Obligatory Multiblade Shave

Between DE blades, and having recently taken on the challenge of BBS as a learning exercise, I thought it would be a good time to break out the old 6-bladed wonder I picked up at Dollar Tree. I do this once in awhile to apply new blade handling skills, and see whether this could possibly help the plastic junk to measure up more favorably, as is sometimes asserted.

I personally prefer a one-blade BiC, white handle or orange, because they're actually fun to use. The hollow handle makes a choo-choo whistle noise as it resonates with blade song, and it flies over the skin. But a very close shave just isn't possible with the Sensitive, and I tend to burn myself trying with the white handle. So that wouldn't be the  proper comparison. The six-blade pivoting disposable, I know, will be a skippy, stubble-bouncing challenge on first pass, but is the best shot at ATG success for me.

No surprises WTG -- not really "shaving," but one could certainly call it a "beard reduction" process. I had tried to soften the hair with oil, flaxseed extract and pumpkin juice. I guess it helped, but there's no way to know for sure, because it was still pretty terrible, mechanically. But I got through it safely, with two strokes only in most places, not deviating too far from what I've been doing with DE.

ATG, I was surprised at the drag, and feared I would lose too much skin. It really, really felt like skin planing, as every blade seemed to find hair, but somehow wasn't so dangerous on the neck. With my new stroke patterns, it was definitely doable, with no sore spot under the chin that would presage a late-onset burn. The blades have moved closer together over time, they say.

The skin inflammatory result was comparable to my better shaves this week. The DE is more hit or miss, and the planer effectively splits the difference. I can do better, and I have done better -- but I'm not there consistently, yet. I honestly expected much worse, and it felt like it was doing much worse, while I was shaving.

The hair result was also contrary to expectation. I shaved deeper than the disposable. That shows the flip side of the planing mechanism, and refutes the hysteresis effect, in my mind. Every blade was hitting, yet every stub is right there, at the skin surface.

ATG may be a more dangerous proposition with DE, in the end, but the risk has its rewards.

Dialing It Down

I adjusted the Slim down a notch, to 5-6-7, and it isn't clear whether that was really helpful. I ended with a perfect shave on the cheeks, but still a bit raw from the jaw corners down. Worse, I could see some shadow. It was too much work for a merely tactile result. But this is also what happens when a blade gets dull, so I'll have to crank it back up tomorrow to be sure.

Materials in this shave were some of the most basic, but really impressed me, especially as I fished around for touch-ups. Shave Secret, Palmolive Classic, and No. 6 brush. Maybe a little Tabac snuck in there from yesterday, but the final emulsion left for a water pass convinced me that not wiping the oil off is a good idea, if you're going for BBS. (I used something from a tube for washing my face.) Witch Hazel, U.S.P. was fine for splash. Both of the two strong scents, oil and soap, are detectable as residue, but they mix well, and there's not enough to make me feel too filmy.

When a brush as broomy as the No. 6 starts sucking onto your palm, because there are no air voids in the brush, you know you've got what you need. It has a nice scrubby feel, too. Application isn't so smooth, leaving tracks in the lather, because those stiff bristles have to be pressed pretty hard to release the contents, and then, the tips are strongly curved. But getting the lather down to the base of the hair seems to be what really counts.

As when I first bought it, the strong rubber smell has again receded. I'm not so paranoid about microbial contamination, now that fermentation is a hobby.

Slim For The Win

I ought to be humiliated, struggling as I am to avoid razor burn, still, after four years of DE shaving. But I'm lucky to be able to look directly at the next generation for my inspiration.

Here in Williamstown, VT, it's all about basketball and soccer. Whereas richer towns might debate cutting football or hockey, we vacillate about baseball. And today, my seven-year-old finished a difficult season in defeat, at the hands of the second local team, in this town of basketball champions.

The kid has his mother's metabolism and coordination, typically tripping over his own feet, but her good nature as well. (It will be years before he appreciates not having inherited my hair.) Though I was a terrible player, I got my ass out on the schoolyard last summer to share some shooting skills. He made the first basket in the first game. (And I can see how his size might make him useful on the baseline, next year...) But today, after a week of illness, no luck. He still looked like he was going to puke after team pictures and surrendering his jersey, exhausted, despite playing second or third string.

His coaches made them all special orange-iced basketball cookies, a certificate of participation, and a medal, and he thanked them for a good season. At home, we discovered the medal had his name painted on it, and he proudly called his maternal grandfather up on the phone (who is a decent athlete still, as was my brother-in-law in his football days).

Glory Shave

The single convenient thing about everyday BBS is, I don't have to shave when dragging my ass out of bed for an 8 a.m. basketball game. No one ever sees anything but a clean-shaven man. There is hardly enough stubble to take full advantage of WTG after 24 hours, so I would actually have had to wait, even if I wanted to shave. As it was, I still had a few hours to go when I shaved after the game.

The odor of athletic rubber and topical medication, with strong overtones of dirty laundry, pointed me to the powdery freshness of Tabac and English Leather. I had already smeared the scuttle bowl with coconut oil before reaching that decision, so it was an especially lotion-like lather. I would have thought it had no chance of drying out, but by the end of second pass, it was getting there, though not so much that I wouldn't push my luck.

Settings 6 and 7 took care of the first two passes, and as might be expected, the second strokes on WTG weren't really hitting anything. Do you see how that is safer, though, than digging XTG until you hear the hair? Setting 8 was enough to get full depth. I was frustrated by repeating strokes under my jaw on the side ipsilateral to my dominant hand, which is not unusual. But I think I finally realized why: angle too steep.

Yeah, it's a bit awkward to keep a low angle when "pushing" the razor upside down there, with my wrist bent backward. And, I tend to equate steepness with aggression, because that's definitely how it works on a basic, WTG cheek stroke. Not there, though. I figured it out before causing any damage, thanks to the Slim's precise guard. For the first time, proving its value as both a learning tool and a low-angle shaver.

Progress, not perfection. I got all the hair, and didn't get burnt, but I could be more comfortable still. Yesterday's burn didn't develop at a particular time, as I thought it might, but stayed barely perceptible throughout the day.  This is significantly better, but the skin is not completely without inflammation. It feels like I tried to lotion my face. But, I'm giving myself the trophy.


"Chaoying" razor BD191 was hitting so little hair on WTG that I opened her up for second pass, instead of waiting for the third, and this was the result. The razor actually came undone for a moment after getting stuck on my moustache. No blood, but I'm expecting a touch of burn in the intermediate interval (neither mid-morning nor late onset).

My gosh, it seems that I've signed up to revisit every single kind of skin insult, by embarking on this "everyday BBS" exercise! I feel like a WWII dive bomber trying to regain control of his plummeting P-38 "Lightning." If I can just pull it out....

Long showers are back in

But not glycerin shaving soap. I finally decided, based on three years of (probably unnecessary) experience battling hard water manually, that my water doesn't need a softener or super-duper filtration, just an electronic "conditioner." All this does, supposedly, is to control the precipitation of lime, so that it won't accumulate as scale, but will instead remain suspended as small particles. I haven't noticed any dramatic difference in how soap lathers. It seems to me, that would only happen if calcium carbonate were less available to chemical reaction as particles in the water, than it was when being deposited on the heater element and left as sediment in my pipes. And there was always quite a bit being deposited there.

Actually, there's still quite a bit in there, as my plumbing skills could use some refinement. I adapted the simplest approach I could find (pdf), but what I found is that the filter housing is too deep to dissolve the acid in sufficient concentration when it gets to the bottom. So, the last lines I ran, stayed fairly clogged. I want to rig something with a cottage cheese container to make the mixing chamber the right depth, for more precise loading. (And no pumping, backflushing, or siphoning, the prospect of which had kept me procrastinating until I found that one document.)

Less Than Successful

Today's shave was a non-winner, but doggedly BBS, with the same blade in Parker 87R "Ruby." Neck weepers arose as I omitted the third pass, trying to take advantage of her greater natural reach. In practice, that meant shaving on water for repeated touch-ups. I guess you can see the problem, there: repeated... touchups.

User error. Good day for potassium alum, coagulating the blood and Italian Barber soap for easy clean-up. I was more successful separating out a pure cocunut oil application to my face, then adding a touch of splash for my neck and pits. Just had to add a step, there, and wipe my hand, duh.

If Mimi is my old favorite, Ruby is the recent, and I think they have a little bit of blade flex in common, which just bit me in the dermis again, albeit in a different way, piking rather than over-exfoliating. The vintage and modern categories were resegregated as three pairs today: Ruby and Mimi, the two Bailis, and the vintage, Slim and Super Speed. I think I'll give Chaoying a shot next, then Slim to finish the blade.

Sticking With It

If I'm going to hold the BBS constant, then some things besides blade technique will have to change. Otherwise I would have kept the Wilkinson Sword from yesterday's Super Speed shave, but a late-onset burn (hair emerging from the follicles painfully) confirmed that the edge had indeed flopped during the shave. I could shave another week WTG, or stay close-shaven and seek to improve the skin condition by other means.

The less-preferred blade in current use, Baili Platinum, was quite a bit fresher, and that led me to pick "Stella," the rose-gold BD-177. Lubed in refined coconut oil, the oversized TTO twirled shut easily, without the squeak making her seem cheap. The shave would have been very suitable for a beginner, with no blade-on-skin feel; yet, all of my advanced, recently developed strokes were cutting efficiently. I could easily get by with this as my one razor.

Getting the edge off the skin helped me make a pattern of second pass, to match the patches of pass 1. But when I was done, it wasn't close enough. So I loosened the TTO mechanism and adjusted the edge to zero exposure, relative to the fins that guard the blade corners. A third pass of mostly square strokes brought the beard down to my new standard depth, but necessitated some light, evening strokes on water.

Three in a row -- and overall, the skin condition was much improved, with that distinct feeling of non-inflammation on drydown. I had also kept the prep simple, with Shave Secret, Williams, and cold water. Taking my cue from a deep YouTube search, a video from bump-prone Bill Phillips, who in turn referenced someone I'm already subscribed to, ShaveNonTheDarkside, I'm putting my recent idea of prepping the skin with soap first on the back burner. It really is mostly about the blade handling, I think.

I would emphasize that, simple as this may sound, my attempt at everyday BBS comes after FOUR YEARS of DE shaving, and not only that, the massive effort in amateur dermatology, biophysics, etc. documented in this blog. Going to bed with no stubble isn't really all that important to me. It's just not a big reach, at this point; the next turn in a long and winding road.

Release The Super Speed

If you read that in the voice of Poseidon, you read it correctly. Today, I ascend to shaving Olympus; or the land of never-ending BBS.

Fact check: my young son is home sick from school. "Not good" stroked against the grain, he says. Oh, well. I'm the adult, and I know better. Even so, I guess I won't really know about the skin condition until tomorrow. Last time I went "all the way," I set myself up for a week of terrible shaves, as cornifications and chin weepers struggled to heal.

Once again, the fundamentals were brought under revision, and the primary result this time is, I'm ditching XTG once and for all. The function of catching oddly-directed hairs, a sort of preliminary "pick-up" pass before going ATG, isn't necessary, because I'm stroking two ways on pass 1, and getting the reduction done, everywhere. Both strokes are WTG, in terms of tension alignment, but skewed differently. What some might describe as "x" or "+" strokes.

Besides, I've long known that XTG just doesn't jibe with tension alignment theory. Some skewed strokes ATG might accidentally be directed to have that appearance; but a true, square XTG stroke is inherently inefficient. The hair will twist instead of being cut, until it is forced against the skin, at a bad, middling angle, exfoliating to excess.

Reduction continues within the follicles, ATG, on second pass. Here, the last stroke is square, to get the full depth, and only the first stroke is skewed. But it's a very similar approach. You might say that I'm doing the equivalent four passes in all, just using less lather; so, no surprise I got all the hair. The benefit of shaving on slick residue instead of lather is that the  I only have to think about the direction of growth once per pass, and after the first stroke, I can feel it clearly. The most dangerous strokes are thus the most accurate.

Preshave "Milk"

I mixed Dollar Tree "Body Prescriptions" cream with flaxseed extract, and it actually did seem to do a number on the hair. I tried to protect the skin from swelling up by doing the lather (Arko) preshave first, loading the skin with soap. I don't know, the glycerin still might have been a bit too active. In retrospect, I kind of threw everything at my skin today, including Skin Bracer (menthol). I definitely had a bit of acute burning in the mid-morning interval. (Which is four in the afternoon for me, since I tend to shave before picking kids up from school.)

Victory over Armpits

If this whole God of Shaving thing doesn't pan out, I can at least claim dominion over stinky shirts. For the first time in as long as I can remember, without having done any dirty activity, I had to change shirts because of the filth accumulating on the outside. Like, dust, kitchen slop, sneeze debris... and that never happens.

It was not the glycerin-based, Humphreys antiperspirant formula, just alum and coconut oil. The non-aqueous nature of the oil made it plain that alum has to go down first, on a freshly washed armpit. Then, to my surprise, the oil/splash mix was stripped right off the hand. I think it makes for a particularly uniform and effective film, even if not as artificially durable. I've updated the "best tricks" disquisition accordingly.

Cartoon Fans

"Goodbye, Krabby Patty" promises scathing social commentary on the corporation-cum-person and cultural degradation. Premieres 7 p.m. ET on Nickelodeon.

What Can I Do With a Dangerous Razor?

I finally dialed the Rimei in, for a bloodless shave, by skipping second pass. The extra reduction wasn't necessary. The way I've been double-stroking WTG takes the hair down to skin level, pretty much, so it makes no sense to attack from, essentially, the wrong direction, as if I had missed a bunch of stubble on the first pass. If I hit any hair, I'll hit skin just as much.

Additional strokes were only conserved, in the end, under my jaw and chin, or upper neck, where I am sure to use slanted ATG strokes before going deep with square strokes. That kind of "miss" WTG, I cannot avoid, because of the unfavorable emergent angle of the stubble. I'd probably have to pull my lower lip over my forehead to get that standing straight.

I had been trying to trash the whole "reduction" idea, replacing it with the idea of "minimizing traction." But that doesn't account for which material is being cut to generate the traction -- skin or hair. The Rimei makes the need for distinction quite clear. There is always an interference of overhanging stubble that has to be addressed before going ATG, no matter how nakedly exposed the blade.

Wish I Could Smell Myself

I didn't know what a "chilblain" was until last week, thanks to Mom always making sure I wore socks, I guess. I also caught cold, and so could only smell the individual components of today's scent layering. Sandalwood soap, followed by coconut oil and Brut-like splash, and a spray of "Invincible," or somesuch clone of Invictus by Paco Rabanne, lol. I just thought it was interesting, that the "top," "middle," and "base" notes were kind of segregated in order of application.

It's been a rough week of shaves, since taking off my stratum corneum with the Rimei. Little hard patches of skin seemed to want to catch the blade, even when I tried switching to the Super Speed, and every stiff bristle seemed to deflect the blade into my chin. Today I finally got back to a decent level of comfort, and still lost a piece of my chin. In short, I once again conclude that the Rimei is a dangerous razor, to be wielded like a straight, no matter how easily it rides along the dermis.

Skin Candy for VD

I use a variety of razors, blades, brushes, soaps, and splashes, despite being a cheapskate and minimalist wanna-be. Sometimes, though, I get a glimpse of what could have been, when I started shaving. What if I knew then, what I know now? Today's shave was like a poignant valentine... to my skin.

In lieu of soft water and oil, I tried to condition my stubble with boo-boo juice mixed with a little bit of commercial hair moisturizer. I liked how it didn't penetrate the skin one bit, in light of recent excessive exfoliation.

Williams. Just Williams. Palm lathered with a soft synthetic brush, and cold water. What an overlooked luxury that simple soap is! I rubbed it in to condition the skin, even though the lather showed absolutely no sign of breaking down, today.

Rimei and Personna reunited, and it felt so good! I guess it's like they say for driving or snowmobiles, the accidents happen when you get cocky. I have new respect for the proven #1 hardware (for my face), but am no longer taking them for granted. That is, I stuck to techniques learned while using Chaoying and Wilkinson Sword: shaving in patches, extra cautious XTG. "Keeping it green," as alcoholics say. There was a little blood, but I had an unexpectedly rough shave yesterday with Super Speed and the Wilkie, and I think this was partly a consequence.

Speaking of alcohol, finally, the piece de resistance, a newly streamlined balm-and-deodorant routine using Skin Bracer aftershave. Alum to face and pits, but rinsed thoroughly from the face. A snurdle of coconut oil melted in palm, with splash mixed into an emulsion. Rubbed on the face, it remains glistening and lubricating, waiting to be rubbed off with a damp cloth as a final oil cleanse. But when rubbed over the armpits, the alum strips it right off your hands, creating a deodorant film.

Menthol is the "candy" part. I usually can't enjoy its cooling effect, due to alcohol-induced irritation. It probably will make me sweat more than with other splash, as the day wears on, and my face will need a soak. But it feels cool now!

Screaming Mimi

All my other modern razors have names, so the Rimei will need one, too. I should probably drop the "screaming," so as not to offend her, and hope that my first cousin doesn't read this. But for me, shaves tend toward excessive exfoliation. If I try to shave for comfort, the way my grandparents advised, I am left with unacceptably uneven stubble. She only excels at going all the way to the root. At least, on my wiry hair. I'd certainly have to think twice before recommending this to a beginner, even disregarding supply issues of handle quality, quality control, and fraud. Bluebeards and young people, other adventurous types only.

Mimi does continue to teach me, though, even at this late date. Because of the balance discrepancy between Mimi and Chaoying, it finally clicked in my head why I can tolerate the longer Mission handle. The real reason. I don't think it's just the thinner cutting head. With the balance point in the middle of the razor, my grip tends to fall there, leaving enough clearance for the end of the handle to gimbal freely within my cupped palm. Whereas Chaoying, like my preferred vintage razors, is head heavy, placing the balance point near the cutting head. And thus, my grip also, requiring the shorter handle.

I do have kind of small hands, for a dude my size. But not Donald Trump small. Still slightly above average, which to me indicates that the classic dichotomy -- super short TTOs, slightly longer Techs -- is absolutely correct.

When I reexamine my collection in this light, I see that the NEW LC could have withstood a longer handle. Then again, people's height has probably gone up in the last 85 years. As much as pasteurization and refrigeration have harmed our nutrition in terms of eclipsing fermentation, they did effectively solve the problems of milk distribution that were driving those developments.

But a later razor from the same company, which I hold as the pinnacle of design, Gillette Slim, errs the other way, placing the balance at the lower edge of the adjustment knob. The handle then makes positive contact with the calluses on my palm. Obviously, I compensate by gripping slightly behind the balance point. But (whoomp) there it is -- my ideal lies devastated. I can now guess why some people prefer the Fat Boy.

Double checking the Razorock Mission handle on the Torsionshobel cutting head with which it was supplied, the handle end does indeed graze my calluses when held at the balance point, but it's not as far off as the Slim. So clearly, it would have worked -- it just worked better to put an actual Merkur clone handle on it.

Battle of the Cheap Tech Clones

Baili BD191 "Chaoying" is really the cutting edge of Tech evolution, being marketed incorrectly as an inexpensive clone (by Italian Barber) and simultaneously as a blatantly overpriced act of plagiarism (by Julian Vue). It has a steeper natural pitch than a Tech, more typical of TTOs like the Super Speed. But it has a very finely adjustable blade curvature; which, while possible with all Gillettes, is most associated with the Old Type. Finally, it has a modern, wide cutting head, enclosing the ends and corners safely.

It occupies a place in my lineup formerly held by Rimei RM2003, king of the more obvious Tech clones. RM2001, with the same cutting head, was my first real razor. But compared to my Travel Tech, I find it has more flex, which makes it more dangerous in my mind -- and it definitely has the worst blade-end overhang.  After inadvertently destroying mine in an attempt to bend the safety bar, I didn't bother to replace it. Until yesterday, when it reminded me how enjoyable an overly-exposed blade can be. Given that I've taken up one-pass shaving lately, maybe the original is still the best.

Accounting for natural pitch, I gave Chaoying her factory-supplied Baili Platinum, and the Rimei a close, perhaps superior substitute for it's own brand, Wilkinson Sword. Low angle razors require sharper blades, and probably better prep, too. I had a bunch of flaxseed extract in the fridge, so I took some in my little cup for pre- and post-shave use, (as well as toothbrushing and dietary supplement). Hot lather was supplied by Arko and No. 6 brush in my $1.50 scuttle. I even had hot water for the basin, having just flushed my pipes with citric acid. (Which has to be the best use of time I've ever come up with, on Super Bowl Sunday. New tradition, there!)

Pass 1

Chaoying gave a decidedly more even result, with the edge carefully adjusted to be even with the corner guards. Still, the Rimei gave an exhilarating feeling of just wanting to run, like it was stupid to shave in my new, little zones. Maybe it's the real super-speedy razor, not the straight-edge substitute that I've made it out to be, lately.

Pass 2

Foul! Shaving bumps raised along the neck crease by Rimei. The side ipsilateral to my dominant hand, arbitrarily assigned to Rimei, is always a little more challenging, but higher up than that, under the tongue. Advantage: Chaoying. Tightening the blade down a bit kept her edge out of the skin.

Pass 3

No skimming this time -- why use these razors, if not to take advantage of the reach? I'd call it a draw. They can both do the job. Rimei makes it a bit easier, Chaoying a bit safer.

Water Pass

Here, I let the razors switch sides. Chaoying picked up extra neck hair the Rimei left long, while Rimei picks up extra depth on the cheek. And no damage on the neck, suggesting that my problems XTG could be improved upon technically. It's a draw.


I've still got a pile of Rimeis in my basement, so it certainly pains me to say, the Baili is the better all-around razor, and for not much more money. I will note that I'm not using stock handles on either cutting head. There don't seem to be any good options currently available for either, but at least the Rimei comes with something that's the right size and weight. I replaced that with a Razorock bulldog (Mission) handle. I've only had the chance to use the grossly overweight BD191 handle; replaced with Schmidt R10 (hollow/epoxy) which is a decidely head-heavy balance.

The Rimei and I can console each other, though. It's nice to have the little guy back! I personally prefer using it... so we're both still winners.  I know it isn't right, but I like the feeling of hairlessness. This shave was a little rough-looking on my skin, deflated by the gel postshave, but my face soon plumped up with oil again.

Rimei Comeback

The Slim can do everthing the Travel Tech does, and ever since a comment by Mr. Gatza, I've been curious about trying my new tricks with a Rimei, which was my first DE. So I made a space in the cabinet and stole an RM2003 cutting head back from my wife (who never tried it), loaded it with a Wilkinson Sword, and attached my unused Razorock (Mission) handle. I'd really like some smart cookie to sell them this way. Best of both worlds (Pakistan/India and China).

With such a thin cutting head, the overall length is short enough for me, just a hair longer than BD177. 

As for the shave: not bad at all! There's something really satisfying about how that razor crunches through the hair. A little flex, I think, makes the difference between that and a real Tech. After so long, I definitely noticed the blade reveal, so I didn't push it, and stopped with sliding ATG after two passes. We'll have to have an ATG showdown with Chaoying, someday soon.

I've been using my old Bestshave.net No. 6, too. (I had a synthetic before that, I think, but gave it away.) It re-developed some funk in disuse, which is kind of disturbing; some kind of slow rot. Smells better after a week using, but could still be headed for the rubbish.

A Day Without Blogs

I kept getting DNS server messages when connecting to Anthronicle's Shaving Headlines Service, so I lazily just read/listened to other things for awhile, until it mysteriously came back. Gillette has just released a new series of educational videos. I figure it must be education, because they already got sued for hysteresis claims in advertising; and yet here they are, at it again.

Actually, it begins with Procter & Gamble's corporate revision of Gillette history. Anyone with a DE razor probably knows that the equation of the current brand with the former company (now legally non-existent) is false. It just signals that they have heard our lamentations, and know very well what we think of their motivations for product development.

Animations show what they wish were happening, then their own photography shows something completely different, usually a hair being pulled by an incorrect attack. It would be a long post to actually criticize every inconsistency in this alternate reality, but given that we aren't really dialoging, I would simply bullet point the following:

  • what a barber does to tension the skin and what the rubber fins do are oppositely directed actions
  • unlike a mountain bike traversing rough trails, the razor is supposed to alter the terrain
  • every single cartridge design update has defeated some aspect of operator control, most recently the ability to skew

A DE shaver really only needs to see one user video to understand that what a Fusion Proglide does, and shaving, are two different things: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ySA_eZwkISo.

Another Good One

Nobody ever criticizes me, and it kinda hurts my feelings. Am I to assume I am always right, then? Okay, I can live with that, lol. No, the critics in my head are on the job -- and they told me to go for two in a row, this time using more conventional techniques with the new skin cleanser as a preshave.

Italian Barber Sandalwood Soap for Sensitive Skin can be mixed as wet as Williams, I found out, just because that's my habit. Those luxury products can spoil you... just because they can lather and lubricate when sticky dry, doesn't mean you should. I started with maximum water already in the mix, and worked it up slowly in a cold bowl. I pretreated my skin with a thin, foamy preshave application, again, probably not necessary, but per Williams standard. And only brought it up to full thickness with vigorous face lathering. So nice! (I could still feel the glycerin after a couple passes, though.)

Slim on "7," alum and, after half an hour, just-like Brut splashed on directly. You know, that classic splash is kind of like all the missing notes in a sweeter Sandalwood mix, so that's an official pairing, in my book.

I'm a little tender, but not too bad. Without the "extra" (normal) gap of the "9" setting, I couldn't quite get the BBS. Shoulda gone back to the one-pass, but I don't think I did anything particularly wrong with the blade; it just all adds up. Besides the slight hyperosmotic effect of enriched soap, that cleanser is definitely exfoliating in its own right. I sprayed some on my feet last night, and it quickly softened my calluses to where they could be scraped off with a fingernail, though crusty heels took overnight to yield (less disgustingly, by lamellar reorganization, to a soft leather texture).

As when I mixed pumpkin juice and Witch Hazel previously (without the flaxseed extract), a sediment has appeared in the bottle that makes me nervous. Could be enzymatic activity, could be carcinogenic esterification; I have no way of knowing, except to say that it still smells alright. Still, the potential of this stuff in breaking fungal skin matrices makes it worth mixing up fresh on a regular basis, to me. I've even squirted it into my ears, and they secreted less sticky yellow wax. 

Better Than Oil Cleansing?

My little hair tonic creation proved to be an amazing one-shot nighttime skin cleanser last night. I squirted some into my hands (the gel consistency rather defeats my fine mist sprayer), and rubbed it in, then wiped it off like an oil cleanse. Plus a final rinse with a soaked cloth. (Which is actually how I now use soap as well.) I went to bed with skin softer than I had ever felt it, and awoke with the shaving area feeling "hard," which to me indicates maximum stratum corneum. I figured I was due for a great shave.

Slim settings 7-5-9 are my most dynamic. "7" is the natural, WTG; "5" keeps the blade off my skin, even where I've taken some lumps, sliding ATG; and "9" gives me the reach I need into my follicles for BBS.

Which I know will cost me some stratum corneum. But if no inflammatory response is provoked, I can get away with it, and I've been one-pass shaving for the past couple days, with the black-handled Super Speed.

Just in case, I started with a full 3-drop application of Shave Secret, and didn't wipe it off before covering with Arko. Oil would be the correct solvent for a dried gel, if that were really all I was feeling. And I had cured Witch Hazel for an extra-gentle aftershave.

The sensation of non-inflamed skin drying down is unmistakable. This little flow-chart popped into my head.

Hyperosmotic effect (glycerin)______
Injury (blade, alcohol)_____________\______inflammation_____old bag-face
Insult (sweat + residues) __________/