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.

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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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Merkur HD 43C First Impression & Comparison

merkur 43cOne of the perks of running a wet shaving blog is that I need very little justification for purchasing yet another razor. If my wife happens to comment: “What? Another razor?” I can simple raise my hands in surrender and state: “The blog honey…it’s for the blog.” So armed with my blog as an excuse I picked up the Merkur HD 43C.

I decided on the 43C because it seemed to escape my attention the entire time that I have been running this blog. I wasn’t too keen on another Merkur closed comb head but the design of the handle and positive reviews had me intrigued.

First Look

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The Merkur 43C, The “1904”, & 37C Slant

Without question the feature that stands out most with the Merkur HD 43C is its handle. It has a great looking stainless steel handle that is not only quite long (3 3/4″ but also rather robust. It has a much larger girth than any of my of other razor handles.

Next to the sharp looking handle, the weight was rather surprising as well. I expected heavy and I received really heavy – none of my other razors have the same weight as this one.

 

Assembly

murker 43cThe 43C has a two piece TTO design which is my least favourite of the three possible designs, but the 43C feels like a quality build so I don’t expect any issues with the mechanics.

The Handle

merkur 43cAs mentioned above, I’m really impressed by the handle of the 43C. The chrome finish looks great, the simple but graceful oblong shape feels good in your hand. I suppose the smoothness of the handle could make the handle a bit slippery when wet – but I have never dropped a handle as a result of it being wet so I am not too worried- regardless, the weight I’m sure will make up for any loss in grip.

Then of course is the length of the handle which essentially dwarfs that of my “1904” Classic. I am finding that I am beginning to favour the long handle over the short, the same could not have been said when I first started using DE razors. There are benefits to both I suppose – but currently I find myself reaching for my longer handles. So after full disclosure of my current preference I have to say that I am excited to give this razor a go.

Cutting Head

IMG_20140906_090619I expected the closed comb cutting head to be identical to other Merkur closed comb heads but I appears that the design is a bit different with the 43C, at least compared to that of the Merkur “1904”. The 43C seems to have a slightly different design to it’s safety bar and as a result has made the gap between safety bar and blade greater. So we shall find out how much more aggressive this razor is after a couple of passes.

Final Thoughts

Overall I am impressed with the Merkur HD 43C – having not used it of course. But overall I get the feeling that I am going to enjoy using this razor – it feels and looks like a proper razor. It feels well built, it will look great on the counter, and the weight should add another element to the experience.  I will use it for a few weeks and then return with a proper review.

 

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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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