resistance normally encountered. A teenager who’s just starting to shave will not detect any improvement in using a slant because peach fuzz presents little cutting resistance to begin with, and thus a conventional razor can easily do the job.

But a man whose beard is thick, wiry, and tough will be amazed by how much easier a slant razors does the job, and I believe the more slanted the blade, the easier the cut. Moreover, the slant also removes stubble somewhat better. The slant, with its easy cutting action, will cut through very fine stubble (at the corners of the mouth for example) that a conventional razor pushes over without cutting. After the shave, with face (and stubble) dry again, uncut stubble, though fine, feels rough. 

Today’s razor is wonderful and at the price a bargain worth snapping up. (The Double Slant comes in various colors. The two I have now shave the same.)

A splash of Stetson Sierra with a couple of squirts of Grooming Dept’s Aion Hydrating Gel finished the job, and the weekend begins on a pleasurable note.

The tea this morning is Murchie’s 1894 Select Orange Pekoe: “1894 Select Orange Pekoe is one of Murchie’s original blends, named after the year of our founding. A union of bright Ceylon and rich Assam teas, this strong, traditional blend is designed to celebrate and elevate the everyday ‘cuppa’ tea.”

Written by Leisureguy

28 January 2023 at 11:04 am

Posted in Caffeine, Shaving

RazoRock Superslant razors back in stock (for now — limited quantities)

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Just to be clear: I get no kickback from Italian Barber, and this is not an affiliate link. But as a service to my readers, I wanted to let you know that the Superslant — one of the best slants I’ve used, both extremely comfortable and extremely efficient — is back in stock for now. I got the L1++, and my review is here.

Written by Leisureguy

27 January 2023 at 2:55 pm

A slant revisited: Phoenix Artisan’s Alpha Ecliptic

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A box showing a Buck Rogers era spaceman whose helmet antenna is issuing lightning streaks of radiation, with the label "Slant Action Alpha Ecliptic Galactic Shave Tech. Next i a shaving brush: black base, red handle, black bristles. Then a tub of Tombstone shaving soap next to a rectangular glass bottle of Tombstone aftershave. In front is a blue humpback slant in aluminum.

A new soap and razor today. The soap is Phoenix Artisan’s CK-6 Tombstone: “Gunpowder, Leather, Tobacco, Geranium, Bergamot, Lady Banksia White Rose [sourced from Tombstone, AZ].” The blend of fragrances — the rough-tough stough (gunpowder, leather, and tobacco) and the florals (geranium, bergamot, and white rose) — is an intriguing (and pleasant) scent, and the CK-6 lather of course is excellent. And I do love the RazoRock Amici brush.

For some reason, I kept putting off ordering this slant, but I finally succumbed, and now I realize I have had the same slant in the past and found that it didn’t work all that well for me. I started the shave this morning hoping that my greater experience would result in the razor’s working better, but based on today’s shave, I might have to once again pass the razor along.

See this post (first shave with my earlier purchase) and this post (comparison of Alpha Ecliptic and Eros slants) and this post (trying the plastic version of the Alpha Ecliptic). 

Based on all that, I would have to say that this slant is just not my cup of tea. I still like the French Eros a lot, and the design is so similar that I think the Eros is either a knockoff of the Walbusch or a rebranded licensed copy. (Walbush, BTW, made the first adjustable slant, something I would dearly love to have, but they are exceedingly rare (and expensive).)

While I was browsing through my old posts, I came across this deep dive into slants and why they work for some and not others. I updated it somewhat (it’s from 2016), and I think it’s still a good reference.

Three passes produced a smooth result with a couple of nicks. I’ll try again with a different brand of blade, but I am not hopeful. I don’t understand why I can’t find the right angle, but we all know that what works for A may not work for B. With this razor, I’m B.

A splash of Tombstone Aftershave & Cologne augmented with a couple of squirts of Grooming Dept’s Aion Hydrating Gel, and I’m ready for the day.

The tea this morning is Murchie’s Black Currant Tea: “Dried blueberries and blue cornflower are added to the sweet-smelling tea blend to add to the allure.”

Written by Leisureguy

27 January 2023 at 12:02 pm

Posted in Caffeine, Shaving

BBS for a BBS result, and Hairy Crab Oolong for the tea

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Shave setup with a silvertip badger shave brush whose white handle is labeled "Emperor," a tub of shaving soap with a label having a line drawing of two tough-looking 1930's-era pilot, and a squat glass bottle of green Irisch Moose Aftershave with a tall octagonal black cap. In front is a stainless steel double-edge razor lying on its side.

Today’s shaving soap, Extro 17 Stormo, has an interesting fragrance: “Woody, aromatic fragrance … with top notes of black pepper and with hints of heliotropes, resins, and coffee and with a background of incense, oud, amber, musk, and red pepper.” The soap is relatively soft and gray in color, and it makes an extremely nice lather, helped today by my Simpson Emperor 3 Super. 

The container is a heavy (i.e., quite thick) glass jar, a format I like and that one sees also in The Dead Sea shaving soap by RazoRock and in the Meißner Tremonia line. Barrister & Mann also used glass jars (and may still use them) — I have two Reserve shaving soaps in squat glass jars — but these jars are not nearly so thick or heavy as the others mentioned. I was at first taken aback by the heft of the sturdy, thick glass, but not I like it a lot. The Extro soaps provide another option for those who favor glass over plastic for their shaving soaps. (It may be a coincidence, but all the shaving soaps I’ve tried that come in glass jars are superior shaving soaps.)

The razor today is RazoRock’s redoubtable stainless-steel BBS, a remarkably good razor, both comfortable and efficient, that easily produce a totally smooth outcome after three enjoyable passes.

Irisch Moos was the aftershave, and the fragrance seemed especially vivid and pleasant this morning. I applied a good splash with a couple of squirts of Grooming Dept’s Aion Hydrating Gel. 

The tea this morning is Murchie’s Hairy Crab Oolong, a tea that has a remarkable sweetness: ” this semi-fermented Oolong tea has a lovely ripe peach overtone and a fragrance comparable to that of Jasmine.”

Written by Leisureguy

26 January 2023 at 11:31 am

Posted in Caffeine, Shaving

I Coloniali and 4711

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Shaving setup: a tube of I Colniali shaving cream stands next to a silvertip shaving brush whose white handle bears the word "Emperor." To the right is a squat bottle of light-green aftershave in a transparent glass bottle that has a rectangular black cap and the label "No. 4711." In font is a black slant razor with a thick handle.

It’s too bad that I Coloniali shaving cream is now a thing of the past. I’m not sure what role rhubarb plays in its formulation, but it was an excellent shaving cream — and mine still is, as evidenced by the luscious lather created with my Simpson Emperor 2 Super shaving brush.

The Holy Black’s SR-71 slant razor uses a clone of the Merkur 37 head, but the thick and heavy brass handle substantially changes the feel in the hand. Three passes left my face smooth.

A splash of No. 4711 aftershave, which has a classic cologne fragrance, augmented with a couple of squirts of Grooming Dept’s Aion Hydrating Gel finished the shave. As is the common practice, the number in the title refers to their street address.

My morning caffeine today is coffee, not tea, and soon I will need to buy a new pound of coffee. Only a short walk away is a Discovery coffee shop, Discovery being a local coffee roaster that offers excellent coffee. (Hover over a blend name to see the flavor profile.) I’ll buy a bag of one of their blends. (And later I’ll try some coffee from Fantastico, another local roastery.)

Written by Leisureguy

25 January 2023 at 12:41 pm

Posted in Caffeine, Shaving

Fine shave, mystery tea

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Shaving setup: silvertip shaving brush with ebon handle stands next to a tall light-green tube of Dr. Bronner's Organic Shaving Soap, and next to that is a transparent galss bottle of aftershave with a silver cap and white label. In front is a black double-edge razor lying on its side.

The tube of Dr. Bronner’s Organic Shaving Soap, here in Lemongrass Lime fragrance, is a gift from The Eldest. It’s an interesting soap that does a good job. The ingredients are interesting:

INGREDIENTS: Organic Sucrose, Organic White Grape Juice, Organic Coconut Oil, Organic Palm Kernel Oil; Potassium Hydroxide, Organic Olive Oil, Organic Shikakai Powder, Organic Hemp Oil, Organic Jojoba Oil, Organic Lemongrass Oil, Organic Lemon Oil, Organic Lime Oil, Citric Acid, Tocopherol.

Interestingly, these are the same ingredients as in Dr. Bronner’s Organic Sugar Soap in the Lemongrass Lime fragrance, so presumably you could use that for shaving as well.

The soap, as is typical of Dr.Bronner soaps, is a liquid, in this case a dark brown liquid. I found the easiest technique is to squirt a small amount of liquid into the palm of my non-dominant hand and then use the damp brush (a Sabini silvertip with an ebony handle) to brush the soap briskly. This quickly loads and the brush and brings up the lather.

The fragrance was the first thing I noticed. I realized that lemongrass was not a familiar fragrance among my shaving soaps, and I really like its light, citrusy fragrance. This fragrance is bright and light and would be especially welcome on a dark wintry day. 

The lather was not quite so dense as from some of my shaving soaps, but this is the first shave, so I expect there will be a learning curve — perhaps a bit more soap, and/or a bit less water in the brush, will result in a thicker lather.

However, the lather was plenty good enough for a shave, and I set to work. The handle here is from an earlier razor whose head was so inefficient that it was unusable — but I do like the handle, so I mounted on it a Yaqi double-open-comb head I had on hand. Now I like the resulting razor a lot, and the Yaqi head is efficient and comfortable.

Three passes left my face perfectly smooth, and the soap seemed quite kind to my skin. I rinsed and dried my face and then applied a splash of Prospector Co’s Peary & Henson Aftershave, which is 0% alcohol:

Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Distillate, Organic Aloe (Barbadensis), Distilled Water, PolySorbate 20, Vegetable Glycerin, Pimenta Racemosa (Bay), Commiphora Myrrha (Myrrh), Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary), Eucalyptus Globules (Eucalyptus), Pinus sylvestris (Pine), Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavendar), Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree), Phenoxyethanol.

The ingredients here seem quite in keeping with those in the Dr. Bronner soap. I did add a couple of squirts of Grooming Dept’s Aion Hydrating Gel, though for this aftershave it may be superfluous.

Great shaving, and an interesting soap.

The tea this morning is a mystery tea — left from some earlier purchase in an unmarked container. It’s a spice tea, and it’s tasty and refreshing.

Written by Leisureguy

24 January 2023 at 10:53 am

Posted in Caffeine, Shaving

Rocky Mountain Barbershop and Cherry Blossom

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Rocky Mountain Barber Company is a Canadian company, and this morning I am trying their Barbershop shaving cream, thanks to a gift from The Eldest. It has a light fragrance and makes quite a good lather. I twirled the damp (well-shaken-out) shaving brush in the cream, which is somewhat stiff — to get a proper amount on the brush, I poked it into the cream.

With the brush loaded, I quickly worked up a good lather. I did have to add a good driblet of hot water and work it into the cream, but that’s standard with shaving cream. (Those who use a lathering bowl add the water there.)

With my face well-lathered, I brought my vintage Merkur white bakelite slant into play. It’s a marvelous razor and quickly and easily and comfortably removed every trace of roughness. (I do like shaving a two-day stubble with a good slant.) Three passes produced perfection.

A small squeeze of Arko’s aftershave gel finished the job. 

The tea this morning is Murchie’s Cherry Blossom: “A Chinese Sencha green tea blended with papaya, pineapple, sour cherry and raspberry pieces, strewn with jasmine blossoms and rose petals.” It’s not available just now but perhaps will return in the time of cherry blossoms.

Written by Leisureguy

23 January 2023 at 10:25 am

Posted in Caffeine, Shaving

Ousia, great razor, exceptional tea

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Shaving setup: shaving brush with white bristles and orange handle next to a tub of soap with a painting of the interior of a brightly-lit cathedral and the name "Ousia." To the side of the tub is a transparent bottle of Pashana aftershave with a black cap and amber liquid half-filling the boltle. In front is a double-edge razor made of dark grey plastic, lying on its side.

The brush this morning is my Yaqi Cashmere, whose 19mm knot of very fine synthetic bristles does feel on my face a bit like cashmere. The soap is Grooming Dept Ousia: “Fennel, Crystallized Mandarin, Ginger, Immortelle, Tobacco, Vanilla, and Vetiver.” As the name suggests, it is a divine fragrance — and the lather is the wonderful lather of Kairos SE (the tallow formula with lamb tallow and emu oil).

The razor is the Dorco PL602. I ordered a supply of them from Sam’s Beauty. Although the listing does not identify them as the PL602, I clearly recognize the razor. 

WarningOnce you place an order, Sam’s Beauty will send you spam endlessly, so use a one-time email address for this order. I have Spam Sieve as a spam filter, and it has now been trained to recognize the email from Sam’s Beauty as junk and divert it directly to the Junk folder. Their “unsubscribe” does not work, nor do they respond to an email request to be removed from the list.

Despite the problems with the noxious advertising, IMO this razor is very much worth getting. It is adjustable in the sense that you can loosen it up to a quarter turn to increase efficiency, although for me it works fine fully tightened. It’s a two-piece design. 

Three passes did a perfect job, and a splash of Pashana aftershave with a couple of squirts of Grooming Dept’s Aion Hydrating Gel finished the shave. Great start to a somewhat gloomy day.

The tea this morning really hits the spot: Murchie’s London Afternoon: “Fragrant rose petals are interwoven with smoky Lapsang Souchong, sweetened with creamy vanilla and a touch of bright bergamot.” I especially got the lapsang souchong and the rose, and I’m sure the vanilla helped.

Written by Leisureguy

21 January 2023 at 11:54 am

Posted in Caffeine, Shaving

Today is Grooming Dept day

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Shaving set up: a red-handled shaving brush with a black synthetic knot, a tub of soap whose label is a mallard duck, a small glass bottle with white pump cap and a yellow label that says "Grooming Dept Rejuvenating Serum", and in front a stainless steel double-edge safety razor lying on its side.

In honor of Grooming Dept’s release of new products today (scroll down at link) — just now, in fact, and I placed my order already because they sell out quickly — I went with a Grooming Dept shave.

I began today’s shave, as I begin every shave, by rubbing the tiniest possible amount of Grooming Dept Moisturizing Pre-Shave over my wet stubble. It’s such a tiny amount that my previous tub lasted 14 months, as I recall, and with this new formulation, I’m certain the tub will last more than two years. The Pre-Shave’s effect on the shave is wonderful. I never thought anything would replace MR GLO, but I now have two unwrapped bars of MR GLO in storage under the bathroom sink; I doubt that I’ll ever use them.

After massaging the pre-shave into my stubble, I wet my face, and then I load my RazoRock Amici brush with Grooming Dept Mallard Corretto shaving soap. This is one of my favorites (and no longer available, much as the current offerings will be before the weekend is over). You can see the ingredients at the link, and it does make an absolutely great lather in consistency and slickness. However, I am particularly drawn to the fragrance: “Scent Notes: Coffee, Brandy, Plum, Berries, Honey, Cacao Dust, Vanilla, Patchouli.” And, for Steve Riehle, these various scents combine synergistically to produce a heavenly fragrance, despite what reading the list might make you think.

I used my King C. Gillette razor this morning. The stock handle was for me unusable — heavy and slick — so I replaced it with this stainless steel RazoRock UFO handle — and of course, the head is an exact copy of the Mühle/Edwin Jagger design. However, the initials engraved on the cap are indeed those of King Camp Gillette. In that sense, it is a Gillette razor.

Three passes left my face perfectly smooth — Edwin Jagger does make a good razor — and I applied just a dot of Grooming Dept Rejuvenating Serum to rejuvenate my face. My face feels now like a teenage face, only without acne.

The tea this morning is Murchie’s Storm Watcher, though there is in fact no actual storm to watch, just an overcast sky. “contains Yunnan and Ceylon teas. Full-bodied with low astringency, a selection of tea terroirs blended for a brisk, satisfying mug. Slightly smoky with toasted malty notes.”

Written by Leisureguy

20 January 2023 at 11:18 am

Posted in Caffeine, Shaving

Grooming Dept will have new items for sale on Friday!

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I like Grooming Dept products a lot — high-quality and also interesting — but they do tend to sell out quickly. He has a bunch of new things that will become available on Friday, January 20, at 11:00am PST. (I put a popup reminder in my calendar so I can order before things are sold out.

Scroll down here to see what will be available. The Aion Hydrating Gel and Nourishing Balm are available now, as is Grooming Dept Rejuvenating Serum (which also serves as a nice aftershave balm).

Written by Leisureguy

19 January 2023 at 8:46 am

More Wee Scot, with a shave stick

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Shaving setup with tiny shaving brush — the Wee Scot — standing atop a La Toja shave stick, and to the the right is a rectangular glass bottle of La Toja's Hombre aftershave lotion. In front is a chrome-plated double-edge razor lying on its side.

I used my pre-Vulfix Wee Scot this morning, along with a shave stick. I did use Grooming Dept Moisturizing Pre-Shave. At first I avoided using it if I were going to use a shave stick, but with the current formulation one uses so little — plus there’s a quick rinse after applying — that I thought it would work.

And it did: no problems at all. La Toja makes an excellent shave stick, perhaps (as they claim) from the excellence of the springs. My Wee Scot quickly produced a great lather from the soap my stubble had scraped off the shave stick.

Gillette’s Heritage razor uses a clone of the Edwin Jagger head on a handle modeled after the one used on the Gillette NEW. The razor does an excellent job — Mühle and Edwin Jagger’s design is first-rate, which I imagine is why Gillette simply copied it instead of trying to come up with something of its own.

After the three passes, I continued to lather my face and then rinse, curious as to how much lather the little guy held. So enough lather for a 4th pass; a 5th; a 6th — and I decided to call it quits. The lather was ample, and I’m sure the brush held plenty for at least two more passes, but I decided six passes of lather is more than enough for any practical need. As I’ve said, I think the enormous capacity is because this brush has extremely fine bristles, and to make the knot it uses a lot of them. The total wetted surface brings about the surprisingly large lather capcity.

A splash of La Toja’s Hombre after shave lotion, which is actually very nice on the skin by itself (the springs! the springs!), but I also added a couple of squirts of Grooming Dept’s Aion Hydrating Gel. My skin feels very nice indeed.

The tea this morning is Murchie’s No. 22 Blend: “a superb blend of green Gunpowder and Jasmine, as well as Keemun and Ceylon black teas.”

Written by Leisureguy

19 January 2023 at 8:07 am

Posted in Caffeine, Shaving

Black Beer No. 1 and Wee Scot: Endurance effort

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A squat tub of shaving half of whose height is the black lid and the bottom half a brown label bearing in white the legend "Black Beer No. 1 — with German Black Beer and Essential Oils from Rosemary and Lemongrass." On top sit a stainless steel DE razor lying on its side and a small badger brush, the Wee Scot, bearing the signature of Alexander Simpson. To the right is a small glass bottle with a white pump top and a yellow label that reads "Grooming Dept Rejuvenating Serum."

I decided to try again to see how many passes I can get from the post-Vulfix Wee Scot. I chose another Meißner Tremonia alcohol-themed shaving soap, Black Beer No. 1, and loaded the brush well.

The three shaving passes went very well. Grooming Dept Moisturizing Pre-Shave is a miracle prep, and this is quite a good soap. Its ingredients include clay, but I had no trouble loading the Wee Scot.

Aqua, Stearic Acid, Cocos Nucifera oil*, Glycerin*, Beer, Potassium Hydroxide, Orbignya Oleifera oil*, Sodium Hydroxide, Rosmarinus officinalis leaf oil, Macadamia terifolia oil, Talc, Red Clay, Cympopogon flexuosus Herb oil, Citric Acid, Simmondsia chinensis oil*, Maris sal, Citral, Geraniol, Limonene, Linalool.

* Organic

I do like Rockwell’s 6S shaving system: sturdy, efficient, comfortable, and friendly. I got a wonderfully smooth result with no problem, and then I lathered as if for a 4th pass. I did have ample lather, but somewhat less — enough for a pass, though. Still, I thought the 5th pass lather would be rather sparse so I left it at 4.

I finished with 1 drop of the Rejuvenating Serum, which left my skin feeling first-rate.

This is a coffee morning, and I’m enjoying it. I have the Clever Coffee brewing process down pat, so it’s quick and easy — and it makes great coffee, though of course that depends a lot on the roaster. Victoria has several excellent coffee roasters in town, so we have a good selection.

Written by Leisureguy

18 January 2023 at 10:35 am

Posted in Caffeine, Shaving

Wee Scot once more, with love

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A squat tub of shaving soap with a thick black  lid and a brown label reading "Natural Bay Rum" sits next to small glass bottle with a purplish-blue label with white lettering that says "Aion Skincare Nourishing Balm." On top of the tub's lid stands a small badger shaving brush next to a stainless steel DE razor lying on its side.

I wanted to take the Vulfix-era Wee Scot for another spin, and this morning I went with Meißner Tremonia’s Natural Bay Rum. I loaded the little brush well, and I noticed that it felt better on my face this morning without the side-by-side comparison with the pre-Vulfix Wee Scot. In fact, it felt not bad at all, and it held plenty of lather. Early in the shave, I decided that, once the shave was done, I would continue to lather, rinse, re-lather, etc., to see how many passes I could get. 

By the time I got to the last pass, the thought had evaporated. However, it was clear that I had plenty of lather for a fourth pass and probably even a fifth. I’ll try again tomorrow. I think the abundance of lather is in part because a) it’s a good soap, and b) I have soft water.

With good prep (in addition to the lather, I of course had used Grooming Dept Moisturizing Pre-Shave), the shave was a pleasure. iKon’s Shavecraft #101 is a super little razor, and it did a marvellous job.

As an aftershave, I used Aion’s Nourishing Balm (from Grooming Dept), thicker than a gel but not an oil — it presents as a salve, and it’s pleasant to use. My skin feels very nice, and the amount of balm required is minuscule. 

The tea this morning is Murchie’s Hatley Castle Blend: “a mix of black and green teas that includes Ceylon, Keemun, Jasmine, and Gunpowder.”

Written by Leisureguy

17 January 2023 at 12:49 pm

Posted in Caffeine, Shaving

Two Wee Scots went to a shave…

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Shave setup with two small badger brushes with shite handles and writing on the front next to a tub of shaving soap with a dark maroon label with white letters: "Strong 'n Scottish." Next is a tall rectangular bottle of translucent plastic labeled "Taylor of Old Bond Street Bay Rum" half filled with light brown liquid. A slant razor in stainless steel rests on the tub of soap.

Thanks to George P., who kindly lent me his Simpson Wee Scot, I can now directly compare the pre-Vulfix-acquisition Wee Scot (mine) with a post-Vulfix-acquisition Wee Scot (his). The two are shown side by side in the photo above, and someday I’ll tell you which is which. You can examine them more closely by clicking the photo.

Given the two Wee Scots, the choice of shaving soap was obvious: Meißner Tremonia’s Strong ‘n Scottish.After doing my regular pre-shave routine using Grooming Dept Moisturizing Pre-Shave, I loaded each brush well. I had deliberately mixed the brushes so that I didn’t know which was which. (Before opening the package from George, I affixed a label to the bottom of my Wee Scot to avoid any possibility that I would not know which was which. Once I opened the two packages, I could see that the two brushes differed somewhat in appearance. The label, though, insures against a mixup. )

With both brushes well-loaded, I lathered my face, once with each brush. The two brushes have very different feels. One feels soft and somewhat wide, the other feels — well, not stiff, but quite resilient, and narrow in comparison to the first. I knew — okay, strongly suspected — that the brush with the soft, somewhat wide knot was the Simpson Wee Scot and the stiffer, narrower knot was the Vulfix. But I didn’t look.

The razor this morning is the very nice German 37 from Italian Barber, a bargain of a slant in the Merkur 37 pattern with the superior 3-piece design — superior, IMO, because it allows you to swap handles if you want, though I have not done that to date. 

I did a very comfortable and efficient three-pass shave. At the end, I tried lathering for a fourth pass just to check brush capacity. Though both brushes had ample lather for a fourth pass, the wider, softer Wee Scot clearly held more lather.

At the end of the shave, I checked to see which brush had the label, and my impression was correct: the softer knot was the pre-Vulfix Wee Scot. My understanding is that Simpson selected extremely fine bristles for their Wee Scot knot. That accounts for the softness, and it also means that the total wetted surface — the total surface area of all the knot’s bristles — is quite large, giving the brush a surprisingly large lather capacity. 

The Vulfix Wee Scot is not so old as mine, of course, and that may account for some of the difference, but I do think Vulfix’s bristle selection is different, which produces a knot of greater resilience (not to say that my brush’s knot was “floppy,” just that it was softer, with greater “give”) and less lather capacity (though still enough for a three-pass shave).

A good experiment, showing a clear difference between the brushes. I notice also that the lettering is done somewhat differently, and the two brushes have somewhat different coloration (obvious in the magnified image you get by clicking the photo above).

The tea this morning is Murchie’s Queen Victoria, a blend I have come to like a lot: “rich Darjeeling and Ceylon, smoky Lapsang Souchong and sweet Jasmine.”rich Darjeeling and Ceylon, smoky Lapsang Souchong and sweet Jasmine.”

I’m still enjoying the post-shave feel of my face. 🙂

Written by Leisureguy

16 January 2023 at 10:20 am

Posted in Caffeine, Shaving

Dr. Selby and Rejuvenating Serum

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Shaving setup: A small Omega brush with a long knot that looks like silvertip badger, a plastic tub of shaving soap with scalloped sides and a double-edge razor resting on its side on top, and a small bottle with a yellow label and tall white plastic squirt top labeled "Grooming Dept Rejuvenating Serum."

I had to return to Dr. Selby’s 3X Concentrated Shaving Cream after Peter Strand commented that about a week ago, Maggard Razors had “67 Dr Selby’s tubs on sale after restocking. This morning when I checked they had 36, and this evening they had 29.” Right now they have 23

I am so pleased that people are recognizing the quality of Dr. Selby’s shaving soap 3X concentrated shaving cream. (It looks like a soap — firm in the tub — but the lather does have a kind of shaving-cream aspect.) 

I chose my Omega Mixed Midget brush — boar and badger combined — and I let the brush soak while I showered for the sake of the boar. What a great lather I get from this, along with a wonderful and traditional lather fragrance. Recommended.

Three passes with my Feather AS-D1 left my face perfectly smooth, and a drop of Grooming Dept Rejuvenating Serum finished the job and left my skin feeling smooth and supple.

The tea this morning is Murchie’s Balmoral Blend, and it’s really hitting the spot: “a strong, traditional, rich blend of bright Ceylon and malty Assam teas.”

Written by Leisureguy

14 January 2023 at 10:27 am

Unconditional Surrender: great fragrance

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Shaving setup with a filter that adds highlight color to photo. First a boar shaving brush with a long knot and large chrome-colored handle, next to a tub of shaving soap whose label has a bison race rendered in polygonal planes, and finally a rectangular clearly glass bottle of aftershave whose label has a straight razor hovering above a fleu-de-lis. In front is a double-edge safety razor lying on its side, with a barberpole-etched handle.

The thing that struck me most about the shave today was the wonderful fragrance: “amber, tonka bean, amyris, cedarwood, agarwood, vetiver, cigar tobacco, black tea, jasmine, and geranium.” This soap is the Bison formula, but the soap is now made in the Milksteak formula. (I was surprised this morning to see the amazing range of Milksteak shaving soaps Declaration Grooming offers.) 

I used my Omega Pro 48 (10048) brush because I am still seeking to repeat the earlier lather experience, and I did indeed get a fine lather, but still not so stunning as Wednesday’s — but the fragrance more than made up for it.

This Above the Tie R (nowadays called the R1) has a fair amount of blade feel, but it’s still comfortable and highly efficient. I easily achieved a BBS result, and the wonderful Chatillon Lux aftershave toner reprised the fragrance and refreshed my skin. The ingredients:

Witch hazel, aloe vera, calendula extract, cat’s claw bark extract, shea oil, marula oil, polysorbate 20, meadowfoam seed oil, glycerin, fragrance, sodium lactate.

I notice that Chatillon Lux also offers some aftershaves with the current Declaration Grooming Milksteak line, but with a somewhat different formula:

Hammamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Water, SD Alcohol 40, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Vegetable Glycerine, Fragrance, Sodium Lactate, Allantoin, dL-panthenol, Menthol, Hippophae Rhamnoides (Sea Buckthorn) Fruit Extract, Salix Alba L. (White Willow) Bark Extract, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Extract

Both versions seem kind to the skin, though alcohol is pretty high on the ingredient list in the new formula and absent from the older formula.

The tea this morning is Murchie’s Ode to Joy, which (being a Christmas special offering) is gone until December. “A merry blend of aromatic jasmine and apricot makes an enchanting green-black tea. The fruit and floral notes enhance those naturally detected in black and green teas. Ingredients: Black tea, jasmine green tea, calendula flowers, elderflowers, natural and artificial flavouring.”

Written by Leisureguy

13 January 2023 at 8:13 am

Posted in Caffeine, Shaving

Lather comparison surprise

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Shaving setup: A boar shaving brush with a long loft and wooden handle next to a tub of soap that has a blue label with the face of a bison rendered as a network of white lines, labeled "Declaration Grooming" and "After The Rain." That is next to a dark brown or black bottle of aftershave whose tan label has a skull in profile. In front is a stainless steel double-edge razor lying on its side.

I wanted to compare the lather from Declaration Grooming’s Milksteak formula (today) with their Bison formula (yesterday). I thus used the same brush, my Omega 20102 boar brush.

To my surprise, this morning it seemed that yesterday’s lather was better. This is so unexpected that I will be repeating the experiment down the line. Both lathers were quite good, but yesterday’s had a better consistency. Of course, it may be that today I simply used a bit too much water, or perhaps loaded the bruh not quite long enough. Future experiments will elucidate.

The RazoRack Mamba, here in stainless steel, is a fine little razor, and it did a terrific job. The aftershave, Southern Witchcrafts’ Valley of Ashes, is another aftershave that requires no skincare assistance, andmy skin feels remarkably smooth and pampered.

The tea this morning is Murchie’s No. 10 Blend: “

John Murchie’s unconventional tea blending ideas resulted in one of Murchie’s most famous blends, one that has been a best seller for decades. Murchie’s No. 10 Blend is a mild, sweet combination of Gunpowder and Jasmine greens and Keemun and Ceylon black teas, perfect for any time of day.”

Written by Leisureguy

12 January 2023 at 12:11 pm

Posted in Caffeine, Shaving

Great lather, great razor, great shave

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Shaving setup: A boar shaving brush with a long knot and a wooden handle stands next to a tub of shaving soap whose label bears a stylized drawing of a bison's face with horns. Next to that is a rectangular glass bottle of aftershave with a gold cap and a  label with a fleur-de-lis and "Yuzu/Rose/Patchouli" and the brand name Chatillon Lux. In font is a double-edge razor with a comb guard, the head cast aluminum and the handle stainless steel

A pleasure of a shave. It’s hard to match the feel and performance of a good boar brush that’s well broken in, and this Omega 20102 is excellent (though I notice an errant bristle in the photo). Loading the brush with Declaration Grooming’s Bison formula shave soap was a snap, and the lather was so exceptional that tomorrow I’m going to use their Milksteak formula to compare because I don’t see right now how it could be better. The fragrance — yuzu, rose, and patchouli — was also a pleasure.

The iKon Shavecraft Short Comb is a remarkably fine little razor, very comfortable on the face (assuming the angle is good) and very efficient at removing stubble. The result this morning is much smoother than what I achieved yesterday, due I’m sure to the difference in blade sharpness, yesterday’s blade being well past the “best by” point.

Chatillon Lux’s aftershave lotion requires no assistance in the skincare department, and I’m enjoying both the fragrance and the smooth softness of my skin after applying it.

This is a coffee morning, and I do like the Clever Coffee dripper now that I’ve mastered the (simple) routine: start with water at around 200ºF and at time 0, pour a little over the grounds and then stop to allow the grounds to absorb the water. They do swell up a bit. At 30 seconds, pour in the rest of the water and cover the dripper. At 2 minutes, give the coffee in the dripper a gentle stir to mix in the floating grounds. At 3 min 30 seconds, put the dripper on my Joveo Temperfect mug and let the coffee drain into it. And here I am, about an hour and a half later, still with some coffee and it still at the perfect drinking temperature.

Written by Leisureguy

11 January 2023 at 11:37 am

Posted in Caffeine, Shaving

A test shave and a new blade

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Shave setup with a silvertip badgert brush on an ivory-color handle, a tub of shaving soap with a blue abstract patter on the lid, and two small bottles with a white squirt cap, on with a blue label saying "Aion Nourishing Balm," the othr with a yellow label saying "Grooming Dept Rejuvenating Serum." In front is a double-edge razor lying on its side. It has a black head and a ribbed stainless-steel handle.

Today’s shave is to compare and contrast two aftershave: Aion Nourishing Balm and Grooming Dept Rejuvenating Serum. (Aion is a brand name Grooming Dept recently introduced.) But to do that, the initial priority is the shave.

I’m very fond of my Rooney Finest Style 2, and it easily produced an excellent lather from Grooming Dept’s Mumtaz shaving soap.

Bergamot, Lemon, Mandarin, Orange, Jasmine, Rose, Incense, Vanilla, Opoponax, Civet, Tonka Bean, Cedarwood, Iris, Patchouli, Vetiver, Leather, Musk, and Sandalwood.

This soap is in his Kairos formula, a tallow-based soap. He sometimes varies the formula (for example, using lamb tallow + emu oil instead of beef tallow), but this is the base formula.

I noticed I had to add a little water to complete the loading. This happens with some Grooming Dept soaps even though they do not contain clay, the common reason more water is need in loading. I think here it’s just because the soap is so rich. Check out the ingredients list:

Water, Stearic Acid, Beef Tallow, Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate, Kokum Butter, Castor Oil, Tucuma Butter, Avocado Oil, Glycerin, Coconut Milk, Goat Milk, Cupuaçu Butter, Shea Butter, Safflower Oil, Collagen Peptides, Whey Protein, Betaine, Fragrance, Lauryl Laurate, Jojoba Oil, Lanolin, Colloidal Oatmeal, Rice Bran Wax, Meadowfoam Oil, Linoleic Acid, Ethylhexyl Olivate, Hydrogenated Olive Oil, Isostearic Acid, Allantoin, Sodium Lactate, Caprylyl Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Sodium Gluconate, Tetrasodium Glutamate Diacetate, Tocopherols, Silk Peptides.

Whatever it was, the resulting lather was totally wonderful. The razor today is the superb RazoRoch MJ-90A, to my mind the absolute perfection of the Mühle/Edwin Jagger idea. It’s a remarkably good razor, and I think the US$30 price is a bargain. 

That said, today I did not get quite the perfect result this razor normally delivers. I fault the age of the blade, so following the shave I swapped out the (old) Gillette Silver Blue for a (new) Kai. Next shave will be better.

I applied Nourishing Balm to the left side of my face and Rejuvenating Serum to the right (matching alphabetic order — aftershave and sides of face (left, right) — to aid memory). They feel different when being applied — the balm feels slicker and slighter than the serum — but now, after they have settled down, on feeling my face I cannot detect a difference. Both leave my skin feeling soft, nourished, and supple, and I like the effect of both. I’ll call it a tie and try again sometime when I have a new blade in the razor.

The tea this morning is the last of my Murchie’s Editors’ Blend: “a rich and smooth blend of black teas: Ceylon adds depth and a brisk sparkling finish, Yunnan provides smoothness and sweetness and Keemun ties it together.” I didn’t realize how much I liked it, but on observing my behavior — that is, that this tin is empty while others are mostly still half-full — I realize that I must like it. (I often find that observing my behavior provides me information about my preferences about which I am not consciously aware — cf. Susan Blackmore’s comment on the various selves of which we are made.)

Written by Leisureguy

10 January 2023 at 10:09 am

Posted in Caffeine, Shaving

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