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A Journal of A Thousand Miles

The first step of my journal journey begins today, about 4 months into my DE/wetshave adventure, and several weeks into the Covid-19 pandemic.

My latest experiment involves finding the sweet spot for how many days to go between shaves. First off, I've never shaved every day because my skin is sensitive and my facial hair pattern is uneven and grows back slow. There's too much skin and not enough hair for me to shave daily.

Last week, because of quarantine and boredom I shaved every other day. Although I enjoyed my shaves, my skin felt a bit more irritated and I felt a razor bump on my neck.

This week I shaved on 3 days growth (Wednesday), and with my Merkur 34c and new Astra SS (Blue) blade achieved BBS with zero irritation. I'll continue the experiment to weed out as many variables as I can (soap, blade, razor...).

I'm due for a shave tomorrow.

As I look at the month of March 2020 shaving statistics, I had 12 shaves.
  • Soaps: Arko stick (just recently purchased, not much of a fan so far) and Proraso Green cream were used the most at 3 times each. Stirling Barbershop, Proraso Red tub, and Dr. Jon's vegan round out the list.
  • Aftershave: Clubman Pinaud was my most used AS, at 4 times. There's now 14 aftershaves in my den, and I've been going with a rotation lately, trying to get them all in, or most of them.
  • Razor: Merkur 34c was used 7 times (with a few Mach 3 cart shaves to use up the blades, and a vintage Gillette Travel Tech & Flare Tip in the mix- purchased in February)
  • Blades: Astra SP and Lord Super Stainless - both excellent performers for me, maybe the Lord a touch better
  • Brush: Omega 21mm silvertip badger was used the most, with my Surrey boar coming in 2cd (my only 2 brushes)
Thanks for reading!

Pre de Provence, a new soap for me, arrived on Saturday. I chose this scent for Spring time (their 63 is a popular scent) and because I like Bergamot, one of the scents in Duke Cannon Ice Cold, which I'm a fan of (I picked that up on a whim when I went to the pharmacy to buy a new bottle of Nivea sensitive skin, one of my ATF aftershaves and an awesome price/performance ratio).

PdP is a triple-milled (did I read somewhere even a quadruple-milled?) hard soap that I found fairly easy to lather. The scent is delightful but not very powerful or lingering, so I'll consider blooming it next time. Performance wise, it has excellent cushion and slickness, and left my face feeling very moisturized for hours after my shave. Is that the shea butter working its magic? The triple milling? I'll compare ingredients to other soaps, but I can see this soap going right to the top of my list.

My BBS 2-pass + clean-up (on 3 days growth) could also be attributed to the Astra Superior Stainless (blue pack) blade I used, shave #2 with it. I fell in love with Astra Greens, the first DE blade I ever used, and am finding these just as good if not even better.

This was a night shave and I'd normally finish with Nivea balm, but there was zero irritation and my skin felt so hydrated, I only followed up with Thayer's lavender WH.

Pre- Liquid Neutrogena face wash & warm water
Soap- Pre de Provence Bergamot & Thyme
Razor- Merkur 34c
Blade- Astra SS
Brush- Omega 21mm silvertip badger
Bowl- Captain's Choice
Post- Classic Shaving alum, Thayer's WH

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Monday Mail Call (#1 journal mail call)

Geo. F. Trumper Spanish Leather tube shave cream


Proraso Green in the tube is one of my favorite performers. At the moment it's my only cream, and I love how precise I can be in controlling the amount of product used, versus loading the brush, which has more variables involved (pressure on the brush, stiffness of the brush, amount of water in the brush, hard or soft puck, etc).

My technique with Proraso is to squeeze out an almond sized amount (a little on the heavy side) and start with only a little water. This builds up a heavy, thick lather. From there I add drops of water to either the bowl of the brush tips, and lighten up the lather little by little until I get a more yogurty consistency.

This works wonders for me and gives me some of my best shaves. Smooth, BBS, irritation-free.


This is my first GFT product. More upscale than Proraso, at least in terms of price. The scent is terrific- from what I understand a more old-school smell of leather, not a pure, modern, motorcycle jacket or new car leather smell, but a mixture that includes musk and floral notes, a saddle-like scent.

I bought the tube (also comes in a tub)- less money though probably less economical price-wise - just to sample it and experiment with it. This scent also is available in GFT's AS balm/skin food, and as a cologne. I'd like to try the cologne even though I'm not a frequent user. I usually stop at aftershave with my scents.

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No shave today.

After washing my face, I rubbed in some Afta AS (definitely has to be original green bottle, I never did like the blue bottle). Afta was one of my first few aftershaves, after Old Spice, Brut, and some Avon scents (Black Suede and Deep Woods).

I paired Afta with some Truefitt & Hill Grafton cologne which I bought because I saw it described as a Barbershop scent, and thought it would pair well with Stirling Barbershop soap and/or Clubman Pinaud AS.

I hated Grafton the first time I wore it. I didn't get a Barbershop feel at all- I picked up a very fruity, green scent that neither I nor some family members liked. However, after a couple hours the dry-down becomes powdery, something closer to the Stirling Barbershop soap.

Grafton has since grown on me a bit. It will never be my signature scent, or even close to a regular scent for me. But it's one of the few colognes I have (Drakkar Noir and LaCoste White) and I'm going to use it for the warm weather to see how it goes.

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My first selfie haircut - a buzz cut/electric head shave

Well, after missing what would amount to be 3 scheduled haircuts (Covid 19 quarantine), and having an asymmetrical hair style that looked best at cutting every 3 weeks, I felt that I needed to cut my hair. I knew I could not even come close to mimicking what my barber does, so I thought I would need to do a buzz cut. I've worn various style of buzz cut, from a #2 all over to a flat top to a jar head style.

First I took a pair of scissors and cut the long parts off, then I used a 12mm, and finally went down to about 3mm. Right now my hair's uneven, with the back not as short as the top and front. I'll need to do another cut tonight, and I'm thinking I'm going to end up very close to a head shave, albeit an electric shears head shave.

This will be the shortest I've ever gone with my hair, far from my ideal but something that's needed. My hair was feeling super thin & fine, very oily, and my scalp was feeling dry and itchy.

Not the end of the world, especially considering some family issues I'm dealing with, but certainly I'm out of my league and comfort zone here.

Peace & Health to all.
2 days - Friday's SOTD and today's news

4/10/20 SOTD was a bit rushed and abbreviated due to some family matters needing attention:

Pre- Liquid Neutrogena & wram water face wash
Razor- Merkur 34c
Blade- Astra SS (#4)
Soap- Proraso Red
Brush- Surrey boar
Bowl- Captain's Choice
Post- Classic Shaving alum (1 pass) & cold water rinse
AS- Duke Cannon Ice Cold

As my shave ended I didn't have time for Thayer's WH. Not much of a big deal as it was irritation-free. Lately I've been pairing my Proraso soaps with their AS counterparts, but I wanted to use a balm today, and the Duke Cannon has scents of sandalwood & bergamot. The former really pairs well with the Proraso sandalwood.

I completed a smooth DFS 2-pass on 3 days growth. It did feel like the Astra SS is nearing the end of its run, and I usually max out at 5 shaves for comfort, smoothness, and sharpness.

One thing I noticed is that, for some reason, Proraso in the tub can be a difficult lather for me, easily falling in to the watery, bubbly category, and never quite reaching the yogurty consistency that we all desire. I find that the tube/cream presents no such problem (I have that in the Green), and I think my future Proraso purchases will all be creams.

4/11/20 No Shave

No shave today. I did splash on some Proraso Red AS, going a bit heavy. Today is mostly sunny but cold & windy, back to a long sleeve shirt so no cologne. I'm enjoying the sandalwood scent staying with me.

I noticed a small red bump just to the right of center, on my neck. For yesterday's shave, I changed up my WTG pattern. Quarantine had me looking at my face closer for grain pattern, and I thought mine was a more W-to-E than N-to-S pattern, so I adjusted my first pass. Maybe I put too much pressure on that spot being rushed a bit, or following a new pattern requires a new hand movement memory. I'll keep an eye on that.

Peace & Health to all. Yesterday's shave pic is below.

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No shave today 4/12/20

AS: Dr Jon's Runaway - notes of cherry, carnation, clover, leather

Dr Jon's is a light AS, the consistency of water, with main ingredients of alcohol, witch hazel, and water, so it's light and refreshing. Today I noticed that the menthol lingered, which is the last ingredient and not something I normally feel much of. Perhaps it was picked up and carried by my stubble? Not something I feel on freshly shaved skin.

I was thinking about shaving today as I've got a fair amount of stubble, but I've been following my sweet spot schedule of shaving every 3 days. And I have a red/razor bump just to the right of the center of my neck that I want to give a chance to clear/heal. Last night before bed I washed my face and applied Thayer's WH with a cotton ball. Breathing in that very light lavender scent made for a few moments of relaxation.

Lavender really does relax the senses. I use lavender scented epsom salts for body ache soaks, and I'm now on my first bath bar of Yardley's English Lavender, which I really like and recommend.

NOTE: First selfie Haircut

I forgot to mention that yesterday, 4/11/20, I completed my first selfie haircut using my old Remington clippers. I bought that years ago to shape my facial hair. I've been clean shaven for years because when I hit my mid-40s my facial hair became too wiry/dry, and no matter what I tried, facial redness, irritation, and beard dandruff could not be treated successfully. On my haircut I went down to 3mm on the clipper guide.

Peace & Health to all.
SOTD 4/13/20

Pre: Nivea Men's Face Wash, warm water shower
Soap: Geo F Trumper Spanish Leather
Brush: Omega 21mm silvertip badger
Bowl: Captain's Choice
Razor: Mach 3 (#2)
Post: Thayer's lavender WH
AS: Stetson Cooling Moisture (a light touch for Menthol Monday)

Bath Soap: Yardley's English Lavender (very relaxing scent, great lather, rinses off without any residue)

A 2 pass on 3-day growth. I decided to try out the performance of GFT with the "cartridge test." If I can get an irritation-free BBS with a cart, then I know the soap/cream is above average. And that's exactly what happened with Spanish Leather.

Once I take the brush to the bowl, this scent just explodes, and it carries right onto the face and stays there until swept away by the blade/s.

First pass WTG, making sure to let the blades do the cutting and avoiding any pressure with the forefinger. Sometimes at the end of a long stroke I have a tendency to apply pressure, and I recognize that habit and lift the razor before that can happen. Already smooth as silk, and ready for an XTG pass that was close to clean-up duty, really.

My 2cd lather was even better that the 1st, adding drops of water to the brush as needed. The combination of the soft silvertip and luxurious cream really made for a great 2cd pass prep, using both a swirling technique as well as painting the face, especially the neck area.

This cream is loaded with moisture, and what was left on my face I rubbed in to see if I was BBS all over. Success! No irritation, so I skipped the alum bar and went to a cold water rinse followed by Thayer's.

I thought Stetson would be a good match for Spanish Leather, both having notes of Musk, Sandalwood, and Patchouli. The former is very light, both in feel and scent strength. The menthol "cooling" part is very subtle, but noticeable, and the woodsy notes come out as the coolness fades away. It's an inexpensive purchase from Walmart, but performs nicely above its pay grade, soothing and cooling.

One of these days I do hope to buy some GFT AS and/or cologne, but until then I like this combination, better than the AV Musk I tried before when I first used GFT.

It was a great shave to counteract a miserable day of weather...heavy rain and high winds, with the worst yet to arrive.

Peace & Health to all.
Last edited:

Highlights & Notes:

  • Experimenting with my Face Painting technique
  • 1 red/razor bump on my neck that appeared since my last shave, right side of neck, in the center

Shave #5 with the Astra SS blade, so I decided to bump up the schedule and go with a 2 day growth. Sometimes it can depend on the time of day of my last shave as to how much stubble is there on day 2.

Combining the boar brush with the Stirling, I noticed that it likes a heavy load with drops of water added to the brush slowly as I bowl lather.

For my 2cd pass I loaded the brush more and then bowl lathered again. This time my face lather was thick, and as I painted the face I alternated with a few drops of water to the brush. The lather really came to life, and I quickened the back and forth paint strokes. Very effective, made for one of my best Stirling lathers yet.

My original plan was to do a 1 pass with cleanup. I'm experimenting with minimalism and not going for BBS, to see if it's gentler on the face. But the cleanup turned into a full 2cd pass, though I used a very light touch.

I did a 1 pass with the alum and used Thayer's WH which I hope helps to get rid of that razor bump. Zero irritation feedback with the alum. The Gillette gel was a nice scent complement to Barbershop, both light & fresh, neither one long lasting though.

For many years lotion/gel was my only AS type. Splashes are relatively new for me, which might explain why I have a particular fondness for splashes that are more soothing than burning. However, when I used Avon balms in my early 20s (Black Suede, Deep Woods), there was definitely a burn due to the high alcohol content.

Feeling fresh and good. Looking forward to receiving my latest order, my 1st synthetic brush, a Yaqi tuxedo fan knot.

Bath Soap: Yardley's English Lavender

Peace & health to all.

Pre: Liquid Neutrogena & warm water shower
Razor: Merkur 34c
Blade: Astra SS (5)
Soap: Stirling Barbershop
Brush: Surrey boar
Bowl: Captain's Choice
Post: Classic Shaving alum, cold water rinse, Thayer's lavender WH
AS: Gillette sensitive skin gel

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No shave today

AS: Ogallala Bay Rum & Sandalwood


  • Razor Bump update
  • Den Inventory - Razors
If you read yesterday's post, you'll know that I had a razor bump pop on the the right side of my neck. After washing my face before bedtime last night, I used Neutrogena Toner w/ cotton ball all over my face, and then applied Neutrogena Moisturizer to my forehead, which had some dry skin patches. The razor bump is still there but has decreased in size and redness. Definitely showing improvement.

After this morning's face wash with Nivea For Men, I splashed on some Ogallala Bay Rum & Sandalwood AS. Not only is it one of my favorite scents, it's one of my favorite splashes, full of soothing oils that blend in quickly. It leaves my face feeling hydrated, fresh, and clean. SHAKE WELL to mix the oils! Scent strength is very good- I can pick it up at different times throughout my day, for hours. I wish this came in a cologne or EdP. Today I added some onto my wrists and forearms, wearing a short sleeve shirt. The bottle advertises it as a catch-all: AS, cologne, skin treatment. I definitely agree with the first and last.

I'm several posts into my journal and I thought I would present an inventory of my den, started in December 2019 with my first DE related acquisitions. I've kept it modest, and while I like trying new things, I also want to become intimate with what I have, getting to know the nuances of each item, and how it pairs with other items. This can include recognizing what a different brush might do for a soap/croap/cream, or what AS pairs well with a soap, etc.

  1. Merkur 34c HD
  2. Gillette Travel Tech, 1950's
  3. Gillette Flare Tip, 1960's
  • Gillette Trac II
  • Gillette Atra
  • Gillette Mach 3
I can't remember which was my first razor- the Trac II or the Atra. It would have been about 1982 in High School. Peach fuzz was growing in on my upper lip but hardly anywhere else, and a math teacher was constantly telling me I needed to start shaving. I didn't want to shave because I didn't have hair anywhere else, and I was afraid that by shaving my facial hair would grow in thicker (a myth). Finally I couldn't get away with it any longer and bought a razor, can of foam, and blades. Actually, I might have started out with a disposable, maybe a Bic, borrowed from a brother.

Over the years I'd occasionally us a Bic disposable, but I always preferred disposable blades, and I preferred the Atra pivoting head, particularly under my nose and along my jaw line.

The Mach 3 was out for a while before I tried it, and pretty much stuck with it right away and for many, many years. I felt like it cut down on razor bumps.

Some time in the mid 1990's I read about shaving brushes and bought one at the super market, a Surrey boar that I still have today. I used it with the canned goo I used, mostly Foamy. I'd spray the foam into the big circular cap that came with the can, and then I'd dip the brush and paint my face. It did feel like I got better shaves, with this added exfoliation. I never found a brush stand so I'd let it dry by leaning it against the faucet, bristles down, an obvious abuse of a brush. Then I would turn it upside down after a few hours to store it.

To finish today's post, I'll say that I love my Merkur 34c. I read a lot of reviews on different razors, realized I wanted something mild, and felt that this was the perfect starter razor for my preferences. And it came with Astra SP blades, a perfect combination!
Mail Call

My first synthetic, Yaqi Mysterious Space tuxedo fan knot, 26mm. A beautiful brush, very soft tips, good backbone. Can't wait to try it and will be thinking about what soap I want to use it with. I'll clean it with some dawn dish detergent tonight.

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No Shave Today, day #2


  • Razor Bump
  • Pairing up AS & Cologne
  • Liquid Bandage/Skin Shield
  • Just shy of 100 views
Razor Bump
The red mark remains this morning (same size or smaller) and also looks like it is forming a white-head. I decided to refrain from shaving today, even though I was going to in order to use my new Yaqi brush. Not much of a problem, stubble is not uniform across my face, it's more patchy especially along my neck.

I did put on Neutrogena Rapid Clear Acne Spot Gel to see if that does anything, and will re-apply twice more throughout the day.

AS/Cologne for today

After washing my face (Nivea Men's Face Wash) I splashed on some Clubman Pinaud, one of my favorite scents and splashes. Believe it or not I never used it until I started my DE journey. When I was real young I think my mother used the hair tonic on me, but that was it. My father did not use AS.

My early use of aftershaves consisted of: Avon (Black Suede & Deep Woods), Afta, Nivea sensitive skin, and Edge gel for sensitive skin.

I paired up Pinaud with Lacoste White, one of my few colognes and something I really love. It has a fresh, sporty, outdoorsy & fruity scent profile. I think these go well together. I don't use both AS & cologne together too often. If the AS is strong & lasting I like to catch notes of it throughout the day. Otherwise, of course, the cologne dominates.

Liquid Bandage/Skin Shield

I cut myself yesterday and this morning I applied some liquid bandage. On the box I noticed that it says for one of the uses "Shaving nicks." I never thought of that, and never before noticed that on the box. I'd be curious to know if anyone has ever tried it this way.

Just shy of 100 views

I noticed I have 99 views today. Thanks to all who have read my journal posts. Hope you are enjoying them. Hope to break the 100 mark today.

AS Clubman.jpg Lacoste.jpg
No Shave Today

No AS today - just a morning face wash & razor bump treatment

Razor Bump Tips

Day #3, my usual shave day, but my allergies were acting up this AM and I thought I'd give my razor bump an extra day of TLC. Here are some tips I was reading about, and already doing some of them:

  • For witch hazel, instead of (Thayer's) Toner I use the more commonly available astringent type, any generic brand will do. The astringent will help to dry out the area and has more antiseptic properties than Toner (more alcohol).
  • Use a product with salicylic acid. I've found a few men's products to treat razor bumps specifically, with this ingredient. Jack Black is one, but it's very pricey. I bought a small tube of Neutrogena Rapid Clear Acne Eliminating Spot Gel. Much more cost effective (I didn't do the exact math on price & quantity, but I don't need a huge bottle of the stuff sitting around, so to me, a lower cost even for less product is cost efficient Jack Black runs about $30, I picked up a small tube of Neutrogena for about $10). I'll probably hit the expiration date before I run out.
All of this has been an exercise in patience, as it's now been 2 full days that I've had my new Yaqi brush, waiting for its first use. I'll definitely be shaving tomorrow.

I made it to over 100 views. Thanks for reading.