Tips

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

 

The five P’s and never assume anything

What the heck am I talking about ! “This fool, is throwing multiple letters at us now” How dare he !…. I can see it already LOL ! Well I learned that this acronym the Five P’s should be pretty much in one of the Gospel…., and if you read close enough you’ll see them, but I doubt they are called the five P’s. Okay I’m done with the riddles so stick with me. Proper, Prevention, Prevents, Poor, Performance.  There I said it. and I failed at doing so, hence this post.  Oh and I’ll get to that “never assume” part soon enough.

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The best way I can paint this picture in our world of shaving is by example. Now the first word

  • Proper – well this can mean a lot of things in our world from not holding a razor blade on the sharp edges, to how we care for our skin post shave. There is a proper way, and for each of us this is where the most YMMV actually comes to play. So this “P” is a personal journey… I can only say use common sense or, ask someone’s advice and they will tell you the proper advice, and way to do something. The one thing traditional shavers love to do is talk about the “Proper” way things are done.

 

  • Prevention- Take care of your gear ! the reason and for our benefit, a lot of those vintage razor we buy and spend a bit of time cleaning up or, sending out for repair, refurbishment; was a direct result of the previous owner not using simple preventative measures. Dry your razor before storage, use a light oil to lubricate moving parts, strop that straight razor, oil that strop !!! either by hand or, neatsfoot oil !, and finally yourself ! yes I said YOU ! before you shave do you take all the steps to prevent a poor shave ? Have you mapped your facial hair growth ? do you benefit from a pre-shave oil or, cream ? Does your skin work better with a hot shower or, cold water and a great lather ? If you plan the end result before you start, the road map to shaving Nirvana is not out of reach; actually this step pretty much makes everything else go smoothly including your face.

 

  • Prevents- well read above you’ll prevent the next step.

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  • Poor- Well,  I over 25 years of traditional shaving have heard everything from the razor, to the blade, to water, and a foggy mirror blamed for a crappy shave ! Well sometimes we learn more from the bad then we do from the good. A poor shave should always be analyzed.  First step… Check were you proper to your needs, did you set your self up for success (Prevention)… you just experienced poor….so what went wrong assuming everything went smooth above. Did you try a new blade, a new technique like J Hooking or, buffing ? was the Astra SP you love on shave 2 still being used 10 shaves later ? Well you just found out that was preventable….. was it a new blade ? try another of the same brand, were the results still poor ? Move on you just learned what to prevent in the future, write a little note mentally stay away from brand “X” it does not work in “This” razor, but is great in another. Set yourself up for great,  not poor.

 

  •  Performance- Well this is the last “P”. There is an old saying “a good mechanic” does not blame his or, her tools (being politically correct here), when a job turns out poor. These previous mindful steps will determine your performance. Only you can decide how optimal your shave or, in the bigger picture your life is performing. I bet if any of us, myself included; took 5 minutes before a shave, and actually thought from the end to the beginning and then begging to end we can force ourselves to find those little way or, tweaks that will bring that “performance level” up at least a bit.

 

Next time you shave, or better put have a mediocre shave, was it one of these 5 “P’s” that was the culprit, and if so did you learn from it. Finally these last few words.

 

NEVER assume anything….never assume, because a Personna Med Prep just came in and the blue wrapping is fully sealed; that the blade is sharp. Maybe it’s a dud, try another one, inspect the blade and razor. If you’re a Straight Razor shaver never assume just because the razor is shave ready that it is….I say this as more than once my opinion of shave ready was different from the person who sharpened it up. Trust me on that one 95% at least of straight razors are not shave ready; what they are is sharp enough to cut a single arm hair…..all hair is not created equally. Recently I bought a straight razor…..beautiful as all can be, and I paid for what I expected to be a sharp blade. Well it shaved, but left irritation, razor bumps, and weepers every time I used it;  “It must be me”.  So I did my check list….and I was just baffled. Finally I said after a few horrible bloody shaves, let me put this razor on a 12K stone than some CrOx and mindful strop it well; this is called refreshing a blade, a minor form of honing. Don’t assume anything !! this razor is now the most comfortable in my rotation. It did not have a rolled edge or, really any wear as it was a new razor…. it was preference ! one mans sharp is another’s dull…..from a business sense it’s better to be dull, and go sharper then be too sharp on sensitive skin, I do “get” that. So in Proper Prevention when I order a razor now everyone knows I prefer the blade on the ultra sharp side, and never be afraid to tell your distributor your preferences in all things you will both benefit from an honest relationship on expectations. Same holds true for you DE and SE shavers… do NOT assume that a Feather Blade because it is “So sharp”, because you read it on a Facebook forum is the right blade for you…..or that the newest heavily marketed razor that claims to shave like a much more reputable brand is going to work for you. This is called marketing, and trust me you can convince yourself a piece of thin aluminum is great for you if you hear, and see it enough times. Do NOT assume anything, critique things with your own good judgment not mine, nor Facebook as people have motives, not all, but some,  and you jut don’t realize it. In the case you do enjoy that product..Soap, Razor, Blade, After Shave……. do not forget your 5 “P’s” use what you like and use it properly, and you will have great performance almost all the time. Shave on and thanks for listening to the rant !

Aaron

SOTD: May 15th, 2015 “Refreshed”

Simply a great shave, nothing fancy at all, but I was proud of this shave ! It was unique, special and memorable for a few reasons.

  
How many of us by things…. Anything, it does not even need be shaving related, and it sits ? “It was a good idea when I bought it” ! Well I bought a pretty full hone set,  going from 220 DMT’s and Norton 220k/1000k  to flatting stones and 1k-2k 4K/8k and finishing stones made by Norton and Shapton, and from Naniwa 12k as well as chromium oxides and Diamond sprays which are equal to about 30k ! I never used them; there was really just no need until now ! The wanna be razor doctor was in the house. 

  
So I prayed a LOT ! As I did not want to ruin my blade, but wanted to be self sufficient, I easily could have sent my razors to Lynn Abrams or Don Addleman, and slept easily, but how do I become a better shaver by doing that ? I don’t. So I watched a few of Lynn’s video’s and the moment of truth came….. And guess what ? The world did not end and actually it worked ! My razor felt like it was brand new again to the point I did not even feel the blade ! I had to check the lather for stubble or, I wouldn’t have believed it was shaving. I had no idea how dull the blade was until I sharpened it, so guess what ? What was originally a scary process; became three razors doing a simple 12K and 30K refresh on synthetic stones ! I was proud; what is it 20 razors and I become a Honemeister ? LOL !  

  

  
  
I have a ways to go, and I’m happy to go slow and enjoy the learning process ! I may pick up some “project razors” to learn to reset a bevel doing the circle method, learn to double bevel, and run pyramids all the way trough finishing the razor like I did here. Learning and being self sufficient is all part of the game, so shave on, don’t be afraid it’s only a razor; just do your homework first. Shave on folks and happy Friday- Aaron

  • Pre: Clarisonic Aria normal brush and hydro cleanser 
  • Prep: Hot shower and Nivea face wash
  • Super-Lather: Cella & GFT Almond
  • Brush: Simpsons Duke 3 in best badger
  • Razor: Ralf Aust 5/8 in faux ebony scales
  • Lather: Scuttle
  • Moustache: handlebar
  • Wax & Pomade: Pinaud Black & Reuzel Red
  • Post Shave: Cold water rinse & cold towels
  • After shave: Pinaud Classic Vanilla
  • Balm: RazoRock R160

Shave in reverse ! and some new fragrances.

So I spent some $$$ today …. on what I am calling my reverse shave….. meaning I have started a new way of shaving….starting at the end and working to the beginning….in layman’s terms start with the EDT(P)or (C) then pick your balm and aftershave….then soap and brush and finally razor and method of prep…. preferably layering all variables to come out with the perfect shave. If you know where you want to end ….it’s easier to know where to start right ? who said insanity doesn’t have it’s place !! So this was what I bought today….. I will start with the most controversial and go to the most accepted I guess……

Thiery Mugler Ultra Zest

Thiery Mugler : Ultra Zest
This is a A*MEN variant… like all A*MEN DNA EDT’s you have that gourmand (food like) animalistic and sensual musky aroma but Ultra Zest the 2015 limited edition is the first to put a strong Orange citrus accord in that DNA. At first I HATED this scent…. so one dimensional and linear… I could not tell the top notes to the base… it was just A*MEN with some OJ for breakfast. Well today 100ml found its way into my house….. I don’t know how or, when, but I now can pick out those subtle nuances and I found a soap that matches perfectly ! Tiki Bar soaps Land Locked…. it is a great match….again work from the end forward. Also for 3.4 ounces or, 100ml for a LE Mugler EDT $90 is not a bad deal. This of all the special editions I would say will probably never come back…. so I do not regret this buy at all.

ADG Essenza

Next up a more daring, but safe buy…. in the mostly Aquatic family Giorgio Armani’s famous Aqua di Gio……., but I decided to get the eau de Parfum Essenza version….. described by the house as the more refined sophisticated and truer to the original with wood notes as well as EDP strength and sillage…. this falls actually under the Woody aquatic family and whilst being a summer scent that wood note makes it really a 3 season scent. My soap of choice for this would be D.R. Harris Windsor or, Catie’s Bubbles LPV.

Chanel Platinum Egoiste

Finally and probably my favorite of the three I bought was Chanel Platinum Egooiste…..from the opening to the full dry down, I love this scent. It opens with strong floral notes of rosemary, Orange, Lavender and Geranium followed with Jasmine and then finishing with Oakmoss, Vetiver, Petigrain, Sandalwood and Cedar …making this a woodsy floral musk by definition. This is a no fooling around heavy hitter that will last a long time….. as they say you can never go wrong with Chanel either men or, women. I would personally in my reverse engineering would marry well with a few of my favorite combinations…..Barrister & Mann Vetyver Santal….or, Cheshire… It would sit well with commercial soaps like St. James of London Mandarin and Patchouli or, cedarwood and Clary sage…. this is a versatile scent to say the least.

Bottom line working backwards is sometimes a great way to shave… it’s always good to know your destination before you hit the road !

SOTD: January 1st, 2015

Here we are 2015 ! Happy New Year everyone. Today’s shave I dedicate to Anthony Esposito aka, the “Stallion”. Anthony educates daily on the use of straight razors, and really took the style and ran with it ! I can’t think of a better person to start off 2015 honoring.

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I also use for the first time a Vie-Long “Lord Randall” mixed Horse/Badger brush for the first time, the video says it all WOW ! The video is a complete shave, and a bit long, but I really hope you enjoy and take something away from how I use a straight razor while navigating my facial hair.  – Aaron

  • Pre: Clarisonic with normal head and hydrogel
  • Prep: Hot Shower and Water
  • Soap: Barrister & Mann “Vetyver Santal”
  • Brush: Vie-Long “Lord Randall” mixed Horse/Badger
  • Razor: Dovo “La Forme” 6/8 shoulderless straight razor
  • Lather type: Face
  • Moustache type: Handlebar
  • Wax and Pomade: Pinaud Brown and Layrite Super Hold WB
  • Post Shave: Cold water rinse, RazoRock alum, Anthony Logistics IGHT
  • After Shave: Fine “Clean Vetiver”
  • Balm/Other: Alt Innsbruck Emulsion with a little Cremo balm
  • EDT: L’Occitane “Vetyver”

Tips: Regular, Super, or Uber-Lather which one ?

Last night and today I really wanted to mix two of my favorite soaps of the season; Petal Pusher Fancies “Ciderhouse-5” and Synergy “Pumpkin 3.14”. These are amazing soaps on their own, and after lathering them together today with added Glycerin I have my opinion…., but that is not the focus of this article. I questioned last night is there a fancy name for when you mix two soap ? There are names for soaps and creams, and soaps, creams, and glycerin. Is there a name for two soaps ? or, a soap and croap ? The majority agreed on all the traditional lather “sub” categories and we also all agreed that two soaps is basically just blending which as far as I’m concerned is just as cool ….let’s call it Dopple-lathering ! It pays homage to my brewing as well, Dopple is German for Double.

As the conversation on the Wet Shaver Review went on, many members had no idea or, heard of super-lathering or, uber-lathering. Well that is why the WSR is here. We are not only a Facebook group, but a resource to cross educate one another, and really make this renaissance of traditional shaving all that it can be for everyone. So I am going to bring you through each type of lather. I hope this helps and never be afraid to experiment !

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Soap or, Cream lather

A basic lather is just that a single soap or, cream that is either loaded (the brush is coated in soap or, cream) onto your brush or, squeezed into a mug or, bowl. Now in the case of soaps a good rule of thumb is 30 seconds of swirling with a semi-wet brush or, to a pre-soaked puck of hard soap will generate an adequate lather. Now in the case of a cream the size of an almond some time called a “snurdle” is placed onto the brush or, into a bowl. Start by swirling on the face or, in the bowl for appx. a minute and feel the lather…chances are it is still too thick, and not slick enough. Add water slowly and if for whatever reason it becomes too thin; you can always add more soap or, cream.  No one ever seems to mention that part though I agree it is easier to add water slowly than to play the back and forth game to get it correct. A good rule of thumb is peaks will form in the bowl as well as on your brush’s hair think like the peaks of a meringue after bating egg whites, this is a great visual comparison.  Whether you face or, bowl lather is a matter of preference, but usually once a routine is established people quickly identify with their style of lathering, and will often say “I’m a face latherer” or, “I’m a bowl latherer”, in my case personally it depends on what I am doing for the day.

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Dopple-Lather

Remember we just created that word for the use of two soaps or, two creams. It is inventive and is for me; a way to blend two like scents or, two complimentary scents to hopefully achieve an aroma I/we/you enjoy. As wet-shavers this is as close as we get to really being creative, and inventing unique blends that the soaper did not originally intend. For example I blended as I said above Pumpkin 3.14 and Ciderhouse- 5 ….. I called it Pumpkin Apple Delight. I learned use less Ciderhouse-5 as it is a more dominant scent, but that is the fun in blending ! 30 seconds here on one soap and 45 on the other or, whatever the case may be…. let your creative side flow and take notes !

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Super-Lather

Okay this is a real deal style of lathering. Typically here forward you will be bowl lathering though it is possible to face lather any of these methods. A super lather is the best of both worlds a Soap and a Cream combined ! This is a very generalized statement as creams are known for their ease of lathering and slickness and soaps for their moisturizing and volume. These are generalizations, and I can cite many soaps and creams that fall way outside that “mold” no pun intended. So how do you make a super-lather ? Simple as can be ! take your bowl and add that snurdle of cream or, even a bit less (remember you are using soap too), next with your brush load for 30 seconds on your soap. Now the hard part….. start mixing the two in the bowl LOL !! really that is it, and like a regular lather you add water slowly until a slicker than a normal lather is produced, and those tell-tale lather peaks are forming on your brush. I find Super-lathering to be great, and truly enhances even the best soaps or, creams out there. The trick is to use complimentary products and not conflicting aroma’s or, otherwise. A great example I find myself using for a Super-Lather is Mitchell’s Wool Fat and Proraso cream. You get that awesome lather full of lanolin, the menthol and slickness from the Proraso…and the scents work well together. I find a one minute load on the MWF and an almond sized dollop of cream to be perfect, and just add the water to the proper consistency.

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Uber-Lather

This is an easy one and a very important one to say the least. I cannot stress the importance of the Uber-Lather. An Uber-Lather is exactly the same as a Super-Lather except you add 3-5 drops of liquid vegetable glycerin to the Super-Lather. It really is that simple, but here is why it is so great. Glycerin is a humectant and a hygroscopic agent that acts as a lubricant, it draws moisture into the mixture making it super slick and often thickens up the lather making it more protective. I add glycerin to all the above lather types to achieve a “similar” but not exact result even if only doing a single soap lather. One of the most reported claims of an Uber-Lather is how soft and silky your skin feels after the shave, this is due to the glycerin puling moisture into your skin, and it acting as a slippery maker 🙂 !

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No matter what type of lather you make the important thing to remember is know your brush and soak it accordingly and don’t expect a 14mm knot to hold as much lather as a 26mm knot. Know the soap or cream you are using. Is said soap water hungry or, the moisture in the brush is more than adequate ? I have seen many a soap not need a drop of added water, and others so much was added I almost gave up on shaving ! and Finally know “why” you are mixing soaps and creams or, adding glycerin. Your face or, legs or, whatever will guide you and use these methods as a way to pamper yourself or, as a practical way to enhance your daily shave. I hope this has helped you and enjoy your shaves ! Dopple-Lather spread the term it started here 🙂 !

SOTD/Trial: October 11th, 2014 ” Almond Cavendish Delight”

 

What happens when you mix a great classic British soap house’s cream and an American Artisans soap ? Some really amazing stuff ! I know we call these Shaves of the day, but as of late I have been trying to push the envelope trying new combinations, and today was one of those days. Now I wasn’t sky diving or, going face first down the Flume; we are talking about super-lathering again, but to me this is just as exciting as this may be a combo you may want to try, it is that good !

Today I decided to use my Ikon modular OSS mounted on the 316L stainless steel bulldog handle that came with the open comb head. Recently a member of the WSR had asked about the OSS head, and I wanted to reply, but for once I did not know exactly how to reply. Traditionally I would say for multiple passes the open comb is great initially for the reduction pass followed by the closed comb for the remainder. Today I would not have said that. I did 100% on the closed comb side. I did not need a super aggressive shave so I stayed to the one side . I did not find this to be a hindrance at all I found that I could get about 3 passes between rinsing, and it did not to my internal clock extend the shave at all. I to be honest found the Ikon to be quiet pleasurable to use. I will say though with a heavier growth than I had today I would have started on the Open Comb side. I paired the Ikon with the Voskhod now on use 9 !! not a drop of a problem, I average 10 shaves, but we are going to see if we can shoot for 12 just out of again a “trial”.

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now this is where some real magical stuff happened ! It came to me last night while just thinking about certain scents that would compliment each other. This was a result of a great Q&A with Frances from Petal Pushers Fancies who made me think a bit about how scents for soaps are made. The jist of what was said was a lot of bad soaps happened before the good soap was finally made…. in other words trial and error. Now I do not have the patience Frances has, but I do have a huge soap and cream den ! So while I was up thinking it came to me I am focusing on Geo F. Trumpers “Almond” and I thought “I wonder how a combination of GFT “Almond” and Synergy “Cavendish” would be ? So long story short it happened today. All I can say is I cannot believe how perfect this super lather was ! GFT “Almond” is a strongly scented and sweeter almond scent and “Cavendish” is also a strongly scented soap. Neither of which dominated the other nor, did it feel like there was a struggle for scent dominance. The lather had the best of both the cream, and the soap; super slick, massive cushion, and unique and smooth in aroma that stayed throughout and even after the shave. I made the magic happen with my Semogue 1305 which is my traditional “Cavendish” brush ! Great combination that I cannot recommend highly enough, just remember to use a sweet almond like GFT not a bitter one like Cella … I’m not sure about that one.

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To end this great shave full of “trials” why would I end any differently ? I did the classic cold water rinse, and Shavex alum rub. I had zero irritation and great feedback. This really was a great shave. I then moved over to a more traditional toner and used the HTGAM alcohol free “Cavendish” after shave, but after drying I mixed a homemade Corn Huskers lotion and Almond essential oil mixture with the HTGAM “Cavendish” lotion and it made again a really great aroma where both the almond and the Cavendish scent stood out wonderfully. The mixture left my face silky smooth feeling and ultra moisturized. Now would I go through this effort every time I use Synergy “Cavendish”, but it sure will be a nice treat every so often and now that I know this combination works, it gives me an option I didn’t have yesterday.

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So that ends my SOTD so I learned today that I can just use one side of the Ikon OSS without any problems, that GFT “Almond” and Synergy “Cavendish” make a GREAT super-lather and finally a similar combination of CHL w/ almond EO and HTGAM “Cavendish” lotion also make for an outstanding after shave.

Great shaves everyone and enjoy the weekend ! – Aaron

  • Pre: Hot shower w/ Jack Blacks facial wash
  • Prep: CHL & Almond essential oil
  • Cream: Geo F. Trumpers “Almond”
  • Soap: Synergy “Cavendish”
  • Brush: Semogue 1305 boar
  • Razor: Ikon modular OSS head on 316L stainless bulldog handle
  • Blade: Voskhod (9)
  • Lather type: Apothecary mug
  • Moustache type: natural flow handlebar
  • Wax and Pomade: Brooklyn Grooming “Williamsburg” wax & Old Spice ” Spiffy mixed with Tres Flores Brilliantine
  • Post shave: Cold water rinse, Shavex alum
  • After shave: HTGAM alcohol free “Cavendish” aftershave tonic
  • Lotion: CHL + Almond EO & HTGAM “Cavendish” lotion
  • Deodorant: Petal Pusher fancies “Cavendish”

Diary of a Road Warrior: Travel Tips

How do you bring the comforts of home while traveling for business or pleasure? Simple, bring your gear with you! The trick is to pack them in a way that won’t take up space and provide some variety. Why limit yourself, or worse, shave with that ‘Goo & Plastic’ while away. First, decide what you would like to bring and where are you going. If you’re going someplace warm & tropical, perhaps Coconut Cream Soap or something that smells like The Beach (wink wink). For me, there’s nothing better than a nice mentholated freeze when visiting someplace hot & humid. I have tried many travel cases & toiletry bags and found that eBags is the absolute best for traveling with your shaving stuff.  My shaving gear packs nice and flat  without sacrificing space in your luggage.  At only 2-1/4″ thick, you’ll be amazed how much shaving stuff you can pack into it! My travel bag wasn’t cheap, but it works well for me, as I’m able to fit all my gear with room to spare.

Remember, variety is the spice of life and as you can see, I travel with a number of soaps, lotions, splashes and razors. All you need is to find the containers to ‘right-size’ the amount needed for your journey. Let’s start with soaps. My TOBS Sandalwood is always with me and the container tubes work just fine for travel. Tabac is another go-to soap that’s Always with me when on the road. Since the a Tabac jar is glass and very heavy, I simply added shavings that I pressed in a Tupperware container.  I also travel with the matching AS & Cologne, which I placed into miniaturized containers.  By the way, eye dropper containers work great for cologne and AS , as well as little vials pictured. I think vials can easily be found with the local crack dealer (only kidding!).  The eye dropper contains my Tabac AS and the vial has Tabac cologne. Both are secure and have never leaked. Another tip is to bring your favorite AS/Cologne in travel sprayers that can be found in any fragrance specialty store. I found mine in Perfumania in the mall for a few bucks. I have two that I have brought along for my journey. The red sprayer has Al Fin and the clear has Penhaligon’s .  I sometimes travel with more than two razors, but for this trip, decided on just two. Below is a list of what I’m  traveling with this week:

  • Preshave:
    Homemade Oil (in bottle w/ black cap)
    Proraso Green (small round container w/screw top lid)
  • Soaps: 
    TOBS Sandalwood
    TOBS Coconut
    Tabac (in Tupperware)
    Soap Commander Courage (Sample)
    WSP Black Amber Vanilla (Sample)
    Trumpers Eucris (round container w/ screw top lid)
  • Aftershave & Cologne:
    TOBS AS Gel (Sandalwood)
    Soap Commander Balm (Courage)
    Al Fin (Red Travel Sprayer)
    Tabac AS (eye dropper container)
    Tabac Cologne (tiny bottle)
    Penhaligon’s Endymion
    Osage Rub (mouthwash travel bottle)
  • Razors:
    Vintage Gillette Black Handle SS
    EJ DE89L
  • Blades: Voskhod
  • Brush: Plisson Synthetic with Travel Container

 

Written by: Peter Charkalis

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SOTD: October 4th, 2014 and Make Skin food ?

Happy Saturday everyone ! I was not planning on being home today and had my Dopp bag packed and ready to go. Instead of just using what I had packed for the next 5 days, I decided to pull another oldie but great cream into my “reduction” rotation. I want to be clear in case it is not; I am not trying to get rid of soaps, and creams just to get rid of them, it is because of excess. I am also choosing them based on the upcoming seasonal changes with some lateral play to through for example a great summer scent in like D.R. Harris Arlington or, Synergy “Gondolier”, today this was not the case ! here we go and I have a few tips today as well.

I rarely talk about my before shave ritual, today it’s worth talking about. Everyone loves to talk about pre-shaves; love them or, hate them ? use them or, not. Guess what ? I you shower before you shave and wash your face ( I hope you are ) you have done the simplest of pre shaves. The alkaline nature of a pre shave soap helps soften the hair or, the glycerin content helps expand the follicle by up to 30%.  Today I not only washed my face with The Body Shops “Maca Root” face wash but I used my home-made almond skin food pre shave lotion. Here is the recipe and you can use any essential oil, that is known to NOT have any skin reactivity.

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1- Bottle of Corn Huskers Lotion, this old-time product is mostly glycerin and very comparable to GFT skin food.

1- Essential oil of your choice ( do your research about sensitivity and start on the low side ).

3- Add the essential oil of your choice to the desired strength you enjoy. I have used Rose, Lime, Almond, Cedar, Orange and Lavender

4- You just made a pre or post shave skin food and depending on the oil it could have been less than $5 !!!

So today I used my homemade almond skin food which I actually built around the aroma strength of RazoRock’s ‘Classic” scent. I would call it a medium strength. I applied the skin food with a light touch don’t glob the stuff on… a thin layer is more than sufficient. I then got to work bowl lathering my Geo F. Trumpers “Almond” cream. What an amazing cream ! I always wondered why the huge difference in the three T’s (Taylor of old Bond street $14.99, Geo F. Trumpers $30.00, and Truefitt & Hill $30-40 appx. prices) Well the answer is I believe in the aroma as well as the slickness and the amount needed to make a huge protective lather. I used way to much cream today… it’s been a while since I last used this and used a TOBS sized dollop which is about a Brazil nut or half USA dollar coin. Massive is an understatement to what I produced. The smell was amazing ! There IMHO is no better almond cream or, soap on the market. This is well worth the money if you like the scent. I used my Vie-Long 12750 which is great both in bowl or, directly to the face. I had a conversation today on the WSR about horse hair brushes…. I wont mention names as I don’t have their permission, but it was a  “what should I expect” type of conversation. It was a no brainer as to what I was using today, and I’ll repeat it here. I rank generally in softness Synthetic, Badger (HMW Silvertip, Silvertip, superfine or best, 2-Band, best, Pure), Horse, and finally boar. Today was a great pair !

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After yesterday’s insanely close shave with the ATT “Atlas” H2 I brought it down about 100 steps. I decided to use my 1973 Gillette black handle Super Speed. This razor is in mint condition and showroom quality. This is not a super collectible razor so I do use it as a user grade, I may eventually regret that, but whatev ! This is a pretty mild shaver similar in feel; falling between a bluetip Super Speed and the Flair Tip Super Speed. So it’s mild is the bottom line. I paired it with that trusty Voskhod now on use two. This is a very sharp blade falling in the upper tiers of sharpness. The razor tempered the aggressive nature of the blade, don’t get me wrong… a better choice for today would have been a Astra SP and the BH SS , but I don’t like having multiple blades out there. I believe it or not ended even with three passes with a DFS not a BBS I actually had so little of growth from yesterdays uber close shave, I don’t think I hot that optimal blade angle for such low growth. Still no one in the world will be able to see the difference unless they rub my face ATG …. and no one best be rubbing my face 🙂 !

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To end this shave it was a simple no-brainer. I used the last of my Dickinson’s witch hazel toner, and allowed it to dry. After that a simple, but generous application of the RazoRock R-160 sweet almond balm was it. No aftershaves etc…. really a simple ending to a great shave, the only other standard touches where the cold water rinse and actually I switched to RazoRock block alum. I am starting to believe I like the RazoRock alum more than the Shavex, but that’s for another time.

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That was all folks ! I hope that tip for homemade skin food helps all of you out if you decode to take a try with it, and on that note enjoy your days, and I hope you all had great shaves ! – Aaron

  • Pre: Hot shower w/ Maca root facial cleanser
  • Prep: Home-Made almond skin food
  • Cream: Geo F. Trumpers “Almond”
  • Brush: Vie-Long 12750 Horse hair brush
  • Razor: 1973 Gillette Black Handled Super Speed
  • Blade: Voskhod (2)
  • Lather type: Bowl
  • Moustache: Handlebar
  • Wax & Pomade: Pinaud Black & Crew Fiber
  • Post shave: Cold water rinse, RazoRock alum
  • Balm: RazoRock R-160