Artisan

The Diary of a week with The Outlaw All Stainless safety Razor

Now available for purchase HERE

 

https://www.alphashaving.com/product/alpha-outlaw-double-edged-safety-razor/

 

Hi All – as part of the testing for Outlaw all stainless safety razor we gave it to an independent third party – Richard Black of Glasgow, Scotland. Richard is a shaving enthusiast who has a fine collection or razors, soaps and all things shaving related. I would say he is a shave addict… like me… Anyway – enough. As part of the prototyping stage for the final production candidate we gave Richard an Outlaw to test drive for a week.

Executive Shaving The Outlaw All Stainless Steel RazorThis is a guest blog by Richard Black a big fan of Alpha Shaving Company. Richard asked to be the first customer to try out The Outlaw Razor. Below are his thoughts following his five-day test period.

 

 


By the way you can pre-order HERE

https://mailchi.mp/03dd2807059b/alpha-outlaw-stainless-steel-safety-razor-4037931

 

Over to Richard:

For this review I am extremely excited as I have managed to get my hands on a prototype V3 of the the All stainless steel Outlaw Safety Razor. I have been watching this razor since it’s early announcement that it was being made and knew right away this was a razor I wanted to try out and finally here is my chance. I’m going to cover the main aspects that I feel most wet shavers will base their decision on as to buy this razor as I know these are the points that I personally would look at anyway.

I am going to go into quite a few details as I this razor is well designed and I want to point out these details as I know many wet shavers will want to look at them, but if you just want to know overall how good this Razor shaves then jump ahead to the last paragraph when you can get my final thoughts on the razor.

The areas I’ll cover are the more common ones like the weight, blade gap, build quality and of course the price. This will make it easier to compare to other razor reviews out there as I have stuck to a similar review structure. This razor has been taken on a 5 day test drive and on each day I have used a different blade to test how the razor blades effect the use of this razor as a daily shave. The 5 blades I have chosen are:-

  • Feather platinum
  • Personna Platinum
  • Tiger Platinum
  • Gillette Platinum
  • Gillette Wilkinson sword

Below you’ll find how each blade performed on my daily shave and how it left my skin feeling afterwards. I will use the same Pre Shave, Shaving Cream and Post shave balm each day and the one I have chosen is Castle Forbes 1445 for the Cream and Balm and preshave with some Executive Shaving Natural Pre shave oil. I used these alongside my trusted Alpha Titanium Shaving Brush that gets the cream lathered perfect for this type of Test drive with this razor being aimed at a medium aggressive range. I wanted my sensitive skin to have that extra cushion.

Next I want to look at the build quality. Now I only have the prototype but this is a thing of beauty to look at. It’s made from 316L marine grade stainless steel so will probably outlast me and when you pick it up you can tell it’s completely solid and got a nice weight to it. It measures in at 100mm from top cap to base of the handle. On my scales it comes in at 115g. Now that a nice weight for me. On the handle it’s knurling really does add character to the overall design with 5 of these points along the handle. In between these points is a fantastic diamond grip patterned design that I personally love. I tested out the grip by lathering my hand with some shaving soap and then doing a few passes and also just another few general movements you would when your shaving to see how the grip preformed and I must say I was impressed, no slip or slide what so ever as it just stays secure in your hand. The handle is also nice and thick but not too chubby, probably closer to the thickness of the Rex Ambassador and it makes it feel safe and secure in the hand when shaving. There’s even the logo on the bottom of the handle which is a nice touch as it’s finished with a nice smooth but subtle edge at the base of the handle. The balance point I found was at the second knurling point from the top which gives it a good bit of space between the fingers and the top cap to be able to keep an eye on where your going next with the razor. Some razors the balance point is so high that my big fingers are touching the top cap like my Mühle 106 so there’s no room to see the face below the head. There is also a lovely more squared off feel to the top of the handle that screws into the head rather than the standard curved where it narrows at the top. Just a beauty to look at. The top cap on this is really nice and comes with a highly polished finish. It’s a standard 2 piece head with the blade going in the middle. The base plate had 2 walls running the width of the plate that have a fair height on them which Is what will lead to the mid-aggressive blade gap. When the head and the top cap are out together everything aligns perfectly leading to in my opinion a very well designed head with a low profile. The screw on the top cap is of good length too allowing for a secure connection between handle and head. There’s also 2 long holes underneath on the base plate which are of good size preventing the razor head from getting clogged up while shaving. So just like the handle a very well designed head and when put together one beautiful looking razor that’s extremely functional and designed that well, all the little things have been thought off to accommodate us fussy wet shavers.

Day 1 – Feather Platinum

Ok, so day one with the Feather blade was a huge success, on the face I only had to shave with 2 passes and then and extra we half pass on my neck as my hairs grow in about 5 different directions. This razor cut through my coarse 2 day growth with absolutely no issues and no cuts or weepers. The feedback you hear when the blade cuts the through is outstanding and really does deliver a super close shave. As KenSurfs would say the closer the shave the harder the burn, and this was a extremely close shave. There’s also no blade overhang at the end of the top cap and there is a low enough profile on the top cap to get right in there under the nose. For me to get BBS even with my Feather it’s a 3 and a half pass so this razor saved me that extra pass and I was super impressed with how much the razor takes off in the first pass. The size of the chin bar is great for adjusting your angle, like majority of safety razors I found the 30 degree angle the best but the blade feedback is so much so you’ll know if your doing it wrong. It also doesn’t clog which is important. So a extremely successful day 1 with the feather blade and probably my closest shave to date.

Day 2 – Personna PlatinumPersonna Platinum Chrome Double Edge Razor Blade (Pack of 10 Blades)

On my second shave I moved on to the persona blades and again they preformed extremely well. The difference in the blade was just enough to have the razor a bit more comfortable in the hand without the fear of any cuts or weepers but still delivering that extremely close shave. 2 passes with a tidy up around the chin and neck areas but saved that third pass.

 

Day 3 – Gillette Wilkinson Sword

1000 X GILLETTE WILKINSON SWORD RAZOR BLADES Double Edge Safety Razor BladeFor the 3rd shave, I tried one of my favourites, the Gillette Wilkinson Sword that for my skin delivered the most comfortable shave yet. Now I was in a hurry this morning and time was limited and for mornings like that I normally go to my trusted Oneblade core but I though, just crack on with the Outlaw and I was so please I did. It was a full 3 passes for BBS but I had zero post shave irritation with this blade, not that there was much with the others. Again an outstanding shave and a blade I would recommend if your using this razor as a daily shave and have sensitive skin. I loved the glide and the closeness of this and again the feedback when shaving was top notch. So that’s 3 blades so far and this razor has preformed every time with each of them. This razor is definitely living up to my expectations and is just in my opinion outstanding and can compete with the very best.

 

Day 4 – Tiger Platinum

Tiger Platinum Double Edge Safety Razor Blades (x5)Now moving on to the Tiger, another favourite of mine, this provided for me a great balance between sharpness and comfort. I felt the cutting power of the feather was very comparable to this blade it terms of sharpness taking the majority away in the first pass leaving very little for the second. It was also very smooth as it cut through my hairs and again left little to no irritation. I preformed the second pass and then just had a little tidy up at the end around the problem areas but a very comfortable and satisfying shave with this blade. A great pairing with the outlaw razor.

Day 5 – Gillette Platinum

My 5th and final blade on this test drive was the Gillette platinum and this was another good shave. It wasn’t up there for me with the likes of a feather or Tiger but it done the job in 3 passes only leaving a little irritation but still achieving BBS none the less. I did enjoy using this blade but it just want the same as shaving with a feather blade or my go to Gillette Wilkinson Swords but it did preform and do it’s job.Gillette Platinum Safety Razor Blades - 5 Pack

So 5 blades over 5 shaves and what a week of shaving, it was like going back and picking up a DE for the first time and gave a great comfortable shave each day regardless of the blade. If I had to rank the blades in order and I know you will probably want to know and this is only my choices based on my experience and how the shave left be feeling afterwards. Firstly it has to be the Feather, the most aggressive of them all but a wonderful close shave in 2 and a half passes that just delivers that perfect shave. Next would be the Gillette Wilkinson Sword, it’s a full 3 passes but the most comfortable of the lot given zero post shave irritation and that was followed closely by the Tiger because just like the feather 2 and a half passes and your done but the feather just gives it that perfect shave. Then in fourth is the Personna, similar again to the feather but not as aggressive but a very satisfying shave. Finally the Gillette Platinum comes fifth, not because it’s a bad blade but simply, the others out preformed it.

For me this is an absolutely stunning razor from start to finish and each day I shaved using it was fantastic. The build of the razor is outstanding from the deep knurling in the handle and the diamond pattern grip, the weight is fantastic and the materials of the highest quality. There also going to be I believe another 2 handles for it, ones that’s the same as the high polished one I had in design but finished matte and sandblasted and the other I have only seen a render but it look very nice and based on the Executive Shaving Company Braveheart razor handle which of it look anything like the drawings it will be stunning.

The razor delivers that mid-aggressive shave that it was designed to deliver and with the number of blades out there you can have a lot of fun changing things up as you really do get some fantastic feedback from the razor when shaving. This razor would suit daily shavers and occasional shavers a like, maybe a Feather when preparing for work and not shaving during your holiday for the full week or something like the Tiger for the daily shave or even the Gillette Wilkinson Swords for those with sensitive skin. Either way the blade pairing with this razor can make a big difference depending on the desired outcome. I found The first pass take all the work out of the shave leaving only a second pass and my a tidy up of the awkward areas require saving you that vital time when shaving and also cutting down on the post shave irritation.

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So from build quality to shave this razor really does deliver, so the fact it’s launching at £100 is just an absolute steel for a razor of this quality. For me this razor is better compared to a Rex simply because it gives you that same satisfying feeling in your hand when you pick it up as the others do. These special razors and I found this one really special too. I really have enjoyed taking this razor out on a test drive for a week and I think this might be new daily shaver as I know I will definitely be adding one to my collection very soon. Well as soon as they are in stock !!

Vital Statistics:-

Executive Shaving The Outlaw All Stainless Steel Razor

A blast from the past

Today’s shave was very enjoyable ! I went with a floral fougère today, made a few years back; from none other than Soap Commander “Renewal”.Being this soap has a few years on it the bouquet has changed a little bit, in my opinion I like it now. The reason being is the bottom notes of oak moss and Lavender are more prominent, and the “floral” scents are present, but they do not overpower the “fougère” base. This is not a review as much as a revisit of a great LE soap. I felt that the lather was exceptional, as all of Soap Commander’s products are in this department. Totally lush, protective, purely slick, and not a worry at all anywhere during the 3 pass shave that led to a superb shave. As they say sometimes things get better with age, and “Renewal” has aged very nicely indeed.

Shave on my friends, and have a great weekend !

Razor: Merkur Progress adjustable (4)

Blade: BIC Chrome Platinum (1)

Brush: Omega Pura Setolla Ovangkol wood

Soap: Soap Commander “Renewal”

Post Shave: Thayer’s Lavender Witch Hazel & Soap Commander “Renewal” balm

Fragrance: JPG “Le Male”

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

Facebook:

https://m.facebook.com/pages/category/Shopping—Retail/Extrocosmesiit-1727013654268658/

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

Orange 🍊 & Amber Delight

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

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

Appearance: 5/5

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

Performance: 4/5

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

Fragrance: 5/5

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

Post Shave: 5/5

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

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

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

I’m going to the ClubGuy !

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

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

ClubGuy product spotlight 🔦💡

A Session With The Pirate Lady

SOTD with Anne Bonny by Doctor Jons.

Continuing with my journey into wet shaving, not long after I had started enjoying my wet shaves with TOBS Sandalwood, I began looking around at other soap makers to try.  I soon discovered Dr. Jons and their soaps looked appealing so I first tried Hydra.  I found Hydra to be an enjoyable soap to use.  The original Dr. Jons formula was quite soft (although not like a cream) and I quickly found the best way to lather it was to scoop out a small amount and press it into my bowl.

Hydra is a very mild citrus scent which I enjoyed.  But, after finishing a sample tin, I decided to try another Dr. Jon flavor and the most obvious choice was Anne Bonny.  I was intrigued by what I had read about the tradition of bay rum as a shaving scent and Anne Bonny had taken it a step farther by adding black tea.  The first time I opened the tin and took a whiff I was quite stunned at the incredible aroma.  It is truly intoxicating!  Sweet but with that black tea added in to tone down the sweetness.  If you enjoy a good cup of tea you will no doubt love this scent as well.

Review

I think this is the third tin of Anne Bonny I have used.  The first two were in the half size which Dr. Jons has since discontinued.  That’s too bad because I enjoyed purchasing those sizes as a first attempt to sample one of their scents.  But no problem here as I am a huge fan of Anne Bonny.  Another thing I like about Dr. Jons is that their soaps come in a metal container (a real tin) and not plastic.  In my opinion there’s too much plastic being used by the artisan shave soap makers.  This latest version of Dr. Jons even comes with a threaded top so it’s a bit easier to get open.

Lather

All of Dr. Jons soaps are a vegan formula and do not use animal products (such as tallow).  But don’t let this put you off.  The lather of Dr. Jons is quite excellent and in my experience it is as good as or better than any tallow based soap.   The volume 2 version of their soaps are quite a bit harder than the original.  I quite like this and I have found it actually easier to work with.  I am able to bloom the soap with a bit of water right in the tin and then use that water on my face after finishing a shower.  Some reviews I’ve seen say the soap is thirsty but I have not found this to be the case.  In fact, I try to dry out my brush as much as possible before the first load as well as empty all the bloom water from the tin.  And if you use too much water I have found that the lather will thin out rather suddenly so add water very cautiously at first until you get a feel for the optimum amount.  It does take me about three or four thirty second brush loads to get the amount of lather I prefer.

Performance

I have found the soap once lathered on to be quite nice and slick. Cushioning is good as long as you get the water right.  One point where this soap excels is the post shave.  The feel after a good three pass shave with touch up is exceptional and one of the best I have experienced.

Another outstanding point is what I refer to as economy.  The soap just seems to last forever.  Even with my practice of loading and creating more lather than is typically needed, it lasts a long time and this is especially true of the Volume 2 version.

I should also add that the artwork on Dr. Jons products is really well done and very cool, especially Anne Bonny.

I have not tried Dr. Jons AS and this is something that is on my list.  For this week’s shave I tried using Clubman Virgin Island Bay Rum and this works to a fair degree although it is much milder than the Anne Bonny scent.

So in summery, great soap and lather with outstanding post shave feel, good economy for an average cost and an incredible scent which is without equal.

Details
Soap Dr. Jons Anne Bonny
Brush Semoge 1250
Razor Rockwell 6c, Plate 4
Blade Laser Ultra Triple Coat
AS Clubman Pinaud Virgin Island Bay Rum
Bowl Doug Smith Pottery

My new daily DE razor !

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

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

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

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

Solstice from Phoenix Artisan Accoutrements

This awesome homage to the South West with what I’d call the aroma of the locale is back, and ready for your shave dens. Available individually, A great Bundle Package (link below) to save some money, Royal Star Jelly !, an EDT, body soap, and bar shampoo, to name a few, Absolutely, take a moment to read about Solstice, and watch the product spotlight video’s from Douglas, and find out for yourself why Phoenix Artisan Accoutrements, and Crown King rule ! Shave on my friends, and stay smooth.

Solstice by PAA

Solstice product spot light 💡

Solstice Bundle SAVE here 💵

-Aaron

SOTD: 7/27/2018 Octavia Noir

Today’s shave was one of those shaves you didn’t expect, but you were damn happy afterwards. I love Gingers Garden soaps, and Irena couldn’t be a better person or, for that matter soap maker. Today I used for the first time Octavia Noir that was a Glycerin soap. That said a lot of traditional shavers, have been taught Glycerin based soaps don’t shave as well as tallow or, butter based soaps. In this case Irena knows what she is doing, the lather that ensued was not only dense, and protective, but had a wonderful aroma of deep amber and darker floral scents, while still being very approachable in these warmer months. Octavia Noir to say the least is a winner by a long shot. I used a vintage 1909 Gillette ABC Pocket Edition scroll razor, with a Wilkinson Sword by Gillette blade, as well as my favorite brush my 2016 WSR group brush with an ultra premium silver tip badger knot, by Envy Shave. This made quick work of my stubble, which always makes me happy. The glide, from the soap made for a simple true BBS shave. I finished off with not an exact match to the soap, but a favorite Floid Menthalado Vigoroso. When it’s 95 degrees out; this is the after shave you want to cool you down. To that I wish you all happy shaves, and a wonderful weekend. Here is a link to Ginger Garden which I highly recommend for any products she offers. Gingers Garden