Grooming

Summer scents and soaps: my top 3 for 2017.

It has been (and still currently it’s being) quite a hot summer here in Italy. Some days have been so hot that even shaving somehow lost some of his charm. However, in those rare days in which the temperatures were acceptable, I really enjoyed my shaves, in particular those shaves in which I used the products I’m going to list below. So, I thought to share with you, Wet Shaver Review friends, my top 3 for Summer 2017.

#3 Spot: K-Shave Worx – Frazzled Kilt

K-Shave Worx may be a young brand, but they quickly established themselves as one of the most interesting, capable and great people on the busier and busier wet-shaving market (hi Kelly, hi Kevin!).

This Frazzled Kilt is their rendition of Green Irish Tweed by Creed and an homage to Kelly’s Irish origins.

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Well, the package itself suggests we’re talking about a great product. The scent is invigorating and fresh, one of those scents you happen to often smell when you’re in your shaving den, even if you are not going to shave or you just shaved. Smelling for the pleasure of smelling it! 🙂 The performance is classic K-Shave performance; easy to lather, great cushion and skin protection are there, excellent post-shave feeling.

#2 Spot: Extrò – Felce e Biancospino

This is actually a really close second, and my friend Donato will forgive me if I reserved the #1 Spot to another product 🙂 I already told him thousands of times how much I love this Felce e Biancospino (Fern and Hawtorn) soap and AS.

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This scent is one of the three summer scents by Extrò (the others being Lavanda e Muschio and Arancia Italiana, excellent performers as well) and the first fougère rendition by Donato Ciniello’s company.

Well, the scent is simply amazing. The fern scent is clearly identifiable and the hawtorn provides a wonderful addition to the overall product. The soap comes in an almost gelly form, while the Shea Butter (typical of these summer offerings by Extrò) not only makes the soap so easy to lather (two swirls of the brush are enough), but also provides a great post-shave sensation on the skin.

In conclusion, a must-have for everyone loving fougères.

#1 Spot: Chiseled Face – Summer Storm

This soap is not a 2017 release, but nonetheless is my favourite summer scent, period. Think about the smell of wet grass after a storm, combine it with a fair amount of freshness given by the matching AS, and you will have the perfect combo for a Summer shave on a warm/hot day.

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Summer Storm is probably not a very complex scent, but it’s certainly a typical American Scent. And often I wonder why, here in Europe, we often lack the creativity of our American counterparts. Chiseled Face is one of my favourite US brands, since the soaps I’ve tried always performed well and combined ease of usage, great scents and awesome post-shave feeling.

So, this is my top 3 for Summer 2017. What about yours??

P.S. Runner Up (4th place): Extrò MDL II. Being a special edition (already gone), I felt uncomfortable in including it, but sure it’s worth mentioning. American Pine and Italian Pine essential oils combined with menthol crystals: a rinvigorating and refreshing soap for those hot summer days. I wish it would become a regular product instead of a special edition.

 

The Barber

Some stories defy time, oceans, countries, and words. This meeting between Luca Farina, and an older proud barber in Italy is one of these. Take this journey; feel the pride, and love this unites us for all time. – Aaron

Luca 1

Sometimes, if you leave the main street, you can discover a fairy-tale spot…..
I was walking through the streets of Domodossola when, looking down a little side street, an old barber-shop’s sign caught my eyes. It piqued my curiosity and I moved closer. I found myself in front of an old barber shop, where time seemed to have stopped at the 50s. Inside a white-haired barber said: “Please take a seat, if you have patience, I’ll serve you, Mister!”
Tommi welcomes me with his friendliness and his 87 years of age. After preparing the necessary items, he starts brushing, very slowly, the shaven soap on my face with an Omega 48, while explaining me, step by step, what are the right moves to do a good shaving. Then he tells me about his life. He started working at 10 years of age as barber’s apprentice. At 22 he opened his own shop. He says: “I even had 3 very good employees. At that time there was so much work, we shaved more than 100 beards a week”.
Then he explains me how he cuts and smoothes hair with the tip of the scissors; that he has travelled a little the world; that he has been an actor of dialect theatre, that he writes books and poems. “When I’m writing a book I feel alive” and he let me read a piece of the book he is going to finish. He tells me about his famous and important clients and I perceive his great love for his job.

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At the beginning of this year he had an artificial hip implanted. Its shop remained closed for 3 months and he thought he would not open anymore, but back from the hospital, he told himself: “What can I do at home?”. And he opened his historical shop again, where you can find him working with his scissors and razor.

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You can spend a lot of time listening to Tommi’s tales and you go away happy, well shaved and with one of his books (autographed) under your arm.

Luca 4

 

-Farinik. by, Luca Farina

6 shaving tips that changed my life forever- Mark Herro

Just follow the link to a better shave every time ! 

http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/6-shaving-tips-that-changed-life-forever.html

Mark Herro Aka Mantic59 again takes your shave to the next level ! Thanks for everything you do Mark 🙏🏽

Aaron’s Pick- Asylum Rx SE: By Ronald Davenport Sr.

The Asylum Rx like many new production razors, are modern “SE” or, injector light styles. The Asylum Rx, IMHO sets itself apart in many ways from looks to the shave itself.

Our friend on the WSR Facebook Page who is equally as unique in a good way, has an opinion, and he is not afraid to voice it ! In steps Ronald Davenport, a Renaissance man in many ways, and a observant practioner of observation, as well as trial and error; will find every nook and cranny of his ever growing wet shaving collection; often posting these musings on the Facebook page. In steps Ronald in his own words about the Asylum RX !! Thanks for your contribution good sir !

 

 

Asylum RX Razor I would start off with good Pre-Shave discipline. Using a stiff Boar for a well exfoliated growth area. Then Pre-shave Oil followed by hot towels. Then my favorite Boar, but that’s just me. Remember, you get out of a shave what you have put into it (IMHO). If you are in the workforce and have a busy out the door routine, well maybe save this experience for a day off or at night. Out of the box one will notice the fine finish on this pleasantly satin metal. That and the style. It’s like a Jaguar sitting there ready to start. The fit of parts are so tight which makes this Razors curves smooth and sleek. We could hardly ask for a more sweet sexy looking instrument. As I write this, I still have a BBS face, well almost, and I shaved last night at 8 pm. It’s now 2:30pm, I have a medium to heavy beard too. Yes I chase a BBS Shave. As far as numbers? I don’t have a number where I get to and then done.
Sometimes I reach a four pass and touch ups, because touchups are a pass in themselves. When I get to a point that I’m happy with the shave, then I’m done. Much has been written on the topic of “ Comfort vs. Closeness”. However the less scraping on our faces the better. That’s where this Asylum RX SE comes in. With a Feather Professional SE Blade ( subjective ) I think one will find an instrument which reduces the amount of work it ( razor ) is tasked with. Without reservations I can honestly say this razor gave me the best shave I have ever had, from any shaving system. This in itself, in my world is a feat, as I am a (BBS chaser), and I never expected to have this razor give me a shave even approaching a straight shave. The weight and balance are ideal. Not all of the heft is balanced, top is lighter and mostly in the handle, which speaks of how well it maneuvers in all those tight spots. Handle length is just right for a big hand but not to long for a Lady’s hand. Something about angle. Just with the eyeball it may appear to be an extreme slant when compared with some modern SE razors. However when compaired with most vintage SE standing up on the base of the handle, the angle of the blade will be very familiar, pretty close to most Vintage SE.
It was designed to take the Feather Pro-Blade or equivalent, however the Pro-Guard blade will not work. Speaking of blades, most SE blades are rounded on the ends, right? also on the safety bar there end guards or stoppers to hold the blade even. We find this feature on most Vintage SE like MMOC by Gem. Good feature. One person from a well-known talk-ey forum said this; “Well, if you like aggressive razors the Rx is right up your alley. I enjoy my Rx. Incredibly efficient with a Kai blade, whether a Captain, Titan Mild Pink or the ProTouch MG. All provide smooth and clean shaves. The Feather Pro and the Rx? Now that’s when it really shows its true colors. Viciously sharp, but efficient and if used with a very light touch and care, amazing.
A friend sent me a couple samples of the Pro and I bought 3 boxes with a coupon code from a vendor I purchase from. For me, it’s the pinnacle in achieving a fantastic, BBS shave daily. Only my 2 prized straights, Wade & Butcher Wedge and Boker Celebrated are on par with it”. This Razor is at the top of the Food Chain, alongside Muhle R41 (2011), and the Icon ShaveCraft Tec,. ATT H2 and lest we forget, the most aggressive adjustable, MERKUR VISION 2000.
Thank you again Ronald, this is what we at the WSR are all about, our members helping the wet shaving community; you have the hands on knowledge. It’s an honor to us to post your review. – Aaron
If anyone is looking to have a review on any Grooming, Wet Shaving, Pipes, Pens or, anything that you are passionate about; please contact Aaron Schecter either on the Facebook group page or, at aschecte@gmail.com

Aaron’s Pick April 5th,2017: Extro & Bram Van Den Berg

Welcome to the newest feature on the Wet Shaver Review ! Every week one or, more of our team will choose a #sotd that resonates with us, to share with the whole wet shaving community. This week my pick comes from Holland by Bram Van Den Berg; I hope you enjoy this #sotd #review as much as I did ! Thank you Bram for your contributions.

Man, do I have a start of a great day!

The sun is out, temperatures outside are really nice and the dogs are in a very, very good and relaxed mood. What more can I wish for, right?

Well, a good shave would me a nice addition to the day!
And man, did I get one! grin

Yesterday I got a package in with a few new soaps and aftershaves. And one of those was this Extro Bergamotto di Calabria.

When I opened the jar for the first time and gave it it’s first sniff…
I knew this was going to be good!
As you all might know, i am a sucker for good citrus-scented soaps!

Directly out of the jar, you smell a nice blend of citrus fruits where the orange scent is the most dominant one.
So far, a good start.

Lathering is, as with any Extro soap, a really easy task.
The stuff lathers like a beast with my huge Rod Neep brush!
The lather is really nice and thick and really really slick and it smells like….heaven!

If i want to compare the scent to some other Italian soaps that I have used throughout the years, the best comparison is with the TFS Bergamotto Neroli and the TFS Zagara e Gelsomino.

It isn’t as overly sweet as the Bergamotto Neroli, but isn’t as mild as the Zagara either. A very nice middle-ground between those two.

From all the citrus scents, the orange is still the most dominant, even when the stuff is lathered.
A lovely sweet scent with a slight tangy note to it. Love it! grin

Shaving with this stuff is, as expected with the Extro soaps.
A very nice slick and a very nice and protective soap.
Nothing to complain here.

Now, the aftershave is where the whole thing comes together like PB&J.

IMPORTANT!
First, give the bottle a good shake, so you can mix up all the ingredients properly!

The aftershave compliments the soap so good! As with any Extro combo I have tried so far.

The aftershave has the more bitter/tangy citrus scents and the orange moves to the back.

An amazing combo of a sweet soap and a more bitter and tangy aftershave to make a really nicely rounded combo!
Something that really fits the great sunny weather!

And the best part of it all is, I have a pomade that matches this scent profile!

So to compliment this all, I am wearing Nostalgic Handmade Super Waterbased Clean Cut Citrus today!

I’m going to enjoy the sunshine now! Bubaaaaaai!

Have a great day ladies and gentlemen!

-Aaron

St.James of London “Black Pepper & Lime”

I was introduced to SJOL a while back e.g. 3-4 years ago. St.James of London is made by Creightons the same as Trufitt & Hill, Geo F. Trumpers, and the last of the three “T’s”. I was instantly blown away that such an affordable product was so darn good ! Back then it was Cedarwood & Clary Sage; today I used an scent that would deceive.
Today I used a tube I stead of my larger jars of SJOL Black Pepper & Lime 🍋 it reminds me of a warmer place like the Caribbean, but also that spicy black pepper warms and invites those around you a bit closer, then they realize that initial Citrus also has a musk to it that is seductive and alluring. This unlikely scent is a winner for the winter ❄️! For the spring and the summer. This jewel of a scent will evoke a different response and memory each season.
What can I say about the rest ? It’s a Semogue 830 which is so well broken in could pass for pure Badger. If you do not have this brush; it is a staple for every traditional Shaver. The PAA Double Open Comb has done right by me. The DOC is affordable and attractive at that price point, just remember this is a buffing razor so buff away folks for that BBS shave. The Boulder from American Stonecraft I used as my lather bowl is worth this many of these $$$ and is a luxury; all these products work equally as well face lathered for free. That’s all I have to say, but if you contact Brittney McDermott or, Todd Fisher I am sure they would love to talk about St. James of London and match you up with the perfect cream and other products that fit your style perfectly.

Soap: St.James of London “Black Pepper & Lime”
Brush: Semogue 830
Razor: PAA Double Open Comb
Blade: Gillette 7 O’clock SharpEdge
After Shave: Royall Muske
Post Shave: St.James of London “Black Pepper & Lime” gel
Fragrance: Penhaligon’s Blenheim Bouquet 💐 — with Roberto Monanni and 6 others.

Dr. Jon’s 13 for WSR

Having had great success with our collaborative KSW soap/splash “Frosen”, we were excited to embark on another collusion. I’ve been a fan of Jon Eplin’s products since receiving a tin of Hydra (#hailhydra) from Nathan Clark (he’s not a brushmaker, he’s a Dr. Jon’s vendor that sells overpriced soap, BUT IT COMES WITH A FREE BRUSH 😉). I immediately was taken with the product. The artwork, the scent, how well it worked; this was very new at the time. Up till Dr. Jon’s (at that point Gentleman Jon’s), most non commercial products looked like they were put together by hand in someone’s spare time. That was part of the allure; the products held the “human touch”. Dr. Jon’s was very different in that regard, with its pop art labels and new yet similar scents. You’ve got a cologne (as in literal cologne [ie 4711, Farina]) scent, only with a huge grapefruit kick, a bay rum with a blast of tea, a barbershop, yet it isn’t, etc. All in all, a commercial style lineup and packaging, with a fresh twist on the whole package. This brings us to 13. We at WSR had been itching to work with Jon and were delighted when his schedule allowed it. 
Thirteen is host to a whole new batch of awesome from Jon’s company. Firstly, the soap formula changed, and for the better. Not only is the soap harder and longer lasting, it’s now palm free. Palm farming has become a huge ecological problem of late; with many farms coming into existence after razing old growth forest. In the South Pacific, these farms are critically impacting the orangutan population. So when you buy a product with palm oil, think of a baby orang separated from its mother. Then do the humane thing and set it down, and buy a sustainable alternative. In terms of the performance, I noticed no difference, save for the post shave. Same awesome lather, with same awesome cushion and glide, with better (IMO) post shave feel. So, what we have is an environmentally friendly soap that feels better on the skin. +1

Secondly, the scent. We at WSR put our collective heads together and came up with a combo of off-the-beaten path stinks. Hedione, Iso E Super, Musk, and Oud. We felt this combo would allow the scent to be multipurpose (day/night, cold/warm weather) and richly masculine, while not being your typical fougere or oriental type scent. Jon put together a knockout mix from our input. I’ve had people say I smell like fresh laundry, their grandfather, a movie star, etc. but the compliment I’ve received most is that I smell great. And that’s good enough for me. 10/10 it works every time.

Thirdly, there’s the awesome graphic art, which comes from the pen of Jason Kincaid a.k.a. McFly. The name and art came from the mind of Jon and Jason. Jon had the idea of the devil girl pinup, so of course 13 had to play a part. So, with the framework of a 50’s pinup devil who’d look at home on a Steve McQueen poster, 13 was born. 

All in all, we came up with an awesome idea for a scent, but Jon took that and ran, and ended up with a masterpiece. A great soap, with a great aftershave, with an even better scent (and my wife even likes it) with bitchin’ artwork. Where I’m from, we call that winning. Jon, we sincerely thank you for all your hard work. It was a pleasure working with you, and the end result is stunning.

Find out more about some of my favorite grooming productshand-turned shave brushesand bomb-ass artwork in these links