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Took the plunge

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

Postby brothers » Mon Aug 20, 2012 5:30 am

I got the Prep (two jars actually) from Giovanni. Brings back fond memories!
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Postby GA Russell » Tue Aug 21, 2012 4:12 pm

Today's shave was with the last of my Natural Science samples, the Lavender sample #2. I laid out the pre-shave oil, but I forgot to use it until it was too late.

This is a soft soap. It did not "explode" in lather, but the lather was creamy. However, after much loading, I still needed to load more for the second pass.

The lather seemed good, with good glide and cushion. However, the shave was not comfortable. For the first time in this Natural Science experiment, I think I may have been using a bad blade. I had loaded a new Voskhod. On the other hand, the result was quite good.

My skin has felt fine since.

Next time I'll remember to use the oil.
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Postby GA Russell » Wed Aug 22, 2012 8:11 pm

Today's shave was also with the Natural Science Lavender sample #2, this time with the pre-shave oil.

I decided to be a daredevil and give the blade another chance. The blade seemed better than yesterday, but the shave was not comfortable enough for me to give it a third go.

I used a very wet brush this time, but the lather seemed somewhat dry on my face. It was pasty, but the brush loaded enough for two passes.

Although the shave was not particularly comfortable, the performance was better than typical. If I had been pressed for time, I could have stopped after one pass. The final result was near-bbs.

This was another example of getting a better shave with the oil.

My skin has felt fine since the shave.

I want to wait a day, and then maybe tomorrow summarize my preferences for the second batch of samples.
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Postby GA Russell » Thu Aug 23, 2012 8:43 pm

It seems that I have three favorites of the Natural Science samples: the Cedarwood #1, the Vetiver #2 and the Lavender #1.

I'm going to revisit all three of these with the pre-shave oil to see if I can make up my mind further.
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Postby GA Russell » Fri Aug 24, 2012 2:09 pm

GA Russell wrote: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.


I am revisiting the three samples I mentioned yesterday to see if I could narrow down a favorite, and to see if my experience differs from the first time around.

Today's shave was with the Cedarwood #1.

Unlike the previous two times, the scent continued to be of lumber through the end of the shave. I loved it! I can't explain why I noticed a change before but not today.

I used a new Voskhod today. I intend to use the pre-shave oil from here on out.

I used a pretty wet brush, which provided a smooth, thick lather with excellent glide and sufficient cushion.

It was an excellent shave. Two passes gave me bbs results. My skin is comfortable.

My reaction immediately after the shave was the same as my impression above - that this is one sample I am going to use up, not throw out.
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Postby GA Russell » Sat Aug 25, 2012 6:35 pm

GA Russell wrote: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.


With today's shave I revisited the Vetiver #2. Interestingly enough, the scent didn't bother me this time. I guess I've become used to it.

The lather was OK, but not as good as yesterday's with the Cedarwood #1. In fact, everything about the shave was good but not as good as yesterday's.

The result was not bbs, but quite satisfactory.

My skin has felt fine the rest of the day, but I wouldn't say that it has felt better than a number of other Natural Science second batch samples. The first time out, the post-shave feeling was the Vetiver #2's primary asset, and I'm not getting that today.
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Postby GA Russell » Sat Sep 01, 2012 5:03 pm

GA Russell wrote: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.


Today's shave was with the Lavender #1.

It was another great shave, but I would rank it just a little behind my shave the other day with the Cedarwood #1.

Easily obtained a bbs shave with an old blade. My skin has felt fine since.

So I would conclude that of the eleven samples I have been given, the Cedarwood #1 is my favorite, and the Lavender #1 is a close second.
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Postby GA Russell » Fri Sep 21, 2012 12:29 pm

Since my last post, I have been using up the Lavender #1. Every shave has been very, very good.

With today's shave, I didn't think there was enough of the Lavender #1 for another shave, so I returned to the Vetiver #2. Although the lather looked very good, it clearly didn't have the glide that I had become accustomed to with the Lavender #1. My skin has felt great since the shave, however.
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Postby GA Russell » Sat Oct 06, 2012 6:47 pm

Because I wasn't happy with the Vetiver #2, since that one shave I have been using the Cedarwood #1, and used it up today. I guess this week I will be using other samples from the second batch.

I received a PM from Rob of Natural Science, saying that he was still working on some formulas to improve the after-shave feel. I'm looking forward to what he comes up with.

Today I used the Rapira blade for the first time. I picked it up when razorbladesandmore.com dumped their supply on the market. (By the way, their service for that order was excellent.)

It was a good shave, comfortable and close. Actually, the first pass wasn't very close, but the second pass took care of everything.
Last edited by GA Russell on Sat Oct 06, 2012 9:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Squire » Sat Oct 06, 2012 7:50 pm

Which Rapira Russ?
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Postby GA Russell » Sat Oct 06, 2012 9:49 pm

Squire, this was the Rapira Swedish Supersteel in the blue and white box with red trim.
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Postby Squire » Sun Oct 07, 2012 5:12 am

That's a good one Russ, I bought a brick of 1000 when Phil put them on sale. I'm not so keen on the silver box version.
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Postby fallingwickets » Sun Oct 07, 2012 5:14 am

I bought a brick of 1000

:shock: :shock: [/quote]
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Postby Squire » Sun Oct 07, 2012 5:36 am

Didn't really need them Clive but they are good enough, were on close out and cheap.
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Postby GA Russell » Wed Oct 17, 2012 9:29 pm

GA Russell wrote: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.


I've been using the Cedarwood #2 since my last post, and have been quite pleased with it. I now definitely rank it ahead of the Vetiver #2.

I've been using these Natural Science samples down to where the jar is almost empty, and perhaps when I change to a different sample, what I am noticing is because I am getting a lot more soap on the brush than the previous few shaves.
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Postby GA Russell » Sun Nov 11, 2012 3:47 pm

I haven't heard from Rob since Sept. 20. I hope he hasn't forgotten me!

I've been using up the samples he sent me. Every one of the second batch has been good.

I'm really digging the Rapira blades I started using a few weeks ago.
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Postby brothers » Sun Nov 11, 2012 9:41 pm

Here's hoping he hasn't lost interest, this far into the project. I will say he has certainly received good feedback and effort from you throughout the trial period.
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Postby GA Russell » Sun Dec 02, 2012 12:55 am

Tonight I emailed Rob at his Natural Science address, and asked him to contact me and let me know what the status is.

I don't have much of any of the Natural Science samples left, and I wanted to move on to a couple of things from last year.

In November of last year Nick Zhang of Lijun sent me a small badger brush. I didn't get around to it before Christmas to let you know what I thought of it, and after Christmas I have spent quite some time with the Natural Science project. I wanted to be consistent with Rob's samples, rather than change variables, so I always used the brush I love, my Koh-I-Noor SC68.

Since I joined SMF, each December I placed an order for shaving supplies which would last me for the next year. Last year I bought 100 Lord Platinum blades from Gary at ShoeBox, and also picked up a jar of Fitness soft soap which was on sale for only $5.00 as I recall. I believe that Giovanni said when he introduced Fitness that it was identical to another soap, maybe Figaro?

So for today's shave I broke out both the Lijun brush and the Fitness soap. I couldn't be happier. The Fitness may supplant Cella as my favorite soap. The scent was very familiar (and pleasant), but I just couldn't place it. The glide and cushion were perfect. The lather was excellent.

You may recall that the Lijun I tried two years ago was a very large silvertip. That was what I had asked for, but when I used it I felt like it was too big. Today's brush was quite small, but it performed perfectly. I assumed that Nick would send me another silvertip, but this was just a little prickly, and had a little more backbone than my two silvertips. I will write him about what he sent me (if he remembers!), and I'll let you know if he responds.

The blade was a Rapira on its third shave.

There is a thread about the best shave you ever had, and today's shave might just be my best ever.
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Postby GA Russell » Sun Dec 16, 2012 2:33 pm

GA Russell wrote:The Fitness may supplant Cella as my favorite soap. The scent was very familiar (and pleasant), but I just couldn't place it.


It occurred to me the other day what the scent reminded me of - pistachio ice cream!

As you may know, the flavor of pistachio ice cream is not pistachio; it's almond extract.
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Postby GA Russell » Tue Mar 05, 2013 8:30 pm

I've taken a vacation from shaving since Lincoln's Birthday, three weeks ago today. I looked closely at my beard for the first time today, and was very surprised at the growth pattern. It is at quite a variance from what I thought it was when I thought I was shaving WTG.

The lower half of my neck grows south to north, but the left half of my upper neck grows northeast to southwest, and the right half grows west to east.

My left cheek grows north to south near my nose, but east to west near my ear. My right cheek grows west to east.

Both my right and left jawlines grow chin to ear.

In sum, I've been shaving a lot more ATG than I thought I was. Most of my beard flows toward my ears.
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