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I finally sent in the order to Top of the Chain...

I kept getting side tracked, but I finally put in my order to Top of the Chain. One of the holdups was that instead of ordering a brush or two, I was PIFd a boar brush, and from another kind user, a synthetic one. I wanted to wait until I had them and tried them out (review will be up soon with them compared to my badger) in case I still wanted to add a brush (I do, but I'm a recovering RAD and I can't let pretty Yaqi brushes woo me).

I'm halfway through my green Prorasa, and my tube Cremo is completely out, so, getting three soaps. Catie's Bubbles because I saw a lot of positive chat for it, and I'm still figuring out lathering, and a tub with some extra room might work well for me. Lots of love for Declaration Grooming, and the Yazu/Rose/Patchouli intrigued me. Scent is important to me, because while I'm open to unisex, even mildly masculine scents, being of the female persuasion, the closer it gets to "Lumberjack drinking rum and smoking cigars in the depths of the primeval forest", the less likely I'll be interested. I through in the Arko stick because it cost next to nothing and pure curiousity.

They only had a couple of larger sample packs for razors. (Way down the road there will be a razor blade review, again, being of the female persuasion, I'm not going to be shaving as much as most men, and will be able to make a blade last a bit longer, due to finer hair). I like this sampler because I really wanted to try Nacet, Gillette Platinum, and Voskhod, based on a lot of reviews I've seen of them. I used the green 7'oclocks, and the Bics, in the past, and memory says they were okay/good. I generally like Astra green as medium, not harsh, go to. I used to hate Derbys. Out of any razorblades I've used, they were the ones I liked least. I'm really curious, with years more shaving under my belt, what I think of them. I have no idea what Astra Blue and Rapira are like. @airmech kindly included sampler packs of Gillette Silver Blue (I had forgot that, else I wouldn't have bought a pack, but I'm pretty sure I'll like them anyway), and Gilette 7'oclocks, 7am Platinum, and Rainbow. I currently have some Personna and Feathers on the go, and one Merkur blade left, and just picked up a pack of Treet Platinums from a new shave shop that opened up. I am set up for razor blades for quite some time. I might drop a pic of those blades, I can't do that from my laptop, I'll post it as a comment.

I'm very proud at not letting any RAD creep in. Having tried a synthetic brush, I'm now wanting more, but I only get to get one if another one goes out the door. Having a badger, boar, and synth is more than enough. I definitely am sticking to a "use it or lose it" philosophy, and need versus want.

1654267380717.png
 
Nice job keeping RAD at bay!

I hear you on "need versus want" but then a new open comb plate came out for my favorite razor's line, aaaaaaand surely I NEED to try an open comb, right? And since I need to hit $60 for free shipping, I surely NEED an open comb plate for their other razor I have...

All that to say good job being strong where I was weak 🤣
 
...I might drop a pic of those blades, I can't do that from my laptop, I'll post it as a comment.
Pictures, nothing too exciting. Blades I already had. Blades kindly sent by @airmech , My little razor blade box I made out of cardboard box and tape. It used to just be the bigger blue box, but I got tired of things being scattered so added the little boxes. Colored Duct tape is my friend.

The pink disposables a friend left when visiting. I used a couple already. Smooth but clogged easily. I'll eventually use the remaining two.

The little sticks (can't be bothered to look up the name, a blade sharpening pad, and maybe the pink razors I'll probably PIF along with any razor blades I don't care for. The black Wilkonson Blade boxes are empty. I usually have one as a travel blade safe. I keep thinking I might use them for some craft thing. I'm weird that way, keeping odds and ends that "might be useful". Wilkinson used to be my go to, but they were pricey, and with their fancy reboot to compete with the new Gillette line, they are now insanely expensive ($14 CND for 10, even on sale it's stupid expensive).
 

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but then a new open comb plate came out for my favorite razor's line, ... And since I need to hit $60 for free shipping, I surely NEED an open comb plate for their other razor I have...

All that to say good job being strong where I was weak 🤣
I hear you. I wouldn't be good support. I like open combs, and am getting rid of mine because I'm replacing it with a Slim. The one I had, a Parker 26C was a bit too aggressive. I used to have a Gillette New which I wish I hadn't got rid of. Maybe sometime down the road. I did the 'hit free shipping as well', that's where the second soap came in, though I could have got something a little less expensive than the Declaration Grooming. *cough*
 
I kept getting side tracked, but I finally put in my order to Top of the Chain. One of the holdups was that instead of ordering a brush or two, I was PIFd a boar brush, and from another kind user, a synthetic one. I wanted to wait until I had them and tried them out (review will be up soon with them compared to my badger) in case I still wanted to add a brush (I do, but I'm a recovering RAD and I can't let pretty Yaqi brushes woo me).

I'm halfway through my green Prorasa, and my tube Cremo is completely out, so, getting three soaps. Catie's Bubbles because I saw a lot of positive chat for it, and I'm still figuring out lathering, and a tub with some extra room might work well for me. Lots of love for Declaration Grooming, and the Yazu/Rose/Patchouli intrigued me. Scent is important to me, because while I'm open to unisex, even mildly masculine scents, being of the female persuasion, the closer it gets to "Lumberjack drinking rum and smoking cigars in the depths of the primeval forest", the less likely I'll be interested. I through in the Arko stick because it cost next to nothing and pure curiousity.

They only had a couple of larger sample packs for razors. (Way down the road there will be a razor blade review, again, being of the female persuasion, I'm not going to be shaving as much as most men, and will be able to make a blade last a bit longer, due to finer hair). I like this sampler because I really wanted to try Nacet, Gillette Platinum, and Voskhod, based on a lot of reviews I've seen of them. I used the green 7'oclocks, and the Bics, in the past, and memory says they were okay/good. I generally like Astra green as medium, not harsh, go to. I used to hate Derbys. Out of any razorblades I've used, they were the ones I liked least. I'm really curious, with years more shaving under my belt, what I think of them. I have no idea what Astra Blue and Rapira are like. @airmech kindly included sampler packs of Gillette Silver Blue (I had forgot that, else I wouldn't have bought a pack, but I'm pretty sure I'll like them anyway), and Gilette 7'oclocks, 7am Platinum, and Rainbow. I currently have some Personna and Feathers on the go, and one Merkur blade left, and just picked up a pack of Treet Platinums from a new shave shop that opened up. I am set up for razor blades for quite some time. I might drop a pic of those blades, I can't do that from my laptop, I'll post it as a comment.

I'm very proud at not letting any RAD creep in. Having tried a synthetic brush, I'm now wanting more, but I only get to get one if another one goes out the door. Having a badger, boar, and synth is more than enough. I definitely am sticking to a "use it or lose it" philosophy, and need versus want.

View attachment 1466348
My boar brush keeps getting better and better. Just rember to shampoo it every onve in a while.
 
I like the Astra blue better than the Green. Voskhods I don't care for. But blades are personal. Some people love blades like don't like, and some people hate the blades I love.
Unless you can find someone who likes and dislikes the same blades as you do, you can't necessarily believe somebody's review of a blade you have never tried.
I settled on Polsilver SI many years ago, but they are no longer being made. That's why you always have to have more than one blade that you like and know. Just in case.
 
Agree with the sentiments above, Top of the Chain is really good, Carmine is very quick to respond to emails and they have quite a large selection of Soaps/Creams. They are my main go to, ordering soap/cream wise.

On an unrelated side-note, it makes me feel good to see another fellow Canadian in the forums... representation and all that.
 
I like the Astra blue better than the Green. Voskhods I don't care for. But blades are personal. Some people love blades like don't like, and some people hate the blades I love.
Unless you can find someone who likes and dislikes the same blades as you do, you can't necessarily believe somebody's review of a blade you have never tried.
I settled on Polsilver SI many years ago, but they are no longer being made. That's why you always have to have more than one blade that you like and know. Just in case.
Because there is so much 'YMMV', for blades and everything else, I like when people describe the product, and/or what they do and don't like...then its more info to go on, and then also, if something has a lot of a following, it has a likelier chance of working. I'll definitely do some reviews once I get the stuff and have used it for a bit. My brush review will come out first, I was PIFd two, plus comparing them to the one I have. Then probably it will be the soaps. I think the blades will be a long time coming, because it will take some effort to group them into a range from bad to good. I'd like to try the Astra Blues at some point. Somehow I'd not even noticed they existed.

My technique was in its infancy, so I can't say I won't reconsider them, but I've never met a Derby I liked, and Lord wasn't that far behind. Everything else ranged from ho-hum, to like a fair bit... haven't really found a 'this is it' though Personnas are closest.
 
There is Fendrihan also, I think they are nearby in Ontario, and sometimes complementary. I get the impression Top of the Chain has less selection, but more artisanal and less well-known brands.
Definitely. Fendrihan has a wide selection of everything. I was trying to think back why I had gone with Top of the Chain, besides being Canadian. In some ways, having RAD in submission, less choice is sometimes better. :) That said, it then occurred to me, it was that they had Cadies Bubbles, which I had read some people discussing, and thought I'd like to try it. Have a container that held a smaller amount of soap, for an in container lathering seemed like it would work for me. My lathering is probably my last hurdle in terms of good technique, and that is what I currently do, just lather in the soft soap container, or face/leg/underarm lather, or weird combinations of both. I mostly throw water/soap/brush together in varied combinations hoping some of it sticks. I'm not being fair to myself, it is improving, apparently I wasn't putting near enough pressure on the brush, and somehow managed to always have too much, or too little, water, but I'm getting a better 'feel' for that.
 
I don't want to add to your RAD/BAD, but for years I was not a fan of Synthetic brushes, had a Yaqi or two but nothing that made me not want to use my Boars and Badgers, until I started getting into the RazoRock Synthetic brushes on ItalianBarber.com they are often on sale and are very amazing performers. RazoRock (Italian Barbers home brand) also make some of the best razors and soaps/Aftershaves as well

I also have spent too much money at Top of the Chain lol they have the best selection of Artisan soaps and creams in Canada

Fendrihan is great too to fill in the blanks, I use them for more known brand name wet shaving products (the Cellas and MWFs and TOBSs etc)

All in all, with ItalianBarber, Fendrihan and TOTC all in Southern Ontario, we are pretty spoiled when it comes to selection/vendors!
 
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