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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

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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.