I found this article to be a great resource or, refresher for new and seasoned Wet Shavers alike. Get that shave you’ve been dreaming of.
Credit to Hotshavehustlers.com as well as VDH for sharing this.
Just follow the link to a better shave every time !
Mark Herro Aka Mantic59 again takes your shave to the next level ! Thanks for everything you do Mark 🙏🏽
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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 !
When I was a child I remember the feel of stubble on my fathers face; it intrigued my young mind. I also envied at 5 years old why I couldn’t grow this scratchy stuff that I loved to touch, it was a way I believe fathers, and sons bond; the physical contact as well as the manly aspect of the beard, and generations past that also looked at their grand fathers, fathers, brothers……or, whoever your favorite stubbled face growing up, and inspiring that youthful mind to think of the future that someday; I too will have stubble for my sons to ponder over.
How in the world does any of this have to do with Straight razors then, and removal of that moustache or, full beard ? A few month’s back I received a comment on my YouTube channel that basically read “why is anyone taking advice about straight razor shaving from a guy with a full beard” ? At the time I had a chinstrap beard, not a full beard there is a difference, actually a very big difference. So this is a good time to say why I choose to use a straight razor, and why a bearded man has a tougher job overall removing that face fur.
Many people find that using a straight razor can be tough, and I won’t disagree. If it was easy we would be using a 5 blade cartridge razor. The straight razor shave is different in most aspects of the actual shaving from the 10-30 degree angle you shave at, to the grips and reverse grips to accommodate your face. Yes it is more difficult then some people would like. Other people instantly know this was meant for them; it’s a time of reflection, accuracy, solitude and stress relief that is unique to any other form of introspective activity. I love using a straight razor ! there I said it loud, and proud or, wrote it (I was yelling in my mind). After a good 30 days most people find that while having a learning curve that ultimately the switch was well worth it. so lets get into some Straight talk.
Straight razors are broken down to a few simple terms. The edge is the actual sharp portion of the blade that shaves, The remainder of the blade is known as the face. The toe is the end of the front portion, which may have different looks like round tip, French Point, Spike to name a few and there are more. The opposite of the edge is the spine which will lead into the shoulder which are stabilizers more for the mfg. then the shave. Finally for our purposes you have the scales which is the counter balance, and grip assist to the tang which is everything the blade is not. As we see there are some terms there, but don’t drown in the physiology of the blade just know every aspect of that blade whether you use it or, not impacts your shave. So what is right for you ? the first time Straight razor user.
Lets make this simple, and black and white as there is so much non-sense in circulation you could be turned off by taking bad advice. here is a rule of thumb. Avoid Chinese razors in general as the quality is pretty much like everything else with that logo. It works, and will shave, but the upkeep can send you right back to your previous shaving device. I will be the first one to say a quality straight razor does NOT have to be expensive, it’s just not ! this is what sends many people to those Chinese blades is price, $30-100 is the lie that anything else is a small mortgage payment. Guess what you can get a quality vintage razor for that maybe less or, even a brand new razor for $100; like the Ralf Aust base model which I still use today. The constant performance just is not there with any Chinese razor I have every tried. A straight Razor is an investment in you ! your worth the extra few dollars. I recommend buying a round point which looks like a sideways “U” at the toe, which will help you avoid cuts, and are in general, just an all around go to for most gents. Next up bigger is NOT better. You will hear mathematical terms used that sound like your back in school. Some are 3/8, 5/8, 6/8, 13/16, 15/16, 8/8 and we can talk fractions all day, but at the end all that means is the width of the face (see above) of your razor. I recommend 5/8 for two reasons the weight, and feel is great for both beginner and veteran shaver alike. The second reason is back to the guy who questioned my facial hair, because you can maneuver tight hollow of your face easier allowing you some facial hair like a chin puff, any moustache, as well as some pretty awesome side burns without the fear of loss of blade control and bulkiness. Finally you’ll see a ton of scale options (again see above) ranging from plastic to celluloid, to even precious Abalone. I would encourage the plastic or, acrylic scales as they keep cost low, and there is nothing wrong until you know a straight razor is for you, to be prudent. To cut to the point I usually just tell people there is a brand called Ralf Aust sold by SRD that is made in Solingen Germany the city of blades known for high quality carbon steel, and it fits every recommendation I said above. Just do not forget to buy an introductory strop as well it’s not an option. Down the road once you get the technique down as permits get more bling razors, but remember this is an investment, and I promise you will never find a successful business that didn’t crawl before it ran so take your time, and enjoy it !
one last thing before I go. Never let anyone say you cannot use your DE/SE razor, and a straight razor in the same shave why give up a DE or, SE razor !…. I don’t know about everyone else, but I invest in myself, and trust me all three of those razor belong in my life, and maybe yours too. Shave on everyone, I hope this helped a bit. – Aaron
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
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.
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.
- 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 !
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
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 !
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.
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 !
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.
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 🙂 !
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 🙂 !
Mitchells Wool Fat
HTGAM Tombstone AS
Gold Dollar from Bill Tsugranes 6/8 Barbers Notch
HTGAM S42 Prototype
Supermax Super Platinum Blade
We have all heard about “The Fat” and how difficult it is to lather. If you follow a few guidelines that I picked up off of You Tube it will be much easier. I soak the puck with slightly warn water while I shower, then soak my brush for about 30 seconds and shake all of the water I can out of it. I do find it’s easier with a stiff brush. I then load my brush using more pressure than I normally do for 30 seconds to a minute and voila! this works every time with my hard water.
The scent to me is a soapy scent that’s moderately powdery. I doesn’t last long post shave which makes it great for choosing any AS or cologne that strikes you. Also post shave your face is soft and slick due to the lanolin. I get great lather by doing a face lather and not being afraid of adding water. Remember you started out dry. The cushion and glide are very good, this soap performs really well.
as far as packaging I sprung for the ceramic bowl. It’s very well made but don’t drop it as it will break. I think the trade off is worth it as it looks very classy sitting on the counter awaiting the next use. YMMV if you have children.
I’m a noob to straight razor shaving, and loving it. I did my entire face with a single WTG pass, then switched to my DE. The Fat performed well as always and I never felt in danger from not having a good lather which is very important with a straight razor.
upon completion I did a cold water rinse and finished with my favorite AS, HTGAM Tombstone. I love the beginning scent that reminds me of a Bourbon soaked saloon, in a good way, followed by the gunpowder scent that changes to a mix of the two.
This was a great shave but I expected nothing less.
Thanks for reading.