If you haven’t gone back in time to when you didn’t know anything about shaving soaps or more nourishing shave creams, I recommend that you do it. I conducted an experiment this morning with myself just to see how far I have come in my wet shaving routine.
There were some things I wanted to keep consistent, as I use my Phoenix Double OC daily and I really didn’t want to mess with my routine that much. I just wanted to shake it up a little.
With the Thayers Cucumber WH, my reasoning was, if I was going to use a splash that didn’t have it, I probably needed it with this shave. My face is sensitive as it is, and again, too much shock to my face and I would have a breakout.
Phoenix Double Open Comb Razor by Phoenix Artisan Accoutrements
1 new Astra Superior Platinum Blade
Plisson Synthetic (L’Occitane Cade Branded)
Barbasol – Original Formula (Can)
Thayers Cucumber Witch Hazel
Nivea Energy Aftershave Splash
I pressed down on the opened Barbasol can and out came the lather – too much lather in my hand, but I went with it. Instead of using the Plisson brush right away, I applied it with my fingers. With all the extra lather on my face, I decided to go ahead and use the Plisson to try to thin it out. That worked, but it also dried just a little. I then added some more lather after that. It felt really weird to use this shaving cream that I had used all through my early days of shaving. It was foreign again.
I used the Phoenix with a new Astra SP blade and it worked well with the lather. I rinsed my face off with warm water, then reapplied lather on the second pass with my fingers again- this time, with just the right amount so I didn’t have to use the brush.
After shaving my face, I then rinsed it with refreshingly cold water. I patted my face with a fresh towel and then applied the Thayers Cucumber WH. The Thayers helped me cope with the fact that I just used a product that I hadn’t used much of in my last 20+ years of shaving. My face didn’t have any nicks or weepers. It was fine, but it was still nice to have that extra base coat like a primer. It also helped increase the quality of the shave as this is a top favorite witch hazel of mine as cucumber is very refreshing.
I had conflicting thoughts about which aftershave to use. I really wanted to use a modern artisan’s creation to boost the quality of this shave but I also wanted to use something that somebody could purchase at a local supermarket. I chose the Nivea Energy splash (yellow label in front). It worked well upon application, but I really missed my new “old ways.”
Thousands upon thousands use Barbasol every day, and that is fine. It gets one through the shave quickly- and if you don’t apply it with a brush, you just have to wash your hands off applications so you don’t drop your razor. When using a brush, one has to rinse it out, stroke the brush on a towel to dry it and set it aside. All of that takes extra time. Also, if you have lathered with a soap or cream from the tin or tub, you should rinse that off to make sure any extra residue is off the container so there is no mess.
I was already pining for the day before, when I lathered my soap with my brush and felt the touch of the bristles against my face. I wanted the new way I shave back already.
Some may ask, “Why would you do this to yourself?” and “You’re already shaving with high quality soaps so why go back?” Well, I had to find out for myself on this one.
I figured out that while using artisan-crafted soaps and creams, each shave is like an event – unique unto itself. I also discovered that it’s great to look back and revisit some of the old ways for nostalgic reasons, but in this experiment, I concluded I won’t do this again with a canned shaving cream. My next experiment will be with Edge Shaving Gel, another old favorite of mine, to see if I react any differently to my shaving experience with it.
Overall, I have concluded that I am happier with how I do things now as opposed to how I did things back in the day.
That’s real progress.
Matt Gray is a writer for the Wet Shaving Times, an online blog dedicated to the current events that shape the Wet Shaving Community. He also writes Shavoetry – Poems about wet shaving.
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