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.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

A shaver's odyssey

I wanted to find out where I would find the best selection of shaving brushes on display, probably in London. If you need a further insight into the minds of shaving addicts, take a look at this thread started by someone calling himself Aztecface. It features a Swedish heroine.

A guide to London shaving haunts

For the record

It's come to this:


Art of Shaving -unscented,lemon.
Castle Forbes - lavender
Trumpers - coconut (and samples)
Truefitt and Hill -rose
TOBS - Mr Taylor
TOBS - Sandalwood
Musgo Real
Connaught - mint (sample)


L'Occitane Cade
Muhle - Aloe Vera
Martin de Cadre (not to be touched 'till 25/12)


Alum block
Tabac Splash and balm
DR Harris milk
Florins Elite
DR Harris moisturiser
TOBS Mr Taylor Balm
Givenchy Cologne


Kent BK8, Simpsons Duke 3, Semogue 1305 and 2000.


Red personna, Gillette Super Thins, Derby Extra.


Scuttle 1.5 size, brush scuttle, soap/lather bowl. mug.

BOWLS - not counted.


Merkur 34C and 38C
Gillette Fatboy,Superspeed,HD Rocket,Twist.
Mach 3
Ever Ready Single Edge

IKEA tray for transport from stash to shower room.

Sharp Practice by Anders Larsen.

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


Indulgence day.

Shaving should always be a pleasant unhurried ritual. But even in retirement there's always something ahead that makes you want to get cracking as soon as possible. Not today. Time to have a good look through the stash. Perhaps I'll boil up some hot water and really get the best out of the scuttle. A preshave? Hot towel? An extra unhurried pass? Try a different razor? Different blade? Even time to work up a decent lather with MWF.

Shaving used to be so boring. But quick. I guess I've added at least 12 minutes to my daily ritual. Over, say 40 years, I make that an extra 2912 hours. Including travelling and time at the bar, that's about 580 rounds of golf.

I'm still thinking about that.

Saturday, October 10, 2009


Extract from a forum post:

"I think this shaving lark is slowly turning into a monster. Not content with frittering away the kids' dinner money (because sandwiches are nice too) on 'essential' kit I-absolutely-must-own-otherwise-I'm-not-a-proper-shaver, I've noticed myself beginning to indulge in a rather sinister, filthy little habit of late. Checking out guys. To be more specific, their shorn faces. It happened again tonight at my brother-in-law's party.

This is not what I signed up for. Seriously though, I've even been toying with the idea of asking my good lady to start shaving her armpits with my Merkur HD and TOBS Rose just to see the results, and in the vain hope it might prompt her to going halfers with me on new creams and on the odd razor or two. That's a bit bonkers by anyone's book, surely? I'm aware this forum isn't intended as a 12-step programme, but I felt compelled to share my experience with you this evening."

This guy's hooked.

And you think he's a fanatic?

Take a look at this website

The Shaving Room - a few more

Serious business this.

Friday, October 9, 2009


Born in the 1920s in beautiful Florence where the products are still made, Proraso has loyally served three generations of well-groomed men. Today it enjoys the reputation as Italy’s most venerable barber shop shaving brand. For eighty years Proraso has guarded its secret formula based on Eucalyptus Oil and, in a way that only a small family owned Italian business can, the recipe has been passed down from one generation to the next.

Proraso was the first shaving cream I used on my return to DE shaving. It is so cool. Literally. A real menthol blast hits you as soon as you start lathering. Brilliant stuff. And great value. Deserves a place in any rotation. Used it today.

Alum block

I confess I had never heard of alum until I had a shave at The Gentleman's Shop in Hungerford.
So what is it?

An Alum Block is a crystal-like stone that is moistened with cold water and gently rubbed over the entire face to act as an antiseptic for razor burn. It can also help to stop bleeding of nicks and cuts. The Alum block also has antiseptic properties that not only cool and refresh the skin after shaving, but also act as a balm. Simply wet the block, apply to face, and then dry with towel.

I use it most days now. But I rinse it off before applying after shave products. Doesn't cost much and will last ages.


Anyone who has googled on shaving is bound to come across Mantic's videos and blog. So I was quite surprised to see that he is a follower of this blog. So I sent him a message:

Hi Mantic

I was surprised and pleased to see that you are following my blog.
My blogging interest started with my bell collection which I began to publish in June 2006. I have had a great response to it.
Your shaving videos and blog are amazing. You have clearly put an incredible amount of work into them. But most of all you have helped so many people. It's both fun and practical.
I have seen a lot of your material and it really deserves the praise it gets in the shaving community.
My little shaving blog is going to be in a completely different mode. I once read a series of books under the title "Golf Addict" by George Houghton. I collected all 36. One of them was titled "Confessions of a Golf Addict" It was a hoot. It really got inside the mind of a typical golf enthusiast for whom his sport was a total addiction. Really funny. Now I could never match that. But I will try in my blog to develop posts which illustrate the enthusiasm it is possible to have for this simple daily ritual.
I'm going to include this email as a post in my blog. And if you don't object, I will include your reply.

Best wishes


Hi Peter!

Sorry for the delayed reply.  I am always on the look out for discussions about traditional shaving.  Your site has been added to my list of shaving blogs as well.  Its amazing how something as "simple" as shaving can generate so much passion and interest with people.  Yes, making shaving videos can be a lot of work but it has also been a lot of fun too.  The funny thing is I never thought they would be very popular: I initially created them as a sort of reference and assumed they would languish somewhere with just a few views.  Instead I seem to have hit a nerve with people!

I'll be watching your blog with interest!  Hopefully I will be able to contribute a comment or two along the way.


Shavers united!


For more years than I can remember I had one razor, a few blades, one can of shaving foam and one after shave.
Then one day I got to think that around £1.60 was too much to pay for a blade.
A few months later I have:

7 razors
A variety of blades that will last me at least three years.
8 shaving creams, 4 soaps, unopened samples.
4 after shaves, 1 moisturiser, 1 cologne.
An alum block
2 scuttles, brush scuttle,shaving mug,lather bowl (official ones) plus makeshift bowls from IKEA and junk shops.
And 4 shaving brushes.

I reckon I've saved about £75 on blades.

If I live long enough, I'll break even sometime.

Now you think this is a lot? Some guy on a forum claims he has around 36 creams and soaps he uses in rotation. Probably has a brush for each one!

I'm just a beginner.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Shaving advice

Just google:


Leisure guy shaving

Click away and you will get all the advice and help you need. I'm not competing with these chaps. These are just the personal musings of an enthusiastic shaver.

Monday, October 5, 2009

A typical day

From stash to tray, the daily routine of selecting the ingredients is complete. Here we have:

Shaving cream -Taylors of Bond Street
After shave balm - Taylors of Bond Street
Alum block
Lather bowl
Simpsons Duke 3 shaving brush
Merkur 38c with Gillette Super Thin Blades
Mach 3 razor (for awkward bits)
Nivea face wash
Mug for soaking brush
Warm spice shaving soap - used for a pre shave lather in Dirty Bird shaving mug.
All on IKEA tray.

Sunday, October 4, 2009


They come in all shapes and sizes. Badger, boar, bristle, synthetic. Lots of grades from supersoft to scrubby, floppy or stiff, short, tall,fat and thin. Just like us. Pricey and cheap. Pay your money and make your choice. Endless discussions on the forums. Need one for soaps, one for creams? One for everything? One for every day of the week, or month it seems in some cases.
As for me. I chose one silvertip badger, one best badger and two cheap boars. Which is best? Still assessing. They are all very good. Will I add more. You bet!
In the photo, left to right: Simpson's Duke 3, Kent BK8, Semogue 2000, Semogue 1305.
Some like them up. Some like them down. So here they are, both ways.

The Stash

Where do you keep it all? Not in my bathroom. It's all in a bedroom drawer. Except for the brushes. Must be enough in there to last a few years. Must learn to resist temptation. Or should I? Each day it's decisions. Which razor, blade, brush, cream or soap, after shave and or moisturiser. Alum? Scuttle, bowl or none. Palm or face?
This used to be easy. Not any more. Decisions, decisions.


Shavoholics all succumb to collecting. However hard you try, you won't stay at one of anything. I didn't try but I have stopped for now. This is my little lot. From left to right:

Gillette Superspeed, Merkur 34C, Merkur 38C, Mach 3 (posh one from Gentleman's Shop, Hungerford), Gillette knack/twist, Gillette Fatboy, Gillette flare tip rocket. Some new, some old. But all great performers.

Dirty Bird Pottery

Julie Moore, otherwise known as Dirty Bird Pottery based in Virginia, USA is a well known name to shaving aficionados.Here are some of her works of art which have made their way to my New Forest shavery. Great to look at, great to use.They are a lather bowl,shaving mug and scuttle. They can all be used for making lather. The scuttle keeps it warm.


Making lather is one of the delights of wet shaving. There are different ways of doing it. And lots of opinions about what a decent lather is.
I'm trying bowl lathering, palm of hand and direct face lathering. Even seen an experienced wet shave barber starting lather off by using the side of a basin.
Then there's cold or warm lather. All sorts of bowls to choose from. And scuttles which enable you to make warm lather. Then you can swirl, whip, push and prod with your brush. You can make as little or as much as you like. Then you can paint or swirl while applying to your face.
Its both a craft and work of art.
I'm not going to try to explain all this here. You will find tips and videos galore on the internet.
I now have all the gear to do it any way I want. Have a look at some examples here.
As of today, I'm beginning to think that for creams you may as well pop your cream into the palm of your left hand and just work it into the tips of the brush and face lather. That way, you get the benefit of an exfoliating massage, have control over the type of lather you want and don't waste much.
But before you get to that point you need to be able to judge the best balance between the amount of cream and water that gives you the lather you want.
As for soaps, I now just load the brush and face lather.

Saturday, October 3, 2009


I never gave much thought to shaving for about 65 years. I vaguely remember using a double edge blade. Then I recall a single cartridge with two blades that eventually became 3 blades, then Mach 3.
My wife would keep me supplied with cans of shaving foams and gels. A quick rinse, on with gel and a couple of minutes and a few scrapes later I would jump in the shower. 10 minutes in the shower room was about it.
So by last year I was on to a Gillette M3 power razor and blades. Then one day I began to grumble about the cost of replacement blades. Something triggered a google search and I began to wonder about going back to an old fashioned method of shaving. I figured I could buy a decent razor for around £30, double edge blades for a few pence each, a brush for a fiver and some cheap shaving soap or cream. It seemed to me that the savings in buying M3 blades would quickly offset the new investment.
I read some reviews on Amazon and bought a Merkur razor, made a trip to Tesco for the rest and was on my way.
So I suppose that the answer to "Why?" was to save money. That makes me smile now.


Thought I would keep this going for a while as much for my own interest as anything.

My interest really took off when I came across shaving forums. I registered with three. Soon got banned from the biggest because I complained about my post on The Gentleman's Shop visit being moved without explanation. For a website based in a country that gave "The Wire" to the world I found it incredible that I should be banned for using some mildly strong language. Banned for life. No appeal. Great move for transatlantic relations. C'est la vie. Badger and Blade by the way.

So I moved on and now get a lot of help from a great bunch on The Shaving Room based in my own country. I also registered on The Shave Den. Another friendly crowd offering lots of advice.

So a good piece of advice for anyone taking up an interest. Find a friendly forum, read, then if you need to, ask for help. But you need a thick skin - you may find that not everyone is as pleasant as you are.