Archive for the ‘Shaving’ Category
Yesterday’s shave had me thinking that the Fine synthetic brush ($20) was very much like a Plisson synthetic brush (least costly is €34.80, which today is $38.12). Since it’s hard to make comparisons from memory, I used both the Fine synthetic and the Plisson synthetic in today’s shave.
I selected D.R. Harris as the soap—and a remarkably good soap it is, too—and loaded both brushes. Using the brushes alternately to lather for each pass, the two do feel very much alike, though the Fine is just a tiny bit firmer and the Plisson feels a little larger and more cushiony. I thought that was probably due to the Fine’s knot being slightly smaller—smaller footprint, firmer feel for the same pressure—and on checking found it is so: the Fine has a 20mm knot, and the Plisson is a 12, which is a 22mm knot with a 56mm loft.
So I would say these two brushes are brothers: very similar indeed. And both make a fine lather and have an excellent feel on the face.
Doubly lathered for each pass, I enjoyed the Parker 24C once more and once more have an easily achieved BBS result. A good splash of Arlington aftershave, and the day is underway.
In the past I have often made a few practice lathers with a new brush, too eager to try them out to wait for the next shave. I didn’t do that with the Fine synthetic, and now I wish I had. In my first use of the brush, it felt a little too resilient in comparison with, say, the Plisson, which uses the same bristles. But today, when I compared it to the Omega S-Brush shown, the Fine felt very different indeed: just like the Plisson (though I’ll do a comparison shave later with the Plisson to check).
The soap is Wickham’s Garden Mint, a spearmint rather than peppermint shaving soap, and a very nice soap indeed. With both brushes fully loaded, I lathered my face, and was surprised by the softness of the Fine brush, a softness that had not been there in the first shave. I did not expect a synthetic brush to have a break-in, but maybe in the manufacturing process the bristles get some coating that imparts stiffness (I’m thinking of sizing or something of the sort), and the first use washed that away.
In any event, the different between the S-Brush (a very nice brush indeed) and the Fine seem identical to me to the difference between the S-Brush and the Plisson: they’re both excellent, but the Fine and the Plisson are softer and more luxurious feeling than the Omega.
I did three very smooth and easy passes with the iKon DLC slant on the SE handle. No nicks at all: I have indeed learned to use very light pressure with this razor. The blade was a Personna Lab Blue, which works well in this razor for me—though now I’m wondering whether the slight problems (nicks on XTG on upper lip) I encountered in using other blades were not simply the result of too much pressure and not the blade’s fault at all. Next time I’ll use an Astra Superior Platinum in this razor and see.
A small splash of Mickey Lee Soapworks Italian Stallion aftershave milk, and the week is underway.
The Plisson synthetic brush in the photo is noticeably better (for me) than the $20 Fine synthetic that uses the same fibers, but OTOH the Plisson costs €34.80, or $38.66, almost twice as much. So naturally one would expect it to be somewhat better. Next week I shall do a comparison shave with an Omega S-Series brush (in a regular size, not a pro size) to see how it compares with the Fine.
I got a wonderful lather from Dr. Jon’s Savannah Sunrise: Orange Blossom, Peach, Gardenia, Jasmine and Honeysuckle The Honeysuckle was quite noticeable this morning, a fine fragrance for a summer day.
Three passes with the iKon Shavecraft #102 slant left my face BBS, effortlessly and enjoyably. Someone mentioned that the curvature of the blade in the #102 may be conical rather than cylindrical, and in looking at the two ends of the razor, one end does look somewhat broader and less curved than the other. But rather looking at design details, I tend to judge a razor more on its feel and performance, not caring so much about how it achieves those. And the feel and performance of the #102 is terrific. I am beginning to think this is my favorite razor. It’s out of stock everywhere now, but iKon says that they will be back in stock this month.
A good splash of Phoenix Artisans Sandalwood, and the holiday beginss.
Just received the $20 Fine synthetic shaving brush. I like the design, and the fibers are the same as in the Plisson synthetics. However, there’s some difference in the knot construction that makes the Fine knot not quite so soft as the Plisson—but note that the Plisson brushes cost at least a little more than twice as much as the Fine brush. And the Fine brush is a good brush, much more comfortable than The Grooming Company’s brush, which uses the same synthetic fibers but whose knot is very reluctant to open.
UPDATE: When I used the Fine for its second shave, to my surprise it felt exactly like a Plisson synthetic: very soft and pleasant. It had not occurred to me that a synthetic brush might require a quick break-in—one use in this case—but it’s possible that the fibers have some sort of sizing that is washed away on first use. I failed to do a practice lather with this brush; if I had, I would have found it very much like the Plisson. See this account of the second shave with the brush.
I got a wonderful lather with Essence of Scotland’s Sweet Gale shaving soap, which probably was not called Rusty Nail shaving soap because, although it does have that fragrance, it’s not a good image to connect with shaving.
Three passes with the Feather AS-D2, and a totally BBS face received a good splash of Sierra.
I’ve decided that I really do prefer the DE format to a single-edged razor, and though the Mongoose razor is quite good, I’m going to pare down my collection and will be selling both the satin-finish and polished finished Mongoose razors, possibly on eBay. They’re quite new.
A very nice shave indeed. The Rooney Style 2 Super Silvertip is now totally reliable, and it made a really fine (and fragrant) lather from Dr. Jon’s Anne Bonny: West Indies Bay, Black Tea, Dark Rum, and Lime. I’m shaking the brush a bit too much, I note: I had to add a good driblet of water and work it into the lather on my beard, but that’s easily done and extends the lathering a bit, giving the lather more time to accomplish its mission.
This is the satin-finish Mongoose, and I loaded a new Feather Pro Super blade. It occurred to me that I could alternate this with the Kamisori blade in the polished Mongoose and get a better/faster comparison. In this shave, the Feather Pro Super does seem to be a bit sharper—i.e., shaving slightly more easily. I got one really tiny nick in the middle of my upper lip, but My Nik Is Sealed took care of that.
A good squirt of the highly fragrant and very pleasant Frozen Cranberry Aftershave Balm, a Father’s Day gift from Soap Smooth of a limited edition. Very nice finish.
Another very good shave, and I think I’m becoming accustomed to the handle: seemed perfectly okay today.
The Semogue has more breaking in to do: lather was gone by the third pass, so I just reloaded. But I think it’s coming along, and the knot’s well behaved.
I do like the fragrance of Phoenix Artisan’s Otra shaving soap, and the lather was quite good. On the Phoenix Artisan site, he tells quite a tale of the origin of the fragrance (and in the process makes me want to buy the Al Fin soap or aftershave):
Otra is built on a fougère base that I constructed from the ground up, note for note and drop by drop. I could have just stopped there but I chose to go further and build on top of this very green foundation, imagining it to be the mossy green wrappings around the riverbed. Next comes the sandalwood and rosewood, scents I imagine the trees that populate the forest to be emitting. I sprinkled the forest bed with white clover and watched it shoot to life, full & four leafed! Then the river itself, reeds and water plants were created with the addition of white sage hydrosol, rose water, and organic seaweed extract, not overpowering but in the background, you wouldn’t notice it sitting on the banks but you would if it was absent. Lastly our star player, Centaurea Cyanus.
Three passes with the Mongoose holding the Kamisori blade, and once again a trouble-free shave. However, I’m getting the impression that the Kamisori does not cut quite so easily as some of the others. I’ll give it one more shave, then I’m replacing it with a different brand to see.
A good splash of Bathhouse Soapery’s aftershave splash, and the shave is done.
I am going to use the Mongoose steadily for the next couple of weeks so I can test various brands of blades. I’m thinking I’ll do three shaves with each brand. Today’s blade: Kamisori.
But first came prep. I do like my Omega 20102, which is now well broken in. And I like Eva Nestorova shaving soaps (evanestorova on Etsy), though I really do wish she’d sell the soaps in tubs rather than as pucks. But they’re good soaps, and having a goat-milk shaving soap is pleasant.
I used the polished Mongoose and I restored the handle. The Mongoose handle really does go well with—and balances—the head, though I continue to recommend the satin finish over the polished finish.
Kamisori blades seem very nice, at least in this first: no problems, easy shaving, good finish. I’m not sure they will best Feather Pro Super or Kai Captain Sharpblade, the other two contenders in this round. Still, a problem-free BBS is not to be sneezed at.
A good splash of D.R. Harris Pink, and I’m getting ready for the day.