Found In Translation

The question now arises, given my adaptation of bentonite clay to postshave, whether I have become a man who wears makeup. I'm going to argue, no. The trace minerals in the clay are nutritive, and I think the powder answers a long-standing problem of mine with regard to oily skin. My seborrheic eyebrows, for example. Always flaking, neither Vitamin D nor pumpkin juice helped for long, except that they were somewhat moisturizing. One whisk of the powder brush, though, and I can't see any sign of scales.

Recent developments are very auspicious for my nose, too, where sebaceous filaments have been enlarging my pores for years. Of course powder has a cosmetic effect, but does it not also wick the root cause away? Since I had the old, generic Noxzema fresh in my mind, I used it as a substrate for wire loop extraction, which, as I do it, is an operation very much like shaving. I believe it would be difficult for anyone to identify my skin type, at this point.

There is one dark secret, though, which I'd like to get off my chest. I bought the kabuki brush from Dollar Tree, and tried to use it as a shaving brush. (Phew, what a relief!) Stupid thing tangled right up, so I finally understand what disappointed horsehair brush owners are talking about. I mean, it was exactly the right shape -- it LOOKED like it should have worked. Well, now it has a legitimate use, because I'm not going to be able to keep my synthetic shaving brush dry just for powder.

In honor of Dollar Tree, and really, all that the Chinese have given me on this magnificent journey in shaving, today I employed nearly everything I've bought at the store. Instead of pumpkin juice and baking soda, I used their alcohol-based shaving gel as the hair hydrator in my new, perfect shave system. (The trials are over; this experiment is more like proof of concept.) And that cold cream, which they also tried to pass off as sufficient to shave on, I employed as the skin hydrator. Same, homemade shaving oil in between.

Another perfect shave! Well, pretty near perfect: slightly tougher cutting, slightly more aftershave penetration at the end, good for at least 8 hours with a worn blade. So if the only thing growing in your garden is a Dollar Tree; or you're looking at some city-slicker cosmetics and thinking, "Wow, I must be really missing out": take $5 and select some "shaving" cold cream, some oil, some "shave" gel, and some of the (truly excellent) blue aftershave, along with a kabuki brush. Leaving clay and WIlliams as the only special, traditional supplies -- but they're pretty cheap, too.

I'm afraid I've now done to Stirling what I did to KMF, and broken its luxury down to cheap components. Clay is certainly a significant part of its post-shave appeal. But I'm still proud to offer both products to my flea market customers. Learning what your face needs is a process, one that's taken me at least three years of careful attention (disregarding the 25 some-odd years of complete ignorance). You do need somebody else to do the thinking at first, and it sure ain't gonna be the good people of China, Gillette, or Barbasol.

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