My Wednesday shave was pretty disappointing…I had to take a day off to let the irritation calm down (I haven’t seen those red bumps in quite a long time). But, was it the lather….or was it the Balaka blade? Since I have quite a fondness for carbon steel blades, I decided to give the Balaka another chance before relegating it to “the heap”…but this time with a known excellent lather, used with a “Methodish” approach. The “slag” came from Le Cube by Mauris Fabre, while the “cutting paste” was built up from C. R. Salter’s magnificent French Vetiver shave cream. Prep was with Le Cube as shampoo, face wash, and body wash as well. This combination was used very successfully several times over the last few weeks, so if it failed today, it must be the blade.
The earthy smell of the French Vetiver goes really well with the even-earthier smell of the olive oil in Le Cube. A superb cutting mix was produced…full bodied and wet (whoa, this is a family blog!). Then it came time to bring razor and blade to my quivering epidermis.
DISASTER! I haven’t had a shave this bad since I first used my deceased father’s Gillette razor with the same blade from before he died 10 years earlier…and which my mother had used to shave her legs all those years in-between! The Balaka tugged and pulled at every follicle…in fact, it did everything except cut the beard. At one point, I swear, I felt like it actually added thickness to my beard (I thought of using it on my bald pate to see if it might add some hair there!). Five passes later….my face felt like it normally does 24 hours after shaving! This is the first time I’ve actually thrown a pack of blades in the garbage…I’m usually very sensitive to the realities of YMMV and pass on my not-so-great blades to fellow shavegeeks like Mr. Italo, who frequently rave about how good the blades are for them. But not this time. After the fifth pass, I started looking at my son’s Fusion (yes, the shoemaker’s children have no shoes!) actually contemplating using it for a 6th and final touch-up pass. The fact that he only changes blades once every 3 months quickly quashed that idea however! Overall a 4.0 shave – the worst in years – and with loads of irritation and stubble to boot!
Finish (mercifully) was with The GR and a shot of Aqua Velva.