“Why don’t she shave” – body shaming to sell hair removal

Over the years companies and individuals have used many underhanded tricks so sell stuff, but one that really gets my goat is body shaming… preying on the insecurities of people to separate them from their money. This is one of the worst examples – from the 30’s – I’ve come across in a while, but the whole modern concept of ladies shaving started out as body shaming to sell razors (and blades) to the ‘other half” of the population…

I would have liked if we – as a society – had outgrown these kinds of underhanded tricks from advertisers, but you only have to look around to realise that it’s worse than ever these days.

Shave of the day 30th January

Razor: Asylum Shave Works Evolution
Blade: Astra Green
Brush: Vie-Long #13051M
Lather: Wet Shaving Products Pre-production Sample
Aftershave: BullDog Original Aftershave Balm
Additional Care: Lavish Gentleman Natural Strength Oil Cleanser, Alum Block, BullDog Original Beard Balm, & Pereira Shavery Boomerang Beard Comb

Norway’s oldest soap factory – another bit of history

So I was poking around on the internet again, and stumbled over a reference to “Balder Barbersåpe” – ie: the shaving soap of the Norse god of light, joy, purity and the summer sun, son of Odin (Wotan) and Frigg (Frige) – and off course I had to dig more.

So spooling back to 1858, a 19 year old boy travelled from Kristiansand (south coast of Norway) to Schleswig (then southern Denmark, now northern Germany and further on to Neuwild by the Rhine before wrapping up in Holland.. his mission? Learn to make soap!

Returning to his home town in 1859, the now 20 year old young man started his own factory for making soap and candles – the first dedicated soap factory in Norway -and named it Walhalla (as the spelling was at the tme)

As for the selection of goods, it was fairly diverse; candles made from tallow and wax, colognes, hair oils, some incense, so called “green soap” (a soft soap made from potash and fats) and – most interesting for us – shaving soap.

“Balder – the soap is mild and clean and free of all harsh chemicals. It’s long lasting and cheap to use.”
Calling your shaving soap for Balder makes a lot of sense when your factory is Valhalla. The package in the image is from the 30’s, as can be guessed from the art and colour scheme.

As for when the factory closed / was sold / changed names I don’t know.. last solid reference I got from a quick search is from 1953, when the factory was almost a century old. There is a current company with the same name in Norway, but it’s only a couple of years old and don’t make soaps at all.

Shave of the day 28th January

Razor: Asylum Shave Works Evolution
Blade: Astra Green
Brush: Omega #10048
Lather: Nivea Mild
Aftershave: Proraso Liquid Cream After Shave
Additional Care: Lavish Gentleman Natural Strength Oil Cleanser, Alum Block. BullDog Original Beard Oil. & Pereira Shavery Boomerang Beard Comb

Shave of the day 25th January

Razor: Asylum Shave Works Evolution
Blade: Persona Platinum
Brush: Semogue TSN LE 2012
Lather: Asylum Shave Works Colonia
Aftershave: Asylum Shave Works Frankincense & Myrrh
Additional Care: Lavish Gentleman Natural Strength Oil Cleanser, Alum Block, Scotch Porter Beard Balm, & Pereira Shavery Boomerang Beard Comb

Review of The Lavish Gentleman’s Natural Strength Oil Cleanser

It works as advertised. It smells nice. It’s dead simple to use. Should come in larger bottles, but compromises must be made I guess. Get some.

The longer version?

A few weeks ago I noticed that The Lavish Gentleman was tweeting about the opportunity to try their oil cleanser for free, and since I enjoy trying new products and ways to improve my shave I reached out and asked for a sample. I was honestly expecting a sample-sized sample, but what I received a little over two weeks ago was a 30ml (1 fl.oz) pump bottle along with a post card sized instruction sheet and ingredient list. So thumbs up right away for providing something I could read without putting my glasses on in the morning.

The active ingredients are marula oil – harvested from the nuts of a tree native to Sudano-Sahelian range of West Africa, or so Wikipedia tells me – and rosehip oil. While I had to look up the former, rosehips are near and dear to me; there are several wild rosehip bushes where I live, and they make the most wonderful flowers – although I’m not sure if The Lavish Gentleman uses oil from the dog rose, which is what grows wild here. The cleanser also contains a number of other oils, detailed on the ingredient card.

The scent is a little hard to describe… sort of a cross between some of my wife’s makeup cleansers and the cooking oil in my kitchen, with a hint of citrus. A rather pleasant smell to be sure, and one that don’t linger particularly long on my skin – which is good since that means it won’t conflict with my aftershaves

Going back to Wikipedia, marula oil traditionally used as a moisturiser, massage oil and cleanser in parts of sub-saharan Africa while rosehip oil allegedly helps combat damage – anecdotal evidence suggests it assists in the healing of scar tissue according to Wikipedia – and is commonly used in skin care products.

Directions for use couldn’t be simpler: Apply to dry skin, massage gently, rinse off using a wash cloth and warm water. It slotted itself right into my morning routine, replacing the various soaps I’ve rotated between in my preshave wash. It left my skin feeling noticeable cleaner and smoother than most soaps I’ve tried so far, and despite this being the cold season my skin haven’t dried out during the days I’ve used it. As an added bonus some of the problem pores on my nosewings seems to have cleaned up too, an area that always give me trouble in winter.


My only real gripe is the small bottle it comes in; I checked The Lavish Gentleman’s website, and so far at least they don’t seem to sell larger bottles. Given my current rate of use, I guesstimate the current bottle will “only” last five or six weeks total… a 100ml (approximately 3 fl.oz) bottle would been a very handy size for me – alongside a small one to bring in my carry-on when I have to go flying or in my GoBag. I can totally see giving myself a cleanup before landing using this cleansing oil, or a quick cleanup in the field even if I don’t have time to wash or shave.

To summarise: For me, it works great. Washing my face before my shaves are easier than with soap, since I don’t risk soapy water running down my chest. My skin feels smoother and cleaner, and some of the pores that normally give me trouble in winter have cleaned up. The scent is pleasant, and the instructions for use are straightforward enough to follow even before the morning coffee. I will certainly keep up with the daily use of it, and most likely order some more before I run out – despite the risk of having to pay import customs.

Would I recommend it? Yes. It might not work for every face out there, but it’s assuredly worth trying.

Added bonus; the charcoal mask offered by The Lavish Gentleman looks interesting as well… as much as I like Pereira Shavery’s shaving soap with activated charcoal, I can definitely see the appeal.

Shave of the day 23rd January

Razor: Asylum Shave Works Evolution
Blade: Persona Platinum
Brush: Gustavo Rimano Manchurian Badger, imitation horn
Lather: Asylum Shave Works Colonia
Aftershave: Barber No3 Marmara
Additional Care: Lavish Gentleman Natural Strength Oil Cleanser, Alum Block, Scotch Porter Beard Balm, & Pereira Shavery Boomerang Beard Comb

Another trio of old Norwegian razor blades

There was more razor blade manufacturers than I ever suspected in Norway back in the day – “Knut A Rasmussen” from 1928 was one of the larger ones, able to make 6 million blades a year in 1938, which was not bad in a country that had about 2.8 million inhabitants at the time. Like most other Norwegian razor blade manufacturers they was gone by 1956, killed off by cheaper imported blades.

Manufactured blades under three different brands; Lyn (lightning), Nordenvind (Northern Wind) and Skarphedin (Son of Njål, from the old norse Njål’s Saga). Like the Nordkapp I mentioned last week, the labelling on the various blades speak volumes of the political and military situation at the time; i.e.: Norway was occupied by Nazi Germany, and a puppet regime was at least trying to pass themselves of as having the trappings of power.

A simple, no nonsense early wrapper. I like how the N is a lightning bolt, a visual reference to the name of the blade.

“The Northern Wind” factory employs only Norwegian workers, and is the only factory in Norway which uses the old – but for razor blades new – grinding method “obliquely on the edge”. For raw materials is used the best quality special-steel, 15% thinner than normal. Each blade controlled”
The reference to using only Norwegians cuts both ways, interestingly enough. The German occupiers and the Quisling collaborators tended to come down heavily on anything that hinted at the western allies, while the public tended to boycott any industry that had overt connections to Germany.

Same text as above, except not mentioning the thinner blade. I assume that means this wrapper hid one of the old style thicker blades.

“The Northern Wind” razor blade is manufactured by Norwegian workers in accordance with a particular technique that is the result of long experience and thorough experimentation. Only the highest quality Swedish special-steel – 15% thinner than normal blades – is used as raw material, and the manufacture is carried out as precision work. Each blade is controlled. It has an edge that lasts longer, and that will give a better and more comfortable shave.

Not much to say, apart from enjoying the logo and how it’s used on both sides of the wrapper.

Remove the blade carefully from the wrapper. Don’t destroy the fine edges by tearing of the paper.
Good advise today as well… Have to wonder what made this blade “New” though… other than the wrapper.

NOR VA is not a new brand, but a “no brand” – it is short for Norsk Vare (Norwegian Goods). During the War (aka WW2), there was a move to remove the brand name on certain items – soap was the most well known – in order to aid rationing and prevent black marked trading of more popular brands. I suspect this is caused by some of the same logic, but since the back of the wrapper is unchanged, it’s still easy to identify the blade.
Rustfritt means stainless by the way – a direct translation would be “free from rust”.

Another simple wrapper, with less text than many. Skarphedin is an old norse name from the sagas – skarp means sharp, and I’ve not found exactly what Hedin means, even if the name is not died out yet. One source claims it comes from Heðinn, meaning ‘fur jacket’, and that sounds reasonable.

An evolution of the previous wrapper? The logo have been replaced by a viking style head, and the encouragement to unwrap carefully is back on the wrapper.

I suspect this is a post-war blade, due to the more fancy print. The back gives some interesting information;
Blue wrapper: Stainless, luxury quality
Red wrapper: extra thin, not stainless

Shave of the day 21st January

Razor: Asylum Shave Works Evolution
Blade: Persona Platinum
Brush: Vie-Long #12705B
Lather: Asylum Shave Works Colonia
Aftershave: Krampert’s Finest Bay Rum
Additional Care: Lavish Gentleman Natural Strength Oil Cleanser, Alum Block, Gentlemen of Sweden Original Beard Oil, & Pereira Shavery Boomerang Beard Comb