Voyages of Rediscovery

Posted: December 31, 2016 in Shaving Articles

It is very easy, if you’re a hobbyist, to keep going forward. Forward into the next experience. Always the next product, the next trend, the next methodology. Forward, in the case of shaving, with new soaps, new brushes, new razors, new fragrances, and so on.

What’s the downside? Well, these things cost actual money. Though the price of shaving equipment is not in line with, say, golf or yachting, it can still add up after a time. Also, you simply begin accumulating a volume of…stuff. Blades, while small enough, are sort of addictive. You become intrigued with any blade you haven’t tried before, feeling the need to try it out. Is it made somewhere interesting? Does it have an intriguing coating? Is it an odd color (no seriously, we’re like crows, we’ll pick up anything that twinkles or glimmers). If you like it, you begin to talk yourself into believing that you should lay in a store, just in case of global shakeups, meteors, the dead crawling up from the grave and craving the flesh of the living…

Razors (the handle part) don’t take up too much space. You can fit a great number of them in a shoe box. They are pricey, though, and I tend to feel like I’m neglecting them if they’re not taken for a spin now and then. Unless they’ve been bad. Then, into the shoe box of despair with them! But still, you have a lot of razors, and you like many of them, so it becomes an endless procession of “which razor needs attention?” Maddening. Also, a completely nonsensical and foolish situation that does not merit the term “problem.”

The items that tend to take up space and crowd you out of the bathroom are the soaps, balms, fragrances, and other skin-treatment peripherals. I have attempted to keep my soaps under control. And…I’ve failed. I have too much stuff, as you may have guessed from the vast number of reviews. The great (and terrible) thing about shaving soap is that an ounce of the stuff will create lather for many, many shaves. Even the least efficient stuff takes a while to burn through. The hard soaps? Jeesh. Forget it. Arko, a cheap soap, seems to be almost uncanny in that you can shave for weeks on the soap, and it doesn’t appear to change the size of the puck in the slightest. Which is great, if you’re on a budget, but if you’re trying to make room for new, different, spiffy stuff, it can be disheartening.

The smart play, if it’s possible, is to get sample sizes of the products you want to try out. That way, if you don’t like it, you don’t have three month’s worth of it to either throw away or disconsolately burn through. In the same way, you can try many things without requiring an external storage space on the edge of town, just to hold all your soaps…which would form a strategic supply of grooming essentials for a small army, in case industry falls and we ride our dune buggies out beyond Thunderdome, but still like to be squared away in the shaving department. So, yeah. Samples. They’re a thing. I know that now. Sigh.

I am, at this moment, up to date on my soap and safety razor reviews (still many to post, have no fear), so I’ve decided to use a few products down. The mercenary reason for this, of course, is to make room for new products that I want to try. (Yes, I’ll remember the samples, where they’re available, unless my passion over-matches my sense, as it frequently does.) The objective reason is that I have limited space to store this stuff, and I don’t want to have to create a secondary location for my shave gear. That would be, perhaps, the moment when I finally become self conscious about things. Sort of like when you can’t button up your trousers, and that makes all the overindulgence you’ve been doing become completely apparent. I actually had a dream the other night that I took delivery of an entire pallet-loaded crate of shaving gear. Others looked on in dismay and weary disapproval, but said nothing, leaving me with my own shame. It scared me. For a second. But it was just a dream. Come on, now. It’d come in a dizzying array of small boxes from all around the world, not a cohesive crate. Everyone knows that.

What all this blather leads me to is this: I have been shaving this week with Palmolive (bits and drabs of a stick that I’ve put in the bottom of a mug). And you know what? It is very difficult to fault the performance of that soap. Loads easily, creates a very nice lather, and leaves your skin happy at the end. I used it in conjunction with Proraso White pre-shave treatment last night. What a beautiful combination! I have used the Proraso Red preshave in the recent past, but it’s been a long time since I’ve used the White or Green. Several months. I’d forgotten how nice that light menthol and tea tree sensation was. I don’t know that there is a significant slickness difference, but it certainly is a nice conditioner and gives your face a lot of positive “feels”.

That’s the great thing about going back to a product you haven’t used in a while. Provided that it’s good (and there’s no reason to have bad products, given the state of wet shaving today), you’ll have an opportunity to remember how much you liked it. This is especially nice when it’s a value product, or perhaps one you’ve half-forgotten.

Cheers, and happy shaving.


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