Rough Start

I waited for my new shaving soap to come in the mail, and shaved late. My glycerin antennae were up and focused sharply. PdP No. 63 does remind me a lot of the old Stirling; without the clay and much harder with milling, but clearly, grounded in the artisanal process. The lather is much as the reviews promised, though: light, cushioning, Williams-like. To get a feel for it, I used no oil or Noxzema, and just lather as pre-shave. I do think the lather took something from my skin to enrich itself.

Different Strokes

It's an odd time to be changing my stroke pattern, of all things, but it happened, in a very organic, half-conscious way, gradually over the last week. I always preferred "sliding" strokes, as pictured by Gillette, at the periphery, starting from the sideburns, but turned the blade to a vertical "slant" closer to the midline. Now, as I move into the midline region (still shaving in zones), I extend the slide lines, essentially making a big "V," with a few odd strokes.

There WAS a conscious moment for these exceptional strokes, when I realized the lower-neck spots were mirror reflecting the creases next to the chin. Those get an aggressive, slanted stroke before they can be raked wrongly by the general pattern.

But mostly, it was just something that congealed out of subconscious trial-and-error. My hands tried the different strokes, settled on the pattern on their own. And THEN, I saw it. Because I don't think logic could have found these strokes. They're all the same sort of weird XTG as the jaw corner. I guess that's what I would have to call it, XTG, but what my hands really found, once again, is good tension alignment, and skin avoidance. The most comfortable strokes.

Not Too Comfortable

The Personna is in the last phase of life, it seems. PdP set the beard up "hard," for the efficient shave I've come to value from Williams. But the post-shave today was not good. I used alum and pumpkin again, but my skin volume was crap, texture was crap, there was just no relaxation. It tended more in the "itch" direction than a burn. I noticed a bump while lathering, so apparently there were some consequences in play from the minimal treatment this week, too. It took a few hours for the cocoa butter to do its thing, and suddenly my face was smooth and relaxed. Then you could see how good the shave was, but it was sort of too late.

Could it be the salt? Did they leave the glycerin in there, and just throw the salt in so that the two could fight it out on my face? I don't know. Too soon to say. Optimistically, I smashed the puck into a ceramic crock with a lid, to preserve its scent, and gave it some prime real estate on the bathroom countertop. It is a pretty hard soap: smashing it was not easy. I did it with the bone at the very root of my palm, more a part of my wrist, crushing the puck on the countertop first. That makes it pliable enough to knead with thumbs and knuckles in the vessel itself. This was a much more difficult undertaking than when I put Williams in its cup.

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