DE Razor

6 shaving tips that changed my life forever- Mark Herro

Just follow the link to a better shave every time ! 

http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/6-shaving-tips-that-changed-life-forever.html

Mark Herro Aka Mantic59 again takes your shave to the next level ! Thanks for everything you do Mark 🙏🏽

Review: Above the Tie razors

This is easily the most exciting, and at the same time challenging review I have done to date. I say this as there is a lot of ground I could cover as the Above the Tie 303 stainless steel razors are probably the most complete stainless double edge razor on the market. Above the Tie offers what I like to look at as  a “system” of razor that are really revolving around the base plates and top cap. There are multiple plates and multiple handles; this is the buffet style razor to meet any shaver needs at an incredible price point considering this is all American made in Tennessee by hand in the USA by real adults that are highly trained. This is a review but also an overview of the Above the Tie system, I will try to keep to the standard format I use for a razor review, and I hope you enjoy the read !

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Overview

The Above the Tie razor comes from either the factory or, authorized dealers the price is always the same which is great as it supports fair market pricing, no gouging anywhere among distributors so the field is even. When thinking of the ATT razor it comes in three separate levels of aggression the M for mild R for regular and H for heavy, and I speculate that means aggressiveness. All these plates come in an open eg. R or R2, M or M2, and finally H or H2, and closed come variation with just an M, R, or an H. Now all of these plates use the same top cap, and I recommend getting 2 caps so you can have versatility without fully switching things up. This is a luxury and by no means “needed”. Now the rest is simple as can be there are three handles that vary in length and weight. You have the Atlas at 3″ and 56 grams in weight with a spiral knurling, the Kronos at 3 1/2″ and 71 grams with more of a traditional diamond full body knurling and finally the big boy the Colossus at 4″ and 86 grams with similar knurling to the Kronos, but separated at about 1/4 from the bottom by an indented circular separation. That is a simple overview the finer details are to come.

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Appearance

As a “system” that can distinctly be 3 separate razors this is a hard category to cover so I will give an overview.
All ATT razors are 303 stainless steel which is machinable stainless steel. 303 SS has a matte finish and has a different carbon constitution than let’s say 316L which is a marine grade SS. I am not sure how many of us shave in the ocean 🙂 ! I will say though if you have chlorides or live near salt water 316L is preferable. Now back to the appearance. The machining of this razor(s) is flawless a 10/10 there tolerances are ridiculous, I have never seen a razor so exact in 20+ years of doing this. You will notice a perfect alignment with every blade you place in the top cap which has 2 small nipples that marry to indentations in the base plate. Repeatable results zero hassle every time. The heads for all purposes look the same and are fairly basic in design. The handles are similar between the Atlas and Kronos though there is a 1/2″ difference in length and a spiral on the Atlas versus a diamond cut on the Kronos. Finally the Colossus is completely different with a 4″ length, and a flat bottom and the look of  two distinct “pieces” it IMHO is an attractive handle though longer than most shavers hands would accommodate.

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Ergonomics

Again there are three possibilities here, but the really neat thing about the ergonomics of these razors are that the feels no matter which you use is outstanding ! The big decider with the handles is a preference of spiral versus diamond cut as well as your hand size. Above the Tie was smart enough to give 3 options for your hand size so buy the one that meets your needs or, as I did buy all three, and enjoy the diversity. The heads now here is the selling point so to speak of these razors…..the M plate being the mildest has a gap of only .25mm a very mild shaver, and my least used as I have a coarse beard that grows fast, but I do have it. Next is the R at .58mm and is similar to a DE89 for example but because of the handles weight has a completely different feel. Finally and this is big literally the H plate which has the distinction of having the largest gap in a non-adjustable razor on the market so forget the R41 the H plate destroys it at .91mm !!! that is almost a millimeter gap ! I used the H plate today and it was a 1 pass near BBS shave and comfortable as can be. I do not recommend the H plate to a new wet shaver. So what I am getting at is YOU the shaver control EVERY aspect of your shave with a razor that will literally live almost forever in the right conditions and can be an heirloom razor.

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Aggressive nature

This is a criteria for my reviewing style, but I would be redundant to repeat what I said above. I will only repeat that you the shaver are in control based upon your purchase EVERY step of the way.

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Value

Now this is the part everyone wants to know. Upfront quality is not cheap but this is a razor that can be a lifetime investment and only “system” you ever need. This like a few others on the market is stainless steel, it is handmade in the USA, and is made by skilled trained artisans so yes it carries a premium. I said earlier it makes no difference where you buy it so the base if you were to buy lets say an Atlas with a R (closed comb) plate it is $185 dollars plus tax and freight. the handles are remarkably cheap in my opinion at $56 so if you know the R plate is for you it is only a matter of adding a different handle for variety if desired not needed. I personally own all plates and all handles as I really believe in supporting  USA made razor company of this caliber so yes it is not cheap but I find it to be worth every penny due to the comfort, quality, and design of these razors. They may not fall into an immediate price point (they did not for me), but I saved for the set and it was worth it. Of course YMMV so please don’t spend $500 but this is where I mention they have a 30 day buy back policy no questions asked just return it in the original packaging ! so for $185 it is a razor of a lifetime, and if it’s not for you within 30 days just return it ! you can’t beat that for a company that stands behind their product.

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Overall

When you buy a stainless steel razor of any type, you are buying for quality and longevity, as well as comfort a design. I will say ATT razors are not shiny nor are they even that overly attractive with bells and whistles. The design is simple and it works. I do find beauty in the simplicity of these razors as we live in a society of excess and unneeded highly marketed and horribly built products that are way over priced. The Above the Tie razors are a refreshing and astonishingly superior razor. I recommend this razor or, razors highly as they are an investment. Not many razors can say that or, even close.

 

 

 

SOTD: October 16th, 2014 “RazoRoctober I’m finally here !”

RazoRoctober ! I am finally jumping into the fray ! I for the first half of the month used my dedicated rotation that I am trying to make a dent in. For the rest of the month it will be 100% RazoRock centered EXCEPT WSR Wednesday. I must say here it is Thursday and I will openly say this has been the best lather so far this week. Here are the details !

I own 4 RazoRock soaps… not the biggest RR collection by a long shot, but everyone of them  is a top-notch performer that outperform soaps literally triple the price I paid for the RazoRock line. Today I broke out the XX, I really like this scent a lot it’s very what I call sophisticated cologne like in fragrance. In other words I can’t see this being a scent that a 18 year old is wearing to the club, I literally can see a Italian businessman talking a client to lunch wearing this scent. sophisticated is a really good descriptor as well as Mediterranean with both citrus, and green notes to it. The lather was amazing only a cream coming remotely close to how well this lathered. I am always amazed this is not a tallow soap and is vegan as it lathers just like tallow and feels like tallow as well it’s simply put a great soap. I face lathered using my WSP Stubby ! Another great product the Stubby holds the heat and just releases soap easily…. another great performing part of a near perfect shave.

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I am still using that Above the Tie razor aka the “Atlas” handle and I stuck with the “R” plate as it is what I needed. as a daily shaver this and the “R2” will be the most used of the lot without a doubt. Starting next week I will start using the “Kronos” set up and maybe a “M” plate as the weight distribution is different etc….and after that the Colossus set up. This all boils down to me deciding if I want to dedicate myself to a 90% of the time daily driver….. I will say since I have only been using the ATT setups… my shaves have improved 100 fold. Where I used to get irritation is 100% gone, where weepers would form; nothing happens. It really has made my shaves better for whatever reason Moving on I used  a Rapira Platinum Lux now on use two. I must say I hear a lot of negative about this blade and I either got a good one or, these blades are a good blade for my needs and I’m lucky. I never review a blade though until 12 uses, so take what I said with a grain of salt.

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Finally to end my shave was great and so simple. A cold water rinse, RazoRock alum block. Followed up by FINE Platinum after shave, and finally the XX after shave balm. This and yesterdays shave were basically for all purposes near perfect shaves and near perfect BBS shaves. I know RazoRock has new labels but I am running low on XX, so when the time comes I hope the formula is still the same as this is a great soap.

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As always I hope everyone had a great day and a great shave ! – Aaron

  • Pre: Hot shower w/ Clinique facial bar
  • Prep: Glycerin
  • Croap: RazoRock “XX”
  • Brush: WSP Stubby in HMW
  • Razor: Above the Tie “Atlas” w/ “R” plate”
  • Blade: Rapira Platinum Lux (2)
  • Lather: Face
  • Moustache: Handlebar
  • Wax and Pomade: Pinaud natural and Crew molding clay
  • Post shave: Cold water rinse and RazoRock alum
  • After shave: Fine Platinum
  • Balm: RazoRock “XX”
  • EDT: Versace “Eros”

Diary of a Road Warrior: Travel Tips

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

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

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

 

Written by: Peter Charkalis

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

09/26/2014 SOTD & REVIEW of Mitchells Wool Fat

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Mitchells Wool Fat

Omega Boar

HTGAM Tombstone AS

Gold Dollar from Bill Tsugranes 6/8 Barbers Notch

HTGAM S42 Prototype

Supermax Super Platinum Blade

We have all heard about “The Fat” and how difficult it is to lather. If you follow a few guidelines that I picked up off of You Tube it will be much easier. I soak the puck with slightly warn water while I shower, then soak my brush for about 30 seconds and shake all of the water I can out of it. I do find it’s easier with a stiff brush. I then load my brush using more pressure than I normally do for 30 seconds to a minute and voila! this works every time with my hard water.

The scent to me is a soapy scent that’s moderately powdery. I doesn’t last long post shave which makes it great for choosing any AS or cologne that strikes you. Also post shave your face is soft and slick due to the lanolin. I get great lather by doing a face lather and not being afraid of adding water. Remember you started out dry. The cushion and glide are very good, this soap performs really well.

as far as packaging I sprung for the ceramic bowl. It’s very well made but don’t drop it as it will break. I think the trade off is worth it as it looks very classy sitting on the counter awaiting the next use. YMMV if you have children.

I’m a noob to straight razor shaving, and loving it. I did my entire face with a single WTG pass, then switched to my DE. The Fat performed well as always and I never felt in danger from not having a good lather which is very important with a straight razor.

upon completion I did a cold water rinse and finished with my favorite AS, HTGAM Tombstone. I love the beginning scent that reminds me of a Bourbon soaked saloon, in a good way, followed by the gunpowder scent that changes to a mix of the two.

This was a great shave but I expected nothing less.

Thanks for reading.

September 22nd, 2014 “Menthol Monday”

Ok so I am sick and I have I’m pretty sure told everyone within at least 5 countries I think I’m dying. I do not handle being sick well at all, what I handle even worse though is excuses, and I have been making a lot of them lately, and am man enough to call myself out on the carpet. When I don’t feel well this is just how I get. SOOOO where is the silver lining ? in a few places first off it’s Monday and the beginning of the week….. I have a whole week to change my outlook and secondly it is “Menthol Monday” ! when your sick with the flu or, a head cold what could be better than either a shot of booze or, menthol ? hey it’s one of the ingredients in Vick’s vapor rub. I figured it would help me breathe a bit better, no not really , but I got an awesome shave.

I Super-Lathered Mitchell’s wool fat and Proraso green after applying Proraso pre shave. This unto itself was chilling, not Yeti snot territory yet, but we will get to that soon enough, and using the Omega 63185 badger brush I couldn’t go wrong. I kept the razor fairly simple using my Edwin Jagger De89LBL which while beautiful and shaves wonderful carries such an affordable price tag, really this is a phenomenal shaver as it is priced right and shaves like a dream the key is ? The right blade. I have said this countless times over the years and YMMV I firmly believe a mild shaver paired with a sharper than average blade will be the shave of your life. So I used a Russian Sputnik which are Teflon coated. I love these blades. While on average a 4-5 shave blade they are consistent, sharp, and irritation free.

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After my clean up as I bowl lathered I pampered myself a little. I am sick after all. I took a little extra time rubbing the cold water on my face which in turn made the menthol go into over drive really chilling my face, I then used my broken Shavex block…. I am using the jagged edges as I am trying to round them off…. the block is and will not be wasted. As my friend and Brother Timothy Moore from the Royal order of Wet Shavers and I always said waste not want not. Finally I went for the coldest aftershave I own and I keep it in the fridge. Fine aftershave “Snake Bite”. As I write this an hour later I still feel the menthol and it is stronger now than when I was shaving with the Proraso. Keep in mind I am sick so my skin does feel very sensitive. Finally I closed off the shave with a product I don’t love but it is pretty chilly, Lucky Tiger Menthol Vanishing cream. This cream is pretty good and here is a little tip if you use it add a few drops of water to the cream after rubbing it into your hands. I find otherwise the cream is drying.

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This concluded my WSR “Menthol Monday” ! I hope you enjoyed the read and temporary distraction from your daily grind….I know writing it while not “cure” for the common cold made me feel great to write it as I have been absent for a bit and it made me feel better sharing my day with all of you ! I hope you all had great shaves as well. – Aaron

  • Pre: Hot Shower w/ Clinique facial bar
  • Prep: Proraso Pre shave
  • Soap: Mitchell’s Wool Fat
  • Cream: Proraso green
  • Brush: Omega 63185 black badger
  • Razor: Edwin Jagger De89LBL
  • Blade: Sputnik (1)
  • Lather type: Bowl
  • Moustache: Handlebar
  • Wax and Pomade: Pinaud natural and Suavecito firm
  • Post Shave: Cold water rinse and Shavex alum
  • After shave: Fine “Snake Bite”
  • Balm: Lucky Tiger menthol vanishing cream