Breaking Bad

I fetched my $6 (!) bottle of CVS vegetable glycerin out of the kitchen spice, flavoring and sauce cupboard, and assembled the largest array of soap amendments ever. My goal: break down the principles that make Humphreys Cucumber-Melon work, and replace it with $1 Witch Hazel U.S.P., pumpkin juice, and mindfulness.

Also fresh in my mind is a newer, artisanal product I read about on, where a scented oil containing glycerin is sold separately from an (apparently) low-glycerin soap, giving shavers an option to preshave or uberlather, and try new scents without racking up a cupboard full of soap.. There's got to be a way to get my favorite additives, witch hazel and pumpkin juice, into such a scheme, with Williams as the puck.

When I mixed the two liquids directly, in a prior experiment, they formed a very suspicious-smelling, clear liquid with precipitates slowly developing over the long term. Because alcohol and carboxylic acids react to form esters, and esters are the sort of molecule our bodies use as hormones, I did not dare apply this substance, possibly liquid cancer, to my skin.


Combining the terms above and solving for what to do with witch hazel U.S.P., I applied the skin strengthener first, before oil. This allowed me to back off the alcohol with a wet cloth (rinse), and get some barrier oil between what remained and the pumpkin juice. Wiping off the oil still seemed effective in reducing skin volume -- another double oil cleanse.

I placed a drop of glycerin in my palm and stuck the tip of my pumpkin popsicle into it, to melt and mix simultaneously. This wasn't nearly as efficient as rubbing the juice directly onto my face, but we already know that the quick and easy shave is juice and Williams. I'm aiming for a new definition of perfection.

But then I lost sight of that goal, and impatiently tried to face lather Williams. As soon as the dry protolather hit my face, I knew my error. It felt like the SC turned to ash instantaneously -- without a burn, thanks to the prep -- just a sense of instantaneous, crispy dehydration. I hastened to add water and build the lather, but it wasn't at all voluminous. I had again recreated a glycerin soap, with tell-tale, third-pass crema.

The shave was good, though. Softened hair made a new Racer feel much like the old Shark that it replaced in terms of smoothness. I had some trouble on the ipsilateral jawline, missing toward my ear (dry shaved afterward) and abrading toward my jaw (nothing major). My skin has had more comfortable days, fully exfoliated, but it's mostly BBS.

A high-standard, glycerin shave. I can do better.

"Niels Bohr"

I started with the same witch hazel and oil, then doubled up on pumpkin juice, making the skin wet with the pop before applying the same glycerin/juice. Then, I lathered Williams in my palm, used what stuck to my hand as prep with wet cloth, and relathered to shave.

I saw a weeper in the moustache area after one pass, and that weird shine on the skin when I was done, that indicated complete exfoliation again. Hints of the dehydration feeling, which I think is just very shallow glycerin damage, appeared on second pass. This was an exfoliating shave, even though I learned from yesterday not to fight with the edge.

I'm much more dry and comfortable, but there are hairs here and there, and I'm still completely exfoliated. So I can't say I've found any advantage to breaking out the glycerin. I think it is actually easier to plow through the skin when it's in the lather, if you can stand the disconcerting sensations. And if you can't, go with the VdH, or a croap made from that.

As for my glycerin, it's going back to the kitchen cupboard.

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