06-12-2019, 03:28 AM
#1
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Sorry if this is an ignorant question, but what is the friggin' powder for?

Vintage shaving kits often include a container for talcum powder. Obviously an essential part of a gentleman's grooming kit, in the days of old. What was the purpose of this, exactly?

I myself is just a boy of 53 but I'm sure there are some grownups here who are old enough to know this Biggrin

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 06-12-2019, 03:47 AM
#2
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I'm a few years junior to you Steve... but the Google suggest it was used as the last step of shaving, to calm the skin, absorb any moisture or oil, and help lighten any dark shadow - same search indicate the use of talc is/was a polarising thing among barbers.

From my own experience, having talc in my toiletry kit is a must when traveling in hot and humid areas... not for my shave, but to prevernt chafing and soreness elsewhere. I suspect a lot of shavers in the olden days used it for that effect too, and not on their faces Tongue

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 06-12-2019, 03:50 AM
#3
  • Sully
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  • Cedar Park, Texas
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While I am younger than you, I can take a guess as to the purpose of the talcum.

I think that they used talcum almost like aftershave or as a way to finish the shave in the old days.  I've been to barbers that used a straight razor to shave my neck, and around my ears after and after the haircut they put talcum on a brush and brushed the area they shaved.  I don't think they were using the talcum to pick up stray hairs because they had already wiped down the area with a towel and in some cased used a blow drier to get rid of the cut hair.  

Maybe a real old timer  Biggrin or a barber can chime in.

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 06-12-2019, 03:51 AM
#4
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https://sharpologist.com/2014/06/talcum-powder-use.html

I recall barbers using powder on the back of my neck, after shaving the area and applying aftershave.

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 06-12-2019, 03:57 AM
#5
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(06-12-2019, 03:51 AM)TheLegalRazor Wrote: https://sharpologist.com/2014/06/talcum-powder-use.html

I recall barbers using powder on the back of my neck, after shaving the area and applying aftershave.
Me too. I tried Roberts Borotalco on my freshly-shaved face and it irritated my skin pretty good. I'll stick with talcum for unshaved areas that tend to chafe.

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 06-12-2019, 04:33 AM
#6
  • chazt
  • Senior Member
  • Queens, NY
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Corn starch works really well for chafing also.

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 06-12-2019, 05:59 AM
#7
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(06-12-2019, 04:33 AM)chazt Wrote: Corn starch works really well for chafing also.
Thickens up stir-fry as well.   Sisi

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 06-12-2019, 07:38 AM
#8
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(06-12-2019, 05:59 AM)primotenore Wrote:
(06-12-2019, 04:33 AM)chazt Wrote: Corn starch works really well for chafing also.
Thickens up stir-fry as well.   Sisi

I would NOT recommend using talcum powder for that... Tongue

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 06-12-2019, 07:53 AM
#9
  • chazt
  • Senior Member
  • Queens, NY
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(06-12-2019, 07:38 AM)WegianWarrior Wrote:
(06-12-2019, 05:59 AM)primotenore Wrote:
(06-12-2019, 04:33 AM)chazt Wrote: Corn starch works really well for chafing also.
Thickens up stir-fry as well.   Sisi

I would NOT recommend using talcum powder for that... Tongue

Lol!!

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 06-12-2019, 08:26 AM
#10
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(06-12-2019, 03:47 AM)WegianWarrior Wrote: I'm a few years junior to you Steve... but the Google suggest

Tsk, tsk. You kids with your googlings. Biggrin

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 06-12-2019, 12:25 PM
#11
  • Johnny
  • Super Moderator
  • Wausau, Wisconsin, USA
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Well, I'm old enough to remember.  My barber use to apply a light dusting after a good shave.  He said it was to sooth the skin and also help to cover up any slight nicks.  I always liked the way it smelled and no good barber shave was complete without it.

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 06-12-2019, 06:51 PM
#12
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If I recall correctly when I was growing up I was told powder was for chafing from using the razor on your neck and around your ears, the barber I go to today still uses powder and as stated I believe it has some styptic benefits.

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 06-12-2019, 09:01 PM
#13
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Ah, the good ‘ol days

[Image: WhiteUnitedDwarfrabbit-max-1mb.gif]

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 06-13-2019, 12:52 AM
#14
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(06-12-2019, 12:25 PM)Johnny Wrote: Well, I'm old enough to remember.  My barber use to apply a light dusting after a good shave.  He said it was to sooth the skin and also help to cover up any slight nicks.  I always liked the way it smelled and no good barber shave was complete without it.

Thanks to everyone for the replies. 
So basically powder has been outcompeted by modern balms then.

Kinda makes me tempted to buy some and give it a go just to see what it's like...

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 06-13-2019, 02:55 AM
#15
  • Johnny
  • Super Moderator
  • Wausau, Wisconsin, USA
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(06-13-2019, 12:52 AM)RazorSteve Wrote:
(06-12-2019, 12:25 PM)Johnny Wrote: Well, I'm old enough to remember.  My barber use to apply a light dusting after a good shave.  He said it was to sooth the skin and also help to cover up any slight nicks.  I always liked the way it smelled and no good barber shave was complete without it.

Thanks to everyone for the replies. 
So basically powder has been outcompeted by modern balms then.

Kinda makes me tempted to buy some and give it a go just to see what it's like...

Well if you do, it takes very little.  My barber always used Jeris powder.

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 06-13-2019, 03:22 AM
#16
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(06-13-2019, 12:52 AM)RazorSteve Wrote:
(06-12-2019, 12:25 PM)Johnny Wrote: Well, I'm old enough to remember.  My barber use to apply a light dusting after a good shave.  He said it was to sooth the skin and also help to cover up any slight nicks.  I always liked the way it smelled and no good barber shave was complete without it.

Thanks to everyone for the replies. 
So basically powder has been outcompeted by modern balms then.

Kinda makes me tempted to buy some and give it a go just to see what it's like...

I really wouldn't want to use my balms on the back of my neck or behind my ears, though.  I have some Old Spice Talc for nostalgia's sake - aaah, the memories...

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 06-13-2019, 04:07 AM
#17
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Apperantly there was also shaving powders available that contained no talcum at all... interesting Smile

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 06-13-2019, 11:31 AM
#18
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I used to use Remington Shaving Powder sticks with an electric razor some years (35ish?) ago...  It was formed like shaving soap sticks are today.

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 06-16-2019, 01:51 AM
#19
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Generally speaking, was there something special about "gentlemen's powder" or is it the same thing as modern baby powder?

Never mind, I found this info myself and the answer is: it's complicated. There are all sorts of powders. For example, Taylor of Old Bond Street’s powder is not even talcum, it's magnesium carbonate and that made me realize I already use this stuff - in the gym, on my hands. Funny. Anyway, I'm intrigued by "obsolete" vintage products, and I will get some products and experiment.


[Image: J64F3Jb.jpg]

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