Day: 01/13/2016

Drakkar Noir: Common Scents

   

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     Ah, Drakkar Noir. The scent that started the black craze. Even if you’ve never worn it, you most likely know someone who did. As for myself? I first received it as a stocking stuffer back in the early 90’s, when I was but a boy (starting when I was 6, I received a small bottle of cologne, because men wore cologne). I used it, liked it, felt like an eight year old badass, then forgot about it. During an after Christmas sale at a local store, there was a 1 oz bottle on a great sale, so for nostalgia’s sake, I grabbed it up.
     The scent, while being similar to what I remembered, didn’t have the impact that it did when I was younger. I blame several things. Firstly, IFRA. With the removal of oakmoss from nearly everything, many colognes and perfumes have lost their original character. Also, that was my first bottle of real cologne, not a cheapie/knockoff, so the “importance” of that most likely adds to the scent. And finally, in today’s world, it’s a cliche. It smells like every other black fragrance, because every other fragrance wanted to be Drakkar Noir.
     However, this does not diminish the scent in any way in my eyes. While it may have lost its alpha male edge, and seem dated, it’s still a fragrance I’ll wear quite proudly. It’s a very solid “shaving cream” fougere, acceptable for wear at any time, be it at work in the office, out on the town for a night, or Sunday church. The crisp herbal/citric opening dries down to a smooth woody finish. A true classic.
    While many lament the “death” of many fragrances, due to the IFRA changes, this scent is still very wearable. It may not be the most original, nor haute, but it has withstood the test of time to become an icon, and rightfully so. Go grab a bottle for yourself, and take a trip down memory lane.

How to strop for beginners

Hello out there ! It has been quiet sometime since I have posted here, and this post is a great informative, concise, and correct way to strop a straight razor; especially for the new shaver. Now before I post the video I want to thank Lynn Abrams of Straight Razor Design and Straight Razor Place for allowing me to share his video. I could make a stropping video, but how do you improve what a living legend in the industry has already done. I consider myself very blessed to befriend such a giving and generous gentleman who is the worlds true Honemeister. I will add my .02 cents now though of course and dispel what stropping is, and why do it. This video is dedicated to @mickeyobe who requested a stropping 101 style video.

Stropping is not honing; honing is when you remove metal from your razor to sharpen or touch up the edge of the razor to make it shaving sharp again (That is the most direct, and basic description of honing) period. So what then is stropping, and why do I always say to buy a strop with your first straight razor ? Stropping inn my opinion is actually more important, again in my opinion; as you do it every time you shave before and/or, after. What stropping does is pull all those micro pieces of the edge, and basically like in basic training says get in a straight line ! Stropping is what tidies up all those erratic shards of microscopic metal the previous shave displaced ! yes your beard is really that strong, and literally pulls everything so it’s going in the same direction. This makes your shave more comfortable, the edge last longer, and finally you the new straight razor user interested in the art yes I said “art” of straight razor shaving. On closing yes there are many types of leather you can use for a strop as Lynn says in his video; I use Kangaroo personally, but also own Latigo, and English Bridal. For the new shaver buy yourself a nice Latigo strop also sometimes called a starter strop (I loathe that term), and go with 3″ these are only suggestion, you can use whatever you want to buy, but be forwarned just as honing is a skill stropping is as well, and strops are leather hence if you cut it, you have to replace it. I personally would replace Latigo than English Bridal, and hey Latigo is just fine to use don’t let a lower price tag make you think it’s less effective. Now get out there buy yourself that straight razor and strop and watch this video ! slow and steady wins the race, Shave on !  http://www.straightrazordesigns.com 

  • Aaron

 

Dax Wave and Groom: The Icon

    

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     When I was younger, I was immediately taken by O Brother, Where Art Thou. One of my favorite adaptations, Coen films, and movies in general. The music really killed it for me. Up until then, I had never really listened to any kind of Americana; be it blues, country, bluegrass, what have you. That movie changed my life, musically speaking. However, the other bit that caught me was Everett’s undying love for his hair.
    After that, I immediately needed pomade. I was, and still am, a huge Clooney fan, so emulation was a must. I spoke to my hairdresser and she plopped a tub of American Crew in my hand, and away I went. For years, that was my go to. It was only until much later that I realized, “holy shit, that was the Thirties! There’s no way they had a washable product back then!” So, with my trusty internets and a feeling of superiority (I was in college, out of the house, A MAN), I got to researching.
    In my surfing, I learned that most old timey products were essentially petroleum jelly, oils, and a bit of something for the pleasing aroma, and were the same products used in the Zuko era. They’re still made by companies today, and can most often be found in the ethnic sections of most stores. So I headed down to the store, on foot, in the cold, determined to get me some.
    Once there, a bright red can immediately popped. I grabbed it. Popped the lid off. The pleasing aroma hit me. A dark, waxy, spiced scent wafted. Yes. This was it.
    I RAN back to campus, and immediately applied it.  Hmm. This is sticky. And pull-y. This is not what I remembered. Hmm. Oh well, I’ll go wash it off. Uh oh. It’s not coming out. Let’s repeat. Oh shit. It’s still in there! What the hell is going on?
     Yes, I panicked. I flew into town this time, and ran right into the salon, and lamented my hair. The hair dresser said, “Honey, that stuff never comes out. It’s quicker to buzz it.” FML. Well, with a heavy heart, I left the shop. There was no way I was going to pay hairdresser prices for a buzz cut, so I moped to the town barber. And this, my friends, is where the story gets good.
     I walk in. Barber nods to the chair. I hop in. “Jesus, son. What did you do to yourself?” I explained what I did, why I did it, and why I was there. He commenced to laugh. Asked if I wanted to keep my hair or buzz it. I obviously wanted to keep it. He told me to go buy some dishwashing detergent, “y’know, that blue gunk they pour on animals in oil spills”, and pour some of that on my head, let it sit for a bit, and proceed to wash. He let me know it won’t all come out at once, “…but it should knock most of that shit out.” He reminisced about similar products he used when he was my age, and how hard it was then to remove. He said he used bar laundry soap for the task. He also gave me tips on how to apply it (warm up the can on a hot plate, really work it in your hands, make damn sure that you start at the root and go up, etc.).
    I don’t remember his name. I never walked in his shop again. But to this day, I’ll be grateful for that guy. And to this day, I still use that product in the red can. Dax Wave & Groom. A great hair pomade. To those who regularly use traditional oil based pomade, I know you’ve had a can at some point. Who hasn’t? Well, ain’t that a thing. Some of you haven’t? Well now, here’s what you do. Go to my delightful Instagram page to find the details. To those of you who haven’t yet tried an oil based product, but were considering it, give this a go. You won’t be disappointed. If you want to skip the contest, check out Dax and buy direct. Good luck, and I hope you enjoyed my trip down memory lane.