Archive for the ‘Shaving’ Category
Martin de Candre, for all the simplicity of its ingredients, is a truly excellent soap, at least in my experience, easily loaded and making a great lather. This is one of the early Mühle synthetics—an effort to replicate a badger knot—and it does a fine job. It has a somewhat different feel than the Plissoft synthetics, but still matches them for overall excellence in feel and performance.
The Dorco PL-602 continues to hold its own as one of my best razors: comfortable and efficient, easily producing a BBS result as it did today. This really is a razor you should try. A quick search of eBay finds this listing: two razors, $6.85, free shipping. Since this razor is exceptionally comfortable and efficient, it makes an ideal razor for a novice, so buy the two pack and give one razor to a friend who must shave but currently hates the task. Great stocking stuffer.
Hermès Eau d’Orange Verte Moisturizing Skin Emulsion makes a wonderful aftershave balm. Highly recommended for your own use or as a gift.
Altogether, a great way to start the weekend.
The Simpson Duke 3 Best is a fine little brush, and I got a particularly nice and spicy-fragrant lather from Strop Shoppee’s Russian Tea.
An adjustable razor, whether the usual version with a dial that changes the blade gap or one that (like the Rockwell 6S) that has a selection of baseplates with different bladeo gaps, allows for a gradual change in preference. As I’ve noted, I used the Fat Boy at “3” for months, then went to “4” for a few months, and currently have settled on “5.” And with the Rockwell, I’ve mainly used R3 but have been hankering for a bit more, so I went with R4, which will be my regular choice for the next while, until my preferences change again.
With the R4, the shave was easy, close, and comfortable, and the BBS result was no surprise. A good splash of Fine’s L’Orange Noir finished the job and left me poised for the weekend.
My Whipped Dog silvertip is a very nice brush indeed (in absolute terms, not just “for the money”), and it worked up quite a nice lather from Le Père Lucien soap shown.
Three passes with the Above the Tie R1, which works quite well for me (here shown on a UFO handle), and my face was perfectly smooth and unharmed. A splash of Barrister & Mann’s Cologne Russe finished the shave.
Mr Pomp is quite a good brush, and the lather from the asses’s milk shaving soap The Wife brought me from Paris is excellent. I was thinking as I lathered that I wish I had known in high school how to shave properly. If I had, I probably would never have grown a beard.
So it goes. No beard today, by God. Three passes with the iKon 102 left my face perfectly smooth without even the threat of a nick. And a good splash of Chiseled Face Summer Storm was a great finish—petrichor is a fragrance that I think most must find attractive.
I got my Parker Variant, close copy of the Merkur Progress, yesterday, and this morning’s shave gives me a chance to put it through its paces.
The Fine Classic, a favorite brush, worked up an easy lather from Tallow + Steel’s Dark shaving soap, a very fine soap with an intriguing fragrance. I took my time working the lather into the stubble, then picked up the Variant, which has some heft: 111 grams, compared with 99 grams for my Progress (which has a shorter handle—about 12 grams shorter, I would guess).
The shave was excellent and very like a Progress shave. I use the Progress at a setting of 2.5, so that’s how I set the Variant, and it worked like a champ. Three passes, no problems, BBS result. The Variant feels quite solid and well made. This, IMO, is a step up for Parker, and if they can maintain quality control (which in the past has been a serious Parker weakness), this razor will become quite popular.
The cap and baseplate are marked so that you can orient the cap correctly. Having such a mark is the standard way to indicate cap orientation, as shown in the photo below—left to right: iKon 102, Merkur Progress, Parker Variant.
The Progress and Variant are marked only so that the adjustment dial is set to zero when you tighten the razor. If you put the cap on in the opposite orientation (180º from the correct orientation), the indicator is off when you fully tighten the razor, but no real harm done. The 102, in contrast, is an asymmetric razor, and if the cap is no oriented properly the razor won’t tighten properly at all.
My Apollo Mikron finessed this issue by having no markings on cap or baseplate so that you could put the cap on in either orientation. The base of the handle, just above the tightening/adjustment knob, had two red dots, one on each side of the handle. You tighten the cap all the way and look to see which red dot is above the zero point—and that’s the red dot you use in making the adjustment. The razor threading is such that one of two red dots always works, and a glance at the zero location shows which red dot applies.
The Varieant, as you see, is a close copy (and a shavealike), but it’s not a slavish imitation. Note the difference in the bottom view. (The adjustment knob on the Progress is not a stock knob, but an after-market add-on.)
The Variant adds some drainage slots, which is probably a good idea although in fact the Progress is effectively clog-proof already. Note the large drainage channels (in both Progress and Variant) in the side view above.
Parker did a commendable job here. Now when will we see a Parker slant?
Italian Barber is not going to make any more Black Mambas so far as I know, and they didn’t make all that many to begin with. Here’s a chance to get a really nice present for someone (perhaps even yourself). Here’s the eBay listing.
A forum comment prompted me to bring out my Tcheon Fung Sing Tobacco Verde shaving soap, and since it’s an Italian soap, I used my Omega 20102 boar brush, now well broken in. I did the usual presoak, wetting the brush well under the hot-water tap and then letting it stand soaking wet while I showered (also soaking wet). Once ready to shave, I washed my stubble with MR GLO, then rewet the brush to warm it up, gave it a couple of good shakes, and brushed the soap briskly to load the brush.
Tcheon Fung Sing is not reluctant to lather, and the brush was quickly loaded. I then worked up the lather by palm-lathering—brushing my palm and extended fingers (squeeze together to make a platform), occasionally extending my fingers under the dribbling hot-water tap to add a little water, working that in, repeating that a couple of times.
The resulting lather was thick, held lots of water, and had a great fragrance and I worked it into my stubble. With the X3, shaving is for me a breeze: three quick and easy passes to a perfectly smooth and trouble-free result.
A rinse, dry, and dot of Phoenix Artisan’s Alt-Eleven balm, which also has a tobacco-flower fragrance, and the week is underway.