Home » wet shaving » A Nostalgic Trip Down Memory Lane

A Nostalgic Trip Down Memory Lane

The Experiment:

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.

The Products:

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.

Post Shave:

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.
For questions or comments to the author, please contact him directly via the comments below. For the full WST experience, please follow Wet Shaving Times on Twitter and Instagram.


1 Comment

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