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

I use stypic, but in matchbook form, I find it's easier to use and I won't accidently snap it or break it, this is not where I buy it from, but this is an example of what I mean:

Styptic matchbook

They are pretty inexpensive.
 
For me, there's a styptic near the sink just in case. When I first started shaving DE in the 1960s I used a styptic pencil, couldn't stand the bits of toilet paper. Of course, it was my poor technique and canned lather that was really the problem. For years, after learning how to shave properly I went without a styptic. Nowadays, knowing how to shave adequately, but being on blood thinners, a styptic pencil is useful on the rare occasion I get a nick. I can't remember the last time I needed it, but for a few bucks it's good insurance.

I use alum for two main reasons- 1. mostly to help my fingers to stick when skin stretching, and 2. when testing out a new razor, blade, or soap, or just to see if my shave left any irritation. Here in the west the air is mostly very dry, so alum is not really needed to finish up a shave, a splash is usually sufficient. When traveling to much more humid places, like Florida, an alum rub followed by a cold rinse, then a splash, is nice way to finish up a shave.
 
much more humid places, like Florida
Yes indeed. There is no cold water here, at least not by northern standards. I rinse with warm and then less warm water followed by an alum stick. It tightens my skin and shows me where I got too heavy handed. I also have a styptic pencil that I’ve had for at least 20 years. I’ve kept it in the tube and have only used it once since I started wet shaving. I used it all the time when I was shaving with cartridges.
 
I'd say it's worth having around (especially considering how cheap they are). I use an Alum Block after every shave and it tightens and seals up 99% of any nicks as well as giving me feedback on the shave but every now and then I get a nick that it doesn't work on so I reach for the styptic pencil. It's usually if I've had a spot/pimple that the blade takes the top off of but today it was removing a blade without paying attention and catching my finger 🤦‍♂️. Alum did nothing but the styptic sealed it up pretty quickly!
 
Worst cut I ever had was an ear lobe slice, not shaving, just maneuvering the razor to a different geography. I used direct pressure and styptic pencil and it took some time to stop.
 
In true Marie Kondo fashion, I thanked my aged (and unused) styptic pencil for having been with me... prior to its current landfill vacation.

Result: more clear space and relief. :cornut:
 

JCinPA

The Lather Maestro
I use stypic, but in matchbook form, I find it's easier to use and I won't accidently snap it or break it, this is not where I buy it from, but this is an example of what I mean:

Styptic matchbook

They are pretty inexpensive.

Inexpensive?! :eek: I want some of what you're smokin'! :lol:

one-tenth the price, will last a decade or two.

 
Inexpensive?! :eek: I want some of what you're smokin'! :lol:

one-tenth the price, will last a decade or two.


True, it's pricey there on Amazon (I just linked to it to give ppl an idea what I was talking about), I get mine from ebay and they are $10 for 240 sticks and last me a few years. But yes, the pencils and alum blocks are cheaper.
 
I think it's a bit of a hold over from my grandfather who didn't use either an alum block or witch hazel but, there has always been a styptic pencil on the shaving shelf.
I tend to use it if I get a bit more than a weeper on the initial pass or two if I can't tame it with a splash of cold water. Give it a 10 count then on to the next round of XTG or ATG depending on timing. I don't use it often but, it is nice having it there if needed.
 
I have Alum block and styptic pencil. Generally I use the alum block after each shave and use the styptic pencil if I had a cut. It stops the bleeding immediately!
 
I have both. Whenever I get a nick, alum is my first line of defense. That happens maybe three times a year.

In the event the alum doesn't work, I go to the styptic. That happens maybe once per year.

I have had each ten plus years, and at age 53 I doubt I will ever need to buy another of either.
 
In my mind alum and styptic at fit two different uses.

Alum has some astringent properties, but they are mild and so only stop minor bleeding. It's useful, assuming your face tolerates it, to stop minor weepers and sooth irritation. It also helps identify areas where your technique was off a bit.

Styptic, on the other hand, is much more astringent and is intended to stop bleeding at point application. But you wouldn't want to use it on your whole face. Very handy for those rare occasions where the alum won't stop the bleeding.

Both are useful tools. IMHO, a styptic is a "must have" in any kit. But I also like the alum for daily use. Both have a permanent place in my gear.
 
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.
Do you have a link for the styptic pencil? I can't find it on the Thayer's website.
 
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