Month: May 2015

Fougere Fridays May 29th, 2015

What an excellent way to end the work week ! I’ve been neglecting my ritual of using a Fougere scented soap on Friday’s, but today I used easily one of the best made. Fougere Imperiale a rich, and robust Fougere that without apology loudly proclaims its earthy “Fern” like attributes with that dank oakmoss earthy base and livened up with floral top notes, this is a sublime representation of the style, and I would say not for the weekend Fougere lover, but the head first expierenced veteran who loves a “darker” earthy representation. 

  
As far as the remainder of the hardware it’s near impossible to beat the quality and feel of a Thater brush when it comes to quality brushes. Today I used the 4292/4 a 24mm 2-band knot set in Cocobolo wood with silver accents. This brush while 2-band is set to be soft on the face, stronger backbone than Silvertip, but with a slightly scritchier feel. The Dovo Bismark without question is one of the best razors ever made, iconic actually. The Bismark at 6/8, shoulder less with thumb notch and very ornate gold wash and a pearl effect to the scales make this razor a pleasure to use, as always YMMV on all I said here; to me this was a top shelf shave.

   
 
Finished off simply with Barrister & Manns Fougere Tonique, and a simple Fougere balm I made myself, the shave was complete ! But overall I was not finished until I used what I feel is a very appropriate EDT, Azzaro by Azzaro Fougere which while a bit more floral than the soap mellows into a wonderfully close aroma as B&M Fougere Imperiale. Completely top notch to end the week ! Shave on everyone. – Aaron 

  • Pre: hot shower with Dermalogica daily microfoliant
  • Soap: Barrister & Mann “Fougere Imperiale”
  • Brush: Thater 4292/4 2-Band 
  • Lather type: American Stonecraft bowl
  • Moustache: Handlebar
  • Wax & Pomade: Lockhart’s & G2B Phe
  • After Shave: Barrister & Mann “Fougere Tonique”
  • Fragrance: Azzaro Azzaro

SOTD May 27th, 2015 “Sherlock”

Awesome SOTD with some new scents, and long time favorites ! Simply awesome. Wonderful soap, no one will argue the post shave feels and great lather from Mitchell’s Wool fat, the After Shave from NevermoreBody  co. Was brand new to me and a gift from a fellow wet shaver Josh from our Facebook group. Awesome scent mostly like raw honey but had back notes of orange blossom and pepper like spice, but very subdued in he mix. The Nathan Clark custom was just that, custom to my likes but the Envy knot is worthy of mention I have never had a brush with such amazing backbone. The backbone is not for everyone and makes 2-band brushes look weak, but for the chosen who love those soft tips and ample backbone this is the knot you want. Finally the Thiers-Issard “Spartacus” delivers a wonderful shave every time; though it’s getting close to refresh time. All said this was my best shave this week ! Again simply awesome.

   
   Pre: hot shower with Garnier face wash

Soap: Mitchell’s Wool Fat

Brush: Nathan Clark custom with Envy fan knot ” “orange burst”

Razor: Thiers-Issard “Spartacus” in faux tortoise scales

After shave: NevermoreBody co. “Sherlock”

Fragrance: NevermoreBody  co. “Sherlock” cologne oil

The five P’s and never assume anything

What the heck am I talking about ! “This fool, is throwing multiple letters at us now” How dare he !…. I can see it already LOL ! Well I learned that this acronym the Five P’s should be pretty much in one of the Gospel…., and if you read close enough you’ll see them, but I doubt they are called the five P’s. Okay I’m done with the riddles so stick with me. Proper, Prevention, Prevents, Poor, Performance.  There I said it. and I failed at doing so, hence this post.  Oh and I’ll get to that “never assume” part soon enough.

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The best way I can paint this picture in our world of shaving is by example. Now the first word

  • Proper – well this can mean a lot of things in our world from not holding a razor blade on the sharp edges, to how we care for our skin post shave. There is a proper way, and for each of us this is where the most YMMV actually comes to play. So this “P” is a personal journey… I can only say use common sense or, ask someone’s advice and they will tell you the proper advice, and way to do something. The one thing traditional shavers love to do is talk about the “Proper” way things are done.

 

  • Prevention- Take care of your gear ! the reason and for our benefit, a lot of those vintage razor we buy and spend a bit of time cleaning up or, sending out for repair, refurbishment; was a direct result of the previous owner not using simple preventative measures. Dry your razor before storage, use a light oil to lubricate moving parts, strop that straight razor, oil that strop !!! either by hand or, neatsfoot oil !, and finally yourself ! yes I said YOU ! before you shave do you take all the steps to prevent a poor shave ? Have you mapped your facial hair growth ? do you benefit from a pre-shave oil or, cream ? Does your skin work better with a hot shower or, cold water and a great lather ? If you plan the end result before you start, the road map to shaving Nirvana is not out of reach; actually this step pretty much makes everything else go smoothly including your face.

 

  • Prevents- well read above you’ll prevent the next step.

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  • Poor- Well,  I over 25 years of traditional shaving have heard everything from the razor, to the blade, to water, and a foggy mirror blamed for a crappy shave ! Well sometimes we learn more from the bad then we do from the good. A poor shave should always be analyzed.  First step… Check were you proper to your needs, did you set your self up for success (Prevention)… you just experienced poor….so what went wrong assuming everything went smooth above. Did you try a new blade, a new technique like J Hooking or, buffing ? was the Astra SP you love on shave 2 still being used 10 shaves later ? Well you just found out that was preventable….. was it a new blade ? try another of the same brand, were the results still poor ? Move on you just learned what to prevent in the future, write a little note mentally stay away from brand “X” it does not work in “This” razor, but is great in another. Set yourself up for great,  not poor.

 

  •  Performance- Well this is the last “P”. There is an old saying “a good mechanic” does not blame his or, her tools (being politically correct here), when a job turns out poor. These previous mindful steps will determine your performance. Only you can decide how optimal your shave or, in the bigger picture your life is performing. I bet if any of us, myself included; took 5 minutes before a shave, and actually thought from the end to the beginning and then begging to end we can force ourselves to find those little way or, tweaks that will bring that “performance level” up at least a bit.

 

Next time you shave, or better put have a mediocre shave, was it one of these 5 “P’s” that was the culprit, and if so did you learn from it. Finally these last few words.

 

NEVER assume anything….never assume, because a Personna Med Prep just came in and the blue wrapping is fully sealed; that the blade is sharp. Maybe it’s a dud, try another one, inspect the blade and razor. If you’re a Straight Razor shaver never assume just because the razor is shave ready that it is….I say this as more than once my opinion of shave ready was different from the person who sharpened it up. Trust me on that one 95% at least of straight razors are not shave ready; what they are is sharp enough to cut a single arm hair…..all hair is not created equally. Recently I bought a straight razor…..beautiful as all can be, and I paid for what I expected to be a sharp blade. Well it shaved, but left irritation, razor bumps, and weepers every time I used it;  “It must be me”.  So I did my check list….and I was just baffled. Finally I said after a few horrible bloody shaves, let me put this razor on a 12K stone than some CrOx and mindful strop it well; this is called refreshing a blade, a minor form of honing. Don’t assume anything !! this razor is now the most comfortable in my rotation. It did not have a rolled edge or, really any wear as it was a new razor…. it was preference ! one mans sharp is another’s dull…..from a business sense it’s better to be dull, and go sharper then be too sharp on sensitive skin, I do “get” that. So in Proper Prevention when I order a razor now everyone knows I prefer the blade on the ultra sharp side, and never be afraid to tell your distributor your preferences in all things you will both benefit from an honest relationship on expectations. Same holds true for you DE and SE shavers… do NOT assume that a Feather Blade because it is “So sharp”, because you read it on a Facebook forum is the right blade for you…..or that the newest heavily marketed razor that claims to shave like a much more reputable brand is going to work for you. This is called marketing, and trust me you can convince yourself a piece of thin aluminum is great for you if you hear, and see it enough times. Do NOT assume anything, critique things with your own good judgment not mine, nor Facebook as people have motives, not all, but some,  and you jut don’t realize it. In the case you do enjoy that product..Soap, Razor, Blade, After Shave……. do not forget your 5 “P’s” use what you like and use it properly, and you will have great performance almost all the time. Shave on and thanks for listening to the rant !

Aaron

SOTD: May 15th, 2015 “Refreshed”

Simply a great shave, nothing fancy at all, but I was proud of this shave ! It was unique, special and memorable for a few reasons.

  
How many of us by things…. Anything, it does not even need be shaving related, and it sits ? “It was a good idea when I bought it” ! Well I bought a pretty full hone set,  going from 220 DMT’s and Norton 220k/1000k  to flatting stones and 1k-2k 4K/8k and finishing stones made by Norton and Shapton, and from Naniwa 12k as well as chromium oxides and Diamond sprays which are equal to about 30k ! I never used them; there was really just no need until now ! The wanna be razor doctor was in the house. 

  
So I prayed a LOT ! As I did not want to ruin my blade, but wanted to be self sufficient, I easily could have sent my razors to Lynn Abrams or Don Addleman, and slept easily, but how do I become a better shaver by doing that ? I don’t. So I watched a few of Lynn’s video’s and the moment of truth came….. And guess what ? The world did not end and actually it worked ! My razor felt like it was brand new again to the point I did not even feel the blade ! I had to check the lather for stubble or, I wouldn’t have believed it was shaving. I had no idea how dull the blade was until I sharpened it, so guess what ? What was originally a scary process; became three razors doing a simple 12K and 30K refresh on synthetic stones ! I was proud; what is it 20 razors and I become a Honemeister ? LOL !  

  

  
  
I have a ways to go, and I’m happy to go slow and enjoy the learning process ! I may pick up some “project razors” to learn to reset a bevel doing the circle method, learn to double bevel, and run pyramids all the way trough finishing the razor like I did here. Learning and being self sufficient is all part of the game, so shave on, don’t be afraid it’s only a razor; just do your homework first. Shave on folks and happy Friday- Aaron

  • Pre: Clarisonic Aria normal brush and hydro cleanser 
  • Prep: Hot shower and Nivea face wash
  • Super-Lather: Cella & GFT Almond
  • Brush: Simpsons Duke 3 in best badger
  • Razor: Ralf Aust 5/8 in faux ebony scales
  • Lather: Scuttle
  • Moustache: handlebar
  • Wax & Pomade: Pinaud Black & Reuzel Red
  • Post Shave: Cold water rinse & cold towels
  • After shave: Pinaud Classic Vanilla
  • Balm: RazoRock R160

SOTD: May 8th, 2015 SJOL “Black Pepper & Lime”

Simply a great shave of the day ! If not mistaken this was the first SE razor I’ve used this far in 2015 my favorite Ever-Ready 1914. Simple and straight forward, but amazingly complex and huge scent from St. James of London “Black Pepper & Lime” , and what an amazing lather produced with the Simpsons CH2 synthetic, I really could not ask for a better way to end the week ! Reviews on all are soon to follow; all of these items are just to great not to talk about.  Shave on everyone & lets get the weekend started ! – Aaron 

 

  • Pre: Clarisonic Aria with sensitive brush and hydro gel.
  • Prep: Hot Shower with Cremo face wash
  • Cream: St. James of London “Black Pepper & Lime”
  • Brush: Simpsons Chubby2 Synthetic
  • Razor: Ever-Ready 1914
  • Blade: GEM SS (1)
  • Moustache wax: Pinaud Brown
  • Pomade: Hairbond “Distorter”
  • After Shave: Royall Lyme
  • Balm: St. James of London “Black Pepper & Lyme” gel
  • Fragrance: Le Couvent des Minimes “Eau des Minimes” EDC 

Meißner Tremonia “Strong “N Scottish”

Today is long over due, and I have been meaning to get this out there for at least a month now, but as they say “life gets in the way sometimes”. I’m really excited to talk about today’s soap as it is the “Other” Meißner Tremonia  soap I have used. I had stated in my review of “Dark Lime” from Meißner Tremonia; I felt each of their soaps had a specific skin type in mind when they were made. I also complimented German products as some of the most stringently controlled and tested products in the world, be it a car, boiler, or shaving soap I do not feel they cut any corners. So lets get to it, and talk about some suds !

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Packaging – As with the other offerings from Meißner Tremonia I felt like I was more opening a box that would contain jewelry or, some other precious item. The packaging was for a refill that as you can see in the photo above, is encapsulating the soap in a foam protective form fitted case. The actual box is like I said nothing to say lightly, this is thick; not your typical thin refill box. The label is fairly basic in design but says a lot… it is that German minimalist thing, less is more and the box, basically says Finest Shaving soap with Scotch Whisky and Wool Fat. Keep that in mind down this review a bit. The back also lists a very different ingredient list than “Dark Lime”, again I believe each soap is intended for a specific skin type. We will get to that in a moment. So as far as packaging goes; don’t throw these out, I can think of many things worthy of the protection these boxes can be used for or, recycle them. Either way we are off to a good start !

Scent- This is a very love it or, hate it scent I will not sugar coat that. This is where that back label starts to tell us a lot about what to expect for the scent. The third ingredient is Whiskey ! the other two before it are just an oil and a hardening agent stearic acid as well as both NaOh & KOH salts to make this a shaving soap. Further down the list, but more potent in aroma you see types of wood like Cedar wood, and Juniper wood tar and Lanolin ! These all play a role in the scent you will experience. I would describe this a believe it or, not “like” a smoker used in smoking barbecue ! Similar to a southern pit that is smoke, wood, and most of all whisky ! instantly I was thrown back as I expected to smell only Scotch Whiskey, and that just is not the case. So in this department, I have to say if you were to blind buy this you may be saying “what the heck did I just get”. Please do not think I am saying it is a bad aroma, actually, I am saying it is way more complex then just whiskey….this is a smokey, woodsy, and whiskey scented soap where these scents blend wonderfully to create what most whiskey lovers would probably find to make a very fine libation. Do not drink this soap……I promise a different result from actual whiskey will ensue.

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Lather-  Again different soaps for different skin types and this is evident again by simply reading the back label ! The lather is absolutely on par with some of the best soaps I have used. If I was to compare it to it’s same brand “Dark Lime” I would describe the two as complete opposites, “Dark Lime” was wonderful so don’t misinterpret my words, but “Strong ‘N Scottish” was more my type of lather ! Cushioning is an understatement, easily no matter what brush or, water type I threw at this soap it was fairly consistent; Thick, Creamy, and aromatic with the scents mentioned above staying with the lather throughout the shave. Also worthy of mention is the reddish tint to the lather, which is mild and easily seen while making the lather as a result no doubt to the red clay they use (again on the label) I found it unique. Post shave this lather left my face super soft due to the lanolin that is in this specifics soaps formulation. I believe we are all starting to see with this brand each soap is formulated differently, where as “Dark Lime” is great for oily skin, “Strong ‘N Scottish” is meant to leave your face fully moisturized. It does however omit the Shea butter that is in other offerings. Just my opinion, but I’ll take Lanolin any day.

Slickness/Glide- What can I say here….. it is fairly straight forward. I would have to say aside from Scent, this is the only other place YMMV. For me as a primarily straight razor shaver, Glide is without a doubt your number one concern. Meißner Tremonia  has done an adequate job creating a slick soap…I can’t really say much more, except, make your lather properly ! Too much water or, too hot of water will make this a thinned out mess that is rendered sub- par, not enough water, and you will have an airy and again sub-par lather with little to no slickness. I always recommend start drier, and add water to your desired consistency. With a DE or SE razor….I would think you would get great results fairly fast, and without much thought. I am not a DE shaver nor, do I put little thought into shaving with a straight razor held to my neck ! I make sure the lather is slick as can be, and this soap absolutely delivers ! Just take your time to “learn” the soaps nuances, once you dial it in there are few soaps that I find commercially that will come close to  Meißner Tremonia “Strong ‘N Scottish”.

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In Conclusion-  No matter how slick or great a soap performs, you need to enjoy using it; on the most basic of level. That most basic level are two things “Do you like how it smells” you don’t want to gag through your shave, and “Does the lather hold up” no razor burn ! So based on this, same as with other offerings by literally every soap maker, there is a place in someone’s den for a Smokey Woodsy and Whiskey soap ! I would personally find this a great winter or fall fragrance as it just feels like that to me. Many could argue it reminds them of barbecue, and they would be 100% correct. Scent is subjective and to my senses I found this soap to meet the mark that I would say it’s worth a try, but remember the dominant notes ! this is not a mint julep !

Secondly the lather, as said above and again every soap has its own ways, and this is no exception. I found this soap when started a bit drier and worked into a rich & creamy lather with tons of glide was simple ! 2-3 minutes and I was on my way to a BBS shave !

My last thoughts to convey are pairings being this is such a unique blend of scents is what to use for an aftershave. Well you have a few options. My first reaction is to make sure you know Meißner Tremonia makes after shave splashes and lotions. They unfortunately do not say “Strong ‘N Scottish” or, “Dark Lime” though what they do offer will compliment their entire range of soaps as all the after shaves have a wood note combined with beer or, wine etc. or, even a unscented version. I am a fan of unscented with this particular soap as its just that unique. If you wanted to get adventurous a fine musk or, even a Bourbon infused bay rum will work well with this….Just don’t rub Scotch whiskey on yourself….. try explaining that to the police !

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Would I recommend this- YES , but please judge the soap against itself not it’s name as this is a very complex soap with way more than whiskey in its vein.

You can find Meißner Tremonia  at these distributors

www.straighrazordesigns.com

http://www.meissner-tremonia.de/

 

SOTD: May 5th, 2015 “Cinco de Mayo”

To a traditional wet-shaver, the act of shaving often is much deeper than just a mundane task;  of removing stubble from your chin or, how fast can “I get this over with”. For the great majority, it is a very personal, and unique experience to each of us;  be it the connection to our forefathers, or mothers as the case may be or, as deep as a connection to remember the loved ones;  we have lost over the years. Today I dedicate my shave to my late Great Grandparents that raised me. Today they would have been 100 and 101 years old….I actually have razors older than that……yeah we collect as well 🙂

I of course had a mother and father, but I was so close to my Great Grandparents, and Grandmother I lived with them, I have a penchant for traditional ways, and continuing the “old” ways lest they go the way of the forgotten road.  Now to get to the chase, and also to be a bit personal I lost most of my family by the time I was 28, a mere 10 years ago….this is how I choose to honor them, and remember all they have taught me.

Traditional shaving is not for everyone, but those who connect; it is a intense love for the art. All this said there is no need for me to elaborate on the gear……it is trivial. I would however again say this is dedicated to my family who both were born May 5th, 1914 & 1915 ! one year apart on the same day. What were the chances.

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  • Pre: Clarisonic Aria with normal brush & Hydro gel cleanser
  • Prep: Hot shower with The Body shops Tea Tree face wash
  • Soap: Tabac
  • Brush: Semogue 830 boar (fully splayed and beautiful)
  • Razor: Vintage Dubl Duck “GoldEdge”
  • Lather type: Face and Bowl hybrid
  • Moustache type: Handle bar
  • Wax & Pomade: Lockhart’s & Reuzel Green (medium hold)
  • Post Shave: Cold water rinse, alum
  • After Shave: Tabac splash lotion
  • Balm/Other: RazoRock Zi’ Peppino & Alt Innsbruck Emulsion combination
  • Fragrance: Penhaligon’s Opus 1870

SOTD: May 4th, 2015 “SJOL Cedarwood Clary Sage”

Happy Monday everyone ! Unlike many things in this world straight razors; are one of those things, when properly cared for get better with age. I’d add wooden stringed instruments, and paintings to that list as well. There is just something to the feel of a vintage straight razor that is nearly 100 years old, and delivers a close and comfortable shave. The old time construction just lasts and they had pride in their craft; My Vintage Boker 1056 is no exception.

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Our Vendor of the month St. James of London is another one of those products that takes pride in their craft since 1953 ! A Creighton’s made brand, this cream whilst brushless; when you use a brush excels and even IMHO creates an exceptional lather that left me with a ample cushion and tons of glide. I find the aroma unique as it is called Cedarwood and Clary Sage; which is very obvious, but there is a citrus note that really brightens things up, as well as a grounding fragrance that is masculine and exudes confidence.

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Great shave today, Enjoy your days all, and of course Shave On ! – Aaron

  • Pre: Clarisonic Aria with deep pore brush and cleanser
  • Prep: Hot Shower with Jack Black’s “Face Buff” fine grit face scrub
  • Cream: St. James of London “Cedarwood & Clary Sage”
  • Brush: Marting custom silver tip badger
  • Razor: Vintage Boker 1056 straight razor
  • Lather type: Scuttle
  • Moustache type: Handlebar
  • Wax & Pomade: PPF original & Murray’s Xtra Heavy
  • Post Shave: Cold water rinse
  • After Shave: Ogallala bay rum, sage, and cedar (great compliment to the cream)
  • Balm: Aveeno fragrance free after shave lotion
  • Fragrance: L’Occitane Bavx

SOTD: May 3rd, 2015 “My Sunday Shave”

Happy Sunday everyone ! That’s the good news, the bad is tomorrow is Monday; so let’s make the best of the day. Today’s shave was excellent, I’ll be the first to admit I find French point razors to be the most unforgiving blade for me, but today not a single problem, and simply a smooth shave.

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As far as artisan soap makers I’ve made no question I love Barrister & Mann as they truly have unique fragrance as well as outstanding performance, and this is rare as usually artisan soaps while some are great are “safe” and fall into that “safe” Bay Rum, fruit, mint, or very recognizable fragrances. Barrister & Mann is not that soap they do NOT play it safe William Carius the owner/soaper behind B&M soaps is aside from a excellent soap maker, a true artisan perfumer that creates unique blends that push that envelope, I consider B&M a “true” artisan soap in every sense.

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Combined with that Thater 4292/4 2-band brush set in a beautiful Cocobolo wood handle I had an effortless shave and great face feel and cushion. Thater brushes are hard to beat unless you have a custom brush made, but factory made Thater sits pretty much at the top 3 brush makers in the world, of course YMMV, and this is my opinion though I know many a traditional shaver that also set Thater as the bar to compare all others.

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Everyone thanks for spending a few moments with me, so enjoy your Sunday, and as always Shave On !

  • Pre: Clarisonic Aria with normal head and cleanser
  • Prep: Hot shower with Musgo Glyce “Amber” pre-shave soap
  • Croap: Barrister & Mann “Cheshire”
  • Brush: Thater 4292/4 2-band silvertip set in Cocobolo wood
  • Razor: Ralf Aust 6/8 Shoulderless French point straight razor with ornate spine work
  • Lather type: Bowl
  • Moustache style: Handlebar
  • Wax & Pomade: Fire House Dark & O’Douds Heavy Hold Vegan all natural
  • Post Shave: Cold water rinse
  • After shave: Barrister & Mann “Cheshire” Kyovu
  • Balm/Other: Anthony Logistics ingrown hair treatment
  • Fragrance: Dark aged Patchouli applied to pulse points

SOTD: May 2nd, 2015 “RazoRockin’ with my Boker SS”

Great shave today ! I’ve used a lot of soaps and creams throughout my 24 year tenure as a traditional shaver, and as far as “artisan” or, in this instance sub-contracted soaps RazoRock has never once let me down. Today’s choice; going with that unique Captain’s Choice bay rum scent made by RazoRock I had nothing less then a completely smooth shave with one of the best bay rums on the market (discounted as of 5/2/015), and literally sealed the deal with Captain’s Choice Cat O’ Nine Tails after shave: Feel The Burn ! None of this would be possible without great hardware like my Boker 6/8 Silver Steel honed by the true Honemeister himself Lynn Abrams, and of course one of my favorite brush’s of all time the Simpson’s X2L “Colonel” this was the brush that changed it all for me; Thanks a lot Simpson’s/Vulfix now I have Brush Acquisition disorder 🙂 ! Great way to start the weekend, Shave on everyone ! – Aaron

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Pre: Clarisonic Aria with normal brush and hydrogel cleanser

Prep: Hot Shower with Clinique face bar for oily skin

Croap: RazoRock “Captain’s Choice” Bay Rum

Brush: Simpson’s X2L “Colonel”

Razor: 6/8 Boker Silver Steel

Lather type: American Stonecraft bowl from Smith’s Cheese farm

Moustache type: Handlebar

Wax & Pomade: Joe Grooming compound & Shiner Gold WB Heavy Hold

After shave: Captain’s Choice “Cat O’ Nine Tails”

Balm: Viktor & Rolf  ” Spice Bomb” milk

Fragrance: Viktor & Rolf  “Spice Bomb”