Shaving oil

I just got back from a 3-week long vacation. After leaving QuadTech in May, and enjoying a bit of the summer, Susan and I decided to visit her family in Florida, and spend a little time at the beach, Disney and Sea World.

I like to travel and of course I like playing with travel gear. When traveling by car, there doesn’t seem to be much gear to play with. Space isn’t a concern, nor is weight. That’s what I’d thought but I can tell you it’s not really true. About the third time we unloaded the car I started thinking that traveling light is the way to go no matter how you get there. It’s not fun to haul three bags per person (yes, I got carried away!) in and out of the car each time you reach a new destination.

I digress. My electric shaver doesn’t take up an entire bag, but it does weigh a lot more that 3 disposable razors. Add a can of shaving cream, and it’s a wash. Besides, I’ve become an electric shaver over the years. Leaving the charging cord for my shaver at home changed the balance of power. While reading, I ran across King of Shaves shaving oil, and decided to give it a try. One bottle of oil supposedly lasts 100 shaves, and is very small.

KOS products are not very easy to find, but CVS does carry a few kinds of their oil and I bought the Alpha mentholated. I also picked up a pack of Gillette Good News disposable razors. I know, I know, they only have two blades and new razors have 3, 4 or even 5 blades. I decided to stick to what I’d used before.

First try: I had about 3-days of beard, and I knew I was in for some pain, but it actually wasn’t too bad. We were in a hotel and the light above the mirror was very dim, but I made do. I came away from it feeling like the oil was very subtle, if it was doing anything. After I rubbed the oil on, it was hard to tell I’d done anything. No smell to speak of, no slippery or greasy feeling. Good News razor have a lubrication strip that leaves a trail of very slippery stuff on your skin, so it was very hard to tell if it was the razor or the oil that was doing the lubricating. The menthol was also very subtle – I did not feel cool nor did I even smell it. However, I did not nick myself, which is remarkable considering how many years it had been since my last shave with a blade. One of the selling points of the oil is that without the foam it’s easier to see where you’re going, and there’s also a lot less to clean up. Not having to rinse a bunch of foam off is definitely worth it. Just pat dry, and I was done.

Second try: It was the next day, and the oil still seems very subtle. Two drops (the amount the instructions recommend) just isn’t very much, but I had the same results as the last time albeit with much less pain due to shorter whiskers. Overall, it was really quite pleasant.

Third try: Time to see what the oil really is doing. I started to shave without oil, just the razor. I even ran the razor backward over my skin to get the lubrication going. Ouch. The oil really was making it comfortable to shave. I could have kept going, but I decided to use the oil. I didn’t nick myself at all or even feel any irritation until I started going back over areas against the grain (something the shaving experts do not recommend) trying to get a closer shave.

So, will I ditch my electric shaver for blades? I dunno. I’ve ordered a few King of Shaves products to try out, but it’s just so much faster to go electric. For travel, however, I will take blades and KOS oil. Much less space, and no charging required.

[UPDATE] I tried going back to Edge Advanced Sensitive Skin. It was slipperier, but I felt irritation. After trying the Edge again, I went back to the oil during the same shave, and it was much more comfortable. I’m a bit confused, as I always thought slippery = good when it came to shaving cream, but the oil is less slippery-feeling but seems to make things work better. A single test is not exactly conclusive, however.

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