Thursday, March 20, 2008

More Misadventures in Shaving...what's that smell??

So I'm starting to develop the muscle memory to not cut myself and I've been more or less successful. Though a few days ago I really did a number on my neck, it looked like I put a cheese grater to it. I identified the problem as either my brush or the soap I'm using. I just can't seem to make a sufficiently slick slather with the right body to it. It's always too soapy and runny, sort of like the cream on a poorly made cappuccino.

Trust me, I've tried and practiced making lather (who would have thought doing it old school would be such a pain in the ass!), whipping up the soap for a full three minutes with the bowl half-submerged in a sink of hot water. I finally realized I had reached the limitations of my equipment and it was time to upgrade or be condemned to cutting my face open every morning.

So today, I bit the metro bullet and went into Dean Anthony in Long Beach. I have always thought of myself more Syndicate than man salon, but I saw on their site they carried the Art of Shaving Line, which compared to what I found at the local drug stores and barber supply store was a godsend.

I purchased the "starter kit" for the brush. It came out to $38 for a badger hair brush and samples of their products. It's a great deal considering the badger hair brush alone would cost about $30. Why badger hair? Badger hair is the hair of choice for shaving brushes. It is able to hold a sufficient amount of water to create a hydrated lather while also being supple enough to whip it up into a nice consistency. The cheapie brush I was using was boar hair and it felt like rubbing the coarse end of a sponge on my face.

I got home, ran the hot water to heat up my shaving bowl. I put in a dollop of the cream and started using the brush. Next thing I know, it smells like a National Geographic special.

Wow. It was really over-powering. I had read that there might be some funk, but this was more than I was expecting. It smelled like wet dog and/or wet badger. But boy oh boy did it make some great lather (ahh...simple pleasures). The lather was so great in fact, that today I managed to shave without cutting myself! Amen!

After the shave I quickly worked in some shampoo and conditioner into the brush to get rid of that god awful smell.


Apertome said...

I can't remember if I've commented on your blog before, but I've been reading it for a little bit now and I really enjoy it. I'm highly amused by this post, but mostly I read your blog for your photos.

I'm an amateur photographer and take a camera on a lot of my rides (although I haven't lugged a quality camera with me ... yet).

Anyway, cool blog, and I'll be back for more.

- Michael

GhostRider said...

See if you can find a Crabtree & Evelyn shop somewhere...they make a great shaving soap that smells of fresh almonds, and it makes great lather. It comes in a pretty wooden bowl, too.

+1 on badger hair. I have a German shaving brush that is older than I am, and it still works beautifully. Now if only I could get this shaking out of my hands, I'd try a straight razor!