Author: Alpha Brush & Shaving Co.

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SOTD 6 November 2018 – Gillette Tech and TOBS Avocado – Van Yulay Bowl First Use

I know I am late posting this, but just did not have time to upload the photos to my Mac and so on. So here it is…

  • Lather – TOBS Avocado
  • Prep – 3P
  • Razor – Gillette Tech
  • Blade – Feather
  • Brush – Alpha T-400 batch #1
  • Knot – 26mm HMW
  • Bowl – Van Yulay Honeycomb type

I prepared properly with a nice face wash, no special soap, and then applied a nice layer of 3P whilst I soaked my brush in tepid tap water (no really cold water here – I am in Thailand on business at the moment). I slapped in about a teaspoon of the TOBS soap into the VY Bowl and started lathering. I tell you this is going to become one of my regular bowls. I have had it a while, months in fact, and had not used it once. Today was THE day. The bowl not only has the ridges to help lathering but also a repeat of the same honeycomb on the rim at the bottom so there is NO chance you can drop this bowl even with wet hands. It is a resin material too so I am sure almost unbreakable. The honeycombs inside also rain a little water so you don’t have to dip so often and all in all it was a superb bowl and I lathered up with a super thick, teeny-weeny bubbled lather and started shaving. A simple 3-pass – the usual WTG,XTG and ATG.

The Gillette tech and feather blade combo just mashed through the growth – seriously this inexpensive razor just does what it says on the tin – it is superb, just heavy enough, grippy handle – all in all a very satisfying shave. The TOBS Avocado cream soap is one of my go to soaps too – I love the fresh, green, vegetable fragrance which to me smells like cucumber and not avocados although it does have the slickness of an avocado mash.

The story behind the Tech… – I bought a set of two Bakelite shaving stick tubes from a lady in Australia – she now only sent me the tubes but also a leather case to keep them in and nestling inside a little compartment was the Gillette tech. pictured here [I emailed her and told her and she said “good luck, no charge!!” – so this razor was FREE!!!

Lightweight Travel Shave – SOTD 26th October 2018. Arko, Merkur and a Brush

Hi – on the road again and trying to KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid…). This is about as light as I can go and still have a decent shave:

Equipment:

Razor: Merkur Futur c/w Feather Blade
Brush: Alpha T-400 c/w 26mm HMW Knot
Soap: Arko Stick
Preshave: 3P

No bowl with me this time so a pure face lather after a 10 minute prep with the 3P. I tell you what the 3P is a great pres-have and a nice menthol kick too. Get one now!!

The Shave

Two passes on #4 WTG and ATG and a final pass on #1 ATG. Face lathering is the way to go for a lightweight travel shave. I soaked the Arko stick at the same time as soaking my brush. Take the stick and expose a little of the soap and rub it on your face – like this to get a good coating. The take the brush, get rid of the excess water and work that lather. The Arko explodes into a nice slick lather easily. Just keep rubbing and adding water until you get what you want

Arko stick rubbed on face – make a thin layer like the photo

Now, I know many people have opinions on the smell of Arko, to me it is just soap and a nice hint of citrus. Don’t be put off by the opinions of a minority of Arko haters, Arko is one of the great and classic men’s shaving soaps and I urge everyone to try it out. If you don’t like it then bin it – it costs only about 2 bucks a stick so not much to lose eh? You will be surprised I am sure.

After face lathering for 30 seconds

SOTD 14 Oct 2018 OSP 1882, Thiers-Issard Le Dandy, Alpha T-400 Brush

SOTD 14 Oct 2018 OSP 1882, Thiers-Issard Le Dandy, Alpha T-400 Brush

I was inspired by Geo Fatboy @geofatboy to break out the Theirs-Issard. I coupled it up with a beautiful soap from James Riley one at OSP (Obsessive Soap Perfectionist – soaps made on London, UK). A great blade and a great soap. A nice brush with a 26mm High Mountain white knot – I decided not to do a straight video today and instead had my son take a load of photos during the shave – how does this work for you guys?

SOTD 12 Oct 2018 Jayarauh #215, Saphiro Fuego & Custom Kamisori

A quick and lovely cold water shave this evening. My lads are back from a trip to Mongolia so nice to have them home. No Yaks milk soaps so far….

Tonight’s shave was a nice one. A custom prototype Kamisori by Tony Milton, a Nice Polish soap called Fuego by Saphiro and my new friend the jayaruh #215 26mm boar – chub alert!!

Check out the video and of course I have to have a quick plug for my own YouTube channel – Click here to see it and please subscribe: There Will Be Blood…

Tips for Straight Razor Beginners

  1. Watch lots of videos on how it is done. Read lots of information. BEFORE you start. I recommend the “geofatboy” and “mantic59” videos on YouTube
  2. Take your time – enjoy it. Waving around a surgically sharp blade in the bathroom is NOT for the times you are in a hurry.
  3. Soap dilution matters – don’t make the lather to pasty or the razor will skip. Slick is the trick.
  4. Shave prep matters – use a pre-shave. I use a number of different ones – Prep, 3P and Proraso. Sometimes I use a pre-shave oil
  5. TAKE NOTE – it is very very important to stretch your skin in order to get a good result.
  6. Did I say stretch your skin….
  7. Don’t get too caught up on which hand you use for which side of the face. I use both hands but it is not a hard and fast rule of left for left and right for right. Getting the razor positioned is far more important. Being able to both position the razor and also stretch the skin properly means, to me at least, that I use a combination of hands/sides that may seem unorthodox but hey it is MSMY!! as they say (My Shave My Way)
  8. Don’t get caught on the trap of thinking that pressing the razor to your face will mean a closer shave – it only means you cut yourself. A closer shave takes only a sharp razor, good soap and a good technique
  9. Don’t think you are going to get BBS straight away. Don’t make the mistake of shaving again and again to try and get it… on my second shave I did 5 passes and boy oh boy when I alum blocked did I suffer. I must have taken off way too many layers of skin and was sore for a day or more after. The mantra is be patient and gentle. No matter what you do the shave will be more satisfying and closer than with your cart.

YOU WILL ENJOY IT MORE!!

The maiden Voyage of Jayaruh #215 c/w Delfts Donderslag

SOTN 29/SEP/2018

The maiden shave for Jayaruh #215 – it was superb. I spent three days breaking in the boar before this first shave:

  • JMG Steelworks Kamisori
  • Delfts Donderslag
  • 3p Preshave

The brush worked its magic – look at the pics. The soap is ACES – that very special smell you only get after a summer thunderstorm, captured beautifully. 2-pass BBS.

Aromas – like I said that sweet summer smell that only comes after a thunderstorm has passed. Just like being on summer vacation. It is rich, heady and I just want to keep sniffing it. The lather was awesome too. The flavor notes are quoted as the fragrance of Parisian Lavender and Black Amber. Combined with these main scents is a mysterious Black Myrrh, Dulcet Vanilla, Tonka Bean and a splash of Egyptian Musk and Clary Sage. I get the sage notes and the amber as well. It is overall a wonderful soap.

I have two others from the same artisan and have not tried them yet – Soek and Wit. Soek – myrrh and orange with middle notes of ginger, cinnamon and cloves. It is then rounded out with caraway seed and vanilla to give it a warm, soothing feeling. This scent is a fine balance of spice, warmth and sweetness. Wit – woody scent that has notes of Italian bergamot, apple wood, tonka bean, patchouli, cedarwood, and oakmoss. And if that isn’t enough, it’s finished with cardamom, vanilla bourbon and allspice!

I cannot wait to try those two. Buy them while you can guys as when they are gone they are gone forever as Scheermonnik will no longer make shaving soap!

A nice morning shave in India.

29 August 2018 Travel SOTD Chubbiness

What better way for a gentleman to start his day than a nice leisurely shave?

I found myself in Mumbai, India with a few hours to spare on this fine 29th August morning. Given my new “travel light” policy I had with me only the following:-

  • Razor – DE – Merkur Futur
  • Blade – single Feather Hi-Stainless
  • Brush  – Kent H12
  • Soap – Small pot of TOBS Avocado
  • Bowl – $2 bowl from Franc Franc

First lets look at the razor. There is little doubt that the mercer Futur is one of the best available mass produced DE razors. It is fully adjustable from a full crop trimmer (#6) down to a feather duster (#1) and all points between. I had shaved two days ago so a #3 was my setting of the day. It is a smooth matte finished razor, all stainless and easy to take apart for cleaning. I took the opportunity to take mine apart and give it a thorough wash and dry after I completed my shave. Some say the head on a Merkur Futur is too big to get under the nose properly – personally, I don’t find that at all. Be careful when adjusting the setting that you don’t cut your fingers on the blade – grip the head by the short edges and adjust the handle with your other hand – well away from the blade.

Now the brush (disclaimer: I DO NOT sell this brush and have no association with Kent Brushes) The Kent H12 – is a mock horn handled brush with a massive 31mm knot. It is a beast and lathers like a dream. A good loft, medium backbone and pillowy soft gel tips. It is a fantastic brush to shave with and it went to work on the soap in no time at all. If you can get a Kent brush – do so!! I am lucky this was bought for me by my sister as a Christmas present last year. She lives about a mile from the Kent factory!! One day I am going to have to go in and see if I can get a tour of the workshops.

Blade – Feather Hi-Stainless – what else can I say except that these blades are the bomb – aces high. Don’t buy anything else and give your face a treat. Easily the sharpest and best blades on the block

The soap – TOBS Avocado – brought a blob of the Taylors of Old Bond Street avocado soap in a small container – enough for my week away – 2 shaves worth. This soap is great, has a nice vegetal small with, to my nose, overtones of cucumber. It lathers like a dream and is super slick. When I get a new razor to try this is always my go to soap because it has consistent performance and is super slick.

The bowl – a nice, textured, bowl from a store called Franc Franc in Hong Kong. Nothing fancy, does not matter if I forget or break it and it just works. A serious lather bowl for 2 bucks! What is not to like?

The shave – a nice 2 pass WTG then ATG. A touch up across the wattles as pass # 2.5 and finished. BBS and happy for the day. Hot rinse, cold rinse and out!! No burn, no drama. And light…

You know it’s hot when you reach for The Creeper

A review of The Holy Black Lavender Creeper “soap”.

The weather in Hong Kong is not getting any better. We are firmly on the verge of typhoon season and the weather sucks. Hot, humid, grey skies and thunderstorms prevail. It is so hot I reached for the Creeper…

What better to pair a purple soap dish than with a purple razor. I quickly grabbed and stropped a blade I have had for almost 9 months and used to few times. It is an 11/16″ bellied full hollow from Victor Creazzi over at BluesmanBlades. It’s a super blade and it sings! [Victor makes the blade and the scales himself – the scales are “Micarta”, kind of resin impregnated paper – they feel great and are very hard.]

Now why did I put “soap”? Because The Lavender Creeper is neither the hardness of a soap not the creaminess of a cream, it has a gel like consistency and I can only describe it as strange. Anyway I scooped a teaspoon sized blob into my bowl and started to lather up. BOTD was my Kent BK12 – I needed some Chub too. The gel lathered well and very quickly, a full bowl in about 40 seconds – relatively thirsty but a nice whip in the end. Application was easy and it painted on nice and thick. The fragrance is very definitely “old skool” lavender and the cool is there but honestly given the hype I was kind of underwhelmed. The lather was smoking smooth, slick and likeable but I waited for the Creep and it never came.

Overall I would give it an 8/10 as I never had The Creep.

I am thinking I need the matching splash to activate The Creep – thoughts anyone?

SOTD 22 Aug 2018. Art Razor Capitaine & OSP UKWSS Soap & Splash

SOTD 22-AUG-2018

A beautiful cool shave on a sweltering hot and humid day. I used UK WSS soap and splash for a menthol cool kick.

Please James Riley – make this UKWSS soap and splash available again!!!

I coupled it up with a superb bowl from Symmetrical Pottery on ETSY and a superb razor from Yuri Kravchenko from ArtRazor in Ukraine.

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