05-16-2017, 08:42 PM
#1
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Hi,
    I'm still relatively new to this style of shaving. I've got some questions I was hoping some of you might be able to answer. 

1) How do I tell which direction the "grain" of my beard is running?
2) I have an alum block. I'm assuming that I apply this thing pre-wetted over my beard area immediately after I'm done shaving... correct?
3) I have some witch hazel. I'm guessing I should apply this next and should come AFTER the alum block treatment.... correct?
4) What exactly does the alum block do?
5) What exactly does the witch hazel do?

Thanks for any help...

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 05-16-2017, 10:25 PM
#2
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I'm sure that every wetshaver has his (or her) own set of answer for those, although most of them will be variations on the same themes.

1 - Simply lightly run your fingertip across your face in different directions. Going one way it'll catch as if on velcro - that is your ATG
2 - I wet my down and run it across my neck and lower face after shaving to check for minor nicks - if I got a visible nick (ie: I bleed) I just wet it and press against the nick... it stings a bit Tongue
3 - Witch hazel is currently not in my rotation. When it was I used it as an aftershave.
4 - Alum is a blood coagulant, which means it works as a astringent, and also have antiperspirant and antibacterial properties. So it cleans the skin, seals any minor nicks, and lets you know what areas of your shaves that can be improved...
5 - Witch hazel is also an astringent, and is often claimed to help tone and tighten the skin. It also allegedly helps prevent facial sweating; however I have no real experience with that since I usually don't sweat in that area much

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 05-17-2017, 01:36 AM
#3
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(05-16-2017, 08:42 PM)punchy Wrote: Hi,
    I'm still relatively new to this style of shaving. I've got some questions I was hoping some of you might be able to answer. 

1) How do I tell which direction the "grain" of my beard is running?
2) I have an alum block. I'm assuming that I apply this thing pre-wetted over my beard area immediately after I'm done shaving... correct?
3) I have some witch hazel. I'm guessing I should apply this next and should come AFTER the alum block treatment.... correct?
4) What exactly does the alum block do?
5) What exactly does the witch hazel do?

Thanks for any help...

As for #1 - if you are anything like me ... if you miss a couple days of shaving you can actually see which direction you hairs grow.  Mine seem to be .... below the jaw-line is roughly the angle from the center of under my chin towards the outside bottom of my neck.  Above the jaw-line is from center-line of my face toward the rear of my jawbone.  

Some folks shave 'North to South' on their face, but for me that is neither with the grain, nor against the grain and it is not 90 degrees across the gain either.

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 05-17-2017, 07:01 AM
#4
  • chazt
  • Senior Member
  • Bayside, NY
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I rinse thoroughly with cold water then use witch hazel as a post shave splash. If/When necessary I'll then use my alum block. I find that after rinsing the alum off, 1 more splash of witch hazel is again refreshing and it leaves my skin soft and supple. None of this may be necessary but I do it anyway 'cause it's fun Biggrin

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 05-21-2017, 05:35 PM
#5
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Hmmm.  I've been wet shaving for several years but have never used either alum or witch hazel.  Maybe I'm missing something, but I figure that if I need skin treatment after my shave, I must be doing (or using) something wrong when I shave.

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 05-24-2017, 04:41 PM
#6
  • Quando
  • Senior Member
  • Somewhere far-away, from Home
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Yeah, okay, so, the alum block is your friend, because, it will let you know, exactly, where you pressed down too hard, while shaving.  This sting helps to prevent the sting of the alcohol, though, so, I find it to be quite helpful.  Witch hazel, I suggest you avoid.  It does stop facial sweating, but, so does alum.  Alum works like deodorant/anti-perspirant.  Witch Hazel works, by penetrating the pores, and, blocking the sweat glands from working, like poison.  I, seriously, recommend skipping that.  

The important thing to remember, however, with alum, is that you are supposed to let it dry, on your face, and, then wash off the excess.

My aftershave/post-shave order is this: 1.  Wash my face, with leftover shaving lather, 2. I rinse my face several times, decreasing the water temperature, each time.  I, also, run my shaving mug under the same water, in order to, gradually, cool it.  3.  I wash my face with Simple Facial Wash.  4. Alum Block.  I start to clean up, while it dries.  5. I wash off the alum, with bar soap.  Any hand/face soap will do.  Use cool water, when doing this.  Cool water, and, bar soap, both close the pores.  6. Pat dry the face with a towel, 7. Face Massage, w/Towel, 8. Aftershave Tonic (alcohol based), if any, 9. Aftershave Balm, 10. Pre-Shave cream, again, to cool down the face, and, close the pores, 11. Suave Lotion, or, any other brand.  

It seems like a lot, but, my face feels great, after I shave.

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 06-07-2017, 05:46 PM
#7
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I do not use an alum block but a septic pencil instead. I prefer that over something much larger which could potentially make my whole face sting if my shave was too close. So the pencil is used for actual bleeders. Maybe someone could tell me what the idea behind the alum block is? 
Witch Hazel, I remember seeing that stuff in the bathroom when I was a kid thinking it was what made my mother so angry sometimes. lol! But, I find myself using  it on the recommendation of another user online. I feel that it does actually make my face feel better during the day, although it is hard to describe exactly. Maybe more of a cool feeling throughout the day. So after the shave I wipe my face clean with a damp towel to remove remaining lather, then deal with bleeders by applying the septic pencil against the wound for a few seconds and leave it. Then I squirt some WH into my palm and splash or lightly slap it onto my face, rinse my  hands then apply a little pea sized amount of Nivea face balm to my face by rubbing it all around, rub a little on my arms and call it good. Smile

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 06-08-2017, 03:05 AM
#8
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I've been shaving with DE razors since Ike was President yet alum blocks are something I first heard about a few months ago when I discovered shaving forums. I very seldom get nicks or cuts but will admit that they were pretty common at least well into the Nixon Administration.  I was a slow learner. Then styptic pencils were the common tool of choice.  Today I do have a jar of styptic powder I bought when I was trimming doggie nails and I have used that on the few recent incidents (shaving with a 1944 blade in a pre WWII Gillette). A little dab'll do ya.

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 06-08-2017, 05:29 AM
#9
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jhalb, block alum is useful to find spots where you shaved a hair too close... it'll sting. It also has mild properties for stopping bleeding, but a styptic pencil is far better for that. It also has anti-bacterial properties. I use one on my underarms. It adds no scent but stops odor. Some folks have reported that it doesn't work for them. I haven't used a block on my face in years, I find it too drying. YMMV.

There are 2 types if I remember correctly, one is an aluminum salt and the other is a potassium salt. This is controversial, but I want the potassium salt over the aluminum for health reasons. If aluminum doesn't scare you then it's not an issue for you.

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 06-08-2017, 07:04 AM
#10
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Re different types of alum

http://shavenook.com/showthread.php?tid=1838

Good discussion there.

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 06-08-2017, 07:47 AM
#11
  • naiyor
  • Active Member
  • Ontario, Canada
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I generally use cold water and an alcohol based aftershave...if I do end up drawing blood I just use the styptic pencil. I find it works great and does not involve much work (especially when I am rushed...which is also the time i get careless and nick myself LOL).

my two cents.

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 06-11-2017, 01:55 AM
#12
  • Quando
  • Senior Member
  • Somewhere far-away, from Home
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I use the alum block, once a day, after my morning shave.  I use it, regardless of nicks.

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