Later On

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

Archive for the ‘Shaving’ Category

Achilles ‘n Ascension

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Yesterday’s soap included Scotch whisky, and today’s includes Kentucky bourbon whiskey (with appropriate spellings). Van Yulay soaps are a favorite, and I’m getting to the end of my tub of Achilles shaving soap, whose ingredients are:

Stearic Acid, Coconut Fatty Acid, Palm Stearic, Castor, Potassium Hydroxide, Glycerin, Tobacco Tea, Aloe Vera, Coconut-Emu-Tallow-Meadow Foam-Borage-Argan- Oils, Kentucky Bourbon, Sodium Lactate, Herbal Ground Tea, Calendula, Extracts, Poly Quats, Allantoin, Silica, Bentonite & Kaolin Clay, Glycerin Soap, Tobacco Absolute, Mica and Fragrance.

I think I might but a new tub of this one, which I like a lot: “Tobacco with the perfect amount of Kentucky bourbon, Earthy wild notes with rosewood, cedar, smoke, and sweet birch.” At the link above, the description discusses the efficacy of various ingredients. (One thing that Meißner Tremonia (yesterday’s soap’s maker) and Van Yulay have in common: the formulation varies from soap to soap.)

My pre-Vulfix Simpson Persia Jar 2 Super easily created a super lather, and Phoenix Artisan’s Ascension glided smoothly through the stubble, removing every track in three very comfortable passes.

A good splash of Achilles aftershave (with no need for Hydrating Gel — very nice formula for this as well), and the day begins.

The tea this morning is Murchie’s Editors’ Blend: “Ceylon adds depth and a brisk sparkling finish, Yunnan provides smoothness and sweetness and Keemun ties it together.”

Written by Leisureguy

4 October 2022 at 8:55 am

Posted in Caffeine, Shaving

Strong ‘n Scottish ‘n the wonderful iKon slant

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My Omega Pro 48 is always a pleasure, and today it worked up a superb lather from Meißner Tremonia’s Strong ‘n Scottish shaving soap “with scotch whisky and sheep wool fat.” 

iKon’s wonderful stainless slant (not the cast-aluminum X3) now comes with a B1 coating. (Mine is from pre-coated times.) It did a superb job, as it always does. With this slant — as with most, in fact — the key is to ride the edge of the cap, which puts the handle rather far from the face. 

Three passes removed every trace of my two-day stubble, and then a splash the world’s oldest aftershave, Pinaud Lilac Vegetal, combined with a couple of squirts of Grooming Dept Hydrating Gel, finished the job. 

The week begins on a fine note.

The tea this morning is Murchie’s Baker Street Blend: “Lapsang Souchong, smooth Keemun, rich Ceylon, Gunpowder, and floral Jasmine.”

Written by Leisureguy

3 October 2022 at 8:03 am

Posted in Caffeine, Shaving

Indian Flavor and T2

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A very pleasant shave. My Simpson Emperor 3 Best easily — well, with one small driblet of water — evoked a very fine lather from Meißner Tremonia’s Indian Flavour shaving soap, and the Rockwell T2 was in fine form today. Lots of comfortable blade feel, and a very smooth result. A splash of Pashana with a couple of squirts of Grooming Dept Hydrating Gel and I was done.

The tea this morning is Murchie’s Hairy Crab Oolong: “Named for its leaves, which are serrated like a hairy crustacean, this semi-fermented Oolong tea has a lovely ripe peach overtone and a fragrance comparable to that of Jasmine.” And I must say this is an extremely nice tea, sweet in taste.

Written by Leisureguy

1 October 2022 at 10:14 am

Posted in Caffeine, Shaving

Dr. Selby’s return, honored in today’s shave

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As I blogged yesterday, Dr. Selby is returning to the US. This 3X concentrated shaving cream is made in Uruguay, and I like it a lot, and not just for the packaging, which is clever. The photo at the right shows how the lid, once removed, becomes a pedestal for the tub. Very cool, IMO.

My limited edition synthetic from Chiseled Face (years ago) has a very nice Plissoft knot, and it easily made a thick and creamy lather from the shaving cream (which has the consistency of a soap).

My Fatip Testina Gentile is a superb razor — extremely comfortable yet quite efficient. Three enjoyable passes left my face perfectly smooth, and Chatillon Lux’s Gratiot League Square aftershave toner finished the job. This toner has a wonderful fragrance and also good things for the skin. He doesn’t seem to be interested in aftershaves anymore, though; a pity.

The tea this morning is Murchie’s London Afternoon: “Fragrant rose petals are interwoven with smoky Lapsang Souchong, sweetened with creamy vanilla and a touch of bright bergamot.”

Written by Leisureguy

30 September 2022 at 9:54 am

Posted in Caffeine, Shaving

Great news! Dr. Selby’s 3X Concentrated Shaving Cream shall return!

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Dr. Selby’s 3X Concentrated Shaving Cream is solid to the touch, like a soap, and it makes a wonderful lavender-scented lather — it’s one of my favorite lather sources — see this post. It has sadly been absent from the US for several years — it’s made in Uruguay (a very interesting country, FWIW).

I just got a comment that Dr. Selby’s shall return. I’ll post more about this as I learn more.

Written by Leisureguy

29 September 2022 at 1:24 pm

Van Yulay and the iKon open comb

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Van Yulay’s After Dark is a favorite. Van Yulay shaving soaps vary in their formula from soap to soap, and the catalogue entry for each soap explains the benefits of the various ingredients used in the soap. Here’s what this one is made of:

Stearic Acid, Coconut Fatty Acid, Palm Stearic, Castor, Glycerin, Potassium& Sodium Hydroxide, Aloe Vera, Coconut-Tallow-Lanolin-Babassu-Manteca-Argan-Emu Oils, Shea & Kokum Butters, Sodium Lactate, Calendula, Extracts, Poly Quats, Allantoin, Silica, Bentonite & Kaolin Clay, and Fragrance.

I noticed in loading the effect of the two clays — a little slower and a little thicker on the brush — but the resulting lather, once I worked in a little more water as I brushed my face, was extremely nice, as was the fragrance: “Cinnamon, leather, cypress, sandalwood, tonka bean, amber, patchouli, lavender, mandarin orange, musk, benzoin, vanilla, apple, cedar, and bergamot.”

Well lathered — and the Plisson synthetic did a fine job — I brought my iKon stainless open-comb razor into play. This is not the Shavecraft version (cast aluminum head, and called “Short Comb”), but the stainless version, currently sold with a B1 coating. This is a remarkably good razor — extremely comfortable with no sacrifice of efficiency. Using it is always a pleasure. Mine, as evidence by the bare stainless steel, is from long ago, and I enjoyed it from the start.

Three passes left my face smooth and undamaged, and a good splash of Van Yulay’s aftershave splash (a witch-hazel-based formula, which among other things includes emu oil — so shake well) ended the shave and started a new day on a good note.

The tea this morning is Murchie’s Queen Victoria: “

Originally blended in the 19th Century, this is a blend of some of Queen Victoria’s favourite teas that were delivered by our founder John Murchie when HRM was in residence at Balmoral Castle in Scotland. This regal blend is one of Murchie’s most notable blends, yielding a smooth but complex tea incorporating the rich fruit flavours of Darjeeling, brisk Ceylon, smoky tones of Lapsang, and the underlying sweetness of Jasmine.

And, as I do most mornings, I enjoyed a bowl of the chia pudding I made last night.

Written by Leisureguy

29 September 2022 at 10:43 am

Posted in Caffeine, Shaving

Tertius and Lo Storto

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Tertius is the only Ariana & Evans soap I have, but it definitely makes me want to buy more of them. “Leather, Tobacco, & Oud, supported by a hint of Rose & Patchouli.” (And it’s on sale at the link, not an affiliate link.) The formulation is their new formulation:

Kaizen 2e Ingredients: Stearic Acid, Beef Tallow, Aqua, Goats Milk, Potassium Hydroxide, Kokum Butter, Shea Butter, Beer, Castor Oil, Sodium Hydroxide, Glycerin, Aloe Juice, Avocado Oil, Apricot Kernel Seed Oil, Lanolin, Agave, Sorbitol, Slippery Elm, Sodium Lactate, Xanthan Gum, Emu Oil, Hyaluronic Acid, Silk Amino Acid, Colloidal Oatmeal, Yogurt, Tussah Silk, Marshmallow Root, Fragrance

And that works very well. My Rooney Emilion easily created an extremely rich lather. I did notice that the soap was somewhat thirsty. I shake my brush well before I start loading, so that it is barely damp. For some soaps (like The Dead Sea), that’s enough, but others require adding a little water during the loading, and today I had to add water several times — and the lather was really excellent.

Fatip’s Lo Storto is a wonderful little slant, quite comfortable and extremely efficient. Cutting was remarkably easy (and restricted to the stubble), and the end result was perfect smoothness.

A splash of Irisch Moos with a couple of squirts of Grooming Dept Hydrating Gel and the shave is ended and the day begun — rather a rainy day, by the looks of it.

The tea this morning is Murchie’s Victorian Garden: “Notes of jasmine, lavender, sweet pea and bergamot are combined with strawberry and vanilla in this smooth and well-rounded blend of green and black teas. This tea evokes the beautiful florals that are a quintessential part of Victorian gardens.” I believe the reference is to the era, but it applies equally well to the city.

Written by Leisureguy

28 September 2022 at 9:46 am

Posted in Caffeine, Shaving

The whole megillah Grooming Dept shave

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All today’s shave software is from Grooming Dept, and for the occasion, I brought out Moisturizing Pre-Shave from back room — seldom on-stage, he’s a vital part of the entire ensemble and plays his vital role in every shave. I continue to learn more how best to use this and now take the smallest smidge to prepare my wet stubble for the lather to come.

And what a lather Mallard Corretto makes! The first impression is the lather’s velvety thickness, closely followed by the pleasure of the fragrance: “Coffee, Brandy, Plum, Berries, Honey, Cacao Dust, Vanilla, Patchouli.” My Rooney Victorian did a great job, but it had a great soap to work with. The soap’s ingredients:

Water, Stearic Acid, Duck Fat, Kukui Nut Oil, Goat Milk, Castor Oil, Potassium Hydroxide, Cupuacu Butter, Kokum Butter, Glycerin, Jojoba Oil, Myristic Acid, Shea Butter, Sodium Hydroxide, Fragrance, Coconut Milk, Tamanu Oil, Lauryl Laurate, Carnauba Wax, Beeswax, Allantoin, Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate, Betaine, Sodium Lactate, Silk Amino Acids, Oat Amino Acids, Sesame Oil, Macadamia Oil, Caprylyl Glycol, Sodium Gluconate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Tetrasodium Glutamate Diacetate, Tocopherols, Silk Peptides.

With my stubble so well prepped, RazoRock’s Game Changer .68-P had an easy time of it, gliding comfortably through the stubble, removing all roughness with no effort.

The new arrival is the Rejuvenating Serum, in this case Grapefruit + Vetiver (which I bought through Italian Barber, which has a good variety of Grooming Dept products on hand). This product is more like a skin treatment and a far cry from an aftershave splash. You apply one or two drops to your damp, clean-shaven face and massage it in a bit. It does indeed leave the skin feeling younger. The secret’s in the ingredients:

Caprylic/Capric Triglycerides, Jojoba Oil, Camelina Oil, Argan Oil, Kukui Nut Oil, Abyssinian Oil, Meadowfoam Oil, Moringa Oil, Safflower Oil, Olive Squalane, Borage Oil, Avocado Oil, Grapeseed Oil, Pumpkin Seed Oil, Blackberry Seed Oil, Calendula Extract, Radish Seed Extract, Pomegranate Seed Extract, Bisabolol, Tocopherols

Altogether, a very nice shave. Great start to the day.

The tea this morning is another varietal, Murchie’s Ceylon Kenilworth: “A true ‘Orange Pekoe‘ size leaf, producing a bright, oaky taste with body and strength. The Kenilworth Estate is known for producing creamy teas with rich, full body.”


Written by Leisureguy

27 September 2022 at 10:19 am

Posted in Caffeine, Shaving

After the Rain and a blade change for the #102

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The Omega Pro 48 (10048) is always a good way to start the week, and today Declaration Grooming’s After the Rain, in their Milksteak formulation, provided the grist for its mill. Well-loaded, the brush easily formed a fine lather on my face, the stubble ready after their workout with a tiny smidge of Grooming Dept Moisturizing Pre-Shave.

The iKon Shavecraft #102 is one of my favorite razors and, IMO, is a superb slant, but this morning during the first pass I was having to work a little too hard, so I paused to replace the blade, which made the second and third passes a pure pleasure. 

My perfectly smooth face, once rinsed and dried, was read for a splash of 4711 aftershave augmented with a couple of squirts of Grooming Dept Hydrating Gel. “4711” is the street address of the aftershave’s maker, which seems to be the pattern with numerically named aftershaves: Floris 89, TOBS No. 74, Alpa 378, et al.

A fine way to start the week, especially with the morning sunny and cool.

The tea this morning is Murchie’s Royal Grey: “Currants and cream with a twist of bergamot, a modern take on the timeless Earl Grey.”

Written by Leisureguy

26 September 2022 at 9:43 am

Posted in Caffeine, Shaving

Coconut and peach to start Saturday

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Grooming Dept Chypre Peach — “Citruses, Maillette Lavender, Rose, Peach, Osmanthus, Spices, Amber, Oakmoss, Leather, Labdanum, Vetiver, and Patchouli” — uses the Kairos (tallow) formula. The soap seemed soft this morning as I loaded this Plisson HMW 12 with its horn handle (a very nice brush, I will say). It was easy to produce a fine lather, and with the Edwin Jagger razor shown, three passes left my face perfectly smooth.

The aftershave is The Shave Den’s Coconut Lime Verbena aftershave milk, with a striking and pleasant fragrance. No Hydrating Gel this time, since the aftershave itself is designed to aid the skin.

All in all, a fine start to the weekend.

The tea this morning is not a blend but a varietal: Murchie’s Assam Tippy Golden: “A dark, rich tea with full-bodied, malty flavour, with a hint of sweetness and a silk smooth finish. Assam teas are especially good where water conditions overpower more delicate teas.”

Written by Leisureguy

24 September 2022 at 8:46 am

Posted in Caffeine, Shaving

A Luxury shave

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The Rooney Style 2 Finest is one of my favorite brushes: excellent resilience, long loft, somewhat fluffy, lots of volume available for lather — and such a good lather it was! Grooming Dept Luxury (not currently available) has a fragrance of “Oud + Leather.” In fact, Luxury “contains some real Agarwood!” (Agarwood is the source of oud.) The fragrance does indeed seem luxurious, and the Kairos formula produced a very fine lather indeed.

RazoRock’s Game Changer, here the .86-P version, is a wonderful little razor, and I do like the RazoRock Barber Pole handle. Three passes did the job, and then a splash of Pashana (with a couple of squirts of Grooming Dept Hydrating Gel) finished shave on a luxurious note.

The tea this morning is Murchie’s Storm Watcher: “Black tea.” (Apologies for the over-succinct and under-informative description, but that is all that Muchie’s provides. I have complained. The tea is tasty and robust and I like it. I dislike only the puny description.)

Update. I heard back from Murchie’s:

Contains: Yunnan and Ceylon

Tasting Notes: 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

23 September 2022 at 9:10 am

Posted in Caffeine, Shaving

Solstice shaving soap because I don’t have an Equinox

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Happy Equinox and welcome to nights longer than days up here on the northern half of the planet — but only for a few months. Things will turn around before the end of the year, and in the meantime — it’s an ill wind indeed that blows nobody good — those on the other side of the Equator can now enjoy days longer than night (at least, until the next Equinox rolls around).

I have said it often before, and still it’s true: I do love the fragrance of Phoenix Artisan’s Solstice. I occasionally see critical comments on the fragrance, but those so far have been made by persons who have not actually smelled the soap or aftershave, so I tend to question the soundness of the judgments (which seems to be made on the logic of abstract principles rather than the findings of actual experience).

I would rate Solstice’s fragrance as a “masculine” fragrance that’s substantially better than the usual stab at a gendered fragrance such as Chiseled Face’s Midnight Stag: “Russian Leather, Motor Oil, Hoppes #9, Birch Tar, Oakmoss, Gasoline, Smoke, Cedar, Cade, Bergamot, Vanilla” — I actually like the fragrance of Midnight Stag, but it goes in quite a different direction than Solstice’s “Sage, Sweetgrass, Cedar, Rose Absolute, and Benzoin Resin.” Midnight Stag’s fragrance is more what I would call a novelty fragrance, while Solstice’s fragrance leans much more toward a classic formulation (especially with the Rose Absolute, given that Rose, like Lavender, is a truly classic fragrance for a shaving soap).

I have the Kokum Butter formula of the soap, which is excellent, but if I get through this tub and buy another, I will probably get the CK-6 version. Back in the day, Sears, Roebuck & Co. in their giant catalog (aka the wishbook) often offered three versions of a product — good, better, best — with the products identified by their quality category. It was a neat marketing trick: an upsell via the catalog page.

I’ve noticed that sometimes we are so attached to a product — particularly if it’s at the “better” level — that we can’t at first appreciate the quality of the “best.” That happened to me with my pre-shave. MR GLO was definitely “good,” and I used that for years, so I was blown away when I tried the original formulation of Grooming Dept Moisturiziing Pre-Shave — a “better” in every way. Then I got the new formulation (now the current formulation) and it was different. It took me several shaves before I realized that the difference was that I have moved from “better” to “best.” Because “better” in general is very good in indeed — certainly better than “good” — it takes a bit to realize that there is an even higher level: “best.”

I was thinking about this because PA’s Kokum Butter shaving soap is not just “good,” it is “better”: a shaving soap definitely a cut above run-of-the-mill shaving soaps. And yet… my using the CK-6 (a “best”) had sort of blinded me to how good the Kokum Butter formula is. It is indeed a “better” level soap, and it has that quality even when a “best” soap exists. 

Those were my thoughts as I lathered, and as you can see, I do not rush that initial lathering — as usual, a lathering on top of a very thin layer of Moisturizing Pre-Shave.

RazoRock’s Old Type is a wonderful razor, unprepossessing but extremely comfortable — no intrusive blade feel here — and highly efficient — a perfectly smooth result achieved with no effort. Moreover, it is costs very little and, since it has the sensible three-piece design, you can use a handle of your choice. You can even buy the head by itself and use a handle you already have.

Three passes left my face perfectly smooth, undamaged, and not even threatened. A splash of Solstice aftershave — mm, I love that fragrance — with a couple of squirts of Grooming Dept Hydrating Gel finished the job.

The tea this morning is Murchie’s Victorian Garden: “Notes of jasmine, lavender, sweet pea and bergamot are combined with strawberry and vanilla in this smooth and well-rounded blend of green and black teas.” I will add that in my neighborhood of Victoria, James Bay, houses and even apartment buildings generally have striking flower gardens with a wide variety of blooms. It makes walking a pleasure. (I’ve noticed over the years that suburbs, whose inhabitants drive rather than walk, usually don’t go in for flower gardens so much. Usually, the houses stand somewhat isolated in the middle of a bland green lawn, bereft of flowers and interesting shrubs.

Written by Leisureguy

22 September 2022 at 9:34 am

Posted in Caffeine, Shaving

Test of Vikings Blade Chieftain with different brand of blade

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My Edwin Jagger synthetic is a very nice brush, and it easily worked up a good lather from this Phoenix Artisan Doppelgänger, a CK-6 formula soap.

Yesterday I noticed that I was getting a surprising amount of blade feel from my Vikings Blade Chieftain, when I was using a King C. Gillette blade. This morning I replaced that blade with a Rockwell blade to see whether that made a difference. I did seem to get a bit less blade feel, though it was still quite noticeable. Withal, I got a very nice shave and I continue to like this razor. Totally smooth finish.

I ended the shave by adding a couple of squirts of Grooming Dept Hydrating Gel to the aftershave splash in my palm and applied that with pleasure. Great start to the day.

The tea this morning is Murchie’s Lavender Cream: “black tea, lavender flowers, jasmine flowers, natural and artificial flavouring.

Written by Leisureguy

21 September 2022 at 9:37 am

Posted in Caffeine, Shaving

Vikings Blade Chieftain and blade feel

with 2 comments

My RazoRock 400 brush easily raised a good lather from Mystic Water Sandalwood Rose. As I was enjoying the feel and fragrance of the lather, my mind drifted to a comment on Wirecutter from one :

I use regular bar soap and shave in the shower. No special soap or brush needed. Works fine. Plus most shaving soap is scented, which I HATE. (Why the hell does everything have to be scented? We live in a world full of of scent pollution.)

Skipping over the fact that almost all bar soaps are scented — Ivory soap, famously 99.44% pure, was made with a fragrance (the other 0.56%) — I pointed out that with few exceptions men who have tried bar soap and shaving soap prefer shaving soap. But this morning I got to thinking: I wonder whether Dario has considered trying saddle soap. His view seems to be “Soap’s soap, so pick what you like,” and saddle soap’s formula softens and preserves leather, preventing dryness. Offhand, it seems as though it might work well as a shaving soap. I’m half-inclined to try it. 

My Vikings Blade Chieftain razornot the same as the Baili BD191 — is quite a good razor that I have praised before. This morning I was surprised by the amount of blade feel I got from the razor. That I did not recall. It might have been the specific brand of blade I was using and other brands might not have so much blade feel. (One difference among brands of DE blades is in the width of the blade.) The blade I used is a King C. Gillette blade — the brand of the pack that came with my King C. Gillette razor. I’ll try a different brand tomorrow to see whether the blade feel lessens.

Despite the somewhat threatening feel (which loses some points in the “comfort” column), I did not suffer any damage (such as a nick or razor burn), and I did get a wonderfully close shave, which I completed with a splash of Saint Charles Shaves Savory Rose (and, speaking of fragrance, that aftershave has a terrific fragrance). Since I included my usual two squirts of Hydrating Gel, my face right now feels very nice indeed.

The tea this morning is the last of my Murchie’s Vanilla Jasmine: “A balanced blend of black, green, and oolong teas, with an enticing aroma of vanilla, jasmine, and magnolia.” I think I might get more of this.

Written by Leisureguy

20 September 2022 at 9:04 am

Posted in Caffeine, Shaving

The Dead Sea and my horse- and goat-hair brush, with a great razor.

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I have learned that it’s best not to soak the Baili Goat- and Horsehair brush. When I’ve done that, the knot has become too soft. Now I just wet the knot, load it, and lather. The Dead Sea is a fine shaving soap and particularly good with this knot because this soap loads quickly. It has a pleasing lather and seems good for my skin, and I do like the fragrance.

Fine Accoutrements made this aluminum slant, modelled after the vintage Merkur white bakelite slant, only briefly, and luckily I bought a copy. It is really a superb slant, though it does require using a good angle (riding the edge of the cap) and a light touch. Three passes removed every trace of stubble and roughness.

A splash of Floïd with a couple of squirts of Grooming Dept Hydrating Gel, and the job is done.

The tea this morning is Murchie’s Lemon tea: “the flavour of fresh lemon on rich Ceylon, Darjeeling, Keemun, and Nepal black teas.”

Written by Leisureguy

19 September 2022 at 8:59 am

Posted in Caffeine, Shaving

Italian Barber has a whole bunch of Grooming Dept products currently in stock

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My experience is that they don’t stay long in stock. Take a look.

Grooming Dept shaving soaps are excellent, and I do highly recommend (and use daily) Grooming Dept Moisturizing Pre-Shave. I also add a couple of squirts of Grooming Dept Hydrating Gel to my aftershave balms.

I think I should probably try one of the Grooming Dept aftershaves.

Written by Leisureguy

18 September 2022 at 4:50 pm

Posted in Shaving

A horsehair brush and the excellence of Valobra’s shave stick and Yaqi’s DOC

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Valobra’s shave stick is extremely good and highly recommended. Like the Palmolive shave stick, you will find no brand identification once the stick is unwrapped and in use, something that pains me in the marketing director area, but the look is distinctive and the performance is first rate. I did use Grooming Dept Moisturizing Pre-Shave again — now that I know how to use it with a shave stick, there’s no reason to forego the pleasure and efficacy it brings to the shave.

Yaqi really has a winner with their double-open-comb razors (comb guard and comb cap). It’s comfortable as well as efficient, and the result after three passes is a totally smooth (and undamaged) face.

A splash of Hâttric with a couple of squirts of Grooming Dept Hydrating Gel finished the shave and started the weekend on a good note.

The tea this morning is Murchie’s Queen Victoria: “First blended in honour of Queen Victoria, this is one of Murchie’s oldest blends: rich Darjeeling and Ceylon, smoky Lapsang Souchong, and sweet Jasmine.”

And in closing I’ll point out that I have a new article posted on Medium.

Written by Leisureguy

17 September 2022 at 10:18 am

Posted in Caffeine, Shaving

Less and less = better and better (at least, for Grooming Dept Moisturizing Pre-Shave)

with 2 comments

I observed in an earlier post that when I used less of Grooming Dept Moisturizing Pre-shave — a deci-smidgen instead of a full smidgen — the resulting shave was even better. I had cut back the amount because, with a shave stick, the soap is mixed directly with the pre-shave before lathering begins (because the shave stick is rubbed against the grain to scrape off the soap that will later load the brush).

This morning I decided to try even less: about 3 centi-smidgens, just enough that it was visible on my finger. I spread it easily across my wet stubble, rubbing it in well, then wet my fingers and rubbed the stubble again.

The I took Mama Bear’s Hydrogen shave stick, and rubbed soap onto my face, with stubble as the scraper. (The soap is also available as a puck.) “Hydrogen” is a jest of sorts, since the element hydrogen does not, to a human nose, have a fragrance, but the shaving soap has a fine fragrance:

Top fruity notes of apple, grapefruit, peach and leafy greens; with middle notes of lily, lavender, rose and violet; and finally base notes with amber, sandalwood, and raspberry musk.

I then took my Wet Shaving Products Monarch, a fine brush indeed, wet it well, shook it until it was merely damp, and brushed my face briskly. A small bit of lather emerged as I brushed all the stubble. I added a driblet of water to the knot and brushed over the stubble again, and the lather rose and formed and filled the knot. One more driblet of water and a little more brushing, and I had as good a lather as one could want.

I did enjoy the step-wise development of a rich and satisfying lather. It provided a feeling of accomplishment disproportionately large compared to the effort involved, and it set me up for a great shave.

My Henson AL13 did a masterful job. My face is as smooth as after a Monday shave and — thanks, I think, to the Moisturizing Pre-Shave, very soft and supple as well.

A splash of Czech Diplomat aftershave, with a couple of squirts of Grooming Dept Hydrating Gel, and the job is done and the day begins.

The tea this morning is Murchie’s Earl Grey Cream, the last of the tin I have. “a blend of fine Ceylon, Darjeeling, and Keemun teas, lightly scented with real oil of bergamot and sweet vanilla.” Though it is good, I think I’ll refill that tin with Royal Grey.

Written by Leisureguy

16 September 2022 at 10:05 am

Posted in Caffeine, Shaving

A razor insufficiently praised and the pleasure of a novelty fragrance

with 2 comments

Buttercream is not a classic fragrance, nor should it be, just as chocolate-chip cookies are not a main dish, nor should they be. But little bits of entertaining novelty are pleasant to encounter — the chocolate chips of daily life. Mama Bear’s Buttercream is a pleasant change of pace, even if but for a step or two, and a shave stick seems the ideal format for such novelties: a little, but not too much.

And, as usual, with soft water a glycerin-based soap — like Mama Bear’s soaps or Col. Conk’s — provides a very nice lather indeed. I added water to my Sabini brush a couple of times to bring forth the full lather, but once it was there, it was a pleasure (and a buttercream-fragranced pleasure this morning).

I have the impression that Fendrihan’s Mk II stainless-steel razor (here coated in bronze) does not get the recognition and praise that such an excellent razor deserves. This really is one of the best razors I own, and the price for this stainless-steel razor strikes me on the bargain side of reasonable. With three easy passes, I achieved a perfectly smooth and undamaged face.

A splash of Mr. Taylor’s aftershave and I’m reading for the day.

The tea this morning is Murchie’s London Afternoon: “Fragrant rose petals are interwoven with smoky Lapsang Souchong, sweetened with creamy vanilla and a touch of bright bergamot.”

Written by Leisureguy

15 September 2022 at 9:32 am

Posted in Caffeine, Shaving

Palmolive shave stick and TOBS Shaving Shop for that old-time feeling

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Palmolive does not brand their shave stick in any way — I’d very much like a word with the marketing director — but I know it from the green color. They should identify the brand, because it’s a very good shave stick and today delivered a totally satisfactory lather that, along with the trace of Grooming Dept Moisturizing Pre-Shave I used — and, of course the razor and blade — resulted in a wonderful shave.

The razor is the Parker semi-slant — actually, a plain old slant, but “semi” seems to be a marketing director’s idea to make the razor less intimidating. It’s a slant much along the lines of the iKon Shavecraft X3: very comfortable and quite efficient. I didn’t much like the original handle, and since it is a three-piece design, it’s easy to swap handles — thus the Yaqi handle that you see in the photo, taken from another razor.

I really did get an exceptionally good shave for a 1-day stubble, and I finished with a splash of Taylor of Old Bond Street Shaving Shop (“A SUPERB GENTLEMAN’S AFTERSHAVE,” as the label shouts at us, drowning out the name of the aftershave — and, speaking as a superb gentleman, it is a ver satisfying aftershave). 

The tea this morning is Murchie’s Storm Watcher, which I am drinking even without a storm to watch: “Black tea.”

Written by Leisureguy

14 September 2022 at 9:51 am

Posted in Caffeine, Shaving

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