Review: Shave Kit for the Road
As our launch date for our Big Trip approaches (less than 8 days!), I’m starting to finalize and pre-pack all my gear. I’ve assembled what I think will the be last iteration of my shaving kit.
It consists of a box with 40 blade edges (long, straight razor style blades), Pacific Shaving Company’s Nick Stick for the occasional bleeder, a Dovo Shavette, tube of Muscgo Real and half of a badger hair brush from The Art of Shaving.
I’m perhaps a minority in the touring community that actually likes to shave on occasion. For me, shaving with a straight has a bit of artistry and skill to it and I really enjoy it as a time to wind down from a long ride or crazy day. It’s a man-ritual that doesn’t involve belching, Coors and the Super Bowl.
The Dovo Shavette is a fine little blade holder that gives you the control of a straight razor in a small, lightweight (you don’t have to carry around a strop or sharpening stone) and inexpensive package. My initial feeling when I received it was that it was a cheapo toy, but after using it for well over a year, I’ve grown to respect it. With good technique you can get as close a shave with a proper straight razor.
Of course, the kind of blades you use make an ENORMOUS difference. Most drug store blades are crap and will turn your face into hamburger. If you go this route, I HIGHLY SUGGEST that you get your blades from ClassicShaving.com. For $7.99 you get package of 10 extra long blades (you snap them in two and put them in the holder – thus giving you 20 edges). I typically can get about 5 shaves from one edge. Shaving every three to five days, one package should last me a year! Compared to the $25 for MachXXX cartridges it’s a steal. The blades themselves are very high quality.
Typically the first shave with a new blade I have to be careful (super sharp). The 2nd – 4th shave the blade is still sharp enough to cut the hair effortlessly but blunt enough that I’m not carving up my face all the time. The 5th shave it still cuts but it starts to feel a bit rough.
As for shaving cream, I’ve tried a few brands. My favorite actually being The Body Shop house brand! Cheap, effortless to lather, takes little water and smells great. I’m trying out the Muscgo Real (can be purchased form Riv) and it is taking some getting use to. What you realize is that different creams require different amounts of water and different techniques with the brush (who knew it could be so complicated!). Most would call the smell of Muscgo Real to be “grassy”, I suppose if your grass smells like soap. Don’t get me wrong, it’s pleasant but fresh cut grass isn’t the first thing I would think of. To get a good lather you need about three peas worth of cream. It takes a bit more effort to whip up into a good shaving lather. It can also be applied directly to the face. I’ve been trying this out and it’s pretty satisfactory and will probably be what I do most of the time.
If you really want to cut down your shave kit you could just get a little bottle of the Pacific Shave Oil! With a few drops it super lubricates your face in an unreal way. I’m planning to get a little bottle once we’re in PDX.
The brush I’m bringing is half a brush. It’s an Art of Shaving brush that came with their “starter” kit. It’s badger hair (took about 6 shaves to get the badger smell out of it) and works pretty well as far as brushes go. The handle was plastic and eventually the adhesive that held the hair part to the handle part broke off after about a year of solid use. Instead of throwing it away, I thought it saved me a little room and a little weight.
So that’s the kit. Sure, I could cut it down but like I said, I enjoy shaving and think of it as one of those lost man-rituals in a world that is moving too fast.