Ask Aaron Q/A: The best creams & shaving methods for men with facial psoriasis

May 17, 2011 · Posted in Ask Aaron Q & A, Shaving Creams, Shaving Tips · Comment 

ask aaron 420 Ask Aaron Q/A: The best creams & shaving methods for men with facial psoriasis

Simon Knight, from the UK, asks:

“Hi, What is the best shaving cream and method to use when shaving, whilst suffering from facial psoriasis?”

596703eaf15b80a100b3bba78e96c468 150x150 Ask Aaron Q/A: The best creams & shaving methods for men with facial psoriasis

The Bluebeards Revenge Shaving Cream

AARON SAYS

“Mr. Knight,
I would use a shaving cream that is very protective, and moisturizing. The creams I would suggest would be Bluebeard’s Revenge and Coates. They both have amazing protective qualities and have great moisturizing qualities as well. I would also suggest you use some good moisturizing after shave balm that is especially designed for those with sensitive skin. Proraso products and the Bluebeard’s Revenge would be good products to try for a balm.

Smooth Shaving!
Aaron”

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Ask Aaron Q/A: How to sharpen a straight razor for shaving

May 10, 2011 · Posted in Ask Aaron Q & A, Shaving Tips, Straight Razor Shaving · Comment 

ask aaron 420 Ask Aaron Q/A: How to sharpen a straight razor for shaving

Philippa Lynch, from the UK, asks:

“Hi, Aaron, I bought a straight razor and a strop for my husband for Christmas – it is now clear that he needs more bits in order to sharpen the blade etc. Can you give me a list of essentials that I should have got then and could get now? Many thanks, Philippa”

51d03efde840ffaddccaf23df0b39c22 300x300 Ask Aaron Q/A: How to sharpen a straight razor for shaving

Cyril Salter Solingen 5/8 Open Razor Round Point

AARON SAYS

“Mrs. Lynch,

A shaving guru I may be, but you have found my weakness. Straight razor sharpening is not something I am full of knowledge on, but I will assist you and give you as much as I know. You mentioned bits and I do not recommend any type of hand held mechanical tool bit for sharpening a straight razor. This is too dangerous and can cause damage to you or the blade or your equipment. You husband will need two, possible three stones, plus a paddle and strop. The stones should be sharpening stones anyhwere from 8 to 12k grit, even as high as 15. A natural coticule will work as well for the last step. The paddle should be covered in canvas and the canvas should have CrOx (Chromium Oxide) impregnated into the canvas.

If this seems like too much of an investment, I highly recommend seeking out a barber or someone known for the razor honing skills to do the work for you. A good razor shouldn’t need but honing perhaps once a quarter. I hope this helps on recommendations for what your husband needs! Feel free to get back in touch with us if you need any more help!

Smooth Shaving!
Aaron”

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Ask Aaron Q/A: How to avoid white-heads & bumps

ask aaron 420 Ask Aaron Q/A: How to avoid white heads & bumps

Jamie Hare, from the UK, asks:

“Hi Aaron, Thank you for this opportunity. Occasionally, I tend to get small white-heads/white bumps on the area below my nostrils/above my top lip. Do you know how to avoid this?”

AARON SAYS

“There are a number of things that could be causing the irritation and bumps you describe. I wouldn’t want to directly diagnose exactly what is going on, but let me offer some tips to help and alleviate the issue. Make sure that when you are finished shaving you clean this area well, rinsing with warm water first, then cold water. If you are shaving with a Safety Razor watch the angle of the blade, making sure it’s close to a 30 degree angle. If you are not shaving with a safety razor, I recommend switching over; the cartridge may be causing the irritation. In reducing the hair go with the direction of growth only, but if that is not close enough go across after that. See if these things help to alleviate the bumps and feel free to contact us again if you need more help!

Smooth Shaving!

Aaron ”

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Ask Aaron Q/A: Can you recommend me a decent razor, shave cream & badger shaving brush?

ask aaron 420 Ask Aaron Q/A: Can you recommend me a decent razor, shave cream & badger shaving brush?

Philip Morgan, from the UK, asks:

“I am thinking of starting to use a DE razor after a lifetime of overpriced Gillettes and not very good Azors. However, I am utterly bewildered by the choices on offer, from pre-shaves to post-shave products, especially brushes, razors, and blades. Re the razor I would like one razor, instead of several different razors for different levels of “aggression”. I have a beard that is quite tough in places, and currently have to shave against the grain to get a decent result – shaving with the grain leaves my face only half shaved. Any advice you can give me across the whole board of shaving products would be greatly appreciated.”

AARON SAYS

“Mr. Morgan,
Thank you very much for your question! As wet shaving becomes ever more popular the number of choices and options grows exponentially! Confusion is easy, and I hope to help with that. Regarding your razor choice, I highly suggest going with the Merkur Progress. It is one of the most popular adjustable razors on the market right now, and is well loved by anyone that I’ve talked to that has used it. Another thing that will greatly affect this end of your shave is the blade. Buying a blade sampler is a very good way to find out which blade works best for your skin and hair type.

Regarding a brush go with a badger hair brush around 20mm in diameter. This will give you the all around best general application brush that you can use for now, and you can choose the grade of hair (Pure, Best, Finest, Silver tip) that suits your budget.

Any of the other products are really kind of up to you. Many of the top brands have complete lines of products that go from pre-shave to post-shave with everything in between. My suggestion is to go with a well known brand such as Bluebeard’s Revenge, Art of Shaving, Geo. F. Trumper’s, Taylor of Old Bond Street, Truefitt & Hill, Proraso, Speick or another of many numerous others and pick the scent that you like the best. This will give you great products to use and in a scent that you will enjoy!

Smooth Shaving!

Aaron ”

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Guest post by Straight Razor Place founder Lynn Abrams

April 20, 2011 · Posted in Shaving Tips, Straight Razor Shaving · Comment 

We recently sent a tub of The Bluebeards Revenge shaving cream to William Ewin, or Jockeys41 as he is also known, so he could test it with a cutthroat or straight razor.

Jockeys41, who praised the cream very highly, posted a link to his YouTube review on the very impressive wet shaving forum, The Straight Razor Place (www.straightrazorplace.com).

This review was seen by the forum’s founder, Lynn Abrams, who then Tweeted us, asking for a sample of the cream so he could see first hand what all the fuss was about.

srp 300x107 Guest post by Straight Razor Place founder Lynn Abrams

Straight Razor Place has over 30,000 members

Here at the Shaving Shack, we are very keen to promote every method of traditional wet shaving and thought it would be an excellent idea to ask Lynn to submit a guest post on the growing popularity of The Straight Razor Place forum, and his love for the art of straight shaving.

Here goes:

Hello, my name is Lynn Abrams and I am the founder of The Straight Razor Place (SRP), the first and original straight razor forum on the internet. I would like to thank Mark for the opportunity to participate in his blog and share what has been an amazing 10 years in the development of wet shaving and straight razor shaving.

I started shaving with a straight razor in 1973 after my grandfather took me to a barber for a straight razor shave. The shave was so smooth and close that I didn’t have to shave for two days. I was so hooked that I purchased a straight razor within a week. It was a Cutlery World razor, probably made by Dovo and I still have it today. During this time, the only known places to purchase straight razors, brushes, strops or soaps was from either Cutlery stores or Knife shops. So for the next 25 years or so I shaved with that straight razor on and off, depending on whether I could get it sharpened properly. I was using a cheap shaving soap in a coffee mug and an old boar’s hair brush. I used to send the razor off to various cutlery shops for honing and about 50 percent of the time, the razor came back with an edge fit for shaving. During this time, I was also in business and like most people; I was absorbed in the day to day pace of a busy job and family. Shaving was a necessary evil and definitely looked at as a chore. I was out of the house after waking up in 30 minutes and on the road to a busy day of work.

It seems like yesterday, but in 1999, I began looking on the internet for information on how to hone/sharpen and maintain my straight razor. At this time, I was on a mission to back off of the hectic daily pace of life and enjoy my straight razor complete with a hot towel treatment whenever I could. All that I can tell you is that it was very frustrating to search the web every day only to find an occasional question and answer on a knife forum or to hit the mother lode at the time and find Arthur Boon’s article which contained some great information about straight razors, their use and care. There just was no place where you could discuss straight razors or wetshaving or ask questions to. Information was extremely limited.

So I had this idea. Yahoo had a function called groups and I figured that if I started a straight razor group, there would be a place to preserve knowledge about the art of straight razor shaving. This turned out to be one of the more fun ventures that I have undertaken in my life. SRP Yahoo was started in November of 2000. When the group started, I asked my 3 sons to join so that we could have a few members and began soliciting people buying and selling razor on ebay to join as well. It started out very slow, but by the end of the 1st year, we began putting together some great information and discussion regarding the use of straight razors, identification of them, their care and of course, how to sharpen one. I realized that my quest was taking shape, but I really had a long way to go. I began purchasing every ebay razor I could get my hands on and with the help of a gentleman named Don Walters; I started to learn how to hone my own straight razors. I can’t begin to tell you the level of excitement I had when I was able to shave with the first straight razor I sharpened. It was like catching a fish on the very first fly I ever tied. Well that was many thousands of razors ago and to this day, I have not lost the enjoyment that comes from making straight razors shave ready for myself and other people. It is the basis from which we decided that every new razor sold would be honed at no expense to the buyer at my shop so that people would have every opportunity at success when using a straight razor.

If you ever get the chance, check out the old yahoo group Straight Razor Place and start reading from the beginning. You will quickly recognize just how far we have come. You can see where we had the assistance of John West, a thirty year collector of straight razors who enlightened us about which razors barbers liked best, razor values and razor history. We had people like Ray DuPont, deceased, who was the founder of Classic Shaving show up as an early ebay vendor when he first started the business. Ray was one of the first people to offer a full variety of products channeled directly to the wet shaving population. It has been amazing to see the variety of people from all walks of life that have come into this environment and many are still around today. The membership has now grown to almost 30,000 members on the .com site and the Yahoo site remains in operation. The mission remains to spread the world and share the art of wetshaving and straight razor shaving. It is all about changing the chore of shaving daily into a pleasure that people can look forward to.

One of the things that I am most proud of is that Straight Razor Place has not only grown from its humble origin into the most credible source of straight razor information, but it is a place that has a pay it forward mentality. The membership is without question, one of the most helpful and generous groups of people on the planet. SRP does not allow any vendor or individual to be trashed. They also do not allow any selling or special interests in the forum other than the vendor section. There is a great Wiki there for people to research and help build information. It is just an amazing collection of people and after 10 years, it remains a place that I like to visit every day.

So where are we today? There are hundreds of specialty vendors offering great products to the wet shaving population. We know about great brushes and strops and sharpening stones that were not available years ago. We have more available information and assistance to new people than ever in history. The amount of soaps and aftershaves and colognes available today is staggering. We have people all over the world making custom straight razors and restoring vintage razors. We have razor manufacturers coming back into the business. Where there were a few hundred listings on ebay 10 years ago, there are now thousands. We have people recognizing the positive effect of not having to throw out plastic disposables every week and helping the environment. We have many bloggers out there helping to spread the word and aiding in the introduction and evaluation of new products. We see straight razor use showing up in news stories all over the country. If you look on YouTube, you will find hundreds of videos from people sharing their experiences and providing help in using all wet shaving tools. In addition, there are now wetshaving and straight razor forums that have started in many countries and quite a few here in the US. It has been most gratifying to see this kind of growth and especially in the last several years. A lot of the people who started forums had their beginnings at SRP. We may never get to mainstream, but there are millions of people enjoying the benefits of all kinds of wetshaving today and happily spreading the word.

This is all a dream come true for me and considering where we have come from, I can say mission accomplished. To me, it will never be about the vendors or individual recognition. It will always be about sharing the information and helping people to enjoy shaving and grooming along with providing them answers to all their questions. Let’s continue to make this a world where people look forward to the next shave.

Thank you to all the wonderful people I have met over the last 10 years and let’s look forward to the legacy we have created. We all continue to learn something about this sport every day and it is a journey well worth experiencing.

Sincerely,

Lynn

This article first appeared on Mantic 59′s Shaving Journal. He kindly gave us permission to post it here.

Ask Aaron Q&A: How do you achieve the best possible shave?

April 19, 2011 · Posted in Ask Aaron Q & A, Double Edge Shaving, Shaving Tips · Comment 

ask aaron 420 Ask Aaron Q&A: How do you achieve the best possible shave?

Darren Edwards, from the UK, asks:

“I recently enjoyed a professional wet shave and have decided to ditch the Gillette M3 Power razor and cheap foams for a decent shave. I’ve just bought a Wilkinson Sword DE razor from boots and some Men-U shaving cream, as well as some balms. What would YOUR recommendation be to achieve the best shave? I’m looking to get the Parker 89R.”

AARON SAYS

“Mr Edwards,
We are so glad you’re taking the plunge into traditional shaving! I like to reduce getting a great shave into three easy steps: Prepare, Shave, Protect. Prepare your face for shaving by taking a shower beforehand and use a good face wash or scrub. Also once you step out of the shower apply a good pre-shave oil. Shave your face by using a good balanced razor, a sharp blade, and a good shaving cream applied with a brush (i.e. Bluebeard’s Revenge, Coates, Trumper’s etc.). Shave in three passes going with, across, and against the grain for a close smooth shave. Remember we are just reducing the beard, not trying to remove it, so just let the razor glide across your face, don’t bear down or put any pressure on it. Protect by rinsing your face first in warm water then cold water. Afterward apply a good after shave balm to help protect and keep your skin smooth and hydrated.

If you will follow this three easy steps you will have some of the best shaves ever in no time!.

Smooth shaving! Aaron”

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Ask Aaron Q&A: Problems shaving under the nose

ask aaron 420 Ask Aaron Q&A: Problems shaving under the nose

Christopher McClure, from the UK, asks:

“I’ve been using a double-edge safety razor for a couple of months and have largely mastered my morning shave. The one area where I still struggle to get a really close shave is under my nose. I shave in three passes, but everytime I try to shave against the grain, on the third pass, under my nose I end up cutting myself – do you have any advice? I’m using a Merkur 34C, Feather blades, King of Shaves oil and Shaving Shack soap.”

AARON SAYS

“Mr. McClure,
The mustache is truly a hard area to shave and your problem is common to many men. Thank you for asking! From your list it seems you have great products behind your shave, so don’t change anything there. Because the nose gets in the way and it’s so hard to maintain a proper angle. If you could live with it, try going without the against the grain pass. If you want a closer shave try going across the grain again in the opposite direction. Another solution would be to go against the grain, just not with as full on an angle. If the direction South was with the direction of growth, and West/East is across, then try going Northeast and Northwest instead of fully north. Shaving in the slightly altered direction will provide a slicing motion as well going against the grain. This action is often called the “Gillette slide” and can be helpful along with other advanced shaving techniques such as “Blade buffing” and “J-hooking”.

Smooth shaving! Aaron”

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Ask Aaron Q&A: Shaving Those Problem Areas

April 5, 2011 · Posted in Ask Aaron Q & A, Shaving Tips · Comment 

ask aaron 420 Ask Aaron Q&A: Shaving Those Problem Areas

Graham Beattie, from the UK, asks:

“Hi, I have a real problem in two areas. First, the corners of my mouth, if I don’t shave close enough it still feels stubly, but if I shave it smooth, I often end up bleeding. Second, my addams apple area, it doesn’t matter how many times I go over this, it still feels stubly. Any ideas?”

AARON SAYS

“Mr. Beattie,
These areas often cause problems for many men, so take heart you are not alone! What I suggest is stretching the skin to create a flatter surface. This will cause the hairs to strand more erect allowing them to be more easily cut. For the corners of your mouth, try opening your mouth in a very long “0″ shape. For your Adams Apple pull the skin away from the apple and shave on the side that you are pulling. Also, pay attention to the direction of hair growth. To get a closer shave to against the grain and that will also help the feeling of stubble.

Smooth Shaving!

Aaron”

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Ask Aaron Q&A: Safety Razors – Closed Comb vs Open Comb

ask aaron 420 Ask Aaron Q&A: Safety Razors   Closed Comb vs Open Comb

Sean Chawla-Duggan, from the UK, asks:

“Aaron, I have a very tough thick beard hair, and while when I do have the luxury of time I get a very good shave with a straight razor, I’d like to have a safety razor for mid week quickies. Should I use open or closed comb?”

AARON SAYS

“Mr. Chawla-Duggan,

Thank you for writing in! There is much debate surrounding the safety bar vs. open comb with strong opinions on both sides. Open comb razors do tend to be more aggressive and can give an easier shave for those of us with tougher beards. The shave also heavily depends on how sharp your blade is. If you like the look and feel of an open comb, go for it! There is a great open comb version of the Merkur HD which I highly recommend as well as the Muhle open comb.

Happy Shaving!
Aaron”

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Ask Aaron Q&A: Shaving Creams vs Shaving Soaps – Which are better?

March 20, 2011 · Posted in Ask Aaron Q & A, Shaving Creams, Shaving Tips · Comment 

ask aaron 420 Ask Aaron Q&A: Shaving Creams vs Shaving Soaps   Which are better?

Robert Ashford, from the UK, asks:

“Can you please advise on the pros/cons re: Shaving Cream vs. Shaving Soap. (Also the use of shaving creams/soaps in bowls). Can you use the wet brush against each, and not taint the product? I Currently use a shave cream from tube, but am intrigued by the likely hood of just building up a lather in the self provided cream/soap in a bowl. Thanks in advance.”

AARON SAYS

“Mr. Ashford,

Thanks for you question! On any shaving related forum on the internet you’ll find this discussion: “Which is better? Soaps or Creams?” In my opinion: neither. They both have equally great characteristics and will serve you well whatever you choose. Personally I use both and find great satisfaction with both types of products.

Pros: Soaps generally are considered to have a “slicker” shave due to certain ingredients such as tallow, lanolin, glycerin and bentonite clay that are added to the soap. This provides a smoother and gentler shave especially for heavy bearded gents. Creams have the reputation of being easier to begin learning on, easy to lather and have a more moisturizing feel after the shave is done.

Cons: Soaps generally take more time to learn how to lather well and can be sometimes a bit drying to the skin. Creams have the tendency to dry out a bit faster on your face and not provide as smooth a shave. (Caveat: there are ALWAYS exceptions!)

But which one to pick?? You will get a different experience out of both and both provide good shaves. Honestly I say use both, I do. If you find yourself leaning towards one product or the other you have my blessing! I don’t think you’ll go wrong with either.

Using cream or soap in the tub or container it comes in will not effect the shave, nor will dipping the brush into the container to gain product taint the product. The only exception to this I have heard is there is a possibility if some sort of bacteria is on your brush and you dip it into a cream that does not have any preservative in it that the bacteria could turn the cream. However, I have never had this happen to me, nor have I known anyone that this happened to. The thing about this I will say is that i recommend building your lather in a separate bowl from the one that contains your sap or cream. When you building the lather on top of product you are continuously using more product in the process and the time it will last will be a lot less costing you more money in the long run. For that reason alone I recommend a separate bowl, plus it’s easier to see you lather develope and know when it’s ready for shaving.

This is a bit long winded, but I hope it answers your questions!
Smooth shaving!

Aaron”

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