Shaving Factory Straight Razor

IMG_20150312_101609I received a Shaving Factory Straight Razor (replaceable blade system) in my Shave Select box and I have been using it over the past few days.  It is my first ‘shavette’ razor so I wasn’t sure what to expect from the razor itself or the shaving experience.

The razor is a low end introductory razor and you can definitely feel it in the sturdy, but plastic, construction.  Having said that it doesn’t seem to stand in the way of function once you have the blade loaded.

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Loading the blade was simple enough once I realized what was required from me. After folding and snapping the blade in half (in its wrapper) I was able to insert it in its holder and slide the lock into place with relative ease. I feel like there must be a simpler design for this process.  The Shaving Factory Straight Razor requires you to slip the blade under these small clips before locking it into place which isn’t ideal when dealing with a blade.

IMG_20150312_104346I don’t feel like I can accurately describe the shave experience simply because outside of using my straight razor a handful of times, I have no other experience with this type of razor. Needless to say I was a bit cautious with all of my shaves (every morning for the last 6 days) and as a result managed to not draw any blood. It is definitely a different feel, requiring less pressure than a double edge razor and as far as I can tell a slightly different angle than a straight razor.

Overall, for the price, the Shaving Factory Straight Razor  will provide you with a different wet shaving experience, and if nothing else will give you an idea as to whether you want to spend more on a higher end razor like a Dovo Shavette.

 

Shave Select Box Review

IMG_20150310_103135 (1)I received my first box from Shave Select on Thursday evening but a busy weekend has forced me to wait until today to give my thoughts on the box. Which after having the weekend to think about it should please most people who would be in the market for a subscription service of this nature.

To start off the presentation of the box is simple but effective. No real flash, you are aware that you received your Shave Select box and really that is all you need to get the shaving juices moving.

IMG_20150310_104841As you would expect with an introductory box, a starter razor is included in the shipment (don’t click away if you already have equipment – you can skip the first box!).  The razor itself is not bad, obviously you wouldn’t expect an upper end razor, but it feels like a decent introductory razor that you would most definitely upgrade from you decided that wet shaving is for you.

I was surprised to find that the box also included a Shaving Factory shavette – I nice touch I feel. I have yet to try one so I am happy to have the opportunity to give it a try. I would imagine many people would be in the same situation as me and welcome the opportunity experience a shave with one before investing in a higher quality shavette or even a straight razor.

IMG_20150310_105910As with the previous two items the shave brush that is included is also a Shave Factory product, which like the razor and shavette, is not a top of the line brush.  But like the above two items will definitely perform and if nothing else introduce you to the art of lathering with a brush before moving on to another brush.

The box also contained two soaps/creams, both Arko products which might seem a bit redundant but they do provide a decent introduction. The Arko shave stick which I think is a great inclusion, not only because it is loved by many, but also because it introduces the shave stick, which I would imagine most non-wet shavers are not familiar with (I wasn’t).

IMG_20150310_104422The remaining products consisted of a nice starter set of blades; a pack of Astra, Derby, and Feather (black label). A pack of alum match sticks, which is an interesting product that is worth trying out if not for any other reason than curiosity. Finally a sample pack of hair gel which I will sadly never get to use.

I think it is important to put things in perspective when assessing products or services like Shave Select, especially with the introductory box. An experienced wet shaver would not be overly impressed with the first box, but why would they? They already have their tools and experience with wet shaving. The first box is geared towards those who are looking to experience wet shaving as an alternative to the cartridge, and I feel that it accomplishes this with everything that is provided. The only thing I would add perhaps to the intro box is an aftershave sample.

IMG_20150305_151923There is another element to the subscription service that I feel is sometimes misunderstood. If you subscribe to a service like this you are doing so not necessarily to save money (although you might especially vs cartridge shaving), but rather for the experience of receiving products in the mail and the opportunity to try products that you may not have tried otherwise.

If you are curious about the service, including costs, you can check out Shave Select and get more information. If you want an idea of what the non-introduction boxes look like take a look here (second image).

What Is The Best DE Razor?

IMG_20150215_085607Of course it is not possible to provide an answer to what the best double edge razor is.  There are simple too many factors to consider when trying to come to that conclusion; the blade that you are using, your skin type, your type of facial hair, the shave soap you are using, and I’m sure there are some that I am not thinking of at the moment.  But not wanting to let you down, I can make suggestions based on the razors that I have used, that I consider the ‘best’.

I’m going to separate the razors into three categories based on cost, low-end, mid-range, and mid to high end. I haven’t had the pleasure of test driving a razor that I would consider ‘high’ end, at least when it comes to cost – I’m thinking of the Seki Edge Feather AS-D2  – I just haven’t been able to find the strength to part with that much cash just yet so I am not able to suggest a razor in that category.

Low-End

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The choice for my low end razor will have to be RazoRock Mirrored Pole. You can read the full review here. The RazoRock twist to open design will give you a sense of what you are looking for in a razor. The price doesn’t really require a second thought.

Mid-Range

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My mid-range choice is an absolute no brainer – the Edwin Jagger 89lbl – I would probably say that is my ‘best’ razor, regardless of category. It offers a nice balance between quality and performance. You can read the full review here. (It’s worth pointing out the the entire Edwin Jagger 8x line offer the same design with, each with a different finish.  Check this out for me information.)

Mid-High Range

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This was a bit of a difficult choice but I decided to go with a more recent acquisition – the Merkur 43C – a very weighty razor that has a long, substantial handle that provides a very comfortable shave. Not to mention that it looks great. Of course it will cost you a few more dollars than some other options, but if you have some don’t hesitate to use them on this. Full review can be read here.

I could have broken down the above by type of razor (TTO, 2 – piece design, 3 – piece design), but went with the above because I think when it comes to the question of “what the best de razor is?” I assume people are thinking overall not by type.

Clubman Virgin Island Bay Rum After Shave

IMG_20150202_082415I love the Clubman line, probably more for the classic nostalgic feeling all of their products somehow manage to create, than for the quality of their products – which is equally effective. When my bottle of Clubman Virgin Island Bay Rum arrived in the mail I was excited by the label which has a somewhat different look to my other bottles from Clubman – the ship sailing off, the crescent moon, and the confirmation that the Bay Rum you are about to experience truly is “As refreshing as an island breeze.” Who doesn’t want to experience this? The fact that it comes in a plastic bottle is slightly disappointing, otherwise the packaging is great.  Then I opened the bottle and was equally excited by the bay rum scent that seemed to have a slightly different than I expected. It was looking like it was going to be another enjoyable month of shaving until…

I used the after shave for the first time. I was a bit concerned, perhaps disappointed is a better way to put it, when I was greeted with an intense burning all over my face after applying the after shave for the first time. So much so that I had to wipe the after shave off my face with a wet cloth. Just to be clear, I expect some burning when using an alcohol based after shave, but I didn’t expect the “Flammable” warning on the back of the bottle to be referring to my face.

IMG_20150202_083738After a couple of days of not using the Clubman Virgin Island Bay Rum I decided to give it another go. After all, I could have just had a really bad shaving session the first time around. I have never had as much doubt and hesitation before applying any product to my face as I did with my second application of this after shave. Using a little less liquid than the first time I splashed it on expecting the worse, but happily, the only burning I experienced is what one would expect to feel from an after shave. So what happen the first time around? Not sure really, but my guess is a bad shaving session and I definitely used too much the first time.

Having got over the trauma of my first application, I was able to focus on performance and scent. If you have used any other Clubman products you can expect the same experience. It doesn’t leave your face feeling dry – an impressive feat for an alcohol based product. Of course it does a great job in repairing all your nicks and leaving your face feeling refreshed.

The Bay Rum’s fresh scent wakes you up and provides a great start to the day. As I mentioned earlier it has a different take on the bay rum – there is a complexity of scent that compliment each other nicely.  Initially there is a woodsy scent that is quickly overtaken with a spiciness dominated by cinnamon and cloves. If you concentrate long enough you might notice some vanilla, a hint of pepper, maybe even some nutmeg. No reason why someone would want to be surrounded by this all day.

Of course there are more natural bay rum aftershave products out there that will probably be kinder to your skin. So if you are not too concerned about the chemicals*, the Clubman Virgin Island Bay Rum aftershave provides a great experience at a great price.

*A side note – funny perhaps. When I was researching some of the chemicals in the bay rum I came across this quote about the Benzyl Benzoate: “Benzyl benzoate is irritant to the skin.”  Maybe it’s best to not research what you find in some products.