Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Several Related Thoughts....

Chasing Baby Smooth

Ever since I discovered old-time shaving with a double edge, I've been striving for the perfect shave: baby smooth and no skin insult of any kind. The reality is, however, that's just not going to happen. The combination of my wiry beard, angle of growth, and skin sensitivity and texture makes this theoretical ideal exactly that: theoretical.

I can get baby smooth all over, but I will have wounds; it's unavoidable. I can have happy skin, but I will feel stubble if I rub against the grain.

The solution is obvious: stop chasing baby smooth!

I will still pursue a good shave. I did so this morning. I took one of my adjustable razors, set it on its mildest setting, and made a first pass largely against the grain. Then I adjusted my razor to a middling setting, re-lathered (deviating from my oft-used single-lather shave) and again shaved largely against the grain.

Then I used some extra water and lather remaining on my face and the underside of the razor, and did touch-up strokes with the razor set to about two-thirds of full bore.

Using a light touch throughout, I got a very good shave -- not quite perfect, but close enough to satisfy.

Alternating Aspirations

I'm also planning on alternating the focus of my daily shaves. I'm thinking that every other day instead of going for a very close shave as described above, I'll simply do a single-pass, with-grain shave using one of my adjustables set on its mildest setting. 

The point of this regular ultra-light shave is to still keep the beard growth down while giving my skin time to rest and recuperate from my close-shave obsession. I'll let you know how this works out.

A Soothing Balm

When at the Maggard Meet in May, I acquired enough soap samples to keep me testing for quite a long time. I also received several after-shave-product samples including a Black Bot balm from Phoenix Artisan Accoutrements.* 

I gave this a try and found that it's a very moisturizing, soothing after-shave product. I also really like the bouquet.

The company, Phoenix Artisan Accoutrements, is the same organization that has brought several unique razor designs to market, often taking arcane vintage ideas and resurrecting them with modern design tweaks. 

Their double-open-comb razor is one such example. Although I was rather dismissive of this design intially -- thinking it innovative and interesting but not essential (what is?) -- I have been reading more review and discussion of this razor, and was sorely tempted to give it a try.

I will revisit this impulse within the next few weeks, when I place my order for the Black Bot balm.

A Few Garage-Sale Razors Remaining

If you're open to trying what may be a great value, take a look at my remaining garage-sale inventory.

Happy shaving!

*affiliate organization


  1. I agree BBS is tough to get and that's why I don't try for it anymore. I normally do two passes and get a DFS to near BBS shave that is comfortable for my face and skin.

    However, I recently received a Parker Variant to try and on my second morning with it, I opted to try a third pass. I have it set on 3 and the first pass is WTG, the second varies WXATG depending on where. So I did a third pass which was ATG entirely except for the mustache area. Wow, BBS pretty much everywhere...if the next three shaves go that well with the 3rd pass I may have just found my new true love.

    I decided to try it and see how my face responds, if it does well I will finish my 5 days of testing with it and 3 passes. It'll be a nice test before I ship it off to the next person (who I now secretly dislike though for no other reason than I have to send this razor to them).

    FYI: Regular routine for me is pre-shower shaving, wet face with warm water, face lather Arko, 2 pass WTG & WXATG, shower. After the shower I use the nivea sensitive skin balm and a light face cream. I do have a goatee without a mustache so I don't have to navigate my chin.

  2. I've got the hair removal formula down pat, but yeah, the skin grows at an independent rate. Which leaves me in an awkward place, because the greater part of my routine is already through the window -- I can't pull myself back in on the strength of my ankle! Just like a beginner, and just like after I started sliding, now I have to find the perfect blade, in a sharper range, and repeat the whole cycle.