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!