My first ever synth shave – Crows nest Tortuga and Art Razor 8/8″ Capitaine. SOTD 12/Feb/2019

Shave of the Day 12/Feb/2019

Today’s shave is kind of grabbed between travel trips. I came to India thinking I was staying 3 days and I packed a straight just for the hell of it. When I got here the plans changed and I am only staying one day and then I am off to Korea tomorrow. So it is a quick shave and then pack up again ready for the flight. This is an unusual shave fro me in that I am using a synthetic knot – this is the FIRST time in two years of proper shaving that I have used a synthetic. So why not go big eh?

The Brush

This is called “The King” or the “King of Chub”. The brush is a doorstop, designed by my own good hands and machined to sheeny perfection. It stands about 50mm tall and is 47mm wide at the widest point. A true stubby chubby. The knot is a 30mm, yes you read that right, a 30mm synthetic set just deep enough to give is a whole lot of back bone. The brush feels as soft as a badger with the backbone of a nicely broken in boar – a little scritchy but nice!!! This was my first ever shave with a synthetic knot.

The Razor

Today’s razor of choice is a Capitaine from Art razor in Ukraine. This is a beast of a razor with a fantastic edge, Yuri over at Art Razor sure knows what he is doing – if you have not got an Art Razor then get one… This one is an 8/8” near wedge and again is is AWESOME. Swedish carbon steel, great scales and perfectly polished.

The soap

The second one in my stable from Crows Nest – Tortuga which means tortoise in Spanish apparently. The flavour notes for this soap are:

“Safe haven of dangerous, boisterous, drunken, and bawdy. Tortuga is pirate heaven, now make it yours.

The captains private blend of cuban tobacco, amber, spices, cherry, and clove”

It is the amber and the cherry that particularly appeal to me here and it is a rich cherry cake smell. I love it. It lather great after a short bloom, 40-60 seconds tip loading and 2-3 minutes whipping up.

Please please PLEASE Crows nest start making soap again – we need the Jack Daw!!

Other gear

Van Yulay blue resin bowl, Waterhouse knives wide strop and Proraso white preshave

Altogether and awesome three pass and clean up. Followed by my new favourite, St. John’s Bay Rum

Regards

Steve

SOTD 6/Feb/2019 – Drew Dick 9/8″ Quarter Hollow & Crows Nest Murky Waters

Today’s shave was long overdue although I have n excuse as I have been ill with Bronchitis and mostly lying on the sofa feeling sorry for myself and coughing hard. I had about 7 days growth so it is time AND a nice shave always makes you feel good no? So I set myself up as follows

Razor: Drew Dick 9/8” In Black Acrylic scales
Soap: Crows Nest Murky Waters
Bowl: Van Yulay blue resin
Pre-shape: Proraso White
Aftershave: Clinique Extreme moisturiser and St. Johns Bay Rum to follow

The shave was awesome – watch the video as it says more than I can ever write. Needless to say I ended up with a DFS and a great fragrance all round.

The one thing I do want to point out specifically is the soap: Crows Nest Murky Waters. This is a soap I picked up very luckily by being online and in a FB shave group at the very moment that the man that makes it started taking orders for a new batch. I think he said he had only 30 of each soap on hand and I snapped up two – Murky waters and Tortuga. That was more than a year ago and I have not seen a batch sold since – he does have a website – crowsnestshaving.com so you might try e-mailing the guy and urge him to start making again. The soap lather easily, is rich and stable. Just look at my pictures and in the video. The fragrance notes are:

“A situation or circumstance that is foreign, unclear, and unfamiliar and altogether dangerous as a result.

Swirling together in a dark pool are tones star anise, cinnamon, wood, and amber.”

It is a very simple combo but my oh my does it work. Spicy but not too much, woody, but not too much – it just works. I am after a Jack Daw soap too in order to complete my trio of Crows nest soaps and I emailed the guy yesterday – no answer yet!!!

Anyway dudes happy shaving – Steve.

 

Shave Of The Day 26/Jan/2018 – Jack Jarvis Thai Ginger Zest & Merkur Futur @ #6

Dudes – I find myself in India again and in need of a good scrape. I have a few days growth and I had the feeling as I was packing for this trip that the only beast capable of removing it apart from my straights and kamisoris is the Merkur Futur.

Let us take a look at the razor first. The thing about the Merkur Futur is that it is adjustable over a large range from mildly aggressive to insane aggressive level. Lets have a look at some photos and numbers. The Futur is adjustable over 6 settings (some claim a setting above #6 and below #1 but this is kind of splitting hairs. I cannot get my own Futur above #6 but I can certainly get it below #1 – for clarity sake I will call the settings 1 thru 6). According to my web searches, and I have not measured them myself, the blade gap settings are:

Setting # Blade Gap (mm)
1 1.12
2 1.19
3 1.35
4 1.47
5 1.60
6 1.65

Here are some photos – I can tell you that when you are first about to shave with a Futur that #6 looks more like a 1/4″ than under 2mm. Maybe it is the fear factor. Nevertheless the range of blade gaps put the Merkur Futur at the top of the range when it comes to aggressiveness. I have photographed the razor set at #1 and #6 loaded with a Feather blade. The Merkur Futur also won’t break the bank at around $60-70 for the version shown here in satin finish. The polished versions and gold plated versions are a little dearer.

P.S. Despite the big head on the Futur it is easy to shave under the nose – it is a myth that you cannot…

The shave

I decided to go full on kamikazi and set the razor at #6. Loaded with a brand new Feather blade with was sure to do the trick. You know what it is kind of scary… My soap of choice today was again the Thai Ginger Zest from Man Of Siam. This soap is growing to be one of my favorites and today did not disappoint, a gingery, zesty fragrance that gets better as the shave goes on. I soaked my brush and left the soap to bloom with a teeny bit of hot water on top. I loaded the tips – this is important guys – don;t over mash your brush into the soap. It will achieve two BAD THINGS 1. Overloading with soap and 2. Brush damage. Look at the photo below – load the tips only.

The tips duly loaded I lathered up. I forgot to bring a lather bowl this time so I hand lathered and then transferred to my face for a final whip. The lather is smooth, small bubbles and shiny slick. Pass #1 on setting #6 – unbelievable – using the Futur with a decent blade is like rolling a cool stone over your face. There is barely any feeling of cutting whiskers and yet they disappear like magic. Rinsing is a dream too with the large blade gap. 4 days growth almost gone in an instant. Pass #2 was again on #6 and ATG and pass #3 – I set the gap down to #3 and I tell you there was no hair left to cut. As I did the pass I realised that it was all gone anyway so all I was doing was removing lather. All in all a great shave and a super experience with the Futur. it remains my dearest DE razor and despite it’s scary reputation there is NOTHING to worry about. Treat it with respect and it will not bite you.

Now the obligatory gallery!

Urban Beard Beard Products


I would say this year has been a pretty big year for me. Actually, epic! would be the correct word to use. Why is that? well I’m glad you asked. From the year 1996 up to 2017 I was bald and clean-shaven. I never thought for one second that I would ever change being bald. I joined social media and started my website Thebaldnation.com reviewing shaving products for bald men. I built custom content for Thebaldnation revolving around the bald lifestyle and I loved every minute of it. Being bald on social media is just like being bearded in the same aspect as you’re in your own little club. Yep, not for one second did I think I would be reviewing beard products and growing hair. Then ‘No Shave November 2017’ came along and changed everything. I partnered with Cremo crème on a project to raise awareness for cancer and decided I really liked having hair on my head along with facial hair. Truth be told I had though about it many times but was so used to being bald with no facial hair. The thought of making a drastic change of appearance kind of scared me. The older you get the more routine you like to stay and making drastic changes takes a lot of energy. I’m lucky to have a very supportive wife that I can talk to and bounce ideas of off. I decided to continue with the pursuit of hair and reinvented my social media presence into what it is today. Just to be clear, this decision has nothing to do with social media or my blog/website. This decision is strictly freedom of personal growth.

I’m still pretty new to being a beardsman. 11 months to be exact, 1 months away from a (Yeard) or a one year beard without trimming or cutting. The first couple of months were the hardest because of the itching and uneven parts that stick out like a sore thumb. Good skin care is important especially when it comes to growing a beard. Little tiny glands in your skin produce sebum, this oily or waxy matter protects your skin and hair by keeping it hydrated and moisturized. Dry skin under those precious whiskers of yours can be very uncomfortable and lead to beard dandruff which from what I hear is very uncomfortable. Dry skin can easily be caused by washing your beard with the wrong kind of soap. The hair on your head is different from the hair on your face so using regular bar soap or shampoo can and will strip the natural oils from your beard causing itchy and irritated dry skin. A fungal infection can also cause dry skin and beard dandruff. The yeast that lives on your skin finds hiding places in your beard and grows until it’s to late to catch it on time.

So how do we stop or control these issues that are very common among beardsman? Starting with a good natural soap or wash that wont strip the natural oils away from your beard when washing it is a good step in the right direction. Exfoliation of the skin underneath your beard clears out any dead skin and bacteria that’s been hiding behind those whiskers of yours. Beard oil also helps control dry and irritated skin while keeping your beard soft and healthy. Beard balm has a lot of the same benefits that oil has but also has beeswax that gives you a little more control of your beard. Beard butter is another product that I think is highly underrated. I think the biggest question that’s asked is what’s the difference between beard butter and beard balm. One of the main ingredients found in beard balm and not beard butter is beeswax. Beeswax is what gives beard balm its holding power among other things. Beard butter does not contain beeswax, even though it does possess some holding power from other ingredients its main purpose is keeping your skin and whiskers healthy. The holding element is not as prevalent.

My night-time beard care routine used to be the same as my morning routine but I changed it up several months ago for certain reasons. I don’t need as much control of my beard in the evening so I mainly focus on cleaning and conditioning. I use beard oil/balm as well as comb and brush in the morning as part of my grooming routine before I head off to work. In the evening once I’m home for the night I mainly just use beard butter. Sometimes I use a fragrance free beard oil first but that’s only on occasions. I also just let my moustache go wild instead of taming it since I’m not going any were. This change in routine has freed up some time in the bathroom and I’m still working on beard care. A while back I had the chance to review some beard products from Urbanbeard. Urbanbeard is a Canadian company that features an online store selling a range of beard products made from top quality ingredients. Their products range from beard shampoo, conditioner, oil, wax and beard butter. All of their beard care products are handmade in small batches with vegan friendly certified organic ingredients. They also sell T-Shirts and grooming instruments such as razors, combs and brushes.

I had the chance to try their (Peppermint) beard butter. Beard butter can contain a lot of the same carrier and essential oils that you may find in other beard products such as oils and balms. Beard butter moisturizes your whiskers and the skin underneath your beard keeping both soft, clean and healthy. The Urban beard (Peppermint) Beard Butter came in a round 150 ML or 5 fluid ounce aluminum tin. Urban Beard is an eco-friendly company. They only use recyclable materials when packaging their products. Aluminum also does not allow any harmful chemicals to seep into your product like plastic does. This Peppermint beard butter contains a lot of organic oils such as Sweet Almond-Jojoba-Frankincense-Eucalyptus-Peppermint and Pine Oil, Vitamin E Oil is also one of the ingredients used as well. These organic and natural oils offer a lot of skin and facial care benefits such as an excellent emollient, softens and re-conditions facial hair, Rich in proteins considered to be extremely nourishing, Stimulates the hair follicles helping to grow stronger & healthier hair, Improves shine/thickness & overall health of your hair, Can penetrate your beards hair follicle & strengthen the fibers increasing elasticity & softness of your beard, Has anti-aging/rejuvenating & healing properties, Can sooth dry & irritated skin, Can help heal burns, blisters, wounds, insect bites, & skin infections, Can help treat psoriasis, Itching, Pimples, Eczema, Scabies & sores, Resembles the sebum of the skin, Rich in vitamin E promoting a glowing complexion.

I also received one of their long-handled boar bristle hair brush and handmade pocket beard combs that you can also use to comb the hair on your head. Boar hair distributes your skins natural oils throughout your hair to the end of the shaft. A boar hair bristle brush can help repair dry and damaged whiskers while giving them a nice shine. A Boars hair bristle brush can also stimulate blood flow to your whiskers promoting increased and healthy growth. The Urban Beard Boar Hair Bristle brush overall length is 8″, 4″ of that is the head of the brush and just over 1.5″ in width. The handmade saw cut comb is made from cellulose acetate with a faux tortoiseshell finish. This comb has booth fine and coarse teeth perfect for any beard. Measuring in at 127mm in over all length, this combs fits in your pocket comfortably. I used the peppermint beard butter for seven days. I primarily used it in the evening before I went to sleep. I washed my beard with a good beard soap and let my whiskers somewhat air dry. I dipped my finger into the thick beard butter and retrieved a dime sized portion and rubbed it between the palms of my hands. I then applied it to my beard working it in, the butter soaked into my whiskers and the skin underneath my beard quickly. Even though the butter is thick it didn’t feel heavy on my beard or face and it had a great peppermint aroma that was very light and pleasant. The peppermint oil felt cool and calming on my face. This would be a perfect product to use during the summertime to keep your face feeling nice and cool during those hot summer nights.

After the beard butter worked its magic on my beard it was still a little saturated so I used the handmade pocket comb first. I used the fine tooth side to comb out any tangles. I started from the right and combed in a downward direction making my way over to the left side. I then started from underneath my beard combing in an upward direction still with the fine teeth working out any snags there might be. Then one more time in a downward direction to bring my whiskers to a final resting position. I had several tangles along the way but they weren’t a problem for the handmade pocket beard comb, it glided through my whiskers detangling any tangles painlessly. The faux tortoiseshell finish gave this comb a great glide perfect to tackle any major tangles you might find along the way. Once my beard was dry I followed it up with the boars hair bristle brush. I kept the same routine as with the comb when it comes to direction. One pass in a downward direction from right to left. Then in an upward direction and lastly once again in a downward direction to bring my beard back into the resting position. I liked how the boars hair felt on my whiskers and skin very therapeutic, calm and soothing. Last but not least, after I was finished with my boars hair brush I finished styling my beard and moustache with my pocket comb and that was that. I had a great week with the Urbanbeard.com beard products. Thanks for reading!

TheNaturalBeardsman

You can also find past shaving reviews on TheBaldNation.com

You can find Urbanbeard.com on these other social media platforms

(1.) Twitter
(2.) Facebook
(3.) Instagram
(4.) Urbanbeard.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LoneBear Beard Products

Let’s talk about the animal kingdom for a minute shall we? Seems only fitting since we are talking about beards and beard care. There are a multitude of animals that have beards and honestly their beard will always look better than ours. I know, I know that sounds harsh but it’s true. Sometime when you are just sitting around your computer or laptop google animals with beards and see what you find. Amongst the many animals that google would pull up in a search the three that I automatically think of are lions, tigers and bears. These three animals don’t just have a beard, their whole face seems to be one big beard. The other fictional character that comes to mind is Chewbacca from star wars. Chewy stands about 7 foot tall and is pretty much one big beard from head to toe, and trust me you will never beat his beard! The one animal I see the most of as a mascot for different brands of beard care items is the bear. A bear is warm, fuzzy and a perfect mascot to represent a brand of beard care items.

That’s exactly what I found with Lonebearbeard.com. Lone Bear is a small artisan company that started off with a vision of creating all natural beard products made with pure and high quality ingredients. Lone bear makes all their products in small batches ensuring quality every time. All their beard oils contain the same carrier oils such as Organic Jojoba Oil, Organic Argan Oil, Pure Fractionated Coconut Oil and Sweet Almond Oil. These carrier oils have many skin care benefits such as Hypoallergenic and won’t clog the pores of your skin, Has Antioxidants and Anti-inflammatory properties fighting premature ageing, conditions and cleanses the skin helping to fight Acne-Black heads and psoriasis, balances out oily and dry skin, Helps increase hair growth, Soothes dry and irritated skin-sunburn-bug bites and stings, Protects your skin from harmful UV rays and helps to smooth out razor bumps. Lone Bears also uses the same carrier oils of Jojoba-Argan-Coconut and Sweet Almond but also uses an all natural Beeswax and unrefined natural organic Shea Butter when hand crafting all of their beard balm. Shea Butter contains a lot of fatty acids and vitamins that can help soften/heal your skin while conditioning and toning at the same time. Beeswax has antiviral, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that help fight chapped skin. Beeswax forms a protective barrier on the outside of your skin sealing in moisture keeping your skin hydrated without clogging the pores of your skin. Beeswax is also the ingredient that gives beard balm its holding power. The more and less Beeswax your beard balm contains the more or less holding power it posses.

I received in the mail from Lonebearbeard.com 1 Fluid Ounce bottle of ‘Grizzly Bear’ beard oil and matching 2 Fluid Ounce beard balm. The oil came packaged in an amber tinted bottle to preserve the integrity of the oils inside the bottle with a dropper style lid. I like the dropper lids, it helps me conserve as much oil as possible. I can be more precise when using it and deciding how many drops I need to get the job done. The balm was packaged in a round sturdy aluminum tin. I used both the ‘Grizzly Bear’ oil and balm for one week and it was without a doubt a full week of bearded glory every day. I only needed 5 drops of oil to generously coat the whiskers in my beard. The oil felt smooth and had a consistency that fell some were in the middle of thin and thick. In my opinion I thought the consistency was perfect. Lone bear doesn’t use any fillers in their oils such as water or alcohol. They only use all natural carrier and essential oils so you know exactly what you’re putting in your beard, A healthy and safe product that’s good for you, and the environment. The oil soaks into your beard and skin quickly without leaving behind a greasy residue. The only thing the oil leaves behind is a glistening beard every time. After a few minutes I ran my wooden comb through my beard a couple of times and then my brush to evenly distribute the oil. I started on the right side of my beard working my way over to the left side in a downward stroke. Then in an upward stroke starting from the left side working my way over to the right. Then one more time to bring my beard back into a resting position.

I followed up with the ‘Grizzly Bear’ beard balm. I took the lid of the tin and gently pushed the pad of my finger into the top of the balm. The consistency was firm but soft enough to easily scoop out a dime sized portion of balm. I rubbed the dime sized portion of balm between the palms of my hands softening it even more making it easier to work into my beard coating the whiskers. The balm felt thick but not so thick that it would weigh down my beard. The balm was thick enough that I could style my beard but also had some flexibility so it didn’t look stiff and uncomfortable. All of the Lone Bear beard balms have a medium holding power which is perfect for me. Once the balm was applied I waited a couple of more minutes and finished my morning beard grooming routine of with a quick run through with my comb and brush in the same fashion as I did after I applied the beard oil. The only difference between the two routines is after I finish with the brush for the second time I follow it up with styling my beard and moustache with one of my favorite pocket combs. The ‘Grizzly Bear’ beard oil and balm have a great cedar wood aroma that’s not overwhelming to you or the people around you. I also received a 1 Fluid Ounce bottle of Vanilla/Coffee scented ‘Brew Bear’. The ‘Brew Bear’ came packaged in the same amber tinted bottle with the same style dropper lid and contains the same carrier oils as the ‘Grizzly Bear’ does. Functionally there is no difference between the two oils except for the scent and the aroma it produces.

Last but not least lets talk about multifunctional. Not only can the oils and balms from Lonebearbeard.com be used for beard grooming necessities but they can also be used as a number of other remedies as well. Skin conditioning, Dandruff control, Control and spot treatment of acne, Casual cologne, Chigger bite relief, Dog hot spots, Tattoo conditioning, Hair styling, Hair conditioning, Healing rough elbows/feet and Lip balm. These are just a few other remedies that the beard oil and balm can be used for. Thanks for reading!

TheNaturalBeardsman

You can also find shaving reviews on TheBaldNation.com

You can find Lonebearbeard.com on these other social media platforms.

(1.) Twitter
(2.) Facebook
(3.) Instagram
(4.) Lonebearbeard.com
(5.) etsy.com

 

The Coup De Maitre – my first ever mustache all off shave!!

It says it like it is. When I first started wet shaving I had a mustache. One day it got filled with egg yolk and it was time to get it OFF. This is the first time I ever shaved a mustache – it went quite well I thought!!

 

Vlasta – My Journey To The Dark Side

Hi, I don’t think many of us have shared our full shaving journey so I thought it might be nice to share with you all my journey to the dark side. First of all a couple of observations/truisms:-

  • If you think that getting into wet shaving will save you money then my advice is “Don’t start”. It won’t. You will get sucked into a deep deep rabbit hole of razors, blades, the latest whizz bang soap, pre-shave oils, balms, creams, after shave, eau de cologne, brushes, knots – the list goes on and on. Unless you have a WILL OF IRON then you will spend more, a lot more. I write this from the back seat of my abandoned car using Starbucks WiFi…
  • If you think your wife, girlfriend, boyfriend or sugar mammy will understand why you are doing this – they won’t. You will end up hiding your purchases and rationalizing with them that you will sell some of your stuff to make way for more – you won’t. I write this sitting on a pile of soaps, creams and razors – at the last count more than a dozen brushes, twenty or so creams and soaps despite having had a give away for what I told myself was more than 50% of my den. Thirty or so straight razors from a simple Dovo to a custom Drew Dick – and I still want more… Snailforge, Ali’s Blade, an Iwasaki kamisori – oh yes I have a list a mile long. Not forgetting the DE’s. Way more shave stuff than I can use in a lifetime.
  • You will never, ever be satisfied that you got the perfect shave. So don’t chase it. Let the technique guide you. Not every day will be the perfect shave and most will be at DFS level. Don’t sweat it, you are the only one that knows.

So, words of wisdom over. Here is a blow by blow “diary’ of how I came to be a wet shaver. I have cut and pasted most of the stuff from another forum I am involved in and only my own and relevant replies. My journey from cartridge user to addict:

My forum name on most wet shave forums is ‘Vlasta’: –

16th February 2017

Hi Chaps and Chapettes,

OK – I am almost there…. except my razor is still on its way from Japan. I am all kitted up with:-

  • Edwin Jagger Best Badger Brush
  • Feather PG15 and Pro 20 blades
  • Geo. F Trumpers Lime Cream Soap
  • Alum Block
  • Proraso Repair Gel

My razor – a Feather SS Japanese Straight Razor in Lime is in the mail from Japan and due any time!!

Now – in the meantime I am using all the above good kit with a cartridge razor – a Gillette Mach 3 – you know it is OK for a nanny-razor and with my new gentle technique – no more razor burn!

My question is this: I have been trying to use my non-dominant hand for the left side of my face to prepare myself for the day my straight arrives, and the dominant hand for my right side, and I am finding it difficult to control the razor with the non-dominant hand. Tell me, is there any compelling reason why I should use my non-dominant hand?

A member wrote that a shavette was maybe not the best choice for a beginner. Especially not a Feather SS AC Kamisori style…

17th February 2017

I am a bit scared now by the comment above on my choice of razor for a first purchase….. should I also buy a proper str8 and start learning with that before trying my Japanese Feather? I went to a local shop today and they have a nice Dovo 5/8″ with Olive Wood handle for $310 – is that a good deal?

Advised by members that this is NOT a good deal…

18th February 2017

Right…. ordered a Dovo str8, strop, strop pastes, Dovo storage pouch from www.thesuperiorshave.com – all for about a hundred buck less than my local store charged for only the razor.

So – my ordered line up was:

  • Dovo #4580 Straight Razor
  • Dovo 185-35001 Strop
  • Dovo Yellow Paste
  • Dovo White Paste
  • Dovo 9022021 Burgundy Sheath

The guy at Superior Shave honed it to shave ready before sending it to me.

24th February 2017

Right guys – I have my swag – photos coming soon. Now I need to gird my loins for that first shave… feeling scared about it. I am going to start with the Dovo str8 not the Feather shavette. My 30-day setup will be:-

  • Jagger Best badger Brush
  • Dovo str8 “Silver Steel” Primo with black ebony handle – honed by @Jarrod from TSS
  • Geo. F Trumpers Lime Cream
  • Regular alum block

28th February 2017 – THE DAY!!

I am now officially on the dark side.

The BIG day arrived friends – first the equipment. Apologies about the Photobucket watermarks but this is the only record I still have of the fateful days line up.

  • Geo F. Trumpers Lime Cream
  • Dovo straight razor bought from and honed by @Jarrod
  • Razor storage pouch from The Superior Shave site too
  • Strop – Dovo – not had the need to use it yet
  • Jagger Best Badger brush
  • Shaving Bowl – kids cereal bowl – photos on request only….
  • Alum block – standard stuff

Time – 10:00 was my start time. I finished about 30 minutes later.

Prep: Run hot water, 60 degrees, soak shaving brush for 1 minute. Soak hot towel and apply to face for 30 seconds x 2.
Lather: – dabbed wet brush into cream to just cover tips. Whipped up a nice creamy foam in my cereal bowl then put the cereal bowl in another bowl of hot water to keep it warm – like a bain-marie.
Application: Applied lather to face as per all the videos!!

Time to shave and I am not kidding I was scared. Will it slice my face? Will I score a jugular hit on the first stroke and spout my life blood all over the bathroom?….. I pucker up. I loop left hand over my head to try and tighten skin on my right cheek and then I am off – very VERY gently at first I make my first pass on my right cheek. The razor sings. IT IS ACTUALLY CUTTING WHISKERS… and not flesh. It feels great… I am on a roll now. I finish my first stroke and I am alive. I feel ALIVE. I wipe the razor on my wet towel and think to myself “This isn’t too bad. Not too hard at all”. I rub my fingers on my alum block to get grip and go for stroke 2. Still alive. I go down to the jaw line and beyond onto my throat. I cannot believe it I am actually shaving with a wickedly sharp razor on my throat and it feels safe, it feels good and by jingos it IS good!!

Next I am confident – I go for the right hand side – the same. I live. No cuts yet. No nicks yet. I do the WTG pass on my left cheek and YES I used my left hand. I am now in the zone. I go for a WTG pass down the front of my neck – all good. Next – the chin. This is where I though I would slice myself for sure – noooooo. I did not. Not even a nick on my Adams apple

Thoughts – my first pass was a success in that I managed to do it ALL without cutting myself. It was not the closest shave in the world though and this did disappoint me so I put that down to nerves and being too gentle. My soap tended to dry out – how to fettle this?

Subsequent passes – another WTG and better result. Third pass XTG – getting better and better. Fourth pass – ATG on all surfaces. I came out of it alive with only two teeny-weeny nicks, one on my left cheek near the side-burn and one on the tip of my chin – I mean really teeny – a pin prick.

All in all I made four passes and got what I would call a reasonable level of shave and certainly better than with my Mach 3 thingos. Not baby bottom smooth yet but I am sure it will come with practice.

Warmdown – Rinse, alum blocked and then Khiels after shave balm. I washed all equipment. Put the brush to dry in the breeze and dried and oiled my razor ready for next time.

It takes me a couple of days to grow whiskers enough to go for round two but I am going to do it. More results soon

BTW – no top lip report – I am growing a moustache so won’t be shaving the top lip for a while, if ever…

Review: Extrò Felce Biancospino

Sit back, and enjoy as this review has been a long time in the making, but what’s great is I have had an easy 6 months using the product. To start off this review we need to take a journey to a short ride from Turin, Italy to the Extrò shop to meet Donato. Donato Ciniello is the owner operator owner of Extròcosmesi, and easily one of the best men I’ve had the pleasure to know. Extrò makes everything from Shaving soaps to EDT, Refreshing eucalyptus splashes, as well as promoting other blade smiths, and artisans within his storefront. The great news is Donato will ship anywhere in the world for amazing rates, and very fast shipping. From Italy to me here in New York, USA takes about a week to 10 days. That’s huge ! Great prices and fast shipping 👍🏽👍🏽 that’s a win. Hopefully that is a good back ground on Donato and Extrò so let’s get onto the product

Felce Biancospino

Fragrance– for those of us that are blessed enough to speak Italian this translates into Fern Hawthorn. I find that it has an equal amount of each fragrance, nothing overpowering the other. They work symbiotically together to produce a beautiful bouquet of what I would call an aged forest, full of greens as well as fragrant trees and bushes. Their is zero flaw in the fragrance. Over the past 6+ months it has been stable and consistent with no unexpected spots.

Lather– Years ago we were confined by tallow shave soaps in the Wet Shaving community. Donato has been ahead of the pack for years using different vegan oils and bases. This particular Crema da Barba uses Shea Butter which is known for the post shave smoothness associated with Shea. This would be considered the quintessential Italian softer Croap or, somewhere between a cream, and a hard soap. I found an easy 30-45 second loading led to ample lather for equal more than 3 passes. This will be factored by your water being hard or, soft. If it’s any indicator I have hard water which in theory should be a negative, gives me zero problems. I will say though this soap does prefer colder to warm water. I’ve used my scuttle many times, but I temper the water to be enjoyable, but still create ample thick and slick fragrant lather.

Post Shave– As I have said above the main factor in the post shave is the Shea Butter Donato uses. People have used Shea for as long as smooth skin has been preferred (a really long time). I use the matching aftershave as a layering, but the true softness comes from the soap !

Conclusion- Easily put this is one of my favorite soaps to use. I prefer the earthy Fern and Hawthorn fragrance. It’s very natural in scent, and very protective. Felce Biancospino has the added benefit of containing Shea which gives a natural soft post shave feel. When combined with the aftershave you have a beautifully layered shave that’s fragrance lasts for quite sometime depending on your skins individual properties. There are very few soaps or, brands that equal the mastery of Donato Ciniello so, when you get a moment check out his website, and you heard it here on WSR that this is a solid purchase from a great European Artisan.

https://www.extrocosmesi.it

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Soap: Extrò Felce Biancospino

Brush: Alpha Brush & Shaving co. T-400 Silver tip badger

Razor: Vintage Gillette President

Blade: Personna Med Prep

Aftershave: Felce Biancospino

Scuttle & Scotch Porter beard balm

SOTD 8th/Jan/2018 and Review of Martin De Candre Fougere

Hi – a revisit of a soap I have had for a while and only ever use on special occasions – the first working Monday after Christmas is pretty special no?

The line up:-

A couple of observation on what was a great shave – the Drew Dick did it’s work very well but there is a story there… I forgot to strop. So I started shaving, only the third time with this razor and it is tugging and painful – whoa!!! Then I realized I had forgotten to strop!! I normally strop 25/25 linen/leather before every shave and naively thought it was just part of the ritual… now I know differently. I stopped the shave and stropped – phew back to normal!!

The soap – essence of a nice forest clearing, ferns, green cut leaves and dew on the grass – that sort of smell you never get sick of. I love it. This is a hard soap and my technique is to scoop a bit out of the jar, it is a nice GLASS jar, and put it into my bow to bloom with some warm water. I add my brush to the mix and let them soak. The soap lathers easily but it is thirsty – a nice slick and fragrant shiny lather. Superb.

The Brush – a Shave Nation big Blue, and big it is weighing in at over 7oz. The knot is superb and yes those are gel tips. The handle is matt finished aluminium and anodised blue. It is grippy even when wet due to the sand blasted finish and the finger notch in just the right place.

Now back to the soap – it performed superbly and I was left with a nice hydrated skin and a great scent all day. I think MdC really nailed what is meant by fougere – better than B&M Reserve Fern in my opinion. Is it worth the money? In my opinion yes it is. The soap is hard aI mean HARD and will last a long long time. I use about a “almonds” worth for each shave so at this rate and given my rotation it will be years before the MdC wears out.

SOTD 6 November 2018 – Gillette Tech and TOBS Avocado – Van Yulay Bowl First Use

I know I am late posting this, but just did not have time to upload the photos to my Mac and so on. So here it is…

  • Lather – Taylor’s Of Old Bond Street [TOBS] Avocado
  • Prep – 3P
  • Razor – Gillette Tech
  • Blade – Feather
  • Brush – Alpha T-400 batch #1
  • Knot – 26mm HMW
  • Bowl – Van Yulay Honeycomb type

I prepared properly with a nice face wash, no special soap, and then applied a nice layer of 3P whilst I soaked my brush in tepid tap water (no really cold water here – I am in Thailand on business at the moment). I slapped in about a teaspoon of the TOBS soap into the Van Yulay Bowl and started lathering. I tell you this is going to become one of my regular bowls. I have had it a while, months in fact, and had not used it once. Today was THE day. The bowl not only has the ridges to help lathering but also a repeat of the same honeycomb on the rim at the bottom so there is NO chance you can drop this bowl even with wet hands. It is a resin material too so I am sure almost unbreakable. The honeycombs inside also retain a little water so you don’t have to dip so often and all in all it was a superb bowl and I lathered up with a super thick, teeny-weeny bubbled lather and started shaving. A simple 3-pass – the usual WTG, XTG and ATG.

The Gillette tech and feather blade combo just mashed through the growth – seriously this inexpensive razor just does what it says on the tin – it is superb, just heavy enough, grippy handle – all in all a very satisfying shave. The TOBS Avocado cream soap is one of my go to soaps too – I love the fresh, green, vegetable fragrance which to me smells like cucumber and not avocados although it does have the slickness of an avocado mash.

The story behind the Tech… – I bought a set of two Bakelite shaving stick tubes from a lady in Australia – she not only sent me the tubes but also a leather case to keep them in and nestling inside a little compartment was the Gillette tech, pictured here [I emailed her and told her and she said “good luck, no charge!!” – so this razor was FREE!!!]