Later On

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

Archive for the ‘Shaving’ Category

Nancy Boy Signature shave cream and the highly esteemed Rockwell 6S

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The Simpson Case was once known as the Wee Scot 3, today’s Wee Sc6ot being the Wee Scot 2. The Case is a good size to fit into my travel size Nancy Boy Signature shave cream, and I got a lovely lather from it.

The handle of the 6S has the same sort of blunt-tipped chequering as yesterday’s Merkur 37G, but something in the details of the design make the 6S handle have a better grip. It is not nearly so prone to slip as the 37G, and in fact the grip feels quite secure. And the R4 baseplate provided the basis for a very good shave indeed, though of course good prep contributes a lot.

A splash of Barrister & Mann Reserve Cool — in response to summer, though it’s not very hot here (60ºF right now) — with a squirt of Grooming Dept Hydrating Gel finished the shave in fine style.

And now I set out for my morning walk…

Written by Leisureguy

3 August 2021 at 7:47 am

Posted in Shaving

A compact shave

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The black case on which the Wee Scot rests is a Czech & Speake travel soap, and once the container held a small puck of C&S shaving soap. I was never able to get a good lather from that soap, so I pried out the puck and replaced with a better soap — but which particular soap, I have forgotten. I believe it was an Italian soap: I cut a thin disk from the puck, then mashed it into the C&S container.

Today I got an excellent lather, loading the Wee Scot well and taking my time lathering my face, given the two-day growth. Then the Merkur 37G came into play. I noticed today that the chequering on the razor’s handle is mediocre at best: not very deep and not offering a secure grip. They certainly could do a better job.

But the razor itself did a good job. This is a very comfortable and efficient razor — and the quality of shave it delivers is one reason the Merkur 37 has been in demand for decades. If you like slants, this is not a bad choice, though Italian Barber’s German 37 razor offers the same head design with the advantage of a three-piece format — so that, for example, if you don’t like the chequering on the handle it comes with, you can replace the handle with a better one. Indeed, you have a good choice of handles for your original purchase, though I’m partial their stainless Barber Pole handle.

A splash of Alpa 378 with a squirt of Hydrating Gel finished the job, and I love the feel of my face now.

Written by Leisureguy

2 August 2021 at 8:18 am

Posted in Shaving

Warm Woods and the Fatip Testina Gentile

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Warm Woods has a pleasant fragrance and a fine lather, thanks in part to the Yaqi 22mm synthetic brush shown. Three passes with my Fatip Testina Gentile finished the job, though I think it’s probably time to change the blade since I had to work a bit to get a smooth result. A splash of Saint Charles Shave’s Woods (presumably also warm, if not aflame, it being summer), and the weekend begins.

Written by Leisureguy

31 July 2021 at 8:32 am

Posted in Shaving

Motivational Poster for Shaving

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Written by Leisureguy

30 July 2021 at 11:55 am

Posted in Daily life, Shaving

Pink Grapefruit and Hâttric

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G.B. Kent’s Infinity synthetic is a good little guy. It’s a 22mm knot with good resilience along with a 52mm loft. A resilient knot with a good loft provides a very nice feel — that’s the combination found in the Omega Pro 48, for example, though the two brushes don’t feel all that similar — for one thing, the bristles differ substantially: Infinity has fine synthetic bristles, Pro 48 has boar bristles.

Gettig a good lather from a Meißner-Tremonia shaving paste is child’s play, and the fragrance is extremely nice, the eucalyptus offsetting the sweetness of the pink grapefruit much as Cate’s Bubbles in Waterlyptus uses eucalyptuss to offset the watermelon fragrance. I think this probably works in general: eucalyptus plus peach, for example.

The Baili BR171 is a very fine razor despite its low price: $6. A good razor for beginner or practiced shaver, being both very comfortable (which includes being disinclined to nick) and very efficient. Three passes left my face perfectly smooth.

A splash of Hâttric with a squirt of Hydrating Gel, and I’m ready for the day — predicted to be hot, so the walk will be early.

Written by Leisureguy

30 July 2021 at 8:27 am

Posted in Shaving

The apotheosis of the Edwin Jagger razor

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At first blush, Phoenix Artisan’s avocado-oriented Avo Nice Shave strikes one as an indie artisan experiment, but in fact Taylor of Old Bond Street offers a very nice avocado shaving cream. In both cases, the emphasis is on the use of the oil, not the fragrance — avocados don’t really have much of a fragrance. The lather, from soap or shaving cream, is luxurious and kind to the skin, and that Rooney Emilion gets the job done.

The RazoRock MJ-90A is, I’m sure, what Edwin Jagger aspires to be when he grows up: the same head geometry, but realized in CNC-milled aircraft aluminum alloy instead of die-cast zinc alloy, and the handle is stainless steel, not zinc alloy or a resin. The head of the MJ-90A covers the blades end tabs instead of leaving them exposed. The particular weakness of the Edwin Jagger is that the threaded stem from the cap has a tendency to snap off — sometimes because the razor fell to the floor, but more often the end result of over-tightening the head slightly, day after day, thus weakening the zinc alloy, which is short on tensile strength.

Overall, the MJ-90A has all the benefits of the Edwin Jagger head design while eliminating the flaws in construction. So, like the EJ, the razor today gave a very comfortable and very efficient shave, leaving my face undamaged and perfectly smooth.

A splash of Avo Nice Shave with a couple of squirts of Grooming Dept Hydrating Gel to up its SQ (skincare quotient), and the day begins.

Written by Leisureguy

29 July 2021 at 9:16 am

Posted in Shaving

Another artisan-only fragrance: Dark Chocolate

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With some fragrances I particularly notice the difference between the initial hit, when the fragrance is freshly applied, and the way it smells after the drydown. This is one of those fragrances: definitely dark chocolate from the lather and fresh out of bottle of aftershave, but later, after the aftershave has dried and settled in, it’s a different (and still very pleasant) fragrance altogether: warmer and darker. The same is true of (for example) Planet Java Hive: coffee and honey to start with, but transforms later into another fragrance.

This Rooney Victorian has a particularly nice knot, which I like a lot, though it feels nothing like the Omega Pro 48’s boar knot, which I also like a lot. I suppose it’s analogous to how raspberries (which I like a lot) taste nothing like collard greens (which I also like a lot): each has its virtues.

With a very nice lather working in tandem with Moisturizing Pre-Shave on the stubble, I set to work with my Dorco PL602, and since I shaved just yesterday with the RazorRock Baby Smooth, I had an opportunity for a direct comparison — and I have to say that, in terms of feel and performance, the PL602 edges ahead of the Baby Smooth.

Of course, in other ways, the Baby Smooth is superior — in aesthetics, for example, and also in lifespan. The PL602 is made of molded plastic which, over time, becomes somewhat brittle and breaks when (for example) you are changing the blade, whereas the Baby Smooth is made of aircraft-grade aluminum alloy or even stainless steel. But while the PL602 lasts…. man! what a great razor!

The PL60 was at one time available for $1.50 a copy, and I wish I had bought a dozen ($18, though a display rack of a dozen sold on ebay for $15). But those days are gone and they’re now hard to find and cost more — but they are still out there, and you really should give it a try (and not only give a try, but let me know what you think of it).

A splash of Dark Chocolate aftershave, balmified a bit with Hydrating Gel, and I’m ready for the day.

Written by Leisureguy

28 July 2021 at 8:49 am

Posted in Shaving

La Toja and Baby Smooth

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With a shave stick, I return to MR GLO for the pre-shave, and the lather this morning was very nice. I do like this Copper Hat shaving brush. RazorRock’s Baby Smooth is a terrific razor: always kind and comfortable for all its fierce efficiency. Three passes left my face smooth and undamaged, and a splash of La Toja aftershave with a squirt of Grooming Dept Hydrating Gel added left my face feeling wonderful and my outlook improved.

Written by Leisureguy

27 July 2021 at 8:26 am

Posted in Shaving

The freedom indie artisans enjoy

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I recently read again the article “Led by the Nose” in Craftsmanship magazine. The article tells of the burgeoning of indie perfume makers, thanks in part to the internet, which provides a platform and communications channel that allows them to reach consumers without going through gatekeepers like department store fragrance departments.

Commercial perfume houses must think in terms of mass markets, and as a result they cannot afford to produce niche products. The article came to mind because this morning I am using a shaving soap that no mass market soap producer could produce: Catie’s Bubbles Waterlyptuis projectss, a watermelon + eucalyptus fragrance that is very appealing — but probably lacking in mass market appeal. Catie’s Bubbles can do this because, as an indie artisan, he can choose his projects without corporate (accountants, lawyers, sales force, et al.) having a thumb in the pie.

Here’s a passage from the article:

“The creativity of these makers is off the hook,” Kohl says. “Sometimes, because they aren’t classically trained, they are willing to take more risks.” We start spraying perfumes on our arms and wrists, evaluating scents as Kohl details each maker’s biography, choice of materials, and process of extraction.

Overhearing us, one customer described the smell of commercial fragrance as “blurry,” or “smeared.” Indie compositions, however, allowed her to differentiate individual scent notes that combine in surprisingly unique ways.

I had to agree, especially when Kohl had me sample a perfume called “Bat,” one of several animal-themed scents produced by a Toronto-based company, Zoologist. With my first breath, “Bat” smelled fruity, yet richer, cleaner, and more distinct than those candied, commercial florals we’d sampled downtown. Other notes emerged as I patiently savored the fragrance, letting it work with my skin. The sweet, almost banana-like smell resolved into cool limestone, like being in a cave. Stunned, I closed my eyes. There was a spatial 3D effect, an olfaction-induced sense of place.

My sensations were due, in part, to Zoologist’s owner, Victor Wong, choosing not to hire a classically French-trained “nose” to create the scent formula, but instead hiring Dr. Ellen Covey, a neuroscientist turned perfume artist. Covey’s scientific background includes the study of bat sounds (called “echolocation”), which included visits to numerous bat caves while she was writing her PhD dissertation. “The sweet note is inspired by the rotten fruit and other bat droppings,” explained Kohl. “The leathery smell that emerges during dry-down is based on their wings.”

My sense of surprise and delight continued as we sampled fragrances based on printer’s ink, burnt matches, driftwood, and salt water, even Stanley Kubrick’s horror film, “The Shining.” (That perfume, by Bruno Fazzolari, was “Room 237,” the scene of some of the film’s scariest moments, and it stinks of moldy hotel hallways and vinyl shower curtains. My friend, a film editor, would love it.) Needless to say, it’s hard to imagine a commercial perfumer who would approve such whimsical choices or hire “noses” whose skills were developed in a bat cave, or anywhere else outside of France’s rigorous perfume schools.

As I look at the world of artisan shaving soaps, I see the same rich variety of fragrances and formulas, some of which simply will never be found in the soaps of (say) Trumper, TOBs, and Truefitt & Hill. Look at the soaps from (say) Southern Witchcraft, Phoenix Artisan, Tallow + Steel, and Grooming Dept. Wonderful soaps and interesting fragrances.

I started the shave, as always of late, with Grooming Dept Moisturizing Pre-Shave, and this morning I used the new formulation — a viscous liquid rather than a soft, waxy solid. I’ll use that for a couple of weeks and report back.

The lather I got from Waterlyptus was excellent, thanks in part to the Omega 20102 boar brush. This is a very nice brush indeed, though I do think the Omega Pro 48 has a somewhat better feel due to its greater loft.

Again as I applied my iKon stainless slant (here with the head boasting a DLC coating), I noticed that pleasant crisp cackling of stubble being cut. I wonder why we don’t have any razors whose design specifically aids such sound, with the head design incorporation some sort of mini-soundbox — probably because it’s harder to do than to describe.

Three passes to a perfect result, and then a splash of Diplomat augmented with a couple of squirts of Grooming Dept Hydrating Gel, this being one of the plain aftershaves (albeit one with an excellent fragrance and a good brisk feel on the face).

In the Sharpologist today I have an article on using Hydrating Gel to take an aftershave splash to the next level. I hope Grooming Dept is ready for the surge in orders. 🙂

Written by Leisureguy

26 July 2021 at 10:08 am

Posted in Shaving

Aphrodite, Mr Pomp, and Yaqi

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I’m finishing my week of desert-island brushes with Mr Pomp, a brush I ordered from England from a brushmaker who shortly afterward discontinued his operation. Too bad — it’s a very nice brush, with a handle in the shape known as “Polo.” The dramatic striping is what catches the eye, but the handle is quite comfortable and it has a good knot.

Aphrodite is a Van Yulay soap, this one with a chocolate and rose fragrance. I like Van Yulay soaps because of the variety of formulas used, all of which boast interesting ingredients. From the link:

Shaving Soap Contents:

  • Argan Oil – when used in shave soap, Argan oil’s nutrient-rich composition—including vitamin E and an omega-6 fatty acid called linoleic acid that has anti-inflammatory properties—makes it healthy for the skin.
  • Silk Amino Acids – This silk forms a natural layer over the skin, keeping moisture locked in and harsh conditions out, leaving skin protected and well-nourished.
  • Abyssinian Oil – Provides layers of moisture and is well known as quality oil. Its unique properties help to form an effective barrier against your skin drying out, adding luster to dull and lifeless skin.
  • Coconut Fatty Acid – excellent lathering and conditioning when used in shave soap.
  • Bentonite Clay – Gives an extra creaminess and silkiness to the shave soap. Generally, white clay’s natural absorbing, detoxifying and exfoliating properties makes it an indispensable ingredient in shaving products.
  • Silk Amino Acid is a unique silk peptide and one of the best at reducing fine lines and other signs of aging. Aside from the amazing texture of silk extracts, silk amino acids contain properties which allow it to rejuvenate skin tone, reduce wrinkles and hydrate your skin tissues to protect from free radicals.

Shaving Soap Ingredients:
Made with Stearic Acid, Aloe Vera, Coconut Fatty Acid, Castor, Glycerin, Potassium & Sodium Hydroxide ,Coconut-Babassu-Argan-Abyssinian-Oils, Cocoa Butter, Calendula, Extracts, Ground Rose Petals, Hersery’s Cocoa, Poly Quats, Sodium Lactate, Allantoin, Silica, Amino Liquid Silk, Rose Clay, Essential Oils and Fragrance.

Mr Pomp again delivered an excellent lather, and this Yaqui double-open-comb is a wonderful razor, quite comfortable while being extremely efficient. With three passes, I had a perfectly smooth and undamaged face.

I did not use Grooming Dept Hydrating Gel with this aftershave, since the Van Yulay splash does provide good treatment for the skin. Unlike the soaps, the splashes all use the same basic formula, and vary only by fragrance. The splash ingredients:

Aloe Vera, Witch Hazel, Abyssinian Seed-Emu-Red Castor-Evening Primrose-Rosehip Seed-Oils, Comfrey, Calendula, Tepezcohuite, Oat, Marsh Mallow, Green Tea Extracts, Liquid Silk, and Fragrance

And the splash did the job: my skin feels smooth, soft, and supple, and the fragrance is very nice indeed.

The weekend is well launched and underway.

 

Written by Leisureguy

24 July 2021 at 8:39 am

Posted in Shaving

Wholly Kaw’s La Supérieure Dulci Tobacco shaving cream with Southern Witchcraft Valley of Ashes aftershave

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Quite a mix of languages: “la supérieure” is French, “dulci” is Italian, and “tobacco” is English. (“Tobacco” in Italian is “tabacco.”) I think “Dulci Tabacco” would have been better than switching languages mid-phrase.

But what’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, and you could call this shaving cream anything you want and it would still make an excellent lather and smell very nice indeed. I’m going to have to use this more often — I really liked lather and fragrance, and for me it’s a novelty to again have a soft shaving cream.

The brush is a Maggard Razors 22mm synthetic, and with it I continue my week of desert-island brushes. I like it a lot: handle, knot, performance, and price ($10).

The razor handle that carries the Edwin Jagger head today probably looks familiar: it’s the same handle you saw in yesterday’s shave, when it supported the iKon OG-1 head. That head has been retired (with prejudice) and the handle is finding a new role.

And the shave was truly excellent: extremely smooth result, and thanks to both Grooming Dept Moisturizing Pre-Shave and Wholly Kaw’s superior shaving cream, my skin feels astonishingly good.

The aftershave I used, Southern Witchcraft’s Valley of Ashes, no doubt contributed to the fine skin feel as well. I didn’t use Grooming Dept Hydrating Lotion today because the splash does very well on its own. Its ingredients:

Water, stearic acid, shea butter, castor oil, potassium hydroxide, glycerine, coconut oil, sodium lactate, sodium hydroxide, jojoba oil, aloe powder, liquid aloe, isopropyl myristate, kaolin clay, fragrance

The scent notes of this aftershave:

Coal, Tar, Bourbon, Tobacco, Bitter Citrus, Smoke, Leather, Motor Oil, Burning Rubber, Diesel, Clove, Birch Tar, Bergamot

The combination reminds me strongly of Midnight Stag, by Chiseled Face:

What a great shave with which to end the week!

Written by Leisureguy

23 July 2021 at 10:06 am

Posted in Shaving

Setting aside the iKon OG-1: Too fierce for me

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Even though I compensated for Martin de Candre’s drying effect by using Grooming Dept Hydrating Gel in the lather, it was a pleasure to return this morning to a shaving soap that takes care of one’s skin all on its own — in this case, Declaration Grooming’s Milksteak formula, specifically Cuir et Épices. The Green Ray brush made a magnificent lather, and I then very carefully set to work with my iKon OG-1. For all my care, I still got a fearsome nick on my chin — a cut, really — and decided that since I had many comfortable razors (and by “comfort,” I mean “feels good on the face,” which includes “non-threatening” and “not inclined to nick”), there was no reason to continue with the OG-1, so now it has been relegated to my basket of spare parts. I might use the handle for something, for example.

I’ll note that some of my most comfortable (and efficient) razors are from iKon — the 101, the 102, the X3, the stainless open comb and stainless slant — but this one does not belong in that pantheon. Above all, a shave should be enjoyable, something you look forward to, and I’ve noticed that the prospect of shaving with the OG-1 does not carry those feelings.

A splash of Booster Oriental Spice, and the shave was done. Not my best shave, but it certainly had memorable moments.

Written by Leisureguy

22 July 2021 at 9:26 am

Posted in Shaving

Test shave: A drying soap + Grooming Dept Hydrating Gel

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Grooming Dept suggested one way of using their Hydrating Gel is to add a couple of squirts to the loaded brush before working up the lather, thus mixing into the lather the skin-friendly gel. I tried that with a very good soap and could not detect any improvement because the soap was already so rich with skin-conditioning and skin-nourishing ingredients that any additional benefit from Hydrating Gel was not noticeable. But it occurred to me that with a more marginal shaving soap — and in particular with a soap that leaves my skin feeling dry — Hydrating Gel might well be a boon.

MdC Orginal Shaving Soap

Martin de Candre makes a wonderfully luxurious lather, but it leaves my skin feeling dry. I don’t know what ingredient might be the cause, but I counter by using an aftershave balm or milk rather than a splash (or, now that I know about it, I use an aftershave splash with a squirt or two of Hydrating Gel mixed in), but I thought it would be interesting to try adding Hydrating Gel to the brush and see what that would do — thus today’s shave.

To isolate the effects, I skipped my usual pre-shave application of Grooming Dept Moisturizing Pre-Shave, since that does make a noticeable difference in how soft and supple my skin feels after the shave, and I also decided to skip any aftershave. I originally thought just a plain splash would not alter the results — I was going to use Alpa 378 — but then I decided that an unadorned use of shaving soap and hydrating gel would give the best finding. So what you see in the photo is the entirety of the shave.

I splashed some water on my stubble, held the knot of my Rooney Finest under the hot-water tap, and gave it a couple of shakes and then loaded it from the tub of Martin de Candre shaving soap. I had to add a driblet of water to complete the loading, and then I pushed open the knot a little and added two good squirts of Hydrating Gel before I started building the lather on my face.

The lather seemed fine — MdC has always made good lather, so I didn’t notice much change in that. (I also have the benefit of very soft tap water, which helps a lot with soaps.) This week I’ve been running through a sequence of slant razors, and this morning’s is the RazoRock German 37, whose head is a clone of the Merkur 37 but which has a three-piece design — IMO a superior design since it allows the user to swap handles if he wants.

Three passes left my face perfectly smooth, and then a splash of cold water served as an aftershave.

It’s now been about half an hour after the shave, and I do detect a difference. My skin is noticeably less dry than what I normally experience when using this soap, and I’m sure it would be even better if the shave including Grooming Dept Moisturizing Pre-Shave and ended with an aftershave splash with a squirt of Hydrating Gel mixed in, or with an aftershave balm or milk.

Bottom line: If you’re using a shaving soap that leaves your skin feeling a little dry, trying adding some Hydrating Gel to the brush after you’ve loaded it with soap — and I suggest also using Hydrating Gel with the aftershave splash.

Written by Leisureguy

21 July 2021 at 9:29 am

Posted in Shaving

Ariana & Evans — another ultra-premium soap — and a thought on boar brushes

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After a shave, I rinse out my shaving brush (with hot water until the water runs clear when I squeeze the knot, and then with cold water), shake it well, and place it on the shelf in front of the mirror to dry before I return it to the rack (rather crowded these days). So when I went to the sink to shave this morning, I saw yesterday’s Omega Pro 48 (10048), ready to be put away, and that made me think again of how good that knot feels on my face, and I had a sudden insight. It’s the combination of good resilience (from boar bristles) combined with generous loft (which provides leverage so that, even though the bristles are resilient, they bend readily under light pressure). I realized that there is no way that a badger brush could have such a loft: the bristles, when wet, would possibly fall right over and in any case would exhibit no resilience — it would truly be a “floppy” brush.

Of course, badger brushes are not made with such a generous loft for exactly that reason, and that means that boar brushes bring to the party something badger brushes cannot offer: strong resilience and great loft, which results in a special feel on the face that I like a lot — and perhaps you would as well. (Usual caveats apply: If you get a new boar brush, for a week just load it and lather in your palm and don’t attempt to use it, because new boar bristles kill lather. After a week, the lathercidal substance is washed away, and the brush can be used, although it will continue to improve over several weeks of regular use.) I do recommend Omega boar brushes, and specifically the Pro 48 or 20102, although some say the Pro 49 isn’t bad. Overall, I would give the Pro 48 top billing. Some like Semogue, but the length of the break-in period those brushes require far exceeds my patience.

So much for my afterthoughts on yesterday’s shave. Turning now to this morning’s shave, I will say again that Ariana & Evans makes an ultra-premium soap in the same league as Declaration Grooming’s Milksteak formula, Phoenix Artisan’s CK-6 formula, and Grooming Dept’s three formulae. The lather, so easily aroused (this morning with my Plisson European Grey), is thick, slick, and nourishing — and highly effective on the stubble.

Three passes with the Above the Tie S1, which has a minimal slant — the sort of slant a maker would put in a razor if he didn’t believe the slant did anything but just wanted to tap into the market for slants. I would like the razor better if it slanted more, but it did do a good job, much like their R1.

Again I balmified the aftershave splash by adding a couple of squirts of Grooming Dept Hydrating Gel to the small puddle of Tabac in my palm. I really like the effect of that.

Written by Leisureguy

20 July 2021 at 9:22 am

Posted in Shaving

Favorite brush week — and more praise for Grooming Dept Hydrating Gel

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This week I picked out some of my favorite brushes — desert-island brushes, if you will — I begin with one of the best: the Omega Pro 48 (10048). This morning I tried to put my finger on what makes the brush so pleasing, and I suppose one thing is the price — around US$17 — but that’s almost irrelevant. What raises this brush to the status of a favorite is in part the feel on the face, a special sort of pressure — firmness combined with flexibility from the combination of the length of the loft and the resilience of the (long) bristles — and in part its affinity for lather: the brush easily loaded, the lather easily produced, and the lather capacity of the generously sized knot.

Of course, being boar, the knot must be soaked before use: wet it well under the hot-water tap, stand the brush on its base, and then after your shower the brush is ready for work. Mystic Water Cuppa Joe is, of course, a coffee-fragranced soap, and a very fine soap it is — a tallow-based formula — and the fragrance determined the aftershave I picked.

This morning I used my vintage French Eros slant, which (like love) is a delight but (also like love) can be prickly and injurious — but having prepped with Grooming Dept Moisturizing Pre-Shave, I had no qualms. (Too bad there’s no similar potion to protect one against the dangers of love.) I also was conscious of angle and definitely watched the pressure I used, gliding lightly through the stubble.

Three passes — with, across, against — left my face smooth, and once again I balmified the splash of Spring-Heeled Jack by adding two small squirts of Hydrating Gel. This makes the aftershave better for my skin, no doubt — ameliorating the antagonistic effects of alcohol — but more important to me is that it makes the aftershave more enjoyable and the aftereffect, once drydown is done, even better. Some balms have an oily feel (because they contain oil, so the feel is natural), but the feel of a splash + hydrating gel is quite difference — it’s light, and it dries quickly. And Spring-Heeled Jack’s java fragrance is wonderful after the drydown, and long-lasting as well.

Altogether a great start to the week.

Written by Leisureguy

19 July 2021 at 10:04 am

Posted in Shaving

Mumtaz and the iKon Tech

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Mumtaz is scented with a spicy, musky, oriental aroma. Citrus notes of bergamot, lemon, mandarin, and orange blend with floral notes of jasmine and rose. Incense, vanilla, opoponax, civet, tonka bean, cedarwood, Iris continue the complex olfactory delight. Then a base of patchouli, vetiver, leather, musk, and sandalwood round out the fragrance.

West Coast Shaving

The lather was fragrant and luxurious. Mumtaz is made from Grooming Dept Kairos formula, which one might — with great understatement — called a “tallow-based” soap, but such extreme understatement is misleadiing. Read over the list of ingredients:

Water, Stearic Acid, Beef Tallow, Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate, Kokum Butter, Castor Oil, Tucuma Butter, Avocado Oil, Glycerin, Coconut Milk, Goat Milk, Cupuaçu Butter, Shea Butter, Safflower Oil, Collagen Peptides, Whey Protein, Betaine, Fragrance, Lauryl Laurate, Jojoba Oil, Lanolin, Colloidal Oatmeal, Rice Bran Wax, Meadowfoam Oil, Linoleic Acid, Ethylhexyl Olivate, Hydrogenated Olive Oil, Isostearic Acid, Allantoin, Sodium Lactate, Caprylyl Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Sodium Gluconate, Tetrasodium Glutamate Diacetate, Tocopherols, Silk Peptides.

The iKon Shavecraft Tech has been a touchy razor for me in the past — I would rate it as very efficient and somewhat uncomfortable — but two things have tamed it totally. First, using Grooming Dept Moisturizing Pre-Shave, which increases glide and (I think) protection; and second, really focusing on riding the cap, to the extent that a couple of times the razor just slid over my face for a stroke with the blade disengaged. Repeating the stroke with the handle slightly closer to my face fixed that, and by keeping the guard away from my skin, the comfort was considerably improved with no loss of efficiency.

The net result was a comfortable (if somewhat self-conscious) shave that easily left my face totally smooth. Rinse — liking the lotion feeling of the residue on my face as I rinsed — dry, and apply a splash of Fine’s Fresh Vetiver with a couple of squirts of Grooming Dept Hydrating Gel added, and the weekend is launched in fine style.

Written by Leisureguy

17 July 2021 at 9:18 am

Posted in Shaving

Grooming Dept Lemon Bay and Hydrating Gel — and an aftershave enhancement

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I started the shave this morning with Grooming Dept Bergamot & Ginger Moisturizing Pre-Shave. Yesterday I noted the viscosity of the new formula — unlike the warm-wax consistency of the old formula, the new formula has a cold-molasses consistency: it will flow, but slowly, and it’s easy to scoop up a small drop with a fingertip and apply it to my wet stubble, massaging it in well for a minute before wetting my fingers and thinning it a bit.

The catalog listing of Grooming Dept Lemon Bay shaving soap on West Coast Shaving identifies it as their donkey-base formula, which includes donkey milk, duck fat, and lamb tallow, with the donkey milk sourced from from Wagen Trails Ranch in Austin, Minnesota. The full list of ingredients in the soap:

Aloe Vera Juice, Stearic Acid, Donkey Milk, Potassium Hydroxide, Duck Fat, Lamb Tallow, Castor Oil, Glycerin, Kokum Butter, Shea Butter, Cupuaçu Butter, Sucrose Cocoate, Fragrance, Safflower Oil, Jojoba Oil, Coconut Oil, Sodium Hydroxide, Acacia Senegal Gum, Kaolin Clay, Avocado Oil, Mango Butter, Grapeseed Oil, Sodium Hydroxide, Sodium Lactate, Sodium Citrate, Xanthan Gum, Carnauba Wax, Allantoin, Chamomile Extract, Sea Buckthorn Extract. Flaxseed Oil, Sacha Inchi Extract, Silk Amino Acids, and Tocopheryl Acetate.

The scent notes identified by WCS are “Lemon, Bay Rum, Spices, and Cedarwood.” This morning I definitely caught a whiff of the cedarwood.

Grooming Dept Hydrating Gel

Last night I used a little of Grooming Dept Hydrating Gel on my face — dampen face, apply a couple of squirts of the gel (and it is in a gel, fairly thick) to my face and massage it in and then let it air dry — and it was pleasant and seemed effective, but that’s not really my regular routine.

This morning I tried adding a couple of squirts to the loaded brush. The lather may have been improved, but given the shaving soap I was using, the improvement as marginal — the phrase “gilding the lily” came to mind. OTOH, with a marginal soap or a drying soap (I’m looking at you, Martin de Candre), the effect might be much more noticeable and significantly  improve lather quality, bu with Grooming Dept’s donkey-base soap, adding the Hydrating Gel was like giving a millionaire a hundred-dollar gift certificate: nice but negligible in view of what they already have.

Three passes with my Feather AS-D1 left my face perfectly smooth, and again on the final rinse my skin felt as though it was luxuriating under a layer of high-class skiin lotion.

The shave and an aftershave enhancement

I like Thayers Witch Hazel with Aloe Vera, and this Lemon version is an “astringent,” which (for Thayers) means that it is 10% alcohol (their “toners” being alcohol-free). The slight amount of alcohol makes it better as an aftershave (IMO), and I also added a couple of squirts of Hydrating Gel — again, a suggestion from Grooming Dept — to the splash in my palm before applying to my face. A “squirt” from the bottle I have is only a small amount. This did not affect fragrance (Hydrating Gel has no scent), but it did convert the splash into a very pleasant and efficacious balm.

In fact, I think that is how I’ll use Hydrating Gel: a squirt into my palm with any splash, making the splash a balm. For those who use an alcohol-based splash, this use of Hydrating Gel is probably a very good idea.

Ingredients analysis

I’m always interested in the ingredients of the products in my shaving soaps and aftershaves — and, for that matter, in my foods, though with a whole-food diet the “ingredient” is often just a whole plant-based food — chia seed, for example, in a pudding I’m making. Of course, whole plant-based foods do have “ingredients” in the sense of the nutrients found in the food, and those “ingredients” are also of considerable interest to me. The chia seed I used has as “ingredients” in a 1-ounce (28g) serving:

• Fiber: 11 grams.
• Protein: 4 grams.
• Fat: 9 grams (5 of which are omega-3s).
• Calcium: 18% of the RDI.
• Manganese: 30% of the RDI.
• Magnesium: 30% of the RDI.
• Phosphorus: 27% of the RDI.
Also a decent amount of zinc, vitamin B3 (niacin), potassium, vitamin B1 (thiamine), and vitamin B2.

When I told The Wife about my Grooming Dept Hydrating Gel, she was interested because (like most women) she is attuned to skincare (and nowadays many men also consider care for their skin to be important). As an aside, Grooming Dept is working on a line of products for women. As noted in a comment, “The brand will be called Mirus Beauty. Many of the products will be priced about 1/3rd of what they cost from other women’s cosmetic brands.”

The Wife immediately copied the list of Hydrating Gel’s ingredients into CosDNA’s “Analyze Cosmetics” box. The ingredients —  Water, Sodium PCA, Hyaluronic Acid, N-Acetyl Glucosamine, Saccharide Isomerate, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin — produced this analysis:

The ingredient names in blue are links that provide more information about that ingredient, though often very little more.

“Safety” is on a scale of 1 (totally safe) to 10 (very hazardous), so this product is quite safe. CosDNA notes:

About Comedogenic (Acne), Irritation and Safety

Comedogenic: <– The lower the probability 0~5 The higher the probability –>

Irritation: <– The lower the probability 0~5 The higher the probability –>

Safety index from 1~10 , the lower number means this ingredient is low hazard. Unlike comedogenic and irritation, Safety is a comprehensive index focus on safety on long term usage, according to harmful report from CIR, RTECS, FDA and other related information. The purpose of the index is more inclined to assess whether long-term injury of skin, cells or the human body.

Our data source include international experts, institutions and publications. If any the three column is blank, this meas there is no data (not indicate the ingredient is safe or unsafe).

We want to remind our user, the effect of cosmetics depends on concentration, quality, process, and mutual influence of ingredients. The skin condition of each person is different (even constantly changing); to pay attention and understand the ingredients is a right attitude, but you still need professional physicians to diagnose skin problems.

You can, of course, use the site to analyze ingredients in your shaving soaps and aftershaves. Here’s the analysis of Grooming Dept Hydrating Gel. (Since I did the analysis, I went ahead and saved it on their website, something they encourage.)

Written by Leisureguy

16 July 2021 at 9:50 am

Posted in Shaving

Grooming Dept Chypre Peach and the new Moisturizing Pre-Shave formula

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I ordered two more tubs of Moisturizing Pre-Shave from Grooming Dept — I don’t want to take a chance on running out — and he included a complimentary Hydrating Gel for my review. I’ll try that tonight as part of my bedtime routine since I don’t quite know how to fit it into the shave sequence.

At the link you can see that the pre-shave is now available in a variety of fragrances: Unscented+Coolant, Bergamot & Ginger, Rainforest, Spa, Citrus, Mojito, and Unscented. Fragrance descriptions are not yet posted, so I don’t know what Spa, for example, smells like.

I used Rainforest this morning. I immediately caught a whiff of vetiver, but there was a lot more going on. Although Grooming Dept’s catalog entry doesn’t describe the fragrance, West Coast Shaving has a description of the fragrance of Grooming Dept Regenwald shaving soap:

The scent is the aroma of tropical rainforest (Regenwald is “rainforest” in German). It boasts notes of tropical fruits, fig, green notes, resins, myrrh, vetiver, musk, ccedarwood, sandalwood, and tonka bean — and just a hint of soil. Earthy, green, good!

When I opened the tub to see and smell the pre-shave, it looked as though it were a liquid, unlike the soft wax of the formulation I already had, but appearances (as you know) can be deceptive. It is technically a liquid, but its viscosity makes it more like a soft solid — like (say) tar that has been warmed. It is less solid than the previous formulation, which holds small divots from where you scooped out a bit. The new formulation will slowly flow to fill divots.

The softness makes it easy to scoop up a small amount with your fingertip, and its viscosity keeps it in place until you apply it to your wet stubble. It rubs on easily and seems as effective as the earlier soft-wax version. I admit that right now I prefer the earlier version, but that’s because I’m used to it. I imagine that with a few days’ use, I’ll find my footing with the new version, and with familiarity will come comfort. (Change is always a little unsettling.)

With stubble now prepped, I moved to lather. I do like this Rooney Super Badger Style 3 Size 1 brush, and the lather it evoked from Grooming Dept Chypre Peach was wonderful. Yesterday’s soap was Grooming Dept Nai formula, a vegan soap, and today’s soap is his Kairos formula:

Water, Stearic Acid, Beef Tallow, Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate, Kokum Butter, Castor Oil, Tucuma Butter, Avocado Oil, Glycerin, Coconut Milk, Goat Milk, Cupuacu Butter, Shea Butter, Safflower Oil, Collagen Peptides, Whey Protein, Betaine, Fragrance, Lauryl Laurate, Jojoba Oil, Lanolin, Colloidal Oatmeal, Rice Bran Wax, Meadowfoam Oil, Linoleic Acid, Ethylhexyl Olivate, Hydrogenated Olive Oil, Isostearic Acid, Allantoin, Sodium Lactate, Caprylyl Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Sodium Gluconate, Tetrasodium Glutamate Diacetate, Tocopherols, Silk Peptides.

West Coast Shaving describes the fragrance as “a classic chypre with citrus top notes, middle of labdanum, and a base of oakmoss, but it departs from the traditional with a note of sweet peach.”

Three passes with my Above the Tie R (now called R1, but mine is from before the open-comb R2 was offered) left my face perfectly smooth. When I did the final rinse, I noticed the same thing as yesterday: my face felt as though I had applied a good skin lotion. That’s probably due to the combination of Grooming Dept pre-shave and Grooming Dept shaving soap.

A splash of Floris JF aftershave finished the shave in fine style. Floris notes:

Softly scented, JF begins with an invigorating burst of bergamot, lemon, lime, and mandarin in combination with an intensely aromatic blend with armoise, coriander, and clary sage. Juniper berry, cypress, and petitgrain at the heart give the fragrance its unmistakeable masculine character which is underscored by amber, cedarwood, and a musky base.

“JF” gets its name from the founder, Juan Famenias Floris.

Written by Leisureguy

15 July 2021 at 9:43 am

Posted in Shaving

Cedar this morning

with 2 comments

For quite a while I favored the Omega 20102, shown above, over the Omega 10048 (Pro 48), but I am swinging back toward the Pro 48. The 20102 is certainly a good brush, but the slightly greater loft of the 10048 provides for me a slightly better feel. So the Pro 48 goes on my desert island list, but not the 20102. I think for next week’s shaves I’ll pick six brushes that definitely make the desert island list. Stay tuned: you know one now, learn the rest next week.

The lather was excellent, and the 20102 has excellent capacity. Grooming Dept Cedarwood’s lather is abundant and feels like it’s doing good things to my skin — I noticed particularly in the final rinse and that it felt as though a skin lotion was on my face. This soap is made with his Nai formula, a vegan shaving soap. The list of ingredients explains the lotion-like feel:

Aloe Vera Juice, Stearic Acid, Potassium Hydroxide, Coconut Milk, Castor Oil, Cupuacu Butter, Mango Butter, Camelina Oil, Marshmallow Extract, Glycerine, Rice Bran Wax, Beta Sitosterol, Sunflower Lecithin, Jojoba Oil, Apricot Kernel Oil Oil, Kuki nut Oil, Larch Arabinogalactan, Tara Gum, Erythritol, Glucomannan (Konjac root), Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate, Propanediol, Sodium Lactate, Sodium Hydroxide, Squalane, Lauryl Laurate, Olive Oil Unsaponifiables, Betaine, Isostearic Acid, Sasha Inchi Oil, Meadofoam Oil, Allantoin, Argan Oil, Tucuma Butter, Ucuuba Butter, Sodium Lauroyl Oat Amino Acids, Oleic Acid, Linoleic Acid, Fragrance, Colloidal Oatmeal, Sucrose Cocoate, Sodium Gluconate, Calendula Extract, Ceramide 3, C12-15 alkyl benzoate, Liquorice Root Extract, Beta Glucan, Broccoli Seed Oil, Tamanu Oil, Hyaluronic Acid, Grape Seed Extract, Chamomile Extract, Sea Kelp Extract, Green Tea Extract, Alpha Bisabolol, Inositol, Histidine, Lysine, Arginine, Sodium PCA, Sodium Alginate, Aspen Bark Extract, Ginkgo Biloba Leaf extract, Phospholipids, Resveratrol, Caprylyl Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Lonicera Caprifolium (Honeysuckle) flower extract and Lonicera Japonica (Honeysuckle) flower extract, Tetrasodium Glutamate Diacetate, Tocopherols.

One interesting thing is that the soap description includes a separate list of the fragrance ingredients:

Scent Ingredients: Orange EO, Grapefruit EO, Ginger Lily EO, Ginger EO, Pink Pepper EO, Geranium Absolute, Rose Absolute, Howood EO, Siam Wood EO, Benzoin Resin, Carrot Seed EO, Alaska Cedarwood EO, Hiba (Japanese Cedarwood) EO, Port Orford Cedarwood EO, Styrax, Muhuhu EO, Himalayan Cedarwood EO, Virginia Cedarwood EO. Texas Hill Country Cedarwood EO, Atlas Cedarwood Absolute. Vetiver Absolute, Patchouli EO, Vanilla Co2 extract, Tonka Bean Absolute.

Maggard Razors V2OC is remarkable similar to the Parker 24/26, and it is an excellent razor head, comfortable and efficient. It’s mounted here on a Maggard Razors handle, and it did an excellent job: perfectly smooth finish with no hint of a threat to nick.

A good splash of Anthony Gold’s Red Cedar aftershave, and the middle of the week is here already.

Written by Leisureguy

14 July 2021 at 9:09 am

Posted in Shaving

The Emperor meets Organism 46-B

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I have the kokum-butter formulation of Organism 46-B, which is excellent (though the CK-6 version is noticeably better). I enjoy the fragrance of this soap (“Scent Notes: burnt sugar – bitter orange – brandy – Hedione – tobacco absolute – benzoin resin – ambergris”), and my Simpson Emperor 3 Super quickly had a fine lather from it. Three passes with the wonderful RazoRock Baby Smooth left my face as stated in the name. A splash of Organism 46-B aftershave, and the day begins on a bright note.

Written by Leisureguy

13 July 2021 at 8:38 am

Posted in Shaving

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