Kent BK8 Silvertip Badger Shaving Brush Review

Posted by the dood on Tuesday, September 9th, 2014

Kent BK8 Silvertip Badger Shaving Brush
Specs:
Hair Type: Silvertip Badger
Knot Size: 27mm
Loft: 55mm
Handle Height: 55mm
Total Height: 110mm
MSRP: ~$150USD

The BK8 is a legendary shaving brush made by Kent Brushes, an old English company dating back to 1777. The BK8 is a large and luxurious brush, well-packed with soft silvertip badger hair. Kent Brushes holds a Royal warrant as well, as evidenced by the coat-of-arms on the handle.

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It comes packed in the trademark red cylindrical packaging that all Kent shaving brushes come in, with the red felt lined interior. Here it is in full bloom, the photo taken right after the first wetting. I cleaned it with some Proraso to break it in and it had less funky smell than most other brushes that I have owned.

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I wanted to get a brand new pre-use shot, because there is something about a brand new brush when the hair is all tight together. It looks so neat and tidy. The brush will never look like this again!

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A nice shot of the logo, and the Royal Warrant, “By appointment to her majesty the Queen”. Kent indeed makes some very fine brushes, for both shaving and for your hair. The handle is unique to Kent for the most part, with none of the other major shaving brush companies making a similar handle. Its also just about the most comfortable bowl lathering handle on the market!

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There the top down shot, to give you an idea of the density. Its a very well packed brush, but because it is fairly lofty, it doesn’t have that solid block-of-hair feeling that you’d get from something like a chubby. The brush nicely splays when you are swirling it on your face, and feels absolutely fantastic. Very soft, though not as soft as the softest out there – no hooked tips on this one.

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Here is a nice shot with a good swirl of shaving cream on it ready to go. The brush is quite dense, and is probably one of the best bowl and cream lathering brushes on the market. If you’re a bowl and cream guy, this is one of the best choices out there. I find that it has a similar feel to a Simpsons Colonel 2XL, but at twice the size. The hair is not too scrubby, and is moderately thick, not too fine and certainly not fragile. The brush ranges in price from $120 to about $210 depending on where you buy it. The best deals to be had are from the UK direct.

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There she is whipping up a big bowl of lather. The brush has fantastic flow-through, and this is partly because its on the “floppy” side of the spectrum. Many serious soap and face latherers would find the Kent BK8 a bit floppy and messy. Its a big brush and it covers a lot of area when you’re brushing your face, so it does lack the precision. However, so does chubby 3 but I don’t see anyone complaining about that brush!

All-in-all, the BK8 is a big luxurious brush that does a great job with anything you throw at it, but really excels at bowl lathering creams. Its quite well-packed, but because of its floppiness it has excellent flow-through and lathers really easily. Overall I would highly recommend this brush to those that are looking for something like this. Its a good buy at what you can get it from direct from the UK.

Kent BK8 Silvertip Badger Shaving Brush Specs and Rating:

Handle Comfort: 9
Uncomfortable Comfortable
Soap Performance: 6
Poor Excellent
Cream Performance: 10
Poor Excellent
Bowl Lathering: 9
Poor Excellent
Face Lathering: 7
Poor Excellent
Softness: 8
Scratchy Soft
Backbone: 4
Floppy Strong
Scrub: 2
Gentle Scrubby
Density: 7
Sparse Dense
Hair Thickness: 6
Thin Thick
Flow-Through: 9
Lather Hog Lather Giver
Value: 8
Rip-Off Steal
Overall: 8
Mediocre Excellent
 
 

Dermalogica Close Shave Oil Review

Posted by the dood on Friday, August 22nd, 2014

Dermalogica Close Shave Oil
Product: Shaving Oil
Size: 30ml/1oz
Price: $20.00

Dermalogica Close Shave Oil is a shaving cream/soap replacement that allows you to see your face while shaving. It is essentially silicone mixed with essential oils to give it some scent. The silicone makes it very slick, and the product does work, but there are some problems especially if you are using it over a longer period of time.

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It comes in a box, with a metal bottle, with a plastic screw-top lid, and inside is a reducer to control the output of the oil. It works okay as a pre-shave oil, but for DE razors, it just doesn’t work that well. Not only that, but I found that using this stuff makes the hairs stick to the insides of my razors and is very hard to get it out. The silicone also has questionable effects on the skin since silicone is know to clog pores.

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The scent really isn’t all that great, not particularly strong, but not particularly good either. Overall, its a mediocre product that I would not recommend. I would much prefer a product like Origins Blade Runner if you wanted a non-foaming clear-ish shaving cream replacement.

Here are the ingredients:
Dimethicone, Cyclomethicone, Amodimethicone, Dimethiconol, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Oil, Ocimum Basilicum (Basil) Oil, Cananga Odorata (Ylang-Ylang) Flower Oil, Pinus Palustris (Pine) Oil, Thymus Vulgaris (Thyme) Oil, Eugenia Caryophyllus (Clove) Flower Oil, Pogostemon Cablin Oil, Cedrus Atlantica (Cedarwood) Bark Oil, Melaleuca Leucadendron Cajaput Oil, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Camphor, Limonene, Linalool

Scent: 5/10
Performance: 3/10
Packaging: 7/10
Value: 5/10
Overall: 5/10

TGN Silvertip Badger Shaving Brush Knot Macro Photo Analysis

Posted by the dood on Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

Its always interesting to see the variation that we find in the different types of TGN (The Golden Nib) knots out there, especially with so many different types sharing so many similar names and descriptions on the TGN site. In addition to The Golden Nib Badger Knot reviews I have written, which I feel are some of the most in-depth comparisons of the TGN knot line, I felt that it would be useful for you guys to see what the Badger knot hairs are like close-up. This will be useful in seeing which ones have the desired “gel-like tip” qualities and also which ones have thicker hair shafts creating more backbone.

1. TGN Silvertip Grade A
First one we have here is the TGN Silvertip Grade A. As you can see, lots of hooked tips, which contribute to this knots gel-like tips. The hairs are very fine.

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2. TGN Super Silvertip Badger
Next up is the Super Silvertip Badger, which is also a very good knot. You’ll notice some, but less hooked tips than the Grade A. It has some VERY fine tips on some of the hairs, which you might notice have split. This is not necessarily a good thing like it is on Boar brushes as it means the hair tip will break eventually and lose softness.

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3. TGN Silvertip Premium
Hooked tips Galore! The Silvertip Premium is the softest TGN Knot I have owned. I have not tried High Mountain White yet, so keep that in mind. This is an incredibly dense and soft brush, with very luxurious gel-like tips. Initially I had indicated that the Silvertip Grade A had the finest hairs of the TGN Brushes I tried, but I am starting to think the Premium may actually have some that are finer. It seems to have a mixture of finer and thicker hairs.

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4. TGN Super Badger
While it is not listed in their Silvertip section, it is a treated silvertip badger knot. I think its a great knot and has great face feel. A bit springier than I like, but still very nice. As you can see, not a lot of hooked tips, and it doesn’t gel. It is a great knot, however and is very well packed.

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So I hope you enjoyed the TGN Silvertip Knot photos, and found them helpful in your continuing search for the perfect shaving brush. I always find it interesting to see what the hairs look like up close and how they differ. TGN Knots have also been known to not be always consistent, especially the Finest knots. The Silvertips seem to be relatively consistent for me over the course of the last two years.

Fitjar East Indies Shaving Cream

Posted by the dood on Wednesday, June 18th, 2014

Fitjar East Indies Shaving Cream
Product: Shaving Cream
Size: 175ml
Origin: Hand Made in Norway
Street Price: $30.00US
Price Per ml: $0.17

Fitjar is a premium shaving cream product that is hand made in Fitjar, Norway – the cream’s namesake. It comes in a white plastic jar with an embossed aluminum lid featuring the Fitjar logo. At 17 cents a ml, it is on the pricier side, but not as pricey as the most expensive of the shaving creams. But since the stuff has to ship from Norway, it can cost a pretty penny overall if you’re in North America.

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The cream has a fairly soft consistency, similar to Proraso cream, but in a tub. It also has that metallic sheen to it, though not quite as much as Edwin Jagger. The scent is called East Indies, and smells like a blend of Rose, and some other herbal spices. I even detect a hint of bay leaves, though quite subtle. Rose is definitely the dominant scent here.

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An easy swirl with the shave brush and I start whipping up the lather. This cream lathers like a champ, just as easy as the other popular creams out there, though doesn’t need quite as much water as some. This stuff has a fair bit of water content in it already. I’m using my Joris re-knot brush with the TGN Finest fan knot in it. Its a fantastic brush and an efficient latherer and whips this Fitjar into rich, slick lather in no time.

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This stuff lathers easily, and really moisturizes the skin. I would say that Fitjar is one of those most moisturizing shaving creams I have used, and also quite slick. I do find that you need to be careful with the water on this one. Don’t add too much or you will get quite a bit of froth in your cream.. too much for my tastes. I also found that while I used a scuttle with texture on the bottom to lather this cream, I prefer it in a smooth bowl or face lathered as it froths up very easily. I would rather have that slick yogurt-like lather than the frothy stuff.

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Overall a superb soap that if you can snag it without huge shipping costs is a very decent value. The tub is a decent size and it has a very nice and strong scent. The shaving soaps do not have quite as strong a scent, but the creams seem to be quite fragrant. The fact that it is a small-batch handmade product, from a little town in Norway gives the product some charm. While the East Indies scent is very unique, the performance of the product is not. If you’re just a no-nonsense guy looking for a good product, you will not see the value in Fitjar – stick to Tobs and Proraso. If you want some unique scents with some interesting history, then this might be the cream for you.

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Ingredients: Potassium stearate, Potassium cocoate, Glycerine, Olea europea, Essential oils

Scent: 8/10

Lather: 9/10

Cushion: 7/10

Glide: 8/10

Moisturizing: 9/10

Packaging: 7/10

Value: 8/10

Overall: 8/10

Associated Products Used in This Review: Joris Re-Knot TGN Finest Brush, Shaving Bowl.

Above the Tie ATT Atlas M2 DE Safety Razor Review

Posted by the dood on Tuesday, May 13th, 2014

Above the Tie ATT Atlas M2 DE Safety Razor Review
Price (At Time of Review): $185
Handle: 303 Grade Stainless Steel
Head and Base Plate: 303 Grade Stainless Steel
Weight: 56g (Handle), 94g (Total)
Length: 3″ (Handle), 3.25″ (Total)
Made in USA

Above the Tie Razors are produced in the USA by Above the Tie, or ATT for short. They are precision crafted, high tolerance machined stainless steel Razors that perform among the best available. Available in several configurations, they are perhaps the most versatile stainless steel razor on the market, with 6 different head configurations available and three different handle styles available, not including all the aftermarket choices out there.

The model I am reviewing is the M2, which is the Mild Open-Comb version of the razor. It is definitely a mild razor, but with an open comb twist. My biggest qualm with this open comb design is that it traps a lot of stubble and shaving cream between the blade and the base plate where you can’t see it, so it really must be disassembled and cleaned between each shave if you’re as anal as I.

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The back of the base plate is machined with “Made in USA” and “Above the Tie” followed by the year of manufacture, which in this case is 2013 even though I purchased it this year (2014). I have seen some 2014 manufacture base plates recently, though I don’t believe there is any difference. It also has the head model (M2) machined on it.

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This ATT is the Atlas handled version, which features the shorter bulldog style handle with the Barber Pole knurling. Overall finish on this razor is a satin finish, with a slight polish to it. The handle has a typical shape, with a thicker base, and a knob on the end, also featuring the same knurling.

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Here’s a closeup of the knurling on the handle, which shows some machining marks still, but is still quite well done. This is probably my favourite of all the the current handles out there that I have used. It measures 3″ long and weights 56 grams.

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The head is one of the more interesting parts of the Above the Tie razors, in that it has a fairly different shape/curve than just about every other DE razor out there. If you look closely, you will notice that the curve on the top of the head is more severe than a standard razor. I’m not sure how this affects the shave directly, but its an interesting design. The blade gap is only 0.25mm since this is the mild version. Blade gap more than doubles moving to the regular versions.

The ATT also has the heaviest base plate on the market, with a very solid ultra-thick construction. Very little material is removed from the base plate, putting its weight at 38g.

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The top of the razor head is smoothly satin finished, but better than the finish inside and on the back of the head, which is a rougher, manly-looking machined finish. As you can see, the razor head does not cover the sides of the razor blade, which was a bit of an oversight on ATT’s part. I think covered the sides would have given it a more polished look. The razor cuts very well and naturally, and is quite mild. Comparing it to the solid bar M1, it is similarly mild.

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Here is a shot of all the pieces, with the inside of the razor head visible. As you can see, the machining is a bit rougher here inside the head when you look at it, but it doesn’t take away from the precision of the razor, everything is fitted perfectly, and the razor shaves like a dream. Finishing on the base plate is a bit rough as well, but still presentable and has a cool manly machined looked.

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The construction is the typical 3-piece design, with the handle screwing into the top plate, securing the base plate between them. The precision is superb, and the feel and balance of the razor is excellent. Due to the heavier razor head design, the ATT razors take to heavy handles better than other razor heads I have found. Overall a superb razor that gives you tons of versatility in head choices, even though I am reviewing the milder M2 Mild Open Comb version here. The price point is very high, and puts it at the top of the stainless razor price range, if you’re not counting the PILS.

Above the Tie ATT Atlas DE Safety Razor Ratings:

Handle Comfort: 9
Uncomfortable Comfortable
Aggressiveness: 3
Mild Aggressive
Weight: 5
Light Heavy
Balance: 9
Unbalanced Balanced
Finish Quality: 7
Poor Excellent
Value: 4
Rip-Off Steal
Overall: 8
Mediocre Excellent