Thursday, December 31, 2009

Quite a year!

What a year it's been! I began the year with one Mach 3 razor, a few blades, a can of goo and one decent after shave. I now have a collection of brushes, blades, razors, creams, soaps and after shaves that will mean that I don't really have to spend another penny on shaving for several years.
And what fun it's been. Each new item has been thoroughly researched. Orders have been placed and deliveries have kept on coming. Trips to Hungerford Gentleman's Shop and a Lymington Barber for a cut throat shave and endless browsing in pharmacies. Videos on straight shaving studied and stropping technique practiced.
And the shaves. What a delight it's been to try so many different things. Much advice has been sought and given as I constantly seek to improve my shaving technique and practices. Browsing and contributing to forums and then this blog. It all adds up to a massive learning experience this year. And the shaves I get each day are incomparably better than I was achieving this time last year.

2010 should be very different! But time will tell.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Santa gets in on the act!

DR Harris Arlington, TOBS Avacado and Van der Hagen join the stash thanks to a daughter who knows her way round the internet and a little help from Santa.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Kent BK4

This little beauty was a prize from Kent Brushes for being the first to add 10 friends to their Facebook pages.

Kent's packaging is second to none and the quality of their brushes is excellent. I posted more pictures here and will post a review when I have used the brush a few times.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Semogue Limited Edition 2009

Here's No. 40 which arrived today:

These are really good value brushes made in Portugal and discussed a lot on the shaving forums. Indeed, it's down to clever marketing through the forums that sales are so good. This joins my Semogue 1305 and will soon be introduced to my rotation. Two more brushes are on their way to complete a line up of nine brushes. I wonder how many will be here this time next year!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Kent Brushes

Just won a Kent BK4!

By logging on to their Facebook page and getting 10 friends to post my name on their wall.

A very interesting initiative by GB Kent which I will follow from now on:

Kent Facebook

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Vulfix 2234

Top - out of the box. Below - after three lathering sessions.
 Recommended by Brett at Progress Vulfix, this is the Vulfix 2234. It is a super badger in faux ivory, handle height 53mm, overall height 100mm, knot at base 22mm. A very soft brush that provides a luxurious feel and likely to be more at home with creams than soaps. Will add more when I have used it a few times.

Friday, December 18, 2009

British made shaving brushes

British made brushes are world famous.
But who actually makes them? Not the brand name, but the manufacturer?

These are the main UK area shaving brush makers:

Many of the famous London barbers have their own brands made by one or more of these manufacturers.

You can find out a little more about these companies on their websites. Just click on the name. But you won't find out much about Rooney's present operations. That's a bit of a mystery right now.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Vulfix 404

However many brushes you have you should get this one. It will reming you that you do not need to spend much money on a brush to get a fine shave. At £7.60 it has to be the best value brush around. Here's a review I did and the comments of some other people.

How many brushes?

Here's a thread I started on a forum. It says it all!

Sunday, December 13, 2009


When you become interested in this shaving business one of the hardest things to do is resist spending. Particularly if you are a regular on the forums. Endless discussions about razors, blades, soaps, creams, after shaves, preshaves, strops, hones... On it goes. Someone raves about something and the next thing you know, another package has arrived from the postman. I'm no exception.
Well I think I am just about there with my acquisitions.

Once the Art of Shaving Sandalwood Soap, T & H Rose cream pot, DR Harris Marlborough soap, Tabac refills, new Semogue limited edition and Vulfix 404 brushes arrive.

And then there's Christmas to come!

Absolutely no spending in the new year!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

DE Razors - the survivors.

I'm now down to:

Merkur 38C in red
Gillette Superspeed (1940s)

And my favourite:

Edwin Jagger DE87 (with 2009 Jagger/Muhle head)

I use it now all the time, alternating between red personna and Gillette super thin and Crystal Platinum blades.

Allergic to eShave Almond!

This wonderful cream that produces a superb lather from a tiny amount of product sadly is not for me.
 I came out in a hot red rash. Classic symptom of an allergic reaction. First time for everything!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Martin de Candre

18 more days! It's sitting awaiting wrapping. Not too long now.

Guess what Fido's got for Christmas.

Coate's Shaving Cream

I'd never heard of Coate's until I read this:

Then I discovered some available here

Now have the Sandalwood and the Limes.

Is this a case of CAD?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Pre shave preparation

We all agree that before shaving it is essential to do some preparation before applying the lather we shave with.

But what preparation is really needed?

I have tried or experienced several pre shave routines:

Hot shower before shaving.

Hot wet towel or flannel.

Pre shave products - simple home made oil mixture, pre shave oil, hot face mask - and there are plenty of others.

Lather/hot towel/rinsing before application of the lather used for the first pass.

And then applying lather can be done quickly or at length, using painting or circular movements or both.

At minimum, we can simply wash the face with hot water and soap, rinse, then quickly apply lather.

Having tried several approaches, I have found little difference between them as far as the end result is concerned. Certainly nothing that justifies the time and expense that can be involved. So in my opinion, a thorough wash with soap and hot water and a good rinse is all that is really needed.

But!  As with all things for shaving aficionados, it is not about need and efficiency and cost justification. It is about enjoying a bit of personal pampering, indulgence and fun.

So I will continue to use up my pre shave oils, hot mask treatment, get out the hot towel and generally indulge myself, when I have the time. But if like yesterday, I need to be off in a hurry, its a quick wash,   face lathering, a couple of passes and I'm off. With a nice smooth and comfortable skin.

Other opinions?

Here are some:


Monday, November 30, 2009

Nanny's Silly Soap Company

The internet has made it possible for anyone to run a business from home. The lady behind this venture has been selling a range of natural handmade soaps on Ebay. Her shaving soap has been through a number of changes after consulting some of the lads on the shaving forums. I ordered a puck of the latest formulation today - will add a review here later!
If you want to know a little more, here's the website:

Nanny's Silly Soap Company

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Nancy Boy Inc

Here's the story on their website:

After 15 years in high-profile jobs at multinational ad agencies, helping diverse clients like Levi’s, Clorox, L'Oreal and, yes, Cher develop and strategically market their cleaning products, lotions, potions and colognes, Eric was clear that hawking cheaply-sourced, low-grade goods to unsuspecting customers at upwards of $500 an ounce was skirting the boundaries of fair play, if not good taste. This crazy game—up to 90 cents of every dollar devoted to marketing and packaging versus 10 cents that actually goes into the bottle—is legal, but after a while, something about the bald-faced lying makes you feel like a bald-faced liar.
Eric convinced his partner Jack to leave his cushy job as a Vice-President at the Federal Reserve, a difficult decision because it was nice to be able to influence monetary policy whenever it was time to refinance the mortgage. With a renegade team of like-minded professionals, they set out to turn the beauty business' style-over-substance business model on its head. First rule: no advertising or gimmicky expensive packaging; rely instead on word-of-mouth from satisfied customers. Second rule: take the unspent marketing money and plow it all back into the products. Third rule: be so confident in their superior quality, offer an ironclad satisfaction guarantee. To do it, they partnered with a family-owned laboratory in Berkeley, in business for over 60 years and the only pharmaceutical-grade lab specializing in the 100% natural essential plant oils that make Nancy Boy products so unique.
Seven years later, Nancy Boy's over-the-top success story is proof positive that the market is choosing truth over hype, quality over image, and personal, unbiased opinions over manufacturer-produced ads and spin. If you stop and think about it, you didn’t find us because of a magazine ad, direct mail piece, TV spot or online banner. Someone told you about us. And that’s the proof in the Nancy Boy pudding.
Eric, testing out the competition's products. He is smiling through his tears.

Jack made a fortune as an early '60's Gerber Baby but later squandered it on horses and fast women.

And here they are: Nancy Boy Inc

I have not tried their shaving cream yet. But they are raved about on the American Forums, so had to be here.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Mama Bear

I asked Sue (Mama Bear's Soaps) to tell me about the background to her business based in Florence, Wisconsin, USA. This is what she said:

I started making soaps about 5 years ago as a hobby.. but just about the time that I retired, I started selling soaps for the first time on ebay instead of just giving them all away to friends and family.. Then I got picked up along the way by the American Shaving Forums and started selling lots of soap.. I couldn't believe that I could actually sell something that I loved making so very much.. so when I moved to the Northwoods of the US here in Wisconsin (up by Canada) I looked for a house with a large basement.. found it, bought it and built not only a soap kitchen down there but also a brewery. Now I can go downstairs anytime I want to and 'play'.. trust me, it's not work to me, I love it!

About a year after I moved up here I found a small store in town that was really ugly, but cheap.. and I bought it and fixed it up and opened my store in town which is just as cute as can be and I love it!

I had decided when I retired I was going to learn all of the things that I wanted to learn about and never had the time.. learning to make things such as soap, things that weren't always available at the corner store. I was incredibly curious about botanicals, how they were grown and what the benefits of them were and I have to admit I have always been a fragrance junkie.. both natural and synthetic... and it all kind of came together as Mama Bear's Soaps. I feel like I am doing what I was meant to do for the first time.. and I have never been happier.. it brings me so much joy to make a natural item with my own hands and make people happy with those items.

I have a part timer who runs the store day to day for me.. come summertime it will be a fulltimer... we don't get many tourists this time of the year. And yes, I make all the soaps but that could change down the road if I can't keep up with it someday. I also make the colognes, shampoo and the aftershaves that I sell. There were actually 3 sales rooms in the store, so I added gifts also because of this being a tourist spot, but actually have discovered that many of the items are enjoyed locally which came as a surprise to me. I am enjoying finding my 'place' in this new community. I will never get rich off of it but at my age, that is the least of my worries.... I am just concerned with being happy these days and I get that from my products and the store and that is good enough for me.

Sue has a big following on the shaving forums and a reputation for outstanding products and service. I have her unscented shaving soap. It's very good indeed!

Take a look:  Mama Bear's Soaps

Lathering with soap

Now that I am using a straight razor, I really must improve my lathering technique. Here is a really useful series of photos describing a good way of making lather from soap which is on Mama Bear's website. More about that later. Here's the link:

Soap lathering

And here is another on the Straight Razor Place Forum

Soap lathering

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Taylor of Old Bond Street

"The TAYLOR Tradition has always been to manufacture products with as pure and natural ingredients as is practicable. We refuse to compromise quality under any circumstances. Our product range includes the luxurious and the unusual."

The third of the famous three Ts - not quite so extravagant with their claims.
I have the Mr Taylor cream.An excellent product and great value.
Find out more here

Geo. F. Trumper

"Geo F Trumper is recognised as the finest traditional gentlemen's barber in London and is known throughout the world for its matchless range of gentlemen's fragrances and grooming products."
A modest lot, our London barbers! I have their coconut shaving cream. Lovely to use. Another must visit London venue.
This is what they have to offer:

Truefitt and Hill

Truefitt and Hill are the self styled aristocrats of the barbering business. How about this little bit of understatement on their website:

"In years to come, Truefitt & Hill will be a household name - but only in the best households."

I have T & H rose shaving cream. I won't be without it. One of the best around.

I really must pay them a visit. In by best clothes. Of course. You can check them out here.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

By wednesday!

How quickly things move on! I am now using my straight on most days. I am following a very simple regime. A down pass, then up pass with my straight with just a little more effort to extend my range according to time and my mood of the day. Then I finish with an ATG pass and tidy up with my DE razor. I'm getting really smooth shaves, very few nicks and a skin feeling afterwards so good I know I'll never go back to DE shaving alone. There will be days when lack of time means I'll leave the straight alone. But when ever possible the new regime will reign. I guess of all the lessons to be learned for any shave it is to take your time and relax. The need to hurry spells trouble! Better not to shave at all.

So to all wannabe straight razor candidates, if Fido can take to it, there's hope for everyone. As a cack -handed, impatient type who doesn't like to fiddle around with anything that might be troublesome I was always a doubtful straight shaver. I'm not in any hurry to complete a shave with a straight alone, so the DE will have a part to play for a while yet. But the day may come....

Sunday, November 22, 2009

It's Sunday

I'm settling down with my straight razor. But I wonder if I really want to give up including the use of a DE razor to tidy up. My upper lip and chin area are really a no go for my straight. I have trouble avoiding skin imperfections such as awkward moles with my DE. And some against the grain areas are virtually impossible to tackle with the straight. So I am making two passes with the straight and a relaxing final session with my DE. A fabulous feeling afterwards, nice and smooth. The best of all worlds? Or am I just a wimp? Am I bothered?

Friday, November 20, 2009

Straight Razor Guide

This is worth a look

The Art of the Straight Razor Shave

A lot of useful information

Men's Grooming Advice

I have mentioned several times the value of the shaving forums. Here is another comprehensive source of advice and tips about men's grooming, including shaving, put together by Seth on his website. It really is useful stuff.

Advice and tips

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Grooming Health

I had an approach from Seth at Grooming Health to provide a link to his website.
I really don't want my blog covered in adverts even if there was interest. But I am quite happy to respond to this specific request. Seth started his online business in 2005. He charges a flat rate of 99p for UK deliveries and supplies a wide range of grooming products. His web site includes a lot of helpful advice about male grooming.Worth a look.

Grooming Health - see it here or on my links section.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Shaving Forums

Shaving Forums are a rich source of information, advice and fun. These are ones I have had a good look at:

The Shaving Room  -  a small group of mainly UK members. (172)

Badger and Blade                                                             (18723)

The Shave Den                                                                 (2822)

Shave my Face                                                                 (6143)

Straight Razor Place                                                         (15843)

Shaveready                                                                        (133)

And two people have submitted over 20,000 posts.

This is a lot of action!

It's wow day!

Fido's special day:

Rinse/face wash with MWF soap.
Hot towel
Lather with Yardley's shaving soap/ Simpsons Duke 3
Hot towel.
Castle Forbes pre shave.

Re-lather, up and down passes with straight razor.
Final pass across, chin and tricky bits with Jagger DE/red personna

DR Harris milk moisturiser

End result - best of all worlds. Beginning to believe that it is only possible to have my skin like this with a straight. Other factors will have contributed like the MFW/Castle Forbes/Yardley combo. This was the ultimate birthday/christmas day treat. Martin de Cadre (still in the box until Christmas) is going to have to work hard to better this.

Glad I'm retired though. This takes time. And I have plenty of that.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Yardley Shaving Soap

This explains how I got this soap.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Settling down

I have slipped into a new routine. A down pass and up pass avoiding chin and upper lip with the straight. Then across and the bits missed using a DE razor. It's working well. Lovely smooth shaves. I'll stick with this for now and see how it goes. Straight shaving has a number of downsides:

Time and skills needed for stropping and honing.

Time needed to attain skill in using the razor - much more difficult than DE shaving.

Glide of the razor less comfortable than DE.

The shaving ritual of wiping lather on to towel during shaving is more messy than rinsing a DE in the bowl.

And at this stage it seems very difficult to shave against the grain on my neck. That will be a big challenge to master and I'm not trying yet.

On the plus side, my first impression is that the closeness of the shave leads to a softness of the skin which I was not getting with DE shaving. For me, this is what it is all about.

I'm not interested in stropping and honing. Not interested in the nostalgia of straight shaving. I just want the best shave possible and the feeling that goes with it. So it will boil down to one thing. Does the improvement in the end result justify the effort involved?

I intend to become as proficient as I can at all aspects of straight shaving over the next few months. And perhaps I will come to enjoy the new ritual. Then I will decide if I want to keep it up.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Things are looking up!

Things are looking up.

Ruth went out for the evening. Time to play. Had already shaved early morning but so what?
Gave myself a serious talking to. What was my first round of golf like? Total disaster. Should have packed up there and then. Soldiered on, had lots of practice, then years of delight - on and off. The point is - all things involving a degree of skill take time to learn. It's often best to find out how good you can become at something. When you do, that's the time to decide on keeping it up or not.

So off to the stash, tools selected then strop and action. Gradually things seemed to look up. The blade started to feel a bit more comfortable and I got a bit bolder and managed two passes. Kept clear of the tricky bits. It was a relief to tidy up with my Jagger DE, but I did quite a bit with the straight without nicks.

Had the day off today - off out to friends. So it was a nice easy Jagger session.

More time at the weekend. It will be back to the straight. But I do still wonder. If choosing between a two wheeled bike and a penny farthing, why would I choose the latter?

To be continued.........

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Straight progress

Well I have all the gear. But will I enjoy the experience of using it? It's a case of so far, not so good. I guess my problems are these:

I'm really not interested in taking responsibility for maintaining a razor in perfect shave ready condition. This involves becoming proficient in stropping and when necessary the use of pastes to prolong the period before honing is required. Then honing - many do it themselves and get great satisfaction from doing it. That doesn't interest me either, so I would send it out for honing.

Then there's the shaving. So far, I have been too tentative. I feel I have a lethal weapon in my hand so I have become so cautious its impairing my shaving progress. The odd skin imperfection is just waiting to be nicked and I'm trying to avoid it. So its slow, slow, slow. Even when I manage a correct movement of the razor across my skin it feels nothing like as comfortable as the glide of a DE razor. So I'm struggling with my early efforts.

I started this post on a forum:

The Straight Razor Place

Experienced straight shavers have offered encouragement and advice. All confirm that it takes time to become skilled in straight shaving, but it is said to be well worth the effort.
I am sure it was - for them.

But will that be right for me? It was so much easier to master DE shaving again. But straights are different. It will be several weeks of trial and error before I can start to enjoy the promised land. So will I continue the journey?

Well, I have decided to pause now until I receive my video produced by Lynn, the founder of the Straight Razor Place. Then I will follow his advice and see how it goes. I am not the sort to give up something too quickly. Everything new requires study and sometimes practice.

Time will tell.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Razor Blades Reviews

This is an extraordinary thread. If you are doing some research on razor blades look at this:

Blade Reviews

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Neil Miller - has another satisfied customer

I'm delighted the way my approach to straight shaving is working out. I now have:

A cheap Ebay razor and strop - just to get used to handling a straight, grips etc. and practising stropping without concern about damaging anything. And I am so glad I did, having made a complete mess with my early grip of the razor and stropping pressure. After a couple of days, things are improving.

A very fine razor and strop. The photos don't do them justice. Neil gave me this information about the razor - it adds to the feeling of connecting with the past by going back to traditional things:

"The razor is one made for Maurice Viane who had a gentleman's shop in Knightsbridge at the time of the Great War and probably up to or shortly before WW2.  His son Edgar was killed in action in Poland in 1917.  The steel came from a company called Edgar Allen & Co., who owned the Imperial Steel Works in Tinsley, Sheffield, so it is a carbon steel, Sheffield forged razor.  The Imperial works were opened in the late 1800s and the furnaces installed in 1912 were still in operation when the site closed in 1988.

I would put the age of this razor between 1930 and 1950.  It has a round point - safest to learn with - and is slightly less than full hollow ground, giving it quite a firm blade which is not as hard to get used to as the really wafer-thin hollow ground razors.  I had three of these razors and this is the best of the bunch - it is elegant but understated, it's appeal lies mainly in the steel used and the fineness of the cutting edge.  This particular example has taken a very keen edge indeed!"

The strop - latigo leather/heavyweight cotton double hanging. Together with pastes and advice about maintaining the strop in good condition.

And finally, I have sent two good quality vintage razors for Neil to restore about which I will post later.

It has been a real pleasure to deal with Neil. It is reassuring to have someone who makes or restores the things you use regularly who is there for consultation when you need them. I can happily recommend him to anyone who wants to take up the challenge of straight shaving.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Dawn of a new era.

My straight razor and strop is due to arrive tomorrow. I got in touch with Neil Miller, took his advice, and I'm getting ready for the start of a new era in my shaving. I'm not rushing into action. I've picked up a cheap razor and strop on Ebay which I will use for strop practice before I use my new tools.
I'm studying lots of information about straight shaving on the forums. There are some really kind and helpful people out there, willing to give freely their advice and assistance. Another example of how the internet is changing people's lives. It so speeds up your ability to acquire new skills.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Shaving addicts.

The craving must be satisfied. I remember this phrase being used by George Houghton in his "Confessions of a Golf Addict"
 There was a time when I groaned when the time to shave loomed. Couldn't wait to get it over with. Now during the evening I wander up to my bedroom open the stash and take my time in loading my tray for the next morning. Cream or soap? Then which one? Pre shave - no, give it a miss. Duke or shavemac, better be Semogue. Which mug? Alum - do I really need it? Now which razor - hows my skin feeling - new blade? Perhaps I'll use the scuttle, put back the mug. And I used to think Ruth took a long time to get ready.
 Then when it's time to get cracking the next morning - why did I go for Tabac? Think I'll take the cade.

I take comfort I'm not alone and think about chaps like these:

This one. That one.

Funny lot humans.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Shaving made easy

This is a free download.

Shaving Made Easy

Some things never change. Worth a look!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Straight razor shaving

I guess anyone who tries wet shaving will one day be tempted to use a straight razor. I'm no exception. But where do you start? If you browse the shaving forums you will come across this chap. Take a look at his web site:
Am I really tempted? Almost.
And if you are still undecided, take a look here.It's a must go to site.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Internet search engines

We now live in a world in which we can all become experts in anything. Anyone interested in wet shaving has immediate access to all the advice and information they need. Got an issue? A question?

How about lathering.

Here's a few leads. Easy!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Pre Shave Oil

This is supplied by all the main shaving product distributors. Some people make their own. Several ideas here.
I picked up some castor oil today - 16p for 100ml at a closing down sale. 70/30 with olive oil from the kitchen cupboard plus drops of Lavender. A lot less than the 59 ml I have ordered from Truefitt and Hills for £16.50.
I will be trying my concoction over the next couple of weeks and will update this post with my findings.

It took just two days to decide this was not for me. It is too greasy. Although my skin felt extra smooth, I didn't like the feeling of having a thin layer of oil over my face all day. The basin was more messy too and I noticed a film of oil on my brush. No more home made brews for me. I am waiting for deliveries of the pre shave products of Truefitt and Hill and Castle Forbes. Will review those later.

A Guide to Wet Shaving

This simple advice will serve most people well.
Men, and women, have been shaving for centuries. So, there is no great mystery about shaving. Many people wonder why all the fuss recently about something their Grandfather used to do. Well it seems that in all the hustle and bustle of the “computer age”, we forgot that with Grandfather’s method, the shaving process could actually be done just as quickly, but without as much skin irritation. Also, as an added bonus, Granddad would have told you he was actually getting a much closer shave with his method, as compared to these new “wonders of science”.
Here are the Essentials of Wet Shaving
1. Hot Water
When possible, always shave after your shower. The facial hair absorbs the water and becomes softer and easier to cut. The heat causes the facial pores to open and lets the facial muscles relax. If a shower is not possible, wet a hand towel in hot water and press it to the face for at least a minute.
2. The Lather
Best results are obtained when using a good quality badger shaving brush. When using a shaving cream, place a small amount in the palm of one hand, dip the brush into hot water and using a circular motion in the palm, build up a creamy lather on the brush. Wet the face with hot water, and apply the lather to the beard. This time it is recommend that you paint your face with the lather, like a painter uses a paint brush. The brush may be dipped lightly into hot water if needed to produce more lather. If using shaving soap, dip the brush into hot water and use the same circular motion in your shaving mug to create a rich lather.
3. The Shave
The type and quality of razor you use is of utmost importance. Always use a clean, sharp blade. Before starting the shave, rinse the razor in hot running water. Shave in the direction of beard growth. Shaving “against the grain” can be painful and is the most common cause of “razor burn”. A quality razor with a sharp blade should glide over your skin. Shave twice if necessary, rather than force the razor.
4. Cold Water
Now it’s time to rinse your face and close the facial pores. First, use clean, running warm water to rinse your face well. Next, use cold water to close the facial pores. Gently pat the skin dry with a clean towel.
5. Moisturizer
Essential oils are lost during the shaving process and need to be replaced. You can use something as simple as body lotion, or any one of a myriad of moisturizers on the market. Our preference is one that is unscented. Remember that we said a moisturizer. Be sure to avoid using anything after shaving that has an alcohol base. It will inflame your skin.
Don’t Forget to Take Care of Your Brush and Razor After Shaving!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

shavemac 177

And yes, it is spelt with a small s.

This new brush arrived from Germany today and brings my collection to five. It is a floppy, soft and luxurious brush that should serve for years. Time will tell of its performance in comparison to my other brushes. About that I will write in the future.

A day and a shave later:



Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Razor Collection October 2009

Clockwise, from Mach 3, Merkur 38C, Gillette Knack/twist, Merkur 34C, Ever Ready SE,  Gillette Superspeed, Gillette Flare tip rocket, Gillette Single Ring, Gillette Fatboy, Gillette Slim adjustable, Merkur 38C.


I rarely nick myself when shaving. But I'm learning to treat my razors with more respect. When handling your razor. keep away from the blade!!!!!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

It's raining razors

A new red Merkur 38C turned up today. And so did an old friend with three old razors.
I like the little Gillette on the left. Small and simple. But I suspect just as effective as more illustrious models. I now have a straight. Not likely to use it but nice to have one. If anyone has heard of The New Century Razor by Cox and Son, Southampton, I will be pleased to hear from them. The Rolls is still in plentiful supply in second hand shops. Plenty of information here.

Monday, October 19, 2009

James Joyce

Another post from The Shaving Room:

I found this in a weekend magazine. It's from James Joyce's Ulysees ..

"What advantages attended shaving by night?

A softer beard: a softer brush if intentionally allowed to remain from
shave to shave in its agglutinated lather: a softer skin if unexpectedly
encountering female acquaintances in remote places at incustomary hours:
quiet reflections upon the course of the day: a cleaner sensation when
awaking after a fresher sleep since matutinal noises, premonitions and
perturbations, a clattered milkcan, a postman's double knock, a paper
read, reread while lathering, relathering the same spot, a shock, a
shoot, with thought of aught he sought though fraught with nought might
cause a faster rate of shaving and a nick on which incision plaster with
precision cut and humected and applied adhered: which was to be done."

You may have to read it a couple of times to understand it (I did!), but I really like it. What is really interesting too is that he recommends NOT rinsing your brush between shaves (presumably just squeezing out the excess lather and opening up the bristles a bit to dry). I am going to try this. I have noticed that my brush builds a lather much quicker when I have to pick up soap from the puck mid shave, so I imagine this would work just as well for the first lather.

Anyone else care to try ...

In any case, it's a lovely emotive piece of writing.

PS I would like to shave more at night but I think my wife may find it a tad anti-social!

The Mach 3

As I have reported, endlessly, I had a so called traditional barber's shave at The Gentleman's Shop.
I was very surprised that my barber used a Mach 3 on a sensitive area on my chin and above the upper lip. This is apparently common practice among some of the London barbers and elsewhere as far as I know. I rather like this Mach 3 bearing The Gentleman's Shop logo. So it's now part of my daily toolkit. I've been using it for the same sensitive area where I have a little mole I try to avoid with my DE.

The other day I did a complete gentle 4th pass with my Mach 3. While it left an incredibly smooth skin. I won't be doing that again. I simply didn't enjoy the experience half as much as the pleasant slow pass I make with the DE. I'll use the Mach 3 for touch ups. I guess that way I'll feel like the traditional modern barber. Because I guess that's what we should call them if they use a Mach 3 in the traditional wet shave routine.

And, of course,the posh Mach 3 does look good and is pleasant to hold.

Sunday, October 18, 2009


Now what has a spatula to do with shaving?

I like to scoop out a dollop of cream and spread it out a little at the base of a bowl to make it easier to work it into the tips of my brush. I have been using the back of a spoon or other fairly rigid devices. I wanted something with a really flexible head. Found this little beauty in a kitchen shop. 99p. It works a treat.

Another problem solved. Fussy lot, some shavers.

Shaving mug by Dirty Bird Pottery, Virginia, USA.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Ever Ready Razor

Looking for a bargain?
Not here.
Not worth the postage!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Self Control?

Rather pleased with myself earlier this week. Sold a couple of bells and resisted temptation to spend some of the money on more shaving gear during a visit to The Gentleman's Shop in Hungerford.

A few days to reflect and the following are on their way:

100 Gillette Super Thins
Vintage Gillette Slim adjustable razor
Red Merkur 38C
Connaught Luxury Peppermint Shaving cream

Oh, and a Shavemac 177 Silvertip brush

Still got change from the bell sale.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Black Elder

This caught my eye on a forum thread about wood for shaving handles. It's such a great photo.By Henk Verhaar. The handle is made from Black elder (Quar) from Africa.

And he also owns this brush:

The wood is Olive.

Shaving acronyms or abbreviations


Start surfing and you will soon come across abbreviations that leave you guessing.

Here's a shortcut to understanding.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Connaught Luxury Shaving Cream - Peppermint

I wrote this review today for The Shaving Room forum.

This came as a sample.

Do you ever do something so delightful you just don't want to stop?
Such was my first experience with this shaving cream.

Using my silvertip Kent BK8 I worked a decent dollop into the tips of the brush and face lathered. A plentiful supply of nice creamy lather emerged sufficient for my usual three passes. I was soon conscious of two things - a really cold menthol blast similar to but better than Proraso and without the smell. And, the most delightfully rich scent of peppermint. Scrumptious! I so, so, enjoyed this. I tried to prolong each pass. It was so good.
I was actually in a bit of a hurry today so I skipped my alum and after rinsing just applied a DR Harris milk moisturiser. My skin afterwards was soft and completely comfortable. I make it the 19th cream or soap I have so far tried and it is right up with the best. The combination of the menthol and peppermint is irresistible.

Within the hour I placed an order for a 100ml pot.

This is not cheap. The 100ml pot is £8.90 plus £2.05 postage.

This is made by Belgrovia Scents Ltd. In England.

The ingredients:

Aqua, Stearic acid,Coconut oil,Potassium hydroxide,Glycerol, sodium hydroxide, Menthyl paraben, Propyl parabens,mentha piperita essential oil.

Choosing a shaving brush

What car should I get? Would you ask such an open ended question? A little Fiat would get you around. So would a Rolls Royce.
 A shaving brush is such a personal thing. Most will get the job done. But some will give you a lot more pleasure than others.
Some people delight in spending as little as possible to achieve their goals. They will find great value in boars. Those who are happy to spend what it takes to get real comfort and luxury will go for badgers.
Size is something else. You may love the big Lexus but find the biggest badger brushes just too big.
Degree of softness too, is a tricky issue. The very best quality tips may produce a floppy brush which may not suit a face latherer.
Handles vary. You must find one that is comfortable for you.
If there was one item to handle before  you buy, it has to be a shaving brush.
Yesterday, I looked at a wide selection of shaving brushes in Hungerford. Reviews and pictures had given me a short list to look at. I was not happy with any of them. It was not until I picked them up and handled them that I really appreciated what they had to offer me.
I decided that there was nothing that would induce me to buy another brush. My Duke 3 best, Kent BK8 and Semogues 1305 and 2000 meet all my needs. The only thing that might have challenged them was a Simpsons Chubby super 1.5 (The 2 was too big for me and the 1 too small) I'm that fussy!
This is so difficult. Most shavers just cannot get into stores which stock a large selection to handle before buying. So they rely on reviews and hope for the best. No doubt many are happy with that. But if you intend to spend a lot of money, try hard to see it first.

The photo

That's a Simpsons Polo P10 - picked at random (not mine)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Dr Henk's Formula #4

Everyone has to start somewhere. Dr Henk turned up on The Shaving Room and offered to send samples of a shaving soap he has made. Several of us volunteered to try it and provide feedback. Watch this thread. I have my sample in this ramekin dish.

This may be a best seller.

Monday, October 12, 2009


Tabac is probably the most consistently acclaimed shaving soap among wet shavers.And rightly so.If you are one of the few who hasn't tried it. Do it soon.
The Tabac website is worth a look.