Tuesday, August 15, 2017

A Shark, Shavette, & Sandalwood Shave

Shark Blades

I received Shark-brand half-DE blades with my Parker barber razors. I also received full-sized Shark-brand double-edge (DE) blades with my Parker Variant adjustable razor. I find them sharp and durable. 

When I use the half-sized Shark blade in my preferred Parker PTB shavette, I don't use it straight from the wrapper. I literally "cork" the blade two strokes through the cork from a wine bottle. This seasons the edge -- takes a bit of the bite from the recyclable blade, which makes it well suited for a non-safety shave in my replaceable-blade straight razor.

The blades seem fairly long lasting as well. Today I had a very satisfactory shave with a fourth-use Shark blade in the barber straight, and have dried and palm stropped the blade in preparation for a fifth use in the near future.


Parker Shavette

As I've written previously, I like the weight and size of the Parker PTB (push-type-barber razor). As I have continued to gain shaving experience with straight razors, I find my shaving stroke (with either hand) has evolved to have a pretty consistent feather-light landing at the initiation of the stroke, and a light pressure throughout.

I do have to chuckle at some video "stars" on youtube who have long-standing growths of facial hair on chin and upper lip, yet claim to be handy with a straight razor. The primary challenge of shaving with a straight are safely shaving those very areas. For me, the hairs very high on the upper lip that are essentially just within my nose are my greatest challenge. The point of my chin is the second most challenging. The highest area under my lower lip is the third-greatest challenge. How someone can not often shave those areas and yet claim proficiency with a straight is suspect. They may actually be an expert, but the proof may be in the pudding, which in this case is shaving those most challenging areas.

I really like the PTB for its full size, its metal that is all stainless steel for durability and easy care, and its moderate (not heavy) weight, which I find to be very responsive and offering great tactile and auditory feedback as I shave.

It was actually my plan this morning to shave with a DE razor, but at the last minute, heard the call of the PTB and the anticipation of another fun, challenging shave with a straight razor. My shave delivered that fun and satisfaction, though, once again, I'll remind you that the outcome of my straight-razor shaves isn't record-setting close. In fact, my straight shaves have similar results to my twin-blade-cartridge razors that I used to have before I discovered the pleasure of old-school shaving. My straight shaves are good enough for a daily shave, but hardly baby smooth.


Sandalwood Soaps

I've been doing sandalwood shaves the past few days. My prep begins with my usual splash and rub of cool tap water. Then I wash my face with sandalwood (and grapefruit) bath soap from the Sudsy Soapery.

This sandalwood soap is special in my humble opinion. In my limited olfactory experience with sandalwood-scented products, they have seemed a bit spicy -- almost like a weak bay-rum scent. Not this soap from the Sudsy folk. This stuff clearly smells like sandalWOOD. The woody scent is not overpowering, but instead is subtle and pleasant. However, I'd not mistake this for a weak bay-rum concoction, as I used to with a sandalwood shave soap from a different manufacturer-seller.

Anyway, I left the bath soap on my face as I completed setting out shaving accoutrements, and then, without rinsing, rubbed some macadamia oil on my soapy whiskers. I then completed the shave preparation by face lathering my sandalwood shave soap into a rather thin, watery lather (as opposed to thick and fluffy). I think a slightly-thin, watery lather works well with a straight razor.

Finishing Touches

After rinsing off with cool tap water and pat drying, I rubbed in a splash of generic drug-store witch hazel that has been augmented with peppermint and menthol. After that dried (as I cleaned and dried my shaving hardware), I applied Phoenix Artisan Accoutrements' (PAA) Black Bot after-shave gel, which is currently only available as a sample, but I'm awaiting general availability, when I will buy a bottle. I really like the Black Bot scent from PAA, and this particular product has the right amount of menthol to make it great.

Happy shaving!

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