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Phoenixkh: An Old Man's Continuum....


I shaved a fortune
I'm 6 months late in starting a journal so I have a lot of catching up to do. Over these past months, I've made many friends on B&B, learned a lot. Wet shaving has become a very enjoyable endeavor.

I owe my conversion to wet shaving to our youngest son. He sent me some Astra Super Platinum Green blades and a RazoRock Lupo DE Aluminum razor. The blades got to our place first... followed ten day later or so by the Lupo. In the meantime, I read some Amazon reviews and bought some Proraso White shaving soap along with some RR Mudder Focker soap. I had an old Vulfix Super Badger brush laying around from years ago. I still used the latest Gillette cartridge razor but was making my own lather with some drug store soap. I don't remember what brand. I just remember it came in its own little blue shaving bowl with a lid.

He said: "Dad, just try wet shaving. I know you love your Gillette Fusion Power.... but you never know. I won't be upset if you don't like it." He was right. I tried the Proraso White.... didn't like the soap and I didn't like the razor. It felt so light and the shave was pretty awful, truth be told. This was on Feb. 15th, I guess I should add the year.. 2/15/2022.

While I was waiting for the razor to show up, I had started watching YouTube videos so when I had that horrible shave, I had an idea about a different razor. I had watched a lot of Brian Mulreany's videos and thought I wanted an Executive Shaving Outlaw, so I started an email conversation with him and ended up chatting with him on their website. After asking me a few questions, getting a feel for where I was coming from, etc., Brian suggested I try the Claymore Evolution. He said, he'd been using it himself since they got their first shipment from Hong Kong. That sounded good to me. I mean, he was the owner. He could choose from quite a few different razors and that was his choice...

I selected a few more items: a Stef Baxter lipped ceramic shaving bowl, Acca Kappa Barbershop soap, ESC Citrus Kiss cream, the ESC Ultimate G4 shaving brush... Paid extra for premium shipping..... ordered some Feather ProGuards from Amazon.

This long essay takes us up to my first shave with my Claymore Evolution: It is sort of imprinted on my mind. I used the Acca Kappa croap (I didn't even know what that meant until I showed up on B&B LOL). My first bowl lather wasn't all that great. I learned shortly thereafter that I needed to spread the soap thin on the bottom of the bowl before hitting it with my brush, but still, I managed to make enough to lather my face adequately. The very first stroke: I'll never forget. This was on Feb. 18th so I had three days growth. I held the handle parallel to my face, lifted it until I felt the blade engage and did one WTG stroke... a pretty long one. I didn't think it was cutting anything but when I looked at my face first... then the razor head, I was amazed. There was a very clear plow line where the whiskers had been sheared off cleanly. I also noticed, my face was pretty red where the razor had passed. It was immediately apparent: wow, I don't need to bear down on this razor for it to cut through three days of old man, grey whiskers.

I had a few weepers around the corners of my mouth and in the upper chin area but nothing my liquid styptic didn't stop immediately. It was much easier to shave around my nose with the thin head than it was with the single trim blade on my Fusion Power. I did my normal two pass shave: WTG and ATG. When the shave was complete and I rinsed off, I had a closer shave than I'd ever gotten with my Fusion Power. I was a bit surprised.

I'm an every other day shaver most of the time, unless my wife and I have to be somewhere. I always shave before I go out in public. Just a habit, I suppose. Anyway, I had a few shaves under my belt when I found B&B on March 1st. Each shave had been better than the last and I was already feeling comfortable with my new Claymore Evo.

I've been involved in a few online forums prior to B&B so I knew what to expect....sort of. I jumped right in, asking questions, etc. This seems like a natural place to end my first entry.


I shaved a fortune
This second episode... well, we'll see how far we get.

Like many newbies with a few shaves under their belts, I was perhaps a bit too enthusiastic. I was already growing fond of my Claymore Evo and made some pretty hmmmmm I wouldn't say "brash", but certainly "confident" statements about that choice. 6 months later? I still feel the way. For me, it's a great razor and has been a solid foundation for my wet shaving path.

I enjoy reading. I've told the story before but perhaps it's worth repeating. I was put into an experimental first grade because my sister, two years older than me, was a good student and that year, there were too many children for the two first grade classes. There was this class for kids who should have flunked first grade but they didn't want to hold them back a year so they started this sort of remedial second grade. Unusual for an elementary class.. we actually had letter grades. I got all A's... you know, in math, reading, writing, etc., but got one of those cautionary notes: is too disruptive in class: talks too much.

It turns out, I was memorizing the Dick and Jane books from the teacher and the other kids reading aloud based on the drawings on every page... "See Dick run"... next to a drawing of Dick running..... We moved that summer.. same town, Cheyenne, Wyoming, but to a different school district. When my second grade teacher, Mrs. Currin, tested my reading skills, she discovered, I couldn't read a word. I couldn't even print my name. I don't know this for certain but is has always seemed to me that my first grade teacher, Mrs. Coffee, was trying to impress the principal with our grades because I didn't earn those A's.

Mrs. Currin brought my parents in for a parent/teacher conference and together they decided she would keep me after class for 45 minutes every day and teach me to read. I owe her..... otherwise I would have had that stigma with me.. the kid sent back to first grade. I don't know how that might have affected me the rest of my life. All I know is, somehow, her kindness challenged me to try to catch up... to learn to read as quickly as possible. It took me until the 4th grade before I was in the highest reading group.

I know that is a long story.... what does it have to do with B&B and my shaving journey? I love to read and I've read the various threads here... some very long ones, to educate myself. I knew from the start that I was ignorant about a whole hosts of topics. I'm retired so I have a lot of free time on my hands. One by one, I've tackled the topics that interested me, asking questions, of course, but also exploring previous, defunct threads to try and learn.

With the razor choice out of the way for the time being, I turned my attention to two other areas simultaneously: brushes and soaps/creams. The brush search is going to take a while so let's cover the soaps first.

I showed up here with the four soaps I mentioned earlier. Of the 4, I only really liked two of them: the Acca Kappa soap/croap and the ESC Citrus Kiss. Of the two, I was particularly fond of the Acca Kappa and 6 months later, it's one of 4 in my current rotation.

I soon found two threads that guided my soap search.

and: Choosing a first soap or cream - https://www.badgerandblade.com/forum/threads/choosing-a-first-soap-or-cream.621917/

I don't have a great sense of smell and I don't care for strong scents in general. I mentioned that to two of the participants in those threads, i.e., @APBinNCA and @Tomo. These two guys were the first people to take me under their wings and help me choose the soaps best suited for my personal likes. I was a bit overwhelmed, to be honest. I have no idea there were that many soaps from which to choose. I was seeing so many different soaps/creams/croaps popping up in the SOTD photos. I was already reading all the "new posts" and quickly learned that wet shaving was way more subjective than I thought possible. I decided, Aaron and Tomo knew a lot more than I did so I relied on them to pick out an additional 5 soaps/creams. I was set.

I should add (man, I wish I would have done this from the very beginning... I'm going to be interjecting stuff as I go along when had I started a journal from the very beginning, I wouldn't have to think this hard. Don't think, you'll weaken the team.), I was running a blade selection test for my Claymore. I had purchased 5 additional types of AC blades to go along with my Feather ProGuards. I didn't want to have too many variables during this run so I was sticking to just a couple soaps: Baume.be and Acca Kappa. The rest of the soaps were waiting for this test to be complete.

I don't need to give a long dissertation about the AC blade experiment. I think it's enough for me to say, at that point, the Feather ProGuards and the Kai Captain Pink Titan Mild Protouch Mg with guard (that's a mouthful) blades worked the best for me.

Since I was reading new posts every day, another brand of soap was getting a lot of attention. You know how it is here... you think you've completed part of your small collection but something pops up and you decide... why not try it for myself? I bought another very popular soap base in a very popular scent. I don't really want to name it because I loved the way the soap worked but man, oh man, did my face react to it. My whole face turned fiery red. And not only where I was shaving. I started getting these little red bumps on my forehead and upper cheeks where I wasn't even shaving. I have psoriatic arthritis and have had skin break outs before, but never on my face. I was pretty distraught. I knew it was most likely some scent ingredient because the other soaps I was using shared a lot of other ingredients that hadn't caused this problem.

As usual, I turned to B&B for some answers. I found the Brotherhood of Unscented Gentlemen Shavers - https://www.badgerandblade.com/forum/threads/brotherhood-of-unscented-gentlemen-shavers.558588/. It was there and a thread started by @godlike (Canada Shaving Soap review - https://www.badgerandblade.com/forum/threads/canada-shaving-soap-review.614669/) that I found Canada Shaving Soap. I used that soap until my face started to get better... that took a full three weeks. I also consulted my dermatologist to get some professional help clearing up those little red bumps that persisted. She prescribed "Metro Gel" and that eliminated the bumps in just a few days.

To this day, I've been reluctant to try the other 5 soaps I have on my shelf. I've limited myself to Baume.be, Acca Kappa, Canada Shaving soap and I just added Phoenix Scentsless CK-6 but I haven't used it yet. Soon, though.

Another great B&B resource for those with sensitive skin would be @RayClem. He's a great guy and very willing to help everyone who asks.

Soaps will never be a rabbit hole for me. I know, I know... never say never but in this case, I don't like a variety of scents and that's probably the greatest driver for soap accumulations. I have already found soap bases that work well for me... lathering, good shaving characteristics and good post shave face feel.

Here endeth the AC blade search and soaps, creams and croaps.


I shaved a fortune
Brushes... and some tangents along the way.

When I first got here, as I mentioned, I only had one brush. I had given my old Vulfix Super badger to our youngest son and only had my ESC Ultimate G4 synth brush. I just loved that brush... esp. the elegant handle: a two toned anodized aluminum. I decided I should have a small rotation of synth brushes so I did what I always do... pay attention to what synth brushes show up in the new posts and read other threads under the Brush Category in the "Forums" list. I didn't think this would be a big deal. I mean.... brushes shouldn't be too tough to find.

At that time, two Phoenix Artisan Accoutrements brushes were showing up on various threads. I went to their site and used their chat feature to discuss these two brushes with the owner. I told him I had a G4 brush from ESC and wanted something similar. I won't describe this chat at length... but I will say..... he had never heard of G4 synth knots and went on to tell me he how much he knew about the shaving business for quite a few sentences. In the end, he told me I what I needed was the Peregino.

I ran both brushes by a few chatters here and they all universally told me.... you can't go wrong with either, so that's what I did. I mean, they are only $20 a piece so the risk wasn't that great. The Atomic Rocket had a similar face feel to my ESC Ultimate but I couldn't get used to the very large handle. The Peregrino and I never got along... after repeated efforts. My first personal YMMV experience.

Then I tried a Simpson Trafalgar T3 (used for $20)and a Maseto 28mm synth, neither of which compared favorably to the Ultimate G4. Four tries, all failures. And all 4 were recommended to me by B&B regulars. I'll freely admit it, I went into a bit of a panic. I knew by this time, there were 3 G5 variants..... what if the G4 knot I liked so much went away? Should I just buy another ESC Ultimate as a backup? I even went so far as to ask one of the clubs here about it. The question was met with derision, to be frank. That caught me off guard a bit. My experience to that point here on B&B had been 100% positive. I was in a bit of a quandary. Out of that panic, I actually ended up doing just that... buying another ESC Ultimate .... it's not a cheap brush and the shipping costs from Scotland are steep as well.

This is when I met @Chan Eil Whiskers. He treated me with respect while at the same time, suggesting I didn't really need to panic or worry about the G4 knot going away. His response was gentle and calming, as is his way. He said, and I paraphrase, I wouldn't worry about it. If that brush goes away, another better one will come along. Jim also directed me to try an Omega Evo Original (the 2.0 was just appearing over the horizon at that time). I did just that and really liked it. A panic over nothing.... I know it sounds a bit silly but it was a welcome relief.. two fold: I found another synth as good or better than my Ultimate G4 and I met a man whose tastes in brushes is similar to mine.

I made a huge mistake after meeting @Chan Eil Whiskers /Jim. <eg> eg=evil grin and denotes an attempt at humor.
What mistake was that, you might be wondering? I started reading the May Mistura Madness thread. To that point, I was pretty set to stick with synth brushes. Not because of any political stance but because I had heard, from Brian Mulreany and others that synths had progressed so far, natural fiber brushes just weren't necessary and didn't really add anything to the shaving experience. ESC was no longer selling any natural fiber brushes.

As you've seen, my custom is to look into things that interest me by reading as much as is possible to rid myself of that ignorance. As I said, I read the "new posts" of May Mistura Madness. Jim liked the mixed natural fiber brushes so perhaps I should look into them. I started at the very beginning of May Mistura Madness and read it through to the current content. I also read Jim's thread on the Semogue Owner's Club Mistura brushes: Semogue SOC Mistura | Your Impressions & Mine - https://www.badgerandblade.com/forum/threads/semogue-soc-mistura-your-impressions-mine.591184/

There are lots of tangents in those threads... not just mixed fiber brushes, but boars and a few badgers were thrown in for good measure. The brush rabbit hole beckoned. I ordered two SOC Misturas in both Taj and Butterscotch handles. My wife is the sane one in our marriage and she insists.... that isn't butterscotch... that's orange. I suspect she is right but I still like the color. I just loved both of them. In fact, to fast forward to our Bali trip we're on at the moment: August 23 to Sept 21st, 2022. Those are the two brushes I have with me. That should tell you something. I have more expensive brushes that I didn't want to take in case of theft.... but I have several very fine synth brushes I could have chosen.... the two Misturas were the choice.

After the two Mistura brushes showed up... and it seemed it took forever for them to get here as May was quickly passing by and I really wanted to have a few entries on the May Mistura Madness thread... and I enjoyed their face feel so much, I went on a brush buying frenzy. I added a Zenith M23 Manchurian badger brush with a 506 copper handle, 7 boar brushes... with an additional Zenith unbleached boar with that same 506 handle shape in resin, 5 more badger brushes as time went on: 4 SV High Mountain Manchurian brushes and an Elite Razor Manchurian because I just couldn't pass up Bob's Bloody Jasper Basin handle, red jasper with a silver accent ring. It has a very similar shape to the Zenith 506 handles I really enjoy.

All in all, I now have 23 brushes... and like the Psalmist wrote... they comfort me. <eg>

Brush buying frenzy has come to its natural conclusion. I might add another one as time goes on, when something special shows up like one of those Limited Edition group buys..... but that drive has dissipated. I planned to buy all the brushes I have. I had a shaving slush fund set aside when I joined B&B so these were purchases done with some thought behind them. Even all the boars. Most of them were fairly inexpensive. The only really expensive brushes were the SV Manchurians and I wanted a few different handles. The only mistake I made was buying a 70/30 mixed bristle brush that refused to show any progress whatsoever. I started out being patient with it.. used it several times, put it through quite a few wet/dry cycles and it just didn't change one iota. It was annoying me. I only had $12 invested in the handle... so I just threw that porcupine brush away... it was a relief, truth be told. Again, a mistake because I hadn't finished reading the related threads. @Chan Eil Whiskers has the same problem with that knot. Had i read his experience with it, I would have avoided it in the first place.

I once read, on the back of a packet of sugar, while sitting in a Chinese restaurant: "We need to learn from the mistakes of others because we'll never live long enough to make them all ourselves."


I shaved a fortune
Some things I've learned along the way.

Homemade pre-shave oils didn't work for me, but a good pre-shave is part of my routine now. Many people here don't find them beneficial but I do. I like all three of these products: Baume.be Pre-Shave; Grooming Department Pre-Shave and Phoenix Cube and Tube 2.0

Hyaluronic acid and Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel-Cream are both very nice post shave and were recommended by my dermatologist, not just B&B members

My dermatologist also recommended a three part body regimen using a face wash, body wash and body moisturizer from both CeraVe and Cetaphil. My wife's legs had been dry and a bit scaly for months, even in humid Florida... the moisturizers, both of them, totally restored her legs to soft, pristine condition.

My Claymore Evolution benefited greatly from a lighter handle. I saw David, i.e. @never-stop-learning using a Timeless Ti Crown handle, among others, and was smitten. What a beautiful handle. It turned my somewhat heavy Claymore Evo into a more nimble razor.

I learned to seek out the journals of others. It turns out, diaries and journals if started in those forums don't show up in "new posts" for some reason.
I routinely read these forums, listed in no particular order or preference. I've learned a lot from all of them.

If you "watch" them, they show up in your ummmmm "watched threads". I've learned so much from all the above journals/diaries. I read lots of other threads, new posts, etc. as well. There is such a wealth of shaving knowledge here, as well as great info on other topics as well.


I shaved a fortune
Well, from here on out, things will be more current. I'm sure I'll remember something I missed and will throw it in out of context but that's the way it is.

This thread is intended to be a multi-highway. An exchange of experiences. At the moment, it's just me doing my best to convey where I started and my path to this point.

I'm almost up to date. Since I read @Cal 's journal listed above, I noticed he was using particular razor for weeks at a time, it seemed so I asked him about his British/England Flat Bottom Tech. After some consideration, I decided to explore the DE razor world a bit, starting with that razor. Cal recommended I start with one of his favorite DE blades, since I knew nothing at all about DE blades and DE shaving in general. I bought ten King C. Gillette blades.

I've only had 5 shaves with it so far... all of them very good, though I'm still in a learning curve phase, DE shaving, while sharing some commonality with Single Edge blade shaving, is something very new to me. So far, I've only used the KCG blades and the Wizamet blades. Both worked well though I have to say... the KCG blades gave me a more smooth shaving experience. That's sort of unfortunate because they are pretty expensive for a DE blade. <eg>

I had one very poor shave when I tried to up the efficiency of the BFBT with a slightly wider Kai blade. More on that when we return from Bali on the 21st or so.

I also bought a Gillette British Raised Flat Bottom razor.... I made a mistake with that one and ended up with a 2 piece razor instead of a three piece. Since I wanted the flexibility of a three piece ( I plan to experiment with different handles on it), Chris Spencer graciously traded my two piece No. 77 for a No. 44 three piece he had replated and had for sale on Etsy. When I sent him the two piece for trade, I also included my two British Flat Bottom Techs for him to replate in mirror nickel.

They are waiting for me at our place. I look forward to seeing and more importantly, using them, when we get back from Bali.


I shaved a fortune
I will try to post some photos in subsequent posts. If anyone would like to see something I mentioned earlier on, feel free to make a request.

Chan Eil Whiskers

Fumbling about.
Excellent, Kim.

Reading has obviously saved you a lot of money.

On the other hand...​

Happy shaves,



I shaved a fortune
I haven't shaved for a few days now. It turns out, when they drill a bunch of holes into your jaw and screw in titanium studs into which they screw your new "teeth", your face gets swollen and black and blue. The contours of my face changed completely. I did shave that once afterwards.... slowly, carefully and painfully... so I put shaving off for a while.

On a happy note: "we're" having breakfast with Orangutans tomorrow morning. My wife hopes there is actual interaction... that's what is promised. I will be taking tons of photos if that is the case. Should be interesting, either way.

We had planned to have a relaxing afternoon afterwards, but it turns out, we were supposed to pick up a ring on Friday but I got a WhatsApp message saying... it has to be tomorrow because their shop closes tomorrow for two weeks for a remodel. So... it's about 2 or 3 hours away from the Orangs depending on the traffic (traffic here is "special".... think LA X3).... we'll make it work.. first world problems in the third world. <eg>


I shaved a fortune
I had a barely adequate shave today, as I've mentioned in another thread. It was ok.... I didn't try very hard. I just wanted to clear away the rubble, basically. That I did... two passes and light touchups.

I remain amazed at how well the Claymore Evo handles every task I put in front of it. Even with extremely low light, days of growth, I can get a socially acceptable shave with very little effort. I know I could have done better had I just worked a few more minutes.... but we were just headed out to explore a few places on our bucket list... no one to impress. I just didn't want to look like I should be begging for my next meal. <eg>

Thanks for the well wishes.. my next appointment is this coming Tuesday.. probably an hour longer than the first one.... 6 implants instead of 4 hold the upper teeth in place... should be fun. ;)


I shaved a fortune
How many people get to go to paradise and return with a million dollar smile?
Yeah.... I count myself fortunate. It isn't without some concern... if there are issues... we'll be a long way from the dentist's office when we return home.

But we could never afford to do this in the States... even with the extra expenses, it's still around 70% cheaper here in Bali.


I shaved a fortune
Today is the next phase of my dental work.... I made sure do have a nice shave this morning.. no stubble to tear latex gloves. <eg>

It was actually a quite pleasant shave, even with such primitive bathroom amenities. I hadn't taken out the blade as I usually do but did today.... several rust spots on it. Back to my normal routine from here on out.

The Claymore Evo did its job as usual. The SCO Mistura gave me a very nice, gentle scrub. Face lathering???? It isn't bad but I still prefer bowl lathering. I still really like the Baume.be. I bought this tub of it used and it's nearing its completion but I have an almost full on at home in the States.

I hate to admit things like this but I have a bit of anxiety this morning/afternoon. My Blutt BR-1 was delivered yesterday and the postal carrier selected "handed to an individual".... since we're not home, I have no idea who either signed for it (I didn't expect a "signature required" delivery) or accepted the package. The woman taking care of our cat didn't accept any package so I'm hoping one of our neighbors has it. I shouldn't be concerned... there are no razor thieves patrolling our neighborhood but I'll feel better when I know where it is. The week wait doesn't appeal to me. That's how long before we get home. And if we get home and still don't know where it is, I'm going to be even more anxious until someone brings it over. If I get lucky, someone will bring it over when our cat sitter is there.

My wife, always the optimist, said... no worries... and then added... Perhaps you shouldn't be ordering stuff when we're in Bali. My thinking? If I wait until we get home... I'll be checking the tracking every day, waiting for it to show up. This way... it'll be there when we get home. Who wins this one? It might be my wife... and it usually is. <eg>


I shaved a fortune
Just got back from the dentist... the guy is a master. I'm lucky to have him.

I'm allergic to all the good pain meds, thankfully..... but I'm in a bit of pain at the moment. The way it works is... they screw 6 titanium implants into your jaw, then mount the temporary teeth/dentures as soon as they are made. In my case, tomorrow. Whew.

It sounds like a lot... and it is. But in the end, 6 months later, they install permanent teeth.

I'm not going to lie.... we are both ready to go home.
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