Friday, July 28, 2017

SOTD and Adding Menthol to Balms/Lotions

How to Add Menthol

A  touch of menthol can take an aftershave lotion or balm from good to great. Here's how I add menthol to my post-shave liquids, gels and balms.

Menthol crystals under mint leaves.
The gear that I use is as follows:
  • Menthol crystals -- I bought two ounces via eBay for just a few dollars including shipping (from China)
  • A small plastic container in which to dissolve the menthol. I use a re-purposed yogurt container. Because the menthol is dissolved using heat (generated in a microwave oven), the plastic should be designated as recycle code #5, which is very heat tolerant.
  • The liquid/lotion to which the menthol will be added
A key point to keep in mind is that adding menthol to products is like adding salt to food: add gradually because once you've put it in, you can't take it out.

So here's the method:
  1. Put a few menthol crystals in the dissolving container.
  2. Add a small quantity of the liquid/lotion to which you desire to add menthol.
  3. Nuke in your microwave oven for about four seconds.
  4. Check to see that the crystals have dissolved; if not, nuke for just a few seconds more.
  5. Add a bit more liquid/lotion to mentholated sample in the cup and mix.
  6. Return the mentholated sample into the main container of liquid/lotion. Mix thoroughly (I generally shake the container).
  7. Check for sufficient mentholation in the end product. If not enough, then repeat this process until you are satisfied with the degree of mentholation.


After two daily shaves with my straight razors, I thought I'd go for an open-comb shave. So I used my double-open-comb razor (DOC) from Phoenix Artisan Accoutrements (PAA). I really like this razor for a one-lather shave that uses on any given patch of beard razor strokes from virtually every direction to help ensure a close shave.

The double-open-comb razor with its unique combed top cap, which retains lather and moiture,
and re-spreads it when reciprocating (buffing type) strokes are used while shaving.
Link to PAA here.

I had a cool-water shave, but prepped my face with a pre-lathering of PAA's Scentsless pre-shave soap. I left the wet lather on rather than rinsing off, and rubbed on my Bay Rum shave puck for face lathering with my Omega Syntex brush. I've found that though the Syntex brush is rather stiff initially, over time it has softened nicely. It's a nice brush for everyday use or for travel.

I find this DOC to be both face friendly and a capable shaver. Today I paired it with a third-use Personna blue blade, and snugged the razor slightly less than completely snug. This makes it a touch more aggressive, while still retaining its basic low-irritation character, and, of course, the lather-conserving nature of the open-comb top cap.

The PAA double-open-comb razor. The combed top cap retains lather and moisture,
which facilitates reciprocating (buffing-type) razor strokes.

After I finished the primary shave, I wetted my hands and checked for satisfactory closeness. In those areas I wanted to improve with some finishing strokes, the added moisture combined with the residual lather on my face to enable comfortable and effective final clean-up strokes with the razor.

The result lived up to pre-shave expectations being both close and comfortable.

Happy shaving!

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