Archive for the ‘Shaving’ Category
I commented in the Guide on the cherry-blossom nature of some artisanal shaving products: available briefly, then gone forever. Special 218 is one that is now gone: QED’s soapmaker retired, and I will never be able to replace the QED Mocha Java I so casually gave away. I am treasuring every use of the tub of Special 218 I have. Things do not persist, nor do we. (My next post is about a poet who died in 1996.)
Indeed, Morris & Forndran brushes now seem to be scarce. It’s an excellent brush, and the lather this morning was superb.
I used my iKon Shavecraft #101, an underappreciated gem of a razor. With a Personna Lab Blue blade, it provided a very comfortable and enjoyable route to a flawless BBS result. It really is a superb razor.
A splash of Ginger’s Garden Havana Cognac aftershave, and I’m ready for the weekend.
Much better lather today. I think yesterday I did not give a good enough shake to the brush: synthetics hold a lot of surplus water, and that can dilute the lather. Today, I remembered, shook the brush twice, firmly, and got a very good lather. The totally white puck is oddly appealing. Again, the fragrance was light but pleasant.
iKon razors are really extremely nice. They all seem to be exceptionally comfortable and exceptionally efficient, and this open-comb was no exception: BBS is three passes with no problems at all. Really a superior shave.
A good splash of Fine Clean Vetiver aftershave—a favorite—and we are ready to launch the weekend once the day is done: roasted baby back ribs with Penzey’s Bicentennial Dry Rub. (Strip membrance from back of rack, let it sit for an hour or so to come to room temperature, then roast in 300ºF oven for 2 hr 30 min. Use kitchen shears to cut ribs apart: works much better than a knife.)
Fine shave. The Plisson synthetic—terrific brush—made a good lather with Bathhouse Soapery’s Tobacco & Rum, though perhaps less creamy than I like: possibly user error. The fragrance is light but pleasant.
Three passes with the Parker 24C holding a Personna Lab Blue, then a good splash of Ogallala’s Bay Rum & Sandalwood—the fragrance being quite distinct and also pleasant.
Good way to start the day.
Excellent shave. It struck me this morning that one reason I like a 5″ puck with a regular brush is that it offers much the same relative work area as a regular puck with a Wee Scot. And of course a Wee Scot on a 5″ puck feels like the wide open spaces.
Three passes with the Wolfman Tech—a Tech head on a Wolfman Razors handle—left me BBS: very comfortable, very efficient. A splash of Vol de Nuit to finish. Luca Turin suggested this as a man’s fragrance, and The Wife concurs. She says that on her, Vol de Nuit smells like an old woman wearing a fur coat, but on me it smells very nice. And I like it myself.
Bathhouse Soapery is like some other small soapmakers in offering a broad line of soaps, including shaving soaps and the like. I bought a couple of soaps, even though they do not sell their soaps in containers—I dislike that, but probably someone who has only one or two soaps will not find it a problem. By externalizing the cost of the container, they are able to sell the soap at a lower price, of course.
I used my Kent Infinity synthetic. Their old-fashioned shaving cream (or, as they say, “Old Fashion Shaving Creme”) is soft easily coated the damp bristle tips when I twirled the brush in the tub. (For their creams, they do provide the container, thank goodness.) Good lather, and the fragrance was mild and pleasant, though not the touted “epitome of sexy sexy sexy!” The lather was good. The cream’s ingredients:
distilled water, mango butter, glycerin, sorbitol, sodium cocoyl isethionate, disodium lauryl sulfosuccinate, sodium chloride, phenoxyethanol, tetrasodium EDTA, fragrance oil, tapioca starch
This one definitely seems to be more detergent-like than soap-like. The ingredients in one of the soaps, which I’ll use tomorrow:
sodium cocoate, propylene glycol, sodium stearate, glycerin, water, sorbitol, titanium dioxide. bentonite clay, fragrance oil and essential oils
And the other:
coconut oil, palm oil, castor seed oil, safflower seed oil, glycerin, water, sorbitol, sorbitan oleate, soybean protein, aloe vera, bentonite clay, wheat protein, fragrance oil and essential oils
I got a very smooth result with a Feather blade in the Gillette 1940’s Super Speed (center bar not notched). The Feather may not be right for this razor. I was thinking the Super Speed was quite mild, but it’s more aggressive than the Gillette Tech and I may have to back off some on the blade—to a Gillette 7 O’Clock SharpEdge, for example: two micro-nicks that took me by surprise, but no problem to close with My Nik Is Sealed.
I finished with a splash of Bathhouse Soapery’s aftershave splash. (They also make a kind of aftershave butter.) The ingredients:
Organic Aloe Leaf Juice, Organic Lavender, Organic Bilberry Extract, Organic Sugar Cane Extract, Organic Sugar Maple Extract, Organic Orange Fruit Extract, Organic Lemon Extract, Organic Cranberry Extract, Phenoxyethanol, Malic Acid (from apples), Tartaric Acid (from grapes), Glycolic Acid, Lactic Acid, Vegetable Glycerin, Black Willowbark Extract, Tetrasodium EDTA, Citric Acid
That would seem to be quite soothing for sensitive (or razor-burned) skin. A pleasant but low-key fragrance from the ingredients themselves rather than from a fragrance oil or essential oil. The acid ingredients probably are present to refresh the skin’s acid mantle after shaving with soap, which is somewhat alkaline—on purpose, so that the soap will effectively wet the hair (see this post; the alum block (pH 5) would also work to restore the acid mantle).
On the whole, I think their aftershave might well be of interest, their soaps and creams somewhat less so: those perform well, but the ingredients are not so good as those used by other artisanal soapmakers.
A splendid shave today. The Vie-Long horsehair brush brought forth a superb and fragrant lather from the (pre-reformulation) Geo. F. Trumper Sandalwood, and I tried the two slants shown: in the foreground, the iKon Shavecraft #102 ($75, from Italian Barber) and in the background, the Above the Tie S1 on a UFO handle ($185 with an ATT handle).
It was difficult to detect any difference simply in the course of a single shave. I think to really determine the difference, one would have to shave a week with one of the razors, followed by a week with the other, and back to a week with the first—and perhaps do a few iterations. Their performance is quite close. I do think I prefer the feel of the #102 slightly more, but we are really at the point of quibbling.
Still, the ATT slant costs substantially more than twice as much as the #102—or, in absolute terms, $110 more. And the difference between the two is undetectable (by me) in the course of a single shave. So the question you have to ask yourself is whether it’s worth it to pay 247% of the price of the #102 to get a stainless rather than an aluminum head. Only you can answer that.
In the abstract, I would think over the long run the #102 would win on ease of cutting, a feature whose value increases directly in proportion to how much your beard resists cutting. If you are in your mid-teens and just starting to shave, ease of cutting will not be a serious issue. But if your beard has fully grown in and has turned out to be a thick, coarse, tough, wiry, cheesegrater beard, ease of cutting becomes very important for a pleasurable (and effective) shave.
Note the different degree of slant in the two razors:
Generally speaking, the greater the slant, the greater the ease of cutting since the shearing force becomes greater than compressive force.
But, truthfully, for me and perhaps for most, the two razors both perform extremely well. They are priced differently, and for some that may be an issue. I enjoy using both of them, though I note that I do reach for the #102 more often.
The title sounds like a fairy tale from Central Europe, doesn’t it? But it was a terrific shave.
The Rooney Style 3, Size 1 made an excellent lather because I remembered to add a couple of driblets of water to the brush and work that in as I loaded the brush. i Coloniali seems to be a very thirsty soap, and the small amount of additional water greatly improves life and performance of the lather.
My Wolfman WR1-SB did its usual fine job. It is of the very comfortable and very efficient variety, and the handle is extremely nice. Three passes with no problems, and then a small splash of Annick Goutal Eau de Sud:
Top notes are mandarin orange, basil, grapefruit and bergamot;
middle notes are mint, lime, lemon verbena and jasmine;
base notes are vetiver, patchouli and oakmoss.