Just follow the link to a better shave every time !
Mark Herro Aka Mantic59 again takes your shave to the next level ! Thanks for everything you do Mark 🙏🏽
The Asylum Rx like many new production razors, are modern “SE” or, injector light styles. The Asylum Rx, IMHO sets itself apart in many ways from looks to the shave itself.
Our friend on the WSR Facebook Page who is equally as unique in a good way, has an opinion, and he is not afraid to voice it ! In steps Ronald Davenport, a Renaissance man in many ways, and a observant practioner of observation, as well as trial and error; will find every nook and cranny of his ever growing wet shaving collection; often posting these musings on the Facebook page. In steps Ronald in his own words about the Asylum RX !! Thanks for your contribution good sir !
Welcome to the newest feature on the Wet Shaver Review ! Every week one or, more of our team will choose a #sotd that resonates with us, to share with the whole wet shaving community. This week my pick comes from Holland by Bram Van Den Berg; I hope you enjoy this #sotd #review as much as I did ! Thank you Bram for your contributions.
Man, do I have a start of a great day!
The sun is out, temperatures outside are really nice and the dogs are in a very, very good and relaxed mood. What more can I wish for, right?
Well, a good shave would me a nice addition to the day!
And man, did I get one! grin
Yesterday I got a package in with a few new soaps and aftershaves. And one of those was this Extro Bergamotto di Calabria.
When I opened the jar for the first time and gave it it’s first sniff…
I knew this was going to be good!
As you all might know, i am a sucker for good citrus-scented soaps!
Directly out of the jar, you smell a nice blend of citrus fruits where the orange scent is the most dominant one.
So far, a good start.
Lathering is, as with any Extro soap, a really easy task.
The stuff lathers like a beast with my huge Rod Neep brush!
The lather is really nice and thick and really really slick and it smells like….heaven!
If i want to compare the scent to some other Italian soaps that I have used throughout the years, the best comparison is with the TFS Bergamotto Neroli and the TFS Zagara e Gelsomino.
It isn’t as overly sweet as the Bergamotto Neroli, but isn’t as mild as the Zagara either. A very nice middle-ground between those two.
From all the citrus scents, the orange is still the most dominant, even when the stuff is lathered.
A lovely sweet scent with a slight tangy note to it. Love it! grin
Shaving with this stuff is, as expected with the Extro soaps.
A very nice slick and a very nice and protective soap.
Nothing to complain here.
Now, the aftershave is where the whole thing comes together like PB&J.
First, give the bottle a good shake, so you can mix up all the ingredients properly!
The aftershave compliments the soap so good! As with any Extro combo I have tried so far.
The aftershave has the more bitter/tangy citrus scents and the orange moves to the back.
An amazing combo of a sweet soap and a more bitter and tangy aftershave to make a really nicely rounded combo!
Something that really fits the great sunny weather!
And the best part of it all is, I have a pomade that matches this scent profile!
So to compliment this all, I am wearing Nostalgic Handmade Super Waterbased Clean Cut Citrus today!
I’m going to enjoy the sunshine now! Bubaaaaaai!
Have a great day ladies and gentlemen!
When I was a child I remember the feel of stubble on my fathers face; it intrigued my young mind. I also envied at 5 years old why I couldn’t grow this scratchy stuff that I loved to touch, it was a way I believe fathers, and sons bond; the physical contact as well as the manly aspect of the beard, and generations past that also looked at their grand fathers, fathers, brothers……or, whoever your favorite stubbled face growing up, and inspiring that youthful mind to think of the future that someday; I too will have stubble for my sons to ponder over.
How in the world does any of this have to do with Straight razors then, and removal of that moustache or, full beard ? A few month’s back I received a comment on my YouTube channel that basically read “why is anyone taking advice about straight razor shaving from a guy with a full beard” ? At the time I had a chinstrap beard, not a full beard there is a difference, actually a very big difference. So this is a good time to say why I choose to use a straight razor, and why a bearded man has a tougher job overall removing that face fur.
Many people find that using a straight razor can be tough, and I won’t disagree. If it was easy we would be using a 5 blade cartridge razor. The straight razor shave is different in most aspects of the actual shaving from the 10-30 degree angle you shave at, to the grips and reverse grips to accommodate your face. Yes it is more difficult then some people would like. Other people instantly know this was meant for them; it’s a time of reflection, accuracy, solitude and stress relief that is unique to any other form of introspective activity. I love using a straight razor ! there I said it loud, and proud or, wrote it (I was yelling in my mind). After a good 30 days most people find that while having a learning curve that ultimately the switch was well worth it. so lets get into some Straight talk.
Straight razors are broken down to a few simple terms. The edge is the actual sharp portion of the blade that shaves, The remainder of the blade is known as the face. The toe is the end of the front portion, which may have different looks like round tip, French Point, Spike to name a few and there are more. The opposite of the edge is the spine which will lead into the shoulder which are stabilizers more for the mfg. then the shave. Finally for our purposes you have the scales which is the counter balance, and grip assist to the tang which is everything the blade is not. As we see there are some terms there, but don’t drown in the physiology of the blade just know every aspect of that blade whether you use it or, not impacts your shave. So what is right for you ? the first time Straight razor user.
Lets make this simple, and black and white as there is so much non-sense in circulation you could be turned off by taking bad advice. here is a rule of thumb. Avoid Chinese razors in general as the quality is pretty much like everything else with that logo. It works, and will shave, but the upkeep can send you right back to your previous shaving device. I will be the first one to say a quality straight razor does NOT have to be expensive, it’s just not ! this is what sends many people to those Chinese blades is price, $30-100 is the lie that anything else is a small mortgage payment. Guess what you can get a quality vintage razor for that maybe less or, even a brand new razor for $100; like the Ralf Aust base model which I still use today. The constant performance just is not there with any Chinese razor I have every tried. A straight Razor is an investment in you ! your worth the extra few dollars. I recommend buying a round point which looks like a sideways “U” at the toe, which will help you avoid cuts, and are in general, just an all around go to for most gents. Next up bigger is NOT better. You will hear mathematical terms used that sound like your back in school. Some are 3/8, 5/8, 6/8, 13/16, 15/16, 8/8 and we can talk fractions all day, but at the end all that means is the width of the face (see above) of your razor. I recommend 5/8 for two reasons the weight, and feel is great for both beginner and veteran shaver alike. The second reason is back to the guy who questioned my facial hair, because you can maneuver tight hollow of your face easier allowing you some facial hair like a chin puff, any moustache, as well as some pretty awesome side burns without the fear of loss of blade control and bulkiness. Finally you’ll see a ton of scale options (again see above) ranging from plastic to celluloid, to even precious Abalone. I would encourage the plastic or, acrylic scales as they keep cost low, and there is nothing wrong until you know a straight razor is for you, to be prudent. To cut to the point I usually just tell people there is a brand called Ralf Aust sold by SRD that is made in Solingen Germany the city of blades known for high quality carbon steel, and it fits every recommendation I said above. Just do not forget to buy an introductory strop as well it’s not an option. Down the road once you get the technique down as permits get more bling razors, but remember this is an investment, and I promise you will never find a successful business that didn’t crawl before it ran so take your time, and enjoy it !
one last thing before I go. Never let anyone say you cannot use your DE/SE razor, and a straight razor in the same shave why give up a DE or, SE razor !…. I don’t know about everyone else, but I invest in myself, and trust me all three of those razor belong in my life, and maybe yours too. Shave on everyone, I hope this helped a bit. – Aaron
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 !
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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”
I am amazed, to the point of almost speechless, can you imagine that ? I being speechless ! I say this as today’s shave was such a difference from yesterday. Yesterday while a close shave, it was absolutely uncomfortable, and at my own fault for using untried gear. I sharpened up overnight. I used gear I knew would work, and even took a slight chance, but on a very educated guess. So onto the shave as it was just that good there’s not much to say aside from what worked for me today.
It is no secret I love the Merkur Progress in its original iteration, while I think the Mergress or other variations of altering and fine tuning this razor look great, it does not change the shave itself. I may down the road by another Progress just to “trick” it out, but for functional use; there in my book is no better adjustable than the long-handled Merkur Progress. Just my opinion YMMV but I always get close shaves today at a milder 3,2,2 three pass setting. I also threw caution to the wind, That Voskhod is now on use Eight ! I knew I had about a 99% chance I would be fine as I always get 10 close shaves with a Voskhod, never any less and in theory maybe more….. I just haven’t pushed them. I think this may be the blade to really see how many shaves I can get. Just a great pairing nothing else to say here.
For my soap as it is COLD here ! and I knew that before I left home I packed wisely. I brought my Tcheon Fung Sing “Cannella Arancio Amaro Aroma Intensio” croap. I was told by my Italian friends on the WSR Facebook group that it is a name, but also a description ! it just simply put means Bitter orange with Cinnamon with an intense aroma…. TFS is awesome the name describes the soap ! Talk about straight forward marketing. Great lather which I face lathered with a “test” brush I am reviewing though I will say it is a boar brush that I would put in the travel / starter category. This brush and soap did not disappoint at all, on the contrary I was very impressed with how well the brush is breaking in, the scritch, backbone and how well the lather generated into an easy three passes and I lost about another 1-2 passes down he drain. Perfect in the lather department !
Now into the travel lab I went ! I don’t care where in the world go I will always travel with my “lab” today it paid off very well. As stated above today’s flavor was bitter orange and Cinnamon. So after a great cold water rinse, Shavex alum, and some more cold water…..zero feedback and super smooth btw. I decided on a very unique combination…..this was GREAT ! I mixed Fine L’Orange Noir with Masters Bay rum a bit heavier on the Bay Rum, I’d say a 3 to 1 ratio, but it did not end there I then after a great dry down applied a very underused, and ultra moisturizing Baume.BE after shave balm which has a citrus like aroma in the vein of orange meets lemon and Verbena. This combination not only felt great but smells wonderful.
Todays shave proved to me the old saying tomorrows a new day could not be truer. I would have to say this was the best shave I’ve had all week…… If you’ve made it this far, and you have a Mergress or, modified Progress leave a comment I’d love to hear your thoughts. Have great days everyone and great shaves ! – Aaron
- Pre: Hot shower w/ Clinique facial bar
- Prep: Lather and hot towel
- Croap: Tcheon Fung Sing ” Cannella Arancio Amaro Aroma Intensio”
- Brush: “Test” brush in boar
- Razor: Merkur Progress 3,2,2 for three passes
- Blade: Voskhod (8)
- Lather type: Face (and a wonderful feel to it also)
- Moustache: Double turned handlebar
- Wax and Pomade: Pinaud natural and a combination of Crew Fiber and Royal Crown
- Post shave: Cold water rinse and Shavex alum
- After shave: Masters bay rum and Fine L’Orange Noir 3 to 1 ratio
- Balm: Baume.BE lotion
- EDT: Viktor and Rolf “Spice Bomb”
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.
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.
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 !
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”
It’s cold outside, and it’s cold on my face ! This is a scenario where 1 and 1 don’t cancel each other out… actually it makes it even colder. I love the cold as I am as general statement a pretty bodily hot guy as my wife calls me a “heater”. I wish she meant like Brad Pitt “Hot” but no she means like temperature. So I love these cool shaves even when the thermometer starts to fall.
So let’s keep it simple and relatively straight forward, I Super Lather on Monday’s as well. If you’re not familiar with this term it is when you mix a cream with a soap or, sometimes a croap. Today I went with Ginger’s Garden “Arctic Mud” which I loaded very heavily, and Proraso green. I know this combination, and it is slick, fragrant, and cold as ice ! This is a super lather dream combo as you really do get the best of both, in this instance the Ginger’s Garden “Arctic Mud” was the dominant scent. Together it produced well more lather than needed for my 3 passes, I used my Simpsons X2L “Colonel” and bowl lathered; I almost overflowed the bowl it lathered so well.
It was an easy choice for my razor as well, I went with my Merkur 37C Slant. There has been a bit of talk about slants on the forum, and I don’t use a slant everyday, but I bet I could; especially this one. The Merkur 37C is very intuitive and has a medium aggressive nature while never being unwieldy. This is a hands down great razor. I paired it with my Voskhod blade now on use number five ! I expect based on others to get in the neighborhood of 10 uses. These Russian Teflon coated blades, at least for me tend to last longer YMMV of course.
Finishing off was as easy as the ice-cold shave was ! of course I did my cold water rinse, which intensified the cold from the menthol in the lather ! and I used my Shavex alum which I refrigerated over-night. COLD ! Next up was some more cold water a dry down and the famous Osage Rub ! I was on the fence with Snake Bite by Fine, but I have shown Fine a lot of love as of late; it was time for the Osage to shine ! My hands are actually still cold as I type this. I received a very close shave that slants are known for…. this is a good thing, but I get nervous about ingrown at this point and this closeness….. this is like super glide smooth on my face. So I used my Anthony Logistics Ingrown hair treatment, I actually use this fairly often though don’t usually mention it. Finally while absolutely not labeled as a methylated balm, truth told it says it’s scent-free HAHAHA ! I used a combination of Anthony Logistics balm mixed with Everyman Jacks Signature mint. EMJ is a great, affordable brand that if you haven’t; you really should give a go.
That was that my friends ! I am solidly frozen as I hope you are too ! I mean that in the nicest of ways 🙂 enjoy the day folks. – Aaron
- Pre: Hot Shower with HTGAM/RR Lime Menthol pre-shave soap
- Prep: Proraso Pre shave lotion
- Croap: Ginger’s Garden “Arctic Mud”
- Cream: Proraso green
- Brush: Simpson’s X2L “Colonel”
- Razor: Merkur 37C slant
- Blade: Voskhod (5)
- Lather type: Bowl/Face hybrid
- Moustache: Double turned down Handlebar curled
- Wax and Pomade: Firehouse Dark & Layrite Super Hold
- Post shave: Cold water rinse, frozen Shavex alum
- After shave: Osage Rub
- Additional: Anthony Logistics Ingrown hair treatment
- Balm: A mixture of Everyman Jack’s Signature mint and Anthony Logistics balm