06-24-2016, 11:33 AM
#1
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It's true (for me anyway), that only the alum block knows how good a shave I got - or how well did shaving.  

And in its use, it's helping me improve my shaving technique, along with determining my blest blade/razor combinations.

Nothing particularly scientific about it - if it stings, how much it stings, where it stings all communicate something.

So I pay attention to what it has to say.   Shaving

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 06-24-2016, 11:53 AM
#2
  • BobH
  • Senior Member
  • Thunder Bay Canada
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Yes, I also find it is a good rough indicator of how well or poorly I am doing.

Bob

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 06-24-2016, 01:44 PM
#3
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Alum blocks, unfortunately, cause me significant irritation, particularly on my neck. Consider yourself lucky!

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 06-24-2016, 03:05 PM
#4
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(06-24-2016, 01:44 PM)Forged Wrote: Alum blocks, unfortunately, cause me significant irritation, particularly on my neck. Consider yourself lucky!

A few years ago I purchased an Osma alum block.  After about a week and a half I developed a small rash on the bottom of the left hand side of my neck.  I was the size of a jelly bean.  I did not think any thing of it.  Then, a week later I shaved very early when I was done I noticed that I had a rash that looked like measles on my entire neck up to and over my jaw bone.  I had a lot of discomfort.  It was too early to call my dermatologist.  So I Googled my systems and found page after page on Web MD.  It indicated that this was probably a form eczema which is your body telling you that you have an issue.  It could be a change in diet or even the laundry detergent that you washed the shirt you are wearing.  The article indicated that I should not use any thing that dehydrates my face and never use an anti-bacterial which is alum.  That day I washed my face about 8 times.  The next morning the rash was gone and because I no longer use alum I have never had the rash again.  I keep the alum block in case a nick my face.

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 06-24-2016, 06:20 PM
#5
  • BobH
  • Senior Member
  • Thunder Bay Canada
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(06-24-2016, 01:44 PM)Forged Wrote: Alum blocks, unfortunately, cause me significant irritation, particularly on my neck. Consider yourself lucky!


That is what I meant by being able to tell how well or poorly I was doing when shaving. A bad shave equals good amounts of irritation for me and a good one hardly a tingle from the alum. OTH you could just have a bad reaction to alum too.

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 06-25-2016, 03:18 AM
#6
  • beamon
  • Active Member
  • Greenville, SC USA
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Fortunately, the alum block doesn't bother me in any way and as the OP points out it does say things to you. Frequently, I'll have two, seemingly, identical shaves. Both have the same feel to my hand after the shave with no discernible nicks or weepers, yet one will have some stingers when exposed to the alum while the other shave feels nothing from the alum block.

Now, if I could just remember, from shave to shave, what the alum block told me, I guess my technique would improve, but as I get older, my attention span seems to go down in direct proportion to my birthdays.  Tongue

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 06-25-2016, 04:44 AM
#7
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(06-24-2016, 01:44 PM)Forged Wrote: Alum blocks, unfortunately, cause me significant irritation, particularly on my neck. Consider yourself lucky!

Oof - understand completely.  Months back I was playing with learning how to make my own shave oil and learned the hard way that my skin and castor oil don't get along well at all.  Whole face turned beet red and felt like a bad sunburn.  Took about two days to dissipate.

Fortunately, alum doesn't affect me the same way - so yeah, I'm glad.  Sorry about your experience with it.

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 06-25-2016, 04:56 AM
#8
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(06-25-2016, 03:18 AM)beamon Wrote: Fortunately, the alum block doesn't bother me in any way and as the OP points out it does say things to you. Frequently, I'll have two, seemingly, identical shaves. Both have the same feel to my hand after the shave with no discernible nicks or weepers, yet one will have some stingers when exposed to the alum while the other shave feels nothing from the alum block.

Now, if I could just remember, from shave to shave, what the alum block told me, I guess my technique would improve, but as I get older, my attention span seems to go down in direct proportion to my birthdays.  Tongue

LOL - "remembering" at our age seems to be a dwindling gift as time goes on.  Smile

Your example is a perfect one - two great BBS shaves but with different responses from the alum block.  Days 1, 2, 3 with a new Polsilver in my Progress XL razor and I'm told there are zero issues, but as I get to day 4, then 5, then 6... The alum block starts to warn me it's time to start thinking about a new blade.

Day 1 with my new ATT and my alum block had something to say immediately.  Changed base plate to a less aggressive one and the next day the alum block was silent.

So whether it's time to change blades, or base plates, or as I grow in experience with wet shaving - technique, the alum block has played a significant role 'communicating' to me how things are going.

...and I do feel lucky it doesn't irritate my skin; very lucky.  It's a wonderful part of my morning routine.

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 06-25-2016, 05:00 AM
#9
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(06-24-2016, 03:05 PM)Tidepool Wrote:
(06-24-2016, 01:44 PM)Forged Wrote: Alum blocks, unfortunately, cause me significant irritation, particularly on my neck. Consider yourself lucky!

A few years ago I purchased an Osma alum block.  After about a week and a half I developed a small rash on the bottom of the left hand side of my neck.  I was the size of a jelly bean.  I did not think any thing of it.  Then, a week later I shaved very early when I was done I noticed that I had a rash that looked like measles on my entire neck up to and over my jaw bone.  I had a lot of discomfort.  It was too early to call my dermatologist.  So I Googled my systems and found page after page on Web MD.  It indicated that this was probably a form eczema which is your body telling you that you have an issue.  It could be a change in diet or even the laundry detergent that you washed the shirt you are wearing.  The article indicated that I should not use any thing that dehydrates my face and never use an anti-bacterial which is alum.  That day I washed my face about 8 times.  The next morning the rash was gone and because I no longer use alum I have never had the rash again.  I keep the alum block in case a nick my face.

Good post.  Thanks.

Yeah, alum is a natural antiseptic, but it's not for everyone I guess - and I'm sorry for that.

I incorporated it into my routine early on, having watched videos, read posts and articles on its benefits.  Shaving as close as DE or SE blades do, removing the outer layer of dead skin, exposing new skin cells underneath, its antiseptic value is important.  I feel fortunate I can use it.

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 06-25-2016, 06:47 AM
#10
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(06-25-2016, 05:00 AM)Niemander Wrote:
(06-24-2016, 03:05 PM)Tidepool Wrote:
(06-24-2016, 01:44 PM)Forged Wrote: Alum blocks, unfortunately, cause me significant irritation, particularly on my neck. Consider yourself lucky!

A few years ago I purchased an Osma alum block.  After about a week and a half I developed a small rash on the bottom of the left hand side of my neck.  I was the size of a jelly bean.  I did not think any thing of it.  Then, a week later I shaved very early when I was done I noticed that I had a rash that looked like measles on my entire neck up to and over my jaw bone.  I had a lot of discomfort.  It was too early to call my dermatologist.  So I Googled my systems and found page after page on Web MD.  It indicated that this was probably a form eczema which is your body telling you that you have an issue.  It could be a change in diet or even the laundry detergent that you washed the shirt you are wearing.  The article indicated that I should not use any thing that dehydrates my face and never use an anti-bacterial which is alum.  That day I washed my face about 8 times.  The next morning the rash was gone and because I no longer use alum I have never had the rash again.  I keep the alum block in case a nick my face.

Good post.  Thanks.

Yeah, alum is a natural antiseptic, but it's not for everyone I guess - and I'm sorry for that.

I incorporated it into my routine early on, having watched videos, read posts and articles on its benefits.  Shaving as close as DE or SE blades do, removing the outer layer of dead skin, exposing new skin cells underneath, its antiseptic value is important.  I feel fortunate I can use it.
I know several people who like you have no problems using Alum.  The interesting thing, if your body is going it happens fast and you immediately know you have a problem.  It is interesting I have read that many people in Europe us pure Alum as a deodorant.

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 06-25-2016, 08:07 AM
#11
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(06-25-2016, 06:47 AM)Tidepool Wrote:
(06-25-2016, 05:00 AM)Niemander Wrote:
(06-24-2016, 03:05 PM)Tidepool Wrote: A few years ago I purchased an Osma alum block.  After about a week and a half I developed a small rash on the bottom of the left hand side of my neck.  I was the size of a jelly bean.  I did not think any thing of it.  Then, a week later I shaved very early when I was done I noticed that I had a rash that looked like measles on my entire neck up to and over my jaw bone.  I had a lot of discomfort.  It was too early to call my dermatologist.  So I Googled my systems and found page after page on Web MD.  It indicated that this was probably a form eczema which is your body telling you that you have an issue.  It could be a change in diet or even the laundry detergent that you washed the shirt you are wearing.  The article indicated that I should not use any thing that dehydrates my face and never use an anti-bacterial which is alum.  That day I washed my face about 8 times.  The next morning the rash was gone and because I no longer use alum I have never had the rash again.  I keep the alum block in case a nick my face.

Good post.  Thanks.

Yeah, alum is a natural antiseptic, but it's not for everyone I guess - and I'm sorry for that.

I incorporated it into my routine early on, having watched videos, read posts and articles on its benefits.  Shaving as close as DE or SE blades do, removing the outer layer of dead skin, exposing new skin cells underneath, its antiseptic value is important.  I feel fortunate I can use it.
I know several people who like you have no problems using Alum.  The interesting thing, if your body is going it happens fast and you immediately know you have a problem.  It is interesting I have read that many people in Europe us pure Alum as a deodorant.



Not an expert by any stretch, but after my experience with Castor oil, I did some further investigation on alum and honestly didn't know it could present an issue so it's interesting to know that with some people it can. 

Like you said, when it 'communicates,' it does so immediately.

Deodorant?  Not sure that'd be my first choice as a deodorant.  Smile

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 06-27-2016, 03:57 AM
#12
  • DayMan
  • Senior Member
  • Tennessee
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I used to have trouble with alum because I left it on while I would clean my brush and razor.  I quit using it for a while and decided to try it again a couple of months ago, but I decided to rinse it off after application instead of letting it sit.  It works great now.  I haven't had any ingrown hairs since I started using it again.

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 06-27-2016, 04:04 AM
#13
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I like to use an alum block every so often, particularly when trying new blades or soap, to see how well the shave has gone (or not as the case may be).  Dealing with nicks is its secondary use for me.

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