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Eleven Years On

1/14 SOTD


A couple new items are getting their first shave today: a '66 Tech razor and Lea Classic for lather. Before to the shave I move the Astra from yesterday into the Tech, so it's been used once prior. Growth is Light/Light+

For music I choose an old favorite, Fancy Footwork by Chromeo.

Not totally sure why, but I decide to bowl lather. I made special effort to soak the TGN badger with a bit more water, hoping for softer bristles. Lea has no difficulty becoming a nice looking, hydrated foam. After a hot towel and a quick glazing of Arko, imagine my surprise when I apply the lather and discover it's mentholated! Ages ago I had a tube of C.O. Bigelow, it's my only previous experience with mentholated creams.
As the chill sets in on my cheeks, I have a pretty easy and normal WTG pass. XTG is not quite as mindless and straightfoward as I've had, can't tell what factors are influencing the halting, tugging quality of the shave. Like previous Tech shaves I'm struggling a bit for bladefeel--and I'm sure the numbing cream isn't helping. ATG goes reasonably well across the cheeks and mustache, between the chin and lip I open several weepers--I probably applied pressure. As I've learned with milder razors, I keep the neck pass more S->N and take conservative directions in the goatee area. The front of the chin gets a final 4th pass of buffing. Alum is present but less bracing than I was anticipating, so I've managed to avoid shaving too close. After rinsing and blotting I apply Neutrogena Hydro Boost. The star of this shave is my neck at a solid BBS- while cheeks, mustache, jawline are DFS+ and goatee is DFS. Afterword I notice a hair trying to ingrow in the goatee.

This shave makes me ponder--while bowl lathering succeeds at preventing one kind of sensitivity, it's perhaps not raising or softening hair sufficiently to aid the milder razor. I correctly softened the brush with generous water (often I would soak just the tips, I used to struggle with a wet brush making drippy/overhydrated lather) but should've applied it directly to the face. Yesterday's shave was intentionally mild and today I needed to do more to prepare the whiskers, especially where they lie very flat like on the goatee and jawline. But the results are satisfactory and comfortable, so don't take my pontificating as complaining.

Have a great weekend of shaves!
I think it's cyclical. Soaps/creams, brushes, bowls, blades...soon you'll be back looking for shiny razors again.
Recall that over about 10 years I only purchased 1 new razor. Of course, I wasn't keeping an eye on the BST during that time ;)
1/15 SOTD

One last ride for the '66 Tech before I move on to different experiments. Same blade, two prior shaves. Light/Light+ growth. I plan to keep other variables familiar and apply Arko to the face, a dollop of Cremo to the black handle Omega boar. Face lathering for the first time in a couple shaves, really want to ensure I lift and soften near the chin and jawline especially. I start out with the intention of doing a 2-pass, perhaps more if things are going well.

The lather is quite thick, perhaps not hydrated enough but no shortage of cushion. During the WTG and first XTG pass I'm having those brief moments without much response/blade feel, but I can tell I'm making progress. Not feeling like the shave is quite close enough, I lather up for a 3rd pass and choose opposite-XTG patterns rather than full ATG, I think this razor delivers easier (and more successful) shaves when I don't challenge its mildness. Neck and jawline I approach more S->N and have a lot better success. A little 4th pass of buffing on some stubborn chin areas, I also succeed in cleaning up the lower lip without weepers or pressure. Alum affirms that I've been kinder to my skin today. Better results than yesterday, BBS/BBS- mostly with the upper lip at DFS/+. After rinsing and blotting I apply Nivea Sensitive.

If I had enough lather (and the desire for a really complete shave) I can imagine easily doing a 4th ATG pass without causing irritation. Super close results are possible, the Tech just demands more passes to get there.

Tough to decide what I should try next. I still need to try the Lab Blues @Borderboss shared with me, would like to get an "objective" experience using them in the GC, and also see if they give me better shaves than AstraSPs in the Prewar Fat Tech. I also need to try the Slim Adjustable and Red Tip SS--I imagine the Slim will require multiple shaves as I experiment with the settings. No new hardware acquisitions are planned (and I really need to stop looking at the BST lol) but we'll see what catches my eye in regard to soaps.

For my CONUS readers, enjoy the holiday tomorrow. "True peace is not merely the absence of tension; it is the presence of justice." --MLK 1958
1/16 SOTD

Yesterday's shave was pretty durable/thorough, today's growth is Light- and I choose the GameChanger .84SB intending to do a 2 pass with touchups to keep my skin happy. The razor gets a fresh AstraSP. A couple departures from my usual routines: I'm doing a spa/sauna day with friends this afternoon, so I'll be taking a shower later--I only prep with face wash and hot towel. I also choose to shave in silence today.

I grab the Lea Professional and Plissoft 400, leave a little Arko glaze on the face while I start the lather in my bowl. After transferring to the face, a nice billowy, hydrated lather forms (much better than my first with this cream/brush combination). First pass is a sort of combined XTG/WTG in places, the razor's efficiency and fresh blade are a good combination for this more aggressive beginning. Second pass I go S->N on neck and jawline, so a kind of XTG/ATG approach. I don't chase the chin, instead I do a 3rd and 4th touchup on the mustache and get a much closer result than I typically achieve (probably the closest in recent memory). Results are easily as close (probably closer) than the 3.5 pass Tech shave yesterday, DFS++ with BBS- in moments. Relived that the abridged prep didn't seem to affect the outcome. Alum lightly tingles more than stings, Neutrogena Hydro Boost quenches my face's thirst.

As I always say following a shave with the GC, it's difficult to choose other razors when the GC easily delivers these comfortable and close outcomes. It's nice to know for speed and/or reduced irritation I can rely on the GC for a quick, clean shave. Before getting too deep into recently-acquired vintage Gillettes, I will probably test the Lab Blues in familiar workhorses. I'm particularly curious to try the Personnas in the Prewar Tech because I'd like to use that razor more frequently.
Repurchased MWF and included a tuck of Nacets, which I've also never tried. A Yaqi synth accidentally found its way into my order, wonder how that happened.

Enjoy your shave today!
1/17 SOTD

One of my helpers took an interest in my photo setup today. Inaugural voyage with the '62 Slim Adjustable, Tabac lather started in bowl with the white handle Omega 49. Lather bowl was made by an old friend of mine, like I mention it's a rounded square so there's some corners inside (still, probably smoother than ideal) with neat carvings on the outside that grip confidently while whipping.

Music is In Ghost Colours by Cut Copy still playing while I write.

The blade is yesterday's AstraSP, so 1 prior shave. I set the Slim to a 3, since I've read that's similar to a Super Speed and I'm not worried about closeness today; just hoping to comfortably test this new addition to the collection.

Very easygoing, comfortable shave with basically no bladefeel. I had planned a 2 pass, but the mildness (and inefficiency) at this setting meant after the XTG, I was nowhere near close enough to call it quits. I do a conservative 3rd XTG/ATG pass that brings me to a DFS/DFS+ with no reaction from the alum whatsoever. I apply Nivea Sensitive with a splash of Thayer's mixed in. Will look forward to experimenting with more aggressive settings, and eventually trying different settings for each pass.

I think tomorrow the Personna Lab Blues will finally get their first test, I'm uncertain which razor to choose; a razor that I've struggled with, or a razor that gives me easy shaves with an Astra? I have little doubt that they'll shave effectively in the GC. Perhaps the first shave will be in the '66 Tech, followed by the Prewar Fat Handle to see if I get better results. Then it can take a ride in the GC, and the second blade can try the SS and then perhaps the FaTip.

Have a relaxing shave today!

First test with the Personna Lab Blue courtesy of @Borderboss (thanks again). I choose the '66 Tech like I planned yesterday. Brush is the TGN Finest badger, lather is Arko applied to face, Arko + Cremo applied to brush. Long shower, hot towel, all typical.

WTG I notice distinctly more bladefeel. Is it more efficient than a fresh AstraSP? Perhaps marginally. XTG goes fairly normally, I have a couple moments where I can't feel the blade and wonder if I'm actually shaving. Of course ATG is the real test. Cheeks approached with an ATG/XTG direction, successful and very close. Upper lip I do similar patterns to previous shaves, and pop several weepers. Blade definitely feels sharper, but not in a pleasant way. When I take conservative directions in the goatee, I feel like I'm not making progress and getting closer, so I do a little 4th touchup which is successful. The neck and jawline go swimmingly, again it's more of a pure S->N pattern rather than approaching the grain head-on.
When I apply alum, I'm bracing for a sting... and don't find much of one, shockingly. Weepers close pretty readily. Neutrogena Hydro Boost feels calming and comfortable. Goatee/upper lip are DFS to DFS- while the rest is somewhere between DFS++ and BBS- so the results are actually pretty good. There was a whisper of harshness to this blade, which I am hoping will either resolve or become more manageable.

Perhaps I unknowingly applied pressure on the mustache. I am still modestly inexperienced with the '66 Tech, but my last shave with a twice-used Astra was very close and comfortable by comparison. Lather was a little drying today and perhaps the lack of slickness didn't contribute to the smoothness. But many other razors and brushes/creams will get their turn with the Lab Blue, so more data will be collected soon.

Have a good shave today!

Had to shave in more of a hurry than I prefer, growth was pretty light but I still wanted to test the Personna Lab Blue. Rather than use a challenging razor, I put the blade in the '57 Flare SuperSpeed. Today's lather is Lea Pro, Plissoft 400 and a little Arko preshave glaze. I do most of the lather building in the bowl, but make sure to give a little scrub to the face to hopefully lift my whiskers.

WTG I note more bladefeel and moderately more effectiveness with the Personna than I do from Astras. XTG and ATG both go without issue, but I feel like the blade's sharpness also has a harshness that I don't enjoy. Results are DFS++/BBS- in places, probably closer than I usually get with the SS but not anywhere as comfortable. Alum has some response, but it's not too pronounced. Nivea Sensitive is the balm today. A couple tiny weepers appear afterword on the jawline, but they subside easily. For about 20 or 30 minutes following the shave, I can feel the lightest touch of general irritation--not typical of other shaves I've had from the SS.

My technique and attention was probably not ideal, but the SS normally gives easy and comfortable results (even if they aren't quite as close as today). Still, I can appreciate that the Lab Blue has a slightly higher degree of apparent sharpness. I may swap back to AstraSP tomorrow just to get a baseline again. So far this blade seems reasonably suited to milder razors, but we'll try it in more aggressive settings too.

May your shave be smooth.
1/20 STOD: FaTip Friday


Trying out the new Yaqi Tuxedo 24mm today. Haven't shaved with the FaTip in a while, I think it's the 3rd shave for the AstraSP that's loaded. With all these new/less familiar variables, I decide to face lather with Arko. Brush has great feel on the face, short handle feels quaint. I think I loaded enough product, but either the brush size or something about lather building has me coming up a little short by the end of the shave.

First two passes with the FaTip are productive and uneventful. I'm at a solid DFS after XTG but I desire just a little more closeness. My unfamiliarity with this razor (I think it's only my third visit) definitely shows on the 3rd XTG/ATG pass. I can feel that I have some timidness, I don't know if it's the slippery handle or nervousness about the lather. Results aren't too disastrous, a couple weepers appear on the jawline despite taking a conservative pattern (more XTG than ATG). I think I need to trust the aggression, all the mild razors require more mitigation but I imagine the FaTip would prefer to take the challenge head-on. Alum stings more than other shaves in recent memory, but Hydro Boost feels comfortable. Chin and a few places on the neck are solidly BBS, but despite all the focus on the jawline it's a scattered DFS+ to DFS. Mustache is quite close, without feeling irritated or like I had to chase the result.

About 40 minutes on, face is feeling pretty dry. I may apply the faintest dab of Nivea soon. Overall, a good shave especially in the beginning. May your weekend shaves treat you well.

Yesterday's shave was nice and persistent, light growth today. Given it's the last day of my work week, I'm looking for both closeness and comfort: the GameChanger beckons. Using the loaded blade which has 1 previous shave.

For lather I'm doing Pamolive Classic with the old black handle Omega 49, bowl lathered with a little Arko applied to the face. I do manage to produce a good fluffy lather, when applied to the face I can tell it's a little underhydrated but it still works well.

3 passes with a couple small touchups, I take slightly more aggressive directions than I did with the FaTip yesterday. I wonder if I could've gotten away with a WTG + ATG. One surprise weeper above the chin in the WTG pass, strangely enough. Overall a close result, DFS++ not quite as close as yesterday, but definitely more comfortable. Alum has basically no feedback, better than my other shaves this week. Nivea sensitive with Thayer's today. Still feeling slightly dry, so I may apply a dab more before I leave the house.

Be well!

Tired today. Light + growth, it's my typical Sunday goal for a leisurely 2 pass with touchups. I decide to try the Slim on setting 5, the loaded blade has 2 prior shaves.

I bowl lather Arko with the new white handle Omega, funny (and unintentional) that it's getting paired with the Slim again. Cremo applied to my face as pre-shave. I am finding this Omega to be very distinct from my other, much older Omega--when it was brand new, I treated the white handle brush to several overnight lathers and soaks with hot water, hoping to soften the tips and eliminate the very strong boar odor. Unfortunately, I worry that I might've overdone these steps and reduced some of the brush's backbone, it tends to splay and paint more readily than I'm accustomed or prefer. However, I can still get a fine, usable lather.

When I apply the lather to the face, I can feel that my skin is quite sensitive today. On this setting, the WTG pass definitely presents more detectable bladefeel, but I can't say it increases the effectiveness dramatically. The XTG pass doesn't feel very effective, such that I do a full ATG touchup along the jawline and chin. A weeper or two appear, handled easily by the alum. The alum doesn't sting on application, but as I'm rinsing out the brush I can feel a rising warmth--it's good that I didn't take this shave any closer today. DFS/DFS- generally with a few moments of DFS+ on the chin and jawline. Neutrogena Hydro Boost completes the shave.

I also forgot to mention, the last two days I've had to wear a nitrile glove on my right hand--got a cut on my ring finger at work. I think the glove interferes somewhat with feedback, so I need to be careful that I'm not applying any pressure. Cut is healing fine. Wishing you good shaves this week.

Tested positive for COVID this morning. Quick cleanup shave before I retreat to the guest bedroom to isolate. Med- growth. '57 SS with a fresh AstraSP, I use the Yaqi synth since I know it'll dry fastest and won't possibly absorb any virus (probably overkill but whatever) and I use Lea Pro for the same reason--I share a bathroom with my partner and don't want to pass this bug around. 2 Pass with touchups, no weepers and not very close, but I feel a little more pampered and civilized. That's about all the strength I have for the morning, time for some mindless screen watching.

Stay healthy out there.
Get well soon my friend! Hope the side effects aren’t too intense.


Thanks G.
So far, it's more tolerable than my previous bout last summer. I also got the bivalent booster in late October. Mostly annoyed that it's disrupting all my routines and plans--but I had stopped exercising a lot of caution, and I suppose this is not a surprising result.
Feeling blessed that it did not interfere in our Holiday/New Year travels and celebrations.

Tested positive for COVID this morning. Quick cleanup shave before I retreat to the guest bedroom to isolate. Med- growth. '57 SS with a fresh AstraSP, I use the Yaqi synth since I know it'll dry fastest and won't possibly absorb any virus (probably overkill but whatever) and I use Lea Pro for the same reason--I share a bathroom with my partner and don't want to pass this bug around. 2 Pass with touchups, no weepers and not very close, but I feel a little more pampered and civilized. That's about all the strength I have for the morning, time for some mindless screen watching.

Stay healthy out there.

Sorry to hear that - I hope it passes quickly!
1/25 SOTD

Didn't shower or shave yesterday; been shuffling between bed and grazing for snacks in the kitchen, dozing off at random times with plenty of screen distractions.
Today I'm feeling a lot better, less sinus drainage and no sense of aches or fever. Time to tidy myself up.

Haven't dealt with this much growth in quite a while, definitely heavy for someone who is accustomed to very close, daily shaves. I choose an old strategy with new tools; long ago, I recall doing WTG on heavy growth using my Old Type and finishing up with the Merkur34C. This time, I'm using the FaTip Grande and the '57 SuperSpeed. I think the FaTip's blade is heading into shave 4, hoping it's not too worn for the job--the SuperSpeed blade has 1 prior shave.

Lather is Pamolive Classic using the Yaqi 24mm Tuxedo synth. I bowl lather (in hindsight perhaps not the best choice) and make sure I give plenty of time for the hot towel to soften my beard.

Easy and effective WTG with the FaTip. I can definitely tell the blade is worn, with a fair amount of tugging (but not outright pulling) happening--but I just progress slowly and good progress is made. After the first pass I switch over to the SuperSpeed and have an easy, but much less productive XTG pass. Afterword I'm at a crossroads, and decide that I'd enjoy being fully shaven (and what else am I going to accomplish today??) so I do a 3rd quick ATG/XTG pass. Only open one weeper on the jawline, otherwise comfortable and little reaction to the alum. Result is BBS/BBS- generally, mustache is more like DFS. HydroBoost feels nourishing.

Sorry to hear that - I hope it passes quickly!
I'm already feeling noticeably better than Monday. I think by tomorrow I'm going to be more bored than sick. My partner has been having low-grade symptoms, but still hasn't popped a positive test. Maybe she'll shake it off, who knows. I will test again on the 29th, last time it took me 8 days to test negative. My previous infection I was aided by Paxlovid, which definitely crushed the virus (and associated symptoms) but came with its own discomforts.

Thanks for all the well-wishes, take care friends.

As predicted, I am feeling quite improved since the beginning of the week. Haven't taken any fever reducers, I have no muscle aches or respiratory/sinus symptoms. Just fatigue.

Since I finally got a puck of MWF again, I wanted to double-dip for Fat & FaTip Friday:


I believe this is my 5th shave with the FaTip, I popped in a new blade after Wednesday's slightly-tuggy WTG pass. Two days since my last shave, a solid medium growth to remove.

Bringing a couple old friends together, the MWF is lathered with the old Omega 49. I use a dab of Cremo as preshave before face lathering. Per my recollection, the lather feels great on the face, but leaves a little cushion to be desired.

WTG is very productive, as I've come to expect from FaTip. XTG goes straightforwardly, I think I get nipped under the chin but nothing dramatic. I go for a full-blown ATG, with best results on the cheeks and front of chin, good success on the sides of the neck, but along the center I snag a couple weepers. Very happy with the directly-ATG results in the goatee, which is sometimes difficult for me to achieve without irritation. With a delicate touch, this razor can really take the whiskers head-on. Alum alerts to the small nicks, but has little reaction elsewhere. BBS/BBS- very close shave overall.

I had forgotten how nice MWF feels post-shave. Given the "Fat" I use Nivea Sensitive for a lighter finish. Overall a very good shave.

May yours be the same.
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