Natural Moisturizing Factor

Natural Moisturizing Factor (NMF) is a term used in cosmetic science to describe the decomposing contents of the cells in the stratum corneum, the dead skin cells of the outermost epidermis. Some of its components are identical or analogous to materials used in wet shaving, including glycerin. Check out this article from blogger Susan Barclay-Nichols. (That's like, a REAL blog -- look around, there's some shaving stuff in there, too.) It seems to point the way to understanding why the complex preshave emulsion of shaving oil and pumpkin juice has been working so well for me.

But look at the diagram describing the dynamic relationship of atmospheric humidity, NMF, and the reservoir of "filaggrin" protein from which NMF is produced. YES: that is what I felt when my beard became "hard" last week! The protein metabolism must have kicked into gear, filling my stratum corneum with NMF and making it capable of seemingly superhuman feats of shaving.

It's probably more complicated than just variable humidity; we've had rain and high temperatures here in Vermont, except at night (when, if not asleep, at least I'm indoors). In particular, I don't think the chemist has taken the skin's flora and fauna into sufficient account. Lots of critters, like those that cause dandruff, are known to fluctuate in number seasonally.

My instinct was to shave it all away with harsh lather and aggressive razors, maintaining the fully-exfoliated feeling to which I am accustomed. I may have to rethink that. Today's shave did leave me with a couple blotches.

The DEvette lives

Hacksaw and file gave new life to the would-be redundant Tech clone. With bits of safety bar covering the blade corners, it shaves closer and just as manageably as the DF-813. I may file off a couple more millimeters; this is just where the lather channels ended:

Of course, there is no reason the Dragonfeng couldn't again challenge, to regain its handle, by losing one of its own safety bars. There is enough room for both cutting heads in the Long Feng case.

Oh, and look what came to Big Lots! A 6.7 oz jar of cosmetics grade shaving cream! I recognize "sodium PCA" from the article about NMF in the ingredients. It couldn't have gone to a more deserving individual. ;)

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