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I finally tried an alum block and…

I've never used alum block, and I've been a daily wet shaver since 1951.

I guess the reason I've not used it is I've never felt the need for it. I also belong to the "if it's not broke, don't fix it" club.

Never felt the need to use it either. I don't have facial irritation. Always thought that aftershave was intended to be used at the conclusion of the shave? I am fine with that.

I used the potassium alum again today...Very nice!
No dryness, hardly any sting even though I used my blackbird with the super sharp BIC blade!
My skin feels wonderful. No tightness, no dryness. There's a very smooth finish to the skin which I don't get with just using an ASB. The alum is definitely adding a skin finishing benefit, not so much a soothing benefit as my ASB takes care of that.

I think I'm addicted to alum as I just love the feeling when swiping it on the skin after shaving and the way it gives an ultra smooth finish to my skin!

So glad I thought to give it a shot!!


I used the potassium alum today and there was hardly any sting! I was surprised at this as ammonium alum stung like hell.

Second surprise was that my skin didn't dry out after alum. I applied my aftershave balm and half a day later, my skin is hydrated and supple.

Next major test will be tomorrow morning. Ammonium alum dried out my skin so badly that shaving the next morning felt horrible due to skin dryness.

If all goes well with tomorrow's shave, I'll definitely continue using potassium alum on a daily basis as I really enjoyed the feeling on the skin today.

I'll update how it goes tomorrow.
If all goes well, I'll use a file tool to shape a smooth block from a larger chunk.
Thankfully I don't need to use alum. I feel a cold water rinse works better for me. Alum generally doesn't work on weepers, either, so if you do get a deeper cut the cyptic pencil will be the only thing that makes it stop. I have and used alum in the past but find it doesn't provide much benefit to me these days any better than an ice cold rinse.
Interesting. One of the things I like most about alum blocks is that they stop all my weepers. Like, very quickly!
I use Alum after every shave. I like the way it makes my skin feel and it helps with nicks and weepers. I purchased it from Italian Barber. The block comes in a plastic container.

I used to use Styptic pencils, but they are getting harder to find in my local drug stores.

The block of Alum I have will last a long time.


Proraso offers a good alum block too. I just ordered a second one after I used up the first.

View attachment 1587930
It is a very good bar, especially given the price and size. I’ve had this and a bar of Osma in rotation for a while.

I like to use Alum sparingly, only when needed; but if I’m hopping in the shower post shave, then it’s all systems go.

I lean towards the Osma, however I like the sizing of the Proraso block.
Oh man I loves my alum chunk. I got a jug of chunks of it from an Indian grocery near where I live. Took the biggest chunk and used some sand paper on it to smooth a flat side and never looked back. It's real popular in India and I *think* they put it in their bathwater too. It's gets me excited even typing about it; if you've never tried it, get you a block of it and you'll (probably) be glad you did. Evidently there's a few outliers who don't get an advantage to them, but I sure do. I had a shave today I just about flipped out over. Fresh Feather blade, Cella first pass and finished up with Arko, no cuts, alum chunk, Afta balm with a small splash of Captain's Choice pineapple AS which sadly he's not going to be making after testing didn't work on this particular scent. 15 hours later my face still feels great. One of my many epiphanies is the alum chunk. If you don't use it, you should!
Maybe a silly question, but isn’t aluminum bad for us? Want putting it on our skin after shaving get it into our systems easily?
I *think* what you have to do is get some aluminum oxide into your garden soil and then eat the food you grow. That's how you get the aluminum into your brain. *I think*.

So I don't leave a pile of aluminum scraps outside to corrode (I do a little sand casting in my driveway).
Interesting. One of the things I like most about alum blocks is that they stop all my weepers. Like, very quickly!
This is what I normally get. I might get a little blood that makes it past the alum and so use a styptic pencil. Occasionally I'll even get a spot like a weensie zit that won't show up until hours later. I chalk that up to poor technique or pushing the Feather blade into my skin. I have to finesse my razor. When I manage to do so, like today, it's heaven.
Is a styptic pencil more or less alum?

"A styptic pencil is a medicated stick generally made of powdered crystal from an alum block and a wax binder which is pressed into a handy lipstick size and shape. You use a Styptic Pencil to seal small cuts and nicks, especially those caused during wet shaving."

"Styptic pencils are quite a bit stronger and have more concentrated power than an alum block. They look like a piece of chalk"


Likes a fat handle in his hand
Is a styptic pencil more or less alum?

A Styptic pen is typically a more medical based alum formulation. I have the jumbo sticks actually from Pinaud Clubman, and they will provide only a quick second of a sting, because as your rubbing it on, it develops a white creamy substance, very similar to Neo Sporin anti-biotic creams. So it seals up the wound, as well as soothes it. Alum block can't do that. Also Alum Blocks are for sealing up miner nicks and facial toning, tightening up your skin and all that, works wonders!

But when you have a serious weeper that just doesn't seem to want to stop, try a styptic pen, or better yet, one of my jumbo Pinaud Clubman stypic sticks, and you will be amazed how well they work. Just like in a workshop or construction site, every tool has its purpose, so does it in the world of traditional wet shaving! May the alum block be with you, and if you should make a terrible mistake, may the styptic pen save you.

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