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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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-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 🙏🏽

Aaron’s Pick- Asylum Rx SE: By Ronald Davenport Sr.

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 !

 

 

Asylum RX Razor I would start off with good Pre-Shave discipline. Using a stiff Boar for a well exfoliated growth area. Then Pre-shave Oil followed by hot towels. Then my favorite Boar, but that’s just me. Remember, you get out of a shave what you have put into it (IMHO). If you are in the workforce and have a busy out the door routine, well maybe save this experience for a day off or at night. Out of the box one will notice the fine finish on this pleasantly satin metal. That and the style. It’s like a Jaguar sitting there ready to start. The fit of parts are so tight which makes this Razors curves smooth and sleek. We could hardly ask for a more sweet sexy looking instrument. As I write this, I still have a BBS face, well almost, and I shaved last night at 8 pm. It’s now 2:30pm, I have a medium to heavy beard too. Yes I chase a BBS Shave. As far as numbers? I don’t have a number where I get to and then done.
Sometimes I reach a four pass and touch ups, because touchups are a pass in themselves. When I get to a point that I’m happy with the shave, then I’m done. Much has been written on the topic of “ Comfort vs. Closeness”. However the less scraping on our faces the better. That’s where this Asylum RX SE comes in. With a Feather Professional SE Blade ( subjective ) I think one will find an instrument which reduces the amount of work it ( razor ) is tasked with. Without reservations I can honestly say this razor gave me the best shave I have ever had, from any shaving system. This in itself, in my world is a feat, as I am a (BBS chaser), and I never expected to have this razor give me a shave even approaching a straight shave. The weight and balance are ideal. Not all of the heft is balanced, top is lighter and mostly in the handle, which speaks of how well it maneuvers in all those tight spots. Handle length is just right for a big hand but not to long for a Lady’s hand. Something about angle. Just with the eyeball it may appear to be an extreme slant when compared with some modern SE razors. However when compaired with most vintage SE standing up on the base of the handle, the angle of the blade will be very familiar, pretty close to most Vintage SE.
It was designed to take the Feather Pro-Blade or equivalent, however the Pro-Guard blade will not work. Speaking of blades, most SE blades are rounded on the ends, right? also on the safety bar there end guards or stoppers to hold the blade even. We find this feature on most Vintage SE like MMOC by Gem. Good feature. One person from a well-known talk-ey forum said this; “Well, if you like aggressive razors the Rx is right up your alley. I enjoy my Rx. Incredibly efficient with a Kai blade, whether a Captain, Titan Mild Pink or the ProTouch MG. All provide smooth and clean shaves. The Feather Pro and the Rx? Now that’s when it really shows its true colors. Viciously sharp, but efficient and if used with a very light touch and care, amazing.
A friend sent me a couple samples of the Pro and I bought 3 boxes with a coupon code from a vendor I purchase from. For me, it’s the pinnacle in achieving a fantastic, BBS shave daily. Only my 2 prized straights, Wade & Butcher Wedge and Boker Celebrated are on par with it”. This Razor is at the top of the Food Chain, alongside Muhle R41 (2011), and the Icon ShaveCraft Tec,. ATT H2 and lest we forget, the most aggressive adjustable, MERKUR VISION 2000.
Thank you again Ronald, this is what we at the WSR are all about, our members helping the wet shaving community; you have the hands on knowledge. It’s an honor to us to post your review. – Aaron
If anyone is looking to have a review on any Grooming, Wet Shaving, Pipes, Pens or, anything that you are passionate about; please contact Aaron Schecter either on the Facebook group page or, at aschecte@gmail.com

Aaron’s Pick April 5th,2017: Extro & Bram Van Den Berg

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.

IMPORTANT!
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!

-Aaron

Straight talk about Straight Razors

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.

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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.

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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.

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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 !

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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

 

SOTD: June 9th, 2015 “Tobacco Tuesday”

What an excellent shave today, I could not have wanted more. Barrister & Mann always delivers top- shelf performance, and unique original scents. 

To most people when they hear “tobacco” the instantly think about cigarettes or, a cigar; well I don’t use either. I do however enjoy the fragrance of both green uncut tobacco leaf and even the aromatic smell of a pipe with that signature Burley or, cavendish scent. Today happened to be that theme day for the tobacco scent in any form. The brand or, what part of the shave that tobacco scent arrived was irrelevant, but I pretty much used it throughout. 

Again a great shave, a wonderful scent, and so far the sun is shinning. The day is looking pretty darn good, shave on !

#sotd June 9th, 2015

#tobaccotuesday #wsr
Pre: Hot shower w/ Jack Blacks Deep Dive

Soap: Barrister&Mann “Roam”

Brush: Vie-Long SE Lord Randall badger/horse

Razor: Dovo 6/8 La Forme

After shave: Barrister & Mann “Roam”
Jams – Strung out Exile in Oblivion

SOTD: June 6th, 2015 “Saturday Night Lime”

What’s there to say about today’s shave ? Not a whole lot for once ! It was comfortable, and it removed hair 🙂 if you have never used Castle Forbes creams I would strongly recommend them, as they are formulated for ultimate glide and for a wonderful post shave feel due to the lanolin in the cream itself. The Case Red Imp delivered the goods; no two ways about that, aside from a aggressive spike point the razor is awesome, rescaled I guess with what I’d call a red coral type of scale and custom fit for the razor. Lastly Raymond Bukaty makes an amazing brush ! his knot is superb and craftsmanship cannot be denied. All said todays shave was excellent and very enjoyable. Shave on everyone and enjoy the beautiful day, and weekend ! – Aaron

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  • Pre: Hot shower with Nivea face scrub
  • Cream: Castle Forbes Lime
  • Brush: Bukaty custom Silver Tip badger
  • Razor: Case “Red Imp” 6/8 red coral scale
  • Lather type: Bowl
  • Moustache type: Handlebar
  • Wax and Pomade: Pinaud black & Murray’s SE “Vintage”
  • After Shave: Captain’s Choice Lime
  • Balm: Soap Commander “Respect”
  • Fragrance: Lacoste L12.12 Blanc

In memory of June 5th, 1956 “For my Father”

Today is always a day of reflection for me, the title alone of this post gives away this has to do with my father. This will not be a long or drawn out post, but a glimpse into my life, and a remembrance of a life taken way too soon. I have said countless times I was raised by my grandparents and great grandparents, which is accurate….my great grandfather taught me to shave, and started my journey in this amazing community. My Father was an officer, and thus was not around as much as he or, I would have liked. So instead of moving constantly as is the norm, I stayed with family. What I did learn from my father as ironically when his time was up my tenure began, I never achieved nor, wanted to become an officer, but I was very close to say the least. My father taught me what it was to be a man, a father, to have respect for myself and to put others before myself always and in everyway. To love my God, my country, and to listen to those much wiser than myself.

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Fast Forward to 8 years ago; my father passed away from Cancer, something I wish even I could just remove from anyone and everyone. Renal cell carcinoma to be exact or, cancer of the Kidney, there is no cure, and it’s a highly aggressive cancer. He was just 51 by a few days when he passed surrounded by family and friends and even brothers in arms acting full bird Colonel’s and those he served with by his side. My fathers life was measured by accomplishment not by years….I find it hard to think most people to achieve what he did in 40 something years, to be reached by those living double his time here. Driven is a understatement, and I cannot overstate he was my best friend, and I miss him dearly. Today he would have turned 59, but his time had come now near a decade ago.  Well I guess I lied this is turning a bit to the longer side.

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To the point, I choose to remember those both living and not, by using birth year razors, of which I have nearly one for every person in my family going back to the early 1900’s. I did NOT use my father’s birth year razor today. His razor is a B-2 Gillette Super Speed Red-Tip replated in Rhodium by Razor Emporium. It is an amazing razor and Matt Pisarcik did nothing less then a stellar job. Razor Emporium was much smaller when they did this job so me and Matt spoke throughout the process of this revamp. Instead of that razor I decided to  honor my father a different way, I used his favorite after shave and cologne ! I am a straight razor shaver, and to that point even my father would tell me be true to myself not a razor in his memory. Brut was his favorite scent…plain and simple he used disposable razors, canned goo, but at least he used Brut, which was better than the razor idea as the aroma of this Fougere scent reminded me of him all day long, combined with Paco Rabanne pour homme another wonderful, and fitting EDT to go with Brut. Finally before I sign off to answer the question of  “what razor did I use” ? it was a vintage 1875 Abraham Brookebank 13/16 near wedge with original horn scales and a great example of a traditional barbers notch. I choose this razor not only because it’s a stellar razor even after 140 appx year ! this razor has seen more history than any of us, and in my mind shows that nothing is ever really gone, but should be cherished and treated with care, and loved like it was your last day to ever see it again, on that note I thank you all for sticking with me through this story, and while I miss my father I do find solace by dedicating this shave today in the memory of my father, and what he instilled upon me to this day.

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  • Pre: Hot shower w/ Clarisonic Aria deep pore head and cleanser
  • Soap: Barrister & Mann “Beaudelaire” Fougere
  • Brush: Thater 4292/4 set in cocobolowood handle and 2-band
  • Razor: 1875 Abraham Brookebank 13/16 near wedge with barbers notch and dark horn scales
  • Lather type: American Stonecraft bowl
  • Moustache type:Handlebar
  • Wax & Pomade: Pinaud black & Murray’s Superior
  • Post shave: Cold water rinse
  • After shave: Classic Brut
  • Balm/Other: Brut balm with Shea butter and aloe
  • Fragrance: Paco Rabanne pour homme