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Back to the Future Shave!

Being on B&B a little more this past week while recovering from being sick, and reading/answering questions from guys just getting into wet shaving, got me a bit nostalgic for my early days here. So I decided to dig out the longest-owned shaving gear I have and shave with it, to see if I could get a decent shave. All of these are 8-10 years old, and probably haven't been used in 5-7 years. Follow along!

The Hardware and Software
Razor: Maggard MR1 safety razor. Pretty sure this is version 1.0. Haven't used it in years but could never bring myself to part with it. It was just sitting in the bathroom cabinet. Gave it a soak in rubbing alcohol before using it.
Brush: Van der Hagen boar. Got this in a kit with some terrible VDH glycerine (?) soap that I could never lather and a bowl. Only the brush remains. It was in a hall closet with a bunch of other stray bathroom products.
Cream: C.O. Bigelow. At the time I got this, it was a game changer for me. Finally a product I could lather! I used it for a couple of years before transitioning to soaps. This little travel size was found in the same place as the brush.

I used to use Astra SP blades but haven't for years, so I just took the current blade out of my Schick Krona and put it in the Maggard razor; a Wilkinson Sword Classic (German made, 12th use). Back in the day I only used witch hazel after a shave but don't have any more, and haven't used that stuff or years. Used Stirling Barbershop as an aftershave.

Here We Go! Blow-by-Blow and Random Thoughts from the Shave
--Gave the brush a long soak in warm water. I remember it being scratchy.
--This Bigelow doesn't smell as strong as I remember, but it is 10 years old.
--Yup, brush is still scratchy but the Bigelow lathers like crazy! Losing a lot of hairs, too.
--Yikes, this razor looks more aggressive than I remember. Slow and steady.
--1st pass - that went really well! The cream was fairly slick and protective. Made me remember why I loved it.
--Hmmm, busy week coming up. Let's do a (careful) second pass.
--Wow, the cream lost all its slickness. Almost completely dried out. Again, it's almost 10 years old
--Yeah, definitely not as protective.
--OK, all done!

Final Thoughts
All in all, the shave went fine. No cuts, maybe one small nick. My face doesn't feel as moisturized as when I use soaps, and there was more sting than usual when I put on my aftershave. Would I use the C.O. Bigelow again? In a pinch it would be fine, but only for a one-pass shave. Would I use the brush again? No; I should probably throw it out. Would I use the razor again? Yes! Would be great for mowing down several days worth of growth.

It doesn't really answer the age-old question of product vs. technique (I think it's a bit of both). But the shave was light years ahead of the ones I was getting that first year after I joined B&B. And it was a fun trip down memory lane.

Enjoyed reading your post! I don't have any of my first items from nearly 20 years ago. I'm pretty sure the razor was a Merkur 34c and the soap TOBS Avocado. The razor was a bit aggressive and I didn't have the best technique. Moved on pretty quick to a SuperSpeed that worked much better. Can't remember the brand of brush other than it was a badger that wasn't too expensive but worked well and was recommended for beginners.

I wish I still had those items just to try them out now that I've got most of the technique issues sorted out.
Very fun to read. I remember buying that VDH starter kit. The razor wasn't half bad. Blades were on par with and thusly I only used them a couple times before tossing. The shaving brush lost a dozen or so hairs after every shave. The glycerin soap was awful. I think I tried it 2-3 shaves before moving up to the VDH Luxury soap which is much better quality.
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