Posts from the ‘Wet Shaving Product Reviews’ Category

King Custom Shaving Brush

I received my King Custom shaving brush last night upon returning home from work.  I actually didn’t know what the package was,I had ordered it a month before.  King custom brushes are made to order, by a gentleman in Croatia who started out as a DE shaving enthusiast and went on from there.

His brushes are reasonably priced for handmade custom items and he includes shipping in the cost and keeps you informed via email or PM (via Badger & Blade forum if a member).

His products can be found here. He also restores DE and straight razors.

Here is the brush

bocote wood, 22 mm knot, 48mm loft.

I will test lather and prep this evening to remove any lingering badger smell, to be honest I don’t know if King has also washed out brush because it is actually pleasant smelling.  I guess I will find out when I get it wet this evening.

I will post lather and post bloom photos.


Truefitt & Hill 1805 shaving cream


This review is a little delayed in coming, as I tested this product prior to the creation of this blog.  I better get on with it though as I have already posted on the Truefitt & Hill sample pack.

I will begin with a bit of a spoiler.  This is one of two favorites of mine.  The other being the Geo F Trumpers Coconut oil shaving cream.

I was a little apprehensive upon ordering this fragrance.  I have read many reviews that had stated the lighter unoffensive nature of the sent.  I tend to lean towards the lighter fragrances due to my work in a medical office.  I was pleasantly surprised when my shaving cream arrived.  First, the black tub is a nice change and looks very classy next to all of my standard beige tubs.  Second, the smell was quite pleasant, I would describe it as a spicy floral aroma and not too strong.  Enough to where you can smell it on your face during and immediately following your shave, but dissipating over the next hour or two.

Here is the online product description  “Fresh and oceanic, 1805 has top notes of bergamot, mandarin and cardamom combined with a lavender, geranium and clary sage heart resting on a sandalwood, cedarwood and musk base. For normal skin.”  I do think it has a somewhat oceanic scent.  A light scent that is appealing to those not wanting the stronger perfume.  Now on to the shave.

The consistency allows for easy application to the tips of my brush, and as I face lather it whips into a rich thick cream.  I find the scent on the face to be pleasant and not overpowering when under the nose. The Shave itself was noteworthy.  This cream is very slick and has excellent glide for the razor, allowing for very close shave with little to no sensation of tugging or pulling.  In fact, this was so smooth that I had to alter my test of the Feather Stainless Steel Razor as the razor itself proved extremely smooth, I was unable to determine if I was actually cutting hair or sliding the head of the razor over my skin with no blade contact.

I will review the various fragrances in the Trufitt & Hill Sampler.

I have become a big fan of the TH 1805 shaving cream and will definitely keep a tub on hand in my permanent rotation.

Truefitt & Hill Sample pack

My sampler just arrived in the mail. I am a big fan of the TH shaving creams. 1805 scent being one of my favorites.

This sampler is a great value. At $8.95 with free shipping it is a great way to try the different fragrances without buying each product. (as you may well know, TH products are not inexpensive)

It arrives in a classy drawstring bag.

As stated at it does not include the 1805 and trafalgar balms. A bit of a disappointment, but the scents are at least available in the shave cream sample and there are other scents in the balms that will allow me to see if I like the balms prior to buying. Aftershave balms are amongst the most difficult products to discover personal gold. I sometimes believe there is even more difference of opinion here then there is for blades and creams/soaps among wet shavers.

I am excited and will begin reviewing products as I use them. I have just started reviewing the Feather all stainless DE razor and unfortunately I need to test this razor with a variety of creams. (I used a TH cream this morning prior to sample pack arriving 😦 ) so I will have to hold out for a little longer.

Feather Stainless Steel DE razor

I’ve just received my feather razor. I hope the razor is as fun to use as it was to open and unpack. 🙂 I will update as soon as I have had a chance to shave with it.

Attention to detail. Not a surprise with feather as I am used to their high quality blades. If I didn’t know better I would think that Steve Jobs may have been CEO of this company for a time as well. The attention to detail even in packaging is reminiscent of opening Apple product.


Here goes. I’ll let you open it with me.


I know this isn’t the most exciting photo but this is the box was in upon removing the outer sleeve. This is actually the back of the box which was facing the front of the white sleeve.


Ok. Here is the front, this is more like what I was expecting.


With every unfolding there is something to hold your interest yet heighten expectation of the product held within.


This is actually a very nice box with a tight fit, not something thrown together.


I am not a photographer and the picture doesn’t quite do justice. This was actually a very handsome presentation, more so in 3 dimensions than in this photograph, there is much depth in the actual presentation box.


This is the card that was between the box and the outer wrap.



The finish is immaculate. Has a very solid feel although a little light on top, but this may be due to the weighty feel of the handle. Don’t get me wrong though, It does feel very well balanced, just a little different than what I am used to.


Sorry for the lighting I had to cast a shadow over the razor to allow me to catch the inscription on the razor.

I have added a feather blade here so that I could show a little perspective on the gap and spacing. I must say I am a little concerned with the distance from the edge of the safety bar to the blade and the angle needed. Also a nice feature that I observe is that the blade is entirely encased at the edges. This does however leave a small gap at the edges where there is no blade edge present, I will have to see how this works around the nose. I am curious now about all the reviews and comments on this razor, not to mention a little concerned, considering the cost. I am just hoping it is not just a lot of hype for a name.

Summary of results: I am summarizing at the beginning, because this is a very long post and you can read on if you wish. This is an amazing razor. My new favorite, to the point that I have boxed up my Edwin Jagger DE89L and put it away, probably to be PIFed in the future. This razor gives such an unbelievably smooth shave, that I wasn’t even sure what to think for the first couple days of use. There is a slight learning curve as I found the shaving angle a bit steeper than I was used to, but this in itself can apply to almost any variations found between different makes or styles of razors. I also used it with a variety of creams with consistent results. With practice I was able to get consistent BBS or DF Shaves (again due to finding the right angle). It is beautifully made combining a very modern look with a classic design. Yes, it is expensive, but I really think it has cured me of RAD and I cannot foresee myself continually searching for the perfect razor, as I cannot imagine getting a better shave.

The shave is incredibly mild, but don’t confuse mild for a less close shave. Mild here is a statement indicating that it is very mild on the skin, very forgiving, with minimal (usually no) razor burn, even with against the grain passes along the neck.

There are a few negatives for this razor. It is so smooth you often do not feel any cutting, and will actually have to check to make sure you have cut hair on a pass (I have found myself repeatedly looking at the razor to verify the cut hair mixed in with the cream on the blade following a pass). If you have many razors and enjoy rotating your razor, this may end as others may seem exceedingly aggressive or rough on your skin. The issue that I am struggling with the most is the fact that I like to test various products and this razor is very forgiving and makes up for shortcoming in many cream, pre-shaves etc., providing consistently smooth shaves. (I stopped using alum to check for burn during the test because it proved useless) The up side to this is that you can probably get my with less expensive products to shave with to offset the cost of the razor if that is a concern.

In conclusion I love this razor. My hope is that with continued use I will be able to note the subtle differences with varying grades of products so that I may continue sampling and testing. Otherwise I fear that I may have to unbox the DE89 (a great razor by the way, in no means am I berating it) and use it as my control.

Keep an eye out on forum classifieds if you want, as mentioned above, some do not like the smooth mild nature of the razor and will put them up for sale. They go quickly.

On to the actual review.

Day 1: First shave with the new razor. I have been waiting to try this razor for awhile. See my shaving routine for my standardized shaving routine that I use for new product trials. I have opted to use Truefitt & Hill 1805 shaving cream, mainly because it is up for use in my rotation and because it is one of my favorites and I was in the mood. This cream is extremely slick and smooth shaving, and even though the reviews are very good for this razor, I tend to hold a little apprehension when trying new cutting devices on my face.

I don’t think I am using this right. That was my first impression anyways, I could not feel anything but the razors head on my neck. I can’t say that it was all because of the smoothness of the razor or the cream. The ideal angle on this razor is a little bit shallower than my Edwin Jagger DE 89L, so I was using mostly the head of the razor on the first pass with occasion forays into using the blade. After taking a few minutes playing with the head angle and determining what I was looking for, I was able to get some serious shaving done. It was a bit difficult. The shave was indeed so smooth that I had to listen to the hair being cut and watch for the path of shaving cream to be erased.

The Safety bar (visible in the last picture above) did give me some concern regarding it size, but this turned out to be an unwarranted concern. On the other hand, a surprising benefit is the ease to which the razor washes out soap and hair. There is no clogging happening here. I will try some more cloying creams in upcoming days to see how well this statement holds up.

All in all it was an excellent BBS shave. I made my usual 3 passes, but ended up doing 3 touch up passes instead of my usual 1. This was not a fault of the razor or the blade but more me playing with angles to achieve the closest, most comfortable shave I could. The Results were zero nicks. The conservative guard while allowing for a very mild but close shave is very protective. Even the depression between chin and lower lip that always proves difficult for me was a accomplished with ease. My neck as well went extremely close with no nicks. It was actually one of my closest neck shaves in recent memory. The real joy came with the wash and alum, not only did I get an extraordinary shave from this razor, but there was no razor burn. I felt as though the alum was a wasted step in my routine.

I am impressed by this razor. Feather has definitely went above and beyond in the design and construction of this razor. I will continue to review the razor through the week as I try and work through the learning curve. I will also use some different creams to see how it goes. As stated earlier the Truefitt & Hill is a great cream and can be forgiving of razors in its own regard.

Day 2: Same feather blade and same procedure used on day one. The only change was the Geo F Trumpers coconut shaving cream. First, let me note I was in error in my reporting day on day one regarding the angle. It appears the feather razor requires a greater angle not shallower angle.

I started on my neck. I still could not feel the cutting on my neck, and if it wasn’t for all the hair I could see being washed out into the sink I would have thought I was missing blade contact. On the rest of my face I did get a little feedback (mostly through sound) that I was cutting hair. In today’s shave I would say the most noticeable element was the fact that my neck did get an amazingly close shave. My cheeks and Jawline on the other hand seemed to require a little more attention that I am used to giving. Again the shave ended up being amazing, very smooth, I would probably say DFS as opposed to a BBS shave but I do believe the areas of my difficulty have more to do with my learning this razors sweet spot than from any actual deficiency in the razor.

The design of the safety bars is amazing. I shaved much more aggressively today to see how it would do. Again no nicks and was amazed at the smooth cut without irritation in my usual areas of sensitivity, Those being the area above my lip, between lip and chin and along the trachea of the neck. In fact, I actually bypassed the alum phase of the shave, because I could already tell there was no razor burn. Let’s see how it goes tomorrow. I have read in other postings that it is important in using this razor to use it long enough to learn the sweet spot. So far even without feeling I have the hang of this razor, I think it provides an amazing shave. More tomorrow.

Day 3: Today I opted to go with Taylor of Bonds Street avocado shaving cream. I have only used this once before, and must admit that it was not one of my favorite TOBS creams. I found it to be a bit rough with my EJ DE89. Well then, why not give it a try with the feather. First, I will say that I did get a little burning with this shaving cream, I believe this was actually the cream though. I visited Badger and Blade and found reference to others having this issue with certain TOBS flavors. The common remedy was to use less. In all fairness to TOBS I did use a bit more then usual, as in my testing of this razor I have been making a few extra passes, and when testing I don’t like to run out of lather. But enough of that more will come when I write up my review for that particular shaving cream.

I again began the shave on my neck, and once again I found no noticeable resistance. I did notice the razor leaving a cleaner path on my neck, so I believe I am getting the angle of use down a bit better. Along the cheeks I am still fiddling with the angle to get it just right. I also this is do to the fact my cheeks are the thinnest part of my beard, and often I simply do not hear it cutting. Three passes and 2 cleanup passes later I have a DFS smooth face. I still need a little work on getting the jawline, this is what prevents BBS smooth shave at this time, but again I believe this is due to my use of the razor as I seem to be getting slightly closer with each consecutive shave, even while doing less tough ups.

After the shave, I decided to go with the alum. As I mentioned above I was feeling some mild burning and wanted to check it out. I did have some mild razor burn along jaw where I was trying to dial in and smooth out the remnants. The other burn was high cheeks, this may have been due to the shaving cream issue mentioned above. I’ll have to watch for this with the other creams. I must admit as well that I have been adding a little more ATG passes that I usually never make, again the razor moves so smoothly that ATG does not seem to be as much an issue as with other razors I have used.

I will see how my face is doing tomorrow, I may take a day off so that there is no residual sensitivity that would affect results from future shaving. Even though this razor is regarded as being very mild, I have been shaving very aggressively with it. This is something I need to take into account when summarizing my overall evaluation. So far, I must say I really love this razor.

Day 4 Shaving cream of the day was the D. R. Harris Rose. This was best shave yet. I would say learning curve completed today. Started out at the right angle and had a quick smooth shave. Very smooth but could see the hair on the blade following passes. Follow up touches were easier. Hardest part for me today was along the Jaw line, but I am still amazed at the closeness I get on the neck, Because there is no irritation with the blade I can actually shave against the grain here and get really smooth. The difficulty along the jaw is still me getting my angle of attack dialed in.

Day 5 A repeat of day 4 but with Castle Forbes Lime shaving cream. Great shave off the bat, getting the hang of the jawline but still the hardest part for me so far.

Day 6 Still on the original blade and back to the Truefitt & Hill 1805. I was able to score my first nick if that is what I can call it. I wouldn’t even say it was the fault of the blade or the razor even though I usually retire my blades at 5 shaves. The shaving has been so mild, that I have purposely been increasing the aggressiveness of my shave. I have been going much faster than I usually do and the nick occurred over my adam’s apple where I hadn’t even bothered to stretch or tug the skin over, so yes, I had that one coming, but even then it was so mild that it was gone with a splash of cold water.

Castle Forbes The Pre-Shave

Castle Forbes is known for some very amazing products. I have already posted a review of their amazing shaving cream, and will be writing one on their aftershave balm very soon. Castle Forbes  was built in 1815 and is often mentioned in the product description.  This really in reference to when this castle was built. The perfumery was established in 1996. I make mention this not to downplay the quality or effectiveness of their product, but more to aid in confusion that sometimes arises from this point. I have actually compiled this information from visiting a number of sites as I was only able to find snippets of the overall story on any individual site. The actual Castle Forbes site was actually quite interesting although they only have a small section on the actual perfumery Castle Forbes perfumery.(please feel free to investigate for yourselves, it is always possible that the writer is in error).

Now on to the review.

First, I must admit to any readers that I am a fan of Castle Forbes products (their shaving cream and aftershave balm are excellent) and I did have very high expectations of this product.  I am constantly looking for that great non-oil pre-shave.  To date, I haven’t found one that can quite match the lubrication that the oil provides, on the other I haven’t found any non oil pre-shaves that leave the residue or film on brush and sink that the oils do.

I will begin by summarizing some of the points that have been listed by some of the online retail outlets for this product.

“A Product that is not oil based, protects the skin, swells the hairs, allows the razor to smoothly glide across the face, bumps and imperfections. The Pre-Shave is left unscented because the real benefits are in the essential oils of the shaving cream and after shave. The ingredients are also to aid skin regeneration, soothe and have antiseptic properties.”

My initial intake of the product was to expectation. It arrived handsomely packaged, and with the heavy glass bottle and cap that always adds to the classic and classy appearance of my shaving station. As per product description the product was unscented and had a consistency that was much more fluid than the Castle Forbes aftershave balm.  My first use was following my usual routine (see post on my usual shaving routine, I will get all the links in soon). I used it with the Geo F Trumpers coconut shaving cream. I had a very smooth shave, although I did have an unexpected nick on a smooth patch of cheek. Overall I thought I had a pleasant shaving experience.   Without much thought the following day I used the product with Taylor of Bond street lemon-lime shaving cream. I could feel the blade dragging and pulling at my beard, and I ended the shave with several nicks and some unpleasant razor burn. I decided to give the Forbes pre-shave a break and retry later, maybe I had just shaved too aggressively the previous day.  This was one of my earlier  product tests and what I had failed to take into account was the G F Trumpers coconut shaving cream that is extremely smooth shaving on its own accord and gives me a great shave regardless of preshave.

Following the initial attempts I made all of my subsequent attempts with the Taylor of Bond Street shaving cream, which I regard as a good middle of the road shaving cream, and a very good shaving cream if we take into account cost.  This was in an attempt to isolate the effects of the pre-shave as I have found from personal use that the TOBS creams are more noticeably affected by the use of various pre-shaves while some of my top choice creams are not.  I will say in that due to my previous outstanding experiences with the Castle Forbes Products  I gave this one a lot more chances to shine or at least glimmer than I will normally give to a product I am testing.  I tried this thin and spread out, thick and applied multiple times throughout, every way that I could conceivably use a pre-shave.  Try as I might,  I could not manage to get a decent shave when using this product.

Conclusion:  As a pre-shave I can not see this product being worth the price or even a lot less.    I could not feel any noticeable benefit from the application of this product, quite to the contrary in fact, when using this product I actually perceived getting a worse shave.  Now there was also the stated benefit of  “aiding skin regeneration, soothing and having antiseptic properties” I found this reassuring, considering the added damage I felt after using it with a blade.  Now this may work well post shave, I did not use it in this fashion, as stated earlier I already use the Castle Forbes aftershave balm, and don’t see that I should need both.  The upside is this product does last a long time, even with the copious amounts I ended up using to try and ease the shave, I still have well over half of a bottle left.  In fact I am quite sorry that I can no longer justify my attempts at using it and will probably discard it (I’ll keep the bottle, it is very nice).  Castle Forbes makes great shaving cream and aftershaves, unfortunately I cannot state the same with this Pre-Shave.

That all being said, there are many reviews out there that state quite the contrary to my review.  I am not sure in what manner they used the product, but as with all things shaving, the results can vary greatly with the individual.  There was one product review that I read in which the reviewer stated the product worked so well that he could shave with it alone and forgo soap/cream.  Although the thought makes me cringe, I must say I am curious as how he came to that conclusion.

Castle Forbes lime essential oil shaving cream


The Castle Forbes Shaving creams have been on my list to try for some time now.  Following the product reviews on various sites, I have been looking forward to testing this cream with some anticipation.  As you may have noticed with much of my writing here, I do enjoy the history and style of many of the classic products as I feel they add a certain air of class and nostalgia to the art.  I did want to look a bit into the history of this manufacturer which I found to be a little confusing.  While I feel this does not affect the quality of the product it did spark my curiosity.  As posted in product description for this shaving cream, it describes this product as being spawned in 1815 by Lord Forbes after complaining of his sensitive skin, and makes mention of the family recipe.  According to the Castle Forbes site  the perfumery was established in 1996, but that castle Forbes was built in 1815 for Lord Forbes of Clan Forbes.  My assumption is that the current product manufacture dates from 1996 and possibly the shaving cream recipe is from the founder ~1815, although the 1815 date that continually pops up appears to just represent the actual building of the castle itself.

Enough!  Trivia aside and on to the product.

The Castle Forbes cream arrived in a modern, handsome looking box and tub, with hints of classic styling, I was impressed to see that at 200 ml, it was a little more tub than I am used to getting.  Upon opening I found to scent to be of much stronger lime than I have previously experienced with lime scented shaving creams, very pleasant but not overpoweringly sweet.  The Cream also had a very nice texture, thick but not slimy and dense but not hard packed.


The Manufacturer actually gave directions for use on the package, so I thought I will use it as they say rather than as I would in normal practice.  I purposely chose to use the minimal amount of soap that I thought would be fair based on the instruction, of course allowing for a retest under normal circumstances if the test proved poor results.  The fact that they were making the claim of less is more caused me to rise to the challeng.  I used the minimal amount I could to get a healthy lather for my first past.  It was indeed very creamy and offered a superb shave, minimal to no resistance with blade and beard, very smooth but without the slickness or slippery feeling of some creams (I don’t view that as detrimental just something I noted).  It did indeed feel very good.  As per instruction I needed to add a little water for my second pass.  Not exactly what I was expecting I was expecting a little more invigoration of the lather.  It was noticeably thinner on application of the second pass, but again the shave proved flawless and comfortable.  Third Pass, even thinner with mainly a thin white film coating my face, as I was unable to generate any more creamy lather.  This did not seem to affect the quality of the shave.  I had another very fine pass .  I was quite surprised, I was expecting a  nasty case of razor burn on the last past on one of my tough patches alongside the trachea of my neck.  This did not happen and it went smoothly again.  Lastly I squeezed out the remnants of my brush for touch up, and did get a healthy amount of thick lather from the bristles.

The After Shave:  My skin felt very nice, moist, smooth and refreshed.  I applied alum to feel for burn.  Slightest notice alongside trachea, but no worse than my favorite creams.  I must admit when using my favorites I do my touch up pass against the grain on my neck.  I felt comfortable enough with this cream on this test to do that.  If not, I doubt there would have been any burn.

As strong as the scent is at first notice it did not seem to linger long post shave.

Overall, I was very pleased.  I have even made room for this oversize tub in my permanent keeper drawer, I would say this is in my top 4 favorite creams.  I will note updates if I note a change in status or observation with subsequent use.

Form:  A

Consistency is easy to apply to brush.  Large surface area of tub may lead to unnecessary use of cream for brush dippers.

Function: A+

Excellent product that performs exceptionally well.  Use a little more cream than suggested and make the shave  into some real luxury time.

Style A

I do like the style of the product and how it does distinguish them from the rest of the market.  I had thought of downgrading the product to a B due to all the confusing information on many of the sellers websites.  I did not because the manufacturer does clearly state they have been manufacturing since 1996.

My Shaving Routine

The Items I list below are my default items while testing products not in that category.

To begin I will state that while  it may seem a bit extreme or formal for me to follow these steps with my daily shave, but I find it necessary.  First, I enjoy my morning ritual.  Second, It helps me when trying new products as I am able to substitute an item into any step for review.

1.  Start morning with hot shower.  First, soaking my face. Followed by applying my home made pre-shave oil to my beard.  I leave this on as I shower to moisten and soften the beard. (I will post the recipe I use)

2.  After shower, I wash face in sink with Musgo Real Glycerin Lime Oil Soap to remove the remaining shave oil but still moistening skin and hair with glycerin.  (Some ask why I remove the oil.  I do not like the residue it leaves on my brush and razor, yet I don’t skip the step because it feels to me that the previous step does make a difference.)

3.  I then apply a non oil based pre-shave usually Taylor of Old Bond Street Herbal Pre-shave Gel (I am still testing here, as I feel this may be my weakest link, but as of yet this is my preferred product.)

4. I then wet and warm my Kent BLK8 Traditional, Large, Pure Silver Tip Badger Shaving Brush and build up lather with shaving cream of choice.  (most of my changes are in this category, I have several I use regularly in rotation and am constantly trying new brands).

5.  I make three regular passes. With and Edwin Jagger DE89bl razor and Feather hi-stainless platinum blades.

First pass is with the grain.  Please take the time to determine the growth pattern of your beard, it is not the same on everyone.  (For years, I hated shaving my neck as my teacher/father told me to shave downward.  Well, guess what, the grain on my neck grows upward.  For 20+ years I dreaded shaving my neck, I never researched it because I had just assumed that I had sensitive skin.  It wasn’t until researching classic wet shaving that this point was clearly explained to me).

Second pass is across the grain. The first two passes are pretty consistent in what you find across most descriptions.

Third pass, Oblique pass.  This is the one that varies most with recommended techniques.  I am of the mind that against the grain is rough, no matter the equipment and prep (on my face) and the areas that don’t bother me to go against, I really don’t have to.  I prefer shaving  obliquely or at about a 45 degree angle between the across and against growth.  I find this allows me to get in that close pass without the irritation.

Lastly, touch up pass.  Usually squeeze out the last very rich and thick lather and applying by hand to the areas that could you a touch up or mild buff.

Keeping in mind that throughout the entire procedure let the razor do the work.  Weight of the razor just Guide and let the razor glide (guide and glide).  Most of the problems I have helped with have involved people using their double edged safety razors like they used their cartridge razors.  This only works to sell more styptic products and toilet paper.

6.  Warm water wash followed by cold water wash.

7.  Apply Alum (This step is usually used when trying new products so that I may gauge razor burn)

8.  Clean and return shaving articles to the proper place.

9.  Cold water face wash.

10.  Apply undiluted Geo F Trumper Limes skin food to towel dried face. (this is one step I cannot quite explain, I am still working on it.  It feels good to me and I notice if I leave this step out, so I just keep doing it. I will go into more detail when I write the review for the product.)

11.  Brush teeth while face absorbing skin food.

12.  Apply non alcohol aftershave.  Workdays Feather Kanwa (unscented) herbal aftershave balm or Taylor of Bond Street “shaving shop” aftershave gel.  On non work days  when I can splurge on the fragrance then, Castle Forbes Lime essential oil alcohol free aftershave balm.