Archive for the ‘Shaving’ Category
A recent post on Wicked_Edge expressed combined surprise and dismay:
I felt like I was fully converted. bought a shiny expensive razor, hundreds of blades, new products, and loving using them. asking questions on here, thinking about new brushes and blades. a full convert.
until just now when my faith was shaken.
just now I got a whisker away from a BBS with a $3 disposable and canned foam that I only used because I was in a hurry. shave took less than 2 minutes, and it’s about 95% perfect. another 2 minutes and I would have had a BBS.
I don’t know what to do with this information.
He augmented the post the next day, after reading and sleeping on the replies he received. And one of those replies was from me:
You may be looking in the wrong direction: toward efficiency instead of enjoyment. I regularly got good shaves with a cartridge and canned foam, though generally short of a BBS result, and the shave didn’t take long. It certainly tookmuch less time than the 25 minutes I spent at the outset, though over a few months that dropped to about 15-20 minutes (and now is 5 minutes).
However, shaving was for me a tedious, boring, hateful chore, devoid of enjoyment. I got a clean-shave face, but I hated the task. The biggest payoff for me was that, using brush and soap and a DE razor, I found I actually enjoyed shaving and looked forward to my morning shave, which was a period of meditative activity that left me feeling refreshed and restored and ready for the day and what it might bring.
In the early chapters of my Guide I point out this particular benefit in detail, since most men who shave with cartridges and canned foam focus only on the end result, and (for obvious reasons) pay little attention to the nature of the experience of the process of shaving. Their attention is directed away from the experience, so it requires some effort to focus on the right things. It’s as though one goes to a concert and pays attention to the orchestra’s attire and not to the music, and becomes impatient for the concert to end once he’s looked over the orchestra carefully. What more is there?, he might ask as the music swirls around him, unnoticed.
If you truly enjoy what is happening, you generally don’t mind the time it takes. Men who brag that they can make love in 3 minutes flat are missing the point. :)
Extremely smooth result today: the two-day-stubble effect, in part.
I really like Mickey Lee’s Bee Witched a lot and was recommending it until I learned it was a limited edition rather than regular stock. It has a fine fragrance and makes a terrific lather quite easily. Today I just Mr Pomp, the brush shown, and the lather was as good as ever.
I’m still comparing slants v. regular razors in the same shave, using razors with a similar format. This morning I picked the Merkur fraternal twins, 34G and 37G. I used both in each of the first two passes. I started by putting a brand new Gillette Silver Blue blade in each razor so I could test the razors and not the blade. (The Gillette Silver Blues, I’m beginning to think, should be included in every sampler pack.)
I did find that, for me, the 37G glided through the stubble a little more easily. The effect would doubtless be more noticeable for those whose beards are thicker and tougher and harder to cut, but I could detect it. YMMV, of course, depending on your beard.
I used the slant only in the final pass, since I’ve found that, for me, a slant more easily results in a BBS result. And indeed the final result was BBS.
This is the end of the Alt-Innsbruck: one final splash, and the bottle heads for recycling.
A very nice shave, in terms of both experience and result. A fine way to start the week.
A very fine shave indeed. Since the two appeared in the new starter kit I blogged yesterday, I used the S-Brush and Otoko Organics for today’s shave, and I have to say they are excellent. The S-Brush in the regular size really is a fine brush, and I do like the lather from Otoko Organic’s somewhat odd formula: it’s a somewhat stiffish lather, and has a very clean and refreshing smell.
The ATT R1 on the UFO handle did an excellent job. I did think that perhaps it did not plow through the stubble quite so easily as the S1, but it was hard to tell on separate shaves, so on Monday I’ll use both razors in the same shave, followed the next day by a shaving using both the Merkur 34G and the 37G, and then on Wednesday a shaving using both the iKon Shavecraft #101 and #102. By pairing in the same shave excellent razors of the same overall format, but one a slant and the other not, I think I’ll be better able to detect the difference.
Three passes resulted in a fine BBS result, and splash of TOBS Shaving Shop finished the job.
Full disclosure: I did make recommendations for the kit contents, but I have no affiliation with the vendor nor do I receive any consideration (complimentary product, discounts, money, etc.) for my mention. I point out the kit not only because it includes an excellent (IMO) basic kit of brush, soap, razor, and blade sampler, but also the soap, Otoko Organics shave soap, has not previously been available in the US. (I have used the soap, which I like a lot, but I had to order it from Australia—and I totally understand the issue Australians have with shipping costs.)
Just in time for the holidays.
UPDATE: I posted this on Wicked Edge and there is what amounts to some uproar over the pricing. The razor ($29), brush (just under $10), and blade sampler pack probably run to about $45, compared to other stores. So the soap in effect costs $19. That seems reasonable to me in comparison to what it would cost you to order it from Australia, if you live in the US. As noted, the shipping costs are high. The soap sells for around US$15 in Australia, and you cannot ship a tub of soap to the US for $4.
However, my main point was to comment on the excellent (IMO) choice of items. I was not commenting on the price. I figure the potential customer will decide for himself whether or not he wants to buy it.
Some men cannot detect differences apparent to others—colors, tastes, DE blades, and razors. The slant razor, for example, cuts more easily than a regular razor because the shearing cut of a slanted blade encounters less cutting resistance than the chop of a regular blade. This is well known—with a regular blade the Gillette slide, which presents the blade at an angle, is a common technique favored by men with thick bears and regular razors. (You can see the Gillette slide demonstrated in a video by Mantic59.)
Although the Gillette slide works well in some circumstances, there’s a reason it’s always shown being done on the cheek. Trying it on the neck—with, across, or against the grain—is more challenging. The slant razor, by slanting the blade, in effect packages the Gillette slide into the razor itself, so that in using the razor in the usual manner reaps the benefits of the Gillette slide without requiring any new skills or techniques, and the slant razor works easily wherever a regular razor works: neck, point of chin, upper lip, whatever.
Since the slant overcomes cutting resistance, its advantage increases along with the cutting resistance of the beard. Men with thick, tough, wiry, coarse beards very much appreciate the slant, particularly if they have sensitive skin (since a good slant is very gentle on the skin when used with light pressure). Men with beards that do not offer much resistance to cutting doubtless do not find much advantage. My own beard is in the normal range, though, and I can detect easier cutting and also find I more easily/frequently get a BBS result with a slant.
Of course, one’s own experience is so vivid that it is difficult for some to believe that someone else may have a different experience. Thus those who cannot detect a difference in the performance of a slant compared to a regular razor often go to some lengths to attempt to establish that there is no difference: that those who detect the difference are “wrong”: deluded, perhaps, by confirmation bias. (Similarly, I suppose, those who experience no differences between different brands of blades might believe that everyone is pretending that such differences exist; or a person who finds Brand X wonderful (or bad) might dismiss the experience of someone who finds Brand X bad (or wonderful). “YMMV” is easy to say but hard to internalize, despite quite clear evidence that YMMV holds in many areas: cilantro, for example, tastes wonderful to me and awful to my daughter (“like soap!”).
So those who can’t tell the difference between a slant and a regular razor argue mightily that, since they cannot detect the difference, it must exist and those who do detect it are being fooled somehow. They often will admit that the Gillette slide cuts more easily, but cannot believe that a slant also benefits from a slanted cutting angle.
So I decided to run a test, alternately using a slant and a regular razor for the next week or so. I’ll try to match the two in terms of overall format—e.g., the Above the Tie R1 (regular) and the S1 (slant); or the Merkur 34C (regular) and the 37C (slant). Initially I’ll try using the razors on alternate days, but I may switch to using both razors in a single shave to get a better feel for the differences.
Today I’m using the Above the Tie S1 slant, and tomorrow I’ll use the ATT R1 regular razor. Both are pictured above, both on UFO handles. you’ll note the degree of the slant slant is not very great. I’m running this little test to reconfirm to myself that I can feel a real difference between the two razors.
This morning I used my silvertip badger brush from the Copper Hat, which has a Delrin® handle of a pleasant shape, and Tim’s Soaps Greek Peach shaving soap. The soap makes a fine and fragrant lather. I did add a couple of driblets of water as I loaded the brush and had no problems at all in lather quality or quantity.
Three easy passes with the S1 left me with a BBS result, though I was not especially trying for that. A good splash of Penhaligon Blenheim Bouquet finished the job.
I don’t know why I have a tendency to put Trumper lids upside down for the photo, but there it is again.
The Semogue Owners Club brush is very gradually breaking in. If I used it daily, it would of course be long since broken in. This morning it made a good lather with the Geo. F. Trumper sandalwood soap, a pre-reformulation tub that normally performs perfectly well. But once again by the third pass the lather was gone. Could be a loading issue, but the brush really did seem fully loaded. I reloaded with Savannah Sunrise, which was close at hand, and found I liked that lather better.
The RazoRock Black Mamba is quite a good razor for me: it feels quite mild, but the result is efficient removal of all stubble, leaving a BBS result.
A splash of Saint Charles Shave’s Sandalwood, and Thanksgiving day is upon us. This year, rather than a lot of cooking, we are going to a local restaurant for their Thanksgiving dinner.
Hope your holidays are good.
I was asked how the RazoRock Synthetic badger compared to the Mühle version known as Silverfiber, so I did a side by side comparison, using Strop Shoppe’s Péche shaving soap, one of her limited editions.
Both brushes perform extremely well and lathering was a breeze. (The soap itself helps a lot, of course.) The brushes are extremely close in feel on the face: both are soft with good resilience, both have ample capacity. The RazoRock felt a smidge softer, probably because the knot was not quite so densely packed as that of the Mühle, but if you used them on separate days, I doubt you could tell the difference. Since I like the feel of a soft brush on my face, I perhaps might favor the RazoRock, and certainly the price difference is noticeable: the RazoRock is $17, the Mühle substantially more (particularly in the US, where Mühle prices are so high it pays off to order from the UK or EU).
Well-lathered—twice—I picked up the Double Open Comb razor from Phoenix Artisan and set to work. A very nice shave, with a totally smooth result with no nicks at all.
A splash of Alt-Innsbruck—and I’m pretty sure this is the penultimate splash from this bottle—and I’m read for the day.