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Saturday, January 13, 2018

DX Blades and Home-Made After-shave Lotion

HAPPY NEW YEAR! (Horns! Confetti! Drunken revelry!)....

Oh.... long gone? Okay, well, I've been preoccupied with shaving, and life (and stuff).

So, anyway, I'm back to the blog, and I've been considering a few things. One thing I've been doing and thinking about is blades and the differences between some brands.

Derby Extra (DX) Means Extra Irritation?

I have a large inventory of several blades including Personna (blue) Comfort Coated, Personna (red) Platinum Chrome, SuperMax Titanium, Lord Platinum Class, Dorco ST-301, Derby Extra (DX) and Astra Superior Platinum. I have smaller quantities on hand of Gillette 7 O'Clock Super Platinum, Super Iridium Extra Stainless, Feather, Bluebird, Dorco ST-300, Gillette Wilkinson Sword, Shark Super Chrome, Feather, RiMei and Ming Shi MP-036 blades.

Though some blades are noteworthy for being a bit too sharp for my taste, there is only one that really, really stands out -- and not in a good way.

Derby Extra. Ugh!

Though opinions vary (I know, I know), it can't be just me that finds DX blades among the worst. I've just finished another stint of two weeks plus using a DX blade, and I found EVERY SINGLE SHAVE, without exception, to have a higher degree of post-shave irritation.

As you may recall, I take good care of my gear including blades, which means that I carefully press dry (not wipe) them after each shave and then give them two palm-strop strokes on each side of each edge. I routinely get double-digit good shaves from each blade. It's not unusual for me to get shaves numbering in the high teens to low twenties from a blade before sliding it into my recycling can. 

Often I find that blades initially too sharp will mellow with use, hitting a sweet spot later in their life cycle before giving up the ghost. But with the DXs, they just keep going and going without that welcome calming of the edge. Shaves one through fourteen-plus left me irritated on my face, and then in my psyche. What was I thinking when I bought a hundred of these little devils?

Home-made After-shave Lotion

I like the feel of generic drug-store-variety witch hazel as an immediate splash after rinsing off the post-shave residual soap. The witch hazel can be soothing, and has a small amount of alcohol in it, which provides a sanitizing effect without the excessive burn and dryness that accompanies most alcohol-based after-shave lotions.

But I don't like the stink of witch hazel. To attenuate this stink, I've experimented with peppermint oil and menthol crystals, both individually and in combination. These are okay, yet the odor of the concoction is still too much straight witch-hazel smell.

So I've taken some witch hazel, heated in some menthol crystals, and then added a bit of an inexpensive store-bought, alcohol-based after-shave lotion in a fragrance that appeals to me. In my case this is Aqua Velva Ice Blue (AVIB).

Used alone, I find the AVIB lotion to be initially burning, then drying on my skin. It also leaves a residual feeling on my skin's surface that is neither smooth nor comforting. In fact, it feels kind of dirty as though I need to wash my face.

But when I use a witch-hazel base with menthol and about 20% AVIB, I seem to get the best from each individual ingredient: soothing, cooling, sanitizing, and smooth feeling. What's not to love?!

That's it for today. Hope you get everything good in the coming year!

Happy shaving!


Tuesday, December 12, 2017

More DOC Recovery Shaves

Still recovering from that disastrous series of shaves initiated with the Gillette Slim and a new Personna Red blade, I've taken the 8th, 9th, and 10th shaves with the blade in my Phoenix Artisan Accoutrements' (PAA) double-open comb (DOC) razor.

Today's shave was the best of the three, and nearly as good as I can get with any razor. This proves that a really good shave can be had with even a very mild razor when properly wielded.

I used the DOC at its maximum mildness (that is, fully snugged up), and did a two-pass shave and some touch-up strokes. My initial pass was largely against the grain. My second pass was also largely against grain, but also included other stroke directions as necessary on my chin, lips and below the jaw line. Touch-up strokes focused on under jaw line and on my neck.

Happy shaving!