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Brandaves shave journal

1) Improve technique
2) Dial in a "Go-to" set up (razor, blade, soap) for testing new products for compatibility in my routine.
3) Develop a personal database of information concerning my thoughts on various products I try so that I might be able to speak to others about my experiences with a more informed background.
4) Track my progress over time
5) Provide a resource for others to reference.

1) "SOTD" - Shave of the Day. These post will be a description of the days shave. What products I used as well as the results I got out of them. Will include both the good and bad of the days shave.
2) "General observations" - These are pretty self explanitory...
3) "Product Review" - Also, pretty self explainatory...
Today I used an unmarked late 1940's Super Speed (similar look to the Aristocrat Jr. of that era), with a Derby blade, Proraso white pre-shave, Van Der Hagen Deluxe shave soap, Latherwhip's Best Badger brush, Witch Hazel astringent, followed by Nivea for men sensitive skin aftershave lotion.

I began by soaking my brush in a bowl with warm water and setting up my kettle for a hot towel. While waiting for my water to warm I wet my face with hot water from the tap and applied Proraso white pre-shave. I let the Proraso do its magic while my water warmed and then poured it over a nice wash towel to warm my whiskers (this was not a post shower shave). I applied the warm/hot washcloth to my face and allowed to sit for approximately 3 minutes. I whipped the Proraso off following this and applied a nice lather of my Van Der Hagen soap. I know there are a lot of better soaps out there, but I have this on the shelf and it is actually a nice soap for the price. I then conducted 1 pass WTG with no tugging or pulling whatsoever from the blade, whipped off the access and soaped up again for a second pass which I did XTG. Following my second pass I decided I wanted a third pass, once again XTG. I gave myself a small weeper on the front of my face between my bottom lip and my chin, which is not usually a problem area for me. I had no problems on the neck area, which is usually my problem area. Next, I rinsed my face with a nice cold water splash, patted dry and applied witch hazel. The witch hazel nearly took care of the small weeper, however I did apply a small dab from my steptic pencil. I let the witch hazel do its work for about five minutes and then applied my aftershave lotion.

Today's shave was a good one. It was only my second with this particular razor and I have to say I enjoyed it. I would have liked a weightier razor I think...but the aggressiveness of the shave was about right for me (a mild shave). I do wish I had time before work to do a four pass shave though. I think I would get better results and wouldn't feel as though I needed some minimal pressure to get the job done. Overall, not quite BBS...but a darn good shave and no one else but me would be able to tell that it wasn't BBS. I know, because I run my hand against the grain and feel it...but only in my neck area.

I plan on using this set up at least until this blade is tapped out. I don't like putting razors back in my display case until the blade has been removed and I don't do that until they are done. I will post any changes to this routine or varying results in subsequent posts.

General Observations:
I think Derby's may be my "Go-to" blade for now anyway. They are the best blades I have tried thus far...Feathers are up next though so we'll see.
SOTD: Today I duplicated yesterday's shave with a few exceptions. I showered prior to my shave this morning, making my whiskers prepped a bit better. In addition I used a different soap. I used Glacier Smooth soap, a local product made from Glacial Silt soap. I also changed my pass count/type of pass.

I began with two passes WTG. These were pretty much as expected, nothing spectacular. Followed by two XTG. These were a bit more eventful...in a not so good way. My first pass XTG I gave myself a weeper on my neck area, a known problem zone. During my second XTG pass I exacerbated the irritation. Not an awful shave though given my mistake. It cleared up quickly with some witch hazel and my styptic pen.

In addition to shaving my face, I also conducted a head shave with my Merkur 34C HD, Derby Blade, Van Der Hagen Boar brush and soap (I prefer stiffer bristles for soaping up my dome), Proraso pre-shave (yes, even on my head...I like the way it feels). Nothing spectacular here. I got a fantastic 3 pass shave. 1 pass WTG, 1 pass XTG, and 1 pass ATG. My head is smooth and shiny.

Excited for tomorrow's shave...I will be trying out my new (old) Gillette Aristocrat!

Product Review:
Glacial Shave soap - I will give it another try at some point as today was my first shave with it. Overall, not impressed. It lathered well enough however I found the soap itself was a bit drying when compared to other more moisture rich soaps. My skin requires a soap that won't dry my skin out...and I want a nice slick lather when I shave! Back to the old stand by tomorrow for my first shave with a new razor.
Gillette Aristocrat (pre date code period), Derby blade, Proraso white pre-shave, Van Der Hagen shave soap, Latherwhip brush, witch hazel, Neutrogena aftershave lotion.

Today's shave was a four pass shave, my first with the Aristocrat. I began with two passes WTG, followed by two passes XTG. No weepers, some light irritation on my lower right neck which was most likely due to the weepers/irritation from yesterday's shave. I'm hoping that it will all be cleared up by tomorrow. In addition to the razor another new part of my routine was the Neutrogena aftershave lotion. The aftershave change was made due to some greasiness I was getting from my last aftershave. I found it to be amazing. The scent was great and it was soothing on the skin as well.

General Observations:
In addition to my shave I also got to experience some of the fun of my RAD. I received 11 razors in the mail today! They were in two lots, one of 7 and one of 4. All of them cleaned up well and are usable razors. Its always iffy when you order things online as to the quality you will recieve. One of them is basically a mint 1961 flare tip...pretty sweet.


Moderator Emeritus
Sounds like a good shave to me. Based on your post-time and location, I take it that you are a night shaver, yes?
SOTD: Gillette Aristocrat, Derby Blade, Proraso White pre-shave, Latherwhip best badger brush, sandalwood unbranded soap with glycerin added, witch hazel, Neutrogena aftershave.Today's shave was not rushed, just shorter. I conducted a two pass shave, both WTG. Everything was the same from yesterday's shave with the exception of the soap. I used an unbranded sandalwood with added glycerin...it was very nice. I really do love a sandalwood scent. My Aristocrat continues to impress, as I said only a two pass shave but it just shaves really nicely. I do have "new" razors to try but as for now I am content enjoying my Aristocrat. I will be shaving with it at least until this blade is done. I haven't decided yet if I'm going to change it up.
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I take it that you are a night shaver, yes?
No not a night shaver. On days when I work I shave at about 0430 and on days I'm off I shave between 0800 and 1000 usually. I actually almost never shave at night...I do however tend to post my shaves in the evening which is probably why you are thinking that. This journal would probably be more effective if I posted my results immediately after shaving while my thoughts are fresh but it often isn't convenient. Thanks for reading!
Two shaves since my last update, one head shave last night and a face shave this morning.
Head shave: began with Proraso white pre-shave, Merkur 34C HD, fresh Derby blade, Van Der Hagen shave soap, Boar brush, witch hazel, Neutrogena aftershave lotion. I think this was possibly my best DE headshave to date. I haven't had any nics or cuts in a while, but last nights shave was absolutely BBS with zero irritation. I think the reason for this improvement is the addition of Derby blades to my rotation. I have noticed a difference in both my head and face shaves with Derby's in my razors.

Aristocrat, Derby Blade, Proraso white pre-shave, Sandalwood soap/glycerin added, Latherwhip best badger brush, witch hazel, Neutrogena aftershave lotion.

Today's shave was a three pass shave. One pass WTG followed by two passes XTG. I changed up my passes due to my late day shave yesterday. I didn't have much more than stubble to work off this morning so one pass WTG was sufficient. I prepped in much the same was as I have in the past. I wet my face, applied Proraso white preshave. Set up my kettle to get my warm towel going. I soaked my brush during this time as well. This was a great shave and went about as expected. Tomorrow's shave is a new adventure and will perhaps include a different razor. I haven't decided which one yet...maybe a flare tip??? We'll see.

General Observations:
This isn't a surprise really but my shaves are getting better and better. I am developing my technique and learning new things with every shave. Also, I am learning a lot about the products I use. As I have said above, Derby blades have increased the quality of my shaves immensely. That doesn't mean I will stop experimenting with others, it just means that I am learning and developing. As of right now I have a pretty good baseline to gauge other products I might audition for a place in my rotation. I will know more quickly if something is going to work for me or if I need to move on and try something else. In other words, I'm at a good place in my journey for that perfect shave...
1960 F1 Fatboy set to 7, Derby blade, Proraso white preshave, Van Der Hagen Glycerine shave soap, Latherwhip best badger brush, witch hazel, Neutrogena aftershave lotion.

Today's shave was a great one. Three passes two WTG followed by one XTG. It was my first shave with the Fatboy set to 7. I had previously not had it set above 5...I'm glad I made the adjustment. I think my technique has really improved which has allowed me to actually enjoy more aggressive shaves. I did get some light weepers and irritation on my lower right neck area, a known problem zone for me. I think the grain kind of swirls there if that makes any sense. I'm hoping it will be healed up for tomorrows shave and I'll get another chance at getting it right. Overall, very pleased with today's shave.

General Observations:
Today was my first day shaving with Van Der Hagen Glycerine soap and I was pleased with the result. Not blown away by any means, but it lathers well and provides a nice shave. The scent isn't anything to write home about however. I'm excited to experiment with more luxurious soaps and a nicer brush. Soon I will be sending off for a high mountain badger knot to revamp my Mother-in-law's, father's old brush. Pretty soon I'll be using some pretty nice gear. Not sure it'll change my shave much, but this entire hobby is all about the experience for me.


Moderator Emeritus
I run my Slim anywhere from 3 to fully open on 9. Both provide great shaves with just a slightly different feel. For reference, I generally use Shark SS and Rapira SS blades; the Sharks are close to the Derby's in feel for me.

Can you post up a pic of the old brush? We love pics in general, even more if it is of vintage stuff.
I run my Slim anywhere from 3 to fully open on 9. Both provide great shaves with just a slightly different feel. For reference, I generally use Shark SS and Rapira SS blades; the Sharks are close to the Derby's in feel for me.

Can you post up a pic of the old brush? We love pics in general, even more if it is of vintage stuff.
Here are some pics of the brush, as you can tell I've already cut the old hair out of it.

Its a Made Rite, pure badger #177
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Two shaves today, a head and a face shave. Head shave was a Merkur 34C HD with a Derby, Proraso white pre-shave, Van Der Hagen Soap, Boar brush. It was a decent shave. No cuts, nics or weepers. Overall it wasn't my best head shave ever, but not too bad. I felt a bit rushed. Three passes would have been better then the two I made.

Face SOTD:
F1 Fatboy set to 7, Derby blade, Proraso white pre-shave, Van Der Hagen soap, Latherwhip best badger brush, witch hazel, Neutrogena aftershave. Again, not an awful shave but felt a bit rushed. Three passes two WTG and one XTG. Tried to go lightly on my irritated lower right neck but still felt some irritation. Not my worst shave but not my best either. Tomorrow I plan on taking more time with my shave, remembering why I shave this way in the first place...because I enjoy the process.
I skipped my shave yesterday. I didn't have to since I was off of work and my face needed the day off to recover from my neck irritation. I think it was a good idea...

F1 Fatboy set to 7, Proraso white pre-shave, Van Der Hagen Soap mixed with Neutrogena shave cream, Latherwhip best badger brush, witch hazel, Neutrogena aftershave lotion.

General Observations:
Great shave today. Little to no irritation on my neck area, which is a relief to say the least. I conducted a three pass 2 WTG followed by 1 XTG which looks and feels clean. Still not BBS, but a nice comfortable shave. The only change to my regular routine over the past few days was the addition of a bit of Neutrogena shave cream to my soap which added a noticeable more robust quality to my lather. I probably won't be adding it every shave but it was a nice addition to this one.
Nice setup...if i may ask..where did you get the bottle with stopper..
The bottle with the stopper came from Walmart...I'm pretty sure its intended purpose was olive oil but I use it for my witch hazel and it works great! I don't end up wasting any of it and the bottle looks nice on the counter. I wanna say it was less than $5. Thanks for the compliment!
Proraso White pre-shave
Nickel Gillette Early Tech Razor
Feather Blade(1)
VDH Shave soap
Latherwhip Best badger brush
Witch Hazel
Neutrogena After Shave Lotion
This was an impromptu shave really. I needed to shave my head this evening which prompted me to think...maybe I ought to shave tonight as well. I had just finished cleaning a gift from my Father-in-Law. A very minty Gillette Early Tech (Late 1930's razor) which was in its original case, and had 4 blue blades in it! Super score...I have no idea where he came across it but its a beautiful razor. Anyway, I wanted to shave with it. In addition to using the new razor I also opted to try a new blade out. I had never tried a Feather before so I figured I'd give them a whirl. The final (and biggest) change to my routine was that I decided to take the advise of BSAGuy and try a two pass shave. One pass WTG and one pass ATG + touch ups. I was aware prior to tyring this technique that it could very well end in a bloody disaster. Luckily though, that wasn't the case...

My first pass was mediocre really. Nothing spectacular about it except I did notice that my new Early tech performed a bit different then my other fat handle gold tech. Nothing too terribly difficult to adjust to however, I actually liked that it was a bit more aggressive. The feathers preformed well however I didn't find them to be all that they had been cracked up to be...this was my first shave and pass with them however.

My second pass which again was ATG I was exceptionally nervous for. I had been told a number of times that ATG with a DE was a no no...well, I took my time and I am thankful to report that I actually had a pleasant pass with no nics or weepers. I had not even considered that as an option and can probably be chalked up to how slow and careful I was...errr...I mean my amazing technique.

Anyway. It was a good shave and definately one of the closest DE shaves I have ever had...actually, scratch that. It is the closest DE shave I've ever had. The only thing I would have changed would be the addition of one pass XTG prior to going ATG. I think the transition would have been smoother and the ATG pass would have felt more like my touch up pass. That will be my next shave...WTG, XTG, ATG + Touch ups. Nothing else in this package will change with that one exception...we'll see how it goes.

Oh, and I'm incorporating a rating system.
1 :c12: is an awful shave without hardly any upside.
5 :c12: is the greatest shave experience ever.
You figure out what goes in between.

This shave gets: :c12: :c12: :c12:.5
For me a 3.5 out of 5 is pretty good...some improvement space there, but pretty good.
Proraso White pre-shave
Hot Towel
Early Gillette Tech (Late 30's)
Feather Blade (2)
Latherwhip best badger brush
VDH tallow soap
Witch Hazel
Neutrogena Post Shave Lotion

Three pass shave this morning. 1 WTG, 1 XTG, 1 ATG. Everything felt okay...until I got to touch ups and I destroyed my neck line. Nothing beyond weepers, but they covered my neck area. With hazel didn't stop them as it usually does. I unfortunately had to pull out the styptic pencil this morning and basically cover my neck. Were it not for that todays shave might have been one of my best ever.

I am adapting very well to shaving ATG...something I've only done twice now using a DE. My technique is improving daily and I think that I am progressing very well despite today's lackluster performance (not from my equipment, from me...).

Todays score:
Today would have easily been a 4 had it not been for my butchering of my neck area. My skin is sensitive there but I have got to find a way to shave it effectively without irritation somehow. It'll just take time and practice. Incidentally it doesn't help that I am shaving with a new razor every time I change the blade...RAD is effecting my learning curve for sure. Although one might make the argument that learning this way will make me a much more diverse shaver. I don't know...I am having a good time learning and enjoying this process though.
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Proraso white pre-shave
Hot Towel
VDH Soap
Early Gillette Tech Razor
Feather blade (3)
Latherwhip Best Badger Brush
Witch Hazel
Neutrogena Post Shave Lotion
Today I had a two pass, 1 WTG followed by 1 ATG shave. As per usual I had some neck irritation but no cuts, nics or weepers so an improvement nonetheless. I opted for the two pass shave since my stubble wasn't too bad this morning and I felt fewer passes would help keep irritation to a minimum. I'm glad I did. I think that three passes would have most likely resulted in an even more uncomfortable neckline.

The feather definitely fell off today. I am certain that my shave would have been better if I had limited the blade to two shaves. There was some noticeable tugging on my ATG pass. Tomorrow I will be on to an Astra blade for my shave and perhaps a different razor as well, I haven't decided yet. I really have enjoyed this razor, it is an excellent shaver. I may give my blue tip a shot tomorrow morning however since I have yet to give it a run.

Another RAD acquisition yesterday, a pretty rough looking Gillette Senator that really ought to clean up well but will need a replate. I'm excited to give it a shot. I also bought some Arko...just because I've heard its a staple soap that can give great shaves. We shall see.

Today's score::c12::c12::c12:.5
The only reason today was a 3.5 was that I didn't get any weepers, just irritation. Despite that my face is very close to BBS, I just have to get that irritation under control...
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