Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Product review: The Shave Well Company Truly Fog Free Shower Shave Mirror

I've tried a bunch of different shower mirrors over the years.  The fact that I've tried so many is a pretty good indicator that I haven't had the greatest luck with them.  So many of them have not lived up to their fogless claims, have rusted, or fell off of my shower wall and got damaged.  These have been mirrors of different sizes and shapes - all used for the sole purpose of shaving in the shower.  This product is the most recent one I have bought, and I've used it quite some time now before writing this review.

Before buying, I read the reviews of this mirror and most of them were pretty favorable.  I recall reading some reviews saying that it did not work as well as expected.  I decided to give it a try.  For the price, it is very affordable for a shower mirror.  The first thing that got my attention was that this mirror is small.  Probably the smallest shower mirror I have owned, at 6" by 4".  It is also very basic and isn't very visually appealing.  If you are concerned about aesthetics more than function, you probably won't be crazy about this product.  There is no frame of any kind and no razor hangers or anything else on it.  Just a board with reflective mirror coating.  One of the selling points for this mirror is that it uses adhesive tape to stick to your shower wall rather than a suction cup.  Well, my mirror eventually fell from the shower wall.  The mirror didn't sustain any damage from the fall unlike other mirrors I have owned.  However, I ended up replacing the hook that it came with (and adhesive tape), with a quality suction cup hook.  It has not fallen since.

As far as being fogless goes, I really did not find this mirror to perform much better than any other fogless mirror I have owned.  I have always made sure to follow the directions by placing the mirror under the stream of hot water from the shower (and much longer than the recommended 2-3 seconds).  I tried holding it very close to my shower head so that it would be hit with the hottest water coming out of it.  The mirror stays fog free for a couple minutes before it gets foggy.  I usually have to take it off the hook and put it back under the shower head a few times during the course of a shave.  I understand that it is a matter of physics that makes it work, and that it should work. However, in my situation, with my conditions, it simply does not work significantly better (if at all) than a fogless mirror that does not have to be removed from the hook and placed under the stream of water from the shower head.

The mirror appears to be very durable.  It has probably remained the cleanest of any mirror I have ever used for an extended period of time.  When the mirror is fogless it is extremely clear.  Unfortunately, the fogless part hasn't worked out too well for me.  While writing this post I found that Shave Well now has a mirror that is 33% larger than the one I own.  That is definitely a positive, as I feel the original one is on the small side.  For someone that wants a durable, no-frills mirror, this mirror may be perfectly fine for those needs.  Otherwise, if you are like me, you may be a bit disappointed by some of the characteristics of this mirror.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Product review: Proraso shaving cream soap, Eucalyptus and Menthol

Ahhh, yes, Proraso.  Particularly, Proraso shave cream with Menthol and Eucalyptus.  Whether you are a wetshaving veteran or a noob, you've likely heard of this brand of product.  This is one of the first shaving soaps I ever used, mainly due to the reputation of the product.  I consider this one a go-to shave soap and I seem to always have one of these on hand.
This product is made in Italy.  The company was founded in 1930 and has been used worldwide for a number of years.  The smell of eucalyptus is fairly strong, but I don't find it overwhelming.  Definitely appealing to me.

The lather of this soap is pretty impressive.  It can be worked into a thick lather with relative ease.  The coverage from the lather is very good.  Just a little whipping of the product will provide plenty of coverage to make a couple passes with the razor over your entire face.  The razor cuts very well with this, gliding with little friction.  The menthol in this cream enhances the experience of shaving with it by providing a cooling sensation.  The overall quality of shave is excellent.

The price of the product for the quality is very reasonable.  There is nothing really fancy about the packaging or even the container.  It is just a solid and reliable product.  You can always count for a good shave.  I especially recommend this for people just starting.  The cream is really easy to work with and performs very well, regardless of the amount of water or type of brush used.  It's hard to go wrong with this cream.  Chances are, you've already used this if you've been shaving the old fashioned way for any amount of time, if not, give it a try!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Take a month off from shaving for Movember!

It's stache time!

November in the US is the month that is designated for raising awareness about men's health issues. Prostate and testicular cancer are the main ones. Men really need to step it up and become more aware of male-specific health issues.  Every year we are bombarded by pink everything during the month of October for breast cancer awareness.  Yet, male cancers are rarely discussed or addressed.  One in six men are diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime and the life expectancy for men is currently five years shorter than women.

So how does a stache fit into this?  The growing of a mustache for this month is a useful way to show your support for men's health initiatives.  It sounds silly, but it does work.  The growing of a mustache really serves as a conversation starter on health issues.  Men are generally uneasy about these conversations and the mustache breaks the ice and draws attention to the issues.

So, if you are interested in participating, sign up at Movember.com and create a "Mo Space" to showcase your stache.  You can easily accept donations that go towards research and awareness for male cancers.  About 82% of raised money goes to men's health programs, and not just towards marketing campaigns.  So, step up and get involved, and have some fun while you're at it.  The cause is a serious one, however, and more men should be take it seriously.

Watch the video and learn more about Movember:

Friday, October 19, 2012

Product review: Taylor of Old Bond Street Avocado Shaving Cream

Ahhh, yes.  This is one of the first shaving creams I used back when I got into wetshaving.  I find myself going back to this one from time to time.  I'm never disappointed.  A tub of this can be had for about $15 from various retailers.

Ok, so the fragrance is fairly subtle in this product.  That's probably a good thing.  I really wasn't sure what to expect it to smell like considering it contains avocado.  The scent is light and fresh with a sort of grassy smell.  The smell might turn some people off but it doesn't bother me.  If you aren't deterred by the smell, I think you will be pleased by the results.

This cream yields one of the best lathers of any shaving cream I have used.  It doesn't take much cream on the tip of your brush to really get this going.  The later lubricates the razor very well.  Perhaps it is the avocado oil in this cream that provides a really smooth shave.  Additionally, it is likely the avocado oil that leaves my face feeling moisturized and not irritated.  Considering this was one of my first shaving creams, I think this would be good for other beginners as well.  It lathers super easy and provides a quality shave.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Product review: Baxter of California Facial Scrub

A facial scrub is often overlooked by men, and may be regarded as something typically reserved for women.  I couldn't disagree more.  A good facial scrub is one of those important parts of getting a good quality shave and improving the appearance of your skin.  I've gone through numerous facial scrubs and have found some that feel like they really don't scrub at all and don't improve the skin.  That is not the case with this particular scrub, however.

I've used this product several times and I keep going back to it.  It does cost a bit more than what you might find at a supermarket, but the price (around $15) is very reasonable as compared to some of the higher-end and more expensive brands.  Previously, this scrub was packaged in a plastic jar.  The most recent one of these that I bought came in a squeeze tube.  Going from a jar to this seemed a little odd at first, but now I have come to prefer the tube.  It is easy to get the desired amount out of the tube without getting the contents wet (as sometimes happen with the jar).  Also, if you forget and leave the lid off the jar, it is has a tendency to dry up.  The scrub squeezes very easy out of tube, making it effortless.

Now, for the actual scrub, this is where this product excels.  It is recommended to use this scrub once or twice a week.  But wow, what a difference it makes smoothing my skin and clearing dead skin cells.  I notice a big difference in the appearance of my skin after using this scrub.  It just looks more vibrant and healthy, and contributes to a better shave as well.  It is fairly abrasive.  So, just lightly rub and scrub this onto your face and rinse it off.  If you're like me, you'll be pleased with the results.   The scrub has a light fragrance that smells better than some other products I have tried and does not smell too "chemically".  If you are familiar with cherry flavored Pop-Tarts, you may notice a similarity in the smell between those and this scrub (seriously!).  The scent vanishes very quick after you rinse the scrub off.

I think this is a really solid scrub for the price.  It is well worth spending a few extra dollars over products sold at a supermarket.  Using it only once a week, you should get a decent amount of uses out of it.  I definitely recommend this scrub.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Product review: Edwin Jagger shaving soap with aloe vera

This shave soap is nearly all natural, at 99.9% natural.  It is 65 grams, so it is a bit smaller than the usual 100 gram puck.  Aloe Vera is used to leave the skin moisturized and soothed.  It is natural and pareben free.

Starting with the fragrance, this cream definitely gets a thumbs-up from me.  This is one of my favorites in that department.  It is a very fresh fragrance.  I enjoy starting my day off with this scent.  It is a bit fruity, but not overwhelming at all.  It doesn't smell overly scented or artificial.

This cream lathers very easily into a nice thick lather.  And the lather holds well too.  No problem getting nice coverage with it.  Not only does it lather well but it provides for a pretty smooth shave.  Above average in my opinion.  For sensitive skin like mine, this cream did a great job.  It left my skin feeling pretty good too, with no irritation.

As I said, the scent of this is really the thing that got my attention when I used.  Just a delightful scent.  But, it gives a good shave too.  This is definitely one that I enjoy using and would definitely recommend.  It is a little pricey, but I think it is worth the price.  I've definitely bought worse and more expensive products.  

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Shower safety razor hanger?

I know there are a ton of safety razor stands available for purchase.  All kinds, and some really fancy ones for hanging your shaving brush as well.  Those are cool and definitely serve a purpose.  But what about a shower safety razor hanger?  Not a stand, but some kind of razor hanger than can be affixed to your shower wall.  I previously owned a shower mirror that had slots for hanging items on it.  I found that it was very convenient to hang my safety razor and brush from the mirror.  Of course, the mirror eventually broke, and now I realize just how convenient it was.

Hmm, wonder if there are any other products out there other than crappy shower mirrors that would be suitable for this.  I guess I could just use a razor stand but like I said it was convenient having it hanging on the wall.  Something about having it hanging there that I preferred.  I guess there are downsides to it as well.  The wife knocked it off the hanger a time or two (a problem I never had) and dulled the blades.  So, I wasted a few blades - not a huge loss.  Fortunately my safety razor was never damaged from falling.  And I'm probably even more fortunate that it didn't crack a tile in my shower.  Ha, maybe I'm talking myself out of finding a razor hanger as I type this.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Wonderful witch-hazel

I started using witch-hazel just recently.  I tend to gravitate to old-school products, and witch-hazel is definitely one of those.  Witch-hazel moisturizes the skin and can be used after shaving .  I have begun to use it regularly, after each shave.  It tightens the pores and tones the skin, but doesn't leave the skin overly dry.  Great for nicks and cuts as well.  I like the feeling it provides, and I think it improves the appearance of my skin.  There are a bunch of varieties available.  I'm using the Thayers brand.  The varieties include with alcohol, without alcohol, unscented, and many different types of scents.  I usually follow up the witch-hazel with an aftershave balm.  That's my current recipe for success.  I'll put up a review of the specific witch-hazel product I'm using shortly.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

The other side - the crazy costs of multi-blade razors...

I've been trying to convince my wife for quite a while to give a double-edge razor a try for shaving her legs.  So far I've been unsuccessful.  She's scared about shaving around her knees and is convinced she's going to cut herself up.  So, she continues on, buying crappy disposable multi-blade razors.  But, economically, double-edge razors just make so much sense.

So she just came home with a bulk package of multi-blade razors.  Sigh.  It drives me crazy - so much that I had to hop on the computer and have this mini-rant about it.  So wasteful, so expensive for what you get.  Even buying in bulk, they still came out to be just under $3 a razor.  That's craziness to me.  Glad I've moved on, years ago, from spending that kind of money on shaving my face.  I can buy 50 of some of the better (Feather) and more expensive DE razor blades for about $22.  That comes out to be under 50 cents a blade.  Currently, on Amazon, Derby blades are selling for an amazing 200 blades for $17.79.  Wow.  That comes out to be about 9 cents a blade.  So, while my wife is spending nearly $3 a razor, I could spend literally pennies a blade for my shaving needs.  Just one of the many reasons I'm glad I roll with a double-edge razor.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Product Review: Taylor of Old Bond Street pre-shave oil

A quality pre-shave is a helpful way to improve the quality of a wetshave.  The pre-shave helps prepare the skin and hair for shaving and allows the razor to glide better.   When I purchased this product, I recalled reading other reviews stating that the aroma of the pre-shave was very pleasing.  I have found Taylor of Old Bond Street products to be of pretty good quality, so I decided to give this a try.

This pre-shave oil is advertised as being beneficial for those with sensitive skin - I definitely fit that billing.  It contains essential oils that are supposed to moisturize the skin.  This particular pre-shave oil is touted as having aromatherapy as well. 

As far as the fragrance goes, I'm not a huge fan of it.  It is a bit floral for my taste and the scent lingers as well.  The oil is very oily.  It only takes a very small amount to apply to your face.  And it feels a little tacky when going on.  I apply my shave soap/cream with my shave brush right over the oil - some people claim to use the oil on its own without a soap/cream.  The shaves I have gotten when using this product are pretty good. There is definitely much less drag with the razor when using the pre-shave oil.   It leaves my skin feeling nice and moisturized after using it as well.  However, the fragrance hangs around too long and it makes me sneeze.

I recently tried the pre-shave when shaving my head.  My hair was already very short so I wetted my head and applied a small amount of oil to my head and rubbed it into my scalp.  The shave I got was exceptional - probably one of the best I've ever had.  I was nick-free and the shave was very clean and close.  I couldn't have been happier with the shave, but unfortunately the scent just kind detracts from it.  Overall, the oil works good enough if you need or want a pre-shave, but if you are finnicky about fragrances or don't want an oil that smells too floral or serves as aromatherapy, it may be best to use a different product.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Sunday routine tidbit - prepping for wetshaves

On Sunday evenings I typically do a little prep-work for my beginning of the work-week shave on Monday mornings.  It is really pretty simple, but it beats doing it when I am barely awake on Mondays.  One of the things I do is change out my blades on Sunday evenings.  I usually roll with four to five shaves on a single blade.  Changing them every Sunday helps make it easier keeping track of how many shaves I am getting out of the blade.  At this frequency I am still saving quite a bit of money over cartridges.  I use a double-edge blade bank to safely dispose of the used blades.  Going at a rate of about one blade per week, I can go about two years before filling up the blade bank.

This is also a good time for me to do maintenance on my safety razor.  I know there are varying opinions on how often to clean a safety razor.  I usually clean mine, simply as needed.  I don't do it regularly on a schedule - I just inspect it to see if it needs it.  If so, I clean it up and get it ready for duty.

I also check up on my supplies to see what I have and see what needs to be replenished.  Nothing sucks more than running out of one of your favorite shaving supplies.  If I know what I lack, I can prepare accordingly.  I always try to keep extra blades around to make sure I have enough.  You never know when you may get a bad blade, so don't depend on having just one or two to last you through a couple shave cycles.

That's pretty much it.  Quick and painless, but essential for me to keep my routine going.  Makes Monday mornings and the rest of the week much easier to deal with.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Awesome double-edge razor blades, for an awesome wetshave

Most men who partake in wetshaving likely have a double-edge blade of choice.  It's amazing the difference that is discernible between the various blades.  If you are new to wetshaving you may not notice too much of a difference between blades, but eventually you will probably decide on which ones you prefer.  Some of the considerations for picking a blade include sharpness, cost, number of uses, and overall quality.  There are tons of blades to choose from and I find trying different ones is interesting.  Regardless of your choice, you will likely get a better overall shave over cartridge razors, and you will still be saving money.

Feather blades are made of stainless steel and are manufactured in Japan.  I have found these blades to be extremely sharp.  They have a platinum layer that helps the blade retain sharpness.  Some people have complained that these blades are actually too sharp and can leave to irritation or cuts.  I find the shave from these blades to be superior to any others I have tried.  I use these blades for four to five shaves before replacing.  Buying larger quantities, you can get these fairly cheap.

Another great blade is the Derby Extra.  I find these blades to not be as sharp as the Feather.  For some people this may be a good thing.  The price on these blades is very very reasonable for the performance.  With these blades I usually shave four to five days as well.  For the price however, you could switch these blades out more frequently and the price would still be very reasonable.  This may be necessary as I have experienced some of these blades just don't shave very well.  At any rate, you can expect a pretty decent and close shave with these double-edge razor blades.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Wetshaving shower mirrors...an annoyance

Part of the wetshave routine includes using a mirror in the shower.  Especially as a beginner, the mirror is invaluable.  How else are you going to go about shaving?  Unless you have a good amount of experience under your belt, I would be hesitant about shaving without one.  Otherwise there's a good chance you will turn your face into Swiss cheese.  Nobody wants to turn their face into Swiss cheese.  So, the mirror will help with this.  I could maybe pull of shaving without a mirror, but dang, just not sure if it is worth putting myself through the potential outcome.

So, you probably want a mirror.  Obviously you will want to use a fogless mirror.  But, is there really such thing?  Shower mirrors are probably the single most frustrating thing that I deal with for wetshaving.  I've gone through a bunch of them.  The nice-looking metal/chrome ones have a tendency to rust over time.  I have had plastic ones that have inevitably fallen off of the shower wall and broke.  None of them have really stayed fogless for an extended period of time.  Typically they perform well the first couple uses and then begin to become less fogless.  Eventually they don't seem to prevent fog at all.  Really frustrating and really annoying.

The other frustration is the suction cups on most of them.  If you are lucky enough to get one that does have a decent suction cup, don't get too excited...It's likely to eventually fall.  Not only that, but it will strategically fall, unexpectedly, at a point where it will scare the crap out of you.  Seriously.  Out of desperation, I have tried adhesive instead of suction cups but that did not work out so well either.

I guess the mirror is one part of the wetshave where I just haven't found my solution.  I would be interested to hear if other people have the same frustrations.  I feel like every other piece is fairly enjoyable, and that there are good solutions.  There are great safety razors out there to choose from, that do what they are intended to do.  And their are numerous options for shaving brushes as well, and generally, they get the job done.  The mirror though, can be a total frustration.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Badger shave brush don't care!

One of the essential parts of a good wetshave is a quality shaving brush.  I honestly can't say too much about which brands are best.  I've had a Vulfix one now for several years that I have been happy with, so I haven't tried any others.  It gets the job done and is durable - I've dropped that thing in the shower many times and the handle is still in great shape.

The bristle of choice on a shaving brush is badger hair.  There are different grades of badger brushes that cover the quality of hair selection.  A "pure badger" brush is the lowest of these grades.  The top grade is the "silvertip".  These things can be pricey.  Perhaps one day I will move onto a finer brush, but for now I am content with my brush, which I believe is pure badger.

I would advise against trying to save money and buy a boar shaving brush.  I had one back when I didn't know better.  The bristles were very stiff and I didn't have good shaving results with it.  The bristles were just too course and didn't seem to apply the soap well.  Besides would you rather behold a badger (even if it isn't this kind) brush or a boar brush?

Not only does the brush feel nice as you apply the lather to your face, it actually exfoliates a bit.  This prepares your whiskers and helps produce a better shave.  The brush is great for causing hairs to be softened and raised up away from the skin.  The razor can then glide across the skin and cut these raised hairs easier than if a shaving cream was applied by hand.  And it does feel luxurious and some times refreshing to lather on a nice soap to your face!

My trusty badger brush.  Needs a bit of cleaning, but badger brush don't care!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Getting started wetshaving - the early days and a painful lesson

I received a safety razor as a gift for Christmas a couple years ago.  Woot.  I was finally making the switch from cartridge razors to double-edge.  I was excited and a bit nervous.  I do have sensitive skin and I shave everyday for work.  So, naturally, I was a little bit scared about how shaving with the double-edge razor would go.  The safety razor came with a five-pack of double-edge blades.  They were decent quality, but not the best.  I figured it would be best to do a trial run of the wetshave using a double-edge razor on a day I wasn't scheduled to work.  So I chose to do the unthinkable and shave while on vacation.  I usually sport a vacation beard whenever possible, so this was a big departure from the norm.  Anyhow, I began my wetshave routine and then it hit me that I really didn't know how to use the safety razor.  I stopped, read a little about it online, and decided to give it a go.  I was disappointed with my initial results.  I wasn't placing the razor properly onto my skin, so I gave myself some nicks.  I also used way too much force with the razor, rather than letting the weight of the razor do the work.  Unhappy with the results, I regrouped and read a bit more online.

Next time I shaved, the results were much better.  Not too bad.  After a couple shaves, I got a little bit of shaving swag and decided to try the double-edge razor on my head.  Bad mistake.  I was nowhere near comfortable enough with it and it was a painful lesson.  I gashed my ear pretty good and didn't have any styptic at the time.  Ears can bleed like mad if you don't have a way to stop the bleeding!  There were a number of other nicks on my head too - not fun.  Proficiency with a safety razor takes a bit of time.  It's like re-learning to shave.  It's all part of the process I suppose.  Don't be discouraged if your results aren't great at first.  It takes practice, but to me it was well worth it.

Sunday, January 29, 2012


This blog is an overview on my experience of wetshaving and using double-edge razors.  I have been wet-shaving for about 10 years now and made the switch to double-edge razors a few years ago.  For a dude, I have pretty sensitive skin and I have gone through countless products and methods to try to minimize the damage of shaving to my face.

The combination of wet-shaving with quality shaving soaps or creams, and a solid double-edge razor has been the best thing to happen to my skin.  Before I made the plunge to double-edge razors, there was a bit of apprehension.  I guess I was nervous about cutting my face up to pieces.  It was a little intimidating at first, but I caught on pretty quick.  Shaving become far more enjoyable - I guess about as enjoyable as it can be.  I hope to be able to share my experiences and offer my take on some of the products I have used.  For anybody contemplating making the switch to wet-shaving, consider these benefits:

Follow this blog as I share my adventures and experiences.