Later On

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

Archive for the ‘Shaving’ Category

Smooth as can be, thanks to X3

with 4 comments

SOTD 2016-05-04

Stop Shoppe soaps are now vintage soaps, I suppose: no longer being made, so I treasure the ones I have. I got a fine lather using my Fine Classic, and the iKon X3 prototype with a Gillette Silver Blue blade easily produced a trouble-free BBS result. A good splash of Paul Sebastian aftershave, and the day begins enjoyably.

Written by LeisureGuy

4 May 2016 at 9:03 am

Posted in Shaving

Meißner Tremonia Woody Almond shaving paste and The Holy Black slant

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SOTD 2016-05-03

Meißner Tremonia’s Woody Almond shaving paste made a really great lather, and the bitter-almond fragrance came through clearly to me, though I did not get so much of the Texas cedar fragrance. (However, Eddie from Australia reports that he got a very clear wood note in the fragrance.)

My RazoRock plissoft brush is at least partially responsible for the quality of the lather. Like the Pink Grapefruit shaving paste I used earlier, this tub is filled to the brim—no training-wheel sidewalls to assist the inexperienced in loading their brushes—so this might be better for those who have learned to load neatly. (The soap version does offer training-wheel sidewalls and would be a better choice for those still learning to load the brush.)

The lather was so nice in consistency and fragrance that I extended the brushwork on my stubble, which is perhaps why the final result of the shave was so smooth, but I’m sure The Holy Black’s SR-71 slant played a prominent role. Three very comfortable passes over the helpless stubble to a perfect result.

A good splash of Anthony Gold’s Red Cedar aftershave (in solidarity with the Texas cedar of the shaving paste) and the day is well launcheed.

Written by LeisureGuy

3 May 2016 at 8:36 am

Posted in Shaving

Meißner Tremonia Himalayan Heights, with the Wee Scot and iKon DLC Slant

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SOTD 2016-05-02

The Wee Scot is a fine little brush. I loaded it well with Meißner Tremonia’s Himalayan Heights shaving soap—though now I think I might get the shaving paste instead of the soap. Still, nothing wrong with the soap. The lather is excellent and the fragrance of the Himalayan cedar oil is very attractive. At the end of the shave, the Wee Scot still held plenty of lather.

My iKon DLC slant makes a wonderful sort of crackling sound as it mows down the stubble. By the end of the second pass, most of my face felt perfectly smooth when I rinsed, but I did a third pass for the few spots where the stubble’s stubborn—just under the jaw line at the chin, for example, and the chin and upper lip.

A good splash of Creed’s Green Irish Tweed finished the job. Monday always seems like a great day when I shave.

Written by LeisureGuy

2 May 2016 at 9:29 am

Posted in Shaving

Van Yulay shaving soap, along with the ATT S1

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SOTD 2016-04-30

The brush is RazoRock’s synthetic badger, a very nice brush indeed, and the soap is a sample of one of the (many) Van Yulay shaving soaps. This brand is new to me, but the range of fragrances is large—their “Aquarius” shaving soap, for example, is available in 350 fragrances—and samples are nicely packaged and cost $2 each for most. Many of the fragrances seem to be knockoffs of commercial fragrances. For example, the sample shown is Shaving Soap of the Gods Bacchus, and the fragrance is described:

A very unique [sic] scent with blackberry, cognac, suede, musk, Canadian balsam, Mexican chocolate, woodsy notes, Tonka bean, amber and leather. This is scent is like the Keith Urban type fragrance cologne

I don’t get the connection between the Greek god Bacchus and a cowboy hat and boots, however. There is a tag line, “Through the eyes of: Blaine Mire!“, but that means nothing to me and a search on Blaine Mire turned up an MD, an internist in Natchez MS. So I don’t get it, and no explanation is offered.

The soap’s ingredients:

· Cocoa Butter – Cocoa butter used in shave soap is the best salvation for people who have sensitive skin. Cocoa butter moisturizers are good at protecting skin from heat, healing such diseases as eczema and other problems. A cocoa butter cream will definitely help you keep your skin soft and supple.

· Calendula – is used to disinfect minor wounds and to treat infections of the skin. The antibacterial and immunostimulant properties of the plant make it extremely useful in treating slow-healing cuts and cuts in people who have compromised immune systems. The herb stimulates the production of collagen at wound sites and minimizes scarring. Natural moisturizer that has powerful emollients and protective properties which makes a wonderful addition to our shave soap.

· Babassu Oil – is considered to be a superior emollient that is beneficial for either dry or oily complexions. In our shave soap It gently moisturizes the skin without leaving an oily sheen.

Vegan Formula

Made with Stearic Acid, Aloe Vera, Coconut Fatty Acid, Glycerin, Coconut-Castor-Olive-Oils, Cocoa Butter, Calendula, Extracts, Poly Quats, Sodium Lactate, BTMS,Allantoin, Silica, Kaolin Clay, EO’s and Fragrance.

The lather was fine, and I liked the fragrance, though I don’t know Keith Urban from a bale of hay.

Well lathered, I picked up my Above the Tie S1 on the UFO handle and made quick and comfortable work of the stubble, leaving my face perfectly smooth and unharmed. I chose Stetson because of the cowboy hat and boots, though I’m still puzzled by the Bacchus connection. Still, the Stetson did the job—Keith Rural, perhaps.

And now I have a nice weekend, and I hope you do as well.


Written by LeisureGuy

30 April 2016 at 8:13 am

Posted in Shaving

An all-citrus shave, including Meißner Tremonia’s Pink Grapefruit shaving paste

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SOTD 2016-04-29

As promised, I shaved today using Meißner Tremonia’s Pink Grapefruit (which includes eucalyptus) shaving paste, which is of a pretty firm consistency—”paste” is definitely a better word for this than “cream,” which sounds much softer. You can readily use one of the Meißner Tremonia shaving pastes as a shaving soap.

And you’ll notice that it is definitely made for someone who understands how to load a brush: absolutely no “training wheels” (high sidewalls extending above the soap to help novices avoid making an absolute mess as they struggle to load the brush): the shaving paste comes exactly to the brim, which seems to be seen a little more often in European soaps than in those made in the US (though the Catie’s Bubbles soaps I have are sold in full containers).

Loading is quite easy—the shaving paste seems to hug the brush—and it was easy to load the H.L. Thäter brush fully without any trace of a mess, a satisfying little ritual and exercise.

The paste has a very nice fragrance, and the pink grapefruit is much modified and subdued by the additional of the eucalyptus: this is not so much a fruit fragrance as an interesting fragrance. “Fruity, tangy, memorable. Grapefruit and eucalyptus smoothed out with fine cananga oil and finest white porcelain clay.”

Three passes with the Dorco PL-602 to achieve a trouble-free BBS result, to a which a good splash of Geo. F.  Trumper West Indian Extract of Limes aftershave fulfilled the citrus theme.

Written by LeisureGuy

29 April 2016 at 11:07 am

Posted in Shaving

Slime molds and slant razors

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I periodically get into a discussion about whether slant razors work—well, obviously they work, but whether the slant of the blade has anything to do with the ease of cutting and the high efficiency of a good slant. I think it does, and the main counter-argument (so far as I can understand it) is “The slant cannot make a difference in cutting ease because the slant is too small to make a difference.” I interpret this to mean that the person making the statement is, in effect, “I don’t see how such a small slant could make a perceptible difference.”

But of course we fairly often observe phenomena that we can explain how they’re happening even though it is obvious that they are happening. Indeed, that’s one common way for science to advance. As Isaac Asimov commented, the statement that accompanies a major scientific discover is not “Eureka!” but “Huh! That’s odd.”

For example, if one were told that a one-celled lifeform without a brain or nervous system was capable of learning, he would probably deny it. And if it were demonstrated that, yes, the single cell can indeed learn, I think most would say, “I don’t see how.” But the demonstration is fairly solid, and even though we don’t (yet) understand exactly how, we have to recognize that learning does occur. And (so far as I’m concerned) even though we don’t see how a small slant in the blade can make a razor better, it is my experience that it does—that is, with equally well-designed razors, the one with a slanted blade cuts more easily and efficiently, in my experience.

Regarding the observation that slime molds learn, read this article in the LA Times by Amina Khan:

You don’t need a brain to learn something new – not if you’re a slime mold, anyway. Scientists who watched Physarum polycephalum search for food found that the slime mold could learn to ignore certain chemical threats.

The findings, described in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, contradict the idea that learning always requires neurons, and may shed light on the early evolution of learning in living things.

Learning and memory are essential tools in this critter-eat-critter world; they allow animals to use information from their past experiences to make better decisions in the present. And for a long time, scientists thought only creatures with nerves and noggins truly had access to these special skills.

“We usually think of learning as a trait that is limited to organisms with brains and nervous systems,” the study authors wrote. “Indeed, learning is often equated with neuronal changes such as synaptic plasticity, implicitly precluding its existence in non-neural organisms.”

But that view has been changing in recent years as scientists have been confronted with the astounding abilities of brainless creatures. Take the slime mold, for example. It’s an amoeba-like, single-celled organism filled with multiple nuclei, part of a primitive lineage that’s been munching on bacteria, fungi and other forest detritus for hundreds of millions of years. And yet, this very simple living thing manages all kinds of intellectual feats. . . . [examples in article of surprising slime-mold feats. – LG]

Cunning as the slime mold may seem, can it actually learn? To find out, scientists at Toulouse University in France tested slime molds’ behavior in the lab, focusing on a very basic form of learning: habituation, when a living thing’s behavioral response decreases to a repeated stimulus — whether good or bad — over time.

The researchers placed the slime molds near a bridge; across the bridge, they placed a delicious pile of oats. Some of the bridges were made of plain agar gel, and the slime molds crossed those with ease. But for other slime molds, the scientists left an unpleasant surprise: bitter-tasting quinine or caffeine, which in large amounts can be toxic for some creatures.

At first, there was a clear difference between the slime molds with a bitter bridge and those without. With a plain agar bridge, the slime molds sped across and pounced on the oats in about an hour. With quinine, slime molds entered the bridge only after two and a half hours, and it took them four hours in all to cross. On caffeine-covered bridges, the slime molds took almost five hours to enter the bridge but then quickly sped across.

For both bitter bridges, the slime mold didn’t simply move its body across; it extended a long, thin tendril across the bridge, minimizing the area that touched the surface, as if it were trying to tiptoe over hot sand. When it reached the oats, it quickly moved the rest of its body over through that tendril and over to the oats. Once the slime mold had consumed the food source, the scientists connected it to another bridge, with a fresh food source at the other end. If the slime mold wanted its next meal, it would have to brave the bridge again.

Here’s the strange thing: The slime molds dealing with the alarmingly bitter compounds seemed to get used to it, realizing that it wasn’t a threat. With every bitter bridge they crossed, they moved more quickly and easily and seemed less concerned with minimizing their “footprint” that touched the surface. By the sixth day, Boisseau said, the slime molds were acting essentially as if the bitter compounds were not there.

So had the slime molds learned anything in the first place? Or was it simply that their receptors became dulled to the chemical onslaught, or that they grew too tired to keep their bodies away from the bitter compounds?

To make sure, the scientists took slime molds that had learned to cross a quinine bridge without flinching and exposed them to caffeine. After all, if the slime molds were simply just tired from the effort of carefully crossing the bridge, they should react to the caffeine the same way they did to the quinine, with nonchalance. But no dice: Slime molds that had been habituated to the quinine reacted with extreme prejudice to the caffeine. The slime molds, it seemed, really had learned a specific reaction to a specific chemical.

The researchers also gave the slime molds a couple of days of rest, allowing them to potentially “forget” this lesson. Sure enough, after a couple of days away from the bitter compounds, the slime molds reacted to a quinine or caffeine-laced bridge as if they had never touched one before. They had forgotten that the bitter bridges were safe.

“They were behaving as if it was the first day they had ever encountered the bitter compound,” Boisseau said.

How these critters manage this feat is still a great mystery to scientists, Boisseau said, and will have to await future study. But it does show that we may have to start thinking about the nature of this particular aspect of intelligence in a very different light. . .

Continue reading.

More in these articles:

In Motherboard, by Sarah Emerson: “Scientists Think Intelligent Life Could Have Evolved Before Brains

In the Washington Post, by Fred Barbash: “Slime mold: The next wet thing in computing?

In the NY Times, by Andrew Adamatzky and Andrew Ilachkinski: “The Wisdom of Slime

I sure don’t see how the slime mold does it, but I can see that it does. And I don’t understand how the slight slant adds a perceptible advantage, but I experience that it does—and so do others.

Written by LeisureGuy

27 April 2016 at 1:13 pm

Posted in Science, Shaving

A bay rum morning with Meißner Tremonia and Krampert’s Finest

with 5 comments

SOTD 2016-04-27

A very fine shave this morning, all bay rum. The tub of Meißner Tremonia’s Natural Bay Rum is new, and you can clearly see the logo printed/embossed directly on the soap. After a few uses it’s gone, of course, but it makes a very nice presentation.

The Satin Tip brush did a fine job, and I got the usual excellent lather from the soap, this time with a strong and pleasant bay rum fragrance.

The Fine slant did its usual great job, and now the right angle comes easily to me. Focusing on keeping the cap touching the face helps, since it encourages moving the handle a bit farther from the face, making the angle perfect.

Three passes, perfect BBS without nicks, and a good splash of Krampert’s Finest Bay Rum to finish the job.

I will be out of town tomorrow. The SOTD will resume on Friday. My shave tomorrow I already know will be with the 102 since I have to get up at 4:30 a.m. to catch a flight. If I’m going to shave half-asleep, I want a razor I can trust.

Written by LeisureGuy

27 April 2016 at 7:35 am

Posted in Shaving


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