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Took the plunge

Thoughts and input on anything related to wet shaving or men's grooming.

Postby GA Russell » Sun Jul 22, 2012 3:06 pm

Squire, I've just finished today's shave, so here we go.

I remembered to use the pre-shave oil.

Today I tried the Vetiver sample #1. By the way, the numbers of the samples have been assigned by Rob, so he knows what I am referring to.

All five soaps of the first batch were hard, like a bar of bath soap. But I was delighted to find that this was soft. I could squish it down into the container so that it would not slide around as I was revolving my brush in it.

I have seen the scent vetiver referred to here, but this is my first experience with it. I had a very positive attitude about trying it, but live and learn. I don't like it at all. Of course, that has nothing to do with the performance of the soap, so I kept that in mind.

The lather was great - better than any lather I have gotten from Tabac over the last two months.

However, the lather dried rather quickly, before I had completed the first pass. This negatively affected the glide and perhaps the cushion as well.

For the second pass I thoroughly rehydrated my beard and gave the brush a good dunking in my hot water. The lather didn't seem quite so dry at the end of the second pass, but still I think there is a problem here.

As promised I used a new 7 O'Clock black today because I am tired of using Voskhods every shave for the past three months or so. The 7 O'Clock black is typically a little rough the first day, and today was no exception. It left my face feeling the least bit raw for a brief while afterwards, but that was what I thought might happen, so the soap is not necessarily to blame for that.

We'll see if tomorrow's shave without the pre-shave oil and with a smoother blade has different results.
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Postby GA Russell » Mon Jul 23, 2012 3:00 pm

For the rest of yesterday, my skin felt dry. So I wasn't expecting anything different with today's shave with the same Vetiver sample #1.

This time I didn't use the pre-shave oil.

I used a wetter brush, and didn't swirl it in the soap quite so long.

The lather was even better today. Fine glide and cushion. Enough in my brush for two passes.

The lather didn't go dry on me.

The blade was a little more comfortable, as I expected.

All in all a good shave. Definitely better than yesterday's. This was the first time a Natural Science shave felt better without the pre-shave oil.

We'll see if my face feels dry tonight.
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Postby Squire » Tue Jul 24, 2012 8:39 am

My cat's litter box smells better than Vetiver.
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Postby brothers » Tue Jul 24, 2012 4:49 pm

Squire, I'm wondering if we could ask the cat, which would he prefer!?
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Postby GA Russell » Wed Jul 25, 2012 2:21 pm

Today's shave was my best Natural Science shave yet!

I used the Cedarwood sample #1. This is a hard soap, but I was able to squish it down into the container just a little bit.

I used the pre-shave oil. Both today and Sunday I have used three drops, and I anticipate that's the way I'm going to go with the oil.

I loved the scent of the Cedarwood in the container. It smells like lumber - just like I'm at a lumber yard! However, the lather on my face did not smell like lumber, but rather like citrus, I think - maybe a combination of lime and orange. I don't have an expert nose like some of you here, but I can tell you that it definitely made me hungry while shaving, which lumber wouldn't do.

The lather was even better than the Vetiver #1's lather! Enough for two passes. Again I used a fairly wet brush and didn't swirl the brush in the soap quite as often as I usually do.

The glide and cushion were perfect.

This is the first Natural Science soap that I've tried that makes my skin feel good after the shave. Maybe not still as good as Cella, but much better than any other of the Natural Science soaps.

Regardless of which sample I finally choose, this is one sample I'm definitely not throwing out.
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Postby GA Russell » Sat Jul 28, 2012 4:44 pm

Today's shave was again the Cedarwood #1, but this time without the pre-shave oil.

It was a very good shave, but I liked the one with the oil better. I suspect that part of it was that this was the last go round with that blade.

Rob PM'd me yesterday suggesting that I try the Vetiver #2, so that's what I'll do next.
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Postby Racso_MS » Sat Jul 28, 2012 6:38 pm

There are 20 pages to this thread. I have to admit, I have not read them all. But as most will say, pre-shave oil is a YMMV issue. I have found it usless and it does nothig to enhance the quality of my shave. But to each his owm. If it works for you, WELL...use it.

I find that a good pre shave technique, a good shave technique with the appropriate utensils/soap/cream, etc, and post shave procedures, (not to mention the right razor/brush/blade/cream/soap combination) will produce an excellent shave is important.

Bottom line..If it works for you...Use It...

Enjoy your shave...
Best Regards From the Deep South...
Remember; It's Not A Race, It's Your Face...
And As Always, Enjoy Your Shave...
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Postby GA Russell » Mon Jul 30, 2012 7:20 pm

Today's shave was my first with the Vetiver #2. It is a soft soap that I was able to mash down into the container so that it would not slide around.

I used the pre-shave oil. I also used a new 7 O'Clock black blade.

The lather was good for the first pass, but there was not enough on the brush for a second pass.

Cushion and glide were good, though not exceptional.

Post-shave, my skin feels quite good, although maybe not as good as it felt after the Cedarwood #1 shave.

I would rank this behind the Cedarwood #1, but ahead of the Vetiver #1. For my next shave, I'll try it again without the oil.

PS - Before I go to bed, I have decided that this makes my face feel better than the other Natural Science samples so far, and maybe even better than my beloved Cella.
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Postby GA Russell » Sat Aug 04, 2012 7:44 pm

I've been under the weather this week, and haven't shaved since Monday. Today's shave was with the Vetiver sample #2 without the pre-shave oil.

Rob PM'd me that the Vetiver #2 does not load quickly onto the brush, so I spent extra time loading. Still, the lather wasn't as rich as I would like. There was plenty of glide, but not that much cushion.

The shave itself was very easy considering that I had a five-day beard, and the result was bbs. Like Monday's shave, my skin has felt fine since.
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Postby GA Russell » Fri Aug 10, 2012 8:09 pm

Today's shave was with the Natural Science Lavender sample #1 with the pre-shave oil.

The scent was nice, and strong too. Not sure that I would choose it, but that's a personal taste matter.

This might be my favorite sample yet. The soap was the hardest of the second batch so far. It lathered easily after a little coaxing. The lather was very rich and creamy, thick on my face.

Of all of the samples, this one created the most lather in the brush. I always stop with two passes, but for the first time with Natural Science, I could have tried to go three with it.

The glide was quite good, but there could have more cushion. It was a quite comfortable shave nevertheless.

My skin has felt fine ever since, but not quite as good as after the Vetiver #2.

I'm wondering if the pre-shave oil chemically interacts with the soap. If so, one would presumably want the pre-shave oil made by the same company as the soap's. There must be some logical reason that I am having such good lather whenever I use the oil.
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Postby GA Russell » Sat Aug 11, 2012 4:38 pm

Today's shave was again the Lavender #1 but without the pre-shave oil.

It was very much like yesterday's. It was a very good shave, but maybe a smidgen not as good as yesterday's with the oil.

I would say that it was better than my shave with the Vetiver #1 without the oil, making it my best Natural Science shave without the oil.

Again my skin has felt fine since, but not as good as it felt after the Vetiver #2.

That finishes my pack of 7 O'Clock blacks. I think I will go back to the Voskhods.
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Postby brothers » Sat Aug 11, 2012 6:36 pm

Russ, it seems that you've been participating in this research project for a few weeks now. Do you get any feedback from the gentleman who's conducting the research, as to how he's progressing with the results of the feedback he gets from guys like yourself who are helping him out?
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Postby GA Russell » Sat Aug 11, 2012 7:11 pm

No, Gary. Rob has told me that he doesn't want to say anything that might prejudice my opinions.

I thought that he might post something after the first round of samples, but obviously he didn't.
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Postby NaturalScience » Mon Aug 13, 2012 2:38 pm

GA Russell wrote:I'm wondering if the pre-shave oil chemically interacts with the soap. If so, one would presumably want the pre-shave oil made by the same company as the soap's. There must be some logical reason that I am having such good lather whenever I use the oil.


That's a great observation. The better lather is not a chemical interaction, but a part of foam science, its an interesting property of soap called super fatting- a small addition of oil makes a creamier lather. When manufactured into the soap it offers the that silky post shave feel, that leaves you rubbing your face all day.
You can use the pre-shave oil with any soap. I recommend trying it with Tabac and Cella. I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

The real use of pre-shave oil is surface science on the skin. It does two things- hydrates the skin keeping it supple and reduces friction force on the skin. There are a lot of great scientific articles that point to both hydration and friction reduction. Those articles use mineral oil in their friction and hydration experiments, one in particular was published by Gillette many years ago that peaked my interest in pre-shave oils. It points to a lubricating and especially hydrating effect of the mineral oil. So, if your skin is on the dry side a pre-shave oil may help your shave. I've misplaced the paper, I'll find the article- its a great read.

Now the natural question that follows: Why not use mineral oil? You can. It works.
Mineral oil only forms a barrier that doesn't adsorb, so why not use natural oils that offer additional benefits.
The pre-shave oil ingredients are pretty simple: Jojoba Oil, Sweet Almond, Grape seed Oil, Black Cumin Oil, Fragrance
All the oils are skin friendly and are formulated to have a slow enough absorption to offer hydration and lubrication.

There are a lot of great pre-shave products on the market, it's all about finding one you like and works best for you. As the saying goes YMMV.
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Postby GA Russell » Wed Aug 15, 2012 6:00 pm

Thanks, Rob! That's interesting.

Today's shave was with the Cedarwood #2 with the pre-shave oil.

The soap was unusual. First of all, it is a soft soap. After some coaxing it "exploded" (as Jeff likes to say!) with good rich lather, but it didn't load onto my brush. I needed to load plenty more for my second pass.

There was good glide, as all of these second-batch Natural Science soaps have had, but again the cushion left something to be desired.

I switched to the Voskhod for this shave. It was a good but not great experience, but the situation when it was done was quite satisfactory.

Since the shave, my skin has felt perfectly fine - not special necessarily, but no complaints at all.

In sum, I don't think that this soap was as good as most of the others of the second batch, but it wasn't bad. All of the soaps of the second batch have provided good shaves.
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Postby GA Russell » Sat Aug 18, 2012 5:30 pm

Today's shave was the Cedarwood #2 without the oil.

It was like it was a different soap compared to using it with the oil.

It loaded well onto the brush, plenty enough for two passes.

Although the lather looked good on my face, there wasn't as much glide as I've become used to with this second batch of Natural Science soaps.

The shave wasn't unpleasant, but I could have done a third pass. I guess I'll have to use a new blade next time.

Like the last time, my skin has felt quite fine since the shave.
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Postby brothers » Sat Aug 18, 2012 6:09 pm

If the objective is to test the soap, it occurs to me that the added variable (the oil) might tend to make the results less than fully accurate? :?
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Postby GA Russell » Sat Aug 18, 2012 9:13 pm

Gary, I test every soap both with and without the oil. So far only one second-batch soap has performed better without the oil than with.

This is my first experience using pre-shave oil. Since I have not used pre-shave oil before, it might be misleading to compare the performance of DR Harris and Tabac without the oil against the performance of Natural Science with the oil.

However, Natural Science is offering a complete package, though I don't know what their oil costs. So if they recommend the oil, I think that their soap should be tried following their recommendation.

So far, I have found that a number of these second batch soaps even without the oil perform better for me than the DR Harris and Tabac soaps which I have been using since the first of the year.

Going over the SMFU threads of the past four years, it has been made very clear to me how much the guys here don't like pre-shave oil. I can only say that Natural Science's oil is working for me. If DR Harris's soap and Tabac's soap also work better for me with the oil, then those companies should have said so, and tried to sell me some.
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Postby brothers » Sun Aug 19, 2012 5:25 am

OK, that's understandable. You've certainly spent a great deal of time on this project. And all of the results are well-documented. For me, there was a time when I made a practice of using Stephen's Stay Smooth brushless cream as a pre-shave, and as I recall, I really liked my results. Then I got out of the habit, probably because I used up a whole big 16 ounce tub of it, and just stopped. Before that, I had enjoyed Prep pre-shave cream, and I liked it too. Nowadays, I just skip any pre-shave activity, mostly due to laziness, if I'm going to be honest about it. When cooler weather returns, maybe I'll start up again. Time will tell. :lol:
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Postby GA Russell » Sun Aug 19, 2012 12:10 pm

Gary, your using Stephen's reminds me of how highly Giovanni thought of Proraso pre-shave cream. Remember that?
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