Part Four, or How To Shave Hairs And Influence People
18 AUG 2013
This is my final day of testing out the various SE razors that I recently acquired before deciding on which one I will be using to improve my SE technique. The las razor is a Gem Contour II. It is actually the razor that I have been looking forward to using the most. This razor has a nicely contoured handle (hence the name) with fine grooves for grip and most of the weight in the head. It snaps open and closed very easily and smoothly, which makes loading a blade a breeze. The guard bar should also make this razor a bit less aggressive than the other Gems that I have used so far. It has kind of a drab 80s design, but it seems to work on this razor.
I have been working on the Made-Rite brush over the last couple of days (sanding down the rough spots, buffing out the dings, removing the few spots of excess epoxy, and applying some turtle wax), so I am taking this brush out for a little spin. The knot isn’t my favorite, but it’s fairly soft and has good backbone, so it does well with soaps that need a little extra force to get them to cooperate.
The Stirling Costal soap will round out the shave. I have test lathered this soap a few times and really like the way it whips up, so I’m looking forward to seeing how well it performs. The Costal scent is no longer listed on Stirling’s web site, so I have to assume that it has been discontinued. I’m not too sad about this because as well as the soap seems to perform, the scent just is not all that great.
Following my usual prep I loaded my Gem stainless steel blade up and did a three pass wtg/atg/xtg shave followed by a cold water rinse and some SAL Alum. I managed a DFS with mild irritation and no nicks.
First, let me say that I really liked the Stirling soap. It performed well, was extremely slick, and was fairly protective. I can understand why these soaps get so much attention.
The semi-restored Made-Rite had no trouble creating lather, but it did not hold much and had to be refreshed after each pass. I don’t know if this is due to its small size (I believe the knot is about 18mm) or because the hair is of poor quality. I may end up reknotting it, but I’ll give it another chance or two first.
With that out of the way let me move on to the initial evaluation of the razor. I was disappointed. The Contour II is so mild that I found myself applying unnecessary pressure to get clean passes, which resulted in some discomfort and irritation. While this can be dealt with in the future using proper technique and patience, what can not be dealt with was the ho-hum factor. I found the Contour II to be a boring razor. It did its job, and I have no doubt that I will be able to use it effectively in the relatively near future, but it was so middle of the road that I felt like I was shaving with a generic store brand cartridge razor. It did not impress me or offer up anything that I could not get from another razor. I was just there. I think the main problem that I had with this razor is that with so many options out there, using a middle of the road razor (even a well made and well designed middle of the road razor) holds very little appeal. This would be a good travel razor or a good razor to use when in a hurry, but I doubt hat I would ever want to include it in my regular rotation.
In spite of my apathy toward the Contour II, this was a successful shave and I can see my technique improving a little bit each day. I don’t know that I will become a full fledged L.O.S.E.R., but I can absolutely see adding some SE razors into the regular rotation. As for which razor I will be using to work on my technique, I think that the Gem 1912 will get the honor. It is a big, intimidating razor, but it also holds the most appeal for me. I figure that if I can manage with the 1912, then I will be able to handle any SE with ease. We will see how it goes.
Pre: Hot shower and warm water splash
Razor: Gem Contour II
Blade: Gem stainless steel
Brush: Made-Rite Pure Badger
Soap: Stirling Costal
Post: Cold water rinse and SAL Alum