Sunday, February 27, 2011

Vintage Gillette Superspeed

Being new to the traditional style of wet shaving, I have been an avid reader of many blogs, posts, forums, websites, and watched lots and lots of videos on youtube... Ok, I admit, I have been a little, well, ...obsessed about it. haha

I have recently been trying to persuade my friend Adam, to give wetshaving a try and leave The Dark Side to become a wet shaver. He ended up purchasing a boar brush last weekend and I was happy to donate some of my creams for him to use and try out. Obviously, he had much better shaves and was interested in finding out more about wet shaving. I pointed him to some of my favorite websites and blogs, most notably mantic59's youtube channel. He has a very extensive collection of videos. They are great sources of information about wetshaving and are quite entertaining as well (just in case you are interested yourself, you can find his youtube channel here).

During my recent knowledge of wet shaving, I've noticed that a lot of guys are particularly interested in finding and collecting vintage razors. One of the most popular razors was Gillette's superspeed model razors made in the 40's and 50's. They were enormously popular back in the day (like today's Mach 3 razors) and made of quality materials and metal.

Anyways, yesterday Adam, Jenn, and I went on an outing to find some vintage DE razors. Adam was really interested in getting a DE razor and thought it would be cool to find a vintage razor to use from an antique store or flea market. I agreed and was eager to go.

Anyways, as you can imagine, we ended up finding a very good stash of DE razors, straight razors, brushes, and all sorts of goodies. Most of them were in pretty decent condition. Yes, they were crudded with gunk, worn, faded, tarnished, but had very little rust or major damage to them. Once I saw them, I immediately knew how all those guys on the forums and blogs felt about finding old school DE razors! We were thrilled to have a very extensive collection to look through and purchase. However, I didn't think I needed ALL of them, even though I wanted to buy them all! haha So I ended up getting a vintage Gillette razor and old straight razor. I wasn't sure about the Gillette other than I seeing the Gillette symbol on the razor, so I figured we would research it when we got home. I don't use straight razors because I don't know how and am kind of afraid to use them! haha. But none the less, I got one anyways, to "decorate" with. Maybe one day I'll send it off to be professional cleaned, polished, and sharpened.

After getting home with our purchases, we checked out all the information we needed to clean them up. We soaked them in a water/vinegar solution first. Then we used some scrubbing bubbles and a toothbrush to clean up the gunk and corrosion on them. After rinsing with hot water, we let them soak in hydrogen peroxide to kill any germs or diseases. We rinsed and used some toothpaste to polish it up a bit. I wish I had some quality metal cleaners and polish to really make it shine, but I used what I had.

We used the Badger and Blade forum to date our razors and figure out the brand, name, model, year, etc. Come to find out, we both purchased the same razor. A 1948-50 Gillette Superspeed DE razor. I find it pretty amazing that for $5, I obtained a razor that is 60 years old and works great! I'm really excited to use it and compare it to my Merkur HD.

Below are the pictures. Enjoy!

Box of goodies we found

My purchases:
Straight Razor $8
1948-50 Gillette Superspeed $5

Soaking in scrubbing bubbles

Watching the gunk drain away

Twist to open (TTO) still works great!

After a bit of cleaning and polishing

look at that shine!

Still in great working condition!

I'm very happy with my purchase

Stay tuned for more reviews!
Happy Shaving!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Product review: Tabac Shave Soap

Another great shaving product is Tabac Shaving soap. My previous post was about a traditional shaving cream. Tabac, however, is a shaving soap. it's not a cream product, but more like a hard puck of soap.

Tabac comes in a handsome, heavy ceramic bowl with a brown lid. It looks really nice on the shelf next to all the mens' products. There is no mistaking it's a men's product.

As you can see, it's a hard compact soap. Instead of creams that are easily incorporated with water in a mug to create lather, shaving soaps are usually "face lathered". The scent of this product is great. It's very distinct and unique. It reminds me of a cross between Old English leather with a hint of the classic Old Spice scent and fresh tobacco. It's a very strong, spicy, masculine scent. It reminds me of a 1970's nightclub (or what I would think one smelled like anyways). It's very pleasant in the morning to help wake you up.

For blogging demonstrations, I'll be hand lathering so you can see the amount of cream we can get with the soap.

First, you'll need to soak your badger hair brush in some warm/hot water to hydrate the brush and soften the bristles. Also, with soaps, since they are so hard and concentrated, I like to pour a little warm water on the soap to soften it a little so you can load the brush really well with the soap.

After soaking, shake out the excess water on your brush and pour out the water on top of the soap. Then give the brush a few good swirls on top of the soap to start loading the brush with the soap.

You'll start to see the soap foam up a bit while loading the brush. Give it a few more good swirls when you start to see this.

Now we're talkin'! See how the brush looks thoroughly doused with soap? We're in a good position to start making some good creamy lather.

I would usually start making a lather on my wet face with the brush, but again, I'll use my hand so we can see how this product works.

As you can see, there's not much to it a first. It's thin and runny like a hand soap. Keep brushing and you'll start creating the lather.

You might notice that the shave cream will become dry and sticky. That's OK! Don't panic, just simply add more water to hydrate the lather.

After adding water, you see that the lather starts to become creamy again. Keep working the lather.

If it's still a little dry, add a little bit more water. You'll start to see the lather build and hydrate more and more.

Now we're getting somewhere. We're starting to get that good creamy lather we need. Just a little bit more.

Here's what we're looking for. A thick, slick, creamy lather. This product takes some getting used to because I am accustomed to creams. However, it was easy to get the hang of. It smells great and applies easily to the face. The slimy, slick cream easily protects from knicks and cuts from your razor. A real quality product.

You can find it easily online and it's quite affordable. Because this is a hard soap and pretty concentrated, this product should last a very long time. I picked up mine from for about $17. They also sell a refill puck for about $12 so you don't have to purchase another jar. You can simply drop the puck in your previous glass jar.

Stay tuned for more reviews.

Happy shaving!