Archive for the ‘Shaving’ Category
A thread that traces through some thoughts on mindful awareness and how to extend it. Though that’s of course pretty much the topic of Mihály Csíkszentmihályi’s Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience and a subsequent book, Finding Flow.
My last comment in the thread:
That’s a very interesting observation [that he derives a lot of enjoyment from the prep], and it points out another similarity between shaving and the tea ceremony. You may recall that in the ceremony, the preparation is part of the ceremony, and is done with the same focused and thoughtful awareness you get when shaving. For example, the sawing of the charcoal for the fire: a very fine-toothed saw, the natural charcoal cut into good lengths and so they look good. Every thing just so, every step executed in a mindful manner. And that’s the prep!
Interesting how one can extend the domain of mindfulness: first of the activity, then of the preparation for the activity, then also for designing, placing, and building the teahouse, and why not to life itself? Daily life, done with the same thoughtful, focused, aware mindfulness of a good shave? Would be an interesting day, eh?
So: lathering = cutting and arranging the charcoal. Sort of.
UPDATE: The Leisureguy Challenge: See how long you can sustain each day the mindset achieved during a good shave: mindful, calm, focused, aware. At first you probably can go only minutes, but then, with practice, an hour, then perhaps an entire morning, and so on. The more you practice, the better you can get. And it’s nice that the only person aware of how you’re progressing is you.
Edit: It occurs to me that this is more or less the topic of two books by Mihály Csíkszentmihályi: Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience and Finding Flow.
This Simpson brush is from years before Vulfix purchased Simpson, and it’s an excellent brush. (I get the impression that perhaps quality is not so high as it once was). Sorry about clipping off the top of the brush.
The combination of almond and cedar fragrances works extremely well. This shaving paste smells superb and it makes a terrific lather. Ingredients:
Aqua, Stearic Acid, Cocos nucifera oil*, Glycerin*, Potassium Hydroxide, Orbignya Oleifera oil*, Juniperus Mexicana oil, Sodium Hydroxide, Talc, Macadamia terifolia oil, Kaolin, Prunus Amygdalus Amara oil, Red clay, Citric Acid, Maris sal, Simmondsia chinensis oil*. Geraniol. Organic quality
I did notice that I had to add a little water as I loaded the brush, and that seems to be a reliable indication that the soap contains clay. I didn’t know that this soap did until I copied the ingredients to list here, and there it is: Red clay. And I think “Kaolin” is also clay.
Perhaps I seem too intrigued by the presence and effects of clay in shaving soap, but when I used my old loading method (a sopping-wet brush, holding the tub over the sink so excess water could spill away, brushing briskly to load the brush), I never could get a good lather from soaps that used clay. Although the brush had plenty of water at the start—too much, in fact—the water I needed had fallen away before I could use it in the course of loading. With the new method (dampish brush, small amounts of water added during loading as needed), I have never had a problem, whether or not the soap contains clay, and with experience I know now when a little more water is needed—and with soaps that contain clay, it seems inevitably to be needed.
The Apollo Mikron seems to me to be the razor from which the Merkur Progress was derived, and this model is superb. At first I got frequent nicks, but I liked the look of the razor so much that I persisted, and then I simply stopped getting nicks with it, presumably because my adaptive unconscious had learned the best technique for this razor. It certainly wasn’t a conscious change, but the nicks did stop.
A small splash of Montblanc Legend EDT as an aftershave, and the (long) weekend is here.
A monochromatic shave. Brushguy’s European Gray badger brush with its black and white handle, along with the tub of Standard’s Cement shaving soap (made by LASSC), got me started. So I picked the Stealth and Institut Karité aftershave balm to complete the color them.
Cement has a very nice fragrance, but I can’t quite identify it. The ingredients:
Vegetable Stearic Acid, Distilled Water, Organic Coconut Oil, Potassium Hydroxide, Vegetable Glycerin, Argan Oil, Natural Plant Essential Oils and Extracts, Cocoa Butter, Bentonite Clay, Rhassoul Clay, Activated Charcoal
Interesting that it has two types of clay, and the clay content explains why I found it necessary to add water a couple of times as I loaded the brush. I have enough experience now that it’s quite evident to me when a little more water is needed. I’m not sure of the differences (in terms of effect) of Bentonite, Rhassoul, and Kaolin clay, but I do see all three types used in various shaving soaps.
The lather was excellent, and the Stealth is a very smooth shaver. Some have commented that it takes some experience and expertise to maintain the optimal shaving angle, since the “good” range of angles is rather narrow. Those less skilled in maintaining a razor angle may find this razor more difficult than razors that offer a wide range of good shaving angles (i.e., work better for novices, the wide range of angles accommodating a fair amount of slop in the razor angle).
Three passes to a trouble-free BBS, and then a dot of Institut Karité’s excellent balm finished the shave on a pleasant note.
An extremely pleasant shave today. The Omega Pro 48 (10048) is still a fine brush, though I think I now prefer the 20102. Still, I can get a very fine lather using the Pro 48, and I do not find it too large for face lathering.
This morning I loaded it will with a tobacco-fragranced Prairie Creations tallow and lanolin soap, which makes a very fine lather. I believe the company is no longer in business, but I still have the soap.
The razor today is a Frankenrazor: the Standard head on a Wolfman handle. And it did its usual very fine job: BBS in three passes with little effort.
A good splash of another tobacco-fragranced product, Phoenix Artisan Accoutrements Cavendish aftershave, which I like a lot.
The weekend is almost in sight. And in the US, it’s a long weekend.
A very pleasant shave, and the Rooney Victorian is a very nice brush. The Van Yulay soap made an excellent lather but this fragrance did not move me much: pleasant but (for me) ill defined.
Three passes with the Maggard V3A head on their MR11 handle left my face BBS with no problems. Although this head offers a fair amount of blade feel, it is nonetheless quite comfortable.
A good splash of Hâttric and then I scurry around getting the apartment cleaned up and organized for the cleaning ladies.
My autofocus seems to be off a bit. Sorry about that.
I used the Wee Scot on the Van Yulay sample shown and got a very nice lather, with a pleasant morning fragrance.
The H2O is a two-piece razor by iKon. Like the Pils, the H2O attaches the handle to the baseplate with a bearing joint so the handle can turn independently. This is another asymmetric razor, a design iKon favors: comb guard on one side, bar guard on the other. The blade was on its last legs and really should have been changed, but still I got a good shave (but not BBS).
A good splash of Old Spice and the day begins.
A really great shave except for a bad nick on the nose.
It all started well, with a gentle loading of the Rooney Style 2 Finest from JabonMan’s Eufros soap. I added just a little water (about 1/2 tsp) as I loaded, but the brush seemed still dry on my face, so I added some water to the brush and worked it in, and then again. The final result was a very nice lather indeed, in consistency, quantity, and fragrance.
The X3 is a marvel, and three passes did a wonderful job until the very end: on the very final stroke, ATG on my upper lip, I for some reason finished with a flourish which slid the blade’s edge sideways against the bottom of my nose. It was not so much a nick as a slice, but (though it bled plentifully), there was no pain at all—not then and not later.
I just My Nik Is Sealed, but the cut was really too large for that. I wet a corner of the alum block and pressed that tightly against the cut, and that helped significantly. Now, with a bit of tissue stuck under my nose, I am waiting for the immediate problem to resolve.
A good splash of Saint Charles Shave’s Dark Rose, and I am chagrined to make such a mistake. OTOH, the week to come is looking good.