Shaving Soap

Love those Almonds !

Today’s shave reminded me of a few general rules of traditional shaving. Firstly a great soap does not have to be ultra expensive. The second is that you need to enjoy every part of your shave, from the soap to the method of hair removal. Lastly your shave should be memorable !

Today’s shave hit every one of those three simple criteria. Natura Essenziale alla Mandorla is a modest Italian soft soap that cost around €5 and has a wonderful sweet almond aroma, and ample glide and cushion. This is also a vegetable based soap.

I enjoyed literally every moment of today’s shave, from the prep using hot towels infused with almond essential oil to my 6/8 Thiers-Issard Bison Straight razor, to my post shave of Chella Cool by Phoenix Artisan Accoutrements. I took my time, and overall I’d say the experience lasted one and a half hours.

Finally yes it was memorable on many levels. The soap reminded me of my friendship with a great friend I proudly call my brother. About a half hour before I was able to add another wonderful author to our page, and to the shave itself the individual components of soap, brush, razor and post shave delivered a close, no super close shave that made me proud that I stuck with using a proven soap, a freshly honed razor, and a vigorous aftershave that left my face feeling great, and smelling like I was going to conquer the world.

What I suppose I am getting at, is make your personal shave count. The art of traditional shaving is so much more than one part, but the sum of all the parts combined. On this wonderful Saturday I wish you all happy shaves, and as always stay smooth.

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: September 28th, 2014 “Almost Everything is New”

 

Today was a complete testing day that I am passing off to all you fine folks as a Shave of the Day (which technically this is) ! I typically face lather so my gear consists of a brush, soap, razor, blade, and finally whatever finishing materials. The last could be anything from a balm to an aftershave to styptics and a bunch of “other” stuff. Out of my entire shave only 3 were out of my normal den, being the soap and the razor and balm; I use a lot of items in a typical SOTD even though I don’t always list them. I will be reviewing at a later time the “other” material so I am doing the SOTD here and the review “where it came from” as most know I write for a few sites.  I am trying to be ethical, and keep the SOTD and review as separate as possible, So let’s get to it shall  we !

As I said earlier this was mainly a review day so lets talk  minute about what I already owned… Today was the last day on my GEM stainless steel blade, so I had to choose wisely my razor, as I am not sure the next time an SE razor will be in my rotation. I choose the GEM “Shovelhead” ! This is a notorious aggressive razor, I personally agree, but it is also extremely forgiving. So if your into that feel, but don’t want to worry about a zillion cuts or weepers this may be a great razor for you. Technique is of course pivotal here, and no razor is forgiving unless your technique is good. a neat little fact about the “Shovelhead” is that it flips forward to open, and you almost load the blade backwards; on more than one occasion I have tried to insert the blade incorrectly, think of the Every-Ready 1914 and the Shovelhead is the exact opposite flipping forward from the rear opposed to back from the front. I paired this great razor with a GEM SS blade now on use 4 … I really did not feel much tugging, but why chance it I have a lot of GEM and PAL blue blades…. sometimes you just need to let go….. so onto a new blade I went.

 

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The second “in my den” item is Mitchell’s Wool Fat aka MWF. I love this soap ! At first I hated it and couldn’t get it to lather,  as many others have made mention of, and have shied away from MWF because of this. I happen to have very hard water and by rights should have a terribly difficult time generating a lather. I used to have that problem, until one day on YouTube; I watched one of MAtic59’s video’s on lathering MWF, it changed my world. I finally was able to get this puck to lather ! I also have made video’s since as I modified the original Mantic video to my personal ways and to my “likes” in a lather. I find this soap relatively neutral to maybe powdery meets a barnyard hay like green aroma. I also find it does not residually  leave much scent after fully rinsed. What it does leave is a very moisturized face as the lanolin in the soap is a wonderful moisturizer…. I think this also sometimes inhibits lather formation due to the heavy fat concentration, but that is only a guess. At another time I will do a tutorial again on MWF but lets leave it at today I could not have had better performance from this soap.

 

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Now onto what is “new” and up for review in a bit. I was very graciously PIF’d a single first month “Wet Shaving Club” starter box kit. These Kits seem to be very popular, and a lot of sites now have “boxes” or revolving monthly products. It reminds me of when I smoked cigars more often. I would subscribe to one of the larger cigar sites, and each month 5 Random cigars would be at my front door. This is the same concept, but with traditional shaving ! Today I used the Boar brush, Whiskey ink and Lace cedar wood after shave, and yes match type styptic alum called Legends of London. I won’t go into detail as all these items are going to be reviewed. I will say I think some of these items are absolutely brilliant, and I would use again and recommend and others are still too “new”, and need to break in a bit more before I pass judgment. In fairness of the SOTD though I will say I had a great shave, and I used the Whiskey ink and Lace aftershave which has moisturizing oils as well as the great L’Occitane Baux balm, and that was the end of my shave. More on these items later though.

 

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So that was my shave in a round about kind of nutshell !! I wish I could say more about these “club” items but it’s just firstly not time yet, and secondly these items will be reviewed from the PIF source before I go into details here out of respect, and simply I just haven’t used some items enough times to fairly talk about them …maybe Ill do an initial impressions review and later a “real” review. I hope you all had great shaves, and awesome days ! Tomorrow it’s back to work. – Aaron

  • Pre: Hot shower w/ Garnier facial scrub
  • Prep: USP grade glycerin 10 drops applied to face and neck
  • Soap: Mitchell’s Wool Fat
  • Brush: Wet Shave Club boar brush
  • Razor: GEM “Shovelhead”
  • Blade: GEM stainless steel (4)
  • Lather type: Face
  • Moustache type: Handlebar
  • Wax and Pomade: Brooklyn Grooming “Williamsburg” & Zizilia
  • Post shave: Cold water rinse and Shavex alum as well as “The Legends” styptic match
  • After shave: Whiskey ink and Lave “Cedar wood”
  • Balm: L’Occitane Baux
  • EDT: L’Occitane Baux EDT

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