Hiding in Plain Sight

Every day we who have been bitten by the Traditional Wet Shaving bug spend at least some portion of our day thinking (fantasizing) about shaving products and gear.  Sometimes it is simply in preparation for a daily shave, but many hours are spent fantasizing about that possible new piece of hardware or software we want to obtain.  For us shaving addicts hardware involves razors, brushes, mugs, bowls, scuttles, razor stands and many other trinkets related to shaving.  The types and flavors of software are almost endless - soaps, creams, splashes, blades, lotions, potions of both old and new types.

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Generally images of shaving gear we see posted in Shaves of the Day (SOTD) we call "shave porn".  It can include elements of software but generally it focuses on a razor, brush or various combinations thereof.  It's a male thing. We men are visual beasts and like looking at beautiful things.  We can't help it.

Acquisition Disorder, be it for razors, brushes, soaps, creams, after shaves, colognes, etc., etc., etc. is that unique disease of the traditional wet shaving enthusiast that turns what could be the most economical method of shaving into a money pit of a hobby.  Just like some men spend huge piles of money on classic cars, fast motorcycles, guns, or any number of the other possible male past times, traditional wet shavers, if they aren't careful can get in financial and marital/relationship trouble by spending too much money or time devoted to shaving.  The first few months, usually 6 to 12 months are the hardest, because everything is new and there are so many different combinations of products and gear that must be tried or "collected"...well, at least that's what we think.

A few years ago there were very few places to get ones daily fix of "shave porn" so traditional wet shavers created their own "Playboy Magazines of Shaving."  Facebook shaving groups and YouTube videos in addition to shave product vendors on the internet are common sources for getting a fix and soothing the itch.  Because there is a scarcity of traditional wet shaving products in most stores worldwide most traditional wet shavers are always on the look out for new products on store shelves.  Probably even more attention grabbing and disturbing to the shaving enthusiast is the disappearance of those few products they can find on a store shelf suddenly disappearing from a local brick and mortar shop in their community.

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Nevertheless, even though there isn't a wide array of products available, a common phenomenon is overlooking and being blind to some products that have always been on our shelves...actually for decades.  Due to their common and often inexpensive status we are blind to them, never considering them sources for new shave den acquisition and considering them "trash" products not worthy of our time or attention.  We may try some of the more unique products for nostalgia.  The products our father or grandfather used.  One such as Williams Mug Soap, Old Spice, Van Der Hagen Soap, Aqua Velva After Shave, Real Shave Cream, or Boots Products in the United Kingdom.

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For years I saw many cheap shave products on the store shelves but discounted them, never picking them up or trying them believing them to be sub par just because they were low cost and sold in discount stores.  Such things as razor blades often fall into this category.  In the US many stores have low price generic or store brand DE and SE razor blades.  Some of them are not of the quality of other blades that are available, but some aren't terrible either.  I found this out when I tried Best Choice Brand blades available from independent grocery stores who obtain products from Associated Wholesale Grocers http://www.awgbrands.com/.  In the Review section of this website I have posted my video review of Best Choice Razor Blades.  Pretty good blades and I could survive forever if they were all that was available.

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Then there are other products I overlooked for years.  Such products as Barbasol After Shave, Old Spice, Aqua Velva, Noxzema, Corn Huskers Lotion just to name a few.  They are available, inexpensive, and quite good. Some products like Corn Huskers or Noxzema we don't think of as shaving products, but back in the day, such common products that were kept in every household's bathroom cabinet were used when needed by men to assist in their shaves.  It was what was available and they worked. Obviously there's good reason many of these classic products have been around and almost always in stock on our grocery and department store shelves.  They are simply very good.  Yes, they are old school.  Modern and trendy?  Not by any stretch of the imagination.  Effective, trustworthy, and effective?  You bet!!!

Those of you in Europe and other parts of the world have similar types of products that are not the most luxurious and most fashionable but they are always available, quite cheap in price but rich in value.  These type of products we discount due to their familiarity and are ignored due to being relegated to the cheap seat section of our stores. But that doesn't mean they aren't well worth a try.  

In fact, today most of my shave den consists of these types of products.  Yes, I am drawn to these "cheap" products because I have limited funds available on a monthly basis to spend on new shave den hardware and software.  I am also willing to overlook some short comings these products may have that aren't found in more expensive products, because they cost less and usually aren't packaged and marketed in a manner that drives up the prices.  This enables me to view such products with an open eye, an unclouded eye, an unpropagandized eye of mass marketing and evaluate them for what they simply are...good quality, time tested shave worthy gear.  

If  you can get past the lure of glitz, trendiness, or new product sensation that contributes to the social status hurdles common with many of the things we feel compelled to purchase and use, then the generic and traditional brands...those used by our fathers and grandfather can have an honored position in your shave den.  We can feel proud to use them...nurture and cherish a connection to the past while ensuring, by our continued purchase and use, their continued existence on our store shelves and in the future remain in the lives of our children.

Try the old traditional, inexpensive products that you may have overlooked, forgotten, or shunned.  It could be that priceless treasure that has been hidden in plain sight.

Good Shaves, Be Happy, Be Safe.

Big John