02-07-2013, 10:13 AM
#1
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I just started getting back into my interest in wetshaving thing after about a five year hiatus. I didn't stop wetshaving, but I did stop frequenting forums and purchasing items.

One thing I've noticed since I've gotten back into it lately is that it seems like some of the things that seemed like hard and fast rules at the time are different now. Was that just my perception, were some of those things fads, or was it beginner advice that I'm comparing to more seasoned opinions?

Some examples of things I thought were hard and fast rules that seem to have changed:
  • Badger brushes are better than boar brushes. I thought this was just an objective fact, but now it seems like boar brushes are all the rage these days.
  • Do not use alcohol-based after shaves. This was repeated over and over when I was first learning about wetshaving, but it seems like more here use alcohol based splashes than use balms.
  • Derby blades are good. I shave with Derby blades as they were the best for me when i tested a sampler pack and they seemed to be recommended as a good blade but it seems the general consensus nowadays is that they're crap.
  • The Merkur HD is the best starter razor. Now all I hear about for beginners is the EJ DE series for a beginner. Was the EJ not available back then and has supplanted the Merkur or what?

I know everything is YMMV, but I just find it interesting that some of these things seem to contradict what I thought I knew about wetshaving in the past. Is it just me that perceives this?

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 02-07-2013, 11:01 AM
#2
  • Songwind
  • Soap Slinger & Scuttle Pusher
  • Burnsville, MN
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Just over the past year it seems like boar brushes have had surges and ebbs of popularity on the forums.

The advice not to use alcoholic splashes still comes up from some people, and on general grooming sites. I think the wetshaving community knows more about alcohol based but still okay for skin than the general public. I had never heard of such things as Speick, Musgo Real, Proraso, etc until I stumbled onto the forums.

I think Derby blades are another thing that's affected by who's feeling talkative. When I first started, it seemed like everyone loved Feather. Now I see more people mentioning they find them too harsh. I have some Derby blades and I found them perfectly useful, just not quite as nice as the ones I use now.

I think the EJ/Muhle head design is only a few years old.

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 02-07-2013, 11:15 AM
#3
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It's the internet Biggrin... "facts" and "best" are mostly consensus and fads. They change and will continue to do so. Use what you like and works for you

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 02-07-2013, 11:17 AM
#4
  • Johnny
  • Super Moderator
  • Wausau, Wisconsin, USA
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I can only address two of your topics, brushes and after shave.

Brushes:

People can say what they want about badger Vs boar, as for as I'm concerned it is YMMV. Use what ever floats your boat. I use some badger brushes but very few, and I've used boar for 50+ years. No one will ever convince me that a badger brush is better than a boar brush.

After Shaves:

Before shaving forums (when I still had extra money) all I ever used were alcohol based after shaves. Skin Bracer, Aqua Velva, Old Spice, English Leather, etc. I cannot wear colognes so I still use alcohol based after shaves because I like the scent, plus I like that little sting to wake me up. Since I'm no longer a young man, my skin is really dry, especially up here in the frozen tundra, so I also use a balm in conjunction with my after shave. I have found (at least for me) the best product out there is the Speick After Shave Balm. It is not greasy, leaves my skin moist all day, and it does not interfere with the scent of whatever after shave I choose to use.

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 02-07-2013, 11:25 AM
#5
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I believe Derby changed/cheapened their blades a few years ago.

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 02-07-2013, 11:33 AM
#6
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(02-07-2013, 11:25 AM)david1201 Wrote: I believe Derby changed/cheapened their blades a few years ago.

Hmmm, i wonder if that's true because I have a box and a half from a few years ago that I'm working through since I decided they were the best blade for me. I always defend them, but I wonder if I'm talking about the old/good blades while others are talking about new/worse blades.

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 02-07-2013, 11:35 AM
#7
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Norm- I started wetshaving about 3.5 years ago and much of what you mentioned seemed to be the rule of thumb back them too. I can tell you from personal experience that I found much of it to be personal taste and the "rule of thumb" to be a biased opinion that is often unquestionably followed. Hey I was new once, who was I to question the guys that had been doing this for years...what I've learned was do what works best for you.

As much as I wanted to like Derby's based on what I was told, the did not work for me- I ended up settling on SIs and Gillette Blacks.

While boars were available back then, it seems like over the last couple years, their range and popularity has grown. I think most avoid boars b/c they either started with a VDH boar or were convinced that badgers were better w/o trying a quality boar.

Regarding the splash v. balm debate- I remember hearing the same thing, but after over a year of dedicated balm use I discovered that both work for me depending on the weather, I'll use a balm or splash.

As for razors, I think what you are seeing is a larger availability and popularity of different razors. I think Merkur suffered some QC issues over the last few years which pushed others to search out a higher quality, reasonably priced modern razor that also shaved well and was forgiving, hence the EJDE89 and it's variants.

Probably the largest influence over the last few years has been the emergence of many new products to the market and product availability. People have so many choices that are now readily available through various vendors worldwide. Add to that the growth of wetshaving popularity and now the few voices are becoming many voices and thus many different opinions.

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 02-07-2013, 11:40 AM
#8
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(02-07-2013, 11:15 AM)SteelTown Wrote: It's the internet Biggrin... "facts" and "best" are mostly consensus and fads. They change and will continue to do so. Use what you like and works for you

I guess I know that, but I kind of like to know what the general consensus is since I'm not one of those that wants to buy and sell too many items to find what's best for me

As Abe Simpson once said, "I used to be with it, but then they changed what it was. Now what I'm with isn't it, and what's it seems weird and scary to me." I felt like Abe when, on a recent trip to New York, I ventured into Pasteur's and saw all this Razorock stuff that I'd never heard of.

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 02-07-2013, 11:55 AM
#9
  • Johnny
  • Super Moderator
  • Wausau, Wisconsin, USA
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You know, in the old days (and I mean the early/middle 60's) there were not all these choices we have today.

I knew when I got up every morning I was going to wash my face with a bar of Ivory Soap, use my Ever Ready Boar Brush to lather up some Old Spice Soap in my Old Spice Mug, and shave with either my Schick G1 Injector or my Double Duck Straight. That was it. My only choice making was going to be which after shave I wanted to use.

And when I needed new blades, soap, or after shaves, I just drove down to the local Rexall Drug Store to pick them up.

In some ways I miss those simple days, but I sure like the products I'm using now better than what I used back then.

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 02-07-2013, 12:08 PM
#10
  • Exapno
  • Member
  • Northampton, England
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The EJ/Mühle razor is slightly more in favour than the Merkur for new DE shavers, this is possibly because it's slightly less aggressive but more likely because the higher quality finish/manufacturing. As has been said, the EJ/Mühle re-design is fairly new (relatively).

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 02-07-2013, 12:37 PM
#11
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Don't know much about DE's, but have seen boar popularity ebb & flow as has been stated.

It's cyclical, like fashion. There's only so many ways to make a brush.

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 02-07-2013, 01:43 PM
#12
  • Arcadies
  • Senior Member
  • Greeneville, TN
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Shaving is like any other hobby, you have your products that have their 15 minutes of fame and then they drop into the background in favor of a new diva.
The new R41 and the recent explosion in synthetics, thanks to reviews from GDCarrington and others, are a prime example. In the end, as others have already mentioned above me,
it all boils down to what works best for you.


Except Fatboys..those will always be overpriced and sought after by newbs. Tongue

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 02-07-2013, 03:57 PM
#13
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Regarding the brushes. I think economy has a lot to do with it as well. It is much easier to spend $15 or $20 on a nice boar brush than $100 plus on a badger. As much as I love my Chubby 2, I couldn't easily justify spending that much on a brush today.

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 02-07-2013, 04:24 PM
#14
  • Johnny
  • Super Moderator
  • Wausau, Wisconsin, USA
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I agree with you there Dale. I would love a 2-band Chubby 2 but just cannot justify the cost. My entire boar collection did not cost that much.

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 02-07-2013, 04:45 PM
#15
  • Dave
  • Moderator Emeritus
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I think it's not that Derbys are bad, they're just so darn inconsistent from one blade to the next. When I first started wetshaving, I must have had the holy grail 5 pack of Derbys that I got from a co-worker. I then bought 100 and never got a good shave with any of them. I have found that over time, I much prefer Merkurs over DE89's. The build quality might not be as good, but I've yet to get as good a shave with a DE89 as I get with a 34C, Progress, Futur, and a 37c. As for alcohol splashes, I've always used one. Its only since I started Wet shaving that I learned I could neutralize a bit of the drying factor with a good balm or Unrefined Shea Butter.

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 02-08-2013, 07:45 AM
#16
  • tgutc
  • Senior Member
  • Michigan
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I agree with Dave on Derby's being inconsistent. I used them frequently when I started wet shaving 4 years ago but haven't used them in more than two years. I think that Boar Brushes are more popular on this particular forum than others. Part of that could be Johnny Inspired Semogue Brush AD Smile

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 02-08-2013, 10:48 AM
#17
  • Songwind
  • Soap Slinger & Scuttle Pusher
  • Burnsville, MN
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(02-08-2013, 07:45 AM)tgutc Wrote: I agree with Dave on Derby's being inconsistent. I used them frequently when I started wet shaving 4 years ago but haven't used them in more than two years. I think that Boar Brushes are more popular on this particular forum than others. Part of that could be Johnny Inspired Semogue Brush AD Smile

I think this forum has a wider acceptance of the idea of there being many ways to skin a cat. Many internet forums (not just shaving, but in general) pay lipservice to this idea, but a lot of the users really want their way to be Right.

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 02-08-2013, 12:10 PM
#18
  • MikeGJ
  • Member
  • Grand Junction, CO
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I (re) started with Derby's, and standardized on them while I tried different razors and experimented with prep.

After figuring out what worked razor-wise and getting my prep down, I tried many other blades. I discovered that many were as good as the Derby, but did not suffer from Derby's sometime harsh first pass.

Preferring not to hand strop a blade before shaving with it, I am now using a mix of other blades.

Hand-stropping the D's makes them as good from the first shave as the others, but why bother?

A good boar will work well, as will a good badger. How many brushes we have, and what kind is part of the fun.

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 02-08-2013, 05:37 PM
#19
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I'm working my way through 100 Derbys and they work fine for me. Really can't tell any difference between Derby, Lord, Personna, Treet, etc. They all work well for me.

Over a long period I've noticed a tendency of what I call a "loudest voice wins" protocol in communities. In this world we at least temper it some with a nod to individual differences -- "YMMV." Nevertheless, I've also noticed products and methods go in and out of vogue in this and other forums. Your observation about Boar and Badger is a great example. The economy and looming retirement (living on fixed income, declining purchasing power) may eventually decrease the enthusiasm for some high end creams, soaps, and scents (I'm already there, but I'm a cheapskate, YMMV Biggrin).

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 02-09-2013, 01:26 AM
#20
  • Shaun
  • Senior Member
  • St Peters, NSW, Australia
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All the opinions expressed here are very interesting really; there is nothing I disagree strongly with. I believe it is true that the economy is playing a part in decision-making re brush acquisition; I, too, have a number of badger brushes, but lately have been enjoying the relative inexpense and luxuriousness of a well-made bristle brush. My own preference is for blonde bristles, that is, no 'sketch' to make it look like a badger (but why? why!).

When I started out, Feathers were all the talk, but personally I am left a little unimpressed; sharp yes, but not too comfortable and short-lived. Derbys (we pronounce that 'Darbys' here) can be quite nice at times, really. Merkur blades get a universal panning (deservedly: expensive and ROUGH), but as we are prone to say here in the forum, YMMV.

The lesson is that consensus opinion may not equate with actuality, but can be a useful guide; when you're on a good thing, though, stick to it. A crock will always be a crock, however. Personally, I found the AS-D1 fitted that category Smile

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