Entries Tagged 'Shopping for good stuff' ↓
July 26th, 2010 — Shopping for good stuff
So, Sunday morning, time to give the car boot sale in Leamington another go. This time I got there earlier and it was a lot busier. Literally hundreds of traders spread over several rugby pitches. There are two sorts of traders, the semi professionals, who tend to specialise: fishing equipment, DVDs, cosmetics etc etc. And then there are the genuine car booters who sort out a pile of junk they don’t need and come along to turn it into money. They sell quite literally everything. Obviously only this latter group are going to be of any use to me, but will they think it is worth bringing along an old razor?
The answer, quite obviously is no. Many of them must have one lying around, they just don’t think that anyone would be interested. Except for the girl who bought an old, men’s, leather cased, travel grooming kit. The contents were quite comprehensive, a metal backed hair brush, a comb, a toothbrush, a plastic shaving stick container with a metal lid, a mirror, a plastic shaving brush container with a metal lid, a shaving brush, a mirror and a double edged razor. The razor is an English, aluminium handled, Gillette Tech. All in a “Vantage” brand case made of “”Sundew Hide”, which Google knows nothing about.
Usually such kits were bought as gifts. And usually they were never used, they just gathered dust. This one has been used, but not much. The contents are all in a bucket of hot water and disinfectant right now. Some will be binned. But some will find a use. The razor certainly is a new addition to my collection.
And how much did all this cost me? One whole English pound!
Also there is a tactic that would yield results. Just go round the whole car boot and tell every trader that you are interested in shaving kit and that you will be back again on an upcoming Sunday. Then they would all root out their old shaving kit and bring it along. This might actually be worth doing with the way that classic antique razors are going up in value.
July 16th, 2010 — General shaving chat, Shopping for good stuff
With real shaving taking off the way it is there must be lots of people who would like to give it a try. So I have put together 8 starter kits at a very low price to help in this. These starter kits are just £15 including P&P. If you want one then first email me at bruce (at) everiss (dot) com. I can take a cheque or paypal.
This is a Weishi 2003-M, made in China. It is a very close copy of a Gillette Superspeed but made out of aluminium. It has a twist to open (TTO) mechanism with butterfly opening doors, so blade changing is very easy. It is a beautiful piece of precision engineering but will have nothing like the durability of a real brass Superspeed. The razor comes in a plastic travel box with a Dorco Korean blade and it even has a little mirror. The low weight of the razor and this case make it an ideal travelling companion.
I have had one of these razors for a while and really like it. You can read reviews of it here. It is a very mild razor, so good for a beginner, however it is sensitive to the angle it is used, when you get this right it is a very effective razor indeed. Because it is so very light it is good at teaching you to shave with no pressure. Overall an ideal beginner’s razor but still something that a more experienced real shaver can have fun with.
These are 6 of the famous Gillette 7 O’clock Sharp Edge “yellows”. These are made in the St Petersburg factory in Russia and are considered to be one of the finest blades made today. You can read reviews of these blades here.
The Shaving Soap.
This is absolutely classic, one of the greatest shaving soaps, it works better than some that are 20 times the price. Every real shaver should have some of this in their bathroom. It is tallow based and gets great reviews. The 50g stick is ideal for travelling. You use it like a big crayon into your stubble, then you lather up using a wet brush.
The brush. (not the one in the picture)
The brush is a boxed Omega boar bristle brush (but not the one in the picture above). Omega are one of the biggest and most respected shaving brush manufacturers. This one has a moulded white handle with a chrome ring at the bottom of the knot. The bristles have been dyed to look like badger. This sort of brush is good with soaps and will become much softer with use as the ends of the bristles split.
If you do take up real shaving with a double edged razor it is an extremely good idea to read the technique tips and to watch the videos.
These starter kits are on a first come first served basis, there are just 8 of them.
July 15th, 2010 — Books, videos and websites, Shopping for good stuff
Real shaving, with a DE safety razor, is just like real ale in that big business tried to kill them both off so they could make more profit and both times the consumer fought back. With real ale it was with the organisation CAMRA, with real shaving it is with the power of the internet. There are lots of real shaving blogs, forums and vendors. Because in the real world there is very little to be found, just a handful of upmarket grooming shops in London’s St James’s. If I go into Coventry or Leamington there is only the bare minimum of real shaving kit that can be bought at physical retailers. Yet online there is a huge rich world where a vast range of products from all over the world are available.
One huge advantage of online is that it is global. If you live in Uruguay, Botswana, Macau or Lichtenstein you have exactly the same access to goods, services and knowledge.
This list is not meant to be in any way definitive. In fact I have left off lots of “me too” men’s grooming suppliers. But it is a good start to exploring the amazing diversity of the real shaving world. And it enables you to get your hands on some truly amazing products.
SafetyRazors.co.uk modern and vintage shaving equipment.
The English shaving company. For Edwin Jagger and much more.
The gentleman’s shop. All sorts of stuff. Currently selling original Somerset Simpson’s shaving brushes.
Connaught shaving. Excellent range of real shaving swag. Good for razor blade sample packs.
Shaving Shack. Another huge range of everything for real shaving.
Diamond Edge. Excellent for Simpsons and Vulfix shaving brushes.
Carter and Bond. Huge range of grooming brands.
Badger and hone. New UK online retailer with good range.
BarberBlades.co.uk. Very low priced barber’s supplies. 200 DE blades for £6.
The Dutch Shaving Shop. Lots of difficult to get hold of European stuff. Fascinating to browse. In English.
TuttoItaliaOnline. Dutch vendor with lots of Italian shaving products. In Dutch.
Irish Barber. A huge range.
Shaving.ie. Another impressive range.
New Forest Brushes. Niche shaving brush specialist.
Nanny’s Silly Soap Company. Artisan shaving soaps and creams.
Gifts and Care. Lots of good Spanish stuff. Horse hair brushes.
Vintage Scent. More exotic European swag. Semogue brushes. La Toja soap. And much more.
St James’s gentlemen’s grooming shop’s websites.
Taylors of Old Bond Street (TOBS).
D R Harris.
Czech & Speake.
And in America
West Coast Shaving. Huge range of everything for real shaving. Blade sample packs.
BullGoose shaving supplies. Another huge range with blade sample packs.
The Gentlemen’s Quarter. Artisan soaps, creams and much more.
Vintage Blades. Cut-throat razor oriented. But lots of other stuff.
Superlather.com. European products in America.
Mama Bear’s Soaps. Artisan soaps.
Bob’s Razor Works. Artisan brushes and razors.
Real shaving is badly served by forums. Like a religion most are the result of schism after arguments. Some have hidden agendas and delete anything that doesn’t conform, others are the playpens of cliques. Many of the key people in the real shaving world today are banned from one or more forums for totally spurious reasons. Many of the very best vendors, some of whom you will find on here, are banned from forums with disingenuous and misleading reasons given for the ban.
There are much, much more resources out there, this is just picking the low hanging fruit, so if you want to know more use Google and browse.
If you want to buy blades then they are so cheap that it is best to buy them by the hundred from some of the above suppliers, Amazon or eBay.
July 8th, 2010 — Shaving soaps and creams, Shopping for good stuff
Now I know that I said I didn’t need any more shaving soaps and creams, but a journey that went straight past T K Maxx was more than a little tempting and held the potential for a blog article as well. They are a retailer that sells off expensive brands cheap and they have a cosmetics and grooming section so there was plenty of potential there.
The first find was two different shaving creams from St James of London in 150ml glass jars and a fancy box. These were reduced from £14 (which is the price on Amazon) to £5.99 and the choice was Cedarwood and Clarysage or Mandarin and Patchouli, I chose the latter as it promised to be the more interesting experience. A bit of research tells me they are an own brand of Creightons plc, who make many of the creams sold in the top men’s grooming shops in London. So it should be good stuff. The big fly in this particular cream is that I was too stupid to see that it is brushless, so less than ideal. Another fly is that it is £5.95 on Creightons own website.
Next up was 200ml of Pecksniffs Otriental shaving soap, in even fancier packaging, at £7.99, reduced from £20. So Pecksniffs are an upmarket Brighton fragrance house. On their website they don’t have shaving soap, just shaving cream at £20 for 200ml. As soap is more expensive than cream this definitely begins to look like a winner, let’s see how it shaves.
The third discovery was a very dark blue plastic pot just like Cella and Proraso come in, so this was maybe an Italian shaving soap. However it was covered in T K Maxx price stickers so it was difficult to tell. But at £2.99 it was worth the risk. Back home, with the labels removed it turns out to be a 150 ml pot of Bottega Verde Crema Da Barba, with coconut oil and cocoa butter. A quick trip to their website shows them to be a mid market cosmetic company, but there is no sign of any Crema Da Barba. So off to their Italian website and there it is. For 2.99 Euros.
This little trip just shows some of the fun and adventure to be had when you escape the walled garden of the big global shaving companies and when you move away from the aerosol foams and gels that are on every supermarket shelf. And this adventure has a long time to run, I have yet to actually use these three purchases.
July 7th, 2010 — Shopping for good stuff
One of the highest points of real shaving is the area of St James’s in London and the very long established gentleman’s barbers/ mens cosmetic retailers that are clustered there and the surrounding area. They are famous around the world and are the male grooming equivalent of Armani, Versace etc
Most famous are the three Ts, or 3Ts of Trumpers, Taylors of Bond Street (TOBS), who are in Jermyn Street, and Truefitt & Hill. Their small shops hide big businesses that create luxury goods sold worldwide and which are the backbone of the real shaving movement.
Everything that these three firms make is analysed in the minutest detail on the shaving forums. And they do make some amazing products. Trumpers Coconut Oil Shaving Cream and their Coral Skin Food for instance are regarded as being amongst the finest shaving products in the world. And they are very cheap. Whilst the initial purchase price is higher than for supermarket aerosol gels, they last so much longer that in cost per shave terms they are a bargain. An almond sized lump of quality shave cream is ample for a three pass daily shave, for instance.
Two of these companies do sample bags that you can buy over the interweb. These are very cheap and great fun and just perfect for travelling.
The Trumpers sample pack is just £5 with no P&P, it comes in a nice cloth drawstring bag. The contents are supposedly: 6 x Cologne sample vials (fragrances vary), 4 x Shaving Cream Samples, 2 x 8ml Skin Food Samples. In addition they sent me a bath and shower cream sample.
The Truefitt and Hill samples also come in a nice drawstring bag. They are £6 + P&P and include: Ultimate Comfort Aftershave Balm, 1805 Shaving Cream, 1805 Aftershave Balm, Trafalgar Shaving Cream, Trafalgar Aftershave Balm, West Indian Limes Shaving Cream, West Indian Limes Aftershave Balm, Grafton Shaving Cream, Grafton Aftershave Balm, Lavender Shaving Cream, Almond Shaving Cream.
The three Ts are not the end of the London heritage in quality shaving. There are several more very well established companies.
D R Harris are over 200 years old and supply Prince Charles.
They are at 29 St James’s Street.
Czech and Speake are in Jermyn Street.
Their sample are just £2.50 +P&P which is very generous.
A Maitland & Co are in Piccadilly. They come from a chemist background. And they don’t have their own website!
Floris are a ladies’ perfumery. But they also sell very highly rated men’s toiletries.
Penhaligon’s are also a perfumery who make a range of gentleman’s grooming products. They have several shops.
So they are all very close to each other, within walking distance. You can buy some amazingly luxurious products. And still be paying less per shave than using supermarket aerosols.