Message Of The Day

Sun, 26 Mar 2006

21:06 [zork(~/nick/shave)] cat pre-shave.txt

Proraso Pre-Shave Cream

Okay, so I hit the shavegeek forums every couple of months just to see if they've come up with anything interesting beyond "OMFG TEH BURBLE SOAP IS LESS SANDALWOODY THAN THE GURBLE SOAP I H8 U". And a couple weeks ago they were all abuzz about the famed Proraso brand Italian shave soap being carried in Target of all places.

Proraso Shaving Soap

I used to troll Italian import places in North Beach who laughed at me to my face for asking about this stuff: "Oh, you'll never find that around here!" It's an anomaly in shavegeek accoutrements. All the ingredients say wrong wrong wrong: it's mentholated, confabulated, and extracted and yet it is somehow a formula that wins real fans. If you thought the Nancy Boy altoid effect was strong, well Proraso's menthol and eucalyptus is like having the Halls of mentho-lyptus all over your face.

So I wrote to Pedro because there was a big fight on the forums about the US formula. Supposedly the ingredients list for the Target stuff doesn't match the imported stuff. Lots of European shaving cream manufacturers have been reformulating to meet with European Union FDA-type regulations, but we don't really know why they chose to do this. However, the rundown of all those threads is that the one change they made was: ditch Lanolin and replace it with sodium borate.

This was good news, since Uncle Pedro is allergic to lanolin. It probably also makes Proraso a vegan formula, which could be handy for lots of other folks.

So I shaved with Proraso shaving soap a few times, and it really felt as though my face were going tingly-numb. It has a strong medicated feel to it, and I think that I got a little careless as a result. The shave I ended up with was rough and overscraped, and I really couldn't tell how brutally I was working myself over with this anæsthetic stuff on.

Now, it's probably fantastic stuff for the summer. The cooling effect would be such a great thing on a hot day that I'd probably dab the stuff behind my ears and along my neck for relief from the heat. But I think I'll leave my little $4 tub of the shaving soap alone for now.

Proraso Pre-Shave Cream

However, lots of shavegeeks rambled and raved about the pre-shave cream. Some folks groused that it was no better than a "proper prep" (which I assume means seven minutes of hot towels and a deep-tissue massage), but others swore by it. So I figured what the heck and went back to Target to get a jar.

So this morning I put the stuff on under a layer of Taylor's avocado, and did a quick shave with a four-day-old blade that had already been giving me grief. It's possible that I just mixed the lather a little richer than usual, but the shave was flawless. The metholated cooling was more muted than when I used the proraso soap, but I still felt like my face was a little tingly-numb. Still, I emerged baby's arse smooth without so much as a single bump.

I'll definitely try a bottle of Nancy Boy pre-shave oil to compare, but I think this category of goo may be the next big thing for me in blowing petty cash on vanity grooming products.

06:10 [zork(~/nick/shave)] cat shaving-ads.txt

Shaving Ads 1914-1953


Someone in one of the shavegeek forums discovered an archive of advertisements on the Web, and pointed out the collection of shaving product ads.

They cover both world wars, and it seems interesting that in the earlier images they seem to really be hawking shaving sticks. In one of the earliest entries, however, The Conversion of Mister Prejudice, they show someone applying it to his face and lathering against his chin with his brush. I've never used a stick, but I always thought it was supposed to be brushless.

Lots of brushless creams show up in the post-WWII entries, and powders seemed big in the 20s. I have no idea how good any of these shaving products were, but the brands represented really are terrible nowadays. Barbasol is really the industrial foam goo of last resort.

As always, implications of getting laid by being smooth-shaven abound.

And of course, you can't have a collection of old shaving ads without a few Burma Shave rhymes.

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