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Thread: My soap opera

  1. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gollnick View Post
    I am NOT and do NOT want to become a "hobby shaver." I don't want to collect hundreds of razors. I don't want to scour to globe for every brand of blades and try them all. And I don't want to collect and try every kind of pre-, shave, and after- product. I'm not interested in experimenting with every new shaving technique.

    I throughly understand and respect those who do choose to make shaving into a hobby. If I would let myself go there, I easily could because I understand how rewarding a good shave is. (Keep in mind that I am also a man who owns about 800 knives, so I understand what collecting is.)

    But, right now, I am limiting myself: I just want a good shave at a good price.

    So, I have my Merkur Futur. I've got a couple of older Gillettes courtesy of Steve; they're nice and I do use them every now and then. But, I mostly use my Futur. I know exactly how to maneuver the Futur into every place on my face. I'm comfortable with the handle. I think I've got this part of my shave dialed-in.

    I've got my Futur-style brush. It's my only brush. It works fine for me. I see no reason to experiment further with brushes. I think I've got this part of my shave dialed-in.

    I've got very oily skin. As a result, I need no moisturizing aftershave product. In fact, using one would be a bad thing for me. I experimented early on with a few aftershave products, but I have found that, for me, nothing betters a cold-water rinse and a splash of rubbing alcohol. It's dirt-cheap and seems to fit my skin just fine. I think I've got this part of my shave dialed-in.

    I've never tried any pre-shave products. A hot shower is best for me. Failing that, I just wash my face with hot water and soap taking my time to do so over about three minutes. I think I've got this part of my shave dialed-in.

    I spent about 18 months trying blades. Personally, I think you've got to try six or eight pieces of a given blade brand to really get the feel for that blade. And I think you really do have to shave with a blade brand for at least a few weeks before you can reach a conclusion (In most cases anyway. There can be cases where a blade just clearly doesn't work for you and, after a few shaves with a few blades of that brand, you can reach a conclusion about that blade. I have, for example, said of Crystal-brand blades that they gave me a greater sympathy for the Palestinian cause because I too have now experienced Israeli violence and aggression. But I did shave ten times with five different Crystal blades before issuing that condemnation. Oh, and let me say this: if you like Crystal blades and they work for you, then that's great. I'm glad for you (especially since it will mean that you're not competing with me for the blades I do like)). Anyway, after all of these 18 or so months experimenting with blades, I determined that: 1) Dorco 301s are a bargain; a great price for a good shave. 2) Derby blades are great. 3) BIC Chrome Platinum blades are excellent and an excellent value. 4) Feather blades are best, but they're expensive especially when you consider that I typically get only about four shaves from one. I think I've got this part of my shave dialed-in.

    I experimented early on with several lather products, but I was very, very fortunate to be introduced early on the The Gentlemen's Quarter. Wow! The prefect soap at a very reasonable price. I thought I had this part of my shave -- and, therefore, the entire shave -- dialed-in.

    And then the world collapsed. Well... maybe not the entire world... that's a bit melodramatic. But my shave collapsed. On that fateful morning, I finished the last bit of my TGQ cake of soap, so I fetched another from my stock and realized that there was only one left on the shelf. Time to order more. So, I went to the web with my charge card in-hand and was shocked to find The Gentlemen's Quarter... gasp!... closed! The horror of it.

    She promised to re-open in the spring, but two things became very clear: First, my remaining TGQ soap wouldn't last through spring; and, second, the spring "date" was likely to not be met. I had to launch anew my exploration of soaps.

    I'm a face-latherer. I load the soap onto the brush and then build the lather up on my face. This is the fastest and easiest method short of shooting the lather out of a can. And you don't have to do the dishes when you're done. I allocate about two minutes for the making of the lather. Yes, I know that this doesn't necessarily produce the optimum lather. If I would put more effort into it, I might get a better lather. But why? With TGQ soap, I could, in about two minutes, have a very pleasant and entirely adequate lather. That's what I'm after.

    When it comes to evaluating lather products, I take the same approach as blades. You usually can't say anything after one or two uses. Each product works a little differently and you need to dial-in (a favorite expression of mine) and it's just not fair to judge a product unless you give it that chance.

    Remember, my goal is an inexpensive shave. So, some of the exotic imports were not on my list.

    The shaving soaps from Momma Bear's Soaps are widely well regarded.

    Before I talk about the soap, let me get this off my chest: I HATE THE PACKAGING OF MOMMA BEAR'S SOAP! I am not a raving environmentalist whacko. But I do think there are some simple things we can all do to help the environment. One of those which I practice is to seek out products which are recyclable and which are less packaged and which have recyclable packaging. This is one thing I love about DE shaving. Multi-blade cartridges are a commingled recycling nightmare; they really aren't recyclable at all. And they come in huge cardboard packages with metallic inks and plastic coatings. Inside of the box, cartridges are then in plastic trays. This is all so unnecessary. Bic Chrome Platinum blades are made of high-grade stainless steel and entirely recyclable. You can collect them up in a steel blade bank box and, when it's full, just toss the whole thing in your recycle bin. An electromagnet will pull them out of the recycle stream. Recyclers LOVE what comes off those magnets because it's highly-recyclable, high-value materials for them. This stuff goes off to become new steel parts at a tiny fraction of the cost of making virgin materials. I love it! But, even before that, these blades come wrapped in waxed paper which is perfectly recyclable. Five blades are put into a small cardboard box which is fully recyclable. And 20 such boxes go into a larger cardboard box. The packaging is minimal and 100% recyclable. Perfect.

    Now comes Momma Bear's Soap. The only way you can get it is in a plastic tub. The tub is too small to load a brush in it without making a mess (watch the video on their site to see what I mean). And I don't want to use it out of a plastic tub; I want to use it out of my polished stainless-steel soap dish (a dish likely to last me the rest of my life).

    Getting the soap out of the tub is tough. Yes, it can be done. You bang on it enough and it comes out. But, I really don't want to engage in any boxing sparring with my shaving soap; I prefer people for that. Unwrapping your shaving soap shouldn't count as an aerobic workout.

    The empty tubs can be repurposed, true. But shaving is something you do everyday and eventually you run out of things to do with the empty tubs.

    Some plastics can be recycled. So, I turned over the Momma Bear's tub and was pleased to find a recycling mark... until I realized that the number in it is seven; seven means other or unknown plastic type. In other words, not actually recyclable. This thing is headed to a landfill.

    Anyway, on to the soap.

    I started with Lime and Bergamot 100% Natural Shaving Soap. I like a citrus scent early in the morning. (Bergamot is an especially-fragrant type of orange). But, while I shaved probably 35 or 45 times with this soap, I was never able to get dialed-in on it. I could eventually get an adequate lather out of, but never great. It was either runny or dry. And the scent was disappointingly weak.

    I next tried Momma Bear's Extreme Clean Glycerin Shave Soap. This is supposed to smell like Bulgari Extreme which is a favorite summer cologne scent for me. I have a bottle of it. And so I can tell you that there's only one word for the scent of Momma Bear's Extreme Clean: FAIL! It's not unpleasant, but it's not Bulgari Extreme. The soap was quite good. The Glycerin formulation seems better than the 100% natural product.

    I moved on to Black Code Glycerin Shave Soap. This is supposed to smell like Armani's popular Code cologne. This is another cologne which I like and own a bottle of. TGQ has offered a Code smell-alike version too and I have found it close, but weak. There is only two word for Momma Bear's copy of Armani Code: nearly-perfect. The smell is perfect and the lather is the same as the Extreme Clean soap which means quite good.

    I found with both of the Glycerin formulation products from Momma Bears that the lather is short-lived. Getting a second lather for a second pass takes a lot of work. Even taking a second stroke can require relathering.

    I was pleased to find at the Sherwood, Oregon Farmer's Market a vendor selling locally-made, artisanal soaps including shaving soap. This area is famous for its lavender which we grow as a crop. So, I opted for the Lavender version of di Orto shaving soap. This is the worst lathering product I have used. I've tried and tried dozens of times and could not get dialed on this product. The lather is runny or dry. You can't even get through a single pass without having to relather because the lather just collapse. Forget about it.

    Next, Williams Mug Soap which can be purchased locally from Walgreens. This stuff smells... well... soapy and not pleasant at all. After a few dozen tries, I was able to get an adequate lather from it. But it's very dry.

    Finally, Van Der Hagen Glycerin soap which I got at the local grocery store, 2.5 ounces for $1.19. It took only a few tried to get dialed-in on this soap. It's easy to use. The scent is pleasant enough. The lather is not in the TGQ league. This lather suffers rinsing issues: it's difficult to rinse it off both your face and out of your brush. I had to make two or three more rinse passes to get it all off my face and it clearly took longer to rinse out the brush. But, even so, it's nice to know that such an adequate soap is readily available for such a low price. This is a good thing to know about.

    Where to go from here? I don't know. I'd welcome your suggestions.
    My suggestion is to look at your post. Over thinking it may not be a strong enough term for this treatise on how you shave your face. I would say you're already a "hobby shaver."

  2. #42
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    I haven't tried DR Harris yet but in my experience the slickest I've used have been Trumper's (coconut) and FortyTwoBlades' Cedar Loghouse Shaving soap...

    But I'm also interested in hearing Gollnick's response to your question!

  3. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shotgun View Post
    My suggestion is to look at your post. Over thinking it may not be a strong enough term for this treatise on how you shave your face. I would say you're already a "hobby shaver."
    Three years ago, almost to-the-day, I went to the grocery store to get eggs, butter... oh, and some Sensor razor blade cartridges. At the checkout, I handed the clerk a twenty and waited for my change. The clerk held out her hand waiting for more. "$35.95!?! What!?! How can that be?"

    "Well, sir, the razor blades are $29.99 to begin with."

    "Oh... I guess you're right," I said handing over another twenty.

    On the way out, I was galled to think that a package of five razor cartridges was thirty bucks!... six dollars each! And I typically got six shaves out of each. I was paying a dollar a shave just for blades! I decided to find an alternative.

    My interest in DE shaving is just that. I want to find the one way for me to get a great shave for a low price. I just want one razor, one brush, one brand of blades, one brand of soap. To find that, I have had to do some investigation. I thought I had it all "dialed in" until TGQ's closure sent me back to the drawing board on soap.

    I am happy to report that while I have a few other brands to try, D.R. Harris soap can fill the bill and put me back to having successfully dialed in a new shaving approach which saves me over a dollar per day.
    Balisongs -- because it don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing!
    http://www.balisongcollector.com


  4. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gollnick View Post
    "Well, sir, the razor blades are $29.99 to begin with."

    "Oh... I guess you're right," I said handing over another twenty.

    On the way out, I was galled to think that a package of five razor cartridges was thirty bucks!... six dollars each! And I typically got six shaves out of each. I was paying a dollar a shave just for blades! I decided to find an alternative.
    exactly the reason when i could grow a full beard as a teenager, i stopped shaving and i have had a beard ever since. i only trim it with an cheapo electric razor with a guard.

    i'd have to say you're a hobbyist shaver as well. it was an interesting journey reading this thread. have to admit i had no idea men talked about soaps and smells and such. all new to me, but then again i've never owned a real razor or shaved for a hobby or out of daily necessity. learned something new today.

  5. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by jbmonkey View Post
    have to admit i had no idea men talked about soaps and smells and such. all new to me, \.
    One of my personal heros is Leonard da Vinci. Yes, da Vinci, the great Renaissance artist, painter, sculptor, famous for the Madonna and Child, the Last Supper, and, of course, the Mona Lisa. He sounds like sort of an artsy-craftsy guy, not exactly a manly man's man, eh? Sort of a momma's boy.

    But, three times he won the title of Fastest Man in Florence. He competed favorably in local "strong man" competitions. He was well-respected and competitive as a wrestler. He was also reputed as a good boxer. He was a sought-after military commander and tactician. And he designed and built many of the most advanced weapons of his day. All-around athlete, power lifter, mixed martial artist, military man, armorer... he sounds pretty manly to me.

    He was also a botanist, an anatomist, an engineer, an architect, a traveler and an explorer. Oh, and he also dabbled in perfumery.
    Balisongs -- because it don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing!
    http://www.balisongcollector.com


  6. #46
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    So Leonardo was the inspiration for this guy then



    Sorry I had to
    If you are playing life on easy, you are never going to win when it counts
    Knife making is hazardous to my bank account

  7. #47
    Quote Originally Posted by Gollnick View Post
    One of my personal heros is Leonard da Vinci. Yes, da Vinci, the great Renaissance artist, painter, sculptor, famous for the Madonna and Child, the Last Supper, and, of course, the Mona Lisa. He sounds like sort of an artsy-craftsy guy, not exactly a manly man's man, eh? Sort of a momma's boy.

    But, three times he won the title of Fastest Man in Florence. He competed favorably in local "strong man" competitions. He was well-respected and competitive as a wrestler. He was also reputed as a good boxer. He was a sought-after military commander and tactician. And he designed and built many of the most advanced weapons of his day. All-around athlete, power lifter, mixed martial artist, military man, armorer... he sounds pretty manly to me.

    He was also a botanist, an anatomist, an engineer, an architect, a traveler and an explorer. Oh, and he also dabbled in perfumery.
    Very nice write up. <copy, save>

  8. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gollnick View Post
    One of my personal heros is Leonard da Vinci. Yes, da Vinci, the great Renaissance artist, painter, sculptor, famous for the Madonna and Child, the Last Supper, and, of course, the Mona Lisa. He sounds like sort of an artsy-craftsy guy, not exactly a manly man's man, eh? Sort of a momma's boy.

    But, three times he won the title of Fastest Man in Florence. He competed favorably in local "strong man" competitions. He was well-respected and competitive as a wrestler. He was also reputed as a good boxer. He was a sought-after military commander and tactician. And he designed and built many of the most advanced weapons of his day. All-around athlete, power lifter, mixed martial artist, military man, armorer... he sounds pretty manly to me.

    He was also a botanist, an anatomist, an engineer, an architect, a traveler and an explorer. Oh, and he also dabbled in perfumery.
    Yes, was well aware of most of that, except for the perfumery part. Learned someting new today as well. Thanks. Looks like I failed again in typing and it sort of maybe came across as talking down on soap enjoyment and that part of this hobby. My apologies, I've never been very good at typing my thoughts and putting things clearly or with little room for various interpretations.

    Was meant to be, More of a good old fashioned learned something new today. Should have tossed a thanks in that post. I need to remember my manners.

    All that said, I think ill keep my beard. thank you Sir for the follow up.

  9. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by jbmonkey View Post
    All that said, I think ill keep my beard.
    Following the lead of Leonardo, eh?
    Balisongs -- because it don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing!
    http://www.balisongcollector.com


  10. #50
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    Yesterday was my 118th shave from this cake of DR Harris and I had to decide to cut off the DR Harris experiment. The remaining soap has broken into several bits and it's difficult to lather with that way. If I had a new cake of DR Harris, I'd just put it into the bowl and put the old scraps on top of it and they'd blend right in. But, I don't have another cake of DR Harris. What I do have is my weight measurements. Based on those, I'm sure that I threw away four -- if not five -- shaves worth. So, a single cake of DR Harris is good for over 120 shaves. That's just amazing and entirely cost-justifies the $15 price.

    In doing this experiment, I have not tried to be at all "miserly" with the soap; I've used plenty of soap to get a good lather and a great shave each day. I should note that I do not go for an inch-thick, "Santa's Beard" lather. No. There's a corollary to an old truism for shaving lather: whatever goes on must come off. The thicker the laye'r of lather you put on, the longer it will take to get it off and the messier your shave will be. I seek just enough lather to give the necessary slick and cushion and to preserver moisture. I find that about 1/8 to 3/16 inch is plenty.

    My conclusion about the DR Harris soap is that it is simply excellent, well worth the price, my new favorite soap.
    Balisongs -- because it don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing!
    http://www.balisongcollector.com


  11. #51
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    Golddashs

    With the DR Harris trial finally concluded, I'm moving on to Golddashs Sandlewood.

    This cake is sold at 75g. I tilted my scale at 76.4g.

    Today's shave with it was excellent. It loaded onto the brush quickly, lathered up quickly, provided good slick and lubrication, stayed moist, and rinsed clean off of the brush and my skin. The sandlewood fragrance is light, pleasant, and does not linger after rinsing.
    Balisongs -- because it don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing!
    http://www.balisongcollector.com


  12. #52
    Man, with 118 shaves to the cake, this IS going to be a long saga You don't fancy sampling a few other soaps before finishing the current one??

    But, it proves both how cost-effective and user-effective 'real' lather shaving is

  13. #53
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    It sounds like you have enough soap to last for a while but having used a lot of those mentioned, (Everything from Penhaligans to Catle Forbs to Kiehls) for inexpensive creams Musgo Real and Proraso are my favorites. You can get nearly the same product often on sale here: http://www.bathandbodyworks.com/prod...431697.4191892

    Also re: razor blades I love the value of the Bic Platinums and have found that corking them gives me a much more reliable shave.

    My skin type is the opposite of yours though I think, as its dry, sensative, very uneven (lots of bumbs), and my hair is wicked curly and thick.

  14. #54
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    This morning was my 24th shave with Golddashs soap. So, I think I'm ready to make some comments.

    Golddashs lathers quickly and easily for me using my face-lathering technique. The lather is long-lasting; you don't have to rush for fear of your lather breaking. A second lather for a second pass is equally fast and easy. I do a two-pass shave, but I have tried to make a third lather for a hypothetical third pass and had no problem.

    The Golddashs lather is very rich and thicker than the DR Harris lather. By "thicker" I mean viscosity, not dimensional thickness. Golddashs lather works great. Excellent lubricity Good cushioning. It traps the stubble just fine. And it rinses off quickly and cleanly.

    In short, I'm perfectly pleased with Golddashs soap. This cake cost $15 which is the same as the DR Harris puck cost. Based on weight measurements, I expect to get 70-80 shaves from this puck of Golddashs, a far cry from the 120+ shaves that a cake of DR Harris will give. It's 20 cents per shave which is still cost-competitive with canned lather.
    Balisongs -- because it don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing!
    http://www.balisongcollector.com


  15. #55
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    WOW, This has been an interesting read! I guess you can make a hobby out of anything.
    My dad was a bowl and brush guy (don't even know what else to call it). I started using this method a few years ago and found that it was worlds away better than the can stuff. I have only tried a few soaps and cant remember the names of most of them. What I use now is a bar I found at a whole foods type market. It is called "Theraneem" and it lasts quite a while for me. Most of the stuff I tried made my face dry or just felt uncomfortable after the shave. As far as razors, the one that works best for me is (Oh Lord you guys might choke on this) the single blade Bic with the yellow handle. A friend at work, a fellow knife guy, sent me to this forum(Excellent knife stuff here too!). He suggests that I get a double edge type razor and some blades to try out. Sounds like a good idea to me! I am going to read up on the subject because it certainly sounds like it will make one of our little daily drills much more comfortable.

    Al

  16. #56
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    Switching to a DE razor was the best thing I could do for my face, I say give it a try.
    If you are playing life on easy, you are never going to win when it counts
    Knife making is hazardous to my bank account

  17. #57
    Here's an addition to my soap opera.

    Rooting around in a cupboard the other day for some Christmas thing, came across a small plastic bowl wrapped in cellophane. It was something I bought on a motoring holiday to France back in 07 maybe earlier...I jumped for joy as it was a shaving-soap I'd completely forgotten about 'Monsavon Bol a raser' I unwrapped it and was dismayed to find the cake had shrunk in the dry cupboard, was originally 125g, but a bit of hot water and a brush got it going! This stuff is incredible, it's one of those soaps that's traditional and ultra low cost - like Akro from Turkey. It costs about 1.20 Euro a bowl and produces lather that is most impressive, wonderful scent bit like pipe tobacco and delivers a satisfying trouble free shave. I had overlooked this soap because at the time I was in the Dark Ages of Cartridge 'shaving' I have to get more but it may be tricky as I live in another part of Europe and this is a very local, French product that is in no way snobby or 'exclusive'. It may well be the Opinel of shaving-soaps!! Do try this Monsavon if you can get hold of it or know someone going to France on a trip, you can get it in supermarkets no problem. Maybe it can be got in Quebec amongst French-Canadians?

    Great New Year to All, this is a very nice corner of Bladeforums: interesting exchange of experiences, polite and no need for Moderation either.

  18. #58
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    mon savon is an amazing soap.

    I forgot my soap when i went on vacation in paris a few years ago and picked some up. A great buy for sure.

  19. #59
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    Yesterday was my 50th shave with the Golddashs. We're coming to the end of it. Weight data and visual observation now predict maybe 65 shaves from this cake.

    The Golddashs lather is rich with a thick texture. It's very good and works well.
    Balisongs -- because it don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing!
    http://www.balisongcollector.com


  20. #60
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    Today was the 60th and last shave with Golddashs. I'm afraid the piece broke apart and so it would be difficult to impossible to lather with again. If I had a new piece of the same soap, I would just press the bits into the new cake and end up using it all. But, I have no new cake of Golddashs. I do, however, have my weight data. Based on those data, I am sure that I threw away four or manybe five shaves worth of soap. So, 65 is a reasonable estimate of how many shaves one might get from a cake of Golddashs. That's about half of what I got out of the DR Harris cake which cost the exact same amount.

    The Golddashs soap gave excellent lather; I have no complaint there. It gives a thicker-texture, richer lather.

    But, my overall conclusion is that I, myself, prefer the value of the DR Harris.
    Last edited by Gollnick; 01-16-2012 at 11:54 PM.
    Balisongs -- because it don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing!
    http://www.balisongcollector.com


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