29/12/2013

SOTD 29/12/2013

Saints be praised! I used my Schick Dial ... and ... I got a good shave out of it, at last!


Routine

Hot Towel
T&H Ultimate Comfort PSO
Palmolive Shaving Cream
Pure Badger 23mm
Schick Dial
Personna Stainless PTFE [1]
Hot Rinse, Cold Rinse, Alum & Witch Hazel
Brut Aftershave Lotion

Technique

Face Lathered
Three Pass - 7 WTG, 3 XTG & 1 ATG/Polishing

Impression

First pass with the razor wide open and I was starting to feel like I'd shaved. With the wide blade gap, I found I could enjoy a light touch and so shave without irritation, something which has been quite the contrary so far with my experience of injectors. Second pass, I closed the gap up and this pretty much finished off the shave. I could have stopped here and enjoyed a good shave, but let's just drop the gap right down and make a very gentle final pass against the grain with a little polishing to get a really smooth shave.

Finally! I got a fine shave out of an injector. I am sure this will stand me in good stead for returning to my other injectors in due course. It also confirms to me that I much prefer a more aggressive shave from an injector.

28/12/2013

SOTD 28/12/2013

I've used injectors before and never got on with them ...


I tried again tonight and it did not go well.

Routine

Hot Towel
Billy Jealousy Hydroglide
Personna Stainless PTFE (Injector) - PAL Injectomatic [2] **
Personna Stainless PTFE (Injector) - Personna [1] *
Personna Stainless PTFE (Injector) - Schick J1 [1] *
Hot Rinse, Cold Rinse, Alum Wash & Witch Hazel
Boots Bay Rum
Patchouli Oil

Technique

Three Pass - Once each

Impression

Awful! Horrible shave!

Enough said ... injectors are not for me.

27/12/2013

SOTD 27/12/2013

Friday evening ...

Drink: Vodka & Coke
Music: Bauhaus 'Mask' LP


Routine

Hot Towel
Alt Innsbruck Pre/Post Shave
Edwin Jagger Tea Tree Shaving Cream
Pure Badger 23mm
Ever Ready 1924
ASR 009 RD Blade [2]
Hot Rinse, Cold Rinse, Alum Wash & Witch Hazel
Alt Innsbruck Pre/Post Shave

Technique

Two Pass - WTG/ATG

Impression

Blow me down! That is one aggressive little f*cker!!!

I've shaved with the 1912s before and the Micromatics after ... the 1924 is one aggressive razor. Huge blade reveal and the comb, much like the 1912, becomes an open comb in use. Whereas you're lulled into a light sense of mildness with the 1912s, you're fast awakened as to the potential of this razor!

Light touches!

Do that and you're rewarded. After a medium pressure scrape down each cheek, I lightened up a lot and got my feather light touch all sorted for the second pass against the grain. All done, very smooth and a seriously rewarding shave. You have to work with the razor, though - this is one where you are NOT in charge.

The Alt Innsbruck Pre/Post Shave is a fun balm. As a pre-shave, I'm not sure it added a lot but as an aftershave balm, just lovely. Less fierce than the liquid, very slick, very smooth, just gorgeous as an aftershave balm. Lovely scent, too, and the first one which I noticed our little mog giving me a serious nose over ...

...sneaky splash of Trumper's Eucris later, eh?
"The man of shadows thinks in clay
Dreamed trapped thoughts of suffocation day
He's seen in iron environments
With plastic sweat out of chiselled slits for eyes
From the growth underneath the closed mouth
You'll catch if you listen
Rack-trapped cubist vowels
From a dummy head expression
From a dummy head expression
The transformation is invested
With the mysterious and the shameful
While the thing I am becomes something else
Part character part sensation
The shadow is cast"

26/12/2013

SOTD 26/12/2013

After last night's lovely shave which finished with a good rub of Alcolado, I fancied another ...


Routine

Hot Towel
T&H Ultimate Comfort PSO
NSS Ice & Slice
Pure Badger 23mm
Gillette Tech 1970s
Feather Hi-Stainless [5]
Hot Rinse, Cold Rinse, Alum Wash & Witch Hazel
Alcolada Aftershave

Technique

Two Pass - Twice WTG

Impression

I am really starting to appreciate these vintage Gillette Techs. Run with a sharp blade, they are a lot of fun and this Feather blade, once run through a couple of times with a Muhle R41, has been used for quick polish ups in vintage Gillette Techs and they seem very well suited. Once run in, they'll continue for a good few shaves yet, hand-stropped each time.

Today was about face freeze! I enjoyed it last night and wanted more, so shaved with NSS Ice & Slice which builds up a lovely chill while shaving and proper freezes when you get to the cold rinse. Lovely! Deep freeze to follow: Alcolado.

Last night, I fancied that the Alcolado left me feeling pretty dry. Tonight, with the olive oil based shaving soap, I feel great - dry, but not stretched. Just right to go to bed on ...

'night, all.

25/12/2013

SOTD 25/12/2013

Ahhhhh .... at last ... Christmas shave.


Routine

T&H Ultimate Comfort PSO
The Soap Opera 'Himalaya'
Pure Badger 23mm
GEM Featherweight
GEM Stainless PTFE [2]
Hot Rinse, Cold Rinse, Alum Wash & Witch Hazel
Alcolada Glacial

Technique

Two Pass - 2x WTG

Impression

What a great shave! Closer than I would have imagined, given the razor, blade and technique, but close. Very close.

The T&H PSO is an expensive way of buying cooking oil! I reckon I could make up a litre or more from carrier and essential oils for the price of this tiny 60ml bottle, but boy is it good? Much enjoyed.

First run with this razor and I liked it. Not as clean or as close as a Micromatic from this shave, but very tactile, agile and intuitive.

Alcolado Glacial is ... GLACIAL! I love it! Very addictive ...

23/12/2013

SOTD 23/12/2013

The Edwin Jagger Experience ...


Routine

Hot Towel
Edwin Jagger PSC
Edwin Jagger Mentholated Shaving Soap
Edwin Jagger Best Badger 21mm
Hot Rinse
Cold Rinse
Alum Wash
Witch Hazel
Old Spice Aftershave

Technique

Face Lathered
Two Pass - Both WTG

Impression

First full face shave with my Edwin Jagger straight. It's not the smoothest thing I've scraped across my face, but a definite cut well above the Dorco blades in my CJB Kamisori. I've scraped down my cheeks with this before as well as a clean-up on my neck, but as I introduced, this was my first full face shave.

It went well ...

Two nicks - well, one nick and a slice. Nick on my top lip right in the complicated bit beneath one nostril and a dig in on my chin being ... well, stupid.

Nothing bled beyond a second pass, the alum proved it was a new shaving experience and the Witch Hazel was very welcome. Something sweet, spicy and relieving for afters: Old Spice. Love it!

In all, a good shave. I'll have something to shave off on Christmas Day.

21/12/2013

SOTD 21/12/2013

Today's acquisition and I couldn't wait to shave with it ...


Routine

Hot Towel
Tabac Shaving Soap
Pure Badger 23mm
GEM Micromatic Clog Pruf
ASR 009 RD
Hot Rinse
Cold Rinse
Alum Wash
Cold Rinse
Witch Hazel
Tabac Aftershave Lotion

Technique

Face Lathered
Three Pass - WTG, XTG & ATG

Impression

In all, a very nice shave. Close, clean and without issue. I also have a solid bar GEM Micromatic which is very smooth; this is much the same but you can feel the crenelations on the bar.

I guess I'm working my way up to the open comb ...

18/12/2013

SOTD 18/12/2013


Routine

Hot Towel
Olive Oil Blend PSO
NSS Moroccan Sands
Pure Badger Brush
Gillette Super Speed (Black Handle) 1967 M4
Gillette Super Platinum [3]
Hot Rinse
Cold Rinse
Alum Wash
Cold Rinse
Brut Musk Aftershave

Technique

Face Lathered
Three Pass - WTG, XTG & ATG

Impression

I finally "got" face lathering a couple of days ago, so gave it another go ... it worked ... again, and so I think I'll keep going with that technique through my various soaps and creams.

Talking of creams, this was the first run with NSS Moroccan Sands, a cream scented with Oudh. Heavily woody and a scent which does not dissipate much through the shave, it provided a wonderful backdrop for Brut Musk, enhancing, even prolonging the scent of the aftershave.

I have to say, I don't think the blade is anything special but from a couple of pretty mediocre shaves with it so far, it does seem to like it's sibling razors. Gillettes in a Gillette, who'da thunk it? Close in parts, others no so close. Still, good shave with no issues.

16/12/2013

SOTD 16/12/2013

Well, blow me down! That was the best shave yet ...

I think I've said that only a couple of times before, but tonight I really got the best shave yet. It started badly, became phenomenal!

I've been waiting for my Mühle R89 JET to arrive for what feels like an age - actually, 10 days. I really thought it was lost in the post, but imagine my joy to have it arrive today, safe, sound and utterly flawless. If I could be in love with something other than a woman or a cat (or a car), it'd be a razor ... and this would be she.

I've been waiting so long and built up an imaginary shave in my mind for so long, that I forgot it. It had Alt Innsbruck, Eucris, black blades, all sorts ... but I just grabbed a bunch of products that I thought would really suit my mood and this first shave with a razor that I've waited so long for.


Routine

Hot Towel
Edwin Jagger PSC (Metholated)
Edwin Jagger Soap (Mentholated)
Edwin Jagger Best Badger 21mm
Mühle R89 JET
Gillette Blue (1952 X2) [1]
Sputnik Stainless PTFE [7]
Hot Rinse
Cold Rinse
Alum Wash
Cold Rinse
Edwin Jagger PSC (Metholated)
Quorum Aftershave
GFT Eucris EDT

Method

Face Lathered
Three Pass - 2xATG 1xWTG

Impression

On one day's growth, I slipped a 1952 X2 Gillette Blue blade in. I have a NSO collection of Gillette Blue blades and thought tonight was the night ... first pass, almost no stubble removal. I know the R89 is a mild razor, but this did not shift anything. I changed the angle and got a better swipe.

Okay, it's not going well ... ditch the blade. Strapping in my now 7th run Sputnik Stainless PTFE and having established the angle, this pass shifted the day's growth. Re-lathering in the soap dish, since the first lathering was weak and all gone now, I face lathered. Oh, my goodness! So THIS is face lathering? I get it now. I get it! Face lathered, I made a cross pass to finish up.

Just a little polishing and ... Gah! I nicked my top lip. No drama! Hot rinse, cold rinse, alum wash, cold rinse and I've got a smooth, clean and defect-free face. Pat some Edwin Jagger PSC (Mentholated) all over and rub in, gorgeous face feel. Pat dry and a splash of Quorum.

How fantastic do I feel?

Now, aftershave dried, nothing but smooth as the proverbial! Time for some Eucris ...

15/12/2013

SOTD 15/12/2013

Sunday evening ...

... and something put me in mind to use my recently acquired Ying Ji Li razor. Ying Ji Li who? They're Chinese and amongst all manner of other things, make an exact replica of the Gillette 7 O'Clock Sterling. Exact! It evens shaves the same: mild and smooth, not especially close, but perfectly presentable.


Routine

Hot Towel
Olive Oil PSO
Far North Goat Milk Soap
Edwin Jagger Best Badger Brush 21mm
Ying Ji Li 'Sterling'
Sputnik Stainless Teflon [6]
Hot Rinse
Cold Rinse
Alum Wash
Cold Rinse
Blue Stratos Aftershave

Technique

Three Pass - WTG, XTG & ATG

Impression

Sadly, the Far North Soap is not up to much. I do like the idea of artisan soap, but all too often they're missing something ... this one lack lather. The lather is foamy, thin and all but disappears on the face. I had to make up some fresh lather for the final pass.

The razor performed exactly as expected and coupled with Sputnik, perfect. Actually, what I did for the first pass was unscrew the razor a little until the blade gap opened up just a little without the head becoming sloppy. Thereafter, the XTG and ATG passes were performed with the head fully tightened.

Presentable. No nicks, weepers, irritation, just a good presentable shave. I wonder if this might be one of those razors that takes to a diagonal stroke?

13/12/2013

SOTD 13/12/2013

Friday the 13th!

I was going to have a spooky goth shave this evening, Muhle R89 JET with a vintage Gillette Blue NSS Oudh shaving cream and finishing off with a splash of Witch Hazel and a couple of dabs of Eucris, all to the tune of Bauhaus ... but ... the Muhle has yet to land.

Drat! So, change of plan ...

I have a CJB Kamisori which I must try at some point. Let's keep it to cheeks and perhaps neck, and grab a Gillette Parat with a 7 O'Clock Sharp Edge blade to finish off.


Routine

Hot Towel
Olive Oil Blend PSO
NSS Rasage Traditionel
Pure Badger Brush
CJB Kamisori/Dorco Barber Blade [1]
Gillette Parat/Gillette 7 O'Clock Sharp Edge [2]
Hot Rinse
Cold Rinse
Alum Wash
Cold Rinse
Witch Hazel/Olbas Oil Toner
Old Spice Aftershave Lotion

Technique

One WTG pass with the CJB Kamisori/Dorco Barber Blade
One WTG and one XTG with the Gillette Parat/Gillette 7 O'Clock Sharp Edge

Impression

The soap had a pleasant scent, lathered well and did its thing, but by the second pass with the Gillette it was starting to sting. Perhaps there's something in there that's not for me. Nanny's Olive Oil and Goat Milk based creams are really up my street and pretty much my "to go" creams now.

With intrepidation, I made my first cut with the CJB Kamisori. It's noisy! I tried a couple of different angles as I went down my cheek, but found I had it pretty much bang on to start with. Great! Great, but scratchy and draggy. These Dorco blades are not overly sharp and it showed in the performance. I must get some Feathers - Pro and Pro Guard, I reckon.

So, both cheeks done, my jawline done, too by skin stretching, I proceeded onto my neck. Ouch! Just nicked myself getting the angle setup. That was the only issue. Encouraged, I did the rest of my face, my chin and around my mouth, all of which I found oddly to be perfectly straight forward.

I'd chalk that up as a passable shave. Not great, good, perhaps not good enough after a couple of hours when re-growth would have shown it not to be a close shave, but good enough for a first go.

Onto the Gillette, another couple of passes and we're smooth as the proverbial.

Rinsed, the alum wash proved it to be mostly uneventful, although a little rough. Witch Hazel to calm and a spicy aftershave to finish off.

Encouraging ...

11/12/2013

SOTD 11/12/2013

SOTD 11/12/13 and what a great shave!


I have so many razors now, I really didn't know where to start ... so I started by going backwards with my most recent acquisitions: a Valet VB1 and a GEM Micromatic Bullet Tip.

Routine

Hot Towel
NuAge Men PSO
TOBS Eton College Shaving Cream
Edwin Jagger Best Badger 21mm
Valet VB1/GEM Stainless PTFE [1]
GEM Micromatic Bullet Tip/GEM Stainless PTFE [1]
Hot Rinse
Cold Rinse
Alum Wash
Cold Rinse
Brut Original Aftershave Lotion

Technique

One pass WTG - Valet VC1/GEM Stainless PTFE [1]
One pass WTG/One pass XTG - GEM Micromatic Bullet Tip/GEM Stainless PTFE [1]

Impression

Did I say, "What a great shave!"?

Thank you to the kind gent on a popular shaving forum for his generous PIF of Taylor of Old Bond Street shaving creams - I got the Eton College, a gentle citrus scent with light woody notes behind. Perfect with my G&T. Lathering was a case of wet brush, shaken free of hanging water and swirled in the pot five times clockwise, five anti-clockwise ... and what an explosion of lather! The lather got better with each pass, too. I had way too much, so think just five light swirls should do me proud next time. I really enjoyed the soap, so thank you again Sir.

I have four days of growth and so an open comb seemed a good choice.

Selecting the Valet VB1 with a GEM Stainless PTFE blade, de-spined and snipped at the corners to fit, I carefully and purposefully gave my cheek the first stroke. Well, blow me down, what a smooth razor! The blade, is of course, a known good, but what a smooth razor! I said that already :D Par for the course with single edge razors like this, the sound is like scraping butter onto toast. The angle was easy to find and my whiskers just blew away with great ease, no discomfort and with great feedback from the razor - it goes quiet when you have the wrong angle. One with the grain pass.

Not wanting to push my luck, I switched razor and repeated a with the grain pass using a GEM Micromatic; a closed comb razor, reputed to be milder than the 1912s. Milder, yes, smoother, too. I could have left it at that, but boy, was I enjoying myself and pressed on for the proverbial smooth shave and a cross the grain pass.

Rinsed off, the alum wash proved nothing untoward and so ... a very generous splash of Brut complimented the shave perfectly, the citrus now a memory and the woods just coming through, adding further complexity to the Brut.

You can tell, I really enjoyed this shave ...

07/12/2013

SOTD 07/12/2013

It has been a week since I shaved. I absolutely love shaving and find that every other day works out well for me - I can get a seriously smooth shave which is not quite ready for a shave the following day; the day after that, perfect.

I have, however, found a combination that I absolutely adore ... but it does not like short stubble ... yet?

It's the Muhle R41/Feather Hi-Stainless combo.

I am developing technique with this one, since I want it to become my de facto shave. While I am honing my technique, it does take some growth, hence giving myself a few days growth to go at.

Oh, my goodness! I love this combo ...


Routine

Hot Towel
Edwin Jagger Pre-Shave Cream
Edwin Jagger Shaving Soap - Menthol
Edwin Jagger Best Badger (21mm Loft - Size M)
Muhle R41 - templ8 Fencing Handle
Feather Hi-Stainless [3]
Hot Rinse
Cold Rinse
Alum Wash
Cold Rinse
Edwin Jagger Pre-Shave Cream
Olgallala Bay Rum Skin Toner
Captain's Choice Bay Rum Aftershave

Mount Gay & Stone's Ginger Wine ... Ice & Slice (Lime)

Technique

Two pass - WTG/XTG

Impression

What a great shave! I cannot stress that enough ...

I got to play with a bunch of new stuff - I bought a mixed bunch of Edwin Jagger gear off eBay, including a (potentially dud) straight, but the brush and pre-shave cream are really nice. Shopping today, I spotted an Edwin Jagger stall in a department Store (Harvey's in Halifax, if you're interested ... have a good perv at the cosmetics girls while you're there, eh?) and picked up a tub of their mentholated shaving soap. Soap! Damn it! I like creams ... never mind, let's go with it.

The soap lathered up nicely into a good, thick lather, but it was ... well, soapy? I prefer a creamy mix which I get from ... well, creams. Duh! Still, a fun experience. I should give soaps a chance and try harder - creams seem to just build up and you're done; soaps need some effort and perseverance.

Anyway, I got a lather and hit my face with a Muhle!

Did I say I love this combination? The Muhle R41 and the Feather Hi-Stainless is a match made in heaven! Using the lightest touch, enabled by my custom handle made by templ8, a week's growth just brushes away. Smooth, silent and effortless. What a combo!

I could have left it after the single pass. I have a great face map now and don't religiously go north/south, but my "with the grain" is with the grain - I know how my stubble grows and know how to follow it now. I went with a second, cross the grain pass and was rewarded with a seriously smooth shave.

Post-shave, I rinsed: hot, cold, alum (no stinging), cold and then a dot of Edwin Jagger pre-shave cream all over my face. Lovely menthol chill!

Now, onto something special ...

A kind gent from a popular shaving forum sent me a bunch of Bay Rum samples. I've had a crafty sniff at them all, mentally sorted them out into favourites and established a plan of enjoying them. Tonight, I went with Olgallala Skin Toner after shaving, then Captain's Choice Aftershave. I love this one! My Mrs doesn't - her father was a Dentist and something in it reminds her of dental treatments. It'll be the cloves.

Anyway, as a Bay Rum virgin, I am now on my path towards a great shaving routine and know I need Bay Rum as part of that. My love of menthol skewed me a little; concerned that it might not work with Bay Rum, I wondered about West Indian Limes as the shave routine, but actually, the menthol, then the Bay Rum works lovely ... NSS Ice & Slice will work well (my favourite cream), that lime and ice working with the rum.

So, onto a drink: Mount Gay & Stone's, over ice, with lime.

... pretty much what I've just enjoyed as a shave.

04/12/2013

SOTD 04/12/2013

I'm giving my face a break and a treat at the end of the week with a Muhle R41/Feather planned.

I do get a patch on my neck/throat that looks untidy when I do this and usually just whisk it off dry but I decided to try out a new pre-shave cream and razor; a barely used Edwin Jagger gift set which I won on eBay for a very nice price.

The box contained a pre-shave cream, a Best Badger brush, a straight razor and a lovely stand.

Hot Towel
Edwin Jagger Pre-Shave Cream
NSS Ice & Slice
Edwin Jagger Best Badger
Edwin Jagger Straight
Hot Rinse
Cold Rinse
Alum Wash
Turtle Bay Rum Aftershave

The razor is on a popular list of brands to avoid list. Nevertheless, a patch of fine hair on my hand and a patch of tough hair on my leg proved perfectly smooth with one pass, so ... on with it ...

The Edwin Jagger pre-shave cream  is very nice. Mentholated, slick and the subsequent lather went on very nicely indeed, already with a lovely glossy sheen, applied seemed to take on a real whipped cream look. I'd be interested to try again using just the NSS with a proto-lather - I think it's oily enough to work out for both pre-shave and the shave itself. I should also check out the Edwin Jagger pre-shave cream as a post-shave - just a dot massaged into a cold, wet face.

The brush is a Best Badger. My entire experience of brushes is a synthetic Wilkinson Sword, which does its thing, but it's nowhere near a badger; and, a Pure Badger, unbranded, but a "large" size. This Edwin Jagger Best Badger is a Medium - 21mm loft, 23mm handle. It felt tall compared to my Pure Badger, although they're the same height-ish. I think the narrower core gave that apparently height. It lathered well, not especially better than my Pure Badger, but certainly no worse. It's one I'll keep on with since it's pretty much unused and perhaps needs a few good lathering sessions to really find its character. So, three brushes now ... am I succumbing?

The razor did its thing in one pass, leaving the intended area smooth, without issue and so, tidied up, I rinsed and applied the alum ... just to see. Nothing overly prickly, so I think that went well. Whether the blade is competent for a whole face and whether that edge can be maintained is another question entirely. I have absolutely no comparison here, this being my first straight shave, but it slicked through the stubble so efficiently. I have used a shavette, which needed a couple of passes to get to this.

I have a new collection of Bay Rum samples and so decided to try one out: Turtle Bay Rum. Much enjoyed, with an initial blast of the Caribbean, it certainly is a scent which develops over it's albeit short life - after an hour it had a really mellow feeling and another hour, or so, it was gone ... to my nose.

So, happy with that ... I got to try a few new things and got away with it, if you like.

Fun ... like it should be.

01/12/2013

SOTD 01/12/2013

After a not so great shave on Friday involving a Personna injector and finished up with a 1912 Ever Ready, I gave my face a brief break. Stubble back with a vengeance, I couldn't stand it, so ...


Routine

Hot Rinse
Olive Oil Blend PSO
NSS Ice & Slice
Pure Badget Brush
GEM Micromatic/Personna [1]
Merkur 23C/Gillette 7 O'Clock Sharp Edge [1]
Hot Rinse
Cold Rinse
Alum Wash
Cold Rinse
Brut Original Aftershave Lotion

Technique

WTG - PAL Micromatic/Personna
WTG/XTG/Polishing - Merkur 23C/Gillette Sharp Edge

Impression

Trying another injector, I went with a single with the grain pass. Better, today, but still falling short of what I would have expected from a DE single pass with any number of blades I use.

I switched, made another with the grain pass followed by a cross the grain using my Merkur 23C and a fresh Gillette yellow.

Lovely job. The Gillette blade was smooth, sharp and without issue. I really enjoyed it!

Brut Aftershave ... Sorted!

29/11/2013

SOTD 29/11/2013

Damn it! Damn! Damn! Damn! ... and damn a little more!

Recently, I tried my little haul of injector razors with a pack of Schick blades I got off Amazon. I could not get any razor to work for me - rough, didn't cut, uncomfortable ... and I finished off with my DE. Today, Connaught's blades arrived, felt sharper, injected well ... and ... in my Personna, very poor. I tried all manner of angles, worked with the razor to get it right ... it scraped some growth off, but left a patchy, rough and tough finish which no end of going over got any more growth off.

Damn it! I really wanted this to work out for me ...

Wanting "that" classic single edge shave, I grabbed my 1912 Brooklyn Made ER with a GEM blade and finished off. Noisy but smooth and finished the job to my satisfaction ... top lip and all.

Damn it! I really wanted the injector the play out ...


Routine

Hot Rinse
Olive Oil Blend PSO
Fitjar Shea Pleasure
Pure Badger
Personna Injector/Personna blade
Every Ready 1912 USA/GEM blade
Hot Rinse
Cold Rinse
Alum Wash
Witch Hazel Blend Toner
Alt Innsbruck Cologne

Technique

Bowl Lathered
Two Pass - Both WTG

Impression

On an upbeat finish ...

Dear God! That Alt Innsbruck is nice!

27/11/2013

SOTD 27/11/2013

Drink of choice tonight is Whyte & MacKay with Ginger Wine.

Music? The sweet sound of silence ... and shaved whiskers.


Routine

Hot towels
OO/Olbas Oil PSO
NSS Unscented Goat Milk OO Shaving Soap
Pure Badger Brush
Merkur 23C/Astra Platinum [2]
Hot Rinse
Cold Rinse
Alum Wash/Rinse
WH/Olbas Oil Toner
Jovan Musk

Technique

1x WTG followed by just a polish ATG (2 days growth)

Impression

Ahhhhh! Loved it ... not quite as smooth as I expected to find the Astra Platinum (not in the Muhle R41 or the Merkur 23C) but a good shave nevertheless without issue, just a good, close, clean shave evident in the technique.

25/11/2013

SOTD 25/11/2013


Routine

Shower
Olive Oil/Olbas Oil PSO
NSS Goat Milk Soap
Pure Badger Brush
Merkur 23C/SuperMax Blue Diamond [2]
Hot Rinse
Cold Rinse
Alum Wash
Cold Rinse
Brut Aftershave Lotion

Technique

One pass WTG
Polishing ATG

Impression

Smooth and relaxing. That's all.

24/11/2013

SOTD 24/11/2013


Routine

Hot Towels
Olive Oil PSO
NSS Ice & Slice
Pure Badger Brush
Muhle R41/templ8 Fencing Handle
Gillette Super Platinum (Black) [2]
Witch Hazel/Olbas Oil Tonic
Brut Musk Aftershave Lotion

Technique

Two Pass - WTG/XTG

Impression

I am fast taking to the R41 as my "to go" razor.

Very close, very smooth to the touch and utterly without irritation. The blade was not the smoothest, but played out well making me a keen believer in oily PSOs.

20/11/2013

SOTD 20/11/2013

Second go with the R41 …


Routine

Hot towels
Olive Oil/Essential Oil PSO
Palmolive Shaving Cream
Pure Badger Brush
Muhle R41/templ8 Fencing Handle
Astra Super Platinum [1]
Hot Rinse
Cold Rinse
Alum Wash
Witch Hazel/Essential Oil Tonic
Jovan Musk Aftershave Lotion

Technique

Two pass - WTG & ATG

Impression

To be absolutely frank, I found this a bit tough. My first run with the R41 was with a Feather and I absolutely loved it! I think I have a second perfect combination there - my first being the Merkur 23C with a SuperMax Blue Diamond.

Still, two passes … can't complain at that. The R41 mowed through three days of growth, not silently nor effortlessly this time, but did.

No issues, although I think the blade will be demoted to use in a milder razor.

17/11/2013

SOTD 17/11/2013


Where did the last 6 days go? Into my sink … that's where … whisked off by a Feather in an R41!

Oh, my goodness me, the R41 is one beautiful razor!

I last shaved six nights ago and that evening my cat patted me. He's a seven month old kitten, already four kilos and now over 3 feet long! He's mostly Maine Coon and that size of cat as that age of kitten is one interesting combination. The following day, an area of my top lip puffed up and by the evening, face pain and feeling pretty grim. TCP to the rescue, all cleaned out and a couple of days later the swelling went down.

I left it until it was all healed up …

… which gave me plenty of time to grow a meadow for the R41. Not so much a razor, more a combine harvester!

With a run once Feather strapped in, I placed a great deal of attention to the angle, the pressure, the direction and the tautness of skin, and it paid off.

Wow! VGS! Very good shave in one WTG pass. I am impressed! I previously used the Feather in a Merkur 37C Slant HD, which was very nice, but I felt that razor played better with a Silent Soviet Assassin, like the Sputnik I tried that razor with first. The Feather found its place in the R41.

Splitting the 37C and the R41, I'd say the 37C could be a fantastic daily razor, sweeping away both minimal and days of growth in that one pass - just that one pass would make a great daily shave. The R41 seemed to need more careful handling and certainly handled days of growth without even blinking.

I must try a daily shave with it to compare, but initial impressions are extremely positive … and I meant to start this post with 'Best Shave Yet' … which it was.

Routine

Hot Rinse
Nuage Men PSO
Ingram's Shaving Cream
Pure Badger Brush
Muhle R41 templ8 Fencing Handle
Feather Hi-Stainless [2]
Hot Rinse
Cold Rinse
Witch Hazel/Olbas Oil Tonic
Brut Aftershave Lotion

Technique

Three Pass - very disciplined WTG, XTG & ATG
No polishing necessary

Impression

What else can I say?

11/11/2013

SOTD 11/11/2013

For some reason, I feel really chilled this evening … and my shave reflected that ...


Routine

Hot Towel
Olive Oil/Grapefruit PSO
NSS Goat Milk OO Soap
Pure Badger Brush
Merkur Progress
PolSilver Super Iridium [7]
Sputnik Stainless (Teflon) [4]
Hot Rinse
Cold Rinse
Alum Wash
Witch Hazel/Grapefruit Toner
Jovan Musk Aftershave Cologne

Technique

WTG PolSilver Super Iridium [7]
XTG Sputnik Stainless (Teflon) [4] … and minor polishing ATG

Impression

I'd forgotten about the PolSilver Super Iridium sitting in my pile of "in service" blades, but believed there to be life in it yet, I ran it through for a gentle WTG pass having opened up the Merkur Progress to 3. It was smooth and did a good first pass. I'll keep hold of it and see if can push an eighth run.

Going XTG with the Sputnik Stainless (Teflon) and the razor set to 4, I got the result I wanted: a good shave. Light polishing with the razor closed up to 1.

Tonight, I'm not too fussed about getting very close or very smooth, just wanted a good shave, and I got it.

The combination of the olive oil PSO and the olive oil based soap, not to mention the moisturising goat milk in the blend has left me with a great post-shave feel.

09/11/2013

SOTD 09/11/2013

I did not intend to shave this evening, but circumstances dictated …

… so, I picked a SuperMax Blue Diamond, a blade I really clicked with early on for being smooth. Not necessarily sharp, but smooth. I could shave with it and not really feel it. Since then, I've discovered sharp Russians … which I love, but I have 100 of these fellows and they're going to get used.

They're smooth …

I have the Merkur slant lend in my possession at the moment and I am curious as to what a simple daily shave with one with the grain pass might feel like. I noted that I thought it would work out well, but here's the proof.

It did ...

Not a fantastic shave, but good. Not great. Good.

Yes, slightly liquored up it might have been a seriously daft thing to do … well, it was, but I survived.


Routine

Hot Towels
Nanny's Silly Soap Ice & Slice
Pure Badger Brush
Merkur 37C HD Slant
SuperMax Blue Diamond
Hot Rinse
Cold Rinse
Alum Wash
Witch Hazel/Olbas Oil Toner
Brut Green Aftershave

Technique

One Pass - WTG

Impression

… the one standout product here is the NSS Ice & Slice. Cool, refreshing, healing and olive oil based. What a soap! Practically a post-shave treatment, too, just letting the cooling lather sit on my face.

Yeah, it worked out well and I got away with it. No weepers, no cuts, no issues.

One "with the grain" pass to strim off a day's growth. It feels nice. Not great, nice.

After my first run with this razor, I mused that it might make a great daily shaver with one single and simple pass for a decent cut.

It does ...

08/11/2013

SOTD 08/11/2013

Happy Friday, guys.

Tonight, I'm drinking Stone's Ginger Wine and Whyte & MacKay Whisky (even portions). I'm fast losing the week from my memory and looking forward to a fantastic weekend.

No music, enjoying the silence.

My shave …


Routine

Hot Towels
Olive Oil Blend PSO
Tabac Shaving Soap
Pure Badger Brush
Merkur 37C HD Slant
Feather Hi-Stainless [1]
Hot Rinse
Cold Rinse
Alum Wash
Witch Hazel/Grapefruit Tonic
Tabac Aftershave
Recipe for Men Aftershave

Technique

Once, with … once, cross.

Impression

Friday night, and I'm relaxed. I took my time enjoying the hot towels while my brush and razor soaked in hot water. PSO on and I started lathering. Ten times clockwise, ten anti-clockwise in the soap and then into my porcelain bowl which has also been bathing in the hot water …

I built the best lather ever! I gather Tabac lathers well anyway, but I may have been too hasty with it previously. Slowly, slowly does it. Clockwise, anti-clockwise, pump, drop of water … repeat. I got the thickest, slickest, lightest, flightiest lather ever.

Sadly, that's where the dream ended …

Strapping a Feather Hi-Stainless into my lend of a Merkur 37C HD Slant, it went well on my cheeks, my neck and then … my chin and lip erupted in weepers. I ran the Slant with a Sputnik Stainless (Teflon) [2] last night and it was heaven. Tonight was not Hell, but it was certainly South of Heaven. Cue Slayer!

That was "with" …

Cross the grain was better. After the "with", I could see it was nowhere near that one simple "with" that I enjoyed last time and quite frankly have to put the near legendary Feather quite down there in the bawdy ballads. I'll raise my Sputnik up there into legend. It deserves it.

Hot rinse, cold rinse, gone, alum wash and it's all back to normal, just humming. Tonic, then aftershave … then moisturiser.

Lessons learned?

I like moisturising shaving soaps. Nanny's OO, for me. Tabac is soooo worth it, though. That, and I like Russian blades. Ffff Feather!

06/11/2013

SOTD 06/11/2013

Readers, I'm in love …

She's got a stout little body and one crazy head! I am one for those French sounding ladies … Gillettes, but today, letting this German lady caress my face, I found myself truly in love.

She's called Slant, from the Merkur family. Nicknamed, HD.

Oh, boy! What a shave! She's not the mad cat of reputation, that is most undeserved. She is slick, slice, quick and clean. I let her go with a third run Sputnik Stainless (Teflon) and she did her thing. Do not look at her while she does … she will make your eyes swim. Let her run by feel …


Joni Mitchell 'Blue' LP on the turntable
G&T - Greenall's & Fever Tree

Routine

Bath
Nuage Men PSO
Nanny's Silly Soap Ice & Slice
Pure Badger Brush
Merkur 37C HD Slant
Sputnik Stainless (Teflon) [3]
Hot Rinse
Cold Rinse
Alum Wash
Witch Hazel/Menthol Tonic
Blue Stratos Aftershave Lotion

Technique

WTG, XTG and very localised (and slow) polishing of peculiar areas

Impression

Wow! What a shave …

G&T and menthol was the theme, blue the colour.

Oh, I already said that! Once with the grain over two days of growth, I'm left in a similar position to a with and cross the grain shave. This slant does work - it does do that. I tend to run with twice with, then cross, then polish … I would say this got me all the way there in one pass, just polishing to go.

I'm so glad I carried on with the Sputnik - it's smooth and sharp, sharp and smooth, practically silent, still … even after three runs. Damn fine blade!

I got one weeper on my lip, polishing. It stopped and healed up while I was finishing off.

Alum wash proved no further nicks and proved a seriously smooth shave, my hand proved a close shave. Gosh! That is one great razor.

I have that kind of skin that can cope with a quick sharp shave or a multiple pass with a very smooth blade. I have a few peculiar areas that like some localised attention at the end, but I know where they are and can get to them without issue.

I can see myself buying this razor, in the HD format … soon. I love long handles, but this short handle performed so absolutely perfectly that I don't even want to try a longer handled version. I can see that two pass being such a great every other day shave and a single once over being a phenomenal daily swipe. I might even pluck up the courage for a morning shave!

The Merkur 37C HD is a game changer!

04/11/2013

SOTD 04/11/2013


Routine

Hot Towel
Olive Oil Blend PSO
Tabac Soap
Pure Badger Brush
DE89 Head on Fencing Handle
Sputnik (Teflon) [2]
Hot Rinse
Cold Rinse
Alum Wash
Witch Hazel/Grapefruit Toner
Brut Musk Aftershave Lotion
Recipe for Men Moisturiser

Technique

Three Pass - Twice WTG, once XTG

Impression

Another pleasing glide with the Sputnik, although just starting to get scratchy at the very end. No issues, though.

I decided upon Brut Musk to compliment the Tabac soap which has a subtle but different scent to the Tabac Aftershave. I find Brut Musk to be "more Tabac" than Tabac when finishing from a Tabac Soap shave.

02/11/2013

SOTD 02/11/2013


Routine

Hot Towels
Personal PSO
Nanny's Ice & Slice Shaving Soap
Pure Badger Brush
Gillette 'New' Open Comb
Sputnik Stainless (Teflon) [1]
Hot Rinse
Cold Rinse
Alum Wash
Puig Quorum Aftershave
Bulldog Sensitive Moisturiser

Technique

Twice WTG, then once XTG

Impression

Fast growth and it felt scratchy from the last run of a couple of blades which were honestly past their best …

Tonight, first run with a Sputnik Stainless and what a fantastic first run! Absolutely silent, so much so I had to double check that I had actually installed a blade. I had. I had to double take to see that I had the angle right. I had.

Smooth and silent … like Red October.

Nanny's Ice & Slice Shaving Soap is wonderful. Light on the menthol and just a spritz of lime to arouse the nostrils as the thick, creamy and strong lather goes on. This is not face freeze you get from Ingram's, but a gentle caressing as if an ice cube is being run over your skin as you go. Nourishing, the soap is a sheer pleasure to use.

Feeling very cool, it's time for some Quorum.

01/11/2013

SOTD 01/11/2013


Routine

Hot Towels
Personal PSO*
Nanny's Goat Milk Soap
Pure Badger Brush
Gillette Parat
PolSilver Super Iridium [6]
Wilkinson Sword [6]
Hot Rinse
Cold Rinse
Alum Wash
Personal Tonic**
Jovan Musk

Technique

2xWTG with the PolSilver Super Iridum
1xXTG with the Wilkinson Sword

Impression

Well, the Nanny's is wonderful! I used the goat milk and absolutely loved it after a PSO* of olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil and essential oils of ylang ylang, patchouli, grapefruit and Olbas Oil. It's one of the olive oil formulations, more like a cream than a soap, which I took to immediately. Great gloss, thick lather and very soothing. That'll be the goat milk.

With the grain twice on my trusty PolSilver Super Iridium which is now a little scratchy - it's good for 5 runs, for me, switched to a similarly used Wilkinson Sword for that I have found very smooth for the cross the grain, again, good for five runs. Just a little scratchy, it did the job. RIP both blades.

Finishing up, I splashed some tonic over** made from Witch Hazel and essential oils of grapefruit, lemon, ylang ylang, patchouli, tea tree and Olbas Oil.

I am seriously impressed with Nanny's and can't wait to try out the Ice & Slice. The lip balm is subtle, but perceptible - nothing like Burt's Bees with the smack in the face peppermint, which can burn the lips - Nanny's is a gentle kiss.

My Parat played very well. Nice razor.

31/10/2013

SOTD 31/10/2013



Routine

Hot Towels
Olive Oil PSO*
Palmolive Shaving Cream (Drop of Olbas Oil)
Pure Badger Brush
DE89 Head on my custom fencing foil handle
Wilkinson Sword [5] & Rapira Swedish Supersteel [3]
Hot Rinse
Cold Rinse
Alum Wash
Witch Hazel Tonic**
Tabac Aftershave Lotion
Recipe for Men Moisturiser

Technique

2x WTG then XTG
Localised areas of polishing

Impression

What a great shave! Every day, I can feel my stubble getting into better condition and more tamed, giving me better and better shaves.

Tonight, I went with my homemade PSO* (Oils: Olive 75% Avocado 15% Coconut 10%; Essential Oils: Ylang Ylang, Grapefruit, Olbas blend) and then whisked up some Palmolive Shaving Cream with a drop of Olbas Oil which turned out not quite as effective as Ingram's but certainly felt me lubricating, rich, thick and moisturising. I take back anything I've said about Palmolive - I am now finding it a very acceptable shaving cream.

My choice of mower tonight was a DE89 head on my custom fencing handle. Blades, after the last shave I was curious about the Wilkinson Sword (now on its 5th run) which performed perfectly well for two WTG shaves. I'm finding that a couple of WTG passes followed by XTG works well for me, rather than with, cross and against. Switching over to the Rapira Swedish Supersteel (3rd run) for a cross the grain pass and some light polishing in localised areas worked out well. I think the Rapira is perhaps at its end, but the Wilkinson Sword is still smooth and quiet.

Result? BBS!

Hot rinse, cold rinse, alum wash, splash of homemade Witch Hazel Tonic** (now containing drops of Ylang Ylang, Patchouli, Grapefruit, Lemon, Tea Tree and Olbas Oils), I felt really good and splashed on a small amount of Tabac ...


... later, just a little Recipe for Men Moisturiser.

30/10/2013

SOTD 30/10/2013

Insomnia ...

I simply cannot sleep. I'm not sure why, just tossing and turning is doing neither me, nor my wife any good at all. I'll get up ... go for a walk.

Back home. I had a bad face day yesterday having fiddled with it all day and the shave was a wonderful relief. Today, my stubble seems to have grown at a record rate. I wonder if the Shaveworks 'Cool Fix' had anything to do with it?

So, while I could drink, that's not really productive, is it?

I'm going to have a shave and go back to bed ...

Routine

Hot Towels
Nuage Men PSO
Ingram's Shaving Cream
Pure Badger Brush
Merkur 23C F - Custom Fencing handle
SuperMax Blue Diamond [4] ... I just want a smooth and mild shave
Hot Rinse
Cold Rinse
Witch Hazel/Olbas Oil Tonic
Cream E45/Olbas Oil (1 drop) ... Wow!

Technique

WTG x2

Impression

Just twice over, with the grain did it and so, after a menthol smack in the face, I'm yawning ... I should be, it's 2 in the 'effing morning!

I feel smooth, invigorated, yet relaxed at last. This happens to me every now and again. There's something on my mind, that's for sure ... but what it is, I really don't know.

Back to bed ... Good night, all.

28/10/2013

SOTD 28/10/2013

What a relief! What a great shave ...

I've been making a test run for Movember, growing a 'tache over the last week or so. I don't like 'em ... and I'm not sure I'll be able to make a month of it, but if I can get over that 7-10 day hump, I'm sure it'll be plain sailing from there.

Anyway, tonight, I shaved the lot off having pretty much fiddled with my top lip all day and hassled the rest of my face.

Soothing bath then ...

Routine

Nuage Men PSO
Ingram's Shaving Cream
Pure Badger Brush
Merkur 23C - yes, my custom fencing handle
PolSilver Super Iridium [5]
Wilkinson Sword [4]
Rapira Swedish Supersteel [2]
Hot Rinse
Cold Rinse
Witch Hazel/Grapefruit Tonic
Shaveworks 'The Cool Fix'

Technique

2x WTG, then ATG

Impression

I agree - that is a funny mix of blades, but there is some logic ...

I have been extremely impressed with the performance of the PolSilver Super Iridium blades. If I had to choose one blade, it would be the SuperMax Blue Diamond, which I find smooth enough to make multiple passes without irritation; two, it would be the SuperMax Blue Diamond and the PolSilver Super Iridium. It's sharp. It effortlessly mows down days of growth and then just glides over day growth.

That was my first pass ...

Fifth run for that blade now, so curious, I switched to the Wilkinson Sword which is another blade I have been impressed with. Smooth. Simple as that, unimpressive otherwise. It made a nice second pass with the grain.

Now, polishing and cleaning up, I strapped the Rapira Swedish Supersteel in and really without thinking polished my neck against the grain. The second run with this blade was so much nicer than the first where it performed more like a skin graft blade than a shaving blade. Tonight, it is a shaving blade and very nice indeed! Perfect for ATG, smooth, yet efficient.

Relief!

Hot rinse ... cold rinse ... then a second blend of Witch Hazel that I've been playing with, blended with the following essential oils: Ylang Ylang, Rosemary, Patchouli and Grapefruit, the latter being the dominant initial scent and overall effect, the penultimate being the longer player. It's a blend I like and one which will compliment my homemade PSO.

Still feeling just a little troubled, I remembered that I got a sample of Shaveworks 'The Cool Fix' from Traditional Shaving back when they opened their retail store in Leeds (yeah, PLUG! But why not? It's a damn good shop). Duly, applied ... ahhhhh ... what relief! Cool? I don't know about that ... more like applying a mix of Tabasco and Tea Tree gel to the face! It was warm, to me. Still, good stuff and after two applications, my day long fiddling, wiping and scratching is now relieved.

Breathe ...

I'll use another application of the Shaveworks before bed and I think there'll be sufficient for a final wipe over in the morning. I'm off this week and my Mrs wants to go shopping in Leeds tomorrow and yes, I'll endorse that ...

27/10/2013

SOTD 27/10/2013



Routine

Hot Towels
Olive Oil PSO*
Palmolive/Ingram's Shaving Cream
Pure Badger Brush
Merkur 23C with my custom fencing handle
PolSilver Super Iridium [4] Shimmed
Hot Rinse
Cold Rinse
Witch Hazel/Olbas Oil Tonic**
Old Spice Aftershave Lotion

Technique

Three Pass - 2xWTG, XTG

Impression

What a good shave! First real go with a shim ... and I'm using up blades.

I've been a spoilt! Having enjoyed a good run of vintage razors recently, I find myself back with the Merkur 23C which is quite a mild razor. Hitting two days of growth, I shimmed it; first, with a Personna 'Lab' [3] which was rough, so ditched that and dropped in a PolSilver Super Iridium [also, 3] which was still smooth and good to go ... it did the job handsomely.

Prior to that, I prepared with hot towels and my olive oil PSO blend* of 75% Olive Oil to 10% Avocado Oil, 5% Coconut Oil, 5% Glycerine and 5% Citrus Juices. I also added a drop of Olbas Oil ... you know ... for the chills. Blended Ingram's and Palmolive worked well. giving a cool breeze and a soothing glide. Hot rinse. Cold rinse and a splash of cooling Tonic*, my Witch Hazel and Olbas Oil blend (10 drops in just shy of 100ml) and a glug of glycerine.

Old Spice to finish ... it is Monday tomorrow ... and Monday is for Old Spice.

25/10/2013

SOTD 25/10/2013

What a good shave!

I had a first run with my birth year Gillette Slim Twist and it played out really well.


Routine

Hot Towels.
Nuage Men PSO
Ingram's Shaving Cream
Pure Badger Brush
Gillette Slim Tiwst
Gillette 7 O'Clock Super Platinum [2]
Witch Hazel/Olbas Oil Tonic
Bulldog Sensitive Moisturiser
Old Spice

Technique

Three Pass-ish - 2x WTG, XTG and ATG

Impression

Second run with the Gillette 7 O'Clock Super Platinum and I am starting to get the idea that I much prefer a blade after its maiden voyage. My birth year Gillette Slim Twist was a lovely razor to use - I like long handles and this razor has a nice blade gap and reveal for me. I like it!

In all, a good shave. Not quite baby smooth, but it's close.

I left my 'tache ... just in case I need a head start for Movember. I fancy waxed ends, like a wide Poirot.

22/10/2013

SOTD 22/10/2013



Routine

Hot Towels
Nuage Men PSO
Far North Goat Milk Shaving Soap
Pure Badger Brush
Gillette Super Speed (Red Tip)
Rapira Swedish Supersteel [1]
Hot Rinse
Cold Rinse
Alum
Witch Hazel/Olbas Oil Tonic
Recipe for Men Moisturiser

Technique

Two Pass - WTG & XTG

Impression

My first shave with a soap went well. Much enjoyed, although I must admit that for the second lather I added a little squirt of Ingram's into the mix. Far North's Goat Milk Shaving Soap lathers well, although it seemed a little ... well ... soapy compared to the creams that I am used to, which seem ... well ... creamy? I might be onto something there ...

Fresh blade, hand stopped ... lovely smooth and silent glide. Swished, t'other side and scrape! I removed the blade and stropped it again, thereafter it played very nicely. The Gillette Super Speed is a very nice razor with a great balance - the business end really does do, well, the business all on its own; my hand only there to guide. I enjoyed the SuperMax Blue Diamond which I gather is made in India, so was interested to compare what the Russians do with this magical Swedish steel. Sharper, I'd say; the SuperMax, smoother.

So, two pass and a very smooth shave. I'm out fencing later, so hope I don't blotch up with all the sweat ... plenty of moisturiser beforehand, eh?

20/10/2013

SOTD 20/10/2013

Routine 

Shower
Olive Oil Blend PSO
Ingram's Shaving Cream
Pure Badger Brush
Merkur 23C
Personna 'Lab' Blue [3]
Alum
Witch Hazel/Olbas Oil Tonic
Brut Musk Aftershave Lotion

Technique

Four Pass - WTG, XTG x2 Diagonally & ATG

Impression

Very smooth. I enjoyed the Personna 'Lab' Blue blade a little better the second and third times.

18/10/2013

SOTD 18/10/2013


Friday night ...

Fish Tacos for dinner. Ghostdance 'Gathering Dust' on the turntable and Green Mark Vodka (with ice) alongside.

I really enjoyed my shave with the Gillette #77 last night, so went ahead with it again tonight but with the Wilkinson Sword blade I enjoyed in the Gillette Parat the other night.

Routine

Hot Towels
Olive Oil Blend PSO*
Boots Lather Shave Cream
Pure Badger Brush
Gillette 'New' Open Comb #77
Wilkinson Sword [3]
Hot Rinse
Cold Rinse
Alum
Witch Hazel Menthol Toner**
Quorum Aftershave
Recipe for Men Moisturiser

* 75% Olive Oil 15% Avocado Oil 10% Coconut Oil Squeeze of Lemon, Lime & Grapefruit Juices and Glycerine
** 85% Witch Hazel 10% Gin 5% Glycerine 10 Drop Olbas Oil 1 Drop Lavender EO

Technique

Three Pass - WTG, XTG & ATG

Impression

I had a good shave. Not a great shave, but a good shave. No nicks or weepers, but I did feel just a bit irritable afterwards, hence the multiple stage cooling from cold rinse, alum and my Witch Hazel Menthol Toner.

To be absolutely frank, I didn't get on with the cream. You lather it on your face, which worked out really well, but I just wasn't into it. Ingram's, I think I would have enjoyed the shave a lot more. I love the stuff! I also felt quite dry afterwards, so was glad for some moisturiser at the end.

Maybe the blade is reaching its end - three plays now. I'll try it in my Merkur 23C and switch it out if the first stroke is wrong.

In all, a good couple of notches less than last night, but still a good shave. Smoothness is between damn fine and baby smooth.

Great scent from the Quorum! The '80s are back, baby ...

17/10/2013

SOTD 17/10/2013


Thanks yet again to the kind gent who has leant me a small selection of vintage Gillettes to try. Tonight, the Gillette 'New' Open Comb #77 ... after one day of growth following a baby smooth shave.

Am I mad? Possibly ...

Routine

Hot Towels
Olive Oil Blend PSO
Ingram's Shaving Cream
Pure Badger Brush
Gillette 'New' Open Comb #77
PolSilver Super Iridium [3]
Hot Rinse
Cold Rinse
Alum Block
Tabac Aftershave Lotion

Technique

Three pass - WTG, XTG and ATG to clean up

Impression

What a fun shave! After getting such a great shave last night, I did hesitate at using what is reputed to be such a beast on only one day's growth, but it occurred to me ...

Gents back in those days shaved daily ... with those razors ... I've seen 'Jeeves & Wooster' ...

So, why not? Picking a PolSilver Super Iridium, I proceeded.

Smooth as she goes ...


The razor was not quite as clean as the others and I was a little concerned at using it, so with the owner's permission I cleaned it up. Soak in vinegar and then a gentle scrub with toothpaste. I concentrated on the comb, which came up very nicely indeed:

No nicks, weepers or other issues, just a good, clean shave taking the day's growth back to smooth. I am starting to think that the olive oil PSO really is contributing. No sensation of irritation, although I have a small patch on my neck that is more red than the surrounding area. It'll settle down overnight, I'm sure. Maybe I missed it with the alum.

Tabac Aftershave Lotion was a great choice.

I'll splash on some Tabac Eau de Cologne in the morning for Tabac Friday.

The razor? Well, yes, I liked it. I found the angle easy to get right and thought it intuitive to use. It was neither as aggressive an experience as I had been led to believe nor "all that". I enjoyed it, but I think I preferred the Parat last night. Down to the blade, perhaps?

Maybe over the weekend, I'll try again switching blades.

16/10/2013

SOTD 16/10/2013


Routine

Tonight, a green theme ...

Beck's
Hot Towels
Olive Oil Blend PSO*
Palmolive Shaving Cream
Pure Badger Brush
Gillette Parat
Wilkinson Sword [2]

Hot Rinse
Cold Rinse

Witch Hazel Blend Toner**

* 75% Olive Oil15% Avocado Oil 5% Coconut Oil 5% Glycerine, Squeeze Lime, Lemon & Grapefruit Juices
** 85% Witch Hazel 10% Gin 5% Glycerine, 10 Drops Olbas Oil

Technique

Three Pass

Impression

Once again, thank you to the kind gent who sent me three vintage razors to try. Last night was the Gillette Super Speed (Red Tip), tonight the Gillette Parat which, aesthetically, I prefer to the Super Speed and in action very much along the same lines. I think the Super Speed pips it with the balance of the weight, but it's a very close run.

So, tonight ...

Hot towels, my olive oil based pre-shave oil and I tried out a new tube of Palmolive Shaving Cream. I had performed a lather test before and thought it good, applied to my face and I got an uneasy tingling. Pressing on, it became less of an issue as I shaved. I didn't enjoy it as much as the Ingram's so far, but it was a good experience.

My blade of choice was a Wilkinson Sword. Used once before and hand stropped it felt very nice in this razor. Not silent, but actually not far off. I thought the angle very easy to find and the razor very forgiving.

I got two nicks, the same place, symmetrically on my face. I know what I did. I know how to avoid it.

You know, I would almost say this was a baby smooth shave! It's way past a pretty good shave, that's for sure and and has surpassed that damn fine shave. It's very close and very smooth. No irritation at all and no feeling of dryness - I put this down to the pre-shave oil, perhaps the aftershave toner and an improving technique; not to mention an improving face now that all my cartridge shaving issues have cleared up and I've had a good number of absolutely trouble-free shaves.

Great fun! Great shave!

17/10/2013

With significantly less overnight growth felt this morning, that was indeed a baby smooth shave!

15/10/2013

Springa ... Aftershave Cologne

Following on from Sprygg, here's a simple Aftershave Cologne that can be made from Echt Kölnisch Wasser by 4711 towelettes, available from Boots.

Echt Kölnisch Wasser by 4711 is THE original Eau de Cologne.

From www.4711.com:
"The precious ingredients are carefully harmonised. Bergamot, lemon, and orange provide a uniquely revitalising effect. Lavender and rosemary have a calming and relaxing effect, strengthening the nerves. Neroli, extracted from the blossom of the bitter orange, has a calming effect in the base note, creating a positive mood."
... and from www.basenotes.com:
  • Top Notes - Bergamot, Lemon, Orange, Petitgrain & Neroli
  • Middle Notes - Rose & Rosemary
  • Base Notes - Musk & Woody Notes
  • Launched - 1792
  • Perfumer - Wilhelm Muelhens
After use, there is still plenty of scent on the towelette, so why not just drop it into a bottle of Witch Hazel? Trap the towelette in the cap of the bottle and leave it to steep overnight. Remove the towel upon first use and press against your face after shaving. Discard the towel. Repeat with a second towel ... consume, steep, deploy and discard ...

... thereafter simply use the blend from the bottle as a splash.

So, there you go ...

Household Aftershave Cologne, which I call Springa, Swedish: dash.

Formula

100ml bottle of distilled Witch Hazel BPC
2x 4711 Towelettes

Optional

Glycerin ... 1 tsp?

Grapefruit essential oil as a lymphatic stimulant citrus top note ... 3-4 drops?
Lemon essential oil as an astringent citrus top note ... 3-4 drops?
Tea Tree essential oil as an immune boosting cooling top/mid-note ... 1-2 drops?
Patchouili essential oil as a tissue regenerating deep base note ... 1-2 drops?
Ylang Ylang essential oil as a  sebum conditioner floral base note ... 1-2 drops?

Try it out and let me know how it goes for you ...

14/10/2013

Skarp ... Citrus Pre-Shave Oil

Following on from Sprygg, I turned my mind to a pre-shave oil ...

I could buy in a raft of carrier oils and essential oils to make up something that intellectually looked right and whose formula read well on paper ... or, do as I did with Sprygg and make it up out of what I already have around the kitchen and bathroom.

You can find no end of homemade skin conditioners based on olive oil - it has been used for centuries for this purpose, and when combined with lemon juice, makes for a simple natural exfoliating lotion.

Like olive oil, avocado oil is well known as skin hydrating treatment. Let's use both. Furthermore, coconut oil is a wonderful emollient, although can be difficult to work with unless warmed through and might well lend an overly thick texture to the oil blend. Warmed through by immersing the bottle in hot water prior to application would be a sensible procedure if coconut oil was to form part of the blend.

So, we have our oil base and we have lemon juice, a known good exfoliant ... what else? Lime juice - known skin rejuvinator, clearing congested skin. Grapefruit juice - firmer and softener, not to mention potently anti-septic. Orange - collagen.

Don't be overly concerned about exactly which juices you have available. Many households will have lemon and lime, lemon at the very least. That alone will do, lime and grapefruit if you have them.

Give the bottle a damn good shake to blend the ingredients and to use, simply pour a little out into the palm of one hand then rub together and massage into your face. It is a pre-shave oil, so take that time to get a feel for the direction of your stubble and how you will approach the shave.

Finally, no need to be too scientific about it - this is a natural product, based on natural oils and citrus juices. It should be mostly oil with some juice and you can always just taste it to see if you think you got the ratios right.

So, there you go ...

Household pre-shave oil, which I call Skarp, Swedish: tang, sharp.

Formula

50ml Extra Virgin Olive Oil (top up)
20ml Avocado Oil (4 tsp)
5ml Coconut Oil (1 tsp)
10ml Glycerine (2 tsp)
15ml Citrus Juices (3tsp)

Options

Argan Oil? Grapeseed Oil? Jojoba Oil?
Honey as a humecant ... 5ml?

Grapefruit essential oil as a lymphatic stimulant citrus top note ... 4-6 drops?
Tea Tree essential oil as an immune boosting cooling top/mid-note ... 1-2 drops?
Patchouili essential oil as a tissue regenerating deep base note ... 1-2 drops?
Ylang Ylang essential oil as a sebum conditioner floral base note ... 1-2 drops?

Try out some options and let me know how it goes for you ...

SOTD 14/10/2013

... after the massacre last night I was up for a known good combination tonight.

That is, of course, until I got home and investigated a parcel sent to me by a kind Gent from a popular online shaving forum whose name I shall reserve in case it was not his intention to be publicly applauded, but he should get a round of applause nevertheless. Good man! It was a parcel of three razors to try out:

Gillette Super Speed (Red Tip) - US Made
Gillette Rocket? - British Made "Parat"?
Gillette 77 Open Comb

So, go on ... which did I go for?

Well after playing with the British made Rocket which I found visually more appealing than the flare tip, trying the weight and so on, discounting the open comb for today, I selected the flare tip. The weight is very nice and I got the general impression from the weight and balance that I should be able to get a good shave going right back to basics and letting the razor do all the work for me ... an instinct which bore out in fact. Read on.


Routine

Hot Towels
Homemade PSO*
Ingram's Shaving Cream
Pure Badger Brush
Gillette Super Speed (Red Tip)
SuperMax Blue Diamond [3]

Hot Rinse
Cold Rinse

Witch Hazel/4711 Toner**

* 2 tbsp Olive Oil, 1 tbsp Avocado Oil, Squeeze Lemon, Lime & Grapefruit and Glycerine
** Witch Hazel with a 4711 Eau de Cologne hand towel immersed

Provisional names are Skarp and Springa, respectively.

Technique

Two pass - WTG/XTG

Impression

What a lovely smooth shave from a razor that I immediately took to. I tended to think I preferred a longer handle and felt a little cramped with the short, but holding it right at the end and just guiding it about while the weight of the head did the work ... lovely. It's not perfect, but those two passes did the trick with absolutely no nicks, weepers or post-shave irritation, something I do not need after last night.

The pre-shave oil was very nice indeed and after shaving I found I had no need for E45 or other moisturiser. Likewise, the Witch Hazel/4711 Toner was very nice, just picking up the scents and oils from the towel and taking the edge off the Witch Hazel scent. I think I'm onto something there ... £3 (ish) for 10 from Boots. You'll find them in the Women's Fragrances section (not perfumes, but elsewhere), along with floral waters and the like.

Good shave.

Thanks to the chap who leant me the razors - I think I'll enjoy the Parat next with a fresh SuperMax blade; maybe the open comb at the weekend.

12/10/2013

SOTD 12/10/2013


Routine

Tonight, a blue theme ...

Hot Towels
Nuage Men Pre-Shave Oil
Ingram's Shaving Cream
Pure Badger Brush
Gillette Sterling - Gillette Super Platinum [1]

Hot Rinse
Cold Rinse

Alum
Sprygg
Blue Stratos

Technique

Two Pass - ATG & XTG

Impression


Bloodbath! It had to happen some time ... and tonight was the night ...

Presenting, the 'Bay of Blood' right here in Halifax. Get onto Google Earth ... you can see it from satellites!

It started well ...

.. and so, Eiffel 65 - 'Blue (Ice Pop Remix)' on iTunes and a lovely glass of Côtes du Rhones as lubricant.

I'm blue da ba dee da ba die ...

I had high hopes for this. The Gillette Sterling is a cheap razor made by the millions and no doubt sold by the millions. It has an all metal head (the reason I bought this over the Feather Popular) and a plastic handle with metal top giving it a head heavy feel.

I bought this as a travel razor and it came with five Gillette Platinum blades - Gillette Blacks. I've heard good things about these blades; Indian made and seemingly very popular over there, as is the razor itself.

Earlier on, I scraped my sideburns back into shape (dry) and thought it a pretty good razor. I immediately got the angle and felt the blade to be pretty good.

But, this was a BHS! Bloody Horrible Shave! Emphasis on the blood ...

What an absolute bloodbath! I went once WTG and once XTG. I did not have the heart to go ATG. I was cut, nicked and bleeding ... one or two after WTG and several after XTG.

Stop! Just stop ... this is clearly not working out. What a real shame. I had high hopes for this razor and took it really easy and really gently.

Not to be a bad carpenter and blame my tools, but something was clearly wrong here. I went gently, but the razor felt like an old rasp. Far from smooth, it was sharp ... it ripped against my stubble, loud and brash. I had to stop after the XTG. This combination really is not for me ... I could feel it tearing and winced at the weeper cuts.

I've not shredded my face with the Merkur 23C yet. I've had nicks and one weeper. This was Medieval! It felt bad, uncomfortable and downright wrong!

I refuse to call a day on this - I'll try the blade in a more familiar razor and the razor with a more familiar blade. Something will work ...

Meanwhile, thank the Lord for a block of alum. All nicks, weepers and cuts were stalled bar one that needed a piece of toilet paper and a little time to stop.

Jeez! What a disaster ...

Afterwards, I'm still suffering. Blue Stratos was a nice aftershave, but that on top of my own witch hazel and Olbas Oil tonic it was not enough; I kept returning to the tonic for relief.

I won't say "never again" because the razor might well play better with a different blade and those blades may well run finer on a different razor.

Still, the shave and the feel afterwards is nothing like the pain and misery I got off cartridge razors. If I had gone from cartridges to this, I would have seen it as an improvement!

11/10/2013

SOTD 11/10/2013


Friday night ... March Violets 'Natural History' on the decks ... drinking Beck's.

Routine

Hot Towels
Nuage Men Shaving Oil
Ingram's Shaving Cream
Pure Badger Brush
Merkur 23C - SuperMax Blue Diamond [2]

Hot Rinse
Cold Rinse

Sprygg Toner
Brut Musk Aftershave

Technique

Four Pass - WTG, XTGx2 Diagonally & ATG

Impression

Second shave with the SuperMax Blue Diamond. After the first, I already knew that was a blade I liked ... this time, loved it. No nicks, no issues, just slick and smooth.

I used my home made toner, Sprygg, which is a little light, but a great pick me up after Ingram's. I think I got the menthol just right.

Aftershave? Brut Musk ... gotta hoover up all the classics, eh? Quroum next!

10/10/2013

Sprygg ... Cooling Aftershave Tonic

Consider this: Mentholated Witch Hazel

Great! So I bid on some menthol crystals which and won for the princely sum of 99p.

While waiting, I got to thinking ... Olbas Oil?

Ingredients are essential oils: cajeput, eucalyptus, peppermint, juniper, wintergreen and clove.

You get a strong peppermint and eucalyptus hit (something like 30% each) backed up with cajeput oil (around 20%) which is a close relative of tea tree; good for anti-infection and anti-inflammation. Clove and wintergreen are both soothing oils, albeit very low in concentration, as is juniper, an astringent.

I reckoned on 100ml bottle of Witch Hazel with eight drops of Olbas Oil and a touch of glycerin (one capful), top up with a couple of capfuls of gin to boost the juniper astringency and assist evaporation with the light alcohol.

... and so I made it up, splash some on my face and it felt good.

The glycerin does give it a lubricious feel. I don't think the gin added anything at all and five drops, while it smells good, was not immediately the menthol burn I had hoped for.

But ...

Leave it a while and that gentle but quite perceptible tingle starts to build. Lovely as a pick me up after a shave with a mentholated cream or as a cool breeze following a non-mentholated shave.

So, there you go ...

Household aftershave, which I call Sprygg, the etymology of spry: lively, active, brisk.

Formula

75ml bottle of distilled Witch Hazel BPC (top up)
20ml London Dry Gin (4 tsp)
5ml Glycerin (1 tsp)
10 drops Olbas Oil

Options

Juniper essential oil as an anti-inflammatory berry top note ... 3-4 drops?
Lavender essential oil as a soothing floral mid-note ... 1-2 drops?
Tea Tree essential oil as an immune boosting cooling top/mid-note ... 1-2 drops?

Try out some options and let me know how it goes for you ...

09/10/2013

SOTD 09/10/2013


The Cult 'Love' on the decks and a bottle Beck's.

Tonight, I did things a little different ...

Routine

Hot Towels
Fitjar Shea Pleasure Cream
Pure Badger Brush
Merkur 23C - Personna 'Lab' [2]

Hot Rinse
Cold Rinse
Brut Aftershave Lotion

Later ... Recipe for Men Moisturiser.

Technique

Four Pass - WTG, XTGx2 Diagonally & ATG

Impression

Last night, I ran the Personna 'Lab' through my new Progress and really liked it. I did get two nicks.

Unsure as to whether it was the blade, the razor or technique, I ran the same blade through my Merkur 23C over one day's growth. No nicks at all.

I find it a nice blade; sharp, although not as smooth as a couple others that I've tried andwould say really clicked with: PolSilver Super Iridium and SuperMax Blue Diamond.

The major depart this evening was away from a pre-shave oil. I also tried out a new cream: Fitjar Shea Pleasure, courtesy of Dobbo25. Lovely lather!

To be absolutely frank, I missed the pre-shave oil. I like that slickness that it brings, but it was good to try without. The new cream was lovely, but did feel a little "stingy" afterwards. I've been using Ingram's so far,  and love the menthol which might well mask that stinging. I did feel more moisturised, though. Nice shave.

Splash of Brut Aftershave Lotion to finish ... it's the nearest aftershave I have to Beck's so it felt right.

Later, just a little bead of Recipe for Men Moisturiser which is absolutely fantastic! Anyone who suffers from dry skin after shaving, I can wholeheartedly recommend this. It's like you're not wearing anything on your face. No oiliness, no dryness; just right.

In all, a good shave, although perhaps a little disappointed in the blade - I really wanted to like the Personna 'Labs'. Time will tell ...

08/10/2013

SOTD 08/10/2013


No music. No drink - I'm going out shortly ...

Routine

Hot Towels
Nuage Men's Pre-Shave Oil
Ingram's Shaving Cream
Pure Badger Brush
Merkur 500C Progress - Personna 'Lab' [1]

Hot Rinse
Cold Rinse

Witch Hazel Old Spice

Technique

Three Pass - Setting 3.0 WTG, 2.0 XTG and 1.0 ATG

Impression

First go with the new Merkur 500C Progress and a Personna 'Lab' blade.

I got a good very good shave, despite a couple of nicks on my neck, one an ingrower that I'd not spotted under my chin and the other just in a complicated bit. Whether it was the new razor or the new blade, I don't know ... I enjoyed the blade and will try it out in my Merkur 23C.

I enjoyed the adjustable and found that I got a better first pass WTG using it dialled open to 3.0. In hindsight, that might have been a little harsh for a first run, but I like to live dangerously ...

Right, time to go and play with a different blade ... I'm off fencing ...

06/10/2013

SOTD 06/10/2013


Leonard Cohen 'Songs of ...' on the turntable and a glass of Duvel alongside.

Routine

Hot Wash
Massage with Billy Jealousy White Knight*
Nuage Men Oil
Ingram Shaving Cream
Pure Badger Brush
Merkur 23C - PolSilver Super Iridium [2]

Hot Rinse
Cold Rinse
Witch Hazel
Logical Skincare Recipe for Me Facial Moisturiser*

Samples supplied by Traditional Shaving

Technique

Modified Two Pass - WTG/XTG Face WTG/ATG Neck

Impression

Ingram Shaving Cream continued to impress me a lot! Nuage Men Shaving Oil, likewise. Love it!

Late evening shaves really are good finished off with simple Witch Hazel. Perhaps I should be looking for a really light toner. I think I'd enjoy some essential oils in Witch Hazel ... time to make my own?

Second shave with the PolSilver Super Iridium and I think it performed better. That is hard to distinguish, since this is my fourth shave with a safety razor and technique is improving ... one for the notes. Either way, the PolSilver Super Iridium delivered a close shave (certainly the closest yet) with no nicks or weepers. Perfect!

Tonight, being a blaze over a day's growth was more about pre/post-shave, enjoying a couple of sample products that I picked up from Traditional Shaving of Leeds, presently housed in the Grand Arcade.

Billy Jealousy White Knight was very nice - just a little citrus and just the right oiliness to massage in, soften the skin and prepare for a great shave.

Logical Skincare Recipe for Me Facial Moisturiser is good! It's a dry moisturiser, if that makes sense. After a hot rinse followed by a cold rinse and pat dry, massage in and enjoy the cooling sensation from the very light mintiness, thereafter the smoothness from a good moisturiser which is in now way whatsoever oily or sticky. It's like you didn't just apply a product ... but did. Impressed!

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