I seen a post not long ago in one of the face book groups and his comment was true about what he posted. It was a news based video segment was posted along with this member's comment and it was a very one sided video. The video itself compared the differences between cartridges used by professional barbershops and to no one's surprise, the Gillette Fusion cartridges won. But the member posted a very solid and honest comment that is very true about the video. Not one comparison was made between the costs of straight razors versus the cartridge and no one even mentioned the double edge safety razors that are now available at most retailers and supermarkets around the world today. Another problem I had with the video was the numbers that they posted about the costs of the cartridges. There's no way you can get 4 Gillette Fusion Pro glide cartridges for $18 U.S. Dollars. They're about $6 U.S. Dollars short. The last time I bought cartridges was about 5 months ago and they were nearly $25 dollars at a local supermarket. Here's the real truth that everyone should know. A straight razor shave is the cheapest and in my humble opinion, it's the best shave you will ever have period. Unlike the cartridges, once you buy your straight razor that's it basically because it's not disposable like the cartridges are and it's a lifetime investment. There is a learning curve and it's not a short one either. It can take month or longer before you become proficient at it. The only other things you will need with a straight razor are a strop and possibly a stone and jeweler's loop if you plan to go that route. Other than that, you can really get buy with just a strop which I have been for quite some time. So let's see a one time razor/blade investment versus a cartridge which doesn't last pretty much says it all to me. Part 2 of the equation is the double edge or DE safety razor. Right now it's costing me .08 cents per shave with a DE safety razor. There's no way you can get any cartridges for that price at all and like I stated earlier, a straight razor's costs become even cheaper because you are not buying replacement blades either. Here's another problem with the cartridges that you don't have with a straight razor or a DE safety razor. You can't remove a heavy beard growth like you can with a straight or DE safety razor without using clippers. The canned gels and foams are horrible and they contain a massive amount of chemicals that are known to cause skin problems. I call it canned goo, but they have zero slickness and no cushioning ability. Now the foam is not that bad if you are using a hot lather machine, but sooner or later that machine will quit heating and then you are back to square one. Now the brush part of the equation does more than look elegant. It removes any lose dirt and oil from your skin and it also gently exfoliates which is basically removing any dead skin cells and raises the hair that's to be shaved off more cleanly. Now what about convenience? Once I got use to shaving with a double edge safety razor which was about 2 weeks, it took me longer to clean up my shave area than it does to shave so that should tell you something. And there are some people I know that are the exact same way with straight razors. So before you "buy into" the general cartridge marketing B.S. that the manufacturers want you to, think about how fast you can become and how much money you can save with wet shaving. Don't dismiss the double edge safety razors or the shavettes that you see in various markets and for sure, don't dismiss the real deal straight razor that you see on the internet.
Well I'm currently in the process of learning the art of a straight razor shave and I'm having a blast. I got an epic straight razor shave the other day and I'm now hooked on the experience. I'm currently working on my straight razor shaving situation in terms of hardware and equipment which a friend is helping me out with. So here pretty soon, I'll be sending out my vintage yet again to be re honed which was not made shave ready. In fact I was kindly disappointed in it to be honest and it took him forever to get it honed and back to me. So my new source for honing is going to hook me up for a small fee and I'm buying a new strop of him as well. In the future, I plan on buying more razors from him and having him re hone my straights when they need it. I also need to pick up a jeweler's loop which will be a huge help in determining when a re honing is needed. So I'm currently working on my straight razor shaving gear as we speak.
I have 2 tools that I use 100% of the time in my wet shaving hobby. One is obvious and that's water which I really don't need to discuss that much because all of the soaps that I currently have in my wet shaving arsenal, are extremely easy to lather with the water I have which is a medium going towards the soft end of things. The other tool that I use all of the time on a regular basis is my Omega 10049 Professional Boar hair brush which I've now had for well over a year. I don't know why I didn't do a review of this brush sooner. Knowing what I know now, I would've bought this brush with the first double edge safety razor that I bought back in the first of March in 2014. Before buying this one I had tried both the cheaper and higher end brushes and none of them went past 1 month. I even had one very expensive synthetic that fell apart on me within 3 weeks that costs 4 times what this Omega brush does. Omega's quality is beyond belief and they offer every type of brush you can think of. This one here only cost me $10 U.S. dollars and yet they could very easily charged at least $30 U.S. dollars and gotten away with it that easily. The brush is huge with a pretty tall loft. Its over all height is 128 mm or 5 inches. The knot itself is 27 mm which is pretty stiff and has plenty of back bone and it makes beautiful lathers with it. The actual loft height is 65 mm or 2.5 inches while the handle itself is acrylic and has the company logo embossed into the bottom of the handle and is 63 mm which is just shy of 2.5 inches. It comes in a choice of 3 colors. Black, red or white. I chose the black handle because it goes with just about any color and it was the only one in stock at West Coast Shaving Supplies at that time which I no longer order from due to the fact that they don't carry artisan based products and they stopped carrying the few mainstream products that I did use. So if I could go back in time and tell myself which brush to get when I started wet shaving, then I'd definately would tell myself to get this brush. It's affordable and it's virtually indestructable along with the fact that it makes some killer lathers out of the most stubborn soaps and creams that you'll come across in this hobby. I have yet to receive a bad brsuh from Omega so I belive that I should stick with this brand.
at May 21, 2015
Well after chatting with one of the owners for a few minutes, I have decided to keep PAA in the rotation. Once eveything calmed down and a few "so called" friends revealed their true colors, it didn't take me long to figure out and piece what was really going on and who pretty much hanged themselves in terms of friendship. So now that I've straightened that out, it makes no sense not to keep them in the shave cave. In fact all I really need is one more and I'll have enough to shave with for 7 straight days without having to reuse another soap during that same week. So PAA is still in.
at May 18, 2015
Well I can now officially say that I have tried every scent of Soap Commander's shave soap that's available and it was great. For 13 days, I used a different scent that Soap Commander has to offer with the exception to this past Mother's Day which I used my mother's favorite soap and aftershave. She likes Catie's Bubble's "Knee High to a Grape" which smells exactly like Canada Dry's Grape Soda that was made for Coca-Cola back in the 1980's and Aqua Velva's ice blue. But in using these samples, I now have a new top choice which is Vision. It's a mentholated peppermint scented soap which has the absolute best post shave feel I've ever known since I've been wet shaving which says a lot. I also got a very pleasant surprise that I was a little worried about. As many people know, my skin can't stand sandalwood scented products. Even those with small amounts of sandalwood, would cause me problems. Well I used one of Soap Commander's scents called "Passion" which has sandalwood in it and I did not have an allergic reaction like I did with other products which is awesome. Other products such as PAA's sandalwood would be almost an instant allergic reaction while other soaps and creams such as Taylor of Old Bond Street's sandalwood and Proraso's red formula would start within 30 minutes after use. Soap Commander's "Passion" didn't do that to me. I also got to try some incredible scents such as "Confidence" which is a sweet honey scented soap that has a little hint of white musk to calm the sweetness of the honey down and "Motivation" which is a very refreshing cucumber scented soap with a bit of bamboo that seems to bring a great balance to the soap. Their "Renewal" is a fougere' type scent which was also incredible. It's not your typical Fougere' scented soap. It's more complete and not overly flowery. Soap Commander's products will always be in my soap collection.
As many of you know, Tiki Bar's shaving soaps is one of my top choices. I now have more of Tiki Bar's soaps than any other brand in my entire collection and I plan on adding more actually. I've already got enough to shave for 7 days straight without having to reuse any soaps which is awesome. So starting Tuesday, I will be using Tiki Bar's shaving soaps and various aftershave formulas for 7 days. The owner of Tiki Bar Soaps Amanda Stott, more than deserves this honor. She doesn't rely on guerilla marketing to sell her soaps and she does not cause any drama in the face book groups. In fact you almost don't hear anything out of her which is one of the main reasons why I decided to do a Tiki Bar Appreciation week. Another reason is because no one seems to do this for her when she more than deserves this honor. Everyone else always does Tabac Tuesdays, RazoRock appreciation week, PAA week etc. So this is the other reason why I wanted to do this. I have other plans for other lines of soaps coming up as well. Another reason is also because Tiki Bar's shave soaps are awesome and extremely easy to use. In fact if you haven't used one of these soaps of have just gotten started, then I highly recomend that you try them. You'll be amazed in their performance, and their costs don't break the bank either. In fact, Tiki Bar has one of the largest containers on the market today at 11 ounces.
It's been a while but I've been thinking about trying some mainstream creams again. TOBS has a couple and I'm wanting to try Arko creams again. I really can't afford Geo. F. Trumper's or St. James of Londons' creams Simpson's also has a few but I really want to try Edwin Jagger's creams. That menthol based cream sounds very appealing to me. Basically what happened was that when I tried my first artisan based shave soap, I became hooked on it and I have no intentions of stopping when it comes to using artisan based products. That and I want to try and see how well creams work with my new shave scuttle. It's awesome with artisan based soaps and I'm hoping to get the same results with mainstream creams.
After multiple epic shaves and the fact that I've now went past 4 shaves on a single Perma-sharp blade, I have decided to retire all other DE safety razors and keep using my Edwin Jagger DE 89. It's now my "go to" razor. The double OC was great. However there's 3 problems with it. The first is that it now has to be "replated" because there's a spot where you unscrew the handle that has raw metal showing which is never a good sign. The second problem is that it causes me severe neck irritation because I have to go over that area too many times to get a clean shave. The 3rd problem is that it's a blade eater and I have yet to find any blade to go past 3 multi pass shaves with it which kindly defeats the main reason why I got into wet shaving and that's costs. I also have to stretch the skin now which was expected due to my age along with a tough beard to go with it. I was told that my late grandfather on my dad's side could dull a pair of hair clippers in one sitting and my dad says that the blades he currently uses go dull after just one or two uses.
Here lately I had posted up some things that really was not shave related. So in order to stay on topic which is wet shaving, I have just went through and deleted all non shave related private and public posts. It took a while and I got most of them, but I still have a little ways to go. So stay tuned while I update my blog.
at May 14, 2015
One question that I often get asked is how I choose my top brand or favorite soap and cream. The answer is really simple, but it's not an easy task to choose a particular favorite soap or cream and brand of soaps and creams. I basically look at multiple areas and simply pick the best one that performs in all of those areas. I look at costs in short term, long term and how much I get for that particular soap or cream. I look at how well the soap or cream performs in terms of ease of use, scent, and post shave feel. I also look at longevity which is how long does a particular soap or cream lasts and wether or not the it's worth the price I paid for it. I also look at how easy they are to obtain. Are they easy to get or do they stay sold out all of the time? That's how I choose my top brands and/or top soaps and creams. As far as top brand goes for artisan based soaps, Soap Commander wins hands down. Top artisan soap choice goes to Soap Commander's "Vision" because it out performed every soap I have. Other soaps actually surpassed it in certain areas, but fell significantly short in others such as either costs or availability and some lacked important qualities such as cushioning ability which is a must have for me. As far as creams goes TOBS wins hands down. While others have surpassed it in terms of price and ease use and post shave feel, they're often hard to obtain or have an outrageous price point for minimal performance along with a terrible post shave feel. That's why top brand of creams goes to TOBS which is short for Taylor of Old Bond Street. Those are my top choices.
Well so far the only Catie's Bubbles soap puck that I have has been a huge hit. I ordered "knee high to a grape" scented shaving soap and it's simply amazing. So based on the performance and post shave quality that this particular brand of shaving soap has, I have decided to add 6 more scents to my shave cave. The scent of this particular soap is mind blowing. When the "knee high to a grape" scented soap arrived, I didn't need to open the priority mail envelope to smell it. In fact i could smell it right through the package. The soap is extremely easy to use and the lather is extremely slick. The cushioning ability is great too, but I have use a little bit more caution than I normally do with other soaps which is the only reason as to why it's not my top performing soap. Tiki Bar's soaps have it beat in the cushioning ability and they're tied with Soap Commander in that department. The post shave feel and performance is what keeps Soap Commander on top. Soap Commander is a vegan based soap that has the feel and performance of a tallow based soap such as Barrister & Mann's soaps which have a much higher price point that keeps them from being my top brand of shave soaps.
It's a very hard and disappointing decision that I had to make, but unfortunately it had to be made. Due to budget reasons, I have decided not to purchase any Savile Row badger brushes. They simply are too expensive for my budget. Yes I've placed huge orders at various suppliers for shaving soaps and aftershaves but when a single item such as a brush trumps the costs of one of my orders, I have to rule it out. Most of the soap that I've ordered in the past year is still in use to this day. In fact some of them look like I've barely touched them nearly a year after purchasing some of them and that's with daily use over a period of several weeks. How long will a Savile Row brush last is anybody's guess. But I have purchased some very expensive brushes before and about 2 weeks later, they would have to be tossed. I've had them fall apart on me and I've also had some to just simply break after 2 uses. My Omega 10049 Boar hair brush has outlasted many of expensive brushes and this particular brush was only $10 dollars so what does that tell you. You don't need to spend a lot of money on a brush.
I now have a new choice in top performing shave soap and aftershave balm and that's Soap Commander's "Vision" which is a Shea butter enriched mentholated shave soap with peppermint essential oils and it's fantastic. Between the peppermint oil and the menthol, the chill is epic and very soothing. The lather it produced didn't collapse either and had more than enough slickness to it. I also had more than enough protection during the shave which is typical of Soap Commander's shaving products. You never have to worry about getting nicks, cuts, or weepers when using any of Soap Commander's shaving products and the matching aftershave balm was mind blowing. The soothing chill I got from Vision pretty much lasted all day and it was phenominal to say the least.
Here recently I decided to do a Soap Commander binge and try out all of their scent profiles in the form of samples. This morning's shave was day 8 of 12 and the scents that I've tried are incredible. I also have a new top choice of both shaving soap and aftershave balm which has yet to be touched in both performance and post shave feel. My new top choice of shave soap will be revealed in another post. But as I've tried new scent profiles and have added them to my shopping cart on Soap Commander's website, I've had to stop because my next order is going to be $174 U.S. Dollars. I should have 7 of the 12 scent profiles that's currently offered on Soap Commander's website.
As many people know, I recently purchased a shaving scuttle from Straight Razor Designs. I only have one regret and that is I wish I had purchased it sooner rather than later. My shave this morning was epic. It was the smoothest shave I have ever had since I've been wet shaving which say a lot. Not only did the scuttle do what it was advertised to do and keep my lather warm, my lather actually got hot between passes. It was like my beard had been slowly melted off and it was also a true B.B.S. Now my specific scuttle is not suitable for bowl lathering which is fine because as I've grown more experienced in wet shaving, I find that I get better shaves when I face lather and it takes me less time to clean up as well. This particular scuttle fits my Omega 10049 boar hair brush perfectly. The capacity that this particular scuttle has is nearly the same size as my Omega 10049 boar brush is tall, so using smaller brushes to bowl lather is also out. But this shaving scuttle is awesome and will now be used on a daily basis. So far, the only soap that I've used with this scuttle has been, Soap Commander's shaving soaps and what was already epic, got even better. I still have others to try and I'm looking forward to trying with these other brands of soaps. Tiki Bar's soaps will be epic:
at May 06, 2015
Well over the last 2 days, I have been on a Soap Commander binge trying out samples of shave soap and I now have a new top soap choice. It's called "Vision" which is a peppermint and mentholated shave soap and it's beyond belief. For a while there, I thought nothing was going to be able to top their "Purpose" scented soaps which is a bay rum scented soap and it smells like you just opened a bottle of white rum which is incredible. Endurance is also incredible and still gets used a lot as well. So while I try these other samples I got, I've been working on my wish list to help keep track of the ones that I like. Vision, Motivation and Courage scented soaps and aftershaves have beed added.
at May 04, 2015
One of the best parts of a barbershop shave is the hot lather used. Now there's 2 ways to get hot lather. The first way is to go back to the canned shaving foam or canned goo as I like to call it, and purchase a Conair hot lather machine. I can tell you from experience that it does make a huge difference in the canned shaving foam's performance. Unfortunately I can also tell you from experience that over time, this machine will quit heating to the point to where you're wasting your time. After about 2 years worth of service, my machine gave out back when I was using canned goo on a regular basis. The other way to get hot lather is to have a shave scuttle. I recently placed an order for one at a supplier that I use and it has shipped. Basically it's a double boiler that heats up your lather and will give one of the best shaves you will ever have in your life. So wether you face or bowl lather, this device will help.
at May 03, 2015
Today's shave was great if not perfect. After a nice hot shower, I decided to go with Phoenix Artisan Accoutrements and their modern d...
Today is a sad day in terms of my razor collection. My Edwin Jagger DE 89 took a crap this morning. It did this about a year ago with the o...
Okay time to explain things to the wet shaving community. About 2 days ago, a couple of my friends on both Twitter & Instagram asked me...
Okay lets try this again. I deleted my previous blog post mainly because I found out that my original app that I was using does indeed work...