Monday, June 30, 2008

Back at it!

After my worst shave, I decided to give my face the weekend off.  Well almost, I did a quick single pass on face only no neck with my wife's new Ladies Gillette with stars(Thanks Thirdeye.  I'll stick with my Merkur though, she said she really enjoyed it).  Anyhow, new Gillette, hot shower, Proraso pre in shower, wash up, lather with Proraso, condition hair, WTG in shower, XTG in shower, wow almost done. Rinse off, lather, exit, 2 steps to sink, ATG, little touch up. Absolute BBS and ZERO irritation!  I am not going to sell off my mama bears soaps quite yet.  I will keep up with this regimen for a while, and try to sneak in some soap next time I'm on a new blade.  Im telling ya, I am going to get a good shave and smell like almonds or Nernoli!

Friday, June 27, 2008

The day after BBS, how disappointing

Ok, so yesterdays shave was perfect, BBS.  The only thing hat could have improved is if I got to use my Mama Bears almond flavored soap.  So today I set out to replicate the perfect shave with the perfect soap.  Almost identical scenario as yesterday; variables: only one day of whisker growth instead of three, Gillette blade has been used one day, the soap.  Quick play by play; hot shower, Proraso pre, let soak, (added from yesterday) quick rinse of face, whip up lather from shave soap, paint face, let sit a little while, shave, get nicks and weepers on my first "with the grain" pass!  Ive never nicked myself on a WTG.  Very disappointing, well Im not going anwhere today other than maybe Home Depot, one pass will be enough, Ill just touch up on my rough spots.  Nicks galore!  10 for a nickel! WTF?!?  Yesterday I just had my best shave ever, today is honestly why worst shave... well I don't have any irritation at least (faceturbate, wait, yeah I do on one spot on my neck).  Wow, could the gillette blades only last one day?  Could it be that for some horrible reason mama bear soaps just don't work for me? (Anyone have a phone number for Proraso so I can call and ask for almond scent)

Thursday, June 26, 2008

wow, this is it, BBS!

Ok, I've been kinda busy, kinda bummed out, and haven't shaved in the past couple of days.  I was telling myself I was letting my whiskers grow out to better map my face... So I keep reading how prep is the key, and a lot of people swear by a hot towel over lather for a minute or two.  I cant do this, not because I am just so busy that I can't afford one spare minute, but its more like I can't stand still and do nothing for that minute.  I tried lathering up and letting it sit without a towel,  "hmm, I know Ill brush my teeth while I wait" my tooth paste ends up tasting like proraso... yuch.  I brushed my hair, after I shaved I just have to brush my hair again so that was a waste of time.... I just cant imagine sitting there with a towel on my face...  There has to be an alternative.  I know, Ill lather up in the shower, and let it sit while I wash.  

    My wife was already gone to work so I grabbed my gear from the Library, put in a new blade (I really like my blue Israeli, but Im almost out, so I'll save those and try the Gillettes from my sampler pack), and off to the showers.  So I hop in the hot water, get my beard nice and wet, and wonder how bad this shave is going to be because my whiskers are pretty long.  I pop open my proraso pre cream and smear it around.  This time I actually read the directions and said to apply and rub in until absorbed.  I used a little bit more than I usually do and it seemed to really moisturize my face.  Considering that I haven't shaved, in two or three days, I was amazed at how soft my whiskers felt all of a sudden especially when I think on how much more rough my whiskers feel since I started wet shaving.  "Hmm this might be an interesting shave..." I then whipped up a nice brush full of proraso lather, and painted my face.  I let the lather sit as I finished up the shower.  I was about to get out when I thought of how big of a mess I will make in the sink with this much hair growth, So I decided to go for a quick first pass in the shower, and let the hot water clean up my mess.  Wow!  I felt almost zero resistance on the blade.  I kept looking at the razor making sure that there was hair under the blade and that I wasn't just wiping the lather off with the face of the razor.  It was shaving, it was just shaving incredibly smooth.  I rinsed my face, re lathered and got out.  Hey its kinda nice only taking two steps to the shaving sink instead of walking to a completely different room.  Shave across the grain, and still no resistance.  Rinse, check, I seem to be about one pass ahead of myself, the shave is that good so far, and the rough spot on my chin is almost BBS without an Against The Grain pass!.  Re lather and go for against the grain, ok besides a few little weepers on my neck that I don't even feel, this is by far the smoothest, absolutely irritation free, best shave I've EVER had.  Before I cold water splash, my throat is BBS, this just doesn't happen to me.  Im so happy!  As much as I love the scent of my other creams and Mama Bears almond, I am finding it hard to want to shave with anything other than Proraso.  I am not sure if the different blade was that much better for me, the extra pre cream, or what, but all I know is I have a great shave!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Have it all figured out?

So, I have been using proraso for the past week or so and my shaves are coming out quite good.  I am on my second Blue Israeli aka Crystal blade and I really like it.  The other day I pop in a new blade, lather up with Proraso, have 2 passes, hydrating between passes, then put on some Art of Shaving pre shave oil, and finish up the last two passes.  Just about a perfect shave!  The next day I was going somewhere or doing something special (cant remember what it was) and wanted a lighter scent so I decided to forgo the Proraso and shave with my Classic Lavender.  After 4 passes I had the least amount of irritation yet on any shave, but the shave was not as close as I had been getting with the Proraso.  I thought maybe it was just because it was a used blade (I have been getting 3 shaves per blade) So today I thought I would use the same blade (more used now) with Proraso and see how it goes.  Unfortunately I did not do this test very scientific as I changed more than one variable.  I decided to try using the Proraso Pre/Post cream as a pre shave (I have up until now only used it as a post shave treatment).  Well, even with a used blade, I have the best shave to date.  Only the slightest amount of irritation and that is when I am outside in the heat and starting to sweat, and a nice smooth face (including my neck)!  Well, Im sure that the majority of my shave improvements is strictly my techniques improving, but it sounds like I have my base blade/cream to base all others on.

Comment on putting the AOS Pre shave oil on after the second pass:  My first two passes on my neck cause no irritation, third pass I can feel some resistance, and the fourth ATG pass is where things get tender.  I have found that if I put the oil on at the beginning, I shave it off by the time I really need it on.  It seems to work pretty well.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Trying out the (in)famous Proraso

So in my running around yesterday I stopped by a beauty supply that happens to carry the classic Italian shaving cream Proraso.  I've read many good reviews about it, its cheap, so I decided to try it.  $12 for a big ol' green tube of shave cream and another $12 for a jar pre/post shave cream.  Couldn't wait to get home and try it.  Well, as they say one thing led to another and never got a chance to shave Saturday.  No worries Sunday morning will start off with a bang... well, some house work, an emergency call for work... Saturday night before bed I finally take a shower and head off to the library to shave.  Nice sink full of hot water with my brush soaking during the shower, drain and refill with fresh hot water, load up the brush with a little pearly white worm of proraso, and we're off and running.  

Hmm sorta medicinal smell, Eucalyptus and menthol, lather is pretty dry, add some water, lathers really quick.  Seems pretty slick, smells..."classic" kinda reminds me of a (not necessarily mine though) grandfather.  It shaved quite well, had enough cream in the brush for a good 3 pass shave plus a little touch up.  I have had some irritation on my throat that I want to clear up (barely visible) so I didn't go for an aggressive ATG final pass.  My neck is not the smoothest (cant get it smooth without the ATG) after tonight's shave, but better than my usual old shaves with a Mach 3.  Only one slight nick, and I'm hesitant to call it an actual nick, it stopped weeping before the last pass.  One last hot water rinse, wipe off the face, then cold water splash.  I started to pat dry my face when I remembered the aftershave cream, I re-wet my face and get a little of the thick paste on my finger, I rub it around in my wet hands and pat my face, it feels pretty good, no alcohol burn, but it does feel warm (and cool at the same time?) sorta like I used some CoolHot on my face.  All together a very pleasant shave.

All in all I think the shave cream does a very good job, it seems like it is very lubricious, it makes my face tingle, and it is very refreshing.  The scent is... there.  I do very much enjoy the vintage clean smell of it, but it might be just a little over the edge into the medicinal.  I will definitely be using the shave cream again, I need to try the post cream again, I'm not sure if it really does anything for me.  I think next time I shave, go for the final ATG, and develop some razor burn for my troubles, I will learn if the stuff really does what it is supposed to do.  Judging by the shave cream, I will be surprised if it does not.

Closing thought is if they made this stuff smell like Mama Bear almonds, I would sell off the rest of my shave creams and concentrate on the perfect blade.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

new blade, hot lather, and a damn fine shave

Well, no pressing jobs this morning, my wife is finnaly back to work, so I get to shave in the big bathroom, not my personal "library".  I get the shower running, fill the sink up with hot water to soak the brush, and I put a little hot water on my soap.  Ok, time for a new blade, I was going to pop in another Derby, but thought I would try a Dorco instead.  Water is nice and hot so I take my shower. Shower is done and the hardest part about shaving, NOT drying off my face... I have always dried my face first thing when I step out of the shower for ever!  Lets shave!  I dumped out the cooled water on the soap, put on some new fresh hot water and lathered up with Neori.  Wow, so this is what everyone is hooping and hollering about about, the HOT lather felt great!  I started to shave... kinda odd... the blade almost feels sticky?  Im guessing that it is not quite as sharp as the Derby, and I am feeling extra drag.  Mustache: down, quick lather, L to R, quick lather, R to L, done.  Sides of face: down, QL, L to R, QL, R to L (which is against the grain), inspection, minor touch up on chin, done.  Rinse face, lather throat, top down (smoothest), QL, bottom up, QL, on sides of throat R to L (against the grain), all is good and pretty smooth with no irritation, then center throat (problem area) R to L, done.  I'd have to save this is my best shave yet,  I had some touch up on my throat but not too bad.  I noticed with the Dorco, it doesn't seem to shave as well, I shave a short area(chopping motion), turn the razor over and do a smooth second pass of the same area.  

Monday, June 9, 2008

More soap

Ok, so the neroli is growing on me but its still....nice...
Last night I was still pretty awake and knew I had to get up early so I decided to take a nice hot shower and shave.  Both relaxing and with the alarm going off at 4am  the less I have to do in the morning the better.  

Out of the steam and into my little shaving bathroom, decisions decisions... Ill try the new almond soap.  I lather up... ok now I believe I failed to mention that I noticed a difference in lather between shave cream and shave soap.  The soap seems to lather up much quicker than cream, but the creams lather is more...well... creamy and the soaps lather is more...well...soapy.
Anyhow so I start lathering up the almond soap, and wow this stuff hits me, what an amazing smell!  I end up doing a 3/4 pass shave, took my time and just thoroughly enjoyed the scent.  If it were not for impending razor burn for sure, I would have enjoyed another couple of passes.  This morning as I stood in the shower trying to realize that I was not awake and that consciousness was just happening to me... I started thinking about shaving with the almond soap again... ehh forget it, I'd lop off an earlobe.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

shave soap instead of cream

So I got n on the Mama Bear Neroli shave soap.  Everyone was raving how this is the best smelling EO.  This was to be a limited edition special run, the Essential Oil is ridiculously priced, so this special shave soap was to cost more than her regular shave soaps.  It just showed up in the mail today along with a tub of Almond scented soap.  First I open the Almond, sniff sniff, mmm almonds, then I crack open the Neroli, sniff sniff, hmm, sniff sniff, smells like an orange tree.  Not like an orange, but an orange tree.  I didn't shave this morning so in the evening I went into the bathroom, ran some hot water, splashed my face, put in a new Derby (I found out yesterday 3 days is just about maxed out on a blade for me) and started to get lathered up.  Wow this stuff lathers up real quick compared to the Classic Brand and Art of Shaving creams that I've been using.  The scent is.... there.... its not bad, but its not great.  I don't think I would have picked it up at a store if I could smell it first, and then with the added EO price hike.... I would have left it on the shelf.  This was not my best shave.  Im guessing because I did not take a hot shower prior to shaving my beard was pretty rough.  I also did not use any shave oil.  I only did one pass as my face was getting pretty beaten up, I'll wait until tomorrow after a shower and give it another go.

Monday, June 2, 2008

new approach to multi pass shave

Ok, so shaving my cheeks is the easiest, followed by my chin, with my neck as the hardest to get a good smooth shave.
I see no need for a 4 pass shave on the cheeks, so I tried something new today, one pass south on each cheek, re-lather and add a little water to lather on chin and neck, then one north pass on each cheek. Add a little more water to chin and neck keeping lather fresh.  Shave with grain on chin, re-lather just chin, shave cross grain, re-lather, shave against grain.  Oh yeah I shaved my mustache at some point in here...  my face is now shaved and clean of cream while my neck is still slathered.  I then shave with the grain on my neck and remembered that I forgot to use pre-shave oil and feel the start of razor burn.  I finish the first pass nice and slow, finding that indeed short shaves work better than long pulls of the razor.  I put some oil on my neck, re-lather and shave cross grain, I think I shaved cross grain twice but not quite sure, followed up with an against the grain shave.  
results: not quite baby butt smooth but by far the best shave so far.  Not sure if it the shave oil, the switch to Derby blades, or just my techniqe is improving, but I only have the slightest amount of  sensation from the shave.  I almost wish I could try shaving twice a day, but ehh too much work.