Last weeks shaves ended up pretty poorly. I tried to extend the life of a blade beyond what was reasonable, I made a few mistakes, and I ended up paying for it with some rough shaves, and a pretty significant inch long cut on my neck. This week I decided to keep things simple, a good razor, some good products, and no experimentation. So far things are going well and I am happy with my choices and the results, I will recap the week after it’s over in part two.
For my razor I decided to return to my Union Cutlery 5/8 full hollow square point straight razor. I have been enjoying my shaves with my Parker SR1, but felt like reminding myself that there are other good razors out there. The Union Cutlery had been tugging a little the last time I used it, so I started off by stropping it along my pasted balsa strop before moving on to my regular linen/leather strop routine. This razor may not win any beauty contests, but it works well and has taken a lot of effort on my part to get it to this point. Even if I were to abandon straight razors, I don’t think that I could ever get rid of this particular razor, it will always have a home with me.
For soap I am using Van Der Hagen Glycerin. I am partial to Van Der Hagen soap, but I usually go with VDH Deluxe or a melted together puck of Deluxe and Glycerin, rather than just straight VDH Glycerin. I melted two pucks of the glycerin soap into an old repurposed deodorant container and made a shave stick out of it. I had some extra VDH Glycerin and thought it might be interesting to try to make a shave stick. It turned out very well, but I have yet to use it in any of my shaves, so I decided to give it a go this week.
I will be face lathering, obviously, so I decided to use my The Art of Shaving Fine Badger brush. It has a lot of backbone for a badger brush, but still manages to maintain a nice soft feel against my face. The AoS Fine Badger also does an excellent job of holding onto tons of water and product with very little effort. In short, it is a perfect choice for face lathering.
I’m holding off on the alum this week in order to use some of my T.N. Dickinson Witch Hazel. I don’t often use the witch hazel, but I figured that it would be a nice change of pace. I dislike its smell, but the scent disappears quickly and it leaves my face feeling smooth and irritation free without any real burn.
Following a hot shower and a warm water splash I did a three pass with the grain/against the grain/across the grain shave with a cold water rinse and an application of T.N. Dickinson’s Witch Hazel. The result was a damn fine shave with a mild amount of irritation and a single nick on my upper lip that was caused by an unfortunately timed hiccup. The soap worked remarkably well and proved so slick and effective that I didn’t even miss using my preshave gel. The soap lathered up quickly and effectively and never dried out or disappeared. My AoS Fine Badger brush held up well and did not slosh around lather like my Vulfix did when I used it for face lathering. Transitioning from my Parker SR1 back to a square point straight razor proved to be slightly difficult as it took a little time to reacquaint myself with the larger blade and the deadly square tip. I had some difficulty getting my neck and jaw line as smooth as I wanted, which resulted in some mild irritation, but nothing too awful. I managed to hiccup right as I was beginning the xtg pass on my upper lip…which is when I nicked myself. It was a small nick, but it did require me to pull out my handy Clubman Styptic Pencil. I hate styptic, it burns like crazy, but it works. After rinsing off I threw a little witch hazel on and felt the irritation slowly melt away, the stuff works well and helps to prevent infection. In spite of a few issues my shave was a pretty good one and I look forward to the rest of the week being more of the same.
Pre: Hot shower and warm water splash
Razor: Union Cutlery 5/8
Brush: AoS Fine Badger
Soap: VDH Glycerin in shave stick form
Post: Cold water rinse and T.N. Dickinson Witch Hazel
T.N. Dickinson’s Witch Hazel:
(This is easily found in most pharmacies and grocery stores.)
Van Der Hagen Glycerin:
(This is also easily found in most pharmacies and grocery stores.)
The Art of Shaving Fine Badger Brush: