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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.