Grooming

The Barber

Some stories defy time, oceans, countries, and words. This meeting between Luca Farina, and an older proud barber in Italy is one of these. Take this journey; feel the pride, and love this unites us for all time. – Aaron

Luca 1

Sometimes, if you leave the main street, you can discover a fairy-tale spot…..
I was walking through the streets of Domodossola when, looking down a little side street, an old barber-shop’s sign caught my eyes. It piqued my curiosity and I moved closer. I found myself in front of an old barber shop, where time seemed to have stopped at the 50s. Inside a white-haired barber said: “Please take a seat, if you have patience, I’ll serve you, Mister!”
Tommi welcomes me with his friendliness and his 87 years of age. After preparing the necessary items, he starts brushing, very slowly, the shaven soap on my face with an Omega 48, while explaining me, step by step, what are the right moves to do a good shaving. Then he tells me about his life. He started working at 10 years of age as barber’s apprentice. At 22 he opened his own shop. He says: “I even had 3 very good employees. At that time there was so much work, we shaved more than 100 beards a week”.
Then he explains me how he cuts and smoothes hair with the tip of the scissors; that he has travelled a little the world; that he has been an actor of dialect theatre, that he writes books and poems. “When I’m writing a book I feel alive” and he let me read a piece of the book he is going to finish. He tells me about his famous and important clients and I perceive his great love for his job.

Luca 6
At the beginning of this year he had an artificial hip implanted. Its shop remained closed for 3 months and he thought he would not open anymore, but back from the hospital, he told himself: “What can I do at home?”. And he opened his historical shop again, where you can find him working with his scissors and razor.

Luca 5
You can spend a lot of time listening to Tommi’s tales and you go away happy, well shaved and with one of his books (autographed) under your arm.

Luca 4

 

-Farinik. by, Luca Farina

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 🙏🏽

St.James of London “Black Pepper & Lime”

I was introduced to SJOL a while back e.g. 3-4 years ago. St.James of London is made by Creightons the same as Trufitt & Hill, Geo F. Trumpers, and the last of the three “T’s”. I was instantly blown away that such an affordable product was so darn good ! Back then it was Cedarwood & Clary Sage; today I used an scent that would deceive.
Today I used a tube I stead of my larger jars of SJOL Black Pepper & Lime 🍋 it reminds me of a warmer place like the Caribbean, but also that spicy black pepper warms and invites those around you a bit closer, then they realize that initial Citrus also has a musk to it that is seductive and alluring. This unlikely scent is a winner for the winter ❄️! For the spring and the summer. This jewel of a scent will evoke a different response and memory each season.
What can I say about the rest ? It’s a Semogue 830 which is so well broken in could pass for pure Badger. If you do not have this brush; it is a staple for every traditional Shaver. The PAA Double Open Comb has done right by me. The DOC is affordable and attractive at that price point, just remember this is a buffing razor so buff away folks for that BBS shave. The Boulder from American Stonecraft I used as my lather bowl is worth this many of these $$$ and is a luxury; all these products work equally as well face lathered for free. That’s all I have to say, but if you contact Brittney McDermott or, Todd Fisher I am sure they would love to talk about St. James of London and match you up with the perfect cream and other products that fit your style perfectly.

Soap: St.James of London “Black Pepper & Lime”
Brush: Semogue 830
Razor: PAA Double Open Comb
Blade: Gillette 7 O’clock SharpEdge
After Shave: Royall Muske
Post Shave: St.James of London “Black Pepper & Lime” gel
Fragrance: Penhaligon’s Blenheim Bouquet 💐 — with Roberto Monanni and 6 others.

Journey to Italy – Part 2

In my previous article I wrote about two of the most iconic Italian products in the Wet Shaving fields, Floid and Proraso. If you remember, I also underlined the fact that I tend to use foreign products. This was particularly true until October 2014, when I took a train from Genova to Settimo Torinese with a close friend, to visit Extrò Cosmesi, run by Donato Ciniello, an extremely nice and competent guy who sells TFS (Tcheon Fung Sing, despite the name is a 100% Italian company) products as well as his own made colognes, moustache waxes, beard oils, shampoos, home fragrances, etc.

Donato was recommended to me by a fellow Wet Shaver, Adriano, who talked me about some of the TFS soaps and was so kind to send me a sample of Felce Italica (Italian Fern. Unfortunately, a discontinued soap). I was so amazed by both the scent and the performance of this soap that the first step was to add Donato to my Facebook friends, then getting some information on his products and finally purchase the train tickets to pay him a visit 🙂

That day of October I purchased several TFS soaps, Extrò Colognes, Donato’s homemade Bay Rum, made in batches which all differs from the previous one in composition, and a wonderful AS which has become a true favourite of mine, Pirata. The recipe of this AS dates back in the 40’s and is described as a “fresh, spiced old style fragrance”. Used with an atomizer is pure Aftershave Heaven!! I rarely buy the same product twice, this was an exception and I restocked during my second visit last year.

During the last year and a half I bought about a dozen of different Extrò Colognes, as you can see in the picture below. My favourite are Fresco (as the name suggests, a fresh fragrance for summer months), Arzakena (named after the Sardinian city of Arzachena, a myrtle scent), Tabacco and Farinik, a very strong tangerine and spices cologne which matches its related soap. Used as Aftershave, it will burn like hell, so I’d recommend it only for those brave enough to enjoy the burn feeling given by an alcohol-based AS! 🙂

Donato is also a straight razor aficionado, always looking for ancient razors to restore in the Sunday Markets around his town and he also sells strops and sharpening stones in various sizes.  Discover more at  Extrò Cosmesi WebSite.

Extrò

Me and my friend Claudio (smelling a bottle of Pirata AS) at Donato’s shop, October 2014.

Now I want to spend some words on TFS, since Donato is their main distributor and I had the pleasure of trying several of their products. The Chinese-sounding name comes from the fact that the founder was “a man, who was born in China and arrived in Italy in 1930. During the war he was interned in a prisoner-of-war camp and after the World War II he married an Italian woman. With his wife, he decided to found this society and following his knowledge in the field of soaps, he began to produce shaving soaps.”

The range of TFS soaps include different lines, from the basic, low-priced “monochromatic” jars (the most famous being the “Ciotola rossa”, almond-scented) to the luxury Linea Intenso, with different scents available (Bergamotto-Neroli, Tabacco Verde, Sottozero, Crazy Sandalwood and many others), from the Sensitive Skin line to the Torino Forti Sensazioni line launched in 2015, consisting of two scents, Corte Sabauda and Sotto la Mole, dedicated to the city of Turin, where the company is based. Other great soaps available are the ones dedicated to some of TFS and Donato’s friends, like Farinik (tangerine and spices), Ambassador (Tuscan lavender), Uncle Walter (Musk, Juniper). Finally, the latest addition to the catalogue is the Panta Rei soap, a “Manna” (see here) scented soap which I have still to try and will be one of the next purchases.

TFS are also makers of the new Figaro Monsieur, an oud-scented soap specifically designer for usage with DE and Straight Razors. The matching Aftershave is available, in a wonderful 400ml bottle.

After more than a year of constant usage of TFS soaps and AS Balms, my experience with ALL of these products has been ultra-satisfactory! The scents, the ease of lathering, the comfort during the shave, the wonderful post-shave sensation on the skin. There have been times in which I didn’t use any AS at all.

If you are wondering why I’m describing these products with so much enthusiasm, well, the answer is simple: because they’re excellent product at very reasonable prices and, most of all, because these products made me know great guys like Donato and Luca aka Farinik! 🙂 Which, in the end, I think it’s one of the best thing of our hobby: it allows to make wonderful friendships! 🙂

We’re at the end of our journey to Italy. I’m perfectly aware that there are other Italian products which were not covered in these articles (the first names which comes to my mind are Cella and Valobra), so I can’t exclude in the future there will be a Part 3.

ITALIAN VERSION – VIAGGIO IN ITALIA, PARTE 2

Nel mio precedente articolo ho avuto modo di scrivere di due tra i più classici prodotti italiani per la rasatura, Floid e Proraso. Se ricordate, ho anche sottolineato il fatto di come io tenda ad usare prodotti stranieri. Questo fatto era particolarmente vero prima di Ottobre 2014, quando presi un treno da Genova per Settimo Torinese insieme a un caro amico per visitare il negozio Extrò Cosmesi, gestito da Donato Ciniello, una persona affabile e competente che vende sia prodotti a marchio TFS (Tcheon Fung Sing, azienda italianissima a dispetto del nome), sia prodotti a marchio Extrò quali colonie, cere per baffi, oli da barba, shampoo, profumatori d’ambiente, ecc.

Donato mi fu segnalato e consigliato da un amico Wet Shaver, Adriano, che mi parlò in termini molto positivi di alcuni saponi TFS e fu così gentile da mandarmi un campione di Felce Italica (ahimè, sapone non più in produzione). Fui così folgorato sia dalla profumazione sia dalla performance di questo sapone, che il primo passo fu quello di chiedere a Donato l’amicizia su FB, poi di informarmi sui suoi prodotti e infine comprare i biglietti del treno per andare a fargli visita 🙂

Quel giorno di Ottobre ebbi modo di acquistare parecchi saponi TFS, Colonie a marchio Extrò, il Bay Rum artigianale di Donato, che viene prodotto in singoli lotti che differiscono ciascuno dal precedente quanto a composizione, e un meraviglioso dopobarba che è diventato rapidamente uno dei miei preferiti, Pirata. La ricetta di questo AS risale agli anni ’40 del secolo scorso e viene descritta come una fragranza fresca, speziata, old style.
Usato con lo spruzzino… è una goduria! E’ raro che io compri lo stesso prodotto due volte, Pirata è stata un’eccezione, poichè durante la mia seconda visita a Donato ho fatto scorta.

Nel corso dell’ultimo anno e mezzo ho acquistato circa una dozzina di diverse colonie Extrò, come si può vedere nella foto più sotto. Le mie preferite ad oggi sono Fresco (che come il nome suggerisce, è adatta per gli afosi giorni d’estate), Arzakena (una fragranza al mirto, che prende il nome dalla cittadina sarda), Tabacco e Farinik, una colonia dalla forte persistenza alla fragranza di mandarino e spezie. Usata come dopobarba, brucia moltissimo e mi sento di raccomandarla solo a quei coraggiosi che amano la sensazione di bruciore sulla pelle data dall’alcool del dopobarba (e anche dalla cannella, in questo caso) 🙂

Donato è anche un appassionato di rasoi a mano libera, sempre alla ricerca di vecchi rasoi da restaurare nei mercatini domenicali attorno alla sua città; nel suo negozio si possono trovare anche pietre per affilare e coramelle. Per maggiori informazioni, visitate il sito Extrò Cosmesi.

A questo punto voglio spendere alcune parole su TFS, poichè Donato è il loro principale distributore e ho avuto il piacere di provare molti dei loro prodotti. Il nome di origine cinese deriva dal fatto che il fondatore era un cinese arrivato in Italia nel 1930. Durante la guerra fu internato in un campo di prigionia e dopo la fine della Seconda Guerra Mondiale sposò una donna italiana. Insieme a sua moglie, decise di fondare questa società e, grazie alle sue competenze in materia di sapone, cominciò a produrre saponi da barba.

Il range di prodotti TFS include diverse linee, dalla linea base ed economica delle ciotoline monocolore (la più famosa delle quali è la Ciotola Rossa, alla mandorla) alla Linea Intenso, disponibile in diverse profumazioni (tra cui citiamo Bergamotto-Neroli, Tabacco Verde, Sottozero, Crazy Sandalwood e altre ancora), dalla linea per Pelli Sensibili alla linea Torino Forti Sensazioni, lanciata nel 2015 e consistente di due profumazioni, Sotto la Mole e Corte Sabauda, entrambe dedicate alla città di Torino, dove TFS risiede.
Altri ottimi saponi disponibili sono quelli dedicati ad alcuni degli amici di Donato e della TFS quali Farinik (mandarino e spezie), Ambassador (Lavanda toscana), Uncle Walter (muschio, ginepro).
Infine, l’ultima novità al catalogo TFS è il sapone Panta Rei, un sapone alla profumazione di Manna di Sicilia. Devo ancora provarlo ed è nella mia lista di prossimi acquisti.

TFS è anche la ditta produttrice del nuovo sapone Figaro Monsieur, alla profumazione di oud, pensato in maniera specifica per la rasatura con DE e Mano Libera. E’ disponibile anche il corrispondente dopobarba, nel classico bottiglione da 400ml.

Dopo più di un anno di uso costante dei saponi TFS e dei balsami dopobarba, posso dire che la mia esperienza con TUTTI questi prodotti è stata ultra soddisfacente! Le profumazioni, la facilità di montaggio, il comfort durante la rasatura, la splendida sensazione post-rasatura sulla pelle. Tutte ottime, e ci son state persino volte in cui non ho voluto usare dopobarba, tanto perfetta era stata la rasatura.

Se vi state domandando come mai stia descrivendo questi prodotti con tale entusiasmo, beh, la risposta è semplice: prima di tutto perchè sono ottimi prodotti a un prezzo assolutamente ragionevole, e, più di tutto, perchè grazie a questi prodotti ho conosciuto grandi persone come Donato e Luca aka Farinik! 🙂 Il che, alla fine, ritengo sia una delle cose più belle del nostro hobby: una parola tira l’altra e si finisce per creare bellissime amicizie. 🙂

Bene, siamo alla fine di questo nostro piccolo viaggio in Italia. Sono pienamente consapevole che ci sono altri prodotti per la rasatura italiani di cui non abbiamo parlato in questi due articoli (i primi nomi che mi vengono in mente sono Cella e Valobra); per questo motivo, non mi sento di escludere, per il futuro, una parte 3.