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Should I get a stypic pencil or will my alum block suffice?

I used an alum block for the first time today. It did a great job of soothing my skin and healing any minor nicks after my shave. However if I was unlucky enough to give myself a severe nick will it do the job or should I get a styptic pencil for such emergencies? My shaving technique with my 39c Sledgehammer is getting better all the time and the razor is so efficient its rare such an event happens. In fact I got more nicks from my Mach 3. So am I worrying over nothing or should I get one all the same just to be on the safe side?

Jason.
 

JCinPA

The Lather Maestro
Styptic pencil is MUCH better at closing nicks, no comparison. Thayer’s Witch Hazel does basically the same thing the alum block does without the potential irritation.

Suggest you ditch the alum block entirely, get some Thayer’s Witch Hazel and a Styptic pencil. After the shave splash on the WH, let it dry. Then your favorite aftershave treatment. Styptic to close up nicks.
 
I used an alum block for the first time today. It did a great job of soothing my skin and healing any minor nicks after my shave. However if I was unlucky enough to give myself a severe nick will it do the job or should I get a styptic pencil for such emergencies? My shaving technique with my 39c Sledgehammer is getting better all the time and the razor is so efficient its rare such an event happens. In fact I got more nicks from my Mach 3. So am I worrying over nothing or should I get one all the same just to be on the safe side?

Jason.
The active ingredients are similar. The alum block's main ingredient is potassium aluminum sulfate. The styptic pencil is obviously a different shape. It may have some binder or colorant added.

You can also get styptic in the form of a liquid, gel, or little disposable sticks that look like paper matches.

Clubman Styptic Pencil INGREDIENTS:
Active Ingredients, Aluminum Sulfate (Stops Bleeding), Inactive Ingredients,Titanium Dioxide
 
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Messygoon

Abandoned By Gypsies.
Yet another reason to love B&B: We can have differences in opinion, yet still respect others’ points of view. Witch hazel is used in our household only as first aid for minor burns. I have used both alum and styptic, and strongly prefer alum (my wounds clot pretty fast, YMMV). Note: I’m careful not to nick myself so badly as to cause my lovely wife to consider a tourniquet.

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I don’t know if my blood clots quickly but it is rare for me to get a shaving nick that doesn’t just go away with a splash of cold water. On the rare occasions that it still bleeds then a styptic / alum pencil is a convenient shape and sorts it out quickly. For a real bleeder then I like the Proraso healing gel, which is also very cheap and convenient - just a tiny bit of gel applied with a fingertip will seal the cut (keep the cap tightly on the tube so it doesn’t dry out). I do have an alum block which I sometimes use over my face post-shave, but I usually prefer just after-shave as the alum leaves a dry and rough face feel, even after washing it off.

That’s what I prefer. But the answer to your question is, no, your alum block is fine and you don’t need anything else.
 
This is exactly what I do. Alum block just makes my face cheesed off.
Styptic pencil is MUCH better at closing nicks, no comparison. Thayer’s Witch Hazel does basically the same thing the alum block does without the potential irritation.

Suggest you ditch the alum block entirely, get some Thayer’s Witch Hazel and a Styptic pencil. After the shave splash on the WH, let it dry. Then your favorite aftershave treatment. Styptic to close up nicks.
 
I have an alum block, and never bothered to grab a styptic pencil. I think I agree with others above though that witch hazel (which I always have in my bathroom) serves a similar purpose, but can accomplish the task more comfortably.

That said... there were times, especially in the first few years after I started shaving with DE razor, where I used the alum block for an additional purpose: namely, as a tool to give me feedback as I learned and developed technique. The alum is a sensitive way to spot areas of light or moderate irritation and helped me calibrate things like appropriate pressure and number of passes/buffing my face would tolerate. If I applied the alum after a close shave and got no sting, it told me I was doing things right. Alcohol-based AS does the same thing to a certain extent, but I don't find it's quite as sensitive as alum.
 
I use an alum block after I shave to provide feedback in my shave. It lets me know whether the shave was irritating or smooth. Then again, I enjoy thinking (however rightly or wrongly) that it's helping to close up any minor cuts and preventing bacteria from infecting me after I shave). I also like using it to close up minor nicks. One other benefit of an alum block is that applying it to the tips of my off hand allows me to stretch my skin better.

I do, however, also have a styptic pencil for cuts, which gets used pretty rarely.

In addition to the above, I also use alcohol based after splashes and an after shave balm after that. The first is to primarily as a disinfectant (and also for the lovely scents), while the latter is to help provide a more comfortable post-shave feel.
 

JCinPA

The Lather Maestro
Cool! Whatever works. Alum blocks are used by many here, and have been for a long, long time. Do get a Styptic pencil, though. It's rare, but on occasion, even very rare occasion, even experienced shavers will get a little more than a weeper or tiny nick. The alum block may not stop that, and the styptic most likely will.

They are cheap and last years. I think my current one is about 10 years old, I've only owned 3. Would have been only two, but I lost one while traveling, left it in the hotel. And we're talking almost 50 years of shaving. You should have one just in case, it's not an either/or situation with the alum block.
 
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