What's new
  • Guest
    As per our long standing policy of not permitting medical advice on the forum - all threads concerning the Coronavirus will be locked.
    For more info on the coronavirus please see the link below:
    https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/summary.html

Journal One

thumbnail_20191210_123256.jpg

Shave # 4 with Gem Featherweight Razor w/ Gem Super Stainless Steel Blade (4)

Soap: Yardley London limited edition Vanilla Buttercream w/ clove extract (made in USA)
Brush: Semogue 610 (made in Portugal)

vs.

Soap: Pears Transparent Soap (made in India)
Brush: Omega 10051 (made in Italy)


to be continued....
 
Shave completed. First off, here are the soaps and their respective ingredients

thumbnail_20191210_180357.jpg

thumbnail_20191210_180513.jpg

Soaked both boars for what couldn't have been more than 10 minutes. Shook off excess water. Proceeded to load the soaps dry.

The Yardley was quickly and effortlessly loaded onto the bristles of the Semogue. To my surprise, the Pears took a lot more effort to load onto the Omega, which has a lot more backbone and stiffer bristles than its counterpart in this experiment. It was an impossible task loading it dry, so I decided to drip some water onto the bar of soap and finally made some progress.

I am a habitual face latherer, but knew that would put one soap at a disadvantage. So instead, I decided to bowl lather both of these soaps, alternating after every addition of water so as to not allow one to dry while I worked the other. I didn't keep track of how much water I added to each. I didn't care. The purpose was to see if I could shave with the lathers produced, and the short answer is:

Yes

Now, this was the first time ever lathering either of these soaps, so I'm far from dialing them in. But this is what I was able to produce.

thumbnail_20191210_181614.jpg

Again, the Semogue had the Yardleys and the Omega had the Pears. The initial lather was airy and over-hydrated. Allowing it to sit, meaning every succeeding pass, the lather got denser and the protection it provided increased. Half of my face for each soap, three passes (wtg, xtg, atg). These were my findings for this first trial:

The Yardleys of London produced a lather which was very comparable in 'feel' to the shaving creams I have tried. Or perhaps a better description for its texture would be, the 'milkiness' of tallow soaps, with the lightness of glycerin based soaps. It really was a strange sensation, to have something that was so dense, and so light at the same time. It was a stable lather, meaning it didn't dissipate within a reasonable time. The scent was light, but pleasant. Residual slickness was there, but I wouldn't categorize it as 'very slick'. If I needed to do some clean up without going back to my brush, I could, but why would I when the brush is within reach?
The Pears on the other hand, produced a lather which was very light, reminiscent of glycerin based soaps (which it is), but slightly lighter in weight. It wasn't creamy, but it was lather. When I painted it onto the face, it had good coverage, which was unexpected. As light as it was, I expected it to dissipate really quickly, but it held together. Less so than Yardleys, but nothing to scoff at. The scent strength was medium, smelling very 'medicinal'. If I had to compare it to something, it'd be cough drops. Not unpleasant, but not great either. Residual slickness is where it fails on this first test. If I HAD TO, I could do a 'no lather' clean up. In fact I did, but I didn't have 100% confidence in it's ability to protect my skin.
I would not hesitate to shave with these soaps again, and in fact I will. I realized that I made the mistake of getting ahead of myself by trying to review two products at the same time. I couldn't take the time to properly dial in either, juggling two at once, trying to keep both from drying out. The lather themselves, provided a decent amount of protection to shave comfortably, albeit, carefully.

In the end, I received a DFS, on 2.5 days growth. Funnily enough, my trouble areas are BBS, while the easiest areas to shave are where the DFS comes in. I think that I was perhaps too cautious (which isn't a bad thing), and therefore overlooked the areas that seldom give me problems. However, it was one of the most comfortable shaves I've had as of late, a claim supported by the alum and barbasol aftershave. Here is what was left on the brushes after my shave. As can be seen, allowing some of the hydration to evaporate has resulted in a denser lather, not too discernible from the shaving soaps/creams many of us use.

thumbnail_20191210_183600.jpg


Next shave: Full shave, one brush, one soap.
 
20191213_173422.jpg

Shave # 5 with Gem Featherweight Razor w/ Gem Super Stainless Steel Blade (5)

Soap: Pears Transparent Soap (made in India)
Brush: Omega 10051 (made in Italy)


to be continued....
 
Shave completed.

Soaked brush tips (about 2 cm) for a good hour or so. Shook off excess water. Wet face and rubbed bar of Pears soap on my face. Proceeded to face lather. This brush has incredible backbone. I was apprehensive at first due to the fear of irritating my face. I knew it would take some time to work the soap, so as to avoid too many air bubbles. But pushed through. It went okay.

I wouldn't say that I have the soap dialed in at all. I bowl-lathered this soap with a cheap badger yesterday, and the results were surprisingly good. However, boars are my 'daily drivers' so that's what I decided to use for this particular test. This was just second time I tried lathering this soap with a boar brush. The first time was the previous shave, which I documented above.

I still had too many large air bubbles for my liking. The consistency at first resembled light, airy, cottage cheese. It was oddly clumpy in look, obviously not in feel. So I kept hydrating it until it became smooth and lather-like. These were the results.

thumbnail_20191213_193123.jpg

Three passes (wtg, xtg, atg), plus cleanup. These were my findings for this second trial:


The Pears, again, produced a lather which was very light. Again, reminiscent of glycerin based soaps (which it is), but slightly lighter in weight. It had good coverage and didn't dissipate. The scent, which is 'medicinal' is something I'm not too fond of. It's not off-putting but it's not pleasant either. My surprise during this second trial, was with regards to the residual slickness. I think it was due to the fact that I face lathered the soap, but after rinsing the lather after the initial pass, my face felt very slick. More so than either soap in the first trial. But that's the purpose of the second trial, to support or contradict the initial trial results.


In the end, I received a BBS-, on 2.5 days growth. Like the first trial, I was cautious with this soap, as I find it does not provide the same level of 'cushion' that a conventional shave soap does. However, I didn't allow that to deter me from chasing BBS. The shave was close and comfortable, however, it's difficult to say if that's due to the soap, to the 'meticulous' attention to the angle I am using, or to the fact that I had 2.5 days of rest in between. I think it's a combination of the latter two.

However, the purpose of this test was not whether it was a soap that would replace everything in my collection, but whether it was a soap capable of providing ENOUGH glide and ENOUGH protection to shave with. And the answer is a resounding, YES. In fact, it had the added benefit of forcing me to concentrate on the angle with which I attack my stubble, my problem areas in particular. This is what was left in the brush after the third pass:

thumbnail_20191213_193933.jpg


Next shave: Full shave, same brush, Yardleys soap.
 
Shave # 6 with Gem Featherweight Razor w/ Gem Super Stainless Steel Blade (6)

Soap: Yardley London limited edition Vanilla Buttercream w/ clove extract (made in USA)
Brush: Omega 10051 (made in Italy)


Shave completed.

Soaked brush tips (about 2 cm) for approximately 30 minutes. Shook off excess water. Wet face and rubbed bar of Yardley's soap on my face. Proceeded to face lather. It did not go as well as the first test. The most likely culprit is user error, but I don't think the brush did me any favors.

As previously said, boars are my 'daily drivers', and I have no intentions of keeping any soap that makes me second guess their use. That's not to say that I will use boars exclusively, but that's where things stand, as of now.

The consistency resembled soap suds. This is what it looked like:

20191216_195032.jpg

Two passes (wtg, xtg). These were my findings for this second trial:


The Yardley's, produced a lather which was very light and airy. It didn't resemble the creamy lather from the first test, with the semogue 610. Unlike the first time, the lather dissipated rather quickly. But even then, it did not lack in the performance department. Applying a bit of water with my hand, activated the slickness and I was able to proceed with the two passes without any issues, whatsoever. I had to really try in order to wash off the slickness, which in my opinion is a great trait to have in a soap used for shaving (whether that's its intended purpose or not)

That was my initial impression after the first two passes. But my knowledge that I had more success with this soap in the previous trial, sat in the back of my mind, and I re-lathered. Bowl lathered this time, as the brush felt really aggressive/scritchy during this use and my face couldn't handle more abuse. This was the resultant lather:

20191216_195905.jpg

One pass (atg) and cleanup. These were my findings for this second trial:

The lather, while better, was still rather thin. It was functional, just like the first was. I was able to finish off my shave with no issues, whatsoever. It didn't provide the same cushion that a cream or shaving soap would, but as far as slickness goes, it performed excellent. I was able to go against the grain without a problem, and the razor blade glided over my skin with ease
In the end, I received a BBS, on 2.5 days growth. The shave was very close, but it wasn't as comfortable as the previous shave in which I used Pears soap. I'm not pinning that on the soap however, I'm 95% sure it was nothing more than user-error on my part.

The purpose of this (these) test(s) was to verify whether they were soaps capable of providing ENOUGH glide and ENOUGH protection to shave with. And the answer is a resounding, YES.

Final Thoughts: After the initial test, I thought Yardley's would wipe the floor with its competition. However, Pears came from behind and stole the show. I reiterate once again, it is most likely due to user error in combination with the brush choice. But brush choice is part of shaving, and that brush is part of my shaving regiment. Yardley's performed a bit under my expectations, while Pears Transparent Soap exceed them. If it wasn't for the scent, which I find a bit nauseating, I could see myself using it during travel. This does not mean they are great soaps to shave with. But they are absolutely usable in a post-apocalyptic world where shaving soaps/creams have seized to exist.

One last thing...after these tests, even the humble Williams Mug Soap seems like a luxury.


Next shave: A cream/soap meant for shaving!!!
 
thumbnail_20191220_155450.jpg

Shave # 7 with Gem Featherweight Razor w/ Gem Super Stainless Steel Blade (7)

Soap: Mitchell's Wool Fat (made in England)
Brush: Omega 10051 (made in Italy)

to be continued....
 
Shave completed.

Going to abandon the Italics Dialogue, since it serves no purpose for the time being.

This was shave number 7 on that GEM Super Stainless Steel Blade and it still seems to be cutting the hair just fine. It felt nice to finally be able to use MWF again. The brush performed exceptionally well, perhaps owing itself to the extended soaking (2-3 hrs) in cold tap water, as well as submerging the bristles to within 10 cm of the knot base. There wasn't any 'scratchiness' when building the lather on my face. I will continue with this method throughout the rest of winter (for this brush).

The shave itself resulted in a BBS shave. It wasn't a perfect shave, so I will have to watch that and continue to work on a combination of technique and hydrating my lather sufficiently without over-hydrating. There was some redness on the side of my face that often gives me problems. However, due to the fact that I hadn't shaved since the last post, 3.5 days ago, there wasn't any lasting irritation or 'unbearable' sting when applying alum or Barbasol Brisk, which WILL let you know when you've had a bad shave. The irritation was more visual, than anything else.

Perhaps daily shaving is a better reflector of bad technique, since the effects will build upon themselves and ultimately manifest both visually and in terms of feel (irritation/rawness). However, for the time being, I enjoy allowing my face enough time to heal in between shaves. Not to mention, it's a lot more satisfying to mow down a few days growth. That's it for today.

Next shave: A shaving cream and/or brush I've yet to include in this Journal
 
thumbnail_20191224_103032.jpg

Shave # 8 with Gem Featherweight Razor w/ Gem Super Stainless Steel Blade (8)

Soap: Williams Mug Shaving Soap (made in USA...I think)
Brush: Yaqi Moka Express Two Band (made in China)

to be continued....
 
Shave completed.

Soaked the brush in warm water and used the williams puck of soap like a shaving stick, rubbing the puck across my face until I felt I had gathered enough lather. Proceeded to face lather. Brush felt extremely soft, but I remembered why I will never let go of my boar brushes. Granted, this is a cheaply priced badger so perhaps this only applies to such brushes. But while the brush felt incredibly soft and luxurious, and was a treat to use, I remembered to be weary of badger-burn.

Boars are very 'upfront' in that regard. If they are going to irritate your face, they will announce before you have done any of the damage. Badgers are sneaky. But that's just a digression from the performance of these products today.

I didn't load nearly enough soap onto my face for this particular combo, which makes me wonder if the brush (new) is simply hogging the lather, or if the knot is simply too large for the amount of soap that I can possibly rub onto my whiskers. Proceeded to hold the puck in my hand and load up the brush. Success.

The lather was great. I am not over-exaggerating when I say that it performed just as well as MWF, the residual slickness being topnotch. Lather did not dissipate, which I will attribute to the fact that water was added slowly and I started with a damp brush, not sopping wet. Razor performed as expected, shave number 8 on the blade and still performing very well.

I wish I could say that the shave resulted in BBS level smoothness. But if I'm not honest, it defeats the purpose of such a journal. The results were BBS other than the usual trouble area to the side of my chin/jaw where the hair grows upward and diagonal. I'm not sure if it's my technique or the fact that I seem to have what feels like 'chicken-skin' in that small patch of skin, about the size of a dime, which keeps me from achieving perfect smoothness unless I'm willing to irritate the area. Which ideally, I don't want to happen.

The blade and razor performed flawlessly. I'm getting more comfortable with the angle, and although I wish I could use my left hand when shaving the left side of my face, I'm not at that point yet. The mechanics of holding that razor feels worlds apart from using my left hand to straight razor shave. As I progress, I'll try to get there, though. The blade on its 8th shave (coinciding with the 8th time I've used the featherweight, my first SE safety razor) feels really smooth now, without struggling to mow down the whiskers.

The shave itself consisted of three passes (wtg, xtg, atg) which the usual touch ups in areas where the whiskers don't all grow in a uniform direction. I'm irritation free, despite applying an alcohol based aftershave. I credit that to the entire setup, including the fact that it's been 3.5 days since my last shave. Allowing my face to rest seems to be doing wonders for the health of my skin. I'll continue waiting between 2.5-3.5 days in between shaves for the near future.

Next shave: Same setup. It'd be a shame to abandon something that worked so well, so soon!!
 
Shave # 9 with Gem Featherweight Razor w/ Gem Super Stainless Steel Blade (9)

Soap: Williams Mug Shaving Soap (made in USA...I think)
Brush: Yaqi Moka Express Two Band (made in China)

Nothing new here. Williams might be the slickest soap I've ever used, though. The brush is a joy to use, extremely dense, soft, while having backbone.

I managed to get a complete BBS shave, but I admittedly overshaved some areas. The blade cut just fine, but I started getting more of the 'buttering toast' sound when cutting against the grain and am wondering if the blade is near it's end or if it's just the angle I've used. No irritation whatsoever, though, so I will continue to use this blade until it no longer cuts properly.
 
Forgot to mention...

As a testament to Williams' slickness, I fumbled a razor for the first time. One moment I was holding it securely, and the next I was fumbling it in my hand. Luckily, I was able to catch it and avoid any cutting myself. I'm glad it happened, because it taught me the importance of dry hands. I believed it would never happen to me, until it did. Lesson learned.

Next shave: I like this setup, loving this brush, but I might end the year with my trusty boar...
 
thumbnail_20191231_123553.jpg

Shave # 10 with Gem Featherweight Razor w/ Gem Super Stainless Steel Blade (10)

Soap: Mitchell's Wool Fat
Brush: Omega 10051 (made in Italy)


to be continued....
 
Well, for the last shave of last year (writing this late), let's start out with the method. Soaked my brush for about 3 hours in cold water. Flicked the brush dry, loaded the brush with MFW and proceeded to face-lather. Slickness was great, as was the protection.

I have to say, this GEM featherweight has been more than I expected. It's quickly become my go to razor, not only because I'm giving it a test run, but because it does everything I need a razor to do. I like how intuitive the angle is, once you get used to it. I like how the cap is sloped and flat, as opposed to the semi-circular cap on a DE razor. If I had started with this razor, I might not have bought so many safety razors.

Who are we kidding, of course I would've. But this razor is that good to me.

Blade ended the year on an even 10 shaves and still felt great. I will continue with the same blade to see how far I can push it while still maintaining the shave quality I've grown accustomed to.

Next shave: No idea!
 
thumbnail_20200104_134904.jpg

Shave # 11 with Gem Featherweight Razor w/ Gem Super Stainless Steel Blade (11)

Soap: Nivea Men Sensitive Shaving Cream (don't know country of Origin)
Brush: Omega 10083 (made in Italy)
 
Shave #11 with this blade went well. It is still cutting just as it did in the previous shave. But I have noticed a decrease in sharpness in comparison to my first few uses. I do not see this blade lasting more than about 20 shaves, as of now. However, it is still getting the job done as of now.

The real subject of this shave, was the shaving cream, which I had never tried before. This is what I found:

I smeared a thumbnail-sized amount of cream on my stubble. Surprisingly, this was more than enough for the entire shave. This small container, will last me a good 5 of more shaves. The scent was reminiscent of Ivory bar soap, not bad, not great. Scent strength was very light, allowing this to be something even those with low scent tolerance can use with frequency.
I took my damp boar brush and began to lather up. This cream can take a lot of water, and in fact, needs it. I continued adding water until a suitable lather had been made. Proceeded to shave off 3.5 days worth of growth. Did my usual 3-pass with cleanup shave. I ended up with a DFS- shave.
I didn't trust the cream enough to aim for the BBS shave today. And that's perfectly fine. That was due to my own reservations when trying out a product for the first time. One thing I will not about the cream, is that it lacks the residual slickness which I have grown accustomed to using MWF, and Williams more recently.
With Nivea Shaving cream being discontinued in my neck of the woods, and prices going from as low as $5 to as high as $10+ per tube of cream, I find it hard to recommend this cream. Of course, I'll try it again in the future since fair is fair, but the initial impressions point toward a cream that is an excellent value at around $3, if it is still available around you, but not worth the trouble of acquiring it, if it is not. That's all for this shave.

Next shave: No idea!
 
Shave # 12 with Gem Featherweight Razor w/ Gem Super Stainless Steel Blade (12)

thumbnail_20200110_213841.jpg

Soap: Williams Mug Shaving Soap (made in USA...I think)
Brush: Yaqi Moka Express Two Band (made in China)

Nothing new here. Williams performed wonderfully and the brush felt like a pillow.

I managed to get a DFS+ shave on 4.5 days of growth. The usual trouble areas ended up DFS while the rest ended up BBS. No irritation whatsoever. The blade is feeling extremely smooth, but admittedly the sharpness has fallen. Not to the degree where the shave is compromised however, so I'll continue using this particular blade. That is all.

Next shave: No idea!
 
Shave # 13 with Gem Featherweight Razor w/ Gem Super Stainless Steel Blade (13)

thumbnail_20200116_210412.jpg

Soap: Williams Mug Shaving Soap (made in USA...I think)
Brush: Omega 10051 (made in Italy)

Shave was rushed, but went well. Soaked brush for a good 30 minutes or so, heavily loaded my stubble with Williams by rubbing the puck on my face, and proceeded to lather, starting dry and slowly adding water. Lather was just as great as that produced with my Yaqi brush. Dense, thick lather that did not dissipate. Amazing residual slickness. I'm not too fond of the 'powderiness' of the scent on Williams, to be frank. It however, is not offensive enough for me to stop using it. Incredibly performance.

Shave was BBS-, beyond a DFS+ but not quite BBS. A few bits of stubble (and I do mean a few) that are indiscernible to the eye, but can slightly be felt along my trouble area. The shave was rushed, but I felt confident in the blade, which has smoothed out a lot, and the soap combination.

I have used the featherweight enough times, to declare it as my favorite shaving tool. I'm sure I'll eat my words in the future, but as of now I cannot see myself putting this magnificent shaving instrument down for any extended period of time. My skin is loving waiting 2.5-4.5 days in between shaves. I can go incredibly close, without suffering from post shave irritation. So while I'd surely enjoy shaving more often, I have learned to listen to what my skin is telling me. For now, anyway.

Edit: Wow, I can't believe my last shave was almost a week ago. I shaved 5.5 days of growth today!
 
Shave # 14 with Gem Featherweight Razor w/ Gem Super Stainless Steel Blade (14)

thumbnail_20200120_143424.jpg

Soap: Williams Mug Shaving Soap (made in USA...I think)
Brush: Omega 10083 (made in Italy)

Shave is from yesterday. I will stop reviewing the products unless it's a new product or something changes, since all of the above have shown to be reliable. The shave was rushed, and ended up being an acceptable shave which I will hesitate to even label DFS-. I feel the blade might not have long before it has to go, but will be deciding that in the next two shaves coming up. I had a bit more post shave 'sting' when using alum and aftershave, but nothing that I would consider 'razor burn'. Just not up to the standard of the previous shaves. However, that might have to do with the fact that I rushed the shave, and not to do with the blade at all. But I will see in the near future.
 
Shave # 15 with Gem Featherweight Razor w/ Gem Super Stainless Steel Blade (15)

thumbnail_20200128_210654.jpg


Soap: Williams Mug Shaving Soap (made in USA...I think)
Brush: Omega 10083 (made in Italy)

DFS- shave. Nothing new to mention, next shave might be my last with this blade depending on how it performs.
 
Shave # 16 with Gem Featherweight Razor w/ Gem Super Stainless Steel Blade (16)

thumbnail_20200204_000044.jpg

Soap: Williams Mug Shaving Soap (made in USA...I think)
Brush: Yaqi Moka Express Two Band (made in China)

This was the shave for February 2, 2020. Blade is definitely not as sharp as it was in the beginning and I might toss it mid-shave if it's not doing its job properly, this upcoming shave. I am trying to push this blade as far as it'll go, and it's lasted for 2 months, which at this point corresponds to 16 shaves. A blade every 2 months is a new record for me, despite the low shave count. Brush and soap worked flawlessly. Williams has overtaken MWF as my daily driver. I find the slickness is actually better. If they ever reformulated it to have a different scent, it might be the perfect soap. And I'm saying this strictly from a performance during the shave standpoint, not post-shave qualities. I achieved a DFS. Haven't really acquired a BBS for a while now. Part of it is I'm speeding through my shaves, being satisfied with the lack of irritation which is a possibility if I go for BBS. But another part of it, a big part actually, is the decreasing sharpness in the blade.
 
Top