Shave Diary, Week of 9/14

Posted: September 20, 2015 in Shaving Articles
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9/14/15:

The Arko soap impressed me tonight. For a hard soap, it is very easy to load into the brush. Thirty seconds provides more than enough, yet the impact on the puck seems minimal. I believe it will prove to be a very efficient soap in regards to how many shaves per ounce it delivers. The lather went on good and thick using the Omega synthetic tonight, and provided good protection and slickness.

I think the Arko is a good, no-nonsense soap, and it works well without a lot of babying. Of everything I’ve used with the synthetic brush, I’ve had the best success with the Arko. It isn’t my favorite scent, but it’s a clean smell, so it could be a lot worse. If I needed to shave in the morning, I think this would be a good choice. I can see why it has a following.

I did the first test run for the Astra Super Stainless blade in the Feather razor, and got a nice shave. Close, but no weepers or giant raspberries on the old face, which is generally the goal. I hope the blade continues to perform well for me.

I finished up with Old Spice. I must be an old guy at heart, as the scent gives me a smile every time. Surprisingly, I have discovered that its ability to leave my face moisturized is quite good. Most aftershaves tend to use glycerin for this purpose, but it appears that Old Spice uses hydrogenated castor oil. It leaves a different feel, and I think a slightly longer lasting moisture. I have to admit that it’s been fun to explore the different products out there for shaving. I seem to prefer slightly old fashioned products (not all – the Clubman by Pinaud was way too intense for me), but I feel like having a basis in the well established players in the game will allow me to better evaluate the newer stuff.

Most of the products I’ve currently got going (soaps and such) have a finite shelf life. Thus, I’ll need to control myself in regard to trying every brand under the sun. Still, there are a lot of blades to test, and those can be purchased in such a way as to facilitate a wandering eye. I may not need to test every one of the blades I have in multiple razors. That would take a long time, and may exceed the level of patience I have for the project. In any case, I believe that some trends will begin to show out in regards to the charactaristics that my razor/face/technique matrix respond to best. That will serve to eliminate some blades. As the sickness of the collector overtakes me, there will be more razors, perhaps with different requirements for blades. I could say that it won’t happen to me, but it’s probably pointless to do so. I’ve got the bug now. I’ve already schemed and considered multiple other razors I want to have and touch and call my own. Sigh.

***
9/15/15:

The shave tonight was done in something of a hurry – done at a pace I could work into a morning routine. I used Proraso Green preshave with bowl-lathered Palmalive Classic, the Omega synthetic brush, and finished with Thayer’s Medicated Superhazel.

The razor was the second shave with the Astra Super Stainless blade in my AS-D2 Feather razor.

Without putting too fine a point on it, the Feather is just a way better razor than the Parker. For this guy, that is. Not to knock the Parker, but the Feather has the ability to take the hair off easier, smoother, safer. And that’s all I have to say about that at the moment.

The Astra blade is really impressing me. Unless it really kicks over the traces with the third shave, it will be right up there with my favorite blades I’ve used so far. I can see why many shavers love that brand.

The Palmolive performed nicely with the preshave included. It’s fun to work on my skill at bowl lathering, as I typically lather on my face. I used a bit more soap, as well as a slightly wetter brush (almost too wet, I suppose). The cream yielded a lot of suds, enough to really paint it on with each application, something I don’t typically do. When applied this way, it has nice cushion and good slickness.

I’ve begun to appreciate the Omega synthetic brush more and more. It’s a little floppy, but once you know the level of backbone in the bristles, you can adapt your techniques a little to take that into account.

All right. Good shave. It’s late. I’m signing off for now.

***
9/16/15:

I shaved the back of my neck tonight, just a quick clean up to go along with a haircut. I used a quick lather of the Colonel Conk Bay Rum soap and the AS-D2 with the Astra test blade. All went to plan.

***
9/17/15:

The final shave on my test of the Astra Superior Stainless (Blue label), went swimmingly. I used Proraso White for the preshave and soap, with the Omega synthetic brush. I finished with Old Spice.

This is my first try with the Proraso in combination with the Omega brush. Super fast soap load, yielding far more soap than I needed in a twenty second load. If you scrunch the Omega down into the soap (hard or soft), it loads quickly. The more I use it, the better I like it.

The Proraso soap still reigns supreme among my stable of soaps in terms of ease of load and quality of suds. It’s just good stuff. I’m glad I have other products to use, but my first stop being Proraso makes it tough to come up with a product that provides a palpably better experience. Hmm.

Next shave will be on Saturday, most likely. I’m not sure what I’ll try, but the leading contender is likely the other Astra blade, this time the Superior Platinum (Green Label)

***
9/19/15:

Today’s shave was the first with the Astra Superior Platinum blade in the Feather all stainless. Excellent shave. The Astra blades are the real deal, so far as I can tell.

I started with Proraso White preshave, then lathered up some Arko soap (in the cup, not the stick). I used the Omega synthetic brush again. It is super convenient to use, as there’s no soaking needed. The more I get used to it, the better performance I get out of it. The crux of getting more out of it is pressing down with the brush until the bristles splay outward. This is both during loading and lathering.

I finished the shave with Razorock alum, then showered. I put on some Thayer’s Medicated Superhazel as the final treatment. Very pleased with the overall performance of all the products used.

Again, I am impressed at how well the Arko lathers for a hard soap. Thirty seconds yields more than enough soap for pretty much any shave you could perform, and now that I’ve dialed in the amount of water it likes, I was able to get really good lather density and performance.

I think we live in a great time for wet shaving. There are so many products that really perform well, and many of them can be had without breaking the bank. If a beginning shaver was concerned with the cost or time involved, even someone of my limited experience could suggest products that were good values. The synthetic brushes, since you really just need to dip them into the water to get them ready, reduce the prep and allow you to get right to shaving. If you simply wanted a “get out the door” shave, a good sharp blade could get you closer than an electric in one pass. We’re talking thirty seconds to wet your face, thirty seconds to apply a bit of preshave, twenty seconds to lather the brush, less than a minute to lather, and perhaps two minutes to shave. Yeah. Less than five minutes could get you down the road. Is that the way most of us shave, once we’re bitten by the traditional wet shaving bug? No. Still, If you have known equipment and are confident with your razor, you can knock stubble down quickly if you’re pressed for time.

And what I was discussing above is with a standard closed comb, non-aggressive razor. With an open comb or slant bar, that one pass may even get you closer than I have yet experienced. If I needed to shave in the morning and have it go quickly, I’d probably go for the Feather razor and one of the blades on the sharp end of the spectrum, like the Wilkinsons, Feathers, or Astras. I’d likely use the Proraso White preshave and soap, then go straight into the shower, obviating the need for rinsing. While my face was still fresh from the show, I’d hit it with the Thayer’s. That one pass shave would get you through the day looking groomed, which is probably the aim of the average shaver. For me, I would rather get that baby smooth shave the night before, but that might not work with everyone’s schedule.

Well, another week in the books. I’ve learned to appreciate some of my new soaps and blades this week, and learned a bit more about the science of shaving my own face.

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