Sunday, February 8, 2009

Scratching the Surface

Well it has been cold and rainy the past few days, just the way I like it. Unfortunately real life intruded on my normal routine, and I wasn't able to do my usual breakfast, relax, shave routine as I had some things that I needed to get done. I still had time to shave though, and I especially didn't want to skip it today, as I got my stuff from West Coast Shaving yesterday. This included Proraso shaving cream, the Merkur 34C HD razor, and their sample pack of cheap razors.

My first impression of the Merkur razor was "It's small". It's a nice little razor though, very hefty and compact and it is all in chrome. I'm used to my Schick Sensor Excel which has kind of a longer handle, so it was a little strange to have this tiny thing in my hand to shave with.

The Proraso shaving cream looked pretty much like its picture, like a tube of toothpaste. When I opened the top and smelled the shaving cream, my first impression was "It doesn't smell like anything" which was kind of surprising, I thought that it would have that menthol/eucalyptus scent just pouring out, but nope.

The razors weren't much of a surprise, they looked like the pictures, I was slightly surprised that the Merkur razor came with two blades in it's box I didn't think it came with anything. I've read from other forums that I should just throw the razors out as they aren't good, but I tend to like to use the bad stuff first so that I know what the good stuff is like, so I took the factory razors and put it right in the razor.

Now when it came time to shave, I did the normal routine, but of course I used the new tools. First the shaving cream: slightly different than soap as I just squirted some out into the mug instead of lathering up the soap first. It's kind of nice as it takes a little less work. It's not like using soap puts a huge burden on things or anything, but using cream instead of soap seems to take less time to lather up.

The lather was pretty good, as I get used to wet shaving I think my lathering "Technique" is getting better, and I think I do pretty good, but I didn't notice a huge appreciable difference in the lathering capability of the Proraso vs. the Classic shave soap other than the aforementioned ease of use. One thing I did notice though is the smell of the Proraso to me smelled a bit "mediciny", probably because of the menthol. I've been used to smelling the sandalwood from what I already have so I noticed it much more. It's not an overpowering type of thing, but it is there.

After lathering up, I started in with the Merkur, and found that something wasn't quite right. The thing was pulling at my whiskers, and none of them were coming out. So this kind of hurt, and I usually have a pretty tough face. Tried again, this time putting a little more pressure on the razor, and it ended up hurting more. I picked up my old Excel and tried that... Nope everything working ok there. So I went back to the Merkur, and went for another go, and this time things went pretty easily. What happened was when I went back to the Merkur, I stared using a different side of the razor, so I found that one side of the razor does pretty good and the other side doesn't do much except hurt my face.

I'm not quite sure what the story is with that. I will have to find out if that is normal or not. The razor didn't come with any instructions or anything so it's back to the blogs and forums for me. However the side that did a good job whipped right through my whiskers, so I was pretty happy. There are still things to learn about the wet shave process, so I think this will continue to get better. It is fun to shave with the Merkur, it feels nice, if a bit small, in my hands much better than the piece of plastic I'm used to.

There are all sorts of razors out there as well with longer handles and all sorts of things. I'm already keeping my eyes out for the next thing to get, although I do think my next acquisition will be a new shave brush as I'm content for now to continue my shaving with the Merkur and experience the differences in blades and work on the whole shaving process.

One final thing, as I was shaving, and especially when rinsing my face off with cold water, that Proraso really puts the cool on ya. It is indeed very refreshing to have the menthol cool your skin as you shave, and that is very nice and I imagine during the hot weather that will be a very nice shave experience.

So the journey begins, sandalwood during cold weather, menthol for the hot, and for the spring? We shall certainly find out!

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