Tips

The 3 day crisis of 2018

Wow rarely do I go 3 days without shaving, when I say rarely I mean never. This happened, and yes I feel the shame; yet the interest of a certain product made me excited to shave.

So earlier this year we had a group razor and soap made, it was a phenomenal deal. The razor made by Riccardo Tonarini, is fully custom 8/8 set in Olive wood with a T10 bolt 1/4 hollow and French tip. The grade steel escapes me, but something like “awesome” comes to mind.

So the 3 day challenge; I was ready to go like a kid on Christmas morning. Soap 70th Anniversary Saponifico Varesino… Check. Totally rocking Alpha Shaving & Brush co.’s T-400 Silvertip Badger brush…check. WSR Custom 2018 LE razor… BIG CHECK. So when your dealing with a razor this large being careful is sage advice. Luckily I made it though the shave with zero effort. Riccardo Tonarini my hat is off to you Prego Mille !

Now I’m as they say BBS smooth, made it through the 3 day crisis of 2018′ and have gained more experience using large blades. This is where I leave all of you for now so as always thank you, and stay smooth !

-Aaron

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!!

Love those Almonds !

Today’s shave reminded me of a few general rules of traditional shaving. Firstly a great soap does not have to be ultra expensive. The second is that you need to enjoy every part of your shave, from the soap to the method of hair removal. Lastly your shave should be memorable !

Today’s shave hit every one of those three simple criteria. Natura Essenziale alla Mandorla is a modest Italian soft soap that cost around €5 and has a wonderful sweet almond aroma, and ample glide and cushion. This is also a vegetable based soap.

I enjoyed literally every moment of today’s shave, from the prep using hot towels infused with almond essential oil to my 6/8 Thiers-Issard Bison Straight razor, to my post shave of Chella Cool by Phoenix Artisan Accoutrements. I took my time, and overall I’d say the experience lasted one and a half hours.

Finally yes it was memorable on many levels. The soap reminded me of my friendship with a great friend I proudly call my brother. About a half hour before I was able to add another wonderful author to our page, and to the shave itself the individual components of soap, brush, razor and post shave delivered a close, no super close shave that made me proud that I stuck with using a proven soap, a freshly honed razor, and a vigorous aftershave that left my face feeling great, and smelling like I was going to conquer the world.

What I suppose I am getting at, is make your personal shave count. The art of traditional shaving is so much more than one part, but the sum of all the parts combined. On this wonderful Saturday I wish you all happy shaves, and as always stay smooth.

Creamo Cream as Pre Shave

Creamo Cream as pre-shave.Creamo Cream is a very different kind of shave cream.  It is in a class of creams known as non-brush based shaving creams.  You don’t use a shaving brush to lather it or apply it.  In fact, it doesn’t really lather at all.  The cream that is produced is more like what you would get from lathering up a bath soap.  The thing to remember when using Creamo is that it requires a lot of water.  And what it really excels at is slickness.  You can use it to shave without anything else and in fact I do use it for a full shave some times when I am in a hurry and will be satisfied with a one or two pass shave.  But I don’t find this nearly as enjoyable of an experience as using a more traditional brush based soap or cream.

But the other way that I frequently use it is as a pre shave.  Applying Creamo Cream as a pre shave really makes that first pass very smooth.  The scent of the original classic Creamo is a fairly strong orange scent which I also enjoy.  And since Creamo is very thirsty, applying a layer of soap over it will keep it from drying out.  All in all using Creamo as a pre-shave for one of your favorite shaving soaps that you have lathered up will give a very nice shaving experience.  Try it and see what you think.

Review

In this particular instance I have used Creamo as a pre-shave for Barrister and Mann’s Sandalwood Latha.  This soap is unfortunately out of production.  But I have used it quite a bit and really enjoy it.  The scent is a somewhat sweet and very rich sandalwood based soap.  It is more like a cologne I think and I kind of believe that it is the smell I would get if I were inside the Taj Mahal.  The Latha soap itself lathers up fairly easily and is not thirsty.  It can become a bit thin if you get too much water in it.  It is fairly slick and generally good in all aspects.

I purchased another tin when I heard they were going out of production with it. In this case I also purchased the AS splash with it. This splash is a non-alcohol based splash and I have found it to be extremely soothing.  And unfortunately I don’t see that B & M makes another AS splash like this either.  For what it’s worth I really enjoyed using the Latha series Sandalwood.  It has been an incredible daily shaver.  I wish I could find something similar.

Blade

This blade, Ladas Super Stainless, was a new choice for me.  It is quite sharp but a bit harsh.  I tend to like the platinum coated blades more than the stainless ones.

Details

Soap Barrister and Mann Latha Sandalwood
Brush Semogue 630
Razor Rockwell 6c, plate 4
Blade Ladas Super Stainless

 

Orange 🍊 & Amber Delight

I look forward to different days of the week; I usually have a theme for the day. Today happens to be Thursday so it’s from a “Tube”. Tubes ROCK ! They are usually compact, slick, and easy to travel with, compared to their rigid tub counterparts.

Today was going to be great as I had chose Musgo Real “Orange Amber”. This is a great transition scent as we move between summertime, and autumn. So let’s get a closer look at this classic. Musgo Real was originally made in 1920 by the Portuguese Musgo Real co. the clock has turned, and the Claus Porto Co founded in 1887, acquired Musgo Real and is now formulated by Ach. Brito

Appearance: 5/5

Musgo Real no.1 Orange Amber is a 100ml tube of shave cream. The tube utilizes a aluminum based orange packaging, that seems to be of a little thicker wall. The Orange is bold with the Musgo Real logo; a crown 👑 and a very utilitarian no.1 Orange Amber embossment. Simple and to the point making this a humble visual to the cream inside. This is a higher end cream despite its packaging and falls into that price point of $22 for 100ml or, 3.5 ounces.

Performance: 4/5

This mini review can be finished in two words; Lanolin and Glycerin. This is the base of this top shelf cream. This allows the cream to have amazing glide, as well as being moisturizing, and to leave your face feeling not only healthy, but smooth as we say a baby’s bottom. The only detraction in my experience is the moderate lather it produces; many would argue this is not an issue, but I like a little thicker lather. Brush used: Envy Shave custom Silver tip Badger.

Fragrance: 5/5

This is a subjective topic as always YMMV, and one person wonderful is another’s awful (Lilac Vegetal for instance). The aroma wafted up to me as I lathered the cream with my brush. A combination of orange and musk along with a pronounced Amber, benzoin smell. I don’t usually pick up on the aroma that quickly, but this was well formulated.

Post Shave: 5/5

Wonderful as the lanolin has done its job perfectly. My face felt like a dream with a BBS outcome, but no redness or, irritation anywhere after 3 passes, and a mild touch up. I really debated if a post shave splash or, balm was needed. I ended up using Fine Accoutrements Italian Citrus, with a drop of Aqua Velva musk.

I hope this little overview of Musgo Real’s no.1 Orange Amber cream in the tube was somewhat helpful. I purchased this cream from Straight Razor Designs Musgo Real Orange Amber Happy shaves my friends, and stay smooth.

  • My daily driver- SS 303Phoenix Bomb Tip handle with a Merkur 41C OC
  • Blade: Gillette Silver Blue (1)
  • Soap: Musgo Real no.1 Orange Amber
  • Brush: Custom Envy Shave Silver tip Badger
  • Post Shave: Fine Accoutrements Italian Citrus & Aqua Velva Musk
  • Fragrance: Bvlgari Aqua Amara

A nice, lightweight, travel setup

IMG_3123

All in all a great shave and not much chit to carry. Next time you travel – try going light!

Hi All – my first post and what better way to do it than a SOTD. I travel a lot in my line of work and I am prone to “over-carrying” shave gear. I have been known to take 5-6 straights, 2-3 soaps, 2+ aftershaves and so on – not to mention lather bowls and strops.

So this time… – I set myself up with a nice, lightweight, setup:

Details
Soap Arko Stick
Brush My ΑΛΦΑ [Alpha} T-400 shaving brush with a nice 24mm Silver Tip knot
Razor Merkur Futur
Blade Feather on shave #2
AS Joe Malone Sage Wood & Sea Salt
Bowl Face lathered!!

The shave was superb – I soaked the brush for about a minute in cool water and took that time to wet the Arko stick and rub a nice layer all over my face. I then face lathered for about 4 minutes – what a lather guys!!! I tell you all – Arko is THE BOMB – it is cheap, slick and whips up a nice lather in no time at all. Some folks hate the smell but to me it just smells like soap – fresh with a hint of citrus.

Yes – look at the gel-tips!! If you want a brush like this one then give me a shout.

The Shave

A 3-pass – pass 1 WTG on setting #4. Pass 2 ATG on setting #4. Pass 3 ATG on setting #1

All in all a great shave and not much chit to carry. Next time you travel – try going light!

 

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I’m going to the ClubGuy !

Okay who loves the classic Pinaud Clubman clean scent ? The only problem I have had was matching that scent to any other soaps than the scentless or, mildly scented like the original Arko stick or, to Ingram cream. Such a great scent over 100 years old and as time passed, well it stayed relevant, but harder to pair leading up until today in 2018. Well the folks at Phoenix Arizona Accoutrements about 5 years ago made made a tribute soap, aftershave, Star Jelly, and sport deodorant to pay homage to this classic ! Really you only need is the soap, and use your original Clubman aftershave. To bring your shave to the next level though I would alternate with the ClubGuy aftershave which has rose water, aloe, and menthol; if your looking for the modern feel of a classic aftershave.

This is also part of a GIVEAWAY ! Watch the linked video, to know the easy way to get entered into winning this great set ! Stay smooth my friends – Aaron

ClubGuy product spotlight 🔦💡

My new daily DE razor !

A few years back it was common to mix, and match 3 piece razors to fit your personal needs. These razors called “Frankenrazors” were sometime very unique, and at times left me scratching my head; why alter a perfectly engineered razor ! Well it turns out they were all onto something. We or, at least I don’t see too many mix and match combinations any more, so what better time for me to try it out. I created my new daily Shaver, and a perfectly matched blade too boot.

So anyone that knows me, has heard me complain about the Merkur 41C (1904) Open Comb. While a great razor I always had to “shim” the razor, and mainly avoided its use all together. This was the replica of the first Gillette razors…. I would contend that I’ve never seen any early Gillette razor look like this, but it is an exact match to the Lutz razor !

I liked the head, but the handle was too light, and it offered a sub par shave for me. In comes the Stainless Steel 303 Bomb Tip from Phoenix Arizona Accoutrements. This is a game changer adding 66 grams for the 3.5″ handle; it’s made to fit most razors and all PAA razors. The balance was now more bottom heavy allowing the razors handle to do all the work without pressure or, too much pulling. 303 SS Bomb Tip 3.5″

On to the Merkur 41C 1904. Im sure this razor has a population of enthusiastic users that now hate my descent from its true form. That’s okay because it’s all about comfort, enjoying your shave, and what works for your face. So if you like a super mild razor or, have a thin beard type this razor may be all you, so give it a try it may be your go to razor ! Merkur 1904 Open Comb

To Bowl or Not to Bowl

jsbowlI prefer lathering in a bowl.  I think I initially started with a bowl because I didn’t know you could lather on your face.  And, using Taylor of Old Bond Street (TOBS for short) cream which I started out with was very easy to use in a bowl.  In fact, if you are in a hurry, using a cream like TOBS is a very fast way to get a good lather going quickly.

But there are other reasons which lead me to recommend using a bowl over lathering on the face.  Ultimately I believe lathering in a bowl gives you better control over forming the best and most optimum lather.  It is easier to control the amount of water that you add and it is visually more accurate.  You can see right there in the bowl how good the lather is.  You don’t have any feel for it on your skin but you can feel how the brush moves and in that way also determine how thick or thin the lather is.  As well as just lifting the brush up and out of the lather to see how it peaks.

Once the lather is formed, you don’t have to spend much time painting it on your face, it’s already formed so just spread it around and get on with the shave.  I also like to use my brush like a painter uses a brush with a paint can and scrape lather off the brush on the side of the bowl.  This also allows me to control where the lather is on the brush which in turn allows me to optimize the lather on my face.

Ok, now that I have convinced you to use a bowl (probably not), you have to decide upon a bowl to use.  At first, if you don’t want to spend any money, just find a cup or small bowl from your kitchen and use it.  If this works for you and you are happy, that’s good.  If you want a mug that has been specifically designed for lathering there are lots of good choices.  I see many people using the Captain’s Choice mugs which seem to fit nicely in the palm of your hand.  I like the Doug Smith Pottery bowl in the photo above because it adds to this idea a thumb hold.  So you can have the bowl in the palm of your hand and an added bit of security to prevent dropping it.

The Wet Shaving Podcast (a great resource by the way) did a discussion of bowl vs face lathering in a recent episode and Joe suggested that it is inconvenient to take a nice bowl when you are traveling.  This is true but it’s easy to take an inexpensive metal bowl which will work fine.

So, have I convinced you to lather in a bowl yet?  Maybe not.  But whatever the case, it’s part of the shaving ritual and whatever floats your boat is certainly good and fine.  Feel free to ask questions about this or offer your thoughts on your favorite form of lathering. But whatever the case, enjoy the shave!

Pre shaves; do you need one ?

While I’m in the midst of redoing our website, and adding excellent authors like Bob W, here’s a very popular video off of YouTube, I posted a while back. Happy shave my friends, and 3 Extrò reviews are on the way.

Pre shaves Fact or, Fiction