Review

Imagine yourself in a saddlery. Imagine yourself in a BIG saddlery…

… surrounded by freshly made harnesses, beautifully burnished saddles, leather straps, highly polished boots. The smell of cleanliness, the smell of manliness, the smell of Russian leather. Well – I was transformed to such a place today. Here is the story – I was contacted on Instagram by a gentlemen called Evgeny, from Chelyabinsk – this is IN Russia dudes.. he  asked would I like to try a Russian soap called Fenomeno Cuir De Russie which translates as Phenomonon – Russian Leather. Now I know Russian Leather soaps and indeed I have one from another Artisan maker made in UK – but having a Russian leather soap, made IN Russia – how could I resist? I paid the price and Evgeny got the soap to me in less than 10 days. By the way if you want to contact Evgeny here he is: https://www.instagram.com/evgeny13doc/.

Here is the soap:

Now  know that Chanel originated the Russian Leather fragrance in an aftershave. I have never had that frag but I looked up the notes for it – listed as: “Cuir de Russie is of “wild cavalcades, wafts of blond tobacco and the smell of boots tanned by birch bark, which the Russian soldiers would wear”. The scent contains frankincense, juniper wood, mandarin orange, bergamot, rose, jasmine and ylang-ylang.” I can not say that I smell all of them in this soap but it just shouts LEATHER to me. If you like Russian Leather soaps or indeed the aftershave then you NEED this. You simply need it.

The soap lather readily and is super super slick. Quite thirsty but just superb and that Russian leather fragrance stays with you all day. I splashed a teeny bit of the rather mild D R Harris Bay Rum to layer it up.

The rest of my shave was using a Feather Kamisori shavette, Feather professional blade and my own travel brush “The Imp” with a synthetic knot – Artic Fox. Here are the rest of the shots from the shave including some lather porn!!

Regards

Steve Tinter, Alpha Shaving

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Strikegold ‘Clinton’ Shave Soap


What are the qualities you look for in each shave soap that you use? What are your standards you follow before buying a product? In other words what determines whether or not you buy it? Does television and radio influence you? Do you see products in the store, research and then buy? or do you just buy and hope for the best? If you have answered yes to all of these questions than you’re not wrong. What product you use to shave with and why Is strictly up to you. I know I say this every time, but that’s because it’s true. Some shavers use the same products religiously because they are familiar and these products work for them, they know what to expect and they know where to buy them from. There is no thought to how this product will work for them, they already know how it works. If you fall into this category and your perfectly happy I say God speed to you Sir! I get to review lots of shaving products and I feel very fortunate to be in this position. I can review a product and relay the important information to you (my readers). I try to be as in formative as I can, I want my readers to basically know the product before they buy. More than half of the products I review you can only order online. There are shave shops located in different states that carry these items and if you are close to one count your self lucky that you can probably find and purchase the items there. Lets talk more specific shall we? I research products all the time. I also have a couple of trusted sources that I follow online through different social media platforms and what these sources review and talk about plays a big role in what kind of influence they have on me.

Social media is a great tool if you know how to use it. When I decide I want to try a shaving soap I look for different things but there are three main attributes that are at the core of my decision. These core attributes are quality, comfort and cushion. These three work together as well as overlap each other. Quality as in what ingredients are used in the production of the soap? Are they all natural or organic? How big are the batches, usually small artisan brands take pride in producing smaller batches because they can control how much and what ingredients they use. Comfort as in do any of these ingredients cause skin irritation? Usually natural and organic ingredients do not lead to skin irritation but its always good to do your research first. When reading the list of ingredients do any words look funny to you? if the answer is yes then look them up, it doesn’t mean it’s a bad ingredient, it just doesn’t look familiar to you. Cushion as in what kind of lather does this soap produce and what kind of slickness and cushion does it offer. There is a difference between slickness and cushion. I’ve used lots of soap that do not produce a lot of lather but offer an over the top slickness. The same goes for cushion, I’ve used soaps that don’t have a lot of slickness but make up for it with a slick lather that cushions the trauma from shaving. Just know that slickness and cushion mean less irritation after shaving.

I recently had a chance to try a soap that met and exceeded the three main attributes quality, comfort and cushion, that I always look for in any soap. the ‘Clinton’ shave soap from Strikegoldshave.etsy.com is from the C.I.C series which stands for ‘Commander In Chief’. Hand made in small batches in Massapequa NY this soap contains several all natural ingredients with many skin care benefits. Shea Butter, Coconut Oil and Glycerin helps moisturizes dry skin, Treat acne and blemishes, Reduces skin inflammation, Has anti-oxidants such as Vitamin E and A slowing down the aging process, Is anti-irritant providing relief to itchy and peeling skin-Reduces razor irritation and bumps, Restores and can increase the elasticity and collagen production of the skin while improving cell maturation, Reduces stretch marks and can tone your skin. I couldn’t wait to try this soap for myself. I’ve read several great online reviews for strike gold soap, more specifically on social media and every review has been positive and after the first use of this soap I can definitely see why. I received in the mail a sample size of the ‘Clinton’ soap so I decided to test it in two ways. The first way by pressing a small portion of soap into the bottom of my shave scuttle and the second way by just rotating my saturated brush over the surface of the soap. Both ways produced a great lather but the first way for me worked much better. The process was more manageable. I pressed a small amount of soap into the bottom of my scuttle and started rotating my brush with force across the top of it. It didn’t take long to produce a thick and creamy lather that filled my scuttle from top to bottom. I then filled the scuttles reservoir with warm water and set it aside to wait for the lather to warm.

After I completed my skin prep on my head and face I dipped my saturated shave brush into the full scuttle of lather making rotations filling the bristles of my brush with warm and soothing lather. The lather spread across my skin evenly in a nice thick manner. The weight and warmth of the lather felt very soothing and luxurious. Its consistency was creamy and thick not dry and fluffy. The glycerin and tallow created a creamy/thick lather with a lot of slickness providing my razor with a lot of cushion that lead to a close and comfortable shave. I could feel the razor glide across my skin with the razor blade cutting my hair with no left over irritation cuts or nicks. The quality of shave on my face followed suite with the head shave, nice and comfortable with no left over irritation. Overall I really enjoyed shaving with the ‘Clinton’ shave soap from Strikegoldshave.etsy.com it has the three main attributes that I talked about above. The quality of soap is above the mark containing some natural ingredients such as Shea Butter, Coconut Oil and Glycerin. Comfort from this soap containing some natural ingredients that help clean your skin without clogging the pores, increasing hydration and moisture at skin level while hydrating at an even deeper level. Last but not least cushion from the thick, rich and creamy lather this soap produces providing a nice cushion for your razor taking razor burn, cuts and nicks out of your shaving routine.

The second way I tested this soaps lathering abilities was by merely saturating the bristles of my shave brush and rotating them over the surface of the soap with minimal pressure. After this creates a thin pre-shave lather you continue to turn it into a full blown shave ready lather by rotating the bristles of the brush on your skin with a small amount of pressure. This method works up a lather in no time and takes less product compared to creating a full blown bowl of lather. This method is also a little more messier since your not using a bowl to catch the rest of the lather. This method is great if your in a hurry and you still want to practice wet shaving. This method is also useful for traveling light. Both methods of lathering this soap were great and your gonna love this soap no matter how you decide to lather it. Would I recommend this soap to another wet shaver? Absolutely! Thanks for reading!

-Jon Wogoman-

You can find Strike Gold on these other social media platforms

(1.) Instagram
(2.) Facebook
(3.) Etsy.com

 

A touch of Italy

What a great day for a shave, what a great scent that captures “summer”, and the essence of Italy. Bergamotto di Calabria is a wonderful citrus scent with underlying florals and white musk in the base note. The lather like all of the offerings from Extrò made by Donato Ciniello are very easy to dial in, and have both great cushion and glide. I used my New Forest “Tubby 2” Brush which is an all around great face lathering brush with gel tipped Silvertip badger 🦡. The Tubby 2 is a beast of a lathering brush, pretty even in loft and handle (which is quite large in diameter). Unfortunately these brushes were discontinued back in appx. 2015-16. I’m very blessed to have been able to get a few of these artisan brushes.

As an overall statement and a minimal review, I’ll finish with just saying the small pleasures in life are embodied in this shave. I also need to thank Jeff Conrad as well for his generosity and love for wet shaving. Shave on my friends !

A blast from the past

Today’s shave was very enjoyable ! I went with a floral fougère today, made a few years back; from none other than Soap Commander “Renewal”.Being this soap has a few years on it the bouquet has changed a little bit, in my opinion I like it now. The reason being is the bottom notes of oak moss and Lavender are more prominent, and the “floral” scents are present, but they do not overpower the “fougère” base. This is not a review as much as a revisit of a great LE soap. I felt that the lather was exceptional, as all of Soap Commander’s products are in this department. Totally lush, protective, purely slick, and not a worry at all anywhere during the 3 pass shave that led to a superb shave. As they say sometimes things get better with age, and “Renewal” has aged very nicely indeed.

Shave on my friends, and have a great weekend !

Razor: Merkur Progress adjustable (4)

Blade: BIC Chrome Platinum (1)

Brush: Omega Pura Setolla Ovangkol wood

Soap: Soap Commander “Renewal”

Post Shave: Thayer’s Lavender Witch Hazel & Soap Commander “Renewal” balm

Fragrance: JPG “Le Male”

Petal Pushing like New!

As I look through my shave gear for the days start, I’m drawn to a familiar scent unidimensional and soft. Long before PAA we had Petal Pushers Fancies Run by Fran Towle and Douglas Smythe. I still have a bit of that Petal Pushers Fancies “Sandalwood”; today I am going to use it ! I still feel it’s one of the best Sandalwood scents made by artisan hands. So I grab my WSP 2-band Monarch , start soaking my brush, and anxiously wait for what I knew would be a great shave.

WSP 2-band Superfine Monarch

While I am on this line of thought, I said to myself, why not keep everything uniform, and most of all enjoyable. So I grab my Phoenix Artisan Accoutrements Prismatic which is a modern take on the vintage Kirby razor made by Leresche. I absolutely love this razors performance. The angle of the blade even while fully tightened, leaves a true open blade experience, while the continuous solid guard bar is a rest or, a pivot to find the proper angle of attack. This razor also has perpendicular grooves on the top cap as all Kirby vintage razor have, that serve either as an indicator of proper angle, as all lather and hair will be gathered if the angle is correct; if you leave behind lather, and it smears around that indicates the blade is at the incorrect angle. I also find it helps those of us who “buff” their shave, as it moves the lather quite effectively. I must also mention as well the PAA DOC or, Double open comb. I did not use this today, but for those who really love to buff their shaves, that is your razor of choice. Both of these razors do not have any equal and are only available from Phoenix Artisan

The PAA Prismatic

The PAA DOC

The shave was finished with what is possibly my favorite Sandalwood aftershave lotion by Fine Accoutrements “Santal Absolut. This is a replica of the original “Art of Shaving” Sandalwood which is not only an amazing scent, but can be used as an all day fragrance. The lotion screams that you love Sandalwood, and has no apologies in its performance.

Fine “Santal Absolut”

What can I say it was so enjoyable to use everything I’ve written about. If all shaves could be like this I’d be in Wet Shaving Heaven. I hope everyone has had a great weekend, and as always shave on.

What is your Shaving Heaven ? Be sure to leave a comment below.

SOTD: May 6th, 2019

What an awesome shave today ! I absolutely love Extrò products. Today I used the famous “Pirata”. Pirata is a pretty complex aroma that opens very green with notes of Rose and Bergamot but leads into a more spice like aroma with hints of light wood.

The Third-Issard 5/8 Spartacus is a no hassle great everyday shaver. I really like their semi-new C135 steel as it takes, and holds an edge like a champ. Theirs-Issard for me is the best straights before you get into custom and artisan made blades. This is just my opinion, i have many other shelf brands that are also great straight razors.

Lastly the 2016 Wet Shaver Review Aluminati by EnvyShave just kills most other brushes. With a great Silvertip Badger knot that holds ample water and lather. Combine that with the ergonomic handle and laser etching, it’s a treat to use every time. For those that also have it, you know exactly what I mean.

So May 6th has turned out to be another great shave both in a fulfilled type of way as well as simply a BBS with some of my favorite hardware and software.

Happy shaves my friends !

https://www.extrocosmesi.it

https://shavenation.com/products/thiers-issard-spartacus-straight-razor-6-8-blade-ebony-handle

http://envyshave.com

Enjoy these links, there are lots of great gear on all these links.

Scheermonnik Soek – a soap well worth trying. Review and SOTD 27th March 2019

Ladies & Gents,

Today I used a soap I have had for a while and never used – too scared that I would not like it. I originally bought three of the Scheermonnik range, Soek, Delftes Donderslag and Delfts Wit. I have used all of them except the Soek. Today was the day. The fragrance notes on the Scheermonnik website state:

“A blend of 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.”

I think it was the cinnamon that kept putting me off using it as I am not a fan of the scent or flavour of cinnamon in large amounts – it can tend to be overpowering. Think shopping mall and the cloying smell of a Cinnabbon baking shop – tooooo much.

So while I bloomed the soap, it is a little hard to use without a little bloom water on top for a few minutes, I readied my other shave gear. Here is the line up

  • Razor: Gillette Tech. with Feather blade on shave #1
  • Bowl: Van Yulay Black Resin 5″ Bowl
  • Brush: Alpha T-400 in two tone red/silver with a long boar knot

I soaked the brush for 5 minutes in a nice bowl of plain tap water then I was ready to start. A new lathering technique today from mantic59 – HERE Look at the results!!

Lathering was easy and before long I was looking like Santa Claus – the soap was a super latherer and a super slick result. As you can see I has such a massive load of cream it was easily enough for 6 passes or more, of course I only did a three pass. Uneventful shave but that fragrance – I get the Orange and myrrh and a nice clove hit but the cinnamon is a background note only. It was lovey and I can only describe the smell as that of a nice spiced bun (think Hot Cross Bun)

Note: Scheermonnik soaps were on the verge of being lost to shave-world as the original guy was shuttering production. This would have been awful as they are top class soaps and top class fragrances. Luckily he handed his soaps and business to a new owner who has not only continued to supply the original 4 frags but also introduced a scentless soap called “Puur” with no perfume. Perfect for those of us with allergies or sensitive skin.

I need to complete my collection by buying a 1778 beau Brummell and a Puur. if you have not got a Scheermonnik in your den – buy one now. You won’t regret it.

Here are the rest of today’s shave photos for your viewing pleasure and for those of us who missed the last article about Jayaruh brushes here is a LINK to his brush adoption page. This is the original ARTICLE.

 

Shave Photos!!

Jayaruh Brushes and how to get one!!

Click HERE to adopt a Jayaruh Brush

I am still in Mexico on a business trip and it is a national holiday today – the birthday of Benito Juárez – it is not time for a history lesson so if you want to know more then follow the link.

The line up:

  • Soap – Crows Nest Murky Waters
  • Razor – Merkur Futur
  • Brush – Jayaruh #215

Today’s shave was nice apart from me cutting myself again… but that is not the point of the post. The lather was super, the bowl was great and the blade cut me – shave over!! The point of this post is to introduce to a wider audience the brushes made by Jim Roe, otherwise known as Jayaruh on The Shave Den forum.

I came across Jayaruh by chance. You know that in forums people have signatures and some of them have clubs – ie sub-groupings of like minded people who have the same taste in brushes, or soaps or whatever – for example The Chub Club. I began to notice a few people had one called the Jayaruh Owners Club – intrigued, I started to look up this mysterious Jayaruh. It seems his brushes were sought after. I MUST have one and become a member I thought… so what I did was a bit naughty. I found Jayaruh and contacted Jim in a PM. I asked him about his brushes, I wanted a Rubberset 400 style if possible, with a boar knot. He had just the brush – Jararuh #215. So behold, JR #215 fitted with a lovely Omega 10098 boar knot. Tt is beautifully turned by hand in some exotic wood [Bocote] or other and an aluminium ferrule is threaded on to the handle. The boar knot is aces.

I did not pay for my brush – I swapped him for an Alpha T-400!! – he’s happy, I’m happy!!

If you don’t have a Jayaruh brush then you need one. Visit his blog at THIS SPOT and contact him about “adopting” one of his brushes. There is even a worldwide Google Map HERE to show you where the brushes are currently living!! You might see mine in Hong Kong has a special icon – because I made the map for him and showed him how to update it dynamically

Jim is a great guy and an easy bloke to deal with – come on, what are you waiting for – lets get a Jayaruh brush on every continent!!

 

Here are the rest of the shave pics from today

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Simple Saturday SOTD – a sharp blade, a nice brush and a super cream

Many of the reviews I have done over the time since I started wet shaving have been of high end soaps and creams. That’s just the way it tends to be – I mean why not show off your best right? A lot of us forget that out there in the wet shaving wild there are dozens if not hundreds of everyday soaps and creams that are priced from less than a dollar to the mid twenties and all points in between. One such soap I used today – Musgo Real.

Now Musgo Real is, in my opinion, worthy of a place in everyone’s shave chit. Mugso Real is a light very pale green cream soap from Portugal – you can find it HERE.

The fragrance is what I can only describe as manly, barbershop, masculine and just nice. Soapy – yes. The fragrance notes on their website simply says “Woody and Oriental” but to me it is much more complex than that – yes those notes are there and can be detected but that is behind the soapy smell – the soapy smell of a laundry day with your Mum, the scent of a freshly dried cotton bed sheet that has been washed by that same Mum and then dried in the glowing sunlight of a summers day – y’getting it?

From the website:

“Musgo Real was first launched in the 1930s, and it remains a classic, found in Portuguese houses over several generations.

The brand retains its masculine aesthetic, while the products, offered in four different fragrances, have kept their rich formula.

Each of its lines are blended with lanolin, glycerin, shea butter and walnut oil to ensure a moisturizing, yet close shave. The range includes soaps, shaving cream or soap, aftershave, pre-shave oil and colognes.”

Luxury masculine aesthetic products with vintage inspiration!!

The rest of my stuff for today was:

  • Merkur Futur
  • Feather Blade on shave #1
  • Van Yulay black resin bowl
  • Future Chubby Prototype in black with a 28mm silver tip badger

Musgo Performance

I squeezed out a teaspoon full of the cream into my bowl. The badger knot had been soaking for ten minutes whilst I showered so I started lathering up. Take a look at the results – click on a photo for a closer look! This is after less than 2 minutes twirling…

I completed a three pass with plenty of lather to spare.I cut my nose, just I was feeling smug the Feather cut me. Styptic.

What can I say, if you don’t have Musgo then you NEED to buy some. My tube has a darker green colour and the current tube colour is a lighter shade but it is the same great soap.

And for those that like photos – here are the rest of the photos from today’s shave

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Today it is all about the brush – SOTD 5/March/2019

Hi,

as you all know I am also a brush maker/vendor [Alpha Brush & Shaving Company]. I have been working on a new brush for a few weeks and now it is coming to fruition and I want to tell you all about it. More later but first the SOTD:

  • Brush – Alpha Future Chubby 3D Printed in black nylon
  • Knot – 28mm silver tip badger bulb
  • Razor – Drew Dick Damascus 1/4 hollow
  • Bowl – Van Yulay black resin
  • Soap – The Holy Black/Caswell-Massey Regents Soap

The shave was awesome, the Holy Black soap performed like a trooper and produced a nice thick, Neroli/barber [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neroli] shop scented, lather with plenty for 3 passes. The Drew Dick razor – what can I say – superb, this is my second time using this Damascus steel quarter hollow blade and boy is it sharp. I had prepped with 3P and waited ten minutes for the brush to soak, a small scoop of soap, about a teaspoon full, also blooming in my bowl.

The Razor in Detail

The razor is one I ordered from Drew Dick last year and finally got my hands on it in the summer (UK summer – JULY) as I get stuff mailed to my relatives home in the UK to save postage and pick it up when I go to visit – it is like Christmas every time… It is a Damascus 8/8″ blade with a very slight smile. It is quarter hollow and has black horn scales and as you can see it is a Damascus blade – did I mention DAMASCUS? I think it is something like 30 layers – anyway handsome or what? It is wicked sharp. I have Three Drew Dick razors now and I love them all.

The Bowl – 5″ Van Yulay Black Resin

Yes it is a distinctive Van Yulay bowl. I bought two Van Yulay bowls last year, one light blue and one black. I misplaced the black one and only found it a couple of weeks back so here it is on show for (maybe?) the first time. Anyway it looks great and works great too. I don’t know the manufacturing process but to me it seems it is pressed from some sort of resin and it pretty much renders it unbreakable although I have not done any specific drop testing, and I won’t. The texture is like honey comb and it helps whip up a great lather in no time. The “comb’ also retains a little water. One thing that it does that does not please me though is that the soap tends to get stuck down inside the pattern so I have to mash the brush to get it out and even when the shave is completed I still see some unused soap in those dimples. The bowl is big enough, grippy and I like it apart from I use too much soap. For creams it is a dream!!

The Soap – The Holy Black/Caswell-Massey Regents Soap

From THB site:

“This shaving soap is made in our classic hot-process formula and made with only the purest essential oils and absolutes that we could source. A Rosemary top note is surprisingly mild while adding a eucalyptic (sic) element to this otherwise strictly citrus fragrance. Heavy on the Neroli oil and Bitter Orange Absolute, the floral orange notes are the obvious stars of the show here. Lemon and Sweet Orange oils balance out the bitterness of the Neroli and Bergamot and lend a fresh but not cloying aspect to this simple yet elegant offering. Due to the low flash point of the essential oils used in this soap it had to be made in very small batches at low temperatures, although highly labor intensive, we think this soap is worth every minute of work that went into it.”

All those fancy words mean something to a perfumer – I just love this soap – it lathers well, is stable and slick and smells great. Nothing more to say!!

Now – THE BRUSH – Future Rubberset 400 Inspired Chubby

This brush is inspired by, among others, Rubberset 400, Merit 99-x series and the Charcoal Goods rendition of a Rubberset 400, I noticed he has done a nice rendering of a futuristic looking chubby and I wanted to make something similar. I did email him on the subject of that brush a while back and even asked for his drawings (hee hee, he did not give them..) but he did say that “You are certainly welcome to pursue a similar design as there is no way to get a design patent or anything like that on a clone of an existing product. Good luck and would like to see what you come up with.” So I fired up my CAD software (I use Autodesk Fusion360 if anyone is interested) and got to work. I made something that was not quite right looking and then lost interest after a few weeks as I was not getting the results I wanted, instead concentrating on my redesigns for the T-400 and the Chubberset and some other new brush projects. That was until two weeks ago when I was chatting on WhatsApp to a customer in Australia – no names, no pack drill. He was looking for a chubby design so I showed him a couple of designs I was working on including this one – he helped me over the course of two days make refinements to the shape, the degree of chubbiness and the curvature until it was in a place that I really liked – I mean the brush looked great on paper and the 3D renders looked superb too.

So – bottom line is I had a design that I liked and the got it 3D printed at a local professional print works. Here is the result, with a beautiful 28mm silver tipped knot fitted. It is a lather beast…

I am having a very limited number of these made, right now, in 3D nylon, Titanium and Bronze – this is not the place to sell stuff but you know where I am. I will also have an aluminium (Spelling of Aluminium), cost effective, version in the near future. The bore is 29mm, height 65mm and max width 43mm. I have the handle fully bored out to keep the weight down – in the 3D printed ones I weighted it with some coins and filled the void with hot glue – the metal versions will also be fully bored out to keep the weight down, especially with the bronze ones, and I can then weight the handles to suit and I intend to fill the void with resin.

Finally – here are some renders of my bronze version!! 10 are being made – 6 are sold already.

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