Shave Diary – Week of 8/9/15

Posted: August 16, 2015 in Shaving Articles
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8/11/15:

First shave with the Kai blades. I am beginning my systematic and pseudo scientific study of DE razor blades. Also, first time using the Razor Rock Alum on my face.

Razor: I like the blank razor. Looks cool. Goes into the handle without issue, even blade exposure.

Lather: I got another good lather from the Proraso White. No issues.

Shave: Fairly typical four pass shave. Cut open my mole…again. It has been an issue for three straight shaves. Excellent closeness, good during-shave comfort from the Kai. Thus far, they seem to perform somewhat similar to the Personna. These Kai blades will have to show me something for their significant cost.

Post Shave: The Alum stopped the bleeding and did a good job telling me where the skin was irritated. Tightens the skin, no question. I let it sit on my face for a minute, then used the Thayer’s Medicated Superhazel as a balm

Later: Still feeling some skin activation. I will have to see if this is an issue with the Alum, or if the shave was more abrasive than I thought.

After: I believe that there was some residual irritation that I’d given myself from having shaved with a straight razor the day before. Also, I think that going with both the alum and the Thayer’s astringent, I didn’t do myself any favors. I used some Proraso Green pre-shave on the face, and that seemed to decrease the irritation and tightness. Two astringents – not a good idea for me. In the future, if I use alum, I’ll use some sort of lotion after it’s dried. Thayer’s has enough residual moisturizing, but not when used in combination with the alum. I may find that the alum isn’t the best thing for me, unless I’m actually sealing cuts and weapers.

***
8/12/15:

Off Day observation: Terrible razor burn from the shave yesterday. It’s funny how you don’t know how badly you’re beating up your skin at the time of the shave. Sure, you can see it sometimes, and feel it a bit when the astringent goes on your face, but in the end, it’s often the next morning that tells the tale.

Such it is for today. This may be the worst razor burn I’ve ever had. Not cuts or weapers, but my neck has a red ring all around the front, ant my right cheek down near the goatee line is actually still painful to the touch. I really had high hopes for the KAI blades, too. They are, sadly, a very bad fit for the Parker 99R, it appears. I got a less than stellar shave, and wicked irritation. Basically worse than my first ever straight razor shave. By a lot. I am going to have to take multiple days off to let things heal. This experience actually spurred me to purchase another razor, which is coming in later in the week. I will use it as a secondary tester for the blades that I felt had promise, but failed hard in the Parker. More on that later. For now, I’m just moisturizing my face and shaking my head.

***
8/14/15:

I got home to find my new razor in the mail. A Feather Seki Edge AS-D2 All Stainless razor. The packaging, with the thick and elegant purple box and the closed cell foam insert, looked good. The razor looked good. I had to shave with it.

Oh, man. With a Feather blade loaded in and Proraso Red on my face, I went to work. First, it is true that this razor takes more of an angle than many other double edged models. Once you get enough inclination to start getting into your hair growth, though…this thing is efficient. By efficient, I don’t mean aggressive. It is anything but that. With the razor burn just fading from my adventures earlier in the week, I didn’t need any more hatchet jobs done to my face. And I didn’t get one.

This is the smoothest thing I’ve ever used to shave with. You can hear it working, but you can’t even feel it on with the grain or across the grain passes. Even against the grain, it is very gentle. You can attempt weird angles and shave after the lather’s been used up, no problem. It makes my Parker feel very aggressive and rough by comparison, even using blades that are a good match. I think the razor, even with Feathers, would be as difficult to cut yourself with as the best cartridge razor, while far gentler to your face.

I ended up getting as close as I can get with a 4-pass shave with the Parker using only 3 passes with the Seki. It may, at this point, become wise to bifurcate my razor blade test into two groups. Here’s my thinking: I’ll try the blades on the sharper side of the spectrum with the Seki, and the ones on the milder side of things with the Parker. I think I can now infer clearly enough that the Parker will require a mild to moderate razor (witness its good performance with Personnas, which are moderately sharp and known for good smoothness). If the Seki razor can make a Feather (known as the killer ninja death machine blade of ultimate perilousness) feel very smooth, any blade on the sharp end of the spectrum should work fine. That said, my initial impression is that I may, for my own purposes, have eliminated much of the need for exhaustive blade testing. The general consensus seems to be that you’ll want to use the sharpest blade you can use without nicks, cuts, or irritation. They don’t come any sharper than Feather, so perhaps additional testing will prove to be superfluous, at least for me. Not for science, though. In order to do great science, I’ll have to subject my epidermis to a lot more experimentation.

***

8/15/15:

I had a bit of stubble today – not so much that it would have been particularly offensive or non-work appropriate, had a needed to show up there – but some. A three pass shave is not quite as close as a four, even with Feather blades, it seems. I shaved in the early evening (@6:30), and used the basic method that I created for my shave tests. Proraso white, 30 seconds of brush loading, warm wet face but no pre-shave. Of course, I was going with the Feather AS-D2 with the Feather blade (shave two), rather than my Parker 99R. I did another three pass shave with a little cleanup. With the grain, from the ear to the nose cross-grain pass, and an against the grain pass. Again, very comfortable. Minor irritation from the trouble spots that I’d hamburgered the prior Monday, but no more redness on my classic left side of the neck area than usual.

I used the alum again. I do like the initial feedback and the wound-sealing/astringent qualities, but by the time it dries, it makes my face feel too tight and odd. I have to wash it back off. I was headed to the shower anyway, having just cut my hair and done a beard trim, so off I went…

After the shower (I know, I’m weird, I like to shower after the shave better than before), I dried off and tried out some Classic Scent Old Spice. I had never used Old Spice before, oddly enough. I felt that I should, just for the sake of honoring the timeless classics. It actually has quite a nice face feel, and I like the scent. I’m sure I smelled it a lot as a youngster, but it wasn’t one my dad ever used. Stinging wasn’t bad, residual moisture and comfort was good. Not sticky or tacky, but hydrated and smooth. A keeper. Glad it wasn’t a bust, like Pinaud Clubman was – that was way too intense and “bright” for my taste. Couldn’t dig it, couldn’t find anyone in my circle of friends who dug it either.

The scheme I mentioned in my earlier post seems solid. Mild razors will be tested in the Parker 99R, and the ones on the sharp end of the spectrum will be tested in the Feather AS-D2. I’ll give the Feather blade one or two more shaves, then go on to another blade. Probably the Wilkinson Sword Classic. From there, I’ll probably go to the Parker and test, let’s say, the Derby Extra. At least, that’s the current plan.

Cheers,

Patrick

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