2016 Top Shave Gear:

I don't normally do a top shave gear/year in review posts mainly because what I buy and get is a favorite. But I've been asked by a dear friend of mine, Antonio Portolesi (Northern Shave Guy) to do one so why not. Oh if you've not done so, you should really check out his YouTube videos. Here's the link to his channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2GKan7jq9M0oY7R3UEm4fQ . He also has a really cool Google + community called Wet Shavers United which I'm a member of that you should check out as well. Here's the link to the G+ community: https://plus.google.com/communities/105428296294968412322 . Where to begin? I guess I'll start with the hardware and finish off with the aftershave. Now be advised that this was for 2016 only and only 2 items that I bought 3 years ago was featured. So lets get started:


Top hardware begins with my Shoubandini Type 100 Japanese natural water stone which was a gift from my friend, Kon Soldatos. I can't thank him enough for this one because this stone is getting harder to find now. People aren't getting rid of this stone very often and after figuring out how to use it, I can see why. If you had one of these and got another Jnat that you liked better than this one, it would have to be one killer edge to out perform this one, wow:


My top straight razor goes to my Steampunk wedge made by Genco Razor Company in NY. Between the glide of a full wedge which is simply the most comfortable razor I've used and the fact that this was the very 1st Vintage razor I ever bought off EBay that I personally cleaned up and made it shave ready, it's been my top straight razor ever since:


My favorite single edge goes to my RazoRock Black Hawk. Once I put the West Coast Shaving Supplies Midnight series 175B mammoth handle on it, switched to Kai Captain Titan Mild Pink blades and stropped it 10 times on my smooth leather strop before the 1st use, it's one of the best single edges I have used. This beast now weighs 8 ounces (half a pound) which I like:


My top DE safety razor goes to my Edwin Jagger DE 89 & Perma-Sharp DE blades. I bought this razor 3 years ago now and because of it, I've not bought anymore DE razors since my others malfunctioned on me. I still have an original double open comb razor from PAA but it was a gift and the 1st one I had broke and became useless. This along with my brush are the ONLY items in my 2016 top gear list that was bought 3 years ago now:


My top artisan soaps that I bought in 2016 was Barrister & Mann and their Le Petit Chypre which has an oakmoss and cypress wood scent and Uncle Jon's soap and his pipe smoke scent which has a cherry pipe tobacco, vanilla and spice scent to it. Both of these are tied for my top artisan soaps of 2016. Soap Commander and their Fortitude scented soap which has an aged hay, aged tobacco, and dark rum would have been in this category for sure but I did some checking and found that I bought it in 2015 before New Years. But it's such a good and popular soap that I thought I should mention it. It wouldn't be right if I didn't:


My favorite brush has also been around for a while and that is my Omega 10049 Professional Boar brush. I kept burning through the Van Hagen pure badger brushes so I tried some synthetics along with some badger and boar brushes from several companies. Some were really expensive and they fell apart. My Omega 10049 Boar brush was less than $10 dollars and has out performed and out lasted all of those other brushes combined which is why it's my "go to" brush:


In terms of aftershave my top ones are Aqua Velva classic ice blue followed by Barbasol Brisk and Skin Bracer original. These got the most use specifically the Aqua Velva. If I had finished off that bottle before New Years, it would've been my 3rd bottle that year alone:


No aftershave balms were purchased in 2016 but the title of best aftershave balms goes to Soap Commander hands down. Only PAA's has come close to their balms and I'm currently completely out of Phoenix Artisan Accoutrement's products. Don't know when I'll be back buying more soaps. I've pretty much have been on a hardware buying streak through out 2016 and 2017 is looking somewhat similar but not for very long. I only need to buy maybe 2 more stones and I'll be done with the hardware in terms of honing.



TTFFC Mixed & The Track 2:

Today's shave was great. I went with my Through The Fire Fine Craft mixed soap  made by Maria Arman. I've got a ton of soaps in her...