05-09-2012, 04:46 PM
#1
  • vferdman
  • Artisan
  • Western Massachusetts
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I've been shaving for over 30 years, but never used alum until I started wet shaving with a DE and read about it on forums. I've used alum deodorant before and really liked it in that capacity. Never realized how amazing an aftershave product it is. I started using it regularly and my shaves have improved due to it. The reason I can be sure alum is the reason is I stopped using it since I started getting amazing shaves with no need for A/S at all. Just a fantastic comfortable close shave. So I stopped using alum at the end of a shave. A week later I am fighting a battle with nicks and irritation again. Now I am back to using alum at the end. I don't use aftershave, don't like it. I tried witch hazel and that is good for me, but alum is better. After a few days of using alum my skin seems to become more shaveable (is that a word?). It tightens up and I cut myself almost none. I usually apply alum after I rinse off the last of the soap and let it stay on my face while I clean up the equipment. I usually take the blade out of the razor and rinse it, rinse and dry the razor and put it away, then I squeeze the last of the lather from the brush and use it to wash the alum off. It's amazing to watch the lather turn into nothing on contact with alum. I do not use shaving alum either. I use a deodorant stick I bought at Whole Foods that contains aloe. It works great. Has anyone else found that stopping alum use will lead to worse shaves after a while?

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 05-09-2012, 09:04 PM
#2
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I mainly use witch hazel, but sometimes use alum, rinse with cold water and then apply the witch hazel. It definitely tightens the skin more than anything else. I'll try using it each time for a while and let you know my results.

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 05-10-2012, 04:44 AM
#3
  • Howler
  • A calamophile and vintage razor lover
  • Fort Smith AR
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I have just recently started using RazoRock alum after my shaves. I understand why everyone raves about it. I enjoy how it tightens the skin after a shave. Makes my face feel great after a shave. I'm going to look into alum deodorant also.

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 05-10-2012, 05:03 AM
#4
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I just took my alum out of rotation last week as I've always fought razor bumps and I was getting super frustrated. There's a big thread on alum on B&B and one of the gents said he gets bumps from the alum and it got me to thinking maybe that's my problem. 24 hours after I DC the alum no more bumps.

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 05-10-2012, 06:31 AM
#5
  • Songwind
  • Soap Slinger & Scuttle Pusher
  • Burnsville, MN
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Not alum specifically, but I have noticed that if I don't keep my skin toned and moisturized I get much worse shaves.

It makes sense, when you think about it. Looser/dryer skin is just more likely to end up in the path of the blade, and more likely to cut instead of stretching/sliding.

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 05-10-2012, 06:51 AM
#6
  • vferdman
  • Artisan
  • Western Massachusetts
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(05-10-2012, 05:03 AM)Williams Warrior Wrote: I just took my alum out of rotation last week as I've always fought razor bumps and I was getting super frustrated. There's a big thread on alum on B&B and one of the gents said he gets bumps from the alum and it got me to thinking maybe that's my problem. 24 hours after I DC the alum no more bumps.

This is a classic case of YMMV. Everyone's skin is different and there are so many other factors in our lives that effect what effect one or the other product will have. Even what we eat I imaging effect the way our skin reacts to certain things. If you find alum causes bumps on your skin, then do not use it! It's pretty simple. However, it's important to do some sort of skin care in order to get more comfy shaves int he long term. This is becoming clear to me. Have you tried witch hazel? That stuff is also very good and if your skin doesn't have a problem with it will have a similar skin tightening effect. Also, I think alum acts as bactericidal, not sure if witch hazel does. Probably does. This is important to keep skin free from minor infection/irritation. I find when I use alum not only do I cut myself much less, but also when I do get a nick it heals very quickly. I think witch hazel will do similar things. I guess alcohol based after shave will also act as a disinfectant and help skin heal and stay healthy.

(05-10-2012, 06:31 AM)Songwind Wrote: Not alum specifically, but I have noticed that if I don't keep my skin toned and moisturized I get much worse shaves.

It makes sense, when you think about it. Looser/dryer skin is just more likely to end up in the path of the blade, and more likely to cut instead of stretching/sliding.

I think you hit the nail on the head here. I was talking about alum because that's the only after shave treatment I use (that and cold water rinse with remainder of may lather). I started getting such comfortable and easy close shaves lately and I attributed it to getting better at my technique and the whole routine (been at DE shaving about 3 months). I like to use as few products as possible and so I decided that alum was not necessary since I pretty much could not get a bad shave in over a week of using various razors, blades, soaps and brushes. No matter what I used I got a great shave. I used a Feather blade with 5 shaves on it including shaving half a head of my 16 year old son (don't ask! Teenagers and their hair styles...). Still got a great shave even though the blade definitely felt rough. So I dropped alum and a few days later I began to fight with comfort and cutting issues. I went through some experiments of different hardware and software, but I also went back to alum because I started getting cuts and irritation. Then things started to improve again. This is when I put two and two together and started this thread. I was thinking in terms of alum, but I think you are correct to generalize to basically good post-shave skin care. Alum just happens to be one great product for this, but certainly not the only option. I am using a deodorant stick from Whole Foods that has aloe in it and it is a different alum salt than usually used in shaving. Supposedly the shaving alum feels better, doesn't sting as much. I don't really mind the sting and I already had the stick, so that's what I use. I'll probably get a Razor Rock one since it comes in a similar tube as the deodorant. I like that form factor.

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 05-10-2012, 07:14 AM
#7
  • Tonality
  • Attempted Soap Sabbatical
  • Boston
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I've been using alum since I started wet shaving so I find it interesting that some people think it causes them problems. It's sort of a no-brainer part of my routine. Makes me wonder what my shaves would be like without it.

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 05-10-2012, 07:36 AM
#8
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I love my RazoRock alum especially at first. When I first started DE shaving about six months ago I started using the alum and loved the tight feeling and it made my skin look great. What happened with me is it lost its effectiveness for some reason. I still use it every time I shave but cannot tell if it is even doing anything. If I have a nick or razor burn it does sting a little but the great tight feeling went away.

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 05-10-2012, 09:08 AM
#9
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(05-10-2012, 07:36 AM)Ga Shooter Wrote: I love my RazoRock alum especially at first. When I first started DE shaving about six months ago I started using the alum and loved the tight feeling and it made my skin look great. What happened with me is it lost its effectiveness for some reason. I still use it every time I shave but cannot tell if it is even doing anything. If I have a nick or razor burn it does sting a little but the great tight feeling went away.

I've noticed the same thing...I can't really feel the tightness like I used to after using alum.

Here's my theory on that: Our skin has tightened up from using alum and other products since we started wet shaving. I've noticed a big difference in the tightness and tone of my skin lately. I could bounce a quarter off it.

So now when we use alum, the skin is already as tight as it's going to get so we don't notice the alum as much. Sounds plausible any way.Dodgy

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 05-10-2012, 09:22 AM
#10
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I used alum today for the first time in a long while because of this thread. I'm going to add it back into my routine and see what I notice after awhile.

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 05-10-2012, 09:26 AM
#11
  • leo
  • Member
  • Two Rivers WI
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Are there any stores that sell that stuff?
I can't find anything in the stores around here. It's all online.

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 05-10-2012, 09:42 AM
#12
  • mikeperry
  • Senior Member
  • St Louis via the UK
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(05-10-2012, 09:26 AM)leo Wrote: Are there any stores that sell that stuff?
I can't find anything in the stores around here. It's all online.

Hi

If you live in the US you should have good luck in "Health Food" shops, CVS, Target, Walgreens, Walmart, Whole Foods, etc.

Take a look at this thread, gives at least a couple of options to look out for at the shops given above...

Take care, Mike

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 05-10-2012, 09:57 AM
#13
  • leo
  • Member
  • Two Rivers WI
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I'll look at some of those places.
Thanks.

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 05-10-2012, 10:12 AM
#14
  • vferdman
  • Artisan
  • Western Massachusetts
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(05-10-2012, 09:26 AM)leo Wrote: Are there any stores that sell that stuff?
I can't find anything in the stores around here. It's all online.

Most health stores like Whole Foods, etc. and even Walmart carry alums in the deodorant section. Just avoid the actual deodorant and look for crystal-type salt stone. Whole Foods has at least 3-4 choices. I guess the one to look for is potassium alum, not ammonium alum. Mine is ammonium and it works very well. I need to compare to potassium... They are about $4-$6 and if you do not drop and break them last forever.

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 05-12-2012, 02:42 AM
#15
  • GreekGuy
  • Not saving money yet....
  • La Jolla, CA
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Just for anyone who may not know, you have to rinse the alum off after 5 or so mins. I didn't realize this at first... don't make the same mistake

As far as buying locally, I got a block from the AOS. It wasn't cheap, but I've used it off and on for a couple years now I suppose, and it still looks the same as the day I bought it

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 05-12-2012, 06:52 AM
#16
  • vferdman
  • Artisan
  • Western Massachusetts
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(05-12-2012, 02:42 AM)GreekGuy Wrote: Just for anyone who may not know, you have to rinse the alum off after 5 or so mins. I didn't realize this at first... don't make the same mistake

As far as buying locally, I got a block from the AOS. It wasn't cheap, but I've used it off and on for a couple years now I suppose, and it still looks the same as the day I bought it

Yes, definitely rinse alum off after a few minutes. My routine is to apply alum and let it sit on my face while I rinse off my razor, remove the blade, dry the razor, put away the blade, do general tidying up. Then I rinse the alum off and use what's left in my brush to further wash my face. I usually have plenty of soap left in the brush after 3-5 passes. I find good shaving soap like Cella will work as an aftershave and give real good skin care after alum has done its work.

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 05-12-2012, 07:05 AM
#17
  • Tonality
  • Attempted Soap Sabbatical
  • Boston
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(05-12-2012, 06:52 AM)vferdman Wrote:
(05-12-2012, 02:42 AM)GreekGuy Wrote: Just for anyone who may not know, you have to rinse the alum off after 5 or so mins. I didn't realize this at first... don't make the same mistake

As far as buying locally, I got a block from the AOS. It wasn't cheap, but I've used it off and on for a couple years now I suppose, and it still looks the same as the day I bought it

Yes, definitely rinse alum off after a few minutes. My routine is to apply alum and let it sit on my face while I rinse off my razor, remove the blade, dry the razor, put away the blade, do general tidying up. Then I rinse the alum off and use what's left in my brush to further wash my face. I usually have plenty of soap left in the brush after 3-5 passes. I find good shaving soap like Cella will work as an aftershave and give real good skin care after alum has done its work.

I've never thought of using the remaining lather that way. I may have to try that with one of my more conditioning soaps like MWF.

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 05-12-2012, 11:00 AM
#18
  • vferdman
  • Artisan
  • Western Massachusetts
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(05-12-2012, 07:05 AM)Tonality Wrote: I've never thought of using the remaining lather that way. I may have to try that with one of my more conditioning soaps like MWF.

Well, I am kind of a minimalist in product use kind of guy. I do not like aftershaves or colognes, but I do like the effect of alum as aftershave treatment. I tried witch hazel and that's good too, but I alum is more versatile as deodorant and is really economical. I also think most good shaving soaps really aim to condition the skin and buffer it from irritation, so they really are good aftershave treatment. I also felt really bad dumping all that beautiful lather down the drain, so I tried using it to wash after I rinse the alum off. It works really well. Seems alum and soap are like fire and ice. As soon as that soap hits my alum treated face, the lather almost instantly vanishes (intensity of this effect depends on the amount and kind of soap). I still get to rub it over the face and neck, then final rise 9cold water) and towel dry and ready to go. So far I've used Cella, Arko (two of my favorites), Savon du Midi, Floris No. 89, FGT Rose, Proraso white tub and Acca Kappa 1869. They all provided very good aftershave skin care. I think Cella is one of the best in that regard, but they all work well. As the reason why I started this thread states, when using alum regularly it's almost impossible for me to get a bad shave in any respect. I can use any soap, any blade, any razor and still get a very good shave. Today I used a Feather blade on its 5th shave and got a great shave. A few days ago after a short alum break I used that same blade for the first time and got an uncomfortable irritation-ridden shave. Same followed the next few days until I picked up alum again and things went back to "can do no wrong". This is when I started this thread. I was amazed at how little other variable mattered when I used alum every day for about a week.

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 05-12-2012, 05:30 PM
#19
  • ben74
  • Administrator
  • Perth, Australia
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Interesting, I've only ever reached for the Alum to stop the occasional nick from bleeding...

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 05-13-2012, 02:17 PM
#20
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Just for anyone who may not know, you have to rinse the alum off after 5 or so mins. I didn't realize this at first... don't make the same mistake

Quote function not working. Above is quote by GreekGuy.

Why? I did not know this and I have never rinsed it off. Please expalin.

Next question is for those who use it as a deodorant. What is the difference between the alum sold as deodorant and the alum used for shaving? Why do they add other things in with the deodorant?

Thanks for the help.

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