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!

Online

05/10/2013

SOTD 05/10/2013


Routine

Shower
Hot Towel
Nuage Men Oil
Ingram Shaving Cream
Pure Badger Brush
Merkur 23C - SuperMax Blue Diamond Platinum [1]

Hot Rinse
Cold Rinse

Witch Hazel

Technique

Three Pass

Impression

First. Wow! Ingram Shaving Cream is sensational! This is what shaving should feel like - the cool, invigorating menthol sensation builds up each successive pass and re-lather. I love it!

Second. The SuperMax Blue Diamond Platinum (Imported Swedish Steel) is the first blade I've really connected with; the first blade I've thought, "this is my kind of blade". Advised that blades are a personal thing and that I'll find my kind of blade, I get it now.

Post-shave was a good splash of neat witch hazel. Nothing more, nothing less.

Online

The Shaving Room

03/10/2013

SOTD 03/10/2013


Routine

Shower
Hot Towel
Nuage Men Oil
BBR Cream
Pure Badger Brush
Merkur 23C - Wilkinson Sword [1]

Hot Rinse
Cold Rinse

Brut Aftershave Lotion

... later, E45

Technique

2x WTG, XTG and ATG (Partial)

Impression

Less than a day's growth and yesterday's shave felt a lot closer than my first (see 30/09/2013) but perhaps more coarse when it grew out.

I might call today's shave the first of my regular shaves. Almost all of my cartridge issues are now healed up; just one healing ingrower and a scar from last evening's fun with a shavette.

Tonight, I tried a Wilkinson Sword blade. Reputed to be smooth, I certainly thought so. Quiet and not at all dragging, it did the job. I quite like the blade - it's not as sharp as the PolSilver Super Iridium that I used last night, but a million miles better than the Merkur that I used for my first DE shave.

Perhaps a potential daily blade which I could work quite quickly and with confidence; it gave a lot of feedback.

Tonight, I intended to avoid an ATG pass, simply trying out new things.

I did two WTG passes and one XTG pass. Moving to my neck, I couldn't help an ATG pass which moved up to my chin and cheeks. I left my top lip.

Hoping that a second WTG pass would give that closer shave, finished off with an XTG pass ... it wasn't so. More practice, perhaps. Meanwhile, I'm quite happy with an AGT pass and at the end of this shave had no soreness, irritation or blotchiness.

Splash of Brüt, which arrived today ... lovely!

02/10/2013

SOTD 02/10/2013


Routine

Shower
Hot Towel
Nuage Men Oil
BBR Cream
Pure Badger Brush
Sanguine R5 - Gillette 7 o'Clock Super Stainless (Green/Russian) [Hand Stropped]
Merkur 23C - PolSilver Super Iridium [1]

Hot Rinse
Cold Rinse

Witch Hazel Toner

... later, Old Spice Aftershave Lotion, then E45

Technique

Three Pass - SE WTG DE XTG/ATG

Impression

First shave with a straight edge which I took to very happily, really enjoying the control I had. One nick. Lesson learned and a timely reminder that I had a very sharp blade in my hand. Gillette 7 o'Clock Super Stainless makes a capable and to go blade for SE and DE.

Two days of growth. Straightforward and very happy with the result. The PolSilver Super Iridium blade was very sharp and almost silent.

Online

The Shaving Room