03-15-2012, 03:17 PM
  • Johnny
  • Emeritus
  • Wausau, Wisconsin, USA
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An Interview With Mantic59 aka Mark Herro

Like most of you, I was introduced to Mark via his YouTube videos. I saw somewhere that he listed he lived between Snook and North Zulch, TX. Being very familiar with North Zulch, since I worked there many years ago, I wondered why in the world someone would want to live there. Then I thought about what he said about living between the two and that would put him in the Bryan/College Station area, home of Texas A&M (nice place, great barbeque).

Due to North Zulch, emails were sent back and forth and that’s when I discovered that Mark was born and raised in Oconomowoc, WI, located west of Milwaukee.

Anyway, I asked Mark if he would be willing to do a short question and answer session with me and he said yes.

And before I forget, if you have not done so, check out Mark’s new blog, Sharpologist

Q: I know you are originally from Wisconsin, how in the world did you wind up in Texas?

A: How did I end up in TX? For the most practical of reasons--a job! A company in TX was the first place to offer me a job after I graduated college in the early '80's. At that time the economy was kind of like what it is now so, "bird in the hand" and all that, I moved.

Q: When did you first start wet shaving and what attracted you to it?

A: I shaved with an electric razor for 30+ years and never much thought about it. Buzz, buzz, zip, zip, done in two minutes. Yeah, I had a 5 ‘O Clock shadow at two, but I thought that was “normal.” Fast forward to the mid ’90′s and a serious relationship with a special young lady. One thing she absolutely adored was the feeling of my face just after it was freshly shaven. Unfortunately she could only enjoy caressing my face for a few hours before it would get a bit “sandpapery” again.

Fast-forward again to 2002, when the special young lady and I married in Las Vegas:

About a year later my wonderful young lady and I are watching a TV show about things to do in Las Vegas (“hey, we did that on our wedding trip!”) and they mentioned getting an “old style” barbershop shave at a place called “Art of Shaving” at Mandalay Bay. My young lady turns to me, arches her eyebrow, and says, “Ohhhhhhh, you should try that!” I shrug and we continue watching the show.

Some months later we’re planning what to do for our wedding anniversary and decide to go back to Las Vegas. One morning while we’re there she comes to me with a gleam in her eye and says “don’t shave today, I have a special anniversary present for you.” Hmmmmmm, OK…. That afternoon we head to Mandalay Bay, where she takes me to Art of Shaving and has them give me a shave as an anniversary gift:

It’s a little freaky at first–I mean here’s this stranger hovering over me with a straight razor– but after a while it gets strangely relaxing and I enjoy it. The barber finishes and she pulls off the smock laying on me with a flourish. I feel my face.


My face is insanely soft and smooth. I’ve never felt anything like it before. My wife has a sparkle in her eye and a huge smile on her face as she runs a finger along my jaw line: “Ohhhhhhhh, mama likes!” The barber/store put on a soft sales-pitch for getting their products, which I almost go for, but my young lady’s common sense prevails, telling me that I should do some research after we return home first. OK, but I’m sold on this way of shaving: I don’t need to shave again for two days, and I’m almost continuously touching my face in amazement.

After I return home I immediately start surfing the Internet, trying to learn more about this way of shaving…and discover that there’s damned little information out there. I eventually discover the MSN Wetshavers forum (now defunct) and my education begins…. I am also fortunate to live within driving distance of Austin, TX, where Charles Roberts (owner of Enchante’ which is happily not defunct) is happy to share with me some of the finer points of traditional shaving (along with his “Method” shaving style). Over the course of the next year I slowly learn (and learn to appreciate…and begin to advocate to my friends) shaving with a brush and traditional lather. I graduate from a Mach3 to a single-blade safety razor to an adjustable safety razor. As my own shaving technique matures I discover that I can actually offer some advice to “newbie’s” on the discussion board once in a while.

Q: How did the Mantic59 videos start?

A: In the late spring of 2006 a casual comment in a discussion thread on the Wetshavers forum suggests, “someone needs to do a video on how to shave!” The general consensus is that the idea is appealing but probably too difficult to do. After all, you really need to see lather in three dimensions and be able to feel it to truly understand it, and a lot of the background techniques really need to be shown “in person.” Or so went the thinking. It was also felt that the video technology of the day wasn’t quite up to the quality that was necessary to properly demonstrate shaving.

But it stirred something inside me. I have a degree in TV/radio broadcasting (the engineering part, not the production part) though I had been out of the industry for many years (I liked to eat). Still, I knew the basics of putting together a video and I had just won a Panasonic GS9 camcorder a few months before while attending a convention so I decided to experiment around a little. I put together some test footage using Windows Movie Maker, posted it to the newly popular YouTube, and asked the MSN guys to comment. I got some really good feedback and suddenly it didn’t seem so impossible. I deleted the test footage and put up the three part “introductory” series that you still see on the channel.

And the rest, as they say, is history….

Q: What is your favorite razor, brush, soap/cream, and after shave?

A: Favorites? You will have to pry my Merkur Progress out of my cold, dead fingers. For a brush I often use a modest "greys" brush from (emsplace now shaveplace) even though I have a lot of other brushes (but a limited-edition Simpsons "Rover" brush that I got just a few weeks ago is really growing on me). As for soaps/creams I gravitate to strongly-scented products: Castle Forbes limes, Truefitt & Hill Trafalgar (I like Grafton too), Speick, DR Harris Arlington (soap), J. Peterman 1903, etc.

Q: When you're not talking about/teaching shaving stuff, what do you like to do? Any sports/outdoor activities/or crazy hobbies?

A: I'm an unrepentant gadget freak: got my first amateur radio license when I was 13 (I went inactive about 10 years ago but I've been recently thinking about picking it back up again), got my first computer in the late 70's (way before IBM and just before Apple hit big), was "online" (using dial-up bulletin boards and CompuServe) way before the internet, etc. I also enjoy cooking, gambling (Vegas, baby!), and I'm a bit of a history buff.

I would like to thank Mark for taking the time to do this interview and like most of you, look forward to seeing what he comes up with next.

Footnote: I actually did this interview in November 2011 for another shave forum. I thought the members on The Shave Nook would enjoy reading it.

- Johnny -

189 26,353
 03-15-2012, 04:04 PM
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That was a great interview Johnny. Mark's you tube has put wet shaving on the map. He also sounds like a terrific guy.

149 14,461
 03-15-2012, 05:22 PM
  • freddy
  • Banned
  • San Diego, California, U.S.A.
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A fine read that gives a feel for who Mark is. Excellent. Smile

2 5,000
 03-15-2012, 07:14 PM
  • ridgerunner
  • Moderator Emeritus
  • Southern Appalachian Mountains
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An interesting interview that was a pleasure to read.

34 1,760
 03-15-2012, 07:43 PM
  • Sully
  • Super Moderator
  • Cedar Park, Texas
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That's a great interview, well done Johnny.

13 2,541
 03-15-2012, 08:12 PM
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cool article, Johnny.

I've watched all of mantic's videos before getting into wet shaving.

40 5,829
 03-15-2012, 08:20 PM
  • bullgoose
  • The Enabler
  • Redondo Beach, California, U.S.A
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Very nicely done Johnny. Thumbup

54 22,449
 03-16-2012, 01:46 AM
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I definitely enjoyed reading this. Great interview, and great post. Thumbup

2 5,600
 03-16-2012, 05:02 AM
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Nice interview.

I always refer newbies to Mantic59's videos.

As I was learning to wet shave, I watched his videos repeatedly. I appreciate his humor and fearlessness in getting the good word out there.

3 461
 03-16-2012, 09:12 AM
  • mikeperry
  • Senior Member
  • St Louis via the UK
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Hi Johnny

Good read, thanks for sharing that interview here on The Shave Nook Thumbup

Take care, Mike

23 1,872
 03-16-2012, 12:16 PM
  • Obie
  • Senior Member
  • Glendale, Wisconsin
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A good interview, Johnny. Mark is an interesting person and knowledgeable. Well done.

215 5,271
 03-17-2012, 08:41 PM
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Well done, Johnny - wonderful write up! Having met Mark at an Austin meetup a few years ago, I can confirm his modesty and his love for wet shaving.

73 4,356
 04-07-2012, 06:29 PM
  • gijames
  • Mile High Soldier
  • TN, USA
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I know that the Mantic59 videos absolutely sealed the deal for me to switch to Wet Shaving.

Heavy consideration to start Straight, but I didn't want too much time sacrificed for a good shave, so seeing his videos put me down the DE path!


9 1,684
 04-07-2012, 07:10 PM
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I still watch Mantic59. You can always learn something new!!

1 223
 04-18-2012, 11:21 PM
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Just read the interview, Johnny, great job!

93 21,373
 04-19-2012, 09:45 PM
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I love his videos. When I first read about wet shaving I was more than just a little skeptical, but after watching his "10 minute shave" video I was too curious not to try it out. Now I'm addicted. I still refer to his vids when I get frustrated or can't seem to get something right (I only started last Feb). Great, great videos for beginners.

2 43
 04-19-2012, 10:21 PM
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Anytime things aren't going well shaving, i spend some time re-watching mantic-works every time!


0 16
 04-21-2012, 01:16 PM
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Great interview and thanks for taking the time to do it. Also a big thanks to Mark for being gracious enough to talk with you and share some personal experiences.

I still go to his YouTube channel just for some quick review of traditional wetshaving techniques.

0 36
 04-27-2012, 12:14 PM
  • 1.41
  • Junior Member
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I credit Mark's videos with getting me back into wet shaving after years of using an electric. I finally learned how to shave properly. I now have a wonderful, meaningful, meditative daily routine that makes me feel great about myself. Thank you Mark.

0 31
 05-04-2012, 05:46 AM
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Nice interview. Near Texas A&M... alma mater to my grandfather, uncle, cousin & dad (well, aggie system in Tarelton). --I went to UNT, so I'm neither an aggie nor a tea-sipper.

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