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Ouch!

Just a little break from the monotony of socio-politics coffee-culture style that I've been sprouting of late.

I've just shaved, and proceeded to splash Floris aftershave on my newly shaved skin. This brought about a very painful and vivid expression of OUCH!

Being blessed with a beard of steel has pretty much exposed me to a war against stubble, and I can tell you that if I am not vigilant the enemy takes hold and causes a spiky and scary 5 o'clock shadow that Icy can attest to as being very steel-like indeed.

There have been trials with every blade known to man (except a straight edge, but I am saving a trip to Trumpers as a wonderful gift to myself some time this year - thrown down the challenge to them!) - and trials of a plentitude of electric shavers too! I've left reviews of these trials online at various websites, giving the low-down on how they performed against my infamous beard-of-steel. I've yet to find the secret.

The Mach 3 range has not really helped me, and I am going to revert back to the Sensor Excel range that I found highly successful (to a degree) during my undergraduate years. I then moved onto the protector range, and thereafter the current Mach 3. None of these provide a clean shave for me.

Many shaving regimes exist online - ranging from strategies of using boiling hot water (softens the bristles), freezing cold water (contracts the blade), gel based creams (for non-oily skin), shaving oil (for seeing where you are shaving), and pre-electrics (to dry the skin and make the bristles stand on end).

I have, alas, tried them all. My current favorite remains the Trumpers regime - until the trip to them this year, where if they fail to clean-shave me in one, I will confine them to the cabinet known as 'shaving for the light bearded man'. This is where most products and regimes live at the moment.

So whats this post about? Well rather than detail each regime, or each product, here's a quick and dirty list of what I've tried and what I think of it - maybe the gentlemen reading this can provide input/advice, or just take heed of my experiences.

Blades (many have been tried, the most famous of these are listed here)
  1. Protector 3d - never got a cut from this, but it just didnt get close enough to produce a clean shave.
  2. Sensor Excel - the rubber fins really did help, but it took a lot of effort to avoid cuts around the chin
  3. Mach 3 (turbo and normal) - no cuts, no abrasion, but the blade and razor design do not lend to a nice firm contact with the stubble.
  4. xtreme 3 - the shaver of the head without a doubt - there is NONE better for head shaving, and in this I include the fabled head-blade - the Extreme 3 wins hands down.
  5. Bic sensitive - careful here, these are amazingly good value but only worth it if you are a light bearded chap
  6. Bic 3-blade - one word - OUCH!
  7. Contour plus (including push out cleaner) - nice idea of a push out plastic tab to clean away stubble, and the razor was nicely shaped. Not good at the clean-shave bit though.
  8. Quattro - four blades - waste of time - didnt get close at all.

Electrics (I've tried these and rated them online at various sites)
  1. Braun swivel - great little unit, was washable too. Didnt do too well on the 5oclock though.
  2. Remington triple blade - waste of money
  3. Phillips cool skin - best idea ever, great smooth shave, but the darned thing didnt get super close
  4. Phillips sensortech - the bond shaver - my current electric of choice
Foams/Creams
  1. Gillete Lime - fresh! Not bad really.
  2. King of Shaves - all - very good, but expensive.
  3. Palmolive - not great tbh
  4. Gillete - the branded type range for the razors - not very good imho - the gel is awful
  5. Trumpers shaving creams - THE BEST
  6. Taylors of bond street shaving cream - a bit of a cheap-mans trumpers
  7. Floris shaving cream - very nice, but not as good as trumpers
  8. Floris shaving soap - current choice, nice wooden bowl, and VERY long lasting, 6 months and STILL going on the same soap block!

Treatments
  1. Clinique pre-electric - very expensive, smells great, does a fab job on pre-electric primer
  2. Boots cheapo pre-electric - DO NOT use this
  3. Boots botanicals pre-electric - current choice, and VERY good indeed
  4. Floris Aftershave - OUCH, not very good
  5. Floris Aftershave balm (santal) - very soothing, but a little too greasy
  6. Gillette aftershave balm - No Way!
  7. Nivea for men, aftershave balm - now here's a good product, shame it smells crap
  8. Trumpers milk of flowers aftershave - very nice, but a bit ouch
  9. Trumpers Coral skin food - fantastic, feels a bit slippery, smells rosy, but gives a smooth sheen
  10. Trumpers Lime skin food - didnt retain smell of lime after a week, bit poor really
  11. Jo Malone - expensive and a waste

Regimes
  1. Shave before shower - current choice, since its easier to wash off residue and saves time.
  2. Shave after shower - best for weekends and going out regimes, softens beard, and allows for a safer shave, but you need to be careful about the shaving soap you use - so i'm restricted to the floris elite scent range if i adopt this
  3. Hot water shave - my choice, i have tried the cold, but at 6am, i need hot water!
  4. Cold water shave - used this a lot at uni, seemed to work, but required strong constitution.
  5. Electric before shower - what you are supposed to do, as they work better on dry skin. Cant see it as practical.
  6. Electric in shower - cool skin excels here, and best option without doubt
  7. Electric after shower - must use pre-electric shave here to get best result

I used to use an aftershave balm, but of late have not as the hot shower after the shave works just as well. Guess if you use regime (2) you should do something. I recommend coral skin food, or Nivea.

I've corresponded with a majority of the above companies about shaving, as well as other online personalities who have a beard-of-steel problem, and have collected a fair amount of info - I'm creating my own strategy slowly, but it will take time to find one that works perfectly.

If any of this is useful, let me know - if you need links or more info, let me know. If it was a waste of time, SUPERB - mission:accomplished.

Sunday shaving rant /over.

--
tnn

Comments:

  1. Blogger Aravis says @ 6:52 pm
    I'm afraid that as a woman I have no beard tips, but should you ever decide to shave your legs: I've recently switched shaving regimes, preferring to try Nair's cucumber melon formula of hair removal cream. To be fair the bottle warns to make sure that you have no knicks or cuts. Apparantly that holds true at the microscopic level as well. I looked at my legs, saw nothing untoward and applied. For the most part I was ok, but I knew the instant I found a scrape that had previously been invisible until I smoothed the cream over it! It's still a bright red welt on my shin a couple of days later.

    Next time I'm taking a magnifying glass to my skin before I apply!
  2. Blogger SwissToni says @ 11:08 pm
    I was lucky enough to be taken to Ascot a couple of years ago as the guest of Wilkinson's Sword (well, as the guest of C, but she was the guest of Wilkinson's Sword... you get the picture)

    After a splendid meal of fine food, fine wines and champagne, the MD stood up and said he was delighted to be able to make an exciting announcement to the assembled gathering of key account holders (and their free-loading partners).

    I turned to C, and in a stage-whisper said "ooooh let me guess... 4 blades!"

    MD continued... "blah blah blah we are now officially able to say after trials that this is the closest shave ever.... I am very proud and excited to be able to announce to you all...Quattro!"

    You have to laugh.

    Apparently Gillette are going to trump the launch of this with a 5-bladed razor.

    Ridiculous.

    (Wilkinson's Sword were giving away Quattros at work last week - this is of course because they make their money from the blades - razor blades are the most stolen items in a well known UK high street chemist)

    So. It's rubbish innit.

    Although as C works in the business, I haven't paid for a razor or a blade in about 6 years, so maybe I shouldn't grumble. I always quite liked the 2-bladed sensor excel though.

    ST
  3. Blogger Elsha says @ 11:46 am
    Ok, I feel compelled to reply (as I had training on mens shave regimes through my job) From what I can remember you should...

    1. Shave after a shower, as the hot water opens your pores, raises the beard growth & also removes the oil build up which sticks to beard to your face. If you don't wish to shower before you shave, then a hot, wet, flannel held on the beard area for a few minute before hand, will also help. Dampening your face helps the hair shafts swell, which in turn helps give you a closer shave.

    2. Use a good lathering shave soap. Good ones that Crucifer has used are Cliniques (which I believe has aloe vera), Estee Lauder's, right now he uses FCUK which I know can leave a residue.

    3. Make sure you have a good razor which sharp blades and pivotal head. You should always hold your skin taut as you shave.

    4. Rinse face in warm water afterwards and then pat (not rub) dry.

    5. Apply a mens moisturiser or aftershave balm. A simple aftershave has no moisturising properties. Moisturising the face is very important.

    Some good mens grooming products include...

    Clinique for Men
    Aramis Lab Series
    L'occitane cade range

    There is also a new range out by Hugo Boss which has had promising sales so far.

    Good Luck with your regime & your beard of steel!
  4. Blogger B1RDIE Num Num says @ 12:14 pm
    Lady Aravis - I probably won't be shaving my legs, but I'm sure the advice will be taken up by others who read the post ;)

    ST - I thought you had gone for the cool skin after our chat many many years ago? The quattro, as you say, is a waste of money. And thank god someone agrees the sensor excel was great :)

    Elsha - I've not actually tried occitane, but Icy and I did pop into a Crabtree shop in town and I was rather taken by some of the mens stuff they had there. Very spicy. I currently use the hot towel (flannel) trick myself, as you accurately describe, problem is that at 6.15am, its HOT! Wakey Wakey time for sure :)

    This morning's shave didn't go too well at all, can still feel the bristles - yikes! I think I might actually try an electric tomorrow, see if that makes any difference with the new pre-shave lotion.
  5. Blogger Elsha says @ 4:08 pm
    Have you thought about shaving twice a day? It might make the morning shave a better shave, if you have shaved the night before?
  6. Blogger SwissToni says @ 6:14 pm
    I use both clinique shaving gel and their post-shave healer. Both are excellent.

    the coolskin (and the top of the range phillips I also got given) were both okay, but I was never as happy with the electric shave as I was with the wetshave, so I went back.

    I used an excel a while back when I rediscovered some blades kicking around. Nice small, unfussy head, and a perfectly decent shave. I used the quattro this morning, and it felt like a close shave as I was doing it, but when I had finished, clearly hadn't been. At least not as good as the turbo thing I've been using recently (not that I think the duracell in that makes a blind bit of difference, it's just what I've got).

    I always shave in the shower though. Not sure if that makes a difference. Probably opens up some pores or summit.

    You could always grow a full beard.

    ST
  7. Blogger the urban fox says @ 7:54 pm
    A full beard AND a rucksack on the tube? Sheer folly! :-)

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