A Lavender By Any Other Company Still Smells Like Old Lady

I don’t care for lavender, but I really like Truefitt & Hill, so I decided to give the T&H Lavender sample a try.  I think that it’s pretty cool that T&H have a sample set of all of their creams.  It gives you a chance to try out all of the scents before plunking down $30+ for a jar of cream that you may end up disliking.  There are a lot of places that sell samples of soaps and creams, but there aren’t a lot of nonartisan companies that put there entire range into a sample set, I think that speaks pretty highly of T&H.

Along with the lavender cream I am using my newly reknotted mixed loft brush.  I’ve managed to remove most of the shedder hairs and destinkify the knot in just a couple of days, but the breaking in will likely take a while.  In the mean time I have to say that I am really impressed with this brush so far.  The handle is plastic, but it still has an elegant feel, the knot was purchased off of eBay from China (but not from Ace, Frank, or Liojuny).  It’s a mixed loft badger/boar (the description actually called it a badger/bear hair knot, but I’m pretty sure that was a typo) 20mm diameter knot with a 64mm loft that cost me a total of $8.44 ($4.94 for the knot, and $3.50 for shipping).  This mixed loft plastic handled frankenbrush of unknown origin is quickly becoming my favorite.

To finish off I am back with my Gem 1912 and a carbon steel blade.  I’m getting the hang of this beast and will soon be moving on to the Clog Pruf to further hone my SE razor skills.

I did a typical three pass wtg/atg/xtg shave followed by a cold water rinse and some SAL Alum.  The results were a BBS shave with zero nicks and mild irritation along my jaw line on the right side.  The T&H lavender wasn’t as slick or as easy to lather as the Ultimate Comfort and I dislike the scent, but it did a good job and left my skin feeling untouched.  Like the UC, this stuff leaves absolutely no residue and while it does not dry out my skin it also does not moisturize it much either.  The Gem did a fine job and is absolutely worth the effort, it’s an uncomplicated efficient razor.  This was a pretty good shave that mostly just reenforced how I already feel about lavender, T&H, and the Gem 1912.

Pre: Hot shower and warm water splash
Razor: Gem 1912
Blade: Gem carbon steel
Brush: Mixed loft badger/boar
Soap: Truefitt & Hill Lavender cream
Post: Cold water rinse and SAL Alum



The More The Marrier

One of the things that many of the folks involved in the traditional wet shaving community have in common is their desire to try new and different things.  Sometimes what starts off as a simple shave can spiral into an orgy of products, experiments, and outright excess.  It can be difficult to say, “OK, I don’t need anything other than some soap, a brush, and a good razor with a fresh blade.”  What it usually turns into is, “Hmm, I’ll add some of this cream…and try this new blade…ooh, I better use some preshave too…”

I started out today with a fairly straight forward set up: the restored Made-Rite brush with a pure badger knot, my 1912 with a Gem stainless steel blade, and some Kell’s Ultra Aloe Energy soap, but then I added on.  I pulled out the Shave Secret for a preshave oil and decided to make a superlather using the Kell’s and some AoS Ocean Kelp.  I also decided to use some of my trusty SAL Alum and a dash of AoS Ocean Kelp after shave lotion.  I also made the decision to change out the Gem stainless steel blade for a Gem carbon steel just to see how the carbon blade would compare.  The stainless steel still has some life in it, so it gets to live in the Clog Pruf for a while. In the end, what started out as a simple lather and rinse sort of shave ended up being a product extravaganza.  The picture of today’s set up does not reflect all of these changes because all of that stuff is a pain to photograph together and because I already took the picture and did not feel like redoing it.

I did a three pass wtg/atg/xtg shave followed by a cold water rinse and my post shave add-ons.  The results were a BBS shave with zero nicks and zero irritation.  The superlather worked up into a nice creamy result, but the scent of the Kell’s Energy overpowered the AoS Ocean Kelp.  Next time I’ll use some Karo Classic or Local Pig instead.  The carbon blade was nice and smooth, but was not significantly different than the stainless steel blade.  Overall, this was a good shave.  My abilities with SE razors continue to improve and with that improvement my comfort level also increases.

Pre: Hot shower, warm water splash, and Shave Secret
Razor: Gem 1912
Blade: Gem carbon steel
Brush: Made-Rite pure badger
Soap: Superlather of Kell’s Ultra Aloe Energy and AoS Ocean Kelp
Post: Cold water rinse, SAL Alum, and AoS Ocean Kelp After Shave Lotion


Livin’ On The Edge, My Indoctrination Into The Single Edge Cult

Single Edge razors, or SE razors, are one of the many oddities of traditional wet shaving.  They are a group of razors that linger in relative obscurity, even within the traditional wet shaving community.  SE razors first popped up in the 1890s and were widely produced until their decline in the 70s.  Poor marketing, less variety, and Gillette cornering the safety razor market via returning WWI and WWII veterans (who were given the Gillette Old Type as a part of their standard issue field gear) are all listed as reasons for the decline and eventual demise of the SE razor.  Whatever the reasons, time has marched on and away from the poor single edge safety razor.  In spite of this SE razors are still regarded as excellent shaving tools.  SE razors can be purchased for relatively little money and while there are relatively few options the blades are still available in most on-line shaving stores and can even be found in many drug stores such as CVS, Walgreen’s Pharmacy, and Rite Aid.  For someone interested in trying something a little different, the SE is an excellent choice.

Generally speaking, there are two different types of SE razors, the Gem type (which encompasses a number of different razors made mostly by Star, Gem, and Ever-Ready) and the Injector type (which is more or less entirely represented by the various Schick injector razors).  These two razor types are very different and use completely different designs, blades, and mechanics and are only lumped together because they both happen to be outdated razor designs which use a ridgid single edged blade.  The Cobra razor is another, currently produced SE razor that does not quite fit into either category (it is closest to an injector), but is usually kept in its own special category in spite of the fact that it too is a single edge safety razor.  For my purposes when I am referring to SE razors I am talking about the Gem and injector style razors, but excluding the Cobra.

Recently I have become interested in SE razors.  It has come about partly from a desire to try something different and partly because I have been seeing an increase in the number of folks posting SOTDs featuring SE razors.  Thanks to an event called The Nation Wide Box Tour (hosted by one of my favorite shaving forums, The Shave Den) I have managed to pick up a few Gem SE razors, a Schick Injector and several blades for both razor types.  Over the next couple of weeks I will dedicate my time to learning about the history, proper techniques, and peculiarities of each of these odd razors.  I hope to come out with a better understanding of SE razors and traditional wet shaving in general.

For my first go with a single edge razor I decided to use my largest and most intimidating SE razor. Last night, after picking out some SE razors, I boiled some water and sterilized the razors that I snagged from The Nation Wide Box Tour. This morning while looking over my freshly cleaned razors I debated heavily with myself about which razor to try first. The large headed Gem 1912 won out, so I loaded a stainless steel Gem blade (making sure to slide the blade into, rather than over, the two prongs that stabilize the blade), grabbed some Musgo Real Lime Basil shave cream and my Vulfix 376S Super Badger brush and set up for my shave.

Following my usual preparation I did a three pass with the grain/against the grain/across the grain shave and finished up with a cold water rinse and some T.N. Dickinson Witch Hazel.

The first thing I noticed about using a Gem type SE razor was that the large head and rigid straight blade make this razor a lot like a disposable blade Rolls Razor. Unfortunately I had a hard time figuring out how to position the thing so as to get the proper angle and found myself constantly changing my angle with out realizing it…which resulted in an overly aggressive shave. Luckily for me the 1912 is fairly forgiving and the Musgo Real shave cream is ultra slick. I managed a damn fine shave with a couple of tiny nicks (which required no styptic) and mild irritation. I’ll have to work on my technique with this giant headed razor, but I see lots of potential.

On a positive note, the Musgo Real Lime Basil is awesome! It’s an amazing lime scent with spicy, woody notes and none of the sweetness that usually accompanies a lime scent. It lathered easily and provided an extremely slick surface.

Overall I would say that this was a good first attempt at SE shaving and with some technique improvement I predict that I will be getting some great shaves from my newly acquired SE razors.

Pre: Hot shower and warm water splash
Razor: Gem 1912
Blade: Gem Stainless Steel
Brush: Vulfix 376S Super Badger
Soap: Musgo Real Lime Basil
Post: Cold water rinse and T.N. Dickinson Witch Hazel