Friday, December 14, 2018

Five Gift Ideas for The Bald Guy in Your Life

December 14, 2018 0
If you don’t have a bald guy in your life, then this post might not be for you.  But you’re struggling for gift ideas for that person; read on.   In this case the bald guy in my life happens to be … well … me.   My wife asked me what I wanted for Christmas and I just came up blank.  But after some thinking and endless web surfing I came up with a few ideas and figured I’d share. 

HeadBlade S4 Lunar Eclipse

The HeadBlade S4 Lunar Eclipse:  Sure, anyone can get a regular HeadBlade Sport.  But the S4 Lunar Eclipse is a limited edition, stainless steel razor, in black.   I really like my HeadBlade Sport, but the stainless steel makes me feel like I take my head shaves seriously.  I missed getting the HeadBlade ATX Shark Razor a few years back. So this is going on the want list. 
The Gentleman Jon Alum Block
The Gent Jon Alum Block:   After a shave I like to use some sort of astringent.  While using some aftershave splashes satisfies my post shave skin, I sometimes feel like I’m wearing too much aftershave.  Using alum after my head shave satisfies my skin’s need for that astringent and doesn’t leave me feeling that I smell like the cologne counter at Macy’s.  

EMJ Signature Mint Face Lotion
Every Man Jack Face Lotion:  During the holidays many of us have to endure it in a cold part of the country.  I don’t know about you, but my skin tends to get dryer at this time of year.  I apply a lot of lotion to begin with but in the winter I tend to apply it even more.  Even though it says “face lotion” on the bottle I've used the Every Man Jack lotion on my head.  I like their Signature Mint.  But they also have a Fragrance Free as well as a Sandalwood version (which I have yet to try).     

Jack Black Double-Duty Face Moisturizer SPF 20
Jack Black Moisturizer with SPF:  Even though some of us, like me, don’t celebrate the holidays in a warm or sunny climate, it is still nice to have that extra layer of sun protection.  While it may be cold, it’s possible to be exposed to the sun enough for it to do its damage.  So as the name implies, the Jack Black Double-Duty Face Moisturizer SPF 20 is a moisturizer that offers SPF protection.  I’m asking for this one.  Maybe with all of my whining about the cold, this present would come with an additional present of going to Walt Disney World.  Dear Santa … I’ve been really good this year.

Mickey Mouse Winter Pom Beanie
Mickey Mouse Emblem Winter Pom Beanie:  Lastly, if you can’t go to Disney I suppose bring home a little Disney.  It is winter and the holidays can get very cold in Pennsylvania.  For the bald headed Disney fan this Mickey Mouse hat looks like a nice way to help protect against the cold.  Plus, it’s Mickey’s 90th birthday this year and what better way to celebrate (other than actually going to the park).  But, if Mickey is not your thing, there’s a more subtle looking Captain America hat to help protect the pate. It may not be Vibranium but at least it’ll help protect against the cold.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Initial Pass: Dr. Bronner’s Organic Shaving Gel

December 01, 2018 0

I like the Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Liquid Soap; the peppermint is a particular favorite of mine.  When shopping I’ll regularly see the soap bottles, toothpaste, and soap bars. Though I’ve never seen Dr. Bronner’s Organic Shaving Gel until my wife brought a bottle of the Unscented home.  She had been on an assignment for work and happened to discover it in a client’s company store.  If there’s something she thinks is interesting, she won’t hesitate to pick it up for me to try.  I suppose up until this point, I don’t think I realized how much she understood my enjoyment I got from this wet shaving hobby. 
My wife bought Dr. Bronner's Shave Gel on one of her business trips for me to try.
When I first opened the bottle a very thin, brown, runny liquid immediately leaked out of the dispensing opening.  This definitely didn’t resemble gels that I had previously tried before.   After a few shaving sessions it started to dispense more like a textured gel (as if it contained salt granules).  At this point I realized that even though it didn’t mention it in the directions I probably should have shaken the tube first.  This probably would have prevented that the thin liquid from running out.   With subsequent shaves, I would vigorously shake the tube.

It started out runny. But was able to push out a thicker gel.
Even though this Dr. Bronner’s Organic Shaving Gel is described as Unscented didn’t mean it is without an odor. As with other unscented wet shaving or grooming products I’ve tried, I would imagine that the mixture of the different ingredients produces their own aroma.  Personally, I thought the scent of the Unscented Organic Shaving Gel was just awful.  It wasn’t as noticeable when I use it for just my head shave.  But when applying it to my chin and upper lip, I am very aware that it has been applied.  It almost reminds me of the smell of a brand new badger brush that hasn’t been cleansed of it’s odor.   The upside was that it washes away easily and that aroma doesn’t linger around. 

After about 15 seconds, the lather thinned out.
After applying the gel to my head and face with my hands and a bubbly lather started to build.  After stopping the lather disappeared after a few seconds and trying to lather with a brush was no different. I did find that the Dr. Bronner’s Organic Shaving Gel had a decent slickness to it.  However, I did apply my Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint Pure-Castille Soap to my head and face and found the slickness and protection to be similar.   Though I seriously preferred the peppermint aroma to the “unscented.”
Overall, the Dr. Bronner’s Unscented Organic Shaving Gel got the job done.  But, it wasn’t an extremely gratifying experience.  If the shave brush is something of a must in the wet shaving routine then this probably isn’t a must have.

Pairing my Dr. Bronners with my Parker 24C Razor
Have you tried Dr. Bronner’s shave gels?  Please leave a comment below and let us know what you think.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Dr. Jon’s Savannah Sunrise

October 13, 2018 0
If you’re one for a sweet, fruity, and floral scent, the Dr. Jon’s Savannah Sunrise scent might be worth considering … particularly if you like peaches.   The scent is a blend of Orange Blossom, Peach, Gardenia, Jasmine and Honeysuckle.  Personally, I’m not one for floral or sweet fruity scents.  It’s not a hard and fast rule of mine and it’s not that I hate floral or fruit aromas (I actually do like lemon and lime).  But, it isn’t something that I reach for first. 
Dr. Jon's Savannah Sunrise Shave Soap and Aftershave Tonic

Like other Dr. Jon’s Shaving Soap that I’ve used and written about, the Savannah Sunrise Soap performs well.   I usually use the Marco Method (a very wet brush) to load my brushes.  So, the brush loads fairly quickly and I can face lather (or scalp lather for the head shaves) pretty easily.   It is a very soft soap (or croap) and the scent is modestly strong when smelling it in the tin up close and when lathering. When lathered, I’m pretty aware of the sweet, peachy scent.  But, it is a rather pleasant scent  and I don't find it overwhelming.  After rinsing my face I would still smell a trace of it, but it isn’t heavy.  If I use a face wash, I find that it pretty much disappears.

Lathering the Shave Soap

The Savannah Sunrise Aftershave Tonic smells very close to the soap.  To my nose it is strong as I’m aware of the aroma for a couple of hours.  Though, I do speculate that I’m just more aware it’s there because it’s not something that I frequently use.  I will say that I think it has a nice sting to it.   Since it contains alcohol, witch hazel, and menthol, I get the astringent sting at first and then the cooling menthol burn shortly thereafter.  Personally, it’s a satisfying post shave treatment.

Savannah Sunrise Aftershave Tonic

For me, I think my preferences tend to lean towards what I would classify as more traditional wet shaving aromas; like Bay Rum, Sandalwood, Barbershop, or some type of Menthol/Mint.   Even though sweet fruit, floral scents may not be my thing, I do find Savannah Sunrise to be a very pleasant scent.  The strength of the scent of the aftershave tonic dissuades me from using it regularly as I’m aware of that sweetness for longer than I find comfortable.  I do like the performance of the Dr. Jon’s shaving soap and aftershave tonics.  The soap is easy to lather and protects my skin during a shave and the aftershave tonic gives me a satisfying burn.   If you like peach more than I do, this soap might be something to add into the rotation.

Are you a fan of Dr. Jon’s Shave soaps and aftershave tonics?  Please leave us a comment below and let us know what you think.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

A Closer Look at the Merkur 33C Razor

September 02, 2018 0
To me, the Merkur 33C is for those who want the shave of Merkur’s 34C HD razor but don’t want the heftiness.   Like the 34C, the 33C is a safety bar or closed comb razor with polished chrome finish and etched handle.

The Merkur 33C
However, unlike the 34C, the Merkur 33C is a three piece razor as opposed to a two piece.   The 33C’s and the handle is slightly longer measuring 3.625 inches from end to end while the Merkur 34C HD measures 3.25 inches.

The 33C (left) measures a little longer than the 34C HD
It looks like Merkur uses the same razor head for both razors.  So, I find both to be mildly aggressive shavers and the shave quality to be similar.  Admittedly, this is one that I don’t bring out much as I prefer the girth of the handle as well as the weight of the Merkur 34C HD --  The 34C weighed in at 2.8 oz (on our scale) whereas the 33C weighed in at 2 oz.

The 34C (left) is a little heavier than the 33C.  
Between the two I’d have to say that I would opt for the Merkur 34C HD.  I like the heft and I like the two piece construction.  The screw rod on the cap is a little longer than the screw rod on three piece razors.  I’ve written about this feature in a previous post.  While, I didn’t give it much thought first, I do like the longer rods as because I don’t get as much buildup around the threads as I do with the shorter screw rods. 

Unlike the 34C, The Merkur 33C is a 3 piece, safety bar, razor
This isn’t to say the 33C is a bad razor.  I actually find it to be a pretty nice razor. The lighter weight and thinner handle could make it a good option for travel if space in the dopp kit is at a scarcity.

Have you tried the Merkur 33C?  Please leave a comment below. Let us know what you think and how it compares to other Slant Bar Razors.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

The Rise and Plateau of Traditional Safety Razor Shaving in a Single Chart

July 21, 2018 0

A combination of reasons have likely been the driving force behind the semi-recent rise of traditional wet shaving using a traditional safety razor. Post-recession frugality, a desire to change shave from utility to enjoyment, novelty or perhaps even a hipster sense of nostalgia have all helped to drive demand for the cottage industry of shaving with a safety razor. Concurrent to this ascent has also been the increase in competition of the lucrative cartridge razor market. Scrappy upstarts turned billion-dollar darlings like Harry’s and Dollar Shave Club have further stolen market share from behemoth P&G/Gillette, sparking what some have referred to as the bloody razor wars. Will the continued proliferation of shave clubs help or hurt the traditional shaver market? What does the market growth trajectory of traditional wet shaving with straight and safety razors look like?

Consulting with Google Trends, can help us see historical swings:

Unfortunately, they have yet to release a “crystal ball” feature that lets us peer into the future. It not only appears that much of the hype over wet shaving, safety razors and shaving brushes has leveled-off, it would appear that it even may be taking a negative dive.

Currently and unfortunately, the safety and straight shaver market remains somewhat of a cottage industry filled with many a die-hard shaver, but nothing that has really gripped the masses. Perhaps the larger companies got it right. Perhaps, there is a desire for speed and convenience over enjoyment and quality.

There may be other factors at play here. First, the market for razors and blades does not include the margins that it once held. In fact, today’s individual safety razor blades--excluding a count for inflation--still cost about the same amount they did ($0.10 each) when King Gillette sold them 100 years ago. If you count for inflation, it’s a terrible business to be in. Knowing this, giants like P&G have invested heavily in developing convenience versions to provide an easier shave. They not only have spent heavily on the product, which incidentally has some 4,750% markup in the case of the Gillette Fusion, they have also spent heavily on marketing and distribution.

And marketing works. Billions have been spent on convincing the public that the best shave they will ever get is with XYZ blade. Accessibility--which comes with great distribution channels--also ensures the marketing dollars are fully maximized.

The result is a public educated to believe that the best shave they are going to get includes a razor with seven blades and a lubricating strip and a fully-disposable head. Unfortunately, it is going to take a marketing campaign that can get shavers back to the grassroots of what actually works to produce a good, quality shave.

The questions that remain:

     Has safety razor shaving reached its peak or is there further room for growth apart from the hard-core enthusiasts?
     If there is room for growth, where will that growth lead?
     What does the current and future state of the traditional wet shaving market hold for retailers in the space? Consolidation? Disappearance?

Whether the market for wet shaving products continues a slow march forward or whether the current plateau is simply a break toward another large vista remains to be seen. One thing is most definitely for certain, the once dormant cottage industry of shaving with a single blade is not going anywhere. It’s here to stay.

This article was written by Joshua Chou, a wet shaving enthusiast and writer with He is obsessed with evangelizing and promoting all the social, economic and environmental benefits of wet shaving.