Like many shaving hobbyists, over the years I’ve tried and rejected many shaving products and accessories as not right for my skin, beard, or face contours. I remove from my shaving drawer in the bathroom those not-for-me products that might someday be passed on to others, storing them in a box tucked up on a bedroom-closet shelf.
The worst of my rejects such as the $1-$2 Chinese 3-piece razors have gone into the waste bin, their razor heads having been judged irredeemable.
But for the keeper rejects, every so often I return to the box in my closet and re-evaluate some item so I can check that my opinion then is still my opinion now.
Most of the time my opinions haven’t changed; rejects remain rejects. But occasionally I’m pleasantly surprised that, while I wasn’t looking, a former reject, a lump of coal so to speak, has been transformed into a gem.
I’m sharing with you a few examples of these unsuspected transformations. I am not suggesting, however, that these same items will also be gems for you. I am merely reporting that on occasion, we ourselves change, and that will alter opinions previously formed. What rejected items, I wonder, might you have in your own equivalent of my box in the closet?
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A Ruby of a Razor
I’ve owned a couple dozen double-edge razors, probably more. For my own obviously personal reasons, I have my favorites, which of late have been limited to two adjustable instruments: the Parker Variant and the Weishi-designed-and-manufactured Gillette-Slim adaptation.
I value the Parker Variant for its quality and smooth-shaving character. I value my jet-black Weishi for its mildness. Its blade exposure is negative (the edge lies safely below the shave plane formed by the safety bar and top cap). Also, the blade-bar span can be made quite small, which offers literally new dimensions in adjustable-razor mildness.
But recently I pulled a trio of non-adjustable razors from their closet lodgings for a few shaves down memory lane. Of that group, one razor has left me with a happy new opinion. In my case this involved the economical Lord-brand LP1822L.
Some reject this razor because it’s too mild. Others because of the lightweight aluminum handle. Still others because the manufacture quality isn’t top drawer. I, myself, had rejected the razor because it was just a touch too aggressive for my skin and shaving technique.
Despite this razor’s negative blade exposure and relatively small blade-bar gap, it has a unique safety-bar cross section, which creates a rather long blade-bar span (the distance along the shave plane between the blade edge and the safety bar). This generous blade-bar span left me with the propensity to nick myself even despite the razor’s negative blade exposure.
However, apparently these days my shaving technique has evolved to a lighter touch (hosannah!), and I find the design of this Lord-brand razor with its L.6 head to be a pleasure to use — even with various brands of blades and in the full range of their life cycles.
Much to my surprise, I’m getting top-drawer shaves from this humble instrument. It has become my current daily driver.
Now, of course, this particular razor may not be your cup of tea. But maybe within your own razor inventory there’s a once-rejected sleeper just waiting for its second chance as a new favorite.
A Sapphire of a Shave Soap
I keep a small inventory of shave soaps in a refrigerator awaiting their eventual disposition. (They are refrigerated to slow down the unavoidable chemical reaction that eventually, over the years, transforms soaps into look-alike non-soaps.)
Included in this chillventory are some lather-booster soaps from Phoenix Artisan Accoutrements. I had previously dismissed these lather boosters as “eh.” However, one day on a whim I gave them a second shot.
I must have used enough of each soap this time around, and also invested an additional minute or two building lather, because the result was similar in character to rich foam from a can, but without the environmentally-unfriendly can and propellants. This lather booster has become part of my daily shaves ever since.
I have several bottles of alcohol-based aftershave lotion that I had rejected for reasons of harshness and bouquet.
These included Aqua Velva brand musk scent and some others that will remain nameless.
Some time ago I had a brainstorm to experiment with diluting the lotions with generic witch hazel at about one part lotion to four parts witch hazel. Oh, and I added some melted menthol crystals as well; as I said, I like menthol.
The result transformed rejects to regulars. I use all of these hybrid lotions in rotation.
What’s on Your Reject List?
So those are some of my once-rejected-now-accepted shaving products. I could name others, but I think the theme of my experience is adequately illustrated. The larger point is, of course, that I suspect you too might rediscover some shaving products that at one time didn’t fit the bill, but now, due to your evolution may be quite acceptable or even preferable.
It may be a fun exercise and well worth the effort to give formerly rejected shaving gear and accessories a second or even a third re-evaluation once in a while.
You never know when you might find a diamond buried in the coal bin.