06-28-2012, 03:57 PM
#1
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Tonight was my first time trying a block of alum, many thanks to Dave for supplying it--even though I cursed your name. Tongue

I admit, it probably wasn't the ideal time considering I've been using and still getting accustomed to my new 37C, but what the hell, it felt like a DFS, how bad could it be? POW! What a kick in the jewels that was. Despite the sting, I rubbed it all over, including my head; which oddly didn't sting at all. Before gritting my teeth I let out a ' whooo!'. I really had no idea what to expect so it caught me off guard.

The sting was short lived, but well remembered and my face felt really different. I can't describe it, but I liked it. I followed it up with my usual Triple-Menthol-Proraso splash then Proraso lotion. My face felt smooth, cold and firm, What a great combo, that I will continue--insofar my face doesn't dry out or have a reaction.

Alum will certainly grab you by the short hairs if you're a little sloppy with your shave, but it really feels worth it.

BTW, the Triple-Menthol-Proraso splash is simply Proraso A/S that I put 3 large menthol crystals in.

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 06-28-2012, 04:00 PM
#2
  • Dave
  • Moderator Emeritus
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Glad I could help ya out Biggrin

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 06-28-2012, 04:23 PM
#3
  • gijames
  • Mile High Soldier
  • TN, USA
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hehe, John! shouldn't that post have been *high-pitched*! Tongue

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 06-28-2012, 04:25 PM
#4
  • uncledave
  • Returned to DE Shaving After 40 years
  • Kentucky, USA
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Is an alum block better than Witch Hazel?

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 06-28-2012, 04:27 PM
#5
  • Dave
  • Moderator Emeritus
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The Alum Block stings and unless you cut the heck out of yourself, Witch Hazel won't sting. I used Alum when I first started wet shaving as a teaching tool. When it stung, it meant I used too much pressure or did too many passes. Now I get very little stinging (except on the left side of my neck which always stings)

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 06-28-2012, 04:31 PM
#6
  • uncledave
  • Returned to DE Shaving After 40 years
  • Kentucky, USA
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(06-28-2012, 04:27 PM)Dave Wrote: The Alum Block stings and unless you cut the heck out of yourself, Witch Hazel won't sting. I used Alum when I first started wet shaving as a teaching tool. When it stung, it meant I used too much pressure or did too many passes. Now I get very little stinging (except on the left side of my neck which always stings)

That being the case I believe I'll stick with Witch Hazel. I just wish someone would figure out how to kill that godawful smell. Thankfully it doesn't last long.

As an added thought on Witch Hazel. I have scalp psoriasis and have had since I was a child. Witch Hazel, applied to the scales, dissolves them, and, at least for me, they stay dissolved for several days. When I had lots of hair this wasn't important to me but now that you can see my scalp all over the place it's nice to be able to get rid of the scales! Hope this helps someone out. Biggrin

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 06-28-2012, 04:33 PM
#7
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I know I dig the alum, gives a nice sting but like Dave said it does help know how good a job you did. Plus a block seems to last forever!

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 06-28-2012, 04:34 PM
#8
  • Dave
  • Moderator Emeritus
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Get some scented Witch Hazel UncleDave. I have Cucumber Melon WH and really like the smell of it.

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 06-28-2012, 04:36 PM
#9
  • uncledave
  • Returned to DE Shaving After 40 years
  • Kentucky, USA
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(06-28-2012, 04:34 PM)Dave Wrote: Get some scented Witch Hazel UncleDave. I have Cucumber Melon WH and really like the smell of it.

Thanks for this tip!! I got my Witch Hazel at WalMart and I don't remember seeing any that was scented. I'll look more closely next time.

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 06-28-2012, 04:41 PM
#10
  • Dave
  • Moderator Emeritus
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I'd suggest Thayers. I have the regular Witch Hazel as well and it stinks.

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 06-28-2012, 11:26 PM
#11
  • Persius
  • On the learning curve
  • Reading, England
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Alum is essential. Really good teaching tool, and the sensation at the end of the shave is great. I think that the second the alum block hits my face is my *wake-up moment* of the morning. But in a good way ...

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 06-29-2012, 05:36 AM
#12
  • EHV
  • Senior Member
  • Milford,PA
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I was using alum for the first few months of my wet shaving and then developed what looked like ingrown hairs/small red bumps.
I read a thread where someone mentioned a possible bad reaction from alum and sure enough, when I withdrew the alum, the problems disappeared. Some tolerate it and I guess that some don't.

What I don't understand is how some people LEAVE the alum on after application with out rinsing it off. I think that it's meant to be rinsed off with water after a minute or few at most.
Even just using an aftershave over it without a rinse off surprises me. The alum is just too drying and tightens the skin too much to not rinse it off. I guess some YMMV's just surprise me!

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 06-29-2012, 05:52 AM
#13
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You can mix witch hazel from Walmart with several aftershave splashes without any issue. Takes care of the smell, and still works well.

I always use a concoction of my own - with hazel with a Stefan's aftershave and some other stuff. Works wonders.

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 06-29-2012, 05:57 AM
#14
  • Dave
  • Moderator Emeritus
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(06-29-2012, 05:36 AM)EHV Wrote: I was using alum for the first few months of my wet shaving and then developed what looked like ingrown hairs/small red bumps.
I read a thread where someone mentioned a possible bad reaction from alum and sure enough, when I withdrew the alum, the problems disappeared. Some tolerate it and I guess that some don't.

What I don't understand is how some people LEAVE the alum on after application with out rinsing it off. I think that it's meant to be rinsed off with water after a minute or few at most.
Even just using an aftershave over it without a rinse off surprises me. The alum is just too drying and tightens the skin too much to not rinse it off. I guess some YMMV's just surprise me!

I leave it on for a minute or two then rinse it off as well. I honestly haven't had to use any in a long time. I've noticed since I quit using Face Rippers (R41, etc), I don't need alum.

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 06-29-2012, 06:58 AM
#15
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I rinsed my face with cool water after using the alum, I figured it wasn't a material I wanted residue from. I still can't believe I had no sting on my noggin where 70% of the shave is blind. I do like how alum seems to tighten up the skin.

As for witch hazel, Thayers cucumber was pretty good in the smell department, but trying to cover up that witch hazel smell is pretty tough. I don't use it anymore because it doesn't seem to do much for me and I prefer the good sting of alcohol, besides, I use a moisturizer after it anyways.

UncleDave, have you tried using the witch hazel before your shower? Leave it on for as long as needed then shower of the excess. Sounds reasonable... Wink

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 06-29-2012, 11:29 AM
#16
  • Howler
  • A calamophile and vintage razor lover
  • Fort Smith AR
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I'm a recent covert to using alum. It tightens your face nicely closing the pores quickly. Personally I think it has improved my skin slightly and aids in the next day shave.

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 06-29-2012, 12:20 PM
#17
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(06-28-2012, 04:25 PM)uncledave Wrote: Is an alum block better than Witch Hazel?

This has been probably said about a billion times, but its "different." I find witch hazel to be more of a toner/moisturizer/aftershave. Alum block is much more akin to styptic or cut gel. It stings but not as badly as if you were to rub a styptic pencil all over your skin.

I like alum blocks, but they cause terrible razor bumps everytime I use it.

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 06-29-2012, 10:30 PM
#18
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I do like the way alum makes my face feel once any stinging subsides. Unfortunately for me, regular use leads to a rash so I rarely use it any more.

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 06-30-2012, 07:42 AM
#19
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Congrats, John, but i would highly recommend you rinse it off with cold water after one minute or so and then apply a moisturizer.
Enjoy.

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 06-30-2012, 07:51 AM
#20
  • xraygun
  • Active Member
  • Bainbridge Island
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I can't imagine a shave nook without an alum bar. What would you do for slippery Futur syndrome? How about skin stretching? Weepers?

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