Shave of the day 14th September

Pre-shave: Dr Bronners Magic Soap, liquid Peppermint
Lather: Mike’s Pepperming & Rosemary soap
Brush: Vie-Long 14033 horse-badger
Razors: Merkur 39C slant and Parker 22R TTO, both with Laser Super Platinum (2)
Post-shave: Cold water rinse, alum block and Krampert’s Finest Bay Rum

Second shave with these blades –  and last. They lost their edge quicker than most other blades, but still gave me close to a DFS today.

Review of the Cadet TP-01 Open Comb

A little while ago I picked up a Cadet TP-01 from Shave A Buck along with some other things, and I’m happy I did – it’s a good razor for a good price.

The box it came in is serviceable, but nothing fancy – then again, we don’t buy razors based on the box they come in, but based on how they shave. Well… at least I don’t buy razors based on the box – YMMV as with anything relating to this hobby.
The TP-01 is a straight forward three piece open comb razor – pretty much a case of what you see is what you get. It is heavier than I expected, since the handle is solid, not hollow like it is on many other inexpensive razors. This gives it a pleasant balance in my opinion, with the centre of gravity about 3cm below the head. The end result is a remarkable manoeuvrable razor, which should suit most shavers.
A curious side note: the handle of the TP-01 fits the heads of my Merkur 25C, my Merkur 985CL and Yuma – but the head of the TP-01 won’t screw all the way onto the handles of said razors. Best guess has to do with the length of the shank – the head of the TP-01 has a longer shank than any of my other razors – and/or the pitch of the screw thread. It is not of any great importance to me – the handle of the TP-01 suits me fine.
The shave I get from the TP-01 is a bit more aggressive and less mild than I get from my other open combs – since the blade angle of the Cadet and my Merkur OCs is virtually the same as far as I can tell, it must be down to blade exposure and blade gap. The sheer depth of the comb might also account for parts of it – all in all a well designed head for a efficient, manly shave.
The craftsmanship of the razor is first class – no visible toolmarks, even plating, highly polished… I can’t even tell where the casting sprue have been removed, something I can do on my Merkurs – even if I really had to look.
If you are in the marked for an Open Comb razor, look no further than the Cadet – it’s an efficient, comfortable, inexpensive and well made razor.

Shave of the day 12th September

Pre-shave: Dr Bronners Magic Soap, liquid Lavender
Lather: Crabtree & Evelyn Sandalwood
Brush: Semogue TSN 2012 LE badger-boar brush
Razors: Merkur 39C slant and Parker 22R TTO, both with fresh Laser Super Platinum
Post-shave: Cold water rinse, alum block and Krampert’s Finest bay Rum

I wasn’t having too high hopes for these blades based on what I’ve been reading online.. but a DFS none the less.

Review of Lea shave stick

Caveat lector: The Lea shave stick have – as far as I can tell from searching – gone through a couple of reformulations over the last couple of years. Mine is the “middle” formulation, without tallow. Older and newer stick should – again as far as I know – contain tallow.

I picked up the Lea shave stick on a whim, and for being cheap – a touch under 3USD from Shave A Buck – it’s a reasonable decent stick. Not quite as good as the Arko – which can be had for less if you know where to look – but the Lea have the benefit of coming in it’s own plastic carrier; very handy for the Gobag.

As far as the scent goes, it smells of soap and nothing more. That’s not a bad thing, even less so when you plan on sticking it in your toiletry bag and leave it there – it wont stink up your other gear. It smells a little bit stronger when wet, but again only of soap as far as I can tell. Compared to a fresh Arko, it’s very mild – compared to a slightly aged and aired out Arko it’s much the same.

My Better Half claims it smells as if Irish Spring and Dove had a baby – it does remind me of Dove as well, but I’ve yet to smell the former.She haven’t been exposed to Irish Spring in a decade though, so take that for what it’s worth.

The lather is quick to whip up and plentiful, and it provides okay glide and cushion. Not the best I’ve experienced – that honour goes to Mike’s Natural Soaps – but far from bad. In my experience it does collapse fairly quickly, which may or may not be an issue of you do three passes – I find it’s sufficient for two.

The lack of tallow may give some issues if you got dry skin, but since I always uses a moisturiser after shaving it’s a non-issue for me. The newest reformulation – which do have tallow in it – is bound to be better in that regard, even if it seems to be somewhat more expensive online. I have no idea what the latest refomulation is like in regards to scent or lather though, but reviews seems to be positive.

Overall it’s a great little package; a sturdy container, a good soap and a low price. Definitely recommended if you want a shaving stick for travel or for use at home – you may want to look for the latest reformulation if you want a tallow based stick though. For me it has displaced the tube of shave cream in my GoBag, taking up less space with less chance of making a mess.

Shave of the day 7th September

Pre-shave: Dr Bronners Magic Soap, liquid Lavender
Lather: Mike’s Pine & Cedarwood Soap
Brush: Omega ’48 boar brush
Razors: Cated TP-01 with a Wilkinson Sword
Post-shave: Cold water rinse, alum block and Krampert’s Finest Bay Rum

Felt like some more subtle scents at the end of the week – and it made for a nice, relaxing DFS.

The P&G walled garden – as exemplified by the Gillette Guard

The main purpose of almost every business is to enrich it’s shareholders – which is why you should be very, very sceptical to any claims they make about anything else. With that in mind, have a look at this commercial from Gillette; part of the huge multinational P&G and the company who pretty much invented the DE as we know and love:

The message the ad pushes across? Pretty close to “your get more girls / be more successful / be more popular if you use our razor”… despite the fact that by switching you’ll spend more of your hard earned rupies on shaving supplies and those rupies will go into the very deep and already filled pocket of a large multinational.

*sigh*

The sad story that some seems to forget (or ignore) is that Gillette came up with the Guard – which some reviews state gives a better shave than the multi-blade horrors Gillette and others currently sells in the west – as a way to entrap shavers in the third world. People who can’t afford the Fusions and Mach3s and whatchamacallits will – if Gillette have their way – be lured away from reasonable affordable shaving with a wide range of suppliers and into the walled garden of the huge multinationals… and once they are there you can put good money on the fact that they will be milked for what they are worth.

Anybody wants to bet against Gillette coming out with a GuardPlus or GuardElite in a few years? It’ll be just a few rupies more but the Bollywood stars uses it, so you should to!!! The tactic worked on consumers in the west, so there is no reason it shouldn’t work in the rest of the world.

I have been accused for being too cynical, too dismissive of the Gillette Guard… claims have been made that it is a very good razor as far as cartridges go (if so, why do P&G still peddle the more expensive multi-blade horrors to us Westerners – their profit margins in the west should be higher with something like the Guard?)

Well, I know that the plural of anecdote isn’t data, but lets look at what I do know:

First off, Gillette has gone out publicly (link  goes to PDF press release) and said that the goal of the Guard is to get people in the third world who are using DE razors to switch to a Gillette product – refer to their all mighty bottom line; they make nothing if an Indian or Bangladeshi shaver buys another brand or a no-brand DE blade to use in his old, possible interred safety razor.

Secondly, I had the pleasure of going on a 12 month mission to South Sudan as a UN Military Observer a while back – came home just under a year ago – and had the good luck to be sent to a Team Site where a Company of the Bangladesh Army provided the Force Protection. Wonderful people to hang around, great (and spicy) food, lots of things to learn about other cultures. One of the things I noticed while on my first Long Duration Patrol – that is, being out of the Team Site for several days and camping on the road – was that the rank and file were using DE razors and soap, while the officers were using cartridges and canned goo*. I got the chance of asking one of the officers about it some time later, and the reply I got was pretty much “but we have to use western razors, it’s expected of people in our position – using an old razor is loss of face.”.

So yeah, while the Guard might be a good razor as far as cartridges go, Gillette is most likely trying to get people to buy it due to the perceived “status” of using a modern razor, coupled to the desire to fill their own coffers by locking said shavers into Gillette’s walled garden… but when you come down to it that’s the job of a company; provide profit for their stockholders. The fact that it’ll create more waste, cost the consumers more money and give a shave that is no better (or just as likely – worse) than what a billion men (if we’re to trust P&G’s press release) uses today is of no importance to Gillette and their mother company.

Maybe it is just me being Western, cynical and well off.. but wouldn’t it be nice if Gillette (and by extension P&G) regained their dominant position in the marked by making and providing the best, most affordable DE razors and blades like they used to have a reputation for? I hate walled gardens…

*) With the exception of the Company Commander: he had his batman shave him with a straight razor every morning while the commander was reading – a somewhat surreal sight while in the middle of the African bush.

Shave of the day 5th September

Pre-shave: Dr Bronners Magic Soap, liquid peppermint
Lather: Mama Bear’s Awakening
Brush: Semogue TSN 2012 LE badger-boar brush
Razors: Cated TP-01 with a Wilkinson Sword
Post-shave: Cold water rinse, alum block and Krampert’s Finest Prototype Menthol

A very refreshing DFS – both the soap and the aftershave packs a punch, in the best possible way.

Interesting read

One of the wonders of the internet is that your local paper can be online, giving you local news and stories for free. One of the bigger wonders of the internet is that you can check out the local papers from across the world… giving you an insight into what normal people in places you never heard reads when they have their morning coffee…

Someone over at my favorite shaving forum pointed us to such a story last week – about the local town vicar and his love of classic wetshaving.

…and now I have shared it with you too – enjoy!

Shave of the day 3rd September

Pre-shave: Pure glycerine soap
Lather: Lea shavestick
Brush: Vie-Long 14033
Razors: Cated TP-01 with a fresh Wilkinson Sword
Post-shave: Cold water rinse, alum block and Body Shop “Maca Root Energic Face Protector”

Razor, shave stick and pocket sized alum from Shave A Buck – the balm was a free sample  from Body Shop.
Overall a fine shave –  I can see why people have been praising the Cadet OC head sky high.