Shave Diary: Week of 9/6/15

Posted: September 13, 2015 in Shaving Articles
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9/7/15:

The shave: AS-D2 Feather razor with Personna Lab Blue blade. Preshave was Dove
conditioner (for hair), and soap was Proraso White. I had the better part of four
days of growth, so there was something to cut through. Good performance from the
combo, no undue irritation, and a real nice shave. Finished with the Old Spice
aftershave.

Glad to say that the Personna blades seem to work well in the Feather razor. I
figured they would, but you never know.

***
9/8/15:

Off day thoughts: I have discovered that I can get neck irritation completely
aside from shaving. I had a clear neck all day, and in the process of hustle and
bustle when I went out food shopping, I came home with two spots of irritation on
my neck. Interesting. The difficult thing about it is that the natural
inclination is to want to shave that area, as any stubble seems to further
irritate that area. I was torn between doing a maintenance shave and letting the
skin rest. I went with caution this time.

***
9/9/15:

I tried a few new things today. First was the Arko hard shaving soap. The second
was an Omega synthetic shave brush. I’ll keep using both of these products for a
while and make a proper review of them when the time comes.

The Arko is fairly easy to load the brush with, considering it is a hard shaving
puck. A thirty second load gave me enough soap to get through three passes. It
felt reasonably slick, but not as creamy as the Proraso soaps at the first blush.
It’s possible that I should load a bit longer with the Arko. I’ll experiment. The
Arko’s scent is lemony and soapy. That’s about the extent of its nuance. It is
inexpensive, but…well, it kind of feels that way in some respects, at least the
first time around.

The Omega artificial shave brush works all right, though its bristles (exploded
nylon, unless I miss my guess) feel and act a bit different than badger hair. The
good thing about the brush, from what I’ve seen so far, is its easy care nature
and the fact that you don’t have to soak it, or be concerned about it staying wet
for very long. It loads in a satisfactory manner and works all right for face
lathering. Still, early polling data says that it isn’t as nice as even a cheap
badger brush. I think that it may become my knock around travel brush.

Tonight was my second shave on the Personna blade in my AS-D2. Close three pass
shave. I should probably have used preshave, but I honestly wanted to see how the
Arko did all by itself.

Finished with Thayer’s Medicated Superhazel, and that’s the story for tonight.

***
9/10/15:

I tried out another new soap this time around, using the Colonel Conk Bay Rum. I
used the Omega synthetic brush again. I bloomed the soap, as much to get it to
solidify in the bottom of the coffee mug as anything. I quickly noticed that the
bloom water was very foamy and slick. The smell of the Bay Rum isn’t super strong
on this soap. It is somewhat indistinct to me, and quite mild. Not a neagative
scent at all, just not that forward. I think you’d be fine with any scent that
came after it.

Protection was pretty good. I felt like the soap may have been carrying a little
more water than necessary, and I’ll probably forego blooming next time. I may
well use pre-shave next time, as the scent isn’t strong enough to clash with
anything.

My test of the Personna Lab Blues concluded with calling it a success. It
performed equally well in the AS-D2 as it did in the Parker 99R. I finished the
shave with Rite-Aide brand Aqua Velva clone aftershave. As I’ve shaved somewhat
steadily this week, I may apply some moisturizer before bed.

What comes next? Hmm. Maybe the Kai blade in the AS-D2 for my first “Last Chance
Rodeo” test? That, or perhaps another Gillette branded blade in the Feather?
We’ll see.

***
9/12/15:

Yet further experimentation today. I loaded a Gillette 7 o’clock Super Stainless
in the AS-D2 and bowl-lathered with the Classic Palmolive shave cream (in the
tube, “with palm oil”. I used the Omega synthetic brush. It was the first time
I’d tried bowl lathering with this brush, and it did fine. A small amount (think
the amount of toothpaste you’d use) will suffice to do the task.

The Palmolive is decent shave cream. Not a strong smell at all, or a very
distinctive face feel. A bit less creamy than the Proraso soaps, but seemed to
protect just fine. I can’t see myself going to the ends of the earth to find it,
really. Overseas, this is a bargain product that can be had in any drugist’s
store and cornder bodega. It’s only because it has to be imported from Europe
that it is more than, say three bucks here. Still, it’ll do the job just fine,
from what I’ve seen. It performs, from my first go ’round, similarly to the Arko,
without the strong scent profile.

And to the 7 o’clock razor. Well, it’s not awful. It is, however, the first blade
to wash out of a test on the first go because of simple poor performance, rather
than irritation. After three solid passes, there was still a good bit of stubble
on my face. I fact, it was much the same as the Gem single blade in this way.
That seems to be the hallmark of a blade that just isn’t sharp enough for the
particular razor. I mean, if these blades were all that could be found, I’m sure
I could make do. With a more aggressive razor, perhaps they’d be fine, but the
Feather All Stainless is designed for a sharp blade, and the 7 o’clocks didn’t
feel as sharp on their first shave as the Feathers, Personnas, and Wilkinsons
felt after 3 shaves.

The Omega synthetic continues to be perfectly functional, though it really
doesn’t do anything as well as the Escali badger hair brush (which was actually
cheaper, and is not considered to be any great shakes by most shaving snobs).

I went with the RazoRock alum stick as an astringent, since I was getting right
in the shower afterward, and that would keep the alum from drying my face out too
much. I let hair conditioner sit on my whole face for the bulk of the shave to
keep moisturized, then finished post-shower with fake Aqua Velva. The face feels
fine, it just feels like I shaved yesterday, rather than today.

***
9/13/15:

I went back to the Parker 99R and a Personna blade today, as well as bringing
back the Escali brush. I used Proraso White preshave and Colonel Conk Bay Rum
soap, finishing with alum.

The previous time I’d use the Colonel Conk, I’d left the brush a bit too wet. I
overcorrected this time, and that caused me to fiddle with the water mixture a
bit before I got it where it needed to be. The soap, once lathered properly,
works well. I wish the scent was a bit more intense, but again, that may be a
good thing for some shavers that don’t want a lot of soap smell lingering. For
me, I like a rather forward smell, provided that it suits my tastes.

The Proraso White pre-shave is right in line with the performance of the other
Proraso products I’ve used. Which is to say, It works great. The scent is the
same as the White soap, being predominated by teatree oil (to my nose). It is a
lemony, clean smell, and it has a bit of a menthol kick when applied. No
complaints. I think it would go fine with most any soap that has a similar scent
profile, or a low level of scent. Thus far, I haven’t tried any product that
improves upon the performance of the Proraso soaps and preshaves. That said, I
have primarily been going through the inexpensive options and standards like
Palmolive, Arko, and Colonel Conk. Perhaps the boutique/artisan soaps and
products will prove to be different.

My feelings about the badger vs. synthetic brush were borne out by this shave. I
think that the natural fibers have a certain something that the Omega synthetic
doesn’t. That said, the synthetic is still perfectly serviceable.

Whenever I go back to the Parker from the Feather, I tend to have to moderate my
technique a little. The Parker is not as forgiving, and will put blade to face a
bit more roughly if you’re not careful. I had a few weepers today, but nothing
that will likely show later on. The alum seems to take care of anything of that
sort, though I do find that I have to wash it off my face, or it becomes a bit
too much of a drying agent. The good thing is that this shave got close, rather
than leaving me with stubble after the fact. Because I shaved early today, we’ll
have to see how much stubble I develop by the end of work tomorrow. That will
dictate if I have to shave tomorrow evening, or if I can wait until Tuesday
night. (Well, I can do whatever I want, I suppose. My employer isn’t a stickler
on that sort of thing.)

Upcoming, I have an Astra Super Stainless blade loaded into the AS-D2 for
testing. I’m interested to see how the Astra blades perform, as they seem to have
quite a following. I have the Super Platinum blade, as well.

I’m headed for the shower now, and I’ll likely use the Captain’s Choice
Sandalwood as a finisher.

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