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Should Traditional Wet Shavers Use Barbasol? What Say You? (Philosophical Debate)

Chandu

I Waxed The Badger.
My PERSONAL second most used lather (see chart below) since I started experimenting with DEs, soaps, creams, and brushes more than 3 years ago is

Barbasol Original in the can

If you look at the first lather, you’ll notice it’s just one of the most legendary of wet shaving products, for good reason. The other lathers further down the list are no slouches either. Tabac is my favorite cooler weather soap for the scent and performance. Without trying to go off topic, the new vegan stuff is better as far as I’m concerned too but that’s for a different thread…

I love Barbasol when I don’t feel like using a brush and/or the weather is on the warmer side. Barbasol just works really well. It’s not really slick but with a gentler razor it’s perfectly fine.

Barbasol is one of the few American drug store products that does not belong on the bottom shelf. Paired with a milder cart like the Bic Twin Select or Gillette Guard, close comfort with a nice scent left behind.

Barbasol Original: Yes ✅

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I like their stuff in the Orange or Purple can ahead of Orig. To me it's better.
 
I haven't tried canned foam or gel in several years, but my recollection is that they just are not "wet" enough to provide sufficient slickness for me to prevent skin irritation, particularly on my neck.

Barbasol makes a fairly dense foam. Problem is that it just sits on top of your face. It doesn't really provide much lubrication.

Gel is dry if you don't add water. I make sure my face is thoroughly wet and my hands are wet.

I put a small amount at the ends of my fingers. I want to apply it to my face and spread it around while it is still in gel form.

As I rub it around, it turns into lather but there is still a base of gel that bonds to your face. I create a thin but smooth and dense layer of lather.

I preform a thorough one-pass shave, buffing as necessary, as long as I still have lubrication.

When you no longer have lubrication and your skin is dry, which by that time, that area of your face is done.

As I splash water on my face to clear away the lather, the water re-lubricates my face. My face is now completely clear and very slick.

You can move your hands and feel the slickness and where you still have some clean-up to do.

I do mostly XTG when cleaning up. I re-wet my face again and what does remain is very slick because it is water soluble. I catch any small areas I want extra close, maybe a few ATG strokes on occasion I want an extra close shave. Then a final rinse and Aqua Velva.

Water will evaporate. That is not a problem, with gel, you can still re-wet your face and continue shaving.

I don't really buy any other commercial personal care products, just soap and deodorant stick.

Shaving gel was invented to replace traditional shaving soaps. Shaving soaps are around 45% fat. That works perfect for DE shaving but it clogs cartridge razor blades.

Gel easily washes clean with water. A 7 oz. can lasts me over two months.

For about 50% more, gel works far better, perfectly for me. A can of gel, my razor and a tuck of blades and I am good to go! And, I mostly shave with a R41, so gel is really no problem. Barbasol just doesn't provide the necessary degree of lubrication.
 
Barbasol makes a fairly dense foam. Problem is that it just sits on top of your face. It doesn't really provide much lubrication.

Gel is dry if you don't add water. I make sure my face is thoroughly wet and my hands are wet.

I put a small amount at the ends of my fingers. I want to apply it to my face and spread it around while it is still in gel form.

As I rub it around, it turns into lather but there is still a base of gel that bonds to your face. I create a thin but smooth and dense layer of lather.

I preform a thorough one-pass shave, buffing as necessary, as long as I still have lubrication.

When you no longer have lubrication and your skin is dry, which by that time, that area of your face is done.

As I splash water on my face to clear away the lather, the water re-lubricates my face. My face is now completely clear and very slick.

You can move your hands and feel the slickness and where you still have some clean-up to do.

I do mostly XTG when cleaning up. I re-wet my face again and what does remain is very slick because it is water soluble. I catch any small areas I want extra close, maybe a few ATG strokes on occasion I want an extra close shave. Then a final rinse and Aqua Velva.

Water will evaporate. That is not a problem, with gel, you can still re-wet your face and continue shaving.

I don't really buy any other commercial personal care products, just soap and deodorant stick.

Shaving gel was invented to replace traditional shaving soaps. Shaving soaps are around 45% fat. That works perfect for DE shaving but it clogs cartridge razor blades.

Gel easily washes clean with water. A 7 oz. can lasts me over two months.

For about 50% more, gel works far better, perfectly for me. A can of gel, my razor and a tuck of blades and I am good to go! And, I mostly shave with a R41, so gel is really no problem. Barbasol just doesn't provide the necessary degree of lubrication.

I want to thank you for your well thought out post, I love hearing about other folks experiences with products, especially when the question is, should we use proper shave soaps, or just use canned foam. Part of the question was, is even canned foam good enough for DE shaves? The general consensus seems to agree with my thoughts on it, that canned foam in its own, doesn't provide the proper slickness.

Some folks state that if your face and hands are wet enough, can foam will work better for slickness. Other's, suggest that a cream works better, which kind of makes sense if you think about it. I am hoping those tubes of Barbasol 1919 cream are any good, and that I like their performance as well as the scent, only time will tell.

I will say, one of the reasons why shave soaps work so good, is due to the tallow fat in the soaps, makes them real slick, helps that razor to glide. I have used the gel products, but only when doing cart shaving, or to enhance electric shaving. I've used Gillette gel's and Edge gel's before. I don't remember any significant difference between them, other then the fact they smell different lol.

Have you noticed however, that in general, commercial mass produced products, never seem to have quality strong scents? Thats one of the things I had noticed when I had switched to artisan soaps, I couldn't believe how much better they smelled. Well, not so much my first soap when I first started traditional wet shaving, Tabac. LOL! But once I jumped onto the Stirling train, oh heck yes!

I had Proraso soap once bond to my face. It was during the warm season, the soap dried out on my face, and suddenly I felt like my face was in a cast mold, the soap and I became bonded. Not a fun experience, that will teach ya to add more water HAHA! I tell you what, regardless of what soap you use, if you use a Rex Ambassador razor, after you make your first passes, you are done. That razor scoops the lather off your face like a vacuum cleaner lol.

Because of the water evaporation problem, thats why I got a Flairisol, with is a ultra fine mister spray bottle. That has been pivitol in my wet shaving, as it helps to keep my face moist before I re-apply lather. That has gone a long way for me. Because before I got that spray bottle, my face would not stay wet enough upon lather re-application, and that meant that I wasn't having the best shaves that I could.

Thanks again for posting your experience, I really appreciate it, your awesome!

youre awesome bill murray GIF
 
Part of the question was, is even canned foam good enough for DE shaves? The general consensus seems to agree with my thoughts on it, that canned foam in its own, doesn't provide the proper slickness.

I bought a can of Barbasol back in early September, so that I could compare it to Edge and Gillette gel.

Interestingly enough, a video from Matt at Razor Emporium popped up on the YouTube home page. It was about starting DE shaving on a budget, at the drug store. Matt bought the King C. Gillette DE razor for $30 and a can of Barbasol.

Here is his video:

Walgreens Beginner Safety Razor Shave - King C. Gillette and Matt's FIRST Barbasol Experience!

I thought his experiences pretty much mirrored my own.

In the video, Matt does make an interesting comment (just past the 6-minute mark). He has a source at the razor blade factory that confirmed that the King C. Gillette DE razor blades (which sell for $6 for a box of ten blades) are actually rebranded Gillette Platinum's, which are currently selling in the $19.95 price range on Amazon for a pack of 100 blades. This is about 1/3 the cost of the King C. Gillette blades and way less than cartridge blades.

This does make sense, as the King C. Gillette DE razor is being produced for the American wet shaving market and the sales are probably small when compared with other offerings by Gillette. Doesn't really make much sense for them to go to the expense of creating yet another DE razor blade, in addition to the numerous blades they currently manufacture.

Gillette already supplies a package of Gillette Platinum blades with their Gillette Heritage DE razor.

One of the comments on the video was:

That's exactly what I would have bought. Safe bets. All three. I love barbasol. It doesn't lube like soap. It's its own beast. I creates a lot of cushion. I never try to spot touch up with it, because it leaves almost no residual slickness. If I need a touch up, I reapply and go for a second pass. Great video, Dude.

(I did the bold for emphasis....)

Another comment:

I always used Edge shave gel. I think it is a Gillette product, maybe not. I just bought more of it as I am comparing it to various soaps. I feel that with soap I have to reapply because the slickness is gone after 1 pass. The edge gel has something in it that continues to lubricate after several passes. Still experimenting though. Will update you after your next big box store video.

I found the video and these comments are right on the money describing Barbasol as compared to gel.
 
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Before I got into wet shaving I stocked up on a lot of canned goo and I figured I had to use it up rather than throwing them away. So since then when I build lather on my face with traditional soap I squirt a little goo on the brush. Using it this way works great!

These days I like to stock up on shave soaps, aftershaves, and blades. With the way things are going right now in the logistics industry, I am preparing for a logistics crash, that is kind of already here right now. Gotta build up that supply, because there is gonna be a point, where I won't be able to get product anymore, until supply chains free up again.

Here's my new Barbasol 1919 cream!

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These tubes look lovely in my shave den. But oddly enough, once I tore the seal off these tubes, I couldn't smell the product. So I assume I have to actually dispense the cream and put it onto my face to smell it?

And here is a picture of my Stirling soap collection, it began as a forming mountain on my shave soap shelf, now starting to take the shape of a Saturn 5 rocket lol.

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I don't believe in throwing away product, because that cost money. I was raised that way when it comes to food as well. There are starving kids in this world, never throw away food. If there is some food you don't want to eat, give it to another family member, friend, or neighbor. Or if its sealed canned food, give to salvation army, stuff like that. And even if a particular soap, gives me a bad reaction on my skin, again, give it to someone else, but never throw away. Good deal!

Sometimes you gotta squirt a little goo, to make a super lather come alive! I am glad that you found a way that works best for you, this is what I like to hear!
 
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