2-Band Super Badger

In memory of June 5th, 1956 “For my Father”

Today is always a day of reflection for me, the title alone of this post gives away this has to do with my father. This will not be a long or drawn out post, but a glimpse into my life, and a remembrance of a life taken way too soon. I have said countless times I was raised by my grandparents and great grandparents, which is accurate….my great grandfather taught me to shave, and started my journey in this amazing community. My Father was an officer, and thus was not around as much as he or, I would have liked. So instead of moving constantly as is the norm, I stayed with family. What I did learn from my father as ironically when his time was up my tenure began, I never achieved nor, wanted to become an officer, but I was very close to say the least. My father taught me what it was to be a man, a father, to have respect for myself and to put others before myself always and in everyway. To love my God, my country, and to listen to those much wiser than myself.

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Fast Forward to 8 years ago; my father passed away from Cancer, something I wish even I could just remove from anyone and everyone. Renal cell carcinoma to be exact or, cancer of the Kidney, there is no cure, and it’s a highly aggressive cancer. He was just 51 by a few days when he passed surrounded by family and friends and even brothers in arms acting full bird Colonel’s and those he served with by his side. My fathers life was measured by accomplishment not by years….I find it hard to think most people to achieve what he did in 40 something years, to be reached by those living double his time here. Driven is a understatement, and I cannot overstate he was my best friend, and I miss him dearly. Today he would have turned 59, but his time had come now near a decade ago.  Well I guess I lied this is turning a bit to the longer side.

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To the point, I choose to remember those both living and not, by using birth year razors, of which I have nearly one for every person in my family going back to the early 1900’s. I did NOT use my father’s birth year razor today. His razor is a B-2 Gillette Super Speed Red-Tip replated in Rhodium by Razor Emporium. It is an amazing razor and Matt Pisarcik did nothing less then a stellar job. Razor Emporium was much smaller when they did this job so me and Matt spoke throughout the process of this revamp. Instead of that razor I decided to  honor my father a different way, I used his favorite after shave and cologne ! I am a straight razor shaver, and to that point even my father would tell me be true to myself not a razor in his memory. Brut was his favorite scent…plain and simple he used disposable razors, canned goo, but at least he used Brut, which was better than the razor idea as the aroma of this Fougere scent reminded me of him all day long, combined with Paco Rabanne pour homme another wonderful, and fitting EDT to go with Brut. Finally before I sign off to answer the question of  “what razor did I use” ? it was a vintage 1875 Abraham Brookebank 13/16 near wedge with original horn scales and a great example of a traditional barbers notch. I choose this razor not only because it’s a stellar razor even after 140 appx year ! this razor has seen more history than any of us, and in my mind shows that nothing is ever really gone, but should be cherished and treated with care, and loved like it was your last day to ever see it again, on that note I thank you all for sticking with me through this story, and while I miss my father I do find solace by dedicating this shave today in the memory of my father, and what he instilled upon me to this day.

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  • Pre: Hot shower w/ Clarisonic Aria deep pore head and cleanser
  • Soap: Barrister & Mann “Beaudelaire” Fougere
  • Brush: Thater 4292/4 set in cocobolowood handle and 2-band
  • Razor: 1875 Abraham Brookebank 13/16 near wedge with barbers notch and dark horn scales
  • Lather type: American Stonecraft bowl
  • Moustache type:Handlebar
  • Wax & Pomade: Pinaud black & Murray’s Superior
  • Post shave: Cold water rinse
  • After shave: Classic Brut
  • Balm/Other: Brut balm with Shea butter and aloe
  • Fragrance: Paco Rabanne pour homme

SOTD: May 3rd, 2015 “My Sunday Shave”

Happy Sunday everyone ! That’s the good news, the bad is tomorrow is Monday; so let’s make the best of the day. Today’s shave was excellent, I’ll be the first to admit I find French point razors to be the most unforgiving blade for me, but today not a single problem, and simply a smooth shave.

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As far as artisan soap makers I’ve made no question I love Barrister & Mann as they truly have unique fragrance as well as outstanding performance, and this is rare as usually artisan soaps while some are great are “safe” and fall into that “safe” Bay Rum, fruit, mint, or very recognizable fragrances. Barrister & Mann is not that soap they do NOT play it safe William Carius the owner/soaper behind B&M soaps is aside from a excellent soap maker, a true artisan perfumer that creates unique blends that push that envelope, I consider B&M a “true” artisan soap in every sense.

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Combined with that Thater 4292/4 2-band brush set in a beautiful Cocobolo wood handle I had an effortless shave and great face feel and cushion. Thater brushes are hard to beat unless you have a custom brush made, but factory made Thater sits pretty much at the top 3 brush makers in the world, of course YMMV, and this is my opinion though I know many a traditional shaver that also set Thater as the bar to compare all others.

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Everyone thanks for spending a few moments with me, so enjoy your Sunday, and as always Shave On !

  • Pre: Clarisonic Aria with normal head and cleanser
  • Prep: Hot shower with Musgo Glyce “Amber” pre-shave soap
  • Croap: Barrister & Mann “Cheshire”
  • Brush: Thater 4292/4 2-band silvertip set in Cocobolo wood
  • Razor: Ralf Aust 6/8 Shoulderless French point straight razor with ornate spine work
  • Lather type: Bowl
  • Moustache style: Handlebar
  • Wax & Pomade: Fire House Dark & O’Douds Heavy Hold Vegan all natural
  • Post Shave: Cold water rinse
  • After shave: Barrister & Mann “Cheshire” Kyovu
  • Balm/Other: Anthony Logistics ingrown hair treatment
  • Fragrance: Dark aged Patchouli applied to pulse points

Meissner & Tremonia “Dark Lime”

Today I am very excited to get this review out to everyone. I have literally put this brand “Meissner Tremonia” through the fire using everything from, Double Edge razors, Straight razors, and even water typing with distilled versus tap water to really give this soap……well,  a really hard time to be blunt.

I have found that in many fields Germany is the gold standard…. I promise you if it is made in Germany they thought about every detail, and it was done purposely…and from first hand trying, do not disagree as you will not win, so I really really tried this brand to its maximum. Originally I was going to review both M&T soaps I have “Dark Lime” and “Strong n’ Scottish” together, but they are so very different this was not possible. These are distinct soaps with IMHO two very different skin types they are intended for. So enough fluff let’s get to the business of it shall we !

Packaging- Well only in Germany will you get a refill puck that is packaged better than most jewelry boxes. The soap weighing in at 95 grams comes in a very industrial almost Gothic appealing box with I believe a phoenix (bird) and the words Feinste Rasierseife….. or, Finest shaving soap if my German is correct. This 95 gram puck is securely held in place by a black Styrofoam form,  that is molded to fit snugly around that finest soap. I am getting away from “scores”, but I will say this is top-notch packing , I would have zero reservations about the protective nature of this, which in turn tells me how much this soap actually means to “them”.

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Appearance- This is a unique puck to say the least. It has a unique matte finish that I have never seen in any soap before this. It intrigued me as it reminded me of a patina …also the company name almost seemed to be carved into the soap and branded with the name and logo. The puck was perfectly rounded and actually I felt bad to use it as it was so nice to look at. I knew after a few uses that logo and finish would be gone. The best way I can describe the look is almost like stone.

 

Scent- Well the name says it all Lime ! no huge surprise there. Where it is interesting is there is a floral bouquet that is mingling behind that upfront lime, in the next sections I will get into how things interact, but not a whole lot to say then a very apparent lime note that has a back note of bitter floral accords. I suppose that may be part of the dark ; other than the color of the puck itself.

 

 

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Interesting points – This is a true lime soap, I mean this as in the ingredients it lists the actual lime oil, not a fragrance oil, but the essential oil of lime. This is important to note as lime has a natural degreasing property and also a tannic and unique feel that makes your mouth pucker,  and your skin as well. Also in the soap are Talc, and black clay ! The talc was very unique and I believe for appearance the clay however,  was to add slickness back into the soap. The clay along with the added glycerin make it so this has a stable lather and feels great on your skin bringing moisture back into your face.

*** a little trick*** – this soap is probably best for those with oily skin. Make your lather as normal, and lather up. actually use this lather to “wash” your face, then rinse, and there you go the oil has been stripped from your face and your ready for that shave.

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Lather- As I said above I really put this through the ringer and here is the bottom line. This soap is great it is stable and it works in all water and with all brushes I threw at it ! I will say the lather was most comfortable with my harder water, using my Thater 4292/4 2-band brush and also at a lower temperature appx. 80 degrees. Yes I actually went that far with this ! Next would be spring water at room temperature with a Boar brush, again these are my findings YMMV and opinions of course differ. The lather also not that it effects anything is unique in color almost a  light grey coloration and tolerates water well….I would not call this a water hungry soap by any means and is tolerant of little water for those who prefer a more paste like lather over a more cushioned lather. Now what is a lather without a razor ?

Glide- Here is the one place I would remind every one of my first few sentences. The Germans do things on purpose so my next words are intentional and meaningful so listen carefully as this is not an insult. The soap itself is not very slick, That is due to the natural lime oils and the degreasing nature of lime. Now that said I used DE Razors and Straight razors (my preferred) method. Now I just said the glide was mediocre, I have had worse…much worse. To my surprise my straight razor had zero hang ups and the blade was supported by the excellent cushion this soap produced, so where it lacked in being crazy slick it was ultra cushioning…..looks and feel were very deceiving. I did find I preferred a straight razor over a DE, but by no means did I have any issues with any razor and having a smooth and comfortable shave. The other positive is how well this soap rinsed clean, I personally hate soaps I have to rinse my face for what feels like 10 minutes to get it clean, this soap again due to the degreasing nature of lime, rinsed in moments ! See I told you the Germans know what they are doing 🙂

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Post shave feel and final thoughts – The post shave feel again in my opinion is geared towards that person that tends to have oily skin, This soap does not contain any humectants other than glycerin and a few essential oils that do not appear to be saponified. I would say this soap is by no means drying, but do not expect a Lanolin type post shave feel either, I would put the post shave at an even keel with any other soap on the market that is not marketed for that lanolin  “feel”. As I above said,  really do however love how clean rinsing this soap is, to me that alone is a selling point, especially when time is a premium in the morning.

 

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My final impression of this soap was overall positive. Is it my Holy Grail soap…..well no, do I really like certain aspects absolutely ! It has a wonderful aroma of a true lime scent with undertones of darker floral tones and uses some interesting ingredients like Talc & Clay for slickness,  and to add to your overall experience.  Would I recommend “Dark Limes” from Meissner  Tremonia absolutely ! mine came from the only US distributor I am aware of though they do sell online. If you live in the USA visit www.straightrazordesigns.com  as they have this and a few other flavors as well ! I can’t wait to talk about their Strong N’ Scottish soap !

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Until then enjoy your shaves, keep your blades sharp and Shave on ! – Aaron

 

 

Off the bench and back into the……..

Hey out there ! Yes I am still alive, and shaving everyday. I don’t believe in excuses, but I do in explanations. Obviously people that know me realize I run this blog, am sole administrator for the Facebook group of the same name, and am very active with vendors, both commercial and artisan.  A lot has happened since November of last year, that effected me both professionally, and personally with everything from Family losses to kids in school. To sum it up I never lost the fire to continue, but did loose the drive to kindle the flame. I am again obviously an open person, and do not hold back my feelings or, why things “are” the way things “are”. I’m here today to say that I hope that spark is back,  and I want to start sharing my world of traditional shaving, and grooming a bit more again if you’ll allow me.

I have not been as active on the Facebook group either which will be changing again, more events, more new vendors to bring to the group, and of course more content here. I have come to the conclusion “reviews” are no more than opinions which are wonderful things, but as such must be treated as exactly that opinion not fact. I will be reviewing, and I encourage anyone that wants to author here on this site to let me know…..I’ll set you up in a heartbeat to review in your opinion any product, but let it be known there is only fact to the author….caveat emptor and I will always disclose when a item is gifted or, PIF’d that I review compared to the 99.9% that I spend copious amounts of money on quality gear to bring to peoples attention again based on my opinion.  Finally as I’ve already bored everyone enough first day back ! I plan on making more educational posts both written and video geared toward education for all levels of shavers; from new to veteran alike….there is no point in the years I’ve spent doing this if not to pass some knowledge on.

I leave you for today, a simple SOTD post……that was a near perfect shave.

  • Pre: Clarisonic Aria with acne head and Salicylic acid wash
  • Prep: Andalou enzymatic exfoliant peel & Lush Dark Angels scrub
  • Soap: Tiki Bar Soaps “Set Sail” Vegan
  • Brush: Nathan Clark custom 2-band badger
  • Razor: Thiers-Issard “5/8 round point Spartacus
  • Lather type: Bowl
  • Moustache type: Handlebar
  • Wax & Pomade: JG compound & Royall Crown
  • Post Shave: Cold water rinse and RazoRock alum
  • After Shave: Agua Lavanda Puig …(Lavender splash)
  • Balm: Every Man Jack “Signature Mint”
  • EDT: (maybe a bad combo here, but)….. Dolce & Gabanna Pour Homme Intenso…… I could do a entire review just on this EDP.

 

Your first straight razor ? Ralf Aust in 5/8 …Absolutely !

I see lately a huge interest in shaving traditionally with a straight razor, also called a cut-throat razor, or simply a “straight”. I see a lot of opinions, and of course I have my own as well. I am not an expert, but I know a few 🙂 and they all are in agreement that while cheaper brands are in the market; you really are getting your monies worth and then some with a 5/8 round point Ralf Aust in faux ebony scales !

This is a great jumping point or, even the only blade you’ll ever need…..until you catch the bug, and want that next “straight” to add to your shave den ! I hope you enjoy this fast overview, and shave with my NEW format !!! Please comment below I’d love to hear your thoughts on the razor, your suggestions, and what you thought of my new video style ! Thanks for watching. – Aaron

 

  • Pre: Clarisonic Aria with normal head and hydrogel cleanser medium setting
  • Prep: Hot Shower w/ Clinique face bar
  • Cream: Taylor of old Bond street “Mr. Taylor”
  • Brush: Nathan Clark 2-Band custom
  • Razor: Ralf Aust 5/8 round point in faux ebony scales
  • Lather: Scuttle
  • Moustache: Dahli
  • Wax and Pomade: TOBS “Mr. Taylor’s” moustache wax & Layrite Super Hold
  • Post Shave: Cold water rinse and Alum
  • After Shave: Barrister & Mann original “Kyovu”
  • EDT: Versace Eros

SOTD: December 30th, 2014 “Malbolge”

It’s been quite a long time sine I’ve made a post, but I have in one day shaved every day for 365 days straight ! I figured I would share with everyone for the next few days my Shaves of the Day. This particular one goes out to Peter Charkalis who did a wonderful YouTube video called the “Tobacco soap Showdown” ! it inspired today’s shave. I hope you enjoy, and how you watch Peter’s video as I found it a great video.

Peter made a great video the “Tobacco soap showdown ! ” so I of course used a tobacco soap myself today in the old school Tobacco Tuesday vein I always (and many others) used to do. I used Petal Pushers Fancies “Malbolge” not to be confused with any PAA offering this is the original. I wanted to throw in a interesting point I noticed just today. “Malbolge” is not what I would consider a “tobacco” scent, and actually is a bit on the sweeter side. I love the soap but it is way more complex than just a tobacco soap though it is underlying in the mix and very green.

Jump forward to the post shave, and if you have the matching after shave. The after shave opens up much like the soap complex with a green tobacco aroma, and quickly becomes a darker and heavier scent more of a pipe tobacco scent, not the unsmoked tobacco but reminiscent of a pipe AFTER it has been smoked which to many of use is a great smell; nothing like a cigarette or, cigar. Pipes tend to be very aromatic and smell quite good.

I just wanted for no other reason than it was my SOTD which I really don’t post anymore and Peter made such a great video on Tobacco soaps I figured I’d share my thoughts as well. Cheers !

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Pre: Clarisonic Aria with hydrogel and normal brush head
Prep: Hot Shower with a Clinique face bar
Soap: Petal Pusher Fancies “Malbolge”
Brush: Thater 4292/4 Edelhozer in Cocobolo wood 2-band badger
Razor: Thiers-Issard 6/8 Sheep & Wolf in true horn scales
Lather type: Scuttle
Moustache type: Handlebar tight turned multiple ring
Wax & Pomade: PPF black Dandy Candy & Uppercut deluxe
After shave: Petal Pusher Fancies: Malbolge

SOTD: October 8th, 2014 “Chocolate Bourbon Pancakes”

Chocolate chip pancakes anyone ? Today’s shave was pretty aromatic and I was pretty sure by the end of my shave I was in an IHOP Pancake house. I went a bit untraditional for the day while staying in the theme and spirit of todays event day. It was an extremely comfortable shave and very simple so let’s get to it.

In Lieu of using the “Chocolate Bourbon” soap from Synergy which is traditional for the WSR themed day as it is our groups official scent, I decided to go with EH+ , also by Synergy soaps. Now this is where blending becomes in my opinion art. Douglas has said many times he does not want to be known for his Gourmand fragrances…. or, food like decadent scents. Well….. I hate to say it he does it too good not to be known for it. EH+ is Maple syrup, Nutmeg, and Vanilla scented and very decadent and aromatic. Upon opening the puck your hit with vanilla…. after blooming the soap or, allowing it to heat and the oils to release their aroma; the dominant scents are Nutmeg, Syrup, and then Vanilla it switches up on you. I used my New Forest 2401 in Briar and face lathered a perfect 3 pass shave with a few touch ups. This was the canvas, and part of the picture so far.

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Next up again I used the HTGAM “Name Taker”, this is a great razor. Very hefty, and I have the open comb version so it is on the medium aggressive side. If I had one complaint; the handle may be a drop short for me, but this is preference, and it by no means bothers me enough that I avoid its use. I paired this heavy short beauty with that long living Voskhod ! Still not a DROP of irritation, tugging, or discomfort. As I said above three passes, and a few touch ups and I was very smooth.

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Now the magic happens ! Like most things in life it’s not how you start about but where you end up. I did my standard cold water rinse, RazoRock alum; a small homage to RazoRoctober, and then I did it the magic moment. I used Chocolate Bourbon after shave ! So here we have the maple syrup, nutmeg, and Vanilla from the soap, and then I slapped on some Chocolate, Vanilla and a hint of oak and bourbon. It was Gourmand heaven !! I swore I was in a pancake house.  This aftershave matches EH+ just as well as the after shaves name sake “Chocolate Bourbon”, so there is now to options for this great scent !

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This concludes my breakfast style shave 🙂 I hope you all have great shaves, and wonderful days. – Aaron

  • Pre: Hot shower w/ Anthony Logistics glycolic cleanser
  • Prep: Glycerin
  • Croap: Synergy “EH+”
  • Brush: New Forest 2401 in Briar
  • Razor: HTGAM “Name Taker” open comb
  • Blade: Voskhod (7)
  • Lather type: Face
  • Moustache type: Handlebar
  • Wax and Pomade: Pinaud natural and A/G Style “Stucco”
  • Post shave: Cold water rinse, RazoRock alum block
  • After shave: HTGAM “Chocolate Bourbon”
  • EDC: HTGAM “Chocolate Bourbon”

 

Catie’s Bubble’s “Glace’ Herbe”, and September 29th, 2014 SOTD

Menthol Monday ! A day I always look forward to, and today I will be talking about not only my SOTD but a first impression on a new soap by Catie’s Bubbles with those crazy French names….. this one is his first attempt at a menthol soap he called it Glace’ Herbe or, cold herb maybe, and more specifically methylated Vetiver. So onto the SOTD, and we’ll briefly touch on my initial thoughts of Glace’ Herbe.

I had a great shave today, and used a fairly unused razor out of my den the 1948-1950 Aristocrat. What makes mine unique is that it is an odd variant as it has the handle of the 48′-50′ Aristocrat the notched center pin also of the 48′-50′ Aristocrat, BUT it on the inside base it fully says Pat NOS on Package where in 1948 it became PAt. NOS. on PKG ! so this tells me this is an early model probably closer to the 1948 mark as Gillette was notorious for reusing parts from the previous generations in order not to be wasteful. I mean really, you didn’t think they were throwing out that precious post WWII metal ! The 1947-49 Aristocrat was extremely popular; so there was a lot of spare parts when they revised the model. Okay that was my history lesson of the day… you can also find this great info on www.razoremporium.com  and go to the razor archives section there is a full history of the Aristocrat there that is nothing less than excellent. I paired this relatively milder year Aristocrat “hybrid” with that pesky little Sputnik blade that I was using a few days back. This was now its fourth use, and you know what ? it will get a fifth as it shows zero signs of any degradation. I would usually move on after four uses but Getting Sputniks are not as easy as some other blades, yes I can get them but it may take 60 days for them to show up directly from Russia which BTW has awesome stamps on the package.

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Onto my initial impression of Catie’s Bubbles Glace’ Herbe ! Well it hit me the other day I participate in Menthol Monday every week, and was starting to get “bored” as I don’t have a large methylated collection. It then struck me….. the fool I am, I had bought earlier in the month a sort of special order over stock. That was Glace’ Herbe I was lucky enough to be able to be in the right place complaining at the right time to get one of the 5 overstocked tubs;  he had from this “run”. So my initial thoughts….. I think he has a hit here to be honest.  What resonated to me was that it was so upfront…. no real hard complexities to decipher which may be a turn off to some,  but this is Vetiver no more and no less… it almost has a nutty aroma to it which a good high quality vetiver grass has and should have. So in that department I give a lot of credit. I say this as to have a single note soap or, fragrance in general and to pull it off well is harder than mixing 5 or 6 scents to make a blend. As to the menthol I was also happy I would say it is pretty middle of the road, comparable to Proraso in intensity but not in feel. Where Proraso is just straight sneak up on you cold Glace’ Herbe was more natural feeling if that makes sense not that it was better or worse,  but I believe Chris probably used a method of adding the menthol that makes it smoother in feel …. that is the best way I can describe the coolness is smooth. Now as far as slickness or cushion I also have to say this IMHO was better than a few other soaps I have from Catie’s Bubbles. I do not mean this as any offense; as I happen to really like all of my Catie’s Bubbles soaps very much, but the lather on Glace’ Herbe is different, and for me in a good way. There was a lot more cushion and the lather was denser than previous soaps I have used which had adequate cushion or, some call it depth or, I even sometime refer to it as the explosive nature of the lather. This lather really explodes ! a very little goes along way. Finally I used my favorite 2-band badger brush my New Forest “Tubby 2” which is just about as soft a brush as you can get with more than ample backbone and amazing flow through.

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With such a great shave I wanted to nail the finishing touches, and unfortunately I fell I think a bit short. I think Fine Fresh Vetiver would have been a better choice to marry up to the earthy and nutty Vetiver of the soap, but all I own is Clean Vetiver; don’t misunderstand it was close but a touch sweet compared to the nutty nature of the soap. To remedy this and the similarity was astonishing to me was the balm I used by How to Grow a Moustache “Vetiver” which is a double distilled “true” Vetiver and not cheap to make; the scent was nearly identical so I ended up exactly where I wanted to be cold and smelling like nutty soil…… yeah that makes a lot of sense right 🙂 !! no one ever claimed traditional shaving doesn’t lead you down interesting roads of scent.

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On that chilly note I hope you all had great mornings whatever you decided to use be it “Menthol Monday” or, anything that caught your fancy for the day. Have great days all ! – Aaron

  • Pre: Hot shower w/ Clinique facial bar
  • Prep: Proraso pre ( very light application )
  • Croap: Catie’s Bubbles “Glace’ Herbe”
  • Brush: New Forest “Tubby 2”
  • Razor: 1948-50 Gillette Aristocrat variant
  • Blade: Sputnik (4)
  • Lather type: Face
  • Moustache: Handlebar
  • Wax and Pomade: FireHouse Dark and Reuzel Red WB
  • Post shave: Cold water rinse, Shavex alum
  • After shave: Fine Clean Vetiver (methylated)
  • Balm: HTGAM “Vetiver”
  • EDT: L’Occitane Vetyver