Shave of the day 31st August

Pre-shave: Pure glycerine soap
Lather: C&E Sandlewood
Brush: Turkish No6
Razors: Parker 22R with “Wilkinson Sword” and Merkur 985C with “Lord Platinium”
Post-shave: Cold water rinse, alum block and Proraso Liquid After Shave balm

Shaved in the afternoon, since I overslept this morning. Still a nice shave though…

Review of Omega 10048 boar brush

The Omega 10048 – aka the Omega 48, Omega Pro, and/or Pro 48 – was the first “real” shaving brush I was exposed to after using an old Body Shop brush for a decade. The one I got was part of a Starter Kit I bought from, and the box it came it was branded Proraso. The brush itself bears no re-branding, but proudly proclaimed itself to be an Omega boar brush.

The brush is of good quality manufacture, and should last a lifetime if properly looked after. I have no idea what grade of boar it is – I’m really not all that knowledgeable when it comes to boar brushes. What I can tell is that it looks like the hairs have been bleached, the knot has plenty of backbone and is not all that scratchy. It is also a big knot – the biggest in my small rotation – and a big handle… almost too big for my hand.

The knot is, as mentioned, bleached boar bristles. It’s a 28mm knot with a 70mm loft, but thanks to the solid backbone it’s not in the least bit floppy. The handle is chromed plastic and fairly light – meaning the balance of the brush is firmly towards the knot end of things. And speaking of the handle, I was expecting the chromed plastic to be pretty slippery, but to my pleasant surprise I have found that I can get a great grip on the brush even with wet fingers.

Various places online touts the Omega 48 as the preferred brush of professional barbers in Italy; and as much lather it’ll hold I can easily see why. At the same time the things that makes this an excellent brush for lathering someone else makes it – for me at least – a less perfect brush for shaving one self. The sheer size makes it somewhat awkward to use – I feel like I am applying lather with a straight elbow – and the balance makes it less optimal for applying lather. The size also means I can’t use it for making lather in my favorite Turkish copper bowl, but luckily I have a back up in the cereal bowl from IKEA The size of it also means I simply can’t face lather with it; my goatee gets in the way.

The Omega 48 isn’t a bad brush, far from it. It’ll whip anything you’ll throw at it into lather, be it a soft cream or a rock hard soap. But it is a BIG brush; from base to tip it clocks in at 133mm. If you’re in the marked for a boar brush and you like ’em big, the Omega 48 will get you lots of brush at a reasonable price.

As an aside, I see that Omega also sells the 10049 – an ever so slightly smaller brush than the 10048 but with a handle that’s coloured either red, black or white. It might be an option for those who find the chrome to be a little too much.

Shave of the day 29th August

Pre-shave: Dr Bronners Magic Soap, Liquid Peppermint
Lather: RazoRock XXX
Brush: TSN 2012 LE badger-boar
Razors: Parker 22R with “Wilkinson Sword” and Merkur 25C with “Shark Super Chrome”
Post-shave: Cold water rinse, alum block and Krampert’s Finest Bay Rum

Another DFS – the TSN 2012 LE seems to be less of a lather hog with soft soaps than with hard ones… so plenty of lather so spare.

More gear on the way

Shave A Buck, a webshop based in the US, has brought out a new line of razors from India that looks pretty nice. And since I like open comb razors, and one of the open combs got a good review… well, I just had to pick one up for myself.

And as always when I’m shopping online, I tend to spot things I just have to have – this time it was some alum that could survive in my GoBag and a stick of Lea shaving soap which I haven’t tried before. The Lea have gotten a lot of mixed reviews online, but so has the Arko stick… If I like it it’ll end up in my GoBag as well, which means the only liquid left in there will be my beloved Krampert’s Finest and the small tube of toothpaste.

Shave of the day 27th August

Pre-shave: Dr Bronners Magic Soap, Liquid Orange
Lather: Proraso Menthol & Eucalyptus Cream
Brush: Omega 10048 boar
Razors: Merkur 985CL with a “Lord Platinum”, Yuma with a “Zorrik Super Stainless”
Post-shave: Cold water rinse, alum block and Krampert’s Finest Prototype Menthol

Another DFS – the Yuma is an extremely good razor considering the price, and Krampert’s Menthol is a cold blast that chases the last vestiges of sleep away.

Shave of the day 24th August

Pre-shave: Dr Bronners Magic Soap, Liquid Lavender
Lather: Mike’s Lavender & Eucalyptus Soap
Brush: Semogue TSN 2012 LE
Razors: Merkur 985CL with a “Lord Platinum”, Yuma with a “Zorrik Super Stainless”
Post-shave: Cold water rinse, alum block and Krampert’s Finest bay Rum

Yet another DFS – the LE brush is shaping up very nicely indeed.

Really vintage razors

Since roughly the time we came down from the trees, humans have been worried about how other people see them – in short, how well groomed we are. And while the standards we been holding each other to in regards to hair care and general hygiene have fluctuated over the ages, it seems that the desire men have to scrape the beard off is timeless.

Perhaps it has to do with perceived status – by taking the time to trim your beard you showed everyone who saw you that you had an excess off time; which presumably translated into having an excess of resources in general. And since fashions spread quickly, soon everyone was wanting to take their beard off – creating a market for clam shells, finely made obsidian blades and some time later metal blades made expressly for dragging across downy cheeks.

A early bronze razor from the Hallstatt culture which seems to me to be modeled on a flint blade with a handle – a wonderful piece of craftsmanship

Presumably the first metal razors were status objects by themselves; it seems several of them had holes so they could hang on a string or necklace. The proles still probably used flint blades or went unshaven… possible either complaining loudly or claiming just as loudly that the ones who could afford to shave were a bunch of pansies. Human nature change very little…
Later, as razors got more common they also got more utilitarian. If everyone own s one there is no need to flaunt the fact, so it seems to me that razors got reduced to the bare essentials; a half moon shaped blade:

A more utilitarian bronze razor (and nail trimmer) from the Hallstatt culture.
Slightly more fancy half moon razors – Italy, 8-7 century BC
Or more fancy axe shaped ones – like this ancient Egyptian razor from the Harageh tomb 661, dating to the First Intermediate Period – approx 2181 to 2055 BC
The shave of a Pharaoh – an evolved axe shaped bronze razor from the time of Amenophis II or III – approx   1426 to 1353 BC
How about a Scandivian bronze razor from the 2 century BC – the depicted ship on it a clear predecessor to the Viking longships?
As metallurgy progressed we got the steel razors, then the cut throat razor and finally the modern safety razor… but I still can’t help to wonder what it would be to pick up an bronze instrument like one of these to get the stubble of my face.
I wonder if anyone sells working replicas… ?
This post contains pictures from Wikipedia and other online sources.

Shave of the day 22nd August

Pre-shave: Dr Bronners Magic Soap, Liquid Orange
Lather: Arko Cool Mint shave cream
Brush: Turkish No6
Razors: Racer Razor with a “Racer Super Stainless”, Yuma with a “Zorrik Super Stainless” – both fresh blades
Post-shave: Cold water rinse, alum block and Proraso Liquid Cream

The cheap gear gives a shave that’s just as good – the one nick was the cat’s fault for slipping into the bathroom at the wrong time.

Review of the Merkur 25C

I might as well admit to it; I like the Merkur Open Comb head. Which is why I got two of them; the 985CL travel razor and the long handled 25C.

Go ahead – guess which is which…

Having two razors – or three, when I assemble the Franken-nought-four – with the same head gives me an opportunity to compare how the other part of the razor affects the shave. And once I know how the handle affects the shave, it gives me the insight I need to know how the head affects the shave… so it’s a win-win, really.

Speaking of the head; Back when I first created the Franken-nought-four I was researching the Merkur 41C, aka 1904, and found something interesting and/or scary… the Merkur Open Com heads were actually intended to be adjustable… by loosening the handle 1/8 to 1/4 turn you can adjust the blade angle and gap, while the springiness of the blade should keep the mechanism tight. While it might work it sounds kinda dicey – and since you’re adjusting both the gap and the angle at the same time it’ll be hard to predict just how much more aggressive it’ll be.

If used tightened all the way – as I do – the Merkur 25C is a mild and efficient open comb razor. It’s milder and more manoeuvrable than the 985CL, but at the same time it has a harder time getting a BBS on my neck. Odd how things works out…

It is overall a solid razor, with a handle that’s somewhat thicker than your average pencil but not by much. The balance is good in my opinion, but YMMV depending on your taste.

If you’re in the market for a relatively mild long handled open comb, you can do a lot worse than picking up a Merkur 25C.

Shave of the day 20th August

Pre-shave: Dr Bronners Magic Soap, Liquid Peppermint
Lather: Mama Bear’s Awakening
Brush: Vie-Long 14033 mixed horse-badger
Razors: Merkur 25C with a “Treet Platinum Super Stainless”, Merkur 958CL with a “Lord Platinum”
Post-shave: Cold water rinse, alum block and Krampert’s Finest Experimental Menthol

Comparing two razors which shares the head but have very different handles – and a DFS with a menthol blast on a gray Monday morning.