Straight Razor

SOTD: May 2nd, 2015 “RazoRockin’ with my Boker SS”

Great shave today ! I’ve used a lot of soaps and creams throughout my 24 year tenure as a traditional shaver, and as far as “artisan” or, in this instance sub-contracted soaps RazoRock has never once let me down. Today’s choice; going with that unique Captain’s Choice bay rum scent made by RazoRock I had nothing less then a completely smooth shave with one of the best bay rums on the market (discounted as of 5/2/015), and literally sealed the deal with Captain’s Choice Cat O’ Nine Tails after shave: Feel The Burn ! None of this would be possible without great hardware like my Boker 6/8 Silver Steel honed by the true Honemeister himself Lynn Abrams, and of course one of my favorite brush’s of all time the Simpson’s X2L “Colonel” this was the brush that changed it all for me; Thanks a lot Simpson’s/Vulfix now I have Brush Acquisition disorder ūüôā ! Great way to start the weekend, Shave on everyone ! – Aaron

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Pre: Clarisonic Aria with normal brush and hydrogel cleanser

Prep: Hot Shower with Clinique face bar for oily skin

Croap: RazoRock “Captain’s Choice” Bay Rum

Brush: Simpson’s X2L “Colonel”

Razor: 6/8 Boker Silver Steel

Lather type: American Stonecraft bowl from Smith’s Cheese farm

Moustache type: Handlebar

Wax & Pomade: Joe Grooming compound & Shiner Gold WB Heavy Hold

After shave: Captain’s Choice “Cat O’ Nine Tails”

Balm: Viktor & Rolf¬† ” Spice Bomb” milk

Fragrance: Viktor & Rolf¬† “Spice Bomb”

 

 

Meissner & Tremonia “Dark Lime”

Today I am very excited to get this review out to everyone. I have literally put this brand “Meissner Tremonia” through the fire using everything from, Double Edge razors, Straight razors, and even water typing with distilled versus tap water to really give this soap……well, ¬†a really hard time to be blunt.

I have found that in many fields Germany is the gold standard…. I promise you if it is made in Germany they thought about every detail, and it was done purposely…and from first hand trying, do not disagree as you will not win, so I really really tried this brand to its maximum. Originally¬†I was going to review both M&T soaps I have “Dark Lime” and “Strong n’ Scottish” together, but they are so very different this was not possible. These are distinct soaps with IMHO two very different skin types they are intended for. So enough fluff let’s get to the business of it shall we !

Packaging- Well only in Germany will you get a refill puck that is packaged better than¬†most jewelry boxes. The soap weighing in at 95 grams comes in a very industrial almost Gothic appealing box with I believe a¬†phoenix (bird) and the words Feinste Rasierseife….. or, Finest shaving soap if my German is correct. This 95 gram puck is securely held in place by a black Styrofoam form, ¬†that is molded to fit snugly around that finest soap. I am getting away from “scores”, but I will say this is top-notch packing , I would have zero reservations about the protective nature of this, which in turn tells me how much this soap actually means to “them”.

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Appearance- This is a unique puck to say the least. It has a unique matte finish that I have never seen in any soap before this. It intrigued me as it reminded me of a patina …also the company name almost seemed to be carved into the soap and branded with the name and logo. The puck was perfectly rounded and actually I felt bad to use it as it was so nice to look at. I knew after a few uses that logo and finish would be gone. The best way I can describe the look is almost like stone.

 

Scent- Well the name says it all Lime ! no huge surprise there. Where it is interesting is there is a floral bouquet that is mingling behind that upfront lime, in the next sections I will get into how things interact, but not a whole lot to say then a very apparent lime note that has a back note of bitter floral accords. I suppose that may be part of the dark ; other than the color of the puck itself.

 

 

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Interesting points РThis is a true lime soap, I mean this as in the ingredients it lists the actual lime oil, not a fragrance oil, but the essential oil of lime. This is important to note as lime has a natural degreasing property and also a tannic and unique feel that makes your mouth pucker,  and your skin as well. Also in the soap are Talc, and black clay ! The talc was very unique and I believe for appearance the clay however,  was to add slickness back into the soap. The clay along with the added glycerin make it so this has a stable lather and feels great on your skin bringing moisture back into your face.

*** a little trick*** – this soap is probably best for those with oily skin. Make your lather as normal, and lather up. actually use this lather to “wash” your face, then rinse, and there you go the oil has been stripped from your face and your ready for that shave.

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Lather- As I said above I really put this through the ringer and here is the bottom line. This soap is great it is stable and it works in all water and with all brushes I threw at it ! I will say the lather was most comfortable with my harder water, using my Thater 4292/4 2-band brush and also at a lower temperature appx. 80 degrees. Yes I actually went that far with this ! Next would be spring water at room temperature with a Boar brush, again these are my findings YMMV and opinions of course differ. The lather also not that it effects anything is¬†unique in color¬†almost a ¬†light grey coloration and tolerates water well….I would not call this a water hungry soap by any means and is tolerant of little water for those who prefer a more paste like lather over a more cushioned lather. Now what is a lather without a razor ?

Glide- Here is the one place I would remind every one of my first few sentences. The Germans do things on purpose so my next words are intentional and meaningful so listen carefully as this is not an insult. The soap itself is not very slick, That is due to the natural lime oils and the degreasing nature of lime. Now that said I used DE Razors and Straight razors (my preferred) method. Now I just said the glide was mediocre, I have had worse…much worse. To my surprise my straight razor had zero hang ups and the blade was supported by the excellent cushion this soap produced, so where it lacked in being crazy slick it was ultra cushioning…..looks and feel were very deceiving. I did find I preferred a straight razor over a DE, but by no means did I have any issues with any razor and having a smooth and comfortable shave. The other positive is how well this soap rinsed clean, I personally hate soaps I have to rinse my face for what feels like 10 minutes to get it clean, this soap again due to the degreasing nature of lime, rinsed in moments ! See I told you the Germans know what they are doing ūüôā

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Post shave feel and final thoughts – The post shave feel again in my opinion is geared towards that person that tends to have oily skin, This soap does not contain any humectants other than glycerin and a few essential oils that do not appear to be saponified. I would say this soap is by no means drying, but do not expect a Lanolin type post shave feel either, I would put the post shave at an even keel with any other soap on the market that is not marketed for that lanolin¬† “feel”. As I above said, ¬†really do however love how clean rinsing this soap is, to me that alone is a selling point, especially when time is a premium in the morning.

 

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My final impression of this soap was overall positive. Is it my Holy Grail soap…..well no, do I really like certain aspects absolutely ! It has a wonderful aroma of a true lime scent with undertones of darker floral tones and uses some interesting ingredients like Talc & Clay for slickness, ¬†and to add to your overall experience.¬† Would I recommend “Dark Limes” from Meissner¬† Tremonia absolutely ! mine came from the only US distributor I am aware of though they do sell online. If you live in the USA visit www.straightrazordesigns.com¬† as they have this and a few other flavors as well ! I can’t wait to talk about their¬†Strong N’ Scottish soap !

actual WSR logo

Until then enjoy your shaves, keep your blades sharp and Shave on ! – Aaron

 

 

SOTD: April 4th, 2015 getting my “Ducks” in a row

Today’s shave; similar to yesterday was with a new soap today from Tiki Bar soaps.¬† This soap in question is none other than the new “The Kilted Tiki” which was a St. Patrick’s day release with strong accords of Peat moss and a very smooth whisky note that is very unique. Again I am now on use number two, and I will not review a soap before three uses. I will say however I love my Dubl Duck razor ! Today’s “Satin Edge” was bought from none other than Jaime Cobos about a year ago. I did some work to this blade and I must say of all my vintages the Ducks are just excellent shavers !

The Omega 63185 Black badger had the perfect scritch to softness ratio for today’s Face lathered shave¬†and made a wonderful lather to say the least…. this is one of those brushes; you do not have to spend a fortune to get a great brush. Finally, without reviewing the soap I used a very unique combination as this is a very unique soap. Fine Accruements Clean Vetiver, and then Crabtree¬†& Evelyn’s Nomad¬†balm. This all led to such a wonderful shave, what I would consider the entire reason for traditional shaving; pure enjoyment.

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  • Pre: Clarisonic Aria with sensitive head and Nivea face wash
  • Prep: Hot Shower with HTGAM “ATG” pre-shave soap
  • Soap: Tiki Bar Soaps ” The Kilted Tiki”
  • Brush: Omega 63185 black badger brush
  • Razor: Vintage 5/8 Dubl Duck Perlduck “Satin Edge”
  • Lather type: Face
  • Moustache type: Handlebar
  • Wax and Pomade: Got 2 Be Glued & Murray’s Superior
  • Post shave: Cold water rinse, Alum
  • After Shave: Fine “Clean Vetiver”
  • Balm: Crabtree & Evelyn “Nomad”
  • Fragrance: Penhaligon’s Opus 1870

 

 

SOTD: April 3rd, 2015 here come the Ducks !

I recently bought 3 new soaps, I also have a rule about reviewing anything especially a soap; that I must use it at least 3 times before I’ll even give an initial impression. Today’s shave made the second shave for Soap Commander’s “Renewal” fougere. The rest of this shave was great my Dubl Duck “Goldedge” is just amazing, the Mother Earth scuttle kept my lather warm, and the more I use a scuttle the more I learn temperatures really do make a difference (read this as don’t use too hot of water; warm is more than sufficient).¬† Lastly the Plisson synthetic is IMO at best adequate….many people love this brush as the brush of the “Gods” which I have issue calling anything.¬† Instead of focusing on what I don’t like I’d rather say the brush is super soft and despite other adversity does make a very nice lather. Enjoy the photo I hope my picture speaks more than I wrote, and one more use and Soap Commander’s “Renewal” is getting its review just in time for spring !

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  • Pre: Clarisonic Aria with Deep pore cleaning brush and cleanser
  • Prep: Hot shower with HTGAM “ATG” pre-shave soap & HTGAM Butter pre-shave balm
  • Soap: Soap Commander “Renewal” Fougere
  • Brush: Plisson synthetic
  • Razor: Vintage Dubl Duck Perlduck 5/8 “GoldEdge”
  • Lather type: Scuttle “Mother Earth”
  • Moustache type: natural handlebar
  • Wax & Pomade: Pinaud Brown & Joe Grooming compound
  • Post shave: Cold water rinse & Alum
  • After Shave: Thayer’s Witch Hazel & glycerin mix
  • Balm/Other: Soap Commander “Renewal” menthol balm
  • Fragrance: Gucci Guilty Black in the A.M. & Azzaro-¬†Azzaro Pour Homme aromatic fougere

Orange you glad I shaved today ? 4/2/2015

Spring,¬†it’s in the air folks¬†in the north east of the United States of America, and I can’t wait¬†being blunt until spring and summer.¬†¬†We’ve had one heck of a winter to say the least !¬† So that brings us up to today, and a unusually warm day perfect for¬† that citrus aroma to fill the air in anticipation for the real thing, I must say the artisans here did a wonderful job recreating this near 100% Orange¬†accord and shave, and IMHO all these items, ¬†are top shelf¬†; and worth you taking a look at. Shave on everyone ! -Aaron

 

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  • Pre: Clarisonic Aria with sensitive brush head and hydrogel cleanser
  • Prep: Hot shower with Clinique face bar mixed with Andalou citrus scrub
  • Soap: Tiki Bar “Land Locked”
  • Brush: Vie-Long 12750 65%-35% Mane-Tail ratio
  • Razor:¬†Ralf Aust 6/8 Spanish point in Olive Wood scales
  • Lather type: Face
  • Moustache type: Handlebar
  • Wax & Pomade: Pinaud brown & Joe Grooming Compound
  • Post Shave: Cold water rinse, alum, Anthony Logistics IGHT
  • After Shave: Fine “L’Orange Noir”
  • Balm: TFS Bergamotto Neroli & Andalou Vitamin C cream
  • Fragrance:¬† Thiery Mugler – A*MEN¬† “Ultra Zest”

Off the bench and back into the……..

Hey out there ! Yes I am still alive, and shaving everyday. I don’t believe in excuses, but I do in explanations. Obviously people that know me realize I run this blog, am sole administrator for the Facebook group of the same name, and am very active with vendors, both commercial and artisan.¬† A lot has happened since November of last year, that effected me both professionally, and personally with everything from Family losses to kids in school. To sum it up I never lost the fire to continue, but did loose the drive to kindle the flame. I am again obviously an open person, and do not hold back my feelings or, why things “are” the way things “are”. I’m here today to say that I hope that spark is back, ¬†and I want to start sharing my world of traditional shaving, and grooming a bit more again if you’ll allow me.

I have not been as active on the Facebook group either which will be changing again, more events, more new vendors to bring to the group, and of course more content here. I have come to the conclusion “reviews” are no more than opinions which are wonderful things, but as such must be treated as exactly that opinion not fact. I will be reviewing, and I encourage anyone that wants to author here on this site to let me know…..I’ll set you up in a heartbeat to review in your opinion any product, but let it be known there is only fact to the author….caveat emptor and I will always disclose when a item is gifted or, PIF’d that I review compared to the 99.9% that I spend copious amounts of money on quality gear¬†to bring to peoples attention again based on my opinion. ¬†Finally as I’ve already bored everyone enough first day back ! I plan on making more educational posts both written and video geared toward education for all levels of shavers; from new to veteran alike….there is no point in the years I’ve spent doing this if not to pass some knowledge on.

I leave you for today, a simple SOTD post……that was a near perfect shave.

  • Pre: Clarisonic Aria with acne head and Salicylic acid wash
  • Prep: Andalou enzymatic exfoliant peel & Lush Dark Angels scrub
  • Soap: Tiki Bar Soaps “Set Sail” Vegan
  • Brush: Nathan Clark custom 2-band badger
  • Razor: Thiers-Issard “5/8 round point Spartacus
  • Lather type: Bowl
  • Moustache type: Handlebar
  • Wax¬†& Pomade: JG compound & Royall Crown
  • Post Shave: Cold water rinse and RazoRock¬†alum
  • After Shave: Agua Lavanda Puig …(Lavender splash)
  • Balm: Every Man Jack “Signature Mint”
  • EDT: (maybe a bad combo here, but)….. Dolce & Gabanna Pour Homme Intenso…… I could do a entire review just on this EDP.

 

Your first straight razor ? Ralf Aust in 5/8 …Absolutely !

I see lately a huge interest in shaving traditionally with a straight razor, also called a cut-throat razor, or simply a “straight”. I see a lot of opinions, and of course I have my own as well. I am not an expert, but I know a few ūüôā and they all are in agreement that while cheaper brands are in the market; you really are getting your monies worth and then some with a 5/8 round point Ralf Aust in faux ebony scales !

This is a great jumping point or, even the only blade you’ll ever need…..until you catch the bug, and want that next “straight” to add to your shave den ! I hope you enjoy this fast overview, and shave with my NEW format !!! Please comment below I’d love to hear your thoughts on the razor, your suggestions, and what you thought of my new video style ! Thanks for¬†watching. – Aaron

 

  • Pre: Clarisonic Aria with¬†normal¬†head and hydrogel¬†cleanser medium setting
  • Prep:¬†Hot Shower w/ Clinique face bar
  • Cream: Taylor of¬†old Bond street “Mr. Taylor”
  • Brush: Nathan Clark 2-Band custom
  • Razor: Ralf Aust 5/8 round point in faux ebony scales
  • Lather: Scuttle
  • Moustache:¬†Dahli
  • Wax and Pomade: TOBS “Mr. Taylor’s” moustache wax & Layrite Super Hold
  • Post Shave: Cold water¬†rinse and Alum
  • After Shave: Barrister¬†& Mann original “Kyovu”
  • EDT: Versace Eros

SOTD: January 24th, 2015 a week of Thiers-Issard

It’s snowing outside and cold as can be, but who really cares, I have enough to keep me busy, and my shave today started my day off absolutely on the right track ! My new video equipment came today so time to learn to use it as well so future posts will have more video real time reviews. But for now here is a little SOTD to keep things up to date.

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I have been rotating my favorite straight razors this week Thiers-Issard as I have four so it was a nice transition to some newer ones like the 6/8 Bison Red Stamina ! What an amazing shaver this is ! perfectly honed, and flawless in balance, and hand feel.

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I’ve also been rocking with Mitchell’s Wool Fat all week as well, as it’s about on it’s last leg, and I’m trying to use it up. I decided to Uber-Lather mixing MWF, Musgo Oakmoss cream, and finally some glycerin. This was a SLICK shave ! really thick lather as you can see in the photo’s, and all whipped up with a Nathan Clark custom silvertip on its maiden voyage as I recently bought a 2-band and a silvertip brush from Nathan. Perfect performance ! I could not be happier with the performance, first use and great lather out the gate, I can’t wait to see how this performs after a dozen or so uses.

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Finished it all off classic ! some alum, and Aqua Velva Ice Blue ! The MWF was definitely dominant and I find the Musgo Oakmoss there but very tolerant with most other scents, and took a back seat to the Mitchell’s. Finally as I had to take care of the snow situation from last night I used some Aveeno Naturals lotion. The Aveeno lotion is quite thick and goes on pretty thick as well, but absorbs easily once it reaches body temperature it seems.

Bottom line great Saturday shave and great gear ! I love shaving with these Thiers-Issard razors so needless to say I have had a great week, but truth told I must confess I think today’s Bison Red Stamina in 6/8 is maybe my favorite TI in my den. Happy shoveling to everyone in the northeast with me, and more so happy shaving !!!! – Shave on everyone -Aaron

  • Pre: Hot shower with Musgo Glyce pre shave soap
  • Prep: Glycerin
  • Soap: Mitchell’s Wool Fat
  • Cream: Musgo Real “Oakmoss”
  • Brush: Nathan Clark 24mm silvertip badger brush
  • Razor: Thiers-Issard 6/8 ¬†“Bison”¬†Red Stamina
  • Lather type: Scuttle
  • Moustache type: English
  • Post Shave: Cold water rinse, Alum, and A. Logistics IGHT
  • After Shave: Aqua Velva “Ice Blue”
  • Lotion: Aveeno naturals lotion
  • Fragrance: British Stirling H.I.M. Reserve

SOTD: January 18th, 2015 and Thiers-Issard Bison first impressions

Good afternoon everyone ! Just a quick SOTD, and I used my Thiers-Issard Bison in Red Stamina scales for the first time today ! Awesome shave, the guys at Straight Razor Designs out did themselves with the honing of this TI razor ! I wish they actually wrote “honed by” on the invoice etc….as I own a few TI’s, and this was by far the smoothest shave I’ve had in a while.

The Baume.BE is no joke ! I’ve been using it for the last 7 days, and it has been for quite sometime my benchmark cream. All other lathers are held to Baume.BE’s standard. Of course YMMV, and a few others like Esbjerg and Castle Forbes are also darn close, and on any given day I could say those are my benchmark ! They all perform very similarly. Zero hang up and smooth shaving for all passes including the ATG pass.

The biggest part of today’s shave hands down was the Thiers-Issard Bison 6/8 in Red Stamina scales. This is not a full on review, but a glance at my first use. I am not a novice to Thiers-Issard, and own more TI’s than any other straights in my den. The Bison today really brought a smile to my face. I loved the length of the blade ! I did not measure but it is on the shorter side compared to lets say my Spartacus TI. The hand feel and balance¬†was excellent and the gents at SRD where I bought this razor did an amazing job getting it shave ready. The blade as with most TI’s are not “pretty” they are masterfully made, but the gold wash is nothing to write home about, and the etching was somewhat basic, but I use a straight razor to shave not to stare at the artwork. The TI’s IMHO are worth every penny as far as their ability to shave, and to hold a great edge. First shave with the Bison in Red Stamina scales was maybe my best shave this year, in no small way or, ¬†doubt due to whomever honed it up. Last but not least the Red Stamina performed equally as well, doing their job as a water resistant form of scale. The pivot pin was a drop on the tight side but hey this was the first shave, I am sure it will loosen up !

Overall- A great cream with Baume.BE, a sharp and quality blade like the Thiers-Issard Bison in Red Stamina scales, honed by the right person, and finally finishing off with a quality artisan after shave made this guy super happy with his shave, and new razor ! – Aaron

  • Pre: Clarisonic Aria w/ deep pore head and cleanser
  • Prep: Hot Shower with Jack Blacks face wash aloe & sage
  • Cream: Baume.BE
  • Brush: Omega 63185 black badger
  • Razor: Thiers-Issard Bison Red Stamina 6/8
  • Lather type: Scuttle “Mother Earth”
  • After Shave: Gingers Garden “Haight¬† Asbury”
  • Lotion: HTGAM “Meta Nectar”

SOTD: January 4th, 2015 “Pomander day 2”

I am amazed, I made 3 New Years resolutions. The first was a very strong “No more shave soaps until I use 50% of my den”, the Second was I must use a straight razor 3 times for every DE/SE shave or, a 3-1 ratio, and finally I did NOT have to shave everyday. Last year my resolution was to shave 365 days ! I did it; I was writing more for 365shaves.com as well so it made sense. I am still an author there, ¬†and recommend them as a great resource, as well as they are just great guys.

actual WSR logotop hat 365

Well, I can live with the no new soaps, no problems with using a straight razor….., but I’m emotional messed up ! after 365 shaves¬†in a row; ¬†I can’t stop shaving daily. That in a way is great, but now I feel “naked” if I don’t shave like I forgot an important part of my day. So here I am still shaving daily, though if I miss a day I doubt I’ll beat myself up too bad.

Today’s shave was excellent, I am using Catie’s Bubbles “Pomander” soap every day for a week, and changing all the other variables to see how flexible I can make my shaves. Pomander is a clove/orange scent and I have a pre-sale production version in a mason jar from early 2014; almost a year ago. The soap held up great, and has about a week maybe 2 worth of shaves left. I loved today’s shave and as I said yesterday Pomander delivered a cushioning, slick and fragrant shave. No reservations using this soap with a straight razor even against the grain it has ample glide though I added vegetable glycerin out of habit. I hope you all had excellent shave this weekend as well, details below, shave on everyone ! – Aaron

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** side note- The Lord Randall brush is breaking in amazingly well. Not a single shed hair, a bit more scritch is coming out and the flow through is becoming a lot better, holding the lather inside, but releasing it easily, again I can just tell this brush is something special. **

  • Pre: Clarisonic Aria with sensitive skin head and cleanser
  • Prep: Hot shower with Razorock/HTGAM lime pre-shave soap
  • Soap: Catie’s Bubbles “Pomander” beta version
  • Brush: Vie-Long Lord Randall mixed horse/badger
  • Razor: Ralf Aust 5/8 straight razor in faux ebony scales
  • Lather type: Bowl
  • Moustache type: Natural
  • Wax & Pomade: Ginger’s Garden beard oil & None
  • Post Shave: Cold water rinse, RazoRock alum, Anthony Logistics ingrown hair treatment
  • After Shave: Old Spice
  • Balm/Other: Catie’s Bubbles whipped Shea butter
  • Fragrance: Prada Luna Rossa Extreme EDP