Red Leaf – Oatmeal, Milk and Honey Shave Soap

IMG_20141108_131148Ratings:

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

 

 

Despite what my infrequent posts lately suggests; I have not stopped shaving on a regular basis – I have simply seem to be in short supply of time – so much so that I have gone from lathering in a bowl to straight up face lathering in an effort to save some time. Not sure what has happened really, not that much has changed over the past while other than my kids being a bit older (I guess I’m older as well but I try not to focus on that). But my short supply of time to write is resulting in a shortage of shelf space – as products accumulate in my shave cabinet they are starting to spill over to the forbidden “no shave products shall pass” zone of the bathroom that my wife has established.

DSC_0290I found some time this week to finally get to my sample of Red Leaf – Oatmeal, Milk and Honey shave soap. I received this a few weeks back with my first Wet Shave Club package and it has been filling my shave cabinet with its wonderful sweet smell ever since. Which is impressive given that it was sealed the entire time.

Although I enjoy the scent of the Red Leaf soap, I would imagine that it isn’t for everyone. If it’s possible to be in the mood for a shave cream I would say that there would be times when I wouldn’t be in the mood for this soap, based simply on scent alone. Don’t get me wrong, it has a very pleasant, very sweet smell to it – like a dessert really. I would imagine that not everyone reading this would be interested in such a scent; I have enjoyed using it this past week, but I can see myself moving on from it, breaking it out occasionally.

IMG_20141108_131113The scent maintains it’s pleasantness throughout the lathering, which built up quickly and with little effort. The lather was full, applied well, and I didn’t run into any issues while shaving. My skin was irritation free, and my shave was close. I have read a couple of reviews where people stated that they found that the Red Leaf – Oatmeal, Milk and Honey shave soap created a burning sensation when they used it, but I didn’t encounter anything like this at all after five or six shaves using this soap.

On a completely irrelevant note. I found it interesting that the soap itself was somewhat transparent. I shouldn’t really care, and it probably doesn’t matter, but I can’t really remember another soap that had a similar feature.

I think this soap would make for a good gift, the scent is out of the ordinary enough that it makes it somewhat of a novelty, it works well, and the price is right. I don’t think it will replace it when I finish this sample, but I will enjoy it while I have it.

Tools in images:

Edwin Jagger 89lbl
Edwin Jagger Best Badger Shave Brush

 

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Merkur 43C Review

IMG_20141020_090749Its been a long time coming but now it’s here – my review of the Merkur 43C. Fortunately the delay to finally writing something about this razor is due to my kids, wife, job, and dog; not a dislike of the razor itself. The opposite is true in fact – I wasn’t going to purchase it because I didn’t want to have to deal with another razor on my shelf (my wife’s issue more than mine) – but I’m glad I did because really enjoy this razor. It has been my razor of choice since I first received it at the start of September, and that is saying something, especially when I have other razors loaded and ready for action.

Balance 4/5:

One thing that I can’t say about this razor is that it is perfectly balanced. The sheer size and weight of the handle make that not possible. It’s to be expected however, the head of the razor is a standard Merkur head so something had to give somewhere. I wouldn’t say that it made it difficult to handle or to use effectively, it just took a few moments to adjust to the so much weight favouring the handle of the razor.

Grip ~ Handle 4/5:

IMG_20141020_090831The only reason I am giving the grip a four out of five is because the handle of the razor is very smooth, and although I personally didn’t run into any issues with slipping, I can see some people not enjoying the slickness of the razor hanlde. This razor is so different from my first razor – the 1904 Classic –  the 1904 has a short, thin handle – which I loved. The 43c has this long handle with a rather large diameter and it feels really good. It makes me wonder if the joy I had with the short handled 1904 was more due to the novelty of starting to wet shave and using something so drastically different than my Gillette Sensor, and less with performance.

Blade Exposure: Mild

Although the design seems a bit different I wouldn’t say that the head of the 43C cuts any different than my other closed come Merkur razors. All of my shaves have been more than comfortable. Unlike the razor I reviewed last – the Paker 89R – I managed to avoid any nics what-so-ever. The aftershave razor burn test also proved more often than not that the shave was successful at removing facial hair and little else.

Price: 4/5

IMG_20141020_091508Although the price of the Merkur 43C might not be appealing to someone buying their first razor or for someone looking for an ‘inexpensive’ approach to shaving, you do get what you pay for. There is a lot of razor here, and it feels like you are holding something worthy of the few extra bucks. Having said that, if you are hesitant on spending too much, I would maybe start with the Edwin Jagger 89lbl, if you are looking for something different – specifically bigger and heavier – then the 43C might be what you are looking for.

Tools in images:
Vie-Long Horse Hair Brush
Taylor of Old Bond Street Coconut

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The Legend London – Alum Matches

IMG_20141005_081425Unfortunately, I haven’t had an opportunity to sit and write any reviews or articles in some time. The sad reality is my job has been getting in the way. As a result I have started to develop a bit of a backlog of items that need to be tested and discussed.

I received a pack of these Alum Matchsticks in my first box from Wet Shave Club, having never seen anything like them before I was curious to see how they work, and more importantly how well they work.

IMG_20141005_082048I’ll be honest it seemed a bit weird at first, they look and feel like matchsticks, making it a bit odd to use initially. The reality is that they are very much matchsticks but with some alum on the tip.

So, do they work? Yes. Very simple – wet the tip and apply to your nic or your entire face.

They are handy, easy to store, good for travelling and great if you have multiple shavers in the home and rather than share an alum block. But I’m not sure how necessary, or if they are much of an improvement over the styptic pencil or alum block.

The biggest problem I guess is if you get the matchbook wet, which is not unlikely, you essential lose the remaining matchsticks. I also find that the matchstick itself is a bit too tiny to use comfortably – I mean if there wasn’t other options fine – but there are.

IMG_20141005_082523I do think that The Legends London Alum Matchsticks have their place however. Barbershops should be all over these things; simple, hygienic, and relatively inexpensive. If you are in a situation with multiple shavers – like a flatshare or dorm room. Or to toss into your travel bag.



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Wet Shave Club

IMG_20140909_160729I can home from work today with a nice surprise. My box of goodies arrived from Wet Shave Club. It is always a good day when shaving items arrive, let alone a box of shaving items.

If you are unfamiliar with Wet Shave Club, they provide a monthly subscription of wet shaving items, each month you receive a box with samples of soap, after shave, blades, and other goodies.  The exception being your first box – the box I received today – which also includes a razor and brush to get you going (or to add to your shelf). I will have to admit I was excited to find out what was in the box; making the service a nice addition for the hobbyist or for those who simply like the idea of not having to think about purchasing their shaving supplies every month.

IMG_20140909_160543The box itself, for being a cardboard box, is quite impressive. It really makes you feel like you are opening ‘something’ of importance. The contents are placed nicely in the box really creating an experience for you. It had a wonderful scent upon opening which added to the whole event. Right on top of the items were two cards, a welcome card and a quick start guide if you are just starting out. Overall – nicely done.

IMG_20140909_160523I wasn’t sure what to expect in my first box – I knew I was going to receive a brush and razor but beyond that I had no clue. Assuming that all first boxes are the same, the first box comes with a nice selection of items. Here is a quick rundown of items, excluding the razor and brush, which I’ll touch on below:

  • Two soap samples, both of them Red Leaf. They smell great, and will definitely last you longer than a month
  • Two, five packs of blades, Gillette 7 O’clock yellow pack, and a pack of Gillette Silver Blue. Once again more than you will use in a month. I tend to change my blade once every three to five shaves. So unless you change with each shave you are good to go.
  • A nice size bottle of aftershave from Whiskey, Ink and Lace which I have never used so I’m excited about. Also, more than you should use or need in a month. Smells great.
  • And something I have never seen before – a pack of alum matchsticks from The Legends. No idea how to use these so also excited.

So, overall a very nice selection and number of items.

IMG_20140909_160634

Having not used either, my first impressions for the brush and razor are one of surprise and one of expectation. The razor really resembles a Merkur, so much so that I was convinced that it was a Merkur razor before seeing the Wet Shave Club stamp on the top of the head. I guess it could be a Merkur but I’m not sure, and will have to assume not. The weight is nice, the cutting head as mentioned above quite similar to that of a Merkur closed comb you would find on a “1904” or similar, and the handle has a nice pattern and diameter (I’ll review the razor separately in another post). Overall, I am surprised with the quality of the razor that is provided in the first shipment.

IMG_20140909_184103The brush is more or less what I expected, nothing fancy, and more of an introductory brush, which is perfectly fine in this situation and for the price of what you are receiving. Seems to be a boar brush, rather stiff, the handle is plastic and simple. Nothing overly exciting. Perfect for someone new to wet shaving.

Overall, I’m very impressed with my first Wet Shave Club shipment. The box contained much more than expected, and the quality of the tools either met or exceeded expectation. One thing that I would like to see is perhaps a first shipment that didn’t include the razor and brush for those who are already established wet shavers and are just looking for something new every month. But that is really a minor detail. The membership has various price points based on subscription length, you can take a look at them here.

IMG_20140909_160457In reality the Wet Shave Club subscription is probably more geared towards those who use wet shaving as a hobby. Yes there are many of us. If you are just looking to save money I’m not sure if this is the direction you want to take. The subscription does make for a great gift; its something different for someone who doesn’t wet shave. Either way it is definitely worth considering.  Whether you are an established wet shaver, or someone who is just curious. You can cancel you subscription so there isn’t any risk.

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