How Long To Soak Your Brush

IMG_20140214_145209I converted my neighbour to wet shaving a while back and every so often he has a questions for me to answer, which on occasion, leads to a blog post. His most recent question was “how long he should be soaking my brush before using.”

The short answer is to soak it long enough to give yourself a nice, rich lather. The longer answer is dependant on what type of brush you are using. A boar hair brush is somewhat more coarse and its firmness makes the hairs a bit more brittle. Because of this I tend to soak my boar brushes for a couple of minutes. My badger brushes require less time, the soft hair absorbs the water faster than the boar hair. Of course if you soak for too long you can just give them a shake to release some of that water. It might be beneficial to fill your scuttle, bowl or sink with some water, toss your brush in, and let it soak while you prepare for your shave.

A brush that is properly soaked will help you produce a lather that has good body with plenty of protection, and help you from damaging you brush. The force from the lathering can damage the tips of the bristles if they are not properly softened. The dry brush will give you a thin lather that is frustrating to lather and creating a situation where you are more likely to nick or cut yourself.

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Why Use Pre-Shave Oil?

For the most part, Pre-Shave Oil has not been part of my shaving routine. However, over the past few months I have noticed that my skin has been somewhat more sensitive than usual. Not sure why really, I’m chalking it up to the weather change, but I guess aging could have something to do with it (I’m going with weather for now). Regardless of the reason, I have been including the use of Pre-Shave oil as part of my daily routine.

The idea behind Pre-Shave oil is to give added protection to your skin before applying your lather. The added protection provides some added moisturizing along with helping with irritated skin and razor burn.

Of course using Pre-Shave oil is dependant on whether or not you would benefit from it, and not a necessary step. If you do decide to start using Pre-Shave oil, try to find a brand that uses natural ingredients, and one that isn’t too thick. Thicker oil is more difficulty to deal with -from building up in your razor to cleaning off your face.

Using the oil itself is quite simple. With your face rinsed, using a couple drops of oil in your hand, massage a thin layer of oil onto your face. Give the oil 60 seconds or before applying your lather.

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Axe Peace Smooth Things Over Shave Gel

Value: 6
Cushion: 7
Slickness: 8
Scent Pleasantness: 4
Scent Strength (balance): 6
Moisturising: 8

A few weeks ago I received a couple of cans of shaving cream to try out. Both of them being an Axe product, a can of their Smooth and a can of Chilled. I had two issues with these right off the bat. The first being that I really haven’t used shave cream/gel in a can for years and it is actually a bit contrary to the focus of this blog. The other being that I’m a highschool teacher and for the most part Axe tends to bring to mind teenage boys spraying excessive amounts of Axe deodorant at their locker in a desperate attempt to smell good for the ladies while masking the sweat from PE. But these are not deodorant, and for the sake of giving the cream a fair shake I will try to review them through the eyes of a wet shaver but keeping some focus on its efficacy.

DSC_0755For this review I will be focusing on the Axe Peace Smooth Things Over Shave Gel. The first thing I noticed with the product was the scent – which unfortunately for me – did remind me of walking through the hallways at my school. But if you are not a high school teacher or don’t have a teenage son, it smells, well, young – I guess. I can’t really compare the scent to anything specifically, it has a bit of a spicey lean to it, but ultimately if this scent was used in a cologne or after shave I would feel like I’m heading to a night club and not to work.

Scent aside the Axe Peace shave gel worked well. My shave was smooth with no pulling, no irritation, and I have to say that my face felt soft afterwards.

What I didn’t find enjoyable was the absence of my brush, one of the things I enjoy most about shaving. The official directions on the back of the can are as follows:

1. Wet your face
2. Massage in the foam
3. Shave
4. Feel the love

DSC_0760The directions worked as promised, except for number 4, didn’t feel any extra love while using the Axe Peace Shave Gel. I didn’t get any love from my shave brushes that is for sure. At one point I tried to use one out of curiosity, but didn’t work as well as I had hoped.

In the end I don’t see myself really buying any cans of Axe Peace Shave Gel in the future. In addition to not really digging the scent I enjoy using a brush too much and I don’t like having to wash the gel off my hands before shaving. Having said that, it is relatively inexpensive, and if I was on vacation and needed some shave cream or perhaps didn’t want to pack too many items, I would have confidence in using the Peace Shave Gel.

Tools in image:

Merker 37C


By Carmine Sirianni

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Taylor of Old Bond Street Coconut Shave Cream – Review


Value: 9
Cushion: 9
Slickness: 9
Scent Pleasantness: 8
Scent Strength (balance): 8
Moisturising: 8

When my tub of Taylor of Old Bond Street’s Avocado Shave Cream ran out I was faced with a decision; replace it with a fresh tub or pick up a different scent. Although I will miss shaving with the Avocado scent I decided a review of a new shave cream would be most beneficial for the blog. I stuck with TOBS and opted for a tub of their Coconut Scent instead. It had been a super long winter and I figured that the coconut scent would be a nice way to start what I had hoped will be some long summer days. Four weeks after my first shave with the coconut shave cream and I’m still waiting for summer to properly arrive, it has either been rainy and cool or incredibly humid (I realize that summer doesn’t officially arrive until the 21 of June but still), but my mornings at least make it feel like I’m in a tropical location even if it is for a few minutes.

IMG_20140618_105401 (1)The scent of the Taylor of Old Bond Street Coconut Shave Cream is what would be expected – it smells like coconut. Not so much like a fresh coconut but more so like the synthetic scent that one would expect from other creams like sun tan lotion for example. To be honest after a few minutes I was doubting  whether or not I could actually identify what fresh coconut smells like. Regardless if the scent is synthetic in nature or not it smells great – on the sweet side – definitely a summer type of shave cream that has a fresh feeling to it. The scent is initially strong, not too strong, just right, but I found that it faded rather quickly after lathering my face.

As with all my other experiences with Taylor of Old Bond Street Shave Creams, lathering was a joy. Easy to whip up creating a nice full lather that is a joy to apply. I did find that it wanted a bit more water than I would normally use with other TOBS creams, but that was easy to sort out.

The cream worked as expected when it came to performance as well. A very slick surface for your razor to glide on, with plenty of cushion. Leaving your face feeling protected and moisturized.

In the end another great shave cream from Taylor of Old Bond Street. I still prefer the Avocado scent over the Coconut, but the Coconut definitely has a place in my shave cabinet. Great for the summer months and provides a nice departure from the ‘mainstream’ scents that we find in most drug stores.

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