Shave Of The Week - 31st Oct '10 (Halloween!)

October 31, 2010

It's been a bit quiet on here as I was back home for a couple of days at the start of this week for a friend's birthday. 
I had a great time, ate lots of birthday leftovers, and it made my shave of the week this week extra special. I finally got a chance to use my dinky little Gillette 3-piece travel razor and a couple of samples of The Bomb shaving cream that had been given to me by a member on B&B (not the vendor I might add).

So here was my set-up for this week:
- Gillette 3-piece travel razor with the tin I keep it in
- Badger Brush
- Israeli Super Platinum blades
- The Bomb shaving cream samples in Sage and Menthol

Sorry I don't have a picture of the samples but they were just in tiny clear baggies and I used them up. You can find the product here if you like: Al's Shaving 
The best point about this cream I have to say is that a tiny bit goes a long, long way. I put about a pea-sized amount into my brush and it was enough lather for both legs and underarms and still some to spare! No need to reload my brush between legs. The lather itself is nice and smooth, not as "big/fluffy" as some I've tried, but slick and even, and, while not moisturizing per ce, it's certainly not drying either. The scents are nice too. Scent is normally a huge selling point of this product when mentioned in reviews, and maybe it was because I was using a small sample, I found them pleasant but quite mild, not nearly as strong as I would have hoped for (I like my scents quite strong though). The menthol was nice and refreshing though gave no method feel/tingle to the lather. The sage again was fresh and much lighter than I guessed sage scent would be though I have nothing to compare it to. Much more like the actual plant rather than sage incense.
The blades were good and sharp and easily glided through a full shave with no nicks or cuts. I'd like to try these again in a different razor though to get a better feel for them. Also I'm not sure if these have another name so if you know please leave a comment!

Now onto the razor. I love this little thing. This is the first time I've had the opportunity to bring it along somewhere and give it a whirl. In saying that, I carry it in my bag wherever I go. I love having it with me, kind of like having the tools of my trade at hand. I have it in a tin I bought years ago that fits it perfectly and I just keep it in my purse the same way some people carry around a lucky charm or memento.
It's small, shiny and surprisingly does the job well. The handle is obviously smaller than my normal liking but the ball-end gives it enough grip and it was much easier to hold and use than I would have thought. Here's more pictures, one of it taken apart and in the tin quite I have some velvet lining in, and one where you can see the tin is as small as a box of matches!
Cute huh?

Here's a picture of my pumkitty to wish you all a Happy Halloween!
- BE

Repeat After Me...

October 22, 2010

In college we are taught things at a fairly fast pace. Each week we learn several new things and, in general, we do our theory on Mondays and Tuesdays and our practical work on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Often to start the day, our tutor will go around everyone's mirror and write a list of tasks for us to work through before lunch (straight cut, box layers etc.) and we just plough on in and work through them. We time them to see if we are picking up speed.
Our mirrors end up looking like this (yup, there's my fingers too!):
When we learn something new we watch the tutor do it and then we go off and try it on the dolly/mannequin heads. We then show the work to the tutor and, if it's the Wed/Thurs tutor, you can bet she'll say "great... this, this and this are wrong. Take it out and do it again." I don't think I could count the number of times I've repeated the same task over and over but you know what? It works. Each time to try something a little differently, or you pick up time, or something else clicks.
Bit by bit it all comes together.


A Nip And Tuck

I've finally figured out how to change the header on my blog - hurrah!
It's not perfect but it's neater, smaller and much more like what I had in mind as my logo is nice and big now. I'm sure I'll be tweaking things for a while yet to come. 
                                                                                           I've also added a links page at the side ->
so go have a look there too for more interesting sites for your browsing pleasure.


Shave Of The Week - 17th Oct '10

October 17, 2010

Here's the set-up:
- Barden straight razor (honed by ShavedZombie)
- Penworks pine wood handle badger brush
- Mama Bear's Northwoods shaving soap
- Vintage paddle strop restored by ShavedZombie on B&B

So, I was so awed by the SE razor last week that I though I'd need to whip out another one of my straights just to remind me that each style of razor has it's merits and not to go running off hand in hand with my GEM into a shave happy future. 
My Barden was one of the straights I sent off to ShavedZombie (a member on Badger and Blade) for honing and this was it's first run since getting it back. Unlike my Red Imp I actually remembered to strop it before use too!
The strop is a vintage paddle strop which SZ gave me as a gift so I'd have something to keep my beauties sharp on. He restored the leather on both sides, numbering each so I'd know which one to start with. Though I have to say the difference in draw between the two sides is very apparent and you can really feel the smoothness of the second side finishing off the blade's edge nicely. It also gives that lovely "shhhing!" noise at the end of the stroke. Because the leather is mounted onto the paddle I don't have to worry about the tension being wrong or curving the leather around the blade and thus blunting the razor more than sharpening it. For those of you interested in learning to strop I recommend checking out this video. It's quite long but very good and informative about all of the basics:

I gave my razor about 15 laps on each side before each shave this week (I could have done more but was eager to shave!). The razor shaved wonderfully smoothly. No nicks or cuts and as easy to manoeuvre around tricky spots like the ankle and back of knee. As always when shaving I had to use both hands which can get a bit tricky, but I avoided amputation!
The lather from the Mama Bears was great. Not as "heavy" as tallow based soaps and a little less moisturising but a nice lather none the less and I love this scent. It's like going for a walk in a pine forest after rainfall. I hate pine car air-fresheners so trust me when I say this is nothing at all like that. It's nicely unisex too which is good as I don't really do for "girly"scents. Also as there is no tallow it doesn't leave the residue that tallow soaps do. Just washed off nice and clean.

As for the brush... well this is my baby. I hadn't used her for a few weeks to give her a rest as she had developed a crack in her handle. Tony in Penworks kindly took her back and restored her and she's now almost as good as new but I still like to give her a break. I love the handle of this brush. If I had my way all my brush handles would be like this. Big enough and heavy too and fits perfectly in the palm in my hand. No sharp corners or bumps or anything. Just smooooooth curves. The knot is soft and large and holds water brilliantly.  I had forgotten how soft it was having used the other one for a while and got a bit surprised to see the bristles bend on my leg. 

So all in all a lovely shave this week. I seem to always get the closest shaves with my straights. My Barden needs to have the pins tightened as they are a bit loose which I don't like, but until I can figure out how to do that I'll make do. Time to oil him up and put him back into storage though as tomorrow's another week!


Holding The Baby

October 15, 2010

The shop is busy and we see a wide variety of people coming in. Already I can recognise a few regulars that I see each Friday and I like greeting them with a familiar hello and finding out how their week as been. Though I'm not doing the cutting or shaving, I like to feel part of things and try to see what extra I can do other than sweeping the hair and getting tea and coffee and the like.
Occasionally people will come in and have their kids with them. We have a few toys around and, if it's not too busy, I'll take the time to play with the kid/s. I have fun and I like children, but I also want the parent to be relaxed in the chair. I want them to not have to worry where their kid might be and if they can hear him/her laughing and playing with me, well, I hope that they can sit back and enjoy the service a little better. 
Today we had a man in with his 5 month old daughter in a portable baby rocker. She was as cute as a button and friendly and smiley. When I offered him tea I cooed over her a little and she was full of gummy, tooth-less smiles. He was getting a hot towel shave and, for a while, she lay in her rocker up on the counter gazing in interest at the lady covering putting on towels and lathering up her daddy. However, about half way through that shave another man came in with his son who was about 4. The little boy did NOT want to get his hair cut and the poor thing was quite traumatised and terrified about the whole thing. The barber and his dad were trying to calm him, and though I offered him toys to play with, his was at a level of hysteria that only a 4 year old boy can get into. They all just wanted to get though the cut as quickly as possible so I didn't intrude.
The little baby girl could hear the boy crying and screaming across the shop floor and she was getting a little antsy at the noise. In between towels her dad looked up at her and he tried to get her to smile and, while she wasn't upset exactly, she was clearly bothered by the sounds of the upset boy. So I offered to pick her up and walk around with her.  She was happy enough in my arms, looking around the shop and out the window at the cars etc. I hummed and sung a little to her to try and give her a more soothing noise to listen too (though how soothing my singing is is a question for debate!) I made sure to regularly bring her close by her father so she could see him and, while in his earshot, to say things like "awwww, you like the mirror? Good girl!" so that he could tell she was okay and calm without having to move his head to look at her. 

Now I don't want to be the babysitter or anything like that but I feel while I'm there I should add to the customer service experience in some way, and I can only hope that by doing things like that that I am helping. Mind you, I don't want to be so good at it that they leave the shop and I'm left holding the baby!


Rattle And Hum

I was in the barbershop again today doing my day of work experience when a thought that I've had numerous times before popped into my head - I love the sound of the electric clippers. 
There's something about that gentle hum that comforts me and makes me feel almost cosy. That, combined with the scent of bay rum in the air, the banter between the barbers causing laughter to sound across the shop floor, the extra air of confidence in a satisfied customer's walk as they leave the shop, the wafts of steam coming off a hot towel... all of these things make me happy to be on my way into this profession.

The gentle hum of the clippers also reminds me of the hum of a tattoo gun (another sound I find appealing). I'll admit there's a bit of a rockabilly side to me that has a soft spot for barbershops that are attached to tattoo studios. They seem to go hand in hand somehow. Of course this doesn't suit every style of barbershop, but when it's done right it seems to be a symbiotic relationship.

I like how you can hear when the clipper needs a touch more oil. Heck, I even like the sudden buzz it makes when the blade guard is a little loose. Call me odd if you will but it's the soothing sound of a trades-person at work. And someday that'll be me.

- BE

Shave Of The Week - 10th Oct '10 (10/10/10!)

October 10, 2010

Shave of the week time for 10/10/10!
Here's the set-up:
- A GEM G-Bar SE (single edge) razor
- GEM SE blade
- Dr Harris & Co. 'Arlington' Shave Stick
- Badger Brush

So this was my first ever shave with a SE razor and I have to say I might just be a convert. It was incredibly smooth and easy. I was a bit worried that the blade wouldn't last for one whole shave (two full legs and both underarms) but I needn't have worried as it stayed nice and sharp with no drag at any point. With a DE you have both sides of the blade to use during a shave so my thinking was that this would essentially be like using half a DE. I was wrong. A SE blade acts like something that's between half a DE blade and a straight razor. It's a bit thicker and sturdier and, as far as I can tell so far, gets a smidge closer too than a DE, but not as close as I can get with a straight. The lather was caught nicely and rinsed away clearer than I find when using a DE. It didn't seem to get inside the razor or caught in any nooks or crannies.
The lather itself was nice. Shave sticks are easy to use, just rub them on the skin and then swirl your brush around. For good measure I gave the brush a swirl on the stick too just to load it a bit more. The scent is fine though nothing that particularly calls to me. It lathered easily and gave a good lasting lather.

I'll have to try this SE with another soap later on to see if I can make this an even better shave but I'm very, very happy with this. A good balance of nice and close with super easy to use.

- BE


And The Results Are In...

October 5, 2010

Woo-Hoo indeed!
Nearly everyone got distinctions and I'm still thrilled with this and thrilled for everyone else too! Our health and safety project is due this Thursday so I'm off to type, type, type. I just wanted to share the good news!

- BE


First Exam Completed

October 4, 2010

Just a short note and a preemptive woo-hoo!
I completed my first exam in class today based on the Health and Safety subjects we studied last week. I think I did pretty ok. I hope to get my result in the next day or two so I'll let you all know.
It counts as part of my final grade so *fingers crossed*!

- BE

Shave Of The Week - 4th Oct '10

It's that time again... (though I'm a day late - sorry guys, I had a guest over for the weekend! ... I say this as if you would even notice!)...
It's my Shave Of The Week just gone - Hurrah!
Here's the set up:
  • Badger Brush
  • Shark Blades
  • Queen Charlotte Key Lime Soap
  • Champagne Lady Gillette Razor

You might recognize the blades and the soap from my "80 Shaves" post last week. 
I had tried the blades before and liked them and was keen to try the soap based on some great reviews I had heard, and I have to say the hype is very much justified.

I own quite a few shaving creams and soaps and I can see this one very quickly becoming one of my favourites. The scent is lovely and fresh and not too sickly sweet or overbearing. A perfect lime scent in my opinion. It's packed full of good ingredients like tallow, olive oil, glycerin, kaolin clay so it produces tons of very slick rich lather very easily and the scent just bursts out. Very moisturizing and protecting and gives great slickness and is also paraben free which is always a good thing. I would even say it is probably the easiest thing I have ever lathered (more so than Arko, Cella or LaToja). 
This soap is handmade by a member on B&B and as I like to support independent shops (though I must mention I have zero affiliation to the seller) here is a link to his website: http://www.queencharlottesoaps.com/ - give it a look!

The blades were good and gave a comfortable shave, though I'll have to try them when I have a little more time. My shaves this week were a bit rushed due to having a test to study for, and a guest visiting, but even while rushing I got no irritation and only two tiny nicks due to my own carelessness.

The brush was great as always and stood up well to one bad fall into the bath (did I mention that the soap gives lots of slippy lather as well as me being a butterfingers?!?).

As for the razor... she's my pet. I love her so and she was the first DE (double edge) razor I owned. I love the colour of her and she's the perfect level of aggressiveness for me. I can use her as fast now as I ever could my old cartridge monster of a thing, though I like to take my time and enjoy my shave now.

So there you have it. I have yet to pick my set up for this week but it'll be tough moving away from Queen Charlotte having only just gotten acquainted with her majesty. Maybe using a straight again will ease the separation anxiety!

- BE