Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Now THAT is a commercial...

I just got an email from Nick at the Shaving Shack with a link to a new commercial for the best selling shave cream at their shop (The Bluebeard's Revenge)... and man.

THAT is a commercial. Seriously. Hardcore.

Still, I have an issue or 2.

1: HOLY SHIT DUDE RELAX ON THE RAZOR. Looked like he was trying to shove it through his cheek and shave his jawbone.
2: If you're gonna show off a classic technique as awesome and (yes, yes it is) badass as wetshaving is, at LEAST use a badass razor. Either a monster straight (like a 5/8 Dovo or something) or even use your own Bluebeard DE.

Otherwise, good stuff. I need to try the off-road skateboarding sometime - looks like a good time.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Bluebeard's Revenge Balm and Razor Reviews

My New Year started off beautifully. I woke up suddenly around 9am, entangled with my loved one, and had the startling and somewhat shocking revelation that I was completely hangover-free. I hopped out of bed, had a cup of coffee and some toast, and set about deciding what my first shave of 2011 should look like.

Nick from The Shaving Shack had recently sent me a box containing the Bluebeards Revenge Scimitar double-edged razor and a tub of the Bluebeards Revenge post-shave balm. This, then, was the way to go. I knew a review needed to be written, a beard needed to be shaved, and... Well, it was time to get moving.

My initial impression of the razor was that it was similar in nature to most other higher-end modern razors (see Merkur as a fine example). It displays the Jolly Rodger skull-and-crossbones proudly on the top piece, echoing the "Bluebeard" pirate theme that runs throughout their product line. The fit and finish were absolutely perfect, and the heft and balance of the razor definitely felt great. Perhaps my only complaint - out of the box - was that the grip was a touch slick.

After a hot shower, I popped a fresh Japanese Feather blade in, lathered up with Truefitt & Hill's Lavender cream (which has quickly become my standard go-to luxury shave cream) and set to work. The razor was just slightly more aggressive in feel than my trusty vintage Gillette Superspeed. I'd put it close to setting 4 or 5 on the Gillette Fatboy adjustable, though very smooth and forgiving at the same time. It made short work of my beard and left me feeling quite happy with the results in 3 standard passes.

I finished up with a thorough rinse and a shot of witch hazel, and then opened up the tub of balm. The consistency was quite thick, so I popped a finger in, grabbed a dollop, and rubbed it in quickly. The first thing I noticed about the balm was that it burned as though it was an aftershave splash, which of course screams "alcohol!" to me. I'm not normally a huge fan of alcohol in my balms - if I want it, I'll use a splash. In this case, however, it works. I was a little surprised, to be honest, just how WELL it worked. The balm absorbed into the skin, leaving it feeling fresh and moisturized without even a hint of oil or shine. The scent of the balm was pleasant as well, a nice classic barbershop style, though it lingers much too long for my taste.

I continued to use the two items every day until this morning, and the only change in my technique has been a switch to Art of Shaving's excellent lemon shave cream. The razor has completely knocked every other double-edge out of rotation. My Superspeed, Fat Boy, the uber-1970's Krona, even my Merkur slant - they're all sitting unused in my medicine cabinet. I've not touched the other shave balms I've accumulated over the last few years at all lately, and even with daily use for over a month, I'm still not even 1/4 of my way through the tub of aftershave balm.

My only suggestion for a change is that Bluebeard should release a completely unscented version of the shave balm. Otherwise, I'm extremely impressed with both products and would heavily recommend them to anyone entering the wetshaving world.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Bluebeard's Revenge Shave Cream promo video

This is a video composed by the manufacturers of Bluebeard's Revenge (which I reviewed in my last post). Pretty ballsy stuff.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Bluebeard's Revenge Shave Cream review

I was recently contacted by Nick at the Shaving Shack, the retailer of the new shave cream Bluebeard's Revenge. It's a pretty novel concept being sold - they promise that over time, the cream will actually slow the growth of a man's beard. They claim to have good backing for this claim, though I can't find any actual studies for the ingredients which are supposed to be active here.

EDIT: Click here for a link to a quick paper about "Decelerine". While interesting, it's a very small sample and not double-blinded, nor is this a "published" study showing efficacy and safety over time. The results also look a bit dubious and pie-in-the-sky. Still, I'm reviewing this as a shaving cream first and foremost, not as a growth inhibitor.

They asked if I'd like to try it out, and with a bit of hesitation I agreed. Part of my hesitation was due to the chemical nature of this cream - while it's advertised as being gentle, I worried that the active ingredient "Decelerene" might be a bit rough on my face. I have fairly sensitive skin, and I react with stronger creams and aftershaves sometimes.

I had an excellent exchange with Nick from the Shaving Shack, who assured me that the cream would be gentle and work well for even sensitive skin, so I asked to have a sample sent out. The Shaving Shack actually sent me an entire jar - and QUICKLY. I had heard good things about their shipping, and despite being an overseas vendor, the package arrived withing a few days.

The box and jar are both very attractive and look great right away. Very high quality construction and materials, and the box itself is a pleasure to read.

The consistency of the cream is just about perfect, solid enough to hold up while being scooped but also soft enough to be scoopable and turned into a lather rapidly. The scent was very classic and not overbearing at all - I couldn't quite put my finger on it, so I emailed Nick about the flavor. The following is his answer:
We had two signature scent ideas in mind. One was a bay rum-esque type fragrance. The other, which is what you have before you, was based on a more traditional barbershop scent along the lines of Taylors Eton College/St James but with some added zing! We sent out samples of both fragrances to a few hundred "testers" to get feedback and the overall winner was the more traditional one...by a long shot. We may at some point bring out the rum version but as a launch product it made much more sense to cater to the more popular choice.

I scooped out a small amount (about the size of an almond) and built a lather with my trusty Badger and Blade Essential brush. It was at this point that I was REALLY impressed by the cream - it lathered like a monster, and was very forgiving of the amount of water used. It had a wide "sweet spot". I added water until the cream broke down a bit, and then started over with a clean mug. I made a killer lather with no real effort.

This small dollop made enough lather for 4 passes, with PLENTY left over!!

The cream felt excellent on my face, with no irritation for any of the passes. It softened the beard quite adequately and the lubrication of the razor was just fine. I felt no dragging. On the whole the cream's performance was at or above any other cream I've favored, and maybe even rivals some soaps in terms of protection. After a good 3 pass shave, I pulled a fourth just to see how well the cream could handle being pushed to that limit of protection and lather stability, and came away absolutely satisfied. I felt that it was a bit drying on the first shave, but later shaves proved that to be a fluke (possibly due to the extra pass). It left my skin nice and clean feeling, without excessive dryness at all.

The next day, I decided to give it a try as a brushless cream with a Schick Hydro 5 to emulate my "oh my god I'm late for work" shave standard (lately Proraso green, brushless, with the Hydro 5). It performed fairly well, though it seemed to require more cream to get the job done than I needed to use with a brush.

In terms of quality, performance, and overall satisfaction, this cream rates as highly as any I've used from any of the "big houses". The only issue I would have here is that the price and shipping might be a bit steep for USA customers at this time. The shack DOES offer 1-price shipping, so if you're in the market for more than one item it might be worth jumping in. At £14.99 ($22.32 as of today's exchange) plus £4 for shipping ($6.22), it's an expensive item. Still, it's a very effective cream that I would be happy to purchase myself once my tub runs out.

Special thanks to Nick at the Shaving Shack for the tub of cream and the opportunity to review.
Associated links:
BlueBeard's Revenge
The Shaving Shack

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Wet shaving can cure the common cold!

Okay, it really can't. Not remotely. :)

This morning I woke up feeling like absolute garbage - sore throat, stuffy nose, head throbbing, etcetera (and no, it wasn't a hangover). I had finally gotten the cold that had destroyed my family for weeks while I gleefully avoided it.

So I stumble into the bathroom this morning, bleary-eyed and just not wanting to go to work. I opened my cabinet to survey the shaving supplies and decide how I wanted to start the day... AoS Sandalwood? Maybe, nice and warm. Tabac? Not in the mood for that smell. Pen's Blenheim? Nice, but a bit subtle for the morning. AoS Lemon? Lavender cream or soap? Definitely not in the mood for either. Speick? Meh, another time. Proraso green? No. It snowed like 10 feet. It's cold out there.

but... wait.

Proraso = menthol and eucalyptus
coughdrops = menthol and eucalyptus
THEREFORE Proraso = Halls! or..... something.

Showered up, using Nancy Boy's superb body wash, and lathered up with Proraso. 3-pass shave with a feather in a fatboy, a splash proraso aftershave and then a bit of balm, and I was in DFS territory.

I felt 80% than I had when I woke up, to which I feel I can safely attribute the Proraso as a causative agent. Granted, the drive to work was just a TOUCH chillier than usual (brr), but it was totally worth it.

I have also found in the past that Art of Shaving's sandalwood (soap) with a touch of patchouli Kiss my Face is an incredible start on a winter morning. Very warm and cozy feeling.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

In a hurry? Late for work? Who cares?

Normally, I wake up about 45-50 minutes before I have to leave for work. This leaves me enough time for a shower, a 3-pass shave, breakfast, and a moment of quiet with my dog before crating her and getting out the door.

This morning, I woke up with less than 30 minutes before I had to be out the door - not good... Normally, I'd scream through my shower, throw a quick 2-pass shave down, and then run out the door. Not today, I decided. I took relatively quick shower- using Crabtree and Evelyn's Sandalwood shower gel as shampoo and body wash helps speed things up. Hopping out, I dried off, turned on some music (Slowdive's Souvlaki) and loaded my Badger and Blade Essentials brush with Tabac soap and face-lathered. The reason I went Tabac today was simple: I can still take my time, and it lathers up rapidly. I don't need to worry about water amounts or taking care at ALL - the stuff is way easy. Sure, I'm not psyched with the scent, but it goes away after rinsing, so whatever (for a suitable alternative in terms of speed, I also love the Speick shave stick). 3 quick passes with the fatboy on 3 and I was done. Rinsed, threw on some Proraso splash and balm, deoderized (Arm and Hammer has a great natural deodorant I highly recommend), and was fully dressed with 5 minutes to spare.

What the hell kind of good breakfast can I eat in 5 minutes, you ask? Well, if you're like me, you might have some Morningstar soy sausage patties in your freezer (yes, non-vegetarians, they're really good - I'm an avowed carnivore and I still love Morningstar's entire lineup - except for the maple sausage, which is kinda weird). I pulled two out and nuked them for 40 seconds, threw some cheese on one and piled them, nuked for a few more seconds, and then off to work!

The lesson, I suppose, is simple: if you're running late, stressing out and screaming around your house as fast as lightning might save you a few minutes (tops), but you're going to arrive at your destination frazzled and completely unready to face your day. Take your time - even if you have to shortcut some things, do so at a pace which keeps you calm. Start your day in a manner in which you want the rest of your day to go.

The great and holy Ferris Beuller (blessed be his name) once said "life moves pretty fast. You don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it" - this quote has served me well so far.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A birthday shave.

This morning, I showered in a hurry, knowing I was running a bit late for work. Normally on such days, I snag the proraso and just pound through the shave, splash on some aftershave, and off I go.

This morning after my shower, I reached into my cabinet and accidentally knocked out my sample of Castle Forbes lime shave cream, so I figured why not. Slathered it up, threw down three passes, finished with the intense burn of Royall Lymes aftershave... and I was ready to go. Pretty nice shave, pretty nice.

Music to shave by: Sonic Youth / The Eternal
The album will be released in a few weeks - I'll be buying it immediately. My uh... pre-release version will have to do until then. :)