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.