Product Review: Queen Charlotte Rice Flower & Shea Shaving Soap

February 27, 2011

Some of you may recognise this from my last post, and I was really excited to try it out when it arrived. 
I picked this scent based on one of the scents of the Queen Charlotte bath soaps and really had no idea what it would smell like until it arrived. When I opened the tub a faint and light smell hit me. Not nearly as strong as I would have guessed, like a very delicate fresh floral scent which I guess is the rice flower' though on the website it says it's a mixture of lily and hyacinth which I can definitely see. It's slightly similar to light baby powder. 
The first time I lathered it up I actually smiled as the scent really exploded. People talk about this happening a lot but I had never had it happen to such an extreme before. I could properly smell the notes in it and it was lovely and strong but not overpowering. It's not sweet at all though and not a heavy must either. It lathered easily and thickly and provided good cushion. As with all of my Queen Charlotte soaps, I constantly find these to be top performers. They take literally no effort to get a great lather from and the scents aren't synthetic at all. 
I took a photo of the lather is gives, though I'm not used to bowl lathering as I tend to lather on skin. None the less I call this one the "Jimmy Neutron". See if you can spot the difference!

- BE

Queen Charlotte Custom Soaps Arrived!

February 20, 2011

Hi everyone! Sorry this entry is so long but I wanted to give credit where it's due. Let me start by saying I get no discount from this vendor nor am I any connection to them at all. This is my independent opinion. This goes for all products I review on my blog and I will always say if I get anything free to review (hasn't happened yet but here's hoping!).
I was in bad need of some retail therapy lately so I figured I would treat myself to something I have always wanted - a nice Strawberry scented shaving soap. Now I LOVE my Key Lime Queen Charlotte shaving soap and, having tried many soaps and creams, I simply can't deny that these soaps are the best for me. I tried for a long time to give others a fair chance and to have several favourites, but you know what? I can't. His products just rock. I've tried Truefitt & Hill, Taylors of Old Bond Street, Cella, Monsavon, Tallow Palmolive, Mama Bears, Gentlemen's Best, Cremo etc. and QC stands above them all in terms of scents and lather for me. I'm not saying the others aren't great soaps though, don't get me wrong, but these tick all the right boxes on my list.

The owner of Queen Charlotte Soaps is an amazing guy called Matthew. He and I sent many e-mails back and forth and I have to give HUGE kudos to him for being so great and patient in helping me create the perfect custom shaving soaps. I decided to get a few as the shipping is quite expensive (yeah... that's it... shipping...) and in the end I settled on an Orange EO soap, a Strawberry FO soap, and a Rice Flower and Shea FO soap. I also picked up three of his bath soaps and he was kind enough to to put in two samples for me too - Rose and Vostok (free of charge with a free soap dish too as I had a large order!). 
They arrived this week (SUPER fast shipping to Ireland) and here's the haul:
And these tubs are HUGE (5 oz.). He really fills them right to the brim:
And the best part is, because he already had the fragrances there was no extra cost! Just the same price as the soaps on his website. So I'd urge any of you out there looking to get a scent you can't find elsewhere to have a chat to Matthew about this as he has tons more than the ones he has advertised on his site!
So of course I had to give it a whirl so I opened up the Orange one yesterday and tried it out. I actually started smiling when the wafts of orange scent rose up as I lathered and it was as easy as ever to get a nice thick, slick lather. I leg-lather in the shower so couldn't take pictures of that (!) but I whipped up a batch in a bowl today to share some pictures with you guys. I haven't bowl lathered in a long time so there are some tiny bubbles there but you get a good idea of the quality of this soap. Here's what we in the shaving world call lather-porn:
I'll be reviewing these soaps on here in due course and will go into more detail about the scents etc. It'll be hard not to just stick with them all the time I'm sure! Now I just have to stop myself thinking of other great scents I'd like. What? Me? A problem? Never!

- BE

The "Justin Bieber" Haircut

February 16, 2011

I felt I just had to post this as fate has prodded me to do so.
A couple of days ago I got an e-mail from a friend of mine telling me that apparently the "Justin Bieber" hairstyle is really popular amongst his friends' kids, and that young boys are lining up to get this cut. Now in case for some reason the image of this fresh-faced young pop sensation has escaped your gaze (love him or hate him - he's everywhere) here's an image to remind you of his fairly unique haircut:
That's some head of hair huh?
So I went into college today and asked my tutor if she could show me how to cut this style. After a little bit of "Justin who? Oooooh him..." we grabbed a dolly head and off I went. Getting all those layers in is a little tricky but I found the fringe to be the hardest part. I ended up taking a little bit too much off one part with the razor (also my first time giving the shaper razor a real go) so I had to make it into a shorter slide fringe than Justin's face-grabbing mop. Still, I think I did okay for my first go at the style!:
Sorry the quality of the photos isn't great but as you can see it's nicely layered and pushed forward. The hair on the dolly heads isn't great so the side fringe was tricky to shape but I think given another go or two and I'd have it down.
Then tonight I was watching my guilty pleasure - Glee  - (hears the sound of all my readers clicking 'unsubscribe') and they were having an episode dedicated to ol' JB himself and I figured it was a sign to show the world my handy work. So ladies and gents, if your pre-pubescent boy wants to sing about never letting 'you' go 'babe', and how his 12 year old heart is bursting with joy and love for 'you... girl...' then bring him my way. We'll pop one of these on his head and he'll be raking in the cash in no time, so it'll be an early retirement for you! Hurrah!

- BE

Product Review: Truefitt & Hill Almond Shaving Cream

February 13, 2011

I was doing a bit of a den clean out recently and was hoping to sell off some soaps and creams than I had gotten but wasn't too fond of. In general there was nothing wrong with the performance (in fact some top names like Taylor's Of Old Bond Street, European Palmolive, and the above were in the lot) but the scents just weren't for me. Anyway, the lot never got sold so I figured I would give this cream a shot before I give it away or put it back into storage.
Armed with my trusty Gem GBar SE Razor loaded with a blade from a group buy on Badger And Blade I brought this tub into the bathroom to give it a whirl.
Obviously I'm not keen on the scent. It was my reason for wanting to sell it in the first place. It's sweet and very marzipan-ish and just does nothing for me. So for once it was a plus that the scent neither got stronger (to my nose) when I lathered nor did it stay on my skin. In terms of lather though this stuff is fantastic. I gave my brush a little dab and twist into the tub and lathered on my skin and it produced tons of lather without the "good stuff" getting stuck in the knot as can happen sometimes. Very think, foamy rich lather with plenty of slickness and cushion to it. It lathers very easily too with little work involved, and while it was thick, it wasn't dry as some lathers can be. A good smooth shave and nicely moisturizing and I would be curious to try  their Limes one but am in no rush as my Queen Charlotte Lime Shaving Soap that I reviewed here is still my number one thing to use. Now back into the drawer it goes!

- BE

The 'V' Haircut

February 7, 2011

Hi Everyone!
Well I'm back in college a week now and I've moved onto working on lots more clients and also to learning particular styles, rather than just cutting techniques, on my dolly heads. It helps me to see how to put all of those techniques I've learnt together to create a finished look. 
One of the first styles I've learnt is one that is HUGELY popular here at the moment amongst boys in their teens and its called the 'V'. The name is self explanatory as the shape of the hair forms a 'V' at the back. It became popular last year particularly in the football scene and, as most trends develop from fans copying celebrities, David Beckham was a big influence on the popularity of this style:
While it looks simple enough the blending between the short sides to the longer length at the top can be tricky to get right esp. on the back as the V gets smaller. Cutting hair on a dolly head is never overly easy anyway as, due to the threading, it will stick out from the head esp. on tighter cuts.
The sides of this cuts can be done either by shaving the sides and then blending into the top, or by creating a graduated cut at the side that then blends into the length on top. The graduated version provides a smoother transition as it is a less tight blend. In the picture of my dolly below I have blended from a number 2 shave at the sides. This picture was taken the day after I cut it so its a little messed at the sides.
You can see the V point at the nape of the neck, and while it looks patchy in the left photo it wasn't in real life. Again that it just the threading of the hair making it stand out so you are looking down the strand at the scalp in the photo giving the appearance of a patch.
This style could be developed into more of a mohawk, or kept longer at the sides and made into a faux-hawk. However as is, this is the V. Personally I'm not a big fan as I think it can look quite common and a bit 'football hooligan laddish'. Though I think the 'make-up' on my dolly head gets rid of that image somewhat! What do you think of it?

- BE


Product Review: Edwin Jagger Aloe Vera Shaving Cream

February 6, 2011

Well I've decided to mix things up a bit this year in terms of my review (crazy, I know!). Last year I did a "Shave Of The Week" and I really enjoyed them, but I figured if I kept going at that I'd soon run out of hardware (razors and blades) and software (creams, soaps etc.) to use, so instead I'm now going to review one item a week. My bank account will thank me for it!
This week I used my Dovo Inox straight with a sample of Edwin Jagger Premium Shaving Cream in aloe vera scent. The sample size is a small white tub so here is an image of the full sized product which comes in a tube:
I have to say I was very impressed with how little of this product I had to use. The sample is only 10ml of product from what I gather yet it was enough for two full uses (shaving both full legs with one pass each time). It would easily give 3 - 4 face shaves I feel.
It lathers very easily and the scent, though mild, is lovely and fresh. It doesn't stay on the skin to any degree that I noticed which would make it good for using under a cologne or scented moisturizer/
balm. It gave a good amount of slickness and cushion and it's paraben free and contains 99.9% natural ingredients so its nice to know I'm not putting too many chemicals onto my skin. Not as much cushion or moisturisation as I find I get with some tallow based products but nothing to complain about either. It didn't dry out my skin and left it smooth and soft. Overall I got two very pleasant, comfortable shaves out of this cream with the bonus of the scent not being gender-specific. 

- BE