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Monday, October 1, 2012

Musgo Real - New Scents

I was running out of Musgo Real shaving cream, which is my favorite by far, so I had to put in an order with Bullgoose Shaving for some more. 

That's when I found out that MR has released five new scents.  Orange Amber, Spiced Citrus, Lime Basil, Lavender, and Oak Moss, in addition to the classic.

Curious, I went ahead and started doing some research on the new flavors.  Without being able to nail down anything too specific, it started to look like Oak Moss (pictured above) was the way I wanted to go. 

But, if I have learned anything in researching shaving creams, aftershaves, colognes, and any thing else that's scented, it's this: everybody's taste is different.  What I love you may hate.  What you call the second coming I will call the next going.  Nothing that I can think of is as individual as one's personal taste and distaste.

Bearing this in mind, I ordered a tube of the classic scent as well, one that was proven the only way it can be - by personal use.  I am SO glad I did.

On the morning after it arrived, I opened up my tube of Oak Moss MR Shaving Cream and lathered it up.  It looked like MR, it lathered like MR, certainly it FELT like MR; but good lord, the smell.  I scraped it off my face with my razor for the first pass, gave it some thought, then opened the classic scent.

In case you didn't catch it, I didn't even finish my shave with the OM MR.  The scent that so many swore by on Badger and Blade was a bust for me.

Don't take this as a reason not to try it, because Musgo Real is a damn fine shaving cream.  And like I said, you just might love it.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Vidyut Supermax


I tried these blades out last week.  I've been in a rut as far as trying new things - I guess I really like what I've been using (lately it's been Nacet blades, Musgo Real cream, plus my other staples) so much that I haven't wanted to deviate from the norm.  But if we don't try new things, we can never have new favorites, right?

Well, that's not what happened here.  I wasn't impressed with the Vidyut's performance - I ended up with quite a few nicks and had to do an extra pass to get the shave I expect from my Nacets.  These were such a ho-hum experience, in fact, that there is little I even care to say about them.

I keep trying to find new blades that are as good as Nacets (if not better) but I'm not having much luck.  There was a type of Gillette that my pal Joe gave me to try... it was an absolutely superb shaver, but I can't for the life of me remember what it was.

Hopefully I will have a review of those up before long.  In the meantime, it's back to Nacets.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Blade disposal

I tend to use my blades maybe four to six times before they get too dull for an effective shave.  At this point they tug rather than cut the hairs and are uncomfortable.

Generally I remove the blade from my razor and drop it in the trash.  Recently I was out in the sticks, and didn't want to leave the blade lying around, so I put it in the front pocket of my Dopp kit to dispose of later.

Then I completely forgot about it.

A few weeks later, I was emptying out my Dopp kit and felt something in the front pocket (it turned out to be a pair of tweezers).  I reached in to pull them out and my finger nail caught the fabric, tearing it a little.  I jerked my hand out with a mental "WHAT THE HELL?!?" and stared dumbly at my split nail.  Being more careful this time, I reached in again, and cut nearly half of my finger nail off.  It was as painful as it sounds.

It wasn't the fabric catching my nial (duh); it was the used blade I had forgotten about.  It decided to remind me.

So I carefully removed it, tossed it, and examined my injuries.  My middle finger nail was cut about halfway across and halfway down.  It sucked.

So, I began looking into ways of safely getting rid of blades, when I found these:

I found a few on Amazon for three to six bucks.  There are vintage ones too, that look like lighthouses, barber poles, UPS trucks, snowmen, and who knows how many other things.  But you could always make one like the tin can example above.  The idea is to have a place to store them that they won't spill out of and won't cut through.

There are plenty of good reasons to do this; I will cover two. 

One, you can be sure what happened to my finger won't happen to yours, or anyone else's in your family - this is especially important if you have small children in the household.

Two, the blades are made of high quality steel.  Keeping them together like this makes it easy to recycle them.  You won't likely get any money out of it, but it's thre right thing to do.

Plus, if you get one of the vintage banks, think of the style and character you can add to your shave den!

Friday, August 3, 2012

I'm back

Sorry for the downtime everyone; work and school have kept me quite busy. I have been sorting through some information to put on the blog, so have a little patience and there should be some new posts soon.

Thanks for looking!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Gilbert Henry Bay Rum

I received this bottle of Gilbert Henry Bay Rum from Chris Paczewitz, co-owner of the Gilbert Henry Company. I found it waiting for me at home and couldn't wait to give it a try. The company has the kind of start up story that I love to hear - he couldn't find what he was looking for, so he made it himself; some trial and error later, and we have the final product above.

This morning I went through my regular shave routine, but substituted the GHBR for my regular Art of Shaving Sandalwood Aftershave. The scent was perfect - not overpowering, not too sweet, just the right balance of bay rum and citrus.

The application was a surprise. It went on smoothly, but there was zero greasyness to it, and my skin felt very clean afterwards. It was almost a sort of powdery feel when I put it on.

My original attraction to theArt of Shaving was not only for the quality of their products, but the story of the companys creation, very similar to Gilbert Henry. The difference is that AoS was bought out by Proctor and Gamble. I don't have a problem with that, but I enjoy supporting a small business with a great product.

It looks to me like the Gilbert Henry Company is just that.

For more information on the company or their products, check them out at

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Shaving in space

I was fortunate enough to make it to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum the other day. I made my way to a section displaying a bunch of Apollo 11 mission equipment, such as suits, survival gear, video equipment, cameras, and even a few personal items.

Among those personal things, donated by Astronaut Michael Collins, was this:

That is a Gillette Adjustable Razor and a tube of Old Spice Shaving Cream.

The Adjustable is a single edge safety razor; it was available in any drugstore at the time, as was the Old Spice.

I was pretty surprised to see a safety razor in the Air and Space museum; just thought I'd share a bit of shaving and aeronautical history.

Edwin Jagger Best Badger Shaving Brush

I had heard a lot of chatter about how much of a difference a good shaving brush makes. I didn't know first hand, since most of my shaving was done with a boar hair brush someone gave me.

I received an Edwin Jagger for Fathers Day. It's a Best Badger with a faux ivory handle, and it is all I have used since I took it out of the box.

Imagine the difference between driving a Maserati and a Pinto. That's about the feeling.

The brush lathers so much better than my boar brush that it isn't even possible to do a fair comparison. The lather these guys on the shaving vids on Youtube get? I can do that now. With far less effort, I get way better results. I can stir up a mountain of cream in no time, and it stays ready until my last pass. Plus, it's much softer and comfortable on my face.

One problem I have with this is that I need to reevaluate all my soaps with the new brush. So far I have only used Lavanda and Mikes.

Honestly, though, this isn't a problem I mind having. I'm looking forward to trying everything again and seeing how it all works under new circumstances.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Mikes Natural Soaps

Sorry it's been so long since I posted last. I've not tried too many new things, but I have been working with a tin of Mikes Natural Soap (Orange, Cedar and Black Pepper, although I have a tin of Lime as well).

This stuff is handmade by the proprietor in Brooklyn, NY. According to his website, he started doing this because he was tired of buying sub-par shaving creams.

It is made with tallow, vegetable glycerin, lanolin, and a host of other ingredients that are really good for your skin. For more information, just google Mikes Natural Soaps - you'll find it.

At first I was using my Boar hair brush. The lather was decent as long as I didn't over/under hydrate it (if its underhydrated, you will see a lot of bubbles in the lather. Add a little more soap and lather up until that stops). But the results I was getting weren't near what I'd read about, or seen in videos on youtube.

Then I got an Edwin Jagger Best Badger Brush for fathers day, and tried the soap with that. Apparently a good badger brush was the missing link.

Lathering is now on par with what I expected when I first received the tin. The soap gets very slick and creamy, which is what you want, of course. I don't pick up much of the cedar or black pepper in the scent - mostly just the orange. The shaves are great, but I have to be sure to use a decent blade, as always.

After using this for about a month my skin is looking healthier and smoother. The ingredients in the soap are largely to thank for that, I think.

So, in conclusion, I give this soap my highest reccomendation. It will be really hard for me to switch up soaps; I really like Mikes. I suppose when the first tin runs out, I'll give a month to another brand, then come back to my Mikes Lime tin. That should give me a good basis for comparison.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Shark Super Stainless Blades

My latest trial from the sampler pack was Shark Super Stainless Razor Blades. I think there are several varieties of Shark blades - these were the ones in the yellow box and wrapper.

They do the job and do a reasonable job of it. I found that the second and third shaves are the best, for some reason. But I hadn't found the shave to be as smooth as some of my favorite blades; the usual problem areas seemed to be even more problematic, and my neck was irritated more than with other blades.

I'm going to give these ones a down vote. There are quite a few people out there who will swear by them, but not this guy... so it's off to the next blade.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


There are a lot of sites on the internet that you can go to for information on wet shaving.

One site I really enjoy is Badger and Blade. The forums there are so full of good information, good links, good supplies and good people that I haven't been able to scratch the surface after more than a year.

If you have a question, it's likely been answered there. If not, ask! Someone (several someones, in all likelyhood) will be along shortly with some clarification.

If you want to get started in wet shaving, B&B has advice, tutorials, vendors, reviews, links, and a buy/sell/trade marketplace where you can find absolutley anything you'd need.

Check it out at

There are plenty of other fine shaving forums that I haven't explored yet, so I can't give any recommendations for them. But you should be able to find one or several that suite you.

Another great site is Youtube. There are so many videos on wet shaving I don't even know where to begin. The subjects cover the entire range of knowledge, including face, bowl and palm lathering; shaving creams vs sticks vs soaps; badger (and grades thereof) vs boar vs horse vs synthetic; straight, single edge and double edge razors; blades and strops and hones and techniques and...

Well, you get the idea.

Once you have decided on what you want to get, some vendors I have used include BullGoose Shaving, The Italian Barber, West Coast Shaving, and Mikes Natural Soaps. I have had great experiences with each of them, and I am affiliated with none. I get no kickback for guiding anyone to them, I'm just telling you how it went for me.

One thing there doesn't seem to be a lot of is brick and mortar stores (as opposed to internet storefronts). The area I live in is an absolute barren wasteland as far as B&M stores go. I did get to go to Merz Apothecary in Chicago, which has so much stuff geared toward wet shaving that it's almost overwhelming.

If you are in an area where you can find a shop like that, by all means check it out - the advantage of being able to see, touch and smell the things you are thinking of buying is incomparable. Especially if it's colognes, aftershaves, scented soaps, etc. There is no way to know how you will like a scent based on someone elses review.

Mikes Natural Soaps

I have been eagerly anticipating the arrival of my shave tins from Mikes Natural Soaps. Everything I've read about Mikes products have been positive. The ingredients are like a whos-who list of skin replenishment, including tallow, lanolin, shea butter and glycerin, among others.
His soaps are made the old fashioned way, and he makes them in his (limited) spare time.

To learn more about Mike or his products, go here:

Obviously I have yet to try it. My Lime and Orange, Cedarwood & Black Pepper tins were waiting for me when I got home. Needless to say this will be part of tomorrows shave (sorry Musgo Real).

I am also looking forward to using this with both my boar hair brush as well as the badger brush that should be arriving soon. A soap like this should be a pretty good sounding board for how different the brushes themselves lather.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Gillette Silver Blue

Joe gave me one of these to try out. I was a little reluctant after my 7 OClock experience, but in the spirit of the scientific method I figured I would give it a fair shot on the roster. I'm glad that I did.

I found the Silver Blue to be a very mild shaver. Not so much so that I have to make extra passes, but it certainly is forgiving, and might be a really good beginner blade.

I've got about three or four shaves with this blade so far, and it's still comfortable and close.

Like the Astras, these are made in Russia. The quality of the steel is good, but the price is a bit high end.
I'm not sure that they would be in my regular line up, but I wouldn't pass them up if I found a good deal.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The First Shave

Note: this was supposed to be published a while back. I just now realized it didn't go up, so bear in mind that this is an older post.

My first wet shave was a little over two weeks ago. I had to use Edge Gel since it was all I had at the time. The brush arrived later.

My 40s Super Speed and a Dorco blade were my weapon of choice. I followed The Routine, and it was one of the best shaves I've ever had. A minor nick or two, nothing major.

I must admit, though, using the styptic pencil on a nick is akin to holding a lit match to your face.

Astra Blades

A friend of mine and blog follower gave me one of these to try out. I heard good things about them, but I'd heard good things about Derbys too, and look how that went...

Anyway, I'm on my second shave with them, and I think I may have found a replacement for my beloved Nacets. This blade has, so far, been a smooth and consistent shaver; zero issues with excessive nicking (although I did catch my lower lip this morning - operator error, not equipment malfunction), no tugging or pulling, just a smooth easy shave. For a bluebeard like me, that's pretty important. I'm also experiencing zero irritation, something I had been battling for the last week or so. I managed to smooth down the left side of my jawline, which had been another consistent problem - but that's a technique issue for another post.

From my research, I've learned that these are nearly as sharp as Feather blades, which is a little scary, but last longer. I don't tend to try to get a long life out of my blades right now; partly because they are so inexpensive as it is, and partly because I want to try more types.

Produced by Proctor and Gamble (Gillette), they used to be made in the Czech Republic. Now they're made in Russia. You can pick up 100 of these for about $15.

I noticed that when I opened this blade there were two little glue spots on the blade that held it inside the wax paper. I haven't seen this on any other blade I've tried, but it doesn't seem to be an issue. I haven't heard of any quality control problems either, like I've been hearing about my Nacets, so I'm pretty sure this will be on my "to buy" list.

Merkur Trimming Razor Pt 2

I got one of these yesterday as a birthday gift. It came with a small pack of razorsmade by, of course, Merkur.

I couldn't wait to try it out. So, this morning, I did.

I prepared myself in the usual manner (see The Routine) and went to work with my '67 and an Astra blade over Musgo Real shave cream. I used the trimming razor on the first and third passes. It worked brilliantly, making easy work of the small, hard to get to areas right under my nose. The wider side seemed to work a little better, while the smaller side was a little difficult to get proper placement with.

The blade wasn't the best - there was a lot of tugging and it almost felt like dry shaving. I think this might have had to do with my technique though. I will be using this daily so I will have plenty of time to refine my methods.

It is also easy to misjudge the angle with this because the head is sort of oddly sloped. Once I get used to it I don't think it will be an issue.

If there were competing blade manufacturers for this razor I'd jump at the chance to try them out, but I'm pretty sure Merkur is the only company making them (it is their product after all).

So, minor blade dissatisfaction aside, the Merkur Trimming Razor is everything I hoped it would be.

Trimming Razor - day 2

Still a bit of pull and tug, but it seems to be limited to the initail pass with this tool. It's still a little hard to figure its nuances as far as blade angle and such, but it does an admirable job of clearing the moustache area.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Derby Blades

I heard good things about these and was looking forward to trying them out (I had a pack in the sampler that I bought).

I won't be using them again.

These delivered one of the worst shaves I've had yet. It wasn't that I felt a lot of tugging or pulling, but the action was definitely not smooth, and my face was alternately raw or rough in various places.

It may come down to the type of razor you use or personal technique. Either way, these don't fit my style.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Musgo Real

My tube of CO Bigelow was running low, and I figured it was time to try some new products. This made my list based on rave reviews from multiple sources.

Musgo Real is a product of Portugal, and has been around for over a century. It's made with lanolin and glycerin, which helps the razor glide over your skin, and keeps your face moisturized afterwards.

I noticed right off how quickly it lathers - I had to work a bit for Proraso/CO Bigelow. Musgo Real lathers fast and it lathers big. It's a little difficult for me to gauge the necessary water requirements for this stuff, but so far the shaves have been really nice. 

The scent is unusual - not perfumed, but sort of earthy. I don't mind it at all; it's a nice break from the usual.

I'd like to try this product with a badger hair brush; from what I've seen it makes a massive difference in the amount of lather you get and how well the brush applies it to your face.

Anyway, this is a good product, and has my full recommendation. It's fighting tooth and nail for a spot on my list above Proraso, and it might just win.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Feather, Day 2

Today I was able to shave without distraction. With my once used Feather blade in hand and The Routine completed, I lathered up some Col Conks and CO Bigelow and went to town. I ended up with a nick or two but nothing major, and nothing that really bled. My neck isn't as raw this time either. I'm not sure how to quantify the amount of sharpness lost on a blade, and I have no idea how much less sharp the once-used Feather blade was, but it was a better shave today. In the interest of utilizing the scientific method, I will have to have a situation that I can reproduce in order to compare results. Therefore, I am considering this my first test shave with a Feather blade, and will have to have at least two more tries with a fresh blade to know how this product works for me.

So aside from the tiny nicks, my face feels pretty raw. I had to go over a few rough patches after my third against the grain pass, and didn't relather for that. I think the problem is the angle that I'm holding the razor. It isn't consistent, causing me to miss spots and have to redo them. I've been working on this by changing my grip and trying to focus on the blade angle but I haven't eliminated the problem yet.

I'll be shaving with the Feather blades the rest of the week, at least, so I will publish the results in following posts.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Feather Blades

Feather blades. Made in Japan, a place known for many a legendary blade. It is accepted that they are the sharpest Double Edge blades available, the only product on par being Iridium blades - which are no longer in production.

Surely you could understand my reasons for putting off a test shave with one of these.

Well, this morning I had no time obligations. I slept in, ate breakfast at 10 a.m., and took a shower around 10:30. As I prepared my '67 Gillette, I considered dropping in a brand new tired and true Nacet Platinum. Then I thought about my blog. Not much to write about if I never try new things.

Well, the damned things live up to their reputation. They are sharp. I had one good cut that bled steadily for a good while. My neck was irritated and a bit bumpy at the end of the shave. I had high rough patches on my face. But this isn't entirely the fault of the worlds sharpest DE. I had company in the bathroom.

My bathroom is pretty little. One pedastal sink is all we get. On weekends my little boy likes to "shave" with me, using some lather and a Spongebob toy razor. So he and I shared the sink and went about trimming our beards.

Then my Dad showed up, and wanted to watch the bonding. Then my woman came in, and wanted to know what was taking so long. I began to hurry. Soon after, I began bleeding. The obvious lesson here is, respect these blades. They bite.

So my first Feather shave was a bit of a disappointment. But I've only been wet shaving for a few months now, and Feathers are recommended for advanced shavers only. Maybe I jumped the gun.

I will reattempt a shave with the Feather blades tomorrow without the distractions, but to be honest I'm looking forward to switching back to my Nacets.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Superlather is a term used by wet shaving afficcionados to describe a particular method of lathering. This method involves a shaving soap, a shaving cream, and traditionally, a bit of glycerin (which I did not have). In a nutshell, you lather up with all three. Obviously, theres more to it than that.

First off its best to use a fan shaped brush, rather than the 'tree in full bloom' shape. And you want a lot of water in the brush, so don't shake it out too much.

Bearing all this in mind, I started by aggressively lathering my Conks Bay Rum Shave Soap. It's important to get a lot of soap in the 'breach', the area in the very center of the hair knot.

Once I got a good lather going, I put a little bit of Proraso Red into my lather bowl with a bit of water and worked that up. With the Conks already on my brush, I had a really fluffy, thick lather in less than a minute. At this point I guess you would add the glycerin, but like I said, I got none.

I applied the lather to my face and started my shave. It was amazing. The single smoothest most comfortable shave I have had yet.

That was yesterday.

Today I did it again, but had a little too much water in my mixture so it wasn't quite as good. But it was still magnificent. If glycerin would make it better, I might have to invest in some in the near future.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Ogallala Bay Rum

Well, my sampler pack from Ogallala came in.

While there were several varieties of scents to choose from (see my previous post), I only liked this one. But I like it a lot.

It has a nice strong Bay Rum scent without being overpowering. Its like Clubman BR without the kick you in the face first impression.

The sampler is pretty small, so I'm going to have to order the regular bottle soon.

That is another thing I like about it - the bottle. A lot of companies don't take any pride in packaging anymore. Ogalllala does, and it shows. The cobalt blue bottle looks good, and it may be enough to get me to switch to that over the tried and true but plastic bottled Clubman.

Prorasso Red

I finally recieved this in the mail. I have been looking forward to using it - Proraso shave cream and sandalwood: two of my favorite things in one! It had to be a win-win.

So use it I have; 1.5 times now, actually.

The first time I brought it to work with me so I could shave after my morning workout. They let us shower and shave after, so its not like I was ducking work. I went ahead and started taking out my supplies: Razor, check. Proraso Red, check. Aftershave, toner, face wash, moisturizer, check check check check. Brush and lather bowl, check che- aww hell.

Yes, I forgot my lather bowl at home, and had to improvise. There was nothing there I could find to use, so I ended up lathering up in the palm of my hand. No the most ideal situation, but what could I do?

The lather was a little too dry, as I expected, and seemed a little 'heavy' on my razor. But the shave went off just fine. No nicks, no burn.

The scent was great - I was not dissapointed in the sandalwood; I must admit though, I missed the menthol in the Proraso Green.

It wasn't the best shave I've done, but it wasn't bad. I figured I'd just chalk it up to the missing gear.

So this morning I tried again, at home, with my lather bowl. I performed The Routine as always, and broke out the Red. One thing I've noticed is that Red is a little runnier than green. I have to squeeze thre Green out of the tube; the Red almost falls out on its own. I don't know why this is, or what is so different about the formulas. I think I will order a bonefide Proraso Green next time, and see if maybe the difference is CO Bigelow vs. Proraso (although from my understanding the only thing that changed is the packaging).

So anyway, back to this a.m.'s shave: I got a nice lather out of the Red, and set myself to smoothing out my face.  I made sure not to over/under hydrate the soap this time. I applied it to my face about three times (once per pass). Again, it seemed that it was a little 'heavy'; by that I mean it thickened up and sort of gummed up my razor a little. Overall it wasn't bad, but it didn't seem as smooth as the Green.

Post shave I was a little bit raw, perhaps because I don't have the menthol as a buffer. The shave was decent, and I like the smell of the product.

I'm going to continue to work with it and see if I can get the kinks out. So far though, Proraso Green keeps the crown.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


I heard a lot about this as a classic shaving scent (Google it and you can find all kinds of opinions on it). I decided to try it out and ordered a small tube like the one above.  It cost me about $10.

I don't know how to decipher a scent into its high, midrange and bass notes; I can only tell you if I like it or not. I like this.

It's a little strong at first, but fades away after a while. It's a nice, masculine scent but maybe a bit too floral for me.

According to the misinformation superhighway, the scent is not the same as it used to be. The old formula was more of a tobacco scent (Tabac is french for tobacco) and the new stuff is completely different. The same argument is out there for a lot of "classic" scents, Old Spice for example.

If these "classics" are indeed new formulas in old packaging, then it really isn't a classic at all. The principal of this annoys me, but if the cologne/aftershave/whatever works for you, I guess it doesn't matter.

Monday, April 9, 2012


I'm convinced that Nacet Platinum Blades are the right blades for me. After having tried Dorcos, Wilkinson Sword, Gillette 7 OClocks, and some others that I'm forgetting, these are by far the best fit for my face.

They might not work for you; you might hate them and curse my name for ever mentioning them. But therein lies the lesson: you have to find what works for you.

Blade/Razor/Cream combination is a very personal thing. You are likely to have completely different results with one set up than the next guy. This makes it hard to suggest a good starter set up for someone, unless you know what products are the most forgiving for beginners.

Of course, some things are probably just universally awesome (like me, for example). But I have yet to find out what those items are in the shaving realm.

Too bad I will have to move on from the Nacets for a while. I need to keep trying new things or I won't have anything to write about! Of course, it gives me a good base for comparing different hard soaps, creams and razors.

I think my next blade will be a Feather. Mind you, these are extremely sharp. They are generally recommended for experienced shavers. I'm going to try it anyway. If I never post again, it may be that I bled to death on my bathroom floor from a nick I got from one of these. Hope you hear from me soon.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Merkur Trimming Razor

Someday I will own this. It is absolutely perfect. It is a very small razor that is designed for trimming beards, moustaches, and eyebrows. All I need it for is the little tight corners under my nose - the very upper edge of the moustache that is almost impossible to get with a cartrige blade and very difficult with a Safety Razor. It wouldn't get a whole lot of use, but it would be used every day. Whoever thought of this needs a Nobel Peace Prize (since they just hand them out anyway).

Col Conks Redux

I gave the Col another try this morning. After a practice run last night, I realized my lather was too hydrated; to fix this I made sure my brush was shaken as free of water as possible, and the lathering bowl was empty and dry. I got a really good lather going pretty quickly, but it was still a little to "wet" when I first applied it. I hit the soap again for about 20 - 30 seconds, then back to the lathering bowl, and then my face.

The difference was night and day.

The lather was thick (whereas before it was thin and very bubbly - a sign of over hydration), slick, and of course, smelled great.

The shave took me longer than usual, and I had to make three passes total. That surprised me since I had shaved the day before, and growth was minimal.

Overall I think I was right for not giving up on the good Colonel. It might be a bit much for someone just starting out, but once you learn how to lather its a great product.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Follow me!

Feel free to click the "Follow" button on the upper left... it won't send you a bunch of emails or notifications if you tell it not to, it just lets me know there is someone other than me reading this.

Slow Down

Thats what I need to tell myself from time to time. 

The whole purpose of this style of shaving is to take your time, do it properly, and not be a slave to the clock. Tell father time to sit in the car and wait until you're ready.

Sometimes I get rushed, or rather, I allow myself to get rushed, and I end up scraping up my neck or chin. I need to get into the zone and let the rest fall away.

This morning was a good example. I was doing just fine, then for some reason got to thinking I needed to hurry it up. Scraped my neck all the hell up. If you have ever had to use a styptic pencil on a nick, you know that it should be enough to keep your hand steady while shaving - GOD that stuff burns. I might as well stab myself in the face with a soldering iron.

I did manage a decent shave the rest of the time though... I'm still convinced that the Nacet blades are made for my face.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Col Conks Shave Soap

This was a writeup that I messed up in the first few days of this blog. I meant to repost it but forgot, so here you go.

This was given to me by a generous member of Badger and Blade, a web forum that discusses the finer points of wet shaving, among a few other subjects.

I was told to put it in a small dish and microwave it for a short time. That way the soap melts into the dish and doesn't slide all around when you try to lather it up with your brush. I used a little wood bowl that we had sitting in the cupboard. It was a perfect fit.

Now bear in mind that I haven't used this since my first few wet shaves. I had a devil of a time getting it to lather up properly, and still haven't figured out what I was doing wrong. I have heard others swear by it, but they were far more experienced than I and really knew what they were doing.

So, my issue was the lather. I couldn't get it going. I watched youtube vids, read instructionals, practiced ad nauseum, all to no avail. I may have better luck now; I can't say I'm ready to give up on it yet.

The thing I love about the Col's soap is the fantastic Bay Rum scent. I am very hard to please when it comes to Bay Rums (see previous post) and this one was nothing short of magnificent (to me, anyway; you might hate it). Thats another reason I don't want to give up on it. I would love to have it in rotation with my C.O. Bigelow.

Aw, hell, now I've talked myself into it... I'll give it a shot on Wednesday, and let you know how it goes. Hopefully we will see some improvement.

Ogallala Bay Rum

I ordered a small sampling of Bay Rum aftershaves and colognes from the Ogallala Bay Rum web site. I have yet to be sold on anything other than Clubman (I've tried Dominica, and sampled Captains Choice, Royall, and several others that I can't quite recall). I'm not the best at describing scents, so all I can tell you is I like Clubman, didn't care for the others. They weren't exactly flowery, but too much... bay leaves? Cinnamon? I don't know. I need someone who can "read" scents better to pinpoint it for me.

I haven't tried Ogallala yet. They have several different styles, including regular Bay Rum (cologne and an aftershave - separate products), Bay Rum Limes and Peppercorn, Bay Rum and Sandalwood, and Bay Rum, Sage and Cedar (all aftershaves).

I don't actually have high hopes for this; mostly because of past experience. But I will give it a shot. I'm not sure what the Limes and Peppercorns will be like (or any of the others for that matter), but the Bay Rum and Sandalwood is piquing my curiosity. This is due to the fact that I love both of those scents (albeit from only one manufacturer apiece), and am looking forward to checking out a combined scent. The Sage and Cedar sounds promising as well.

Unfortunately, my olfactory tastes are so complex that I don't even understand them, so this may be a total bust.

If you'd like to check it out for yourself, here's the link:

My stuff

It occured to me that the things I use are pretty under represented on this site. I aim to correct that.

Lets start with the Razors.

I have three Gillettes - a Fatboy, a 40's era Super Speed, and a '67 Super Speed.

The Fatty:
Note the numbers near the head of the razor - this is the adjustment dial.The lower knob twists to open the butterfly doors.
The '67:

This isn't mine, just a picture of a similar razor.
And the 40's (Gillette didn't mark specific years of manufacture until the 60's I believe. Correct me if you have better info):

This is also not mine. Just a picture of the same type. This one is much cleaner than mine.
The brush I will have to take an actual photo of - more on that later.

The lathering bowl:

I picked this Cappuccino mug up at Target for $4. It does a decent job.
C.O. Bigelow Shave Cream:
This has been the most successful cream for me so far. I really like the Menthol in it.
AoS Peppermint Face Wash:

The peppermint really helps give you a kickstart in the morning. I love waking up to this scent.
AoS Toner:

Toner is a vital part of keeping your skin healthy. Google it now, thank me later.
AoS Sandalwood Aftershave Balm:

This is the stuff that kicked off my personal shaving revolution. Once I tried it there was no going back.
Lucky Tiger Moisturizer (that's right, I kick it old school.):

Good stuff - been around since the '30s I think...
And of course the Bay Rum:
This is what your Grand Dad's barbers shop smelled like. I told you - old school.

So apart from the things I can't add photos of yet, that is my set up. The razor blades will be added on an as used basis.

So there you have it. Add a bathroom sink, a washcloth, and my face, and you have my complete morning ritual.

The '67

This morning I decided I would use my 1967 Gillette Super Speed. I don't know why I got that idea in my head, but I'm glad I went with it. This morning was one of my best shaves yet. 

I used a new blade in this as yet untested razor, and it seemed like a good time to put a new set up to the test, since there aren't many people at work on Mondays (I don't have the luxury of deciding I want that day off). 

The blade was a Nacet Platinum:

Once again, there was no rhyme or reason to selecting this blade, other than it was in the sample pack I recieved.

Todays shave was, I believe, my best results yet.

How much of that was due to my set up, and how much to technique, I can't say. I did, however, pick up on a problem I've been having with lathering - namely, not getting enough lather on my face before starting. I think my lather has been a bit too dry too, lending to the blade skipping over my face instead of gliding smoothly over it.

Whatever the problem was, I am happy with todays results. Aside from my usual rough patches (angle of the jaw and the jawline), it's an amazingly smooth and pain free shave.  So much so that I am reluctant to move on to other blades, but then, I wouldn't have much else to write about, would I?

I will try a Nacet next week in the 40 Super Speed, and a different blade in the '67. That should give me a good gauge on the performance of blades vs. razors.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Wilkinson Sword Blade

I tried a Wilkinson Sword Blade in my Super Speed this morning. I can't quite put my finger on it, but something about this blade makes me not like it. It's not bad, it does the job just fine without too much irritation or hassle. Maybe I'm just overthinking it, because the shave was okay. Not great, mind you, but okay. I'll give it a week and see what I think of it then. I didn't mess with the Prorasso soap today, I just stuck to the proven C.O. Bigelow cream instead. A few rough spots, but no real nicks. I want to get those rough patches gone, and without having to shave my face raw. Maybe the WSB just isn't the right blade.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


So this morning I tried my Proraso Aloe and Green Tea shaving soap. It comes in a small tub about the size of a coffee cup, and I think it ran me $10 at Merz Apothecary in downtown Chicago.
I started with The Routine, of course. When I went to lather the soap, I noticed it looked like whipped cream. Fortunately it was more solid than that - it has the consistency of ice cream fresh out of the freezer.

I began lathering it up and the scent hit me. I wasn't quite sold on it - my first guess was lavender (I hadn't actually read the label when I bought it). A little bit flowery for my taste, but not overwhelmingly so.

The soap lathered fairly easily once I transitioned to my lathering bowl, but I'm still trying to find a balance between enough soap and enough water to keep it slick. I was a little concerned while it was in the bowl, but once I had it on my face I was pretty much reassured.

The lather went on thick and smooth, but my mixture was a little dry. This wasn't a major issue, as I didn't end up with any more nicks than usual (one or two, and they were pretty little). Still, I want to find the right fit for this particular soap and see how it performs at peak efficiency.

I like the Prorasso cream (the kind that you squeeze out of a tube like toothpaste) so I have high expectations for this soap. Hopefully my novice hands will be able to make it happen.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Fat Boy

Go on any wet shaving forum, and browse the buy/sell/trade section.  There will be all manner of razors, blades, soaps, creams, brushes, etc etc etc. Do a simple search in said section of the forum for a Fatboy.

What you will see is Gillette's highly prized Fatboy adjustable double edge safety razor. And you will see that it has been sold.

The Fatboy, you see, is perhaps one of the most popular and sought after Safety Razors I have seen. If you catch one on sale for a price you can afford, buy it. I assure you, if you don't like it, you will find a buyer. Quickly.

It's a very nice design, as DE Safety Razors go. Beefy yet sleek, simple but complex. The thick handle is topped with a twist to adjust dial, crisply numbered from one to nine. The bottom of the handle is a twist to open knob, which, at the other end, opens the top butterfly doors like a missle silo. It is here that the blade is placed.

Generally it sports a chrome finish, but can also be found in brass and rhodium. Mind you, rhodium plated razors are stunningly beautiful, as well as the most costly of the lot. If I aquire one, I don't know that I'd actually shave with it so much as admire it from a modest distance.

It is beautiful, markedly masculine in a category of manly items.

They are prized razors, usually selling within hours of a posting, fetching $35 to $300 or more, depending on the finish and condition. With its dedicated following, I knew I couldn't go wrong with one. A garden variety "user grade" model will go for about $50 on Ebay, which is about what I paid for mine. I couldn't wait to try it.

So I went through the regular routine, using my boar brush and C.O. Bigelow shave cream (which has yet to fail me). I dropped in a brand new 7 O'clock blade, battened down the hatches, and went to work.

The first pass at setting 4 knocked a little of my stubble down, but there was still quite a bit to go. No problem, I still had a few passes to go per my normal routine.

Next pass, not much better. I turned the knob to five. That didn't help. Not at six, not at seven. Or nine. Or one. No setting on my newly acquired Fatboy was doing the job. My whiskers were winning.

I had now spent over twenty minutes just on the shaving portion of my routine, when usually the whole process, start to finish, takes that long. And I still had very noticable stubble. Something was wrong here.

I was now running late to work. I had to get this shave over. So I reached for my trusty 40's vintage Gillette Super Speed, and the job was over in one pass.

I don't yet know what went wrong. I am investigating this curious set of circumstances, but have been limited by time and availability of a decent digital camera. For all its wild popularity, the Fatboy can't just be another pretty face. I am going to find out why I'm not getting a shave with mine, and post the solution (and pics) here.

Monday, March 5, 2012

The Routine

This is how I prepare for my shave. I like to make sure I have enough time to get it done without rushing.

First and foremost, I heat the soap and brush by placing them in hot water while I shower. I use conditioner on my face to soften the beard, then wash it with Art of Shaving Peppermint Face Wash.

Getting out of the shower, I dry off (not my face) and reheat the soap dish/brush. Then I apply a hot washcloth to my face and soak it for a few minutes.

Not my mirror. Not me in the mirror. I don't have a decent camera or camera skillls at the moment, so this will have to do.

After that I begin lathering the soap and apply it to my face.

Now the shaving begins.

I learned quickly not to use hot water to rinse the razor, since it's all metal head heats up fast. Warm water is good.

First I shave with the grain, then re-lather and go across the grain, then re-lather and go against the grain.

Afterwords I rinse my face thoroughly, splash it with cold water to close the pores, and use a toner, after shave balm (on areas I shave), moisturizer (on areas I don't shave), then apply a styptic pencil to any nicks I have. If I think of it (I should more often), I apply a little bit of lip balm at this point. Usually I forget.

A little splash of Clubman Bay Rum, if I'm in the mood, or maybe some Michael Jordan, and I'm done.

My Stuff

I am using a 1940's vintage Gillette Super Speed double edged safety razor. I have another Gillette Super Speed from 1967. I bought the razors for about $12 including shipping on Ebay.

My brush is a Boar bristle of unknown make that was given to me by a generous member of a forum I belong to.
I bought a stand for my razor and brush for $40. For my Col Conk's soap I use a small wooden bowl I found in the pantry, and lather up in a cappucino mug I picked up at Target for $4.
Some C.O. Bigelow (aka Prorasso) shave cream cost me $10, a can of Prorasso cost me $9, and I was given a puck of Col Conk's Bay Rum shave soap.

I ordered a sampler pack of razor blades, too numerous to list here. I will name them off as I use them. The cost was around $30.

And of course the scents and skin care:

Clubman Bay Rum. Very inexpensive and smells like an old fashioned barber shop.

Art of Shaving Peppermint Face Wash. Awesomesauce.

Art of Shaving toner. Unscented, good for the skin. Tightens the pores.

Art of Shaving After Shave Balm, Sandalwood. One of my favorite scents and a fantastic after shave. Very soothing.

Lucky Tiger Moisturizer. Old school goodness.

Michael Jordan cologne. Smells as good as he plays.

Once a week I use french green clay mask to clean my face thoroughly. Its inexpensive and very effective.

So I'm off and shaving. Bear in mind that I have several soaps and blades to experiment with. Once I figure out what works best for me I'll cut the recurring costs down substantially. Especially when the occasional after shave or brush pops up for a birthday or Christmas ;)