Razor: Merkur Futur, Ming Shi 2000
Blade: Astra Green
Brush: Rubberset Cashmere Synthetic
Soap: Proraso White
Aftershave: Barbedeaux Aftershave Lotion
Other: Proraso White Pre-shave

I had my first ball practice of the year yesterday.  It was nice to get back on the diamond but the sun, wind and dust reeked havoc on my skin.  I wanted to use something that would be a little easier on the skin and cooled the wind burn I got on the face.  Oh the joys of living in the prairies where the seasons are Cold, Wet, Wind, Wet/Wind/Leaf, Snow.  (not always in that order and can last anywhere from 1 hour to six months).

I grabbed the Proraso white today.  I picked up a few Proraso products of late as our local Winners has been blowing some out.  This formula is described as the sensitive and easily irritated cream, so that seemed to fit the bill.  The pre-shave also has a nice kick of menthol so that also fit right in.  Scent on this is a minty oatmeal scent with the slightest hint of citrus.  I mostly get that minty menthol note coming through.  I wish it was possible to get the chill of menthol without the scent because I find anything in the mind profile always overpowers to me.  I’m really digging the Proraso preshave, I find it always makes a difference, transforming that first and second pass into a smoother experience.  If I could get the performance of this one (with the exact amount of menthol which is perfect for me) without and scent, I’d use it every shave.

For the razor today, I opted for a shave off.  I got this Merkur on loan from JB (Distorted Edge) so I could compare it with the Ming Shi knock off I have.  Instead of doing one side of the face vs the other, I opted to switch back and forth while shaving to give it the best comparison I could.  Both had a brand new Astra Green for an accurate compare.  A few things off the top: the Merkur is heaver (almost 40g heavier), has a better finish quality, has etched numbers in the handle vs screened on numbers, and the handle diameter is a touch wider.  Price point, obviously the knock off wins by a mile.  The Merkur will hold up longer, but I wouldn’t say the Ming Shi feels cheap either.  I’ve used cheap knock offs and in this case, the build quality is pretty good.

For the shave, they shave a quite similar.  The Merkur is a tad more aggressive on the same settings.  I used the Merkur on a 3 and moved the Ming Shi to a 4 to get a similar aggression.  I did dial it up in the second pass and found that +1 was pretty consistent with the Ming Shi always needing a touch higher level to get the equivalent aggression.  The Merkur definitely benefited from the weight as I found it smoother at the same aggression level.  I think the added weight just makes the razor glide better when not applying any pressure.  If I had both razors, I’d always pick up the Merkur.  But if I was making the investment, I’m not sure the Merkur is worth the extra $$.  If I loved the razor, yes, but I’m not a huge fan of either razor to be honest.  The feedback is cool, but the grip isn’t the greatest and the head is massive making navigation under the nose a pain.  If you are on the fence, get the Ming Shi to try out and if you like the profile and how it shaves, upgrade to the Merkur.  What I can say is that upon finishing the 3 pass shave I was incredibly smooth with no nicks or cuts.  They both performed really well.

To finish of I grabbed this sample of Barbedeaux I was given (last minute decision so it didn’t make the photo).  I had heard great things and given the shape my skin is in, I figured it was worth a try.  First impression, the smell is awful.  There is a chemically strong smell with a bit of an orange peel thing going at the top.  Very unpleasant.  But once applied I can see why people are raving about it.  My skin instantly felt better.  No burn and I could feel that moisturising effect right away, a very nice finish.  Luckily the scent left very quickly.  This wouldn’t be in my regular rotation but for days such as these, it would sure be nice to carry in the den.  If they could keep the same performance and fix the scent this would be in everyone’s den.

So there you have it, a great shave to start this lazy Sunday.  I have a sick little dude in the house and my wife is off working, so I expect it to be a lazy Sunday of watching TV and playing video games.  A perfect boys day.  Have a great one all!