Tidings of Comfort and Joy

Santa came through with my first premium-quality razor, the Merkur 1904 Classic Open Comb! There was a good bit of "coal" in the nut, though, a common complaint in customer reviews. I went at it with a brace of Q-tips, some aftershave, and finally vaseline. To avoid lodging cotton in the handle, I carefully "screwed" each swab in and out. But it's still rough, because that crud is actually composed of plating chipped off the inside threads. I expect I'll have to repeat the procedure once things are worn smooth. The screw looks like it's in pretty good shape, at least, which I guess is how they get away with it.

To get a feel for it I did my Christmas shave with oil and Stirling, and was delighted with its shaving character, which is very much in line with my current leaning toward preserving the NMF. The open comb, in combination with a sliding technique, ensures no hair is missed; yet the low exposure gives it Super Speed-like skin defense. I wasn't able to get a very close shave out of it right off the bat, but I found the ATG much less perplexing than the GEM, a decisive technological advance. It doesn't feel as though you have abandoned the low angle, but you can hear that the tool has displaced your effort.

The new players

One of my kids was ill yesterday, and I was up all night configuring their damn tablet computers, so Boxing Day was a lazy one this year. I tried a more accessible alternative to the bentonite as preshave, namely a charcoal mask from the Dollar Tree. It did seem to accomplish the same deep skin conditioning as carbamide solution, Noxzema, or clay, as 3-in-1 moisturizer stayed slick and spreadable after the shave. I had doubled down on splash, which makes that last fact even more remarkable. Another new player from my stocking was Aqua Velva Musk, which Santa picked up at a Kmart going out of business. Wow, does that remind me of my grandparents! I love it, but it's a bit too sharp, so I put some dollar store blue on top.

Finally, perfectly fitting the gap left by these selections was VDH-KMF croap in Lavender. I didn't feel the hair standing up at all after the charcoal; but, rubbing in the first lather and towel-soaking helped get some of the lotion-like substance off the surface, as well as hydrating the beard. This is a much closer shave than yesterday, with the much-desired "submerging" quality after leaving the bathroom.

Season's Greetings!

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