Friday, July 4, 2014

What I've learned in 6 months of traditional shaving

I realized this morning that I have been shaving in a more traditional way for 6 months now.  It has been an enjoyable journey.  I wanted to take a few minutes and write down some of the things I have learned.
I really don't need too much stuff to shave every day.

Shaving cream and a brush feel really good on my face.
Using a shaving scuttle to have warm lather does not automatically  make one some sort of metrosexual.  Pampering is good, isn't it?
Simple soap, brush, blades and an old fashioned razor will get the job done.

What have you learned?

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Cutting down to the essentials

Wet shaving can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be.  I am in a phase in my life where simple is more desirable.  So I have cut down on my hardware - razors specifically - and decided to just shave with one razor for a while and see how I like it.

I decided I would use only the pictured razor.  It is a 1930's model New style Gillette razor.  It has an open comb instead of a solid safety bar but I have yet to cut myself with it.  I've been using it, or another one just like it, pretty much since the end of May and it always delivers a great shave.

I sent it off to Sport Shaving to replate it from tarnished, worn and chipped to its current shine.  Here is what it looked like before.  Not bad, but it could look better.
I'm sure its not true, but it seems to shave a bit smoother with it being all shiny.

Back to being simple.  All that is really needed is a razor, some blades, a brush and some soap.  Not 25 razors, 3,000 blades, 45 different hard soaps, 3 dozen creams, 4 pre-shave face washes and 7 pre-shave oils, alum blocks, witch hazel splash, aftershave balms, aftershave splashes and moisturizers. 

I wash my face with soap, make lather on my face using 1 shaving soap and my brush, shave, rinse, lather and repeat, then rinse off the soap and splash on some aftershave to tighten the skin and make me smell damn good.  No pampering, no metrosexual obsession with a "system" and what not.  I'm a man and if I must shave, I will do it right and not worry about anything else.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

7 a.m. Plus blade shave #2

The second shave with the 7 a.m. Plus blade was an uneventful shave.

Wow, blogging about shaving is pretty boring.  I mean, I shave every day, pretty much the same way, with the same tools and its pretty much the same....

But, man, does my skin look good!  And I smell good too!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Blade Sampler beginning

I ordered a sampler of blades from Joanna at The Shave Den and decided that I would start working my way through it.  It appears to have 3 each of 6 different blades.

I will be using each set of 3 blades in my Weber razor, my Gillette New open comb razor and in one of my Gillette Tech razors for shaving my head.

I think three different razors will give a pretty fair representation of how I might use the blades.  

Today's face shave was just fine, no surprises, no blood! and best of all, the blade was a non-issue.  It seemed to be sharp and smooth.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Making Lather

One of the key things to my enjoyment of wet-shaving and improving the quality of my shaving has been learning to make lather.  It has been a steep learning curve.  I have struggled with making lather with soap in a bowl or in a scuttle, but I am learning to add plenty of soap to my brush and slowly add a bit of water until I get a creamy lather.

I am mainly a face latherer.  This is where you actually build all of the lather directly on your face.  This really does a nice job of prepping the whiskers and it feels really good.  One of the keys is to make sure I have plenty of product on my brush.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Stainless Steel and Made In The USA

My latest and perhaps last razor is a Weber Polished Head DE.  I purchased it in late April from Weber Razor and I could not be more pleased after using it every day since I received it.  Weber Razor is a family owned and run business in Missouri and I think they do a fantastic job.  The razor did set me back $70, but I'm not sure if I need or even want to ever buy another razor again.

This razor has a nice weight and balance to it.  The blade guard is smooth and it seems to do well with about any blade I put in it.  I am getting consistently good shaves using it and I have not cut my face yet.  I did use it for shaving my head once, but it is a little heavy for my tastes for that.

The stainless steel seems to be flawless to my aging eyes.  The blade seems well centered and straight.  It is a 3 piece razor, so it is not complicated.

I like using an American made razor.  Weber continues the tradition of the old Gillette razors from back in the day.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Next up Soap - Tiki Set Sail Vegan soap

I have settled on my soap and brush for the next round of using up soap.  I received this Tiki Set Sail vegan soap (no tallow) from a new friend over on Badger and Blade and want to give it a full test.  Look for a review post in the near future.

I have an inexpensive boar bristle brush I purchased from Stirling Soap last month and have enjoyed breaking it in.  The interesting thing about boar bristle is that the tips will start to split and the brush will get softer with use.  This brush is almost there and I expect that a month of daily use will get it right where I want it.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Using Up Soaps

Amazingly, in the past 6 months, I've been able to accumulate more soaps and creams than is reasonable.  I would talk about razors and brushes, but I've bought too many and sold most of them.  I have 4 razors at the moment with plans to reduce that number to 3 in the near future.  And blades, well, I ought be good for a couple of years and regularly engage in trades and PIFs to reduce the load on the wall cabinet. But soaps, now that is another story.

I've been fortunate enough to receive at least 3 batches of soaps as the recipient of PIF's from other enthusiasts in the wet shaving community.  I have gifted some away and started playing around with the lathering arts.  However, I realized that I would not truly find out how a soap could do unless I actually used it for more than a day at a time.  You can see what I am up against here.

So, in mid-March, I joined in a group over at Badger and Blade that is committed to only using 1 soap at a time during any given month, unless you can completely use up the soap then you would start on a new one.

My first choice was a puck of Stirling Barbershop.

I forced the puck down into my Old Spice mug and started shaving with it every day.  It lasted 28 days of daily face shaving and every other day head shaving. 
Next up was a tube of Godrej Cool Menthol direct from a new friend in India.  This cream was fun to use and it made it for 3 weeks.

I worked in a sample of puck of Stirling Glacial Wintergreen for 3 days.  Then I added in a homemade sample from a member of The Shave Den.
This little guy actually made it for 3 days and did a nice job. 

Now I am into my last sample of a soap from The Shave Den store.  I expect it to make it to mid week and then I have to make a decision - go for soap or get after using up creams.  

I'll let you know what I am doing when I do it.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Update - Still Shaving and Still Enjoying it!

Yep, I'm still alive and still enjoying shaving in a more traditional way.  Pictured above is a set up I used exclusively for several weeks.  The Weber Polished Head stainless steel razor was purchased in April and has been a very nice addition to my assault on whiskers.  The Godrej shaving cream came from a Pay It Forward I received all the way from India.  The Vie-Long horsehair shaving brush is the main brush I used most days.  And Old Spice, well, I've been using it for a long time and I am comfortable with it.
I also use this Gillette Tech razor to shave my head.  I just figured out that it is a 1954 model!  That, unbelievably, is older than me.  I've started using Feather Hi Stainless blades in this razor and this makes for a great combo and always results in cue ball smooth head shaves with nary a nick to be found.
The other item I have added to my arsenal of shaving weaponry is a scuttle from Georgetown Pottery.  The idea around a shaving scuttle is to make warm lather by filling the outer chamber with hot water and making the lather in the bowl.  It seems to work quite well.  I had no idea I would enjoy warm lather, but I certainly do.

I'll try to update more often.

Monday, March 10, 2014

I've been using this old style technology for about 2 months now.  Shockingly, I'm shaving my face every day and shaving my head every other day.  Anyone who ever talked to me about time wasting habits would know that I've always considered shaving to be a massive waste of time.

Well, that has changed!  I'm not quite a traditional shaving evangelist, but I am close.  I don't really talk to people about it, but I will drop an occasional comment about getting a "damn fine shave" every so often.  I do encourage my child bride to feel my face at least once a day.
One of the constants in this new found enjoyable habit is this Old Spice Mug.  It is pretty old, older than me anyway.  It was manufactured sometime after 1943 and before the mid 1950s.  It isn't too big or too small.  It has nice crazing in the glazing and well, it just looks cool.  It was manufactured by Hull Pottery.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

New Brush- Riding a Horse!

Vie-Long 13061 

I made a final purchase this week (famous last words) of some blades and a Gillette Slim Adjustable and this new Vie-Long 13061 horsehair shaving brush.  Yes, it was impulsive, but it arrived and well, being a good product tester, I put it right to work.

Some of the real sissy face shavers just can't stand the smell of the horse hair brush.  It doesn't bother me.  I've been around horses enough to know that horse hair smells like, well, horse hair.  Don't be a girl about it!  I'm the father of 3 sons, so I am used to the smell of animals.

The Vie-Long is a little "scritchy" feeling when applied to your face, but again, what would you expect?  This isn't a make-up brush! It's a shaving brush.  I expect Ghengis Khan ripped the tails off horses to lather up before he shaved with some giant sword.  So I'm just carrying on the tradition of well-shaved barbarians! (insert appropriate manly grunting noises here in your mind)

I've used the brush about 5 times so far.  I've head lathered and face lathered and mug lathered with it.  The slightly stiffer hairs do pick up the soap rather nicely but I am trying to learn how much water is proper for the soaps.  It seems to want to hold more water than the boar bristle brushes I've been using, although "boar" may be an oversimplification.  I expect that "boar" hair also may come from sows, but that's a topic for another post.  Anyhoo, today I shook more water out of the well soaked brush before I started on the soap and ended up getting a much better lather overall.

So, on behalf of the well groomed marauder line of Ghengis Khan, I wish you all a great day and a great shave!
Weapons of beard destruction

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Trying the Parker SRB again...

What a way to start out my week!  Perhaps the best shave so far.  

I opened up the sample puck of Stirling Coniferous and pressed it down into my Old Spice mug.  I limbered up the Parker SRB and placed the Merkur 34HD in reserve.  Lathering was pretty easy and I soon detected the scent of southern pines around my face.  

I made a little more progress with the Parker, shaving both cheeks and jaws, cleaned up around my mustache and then down my neck on either side of my adam's apple.  I got a little jumpy when I got around my jugular so I put down the Parker and finished up with the Merkur.  I did 2 more passes then I squeezed the remaining lather from the brush and had it in my left hand and went chasing stubble on the back of my jaw and on my lower neck.  Much neck contortion was implemented and soon I was done.  Absolutely no prickles or missed spots anywhere!

I finished up with the Old Spice aftershave.  I've used Old Spice Cologne for years but have not used the OS aftershave for quite a few years.   It smells about the same, but the AS doesn't stay around like the cologne.  I'll have to add some cologne if I intend to seduce the Mrs.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Sterling Glacial - Mini Review

In a previous post, I mentioned that I received a huge package of soaps as the recipient of a PIF thread on the Shave Nook.  I chose the sample of Stirling Glacial to start out.  I've used the soap 5 times and have about 1 more shave to go before it is all done.

 I used it for 2 full head shaves and 3 full face shaves.

My initial impression upon peeling off the wrapping was that it smelled minty.  I also noticed that the soap was much softer than I expected, not that this was a problem.

I pressed the soap down into my shaving mug and pondered what I ought to do.  I decided to put a little water on it and let it set for a few minutes while my brush soaked.

When I took the brush to the mug, the scent of mint became much stronger.  It took quite a while to make much lather and the lather, while slick and creamy looking, seemed a bit thin.  I brushed it on my head for the first shave and my eyes started watering and my skin felt cold!  I finished up the shave in somewhat stunned cold silence.  I was impressed by how cold it was.

My subsequent shaves were very similar, however, I was able to get a thicker lather each time.  The last two lathers were augmented with the addition of a bit of Van Der Hagan glycerin soap with the thought that I might be able "thicken" up the lather.  I think it worked.  I also think that it cut the menthol and mint down just a bit as my eyes did not water as much.

All in all, the Stirling Glacial was a superb introduction to Stirling Soaps.  Stay tuned for the next installment when I review the next sample in line.

Gillette Weekender

SoTD - 2/22/14

Today's shave was not great.  Not bad, but not great.  This was my first use of this particular blade.  I can't say that I liked it.  Will try again tomorrow with better face preparation.

Gillette Tech
Gillette Super Thin
Stirling Glacial soap
Omega 31025 boar bristle
Captain's Choice Bay Rum aftershave.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Sort of straight and narrow

I purchased a Parker SRB shavette this week.   It takes replaceable blades.  I thought I wanted to give a try at shaving with it and see if straight razor shaving might be something I want to do.

I realized that I likely wouldn't want to do a complete 3 pass shave with the Parker, so I kept my Merkur 34HD handy.  I prepped up with a warm face wash and started soaking my brush and the Stirling Glacial soap.  I also soaked up my puck of Van Der Hagan glycerin soap to help cut down on the menthol eye burning. 

It worked!  I made a good lather in the mugs and painted up my whiskers.  I opened up the Parker and got going.  It really wasn't as hard as I expected.  I was fairly tentative but did not open any gaping wounds or cause any weepers.  I had absolutely no issues with using my left hand to shave the left side of my face.

After pass 1 with the Parker, I picked up the Merkur and finished up the shave in easy fashion.  I completed the whole shave with an application of Captain's Choice Cat O 9 Tails.  The combination of ice cold Glacial and the sting of the Captain's Choice made for a wonderful face feel.  I really liked it.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Stirling Glacial Shave Soap - Headshave

I mentioned in yesterday's post that I received a massive gift box of shaving and bath soaps.  I decided to give one a try tonight for shaving my head.

Stirling Soaps makes natural, tallow based soaps.  The samples I received are nicely sized and you can tell by looking at them that they are natural and handmade.  I chose the sample of Glacial for tonight's headshave.
I decided to use my Merkur 34HD tonight.

I was impressed by the "minty" smell when I removed the package.  The soap is relatively soft so I decided to press it into my Hull Pottery Old Spice #3 mug.

I soaked my Omega shaving brush in the sink for about 5 minutes while I prepped the soap and my scalp.  I then shook out most of the water from the brush and started swirling it in the mug.  I swirled for about a minute, adding drops of water as the lather developed.  It became thick and creamy looking and the brush appeared to have plenty of lather.

I then took the brush to my head to continue developing the lather.  I swirled, painted and slapped the lather on my scalp.  The lather was slick and thick and immediately the menthol in the soap began to cool my scalp. 

The shave proceeded smoothly.  I did notice that as I shaved away hair, the resulting bare skin felt really cold, almost stingingly cold.  That's not a bad thing.  I ended up doing a 2 pass shave, meaning I shaved my head completely, rinsed my scalp, re-lathered and shaved again.  I did not nick myself at all.  

I think it turned out very well.  

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Wet Shavers are so generous!

The wet shaving brotherhood (can I say that?) is really wild.  We all buy too much stuff and then feel the desire to share with others.

I won a little Pay It Forward (PIF) contest over at the Shave Nook late last week and this massive amount of shaving soap arrived in the mail today!  Apparently a group of wet shavers in the Austin, Texas area actually break the "virtual" mold and get together in person to talk about shaving and sharing their loot.  They brought together a bunch of stuff and put together 2 similar sized giveaways.  I happened to be fortunate enough to win this one!

I have no idea about the retail cost of this, but it is huge.  And, Bob covered the postage cost to boot!

I hope to give a few mini reviews of each product as I try it out and use it up.  That ought to cover the next several years!

Better go start shaving!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

SOTD - 2/18/14

Quiet shave this morning.  No issues at all.  Paired a Gillette Fat Handle Tech with a Wilkinson Sword blade and it worked well.  The tech is a nice razor.  Face lathered the soap sample and got along fine.

Monday, February 17, 2014


Anytime I take up a new hobby I tend to hit it really hard and engage in a little purchasing overkill.  My medicine cabinet is filling up.  So I have put together a kit for a beginning wet shaver.   Here is how you can enter:

  1. Leave a comment to any post on this blog
  2. Indicate that you are in by posting on this thread over at The Shave Nook
  3. Have a CONUS mailing address
The winner will be announced here on February 22.  

So here is what I am giving away:
  • 1963 Gillette Ball End Tech
  • Van Der Hagan boar bristle brush and bowl
  • Full bottle of Kroger Brisk after shave
  • 98% full bottle of Pinaud Clubman - classic barbershop scent
  • Unopened puck of Provence Sante shaving soap
  • 3 boxes of Astra, Gillette and Wilkinson Sword blades
Good Luck

Sunday, February 16, 2014

SOTD - 2/16/14

The house is cold this morning, so I thought I would just keep the cold theme going with the C.O. Bigelow shaving cream and the Proraso Green aftershave.  It turns out that the Bigelow soap is made by Proraso for Bath and Bodyworks so it all matches up very well.  I didn't realize that I liked menthol and eucalyptus so much, but I do.   Face lathering this stuff will cool down my face and neck pretty quickly.  Cheeks are cold!

I prepped by soaking my brush in hot water in the vintage Old Spice mug while I showered.  After the shower, I rubbed a bit of the Bigelow cream onto my face and neck and then went after it with the well shaken brush.  After about 20 seconds, I dipped the tip of the brush in water and went back to brushing.  About 30 more seconds and I was ready to shave.  I made 3 passes today - N to S, W to E and S to N which is similar to with the grain, across the grain and against the grain or WTG, XTG and ATG.

I used my Merkur 34C HD razor this morning, coupled with a Gillette Silver Blue blade.  I've tried the blade in another razor and was not impressed, but my opinion was certainly changed today.  The pairing of Gillette and HD were awesome and I got a great close shave.  I really like the weight of the razor and it just seems to glide nicely.  The blade never tugged or caused any issues.

The aftershave was just fantastically cold as well.  Absolutely no stinging anywhere.  I guess I got a good shave.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Shave of The Day - February 15

One of my motivations for this blog is to keep track of what I am shaving with and how it works.  So I will be doing an occasional "Shave Of The Day" post.  I hope to write compelling copy and take some decent photos to go along with it.

So let's get going!

February 15 SOTD

Today I used the following:
Razor: Gillette PreWar Fat Handle Tech
Blade: Gillette 7 O'Clock Super Platinum
Soap:  RazoRock for Captain's Choice
Brush and Bowl: Van Der Hagan starter set
Captain's Choice Bay Rum aftershave

I received a sample of the shaving soap from Captain's Choice when I purchased the aftershave and was not sure how much to use.  As you can see, it appears I may have used enough, but upon shaving with it, I'm not certain.  It didn't really last on my face, but the shave was fine.  I added some more soap to my bowl for the 2nd and 3rd passes and still did not have a long lasting lather.  It felt slick but not very cushioning. 

Regardless, good shave to keep my day going.  Can't wait to shave again tomorrow!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Welcome to my Wet Shaving, Old School Double Edged Razor blog

Well, I have a new "hobby". Don't laugh. Its known as wet shaving or perhaps more appropriately as traditional wet shaving. Yes, that's right, someone decided that trying to enjoy the everyday thing that most men have to do and quite honestly, hate, ought to be a new type of pastime. I have found many message boards, forums and websites dedicated to the pastime of shaving using soap, brush and old style razors. Apparently I caught the bug.

Here is my disclaimer. I have been shaving my face for more than 35 years. I have pretty much hated this daily obligation for most of my adult life. I have worn a variety of facial hair features from a full beard to a goatee to a simple mustache. The mustache has been pretty constant since I was 19 years old. I've used double edge razors, 2, 3 or 4 bladed cartridge razors, and electric razors. From my first shave at age 14 or 15, I've always used some sort of canned shaving cream, gel or the like. I've fought ingrown hairs, razor burn and piss poor shaves. I grew beards to avoid shaving. When I didn't have a beard I would typically shave every 3 to 4 days, if even that often. I hated it!

This all changed right after Christmas 2013. I purchased a couple of DE razors and shaving set-ups for my two grown sons for Christmas. I looked it all over and thought I might want to try it out myself.

I purchased a starter set from a vendor, Garry at Badger and Blade and got going. The kit included a razor,some blades, an Omega boar bristle brush, a sample of soap and some aftershave samples. I read a great many threaded discussions at B&B, The Shave Den and The Shave Nook while I waited just a few days for the starter kit to arrive and was good and ready to get rolling.

If you must shave and have not used a brush and some soap to prep your beard for shaving, you are missing out. I think just the soaping up of the face is worth it. It feels so good. The shave with a DE razor is really nice as well, even if it takes a little longer than scraping a 5 bladed monstrosity across your skin, but the shave from my DE is smoother and lasts longer.

I think I received my starter on January 6. That first shave was a little sketchy and left me with a little blood in a few places on my face. I let my face recover for 1 day and I proudly say that I have not missed a single day of shaving since then! That's right, I even shave on the weekends.

I also shave my head pretty regularly. I started using the DE razor to shave my head about 3 weeks ago and I really like the smoothness of my scalp when I am done.

Here is what I used today. Pretty simple set up. Prewar Gillette Fat Handle Tech razor, Gillette Silver Blue blades, an Omega boar bristle brush, Williams Mug Soap and Captain's Choice Bay Rum aftershave.

I don't know how often I will post on this fledging online journal. I don't know if anyone will find it. But if you do, please say howdy in the comments!