Razor: Gem Micromatic Nickle/Gold Open Comb
Blade: Gem PTFE SE Blade
Brush: Elvado Synthetic
Soap: Purely Skinful Handmade Essentials Temptation
Aftershave: Purely Skinful Handmade Essentials Temptation Balm
Other: Thirsty Badger Lather Bowl

Some new goodies to try yesterday.  I picked up a massive mail call from Linda at Purely Skinful Handmade Essentials.  We did a product trade so she could try out a couple of our products and I got to load up on some new soaps/balms and a few other assorted goodies.  I also received a couple Gem Micromatic razors on loan from JB at Distorted Edge to try out.  These are both Gem Micromatic razors but along with a different finish, there are also some other subtle differences.  I decided (after using both on their own a couple times) it would be a good day to do a compare of these.

First off the soap.  The scent on Temptation is bourbon, black coffee, chocolate, tobacco, banana and caramel.  Scent strength on this is medium and it amps up just a touch once lathered.  Linda’s soap base is a bit different to work with.  I don’t want to say complicated, as it gives a great lather, it just takes a few uses to figure it out since it is different than most soap bases I’ve worked with.  This soy wax base gives a very creamy, dense and stable but it does build a bit differently.  The base is quite firm so I find it loads best by blooming the soap (or pre-soak, if that is the term you prefer).  I add just enough water to cover the top of the soap and leave it soak while I do my prep.  When you come back to it the soap will have softened for easy loading.  You will then need to keep adding water as you lather as this is what I would consider to be a very thirsty soap.  Once you have it dialed in though, you are rewarded with a very slick (lathered and residual) lather that will give you a great 3 pass shave.  Post shave is fantastic as well.  I liked the scent, but I don’t think I love the scent.  We will see if it grows on me.  The coffee is definitely upfront, as is the sweetness from the chocolate and caramel.  The banana really comes thru as well.  The bourbon and tobacco are there but are quite soft and subtle.  A very unique pairing of scents for sure.

As for the razors, they shave very similar.  Both are super easy to load using a TTO mechanism to raise the cap.  Drop in the blade and tighten down.  Blade locks and aligns perfectly.  I love the design on these gem razors and how they lock a blade in place.  Both are efficient and a Gem SE gives a very different feel with the more solid blade.   The back spine on these SE blades gives it no flex and that rigidness just changes how the blade feels on the face.  Both razors I’d say are on the lighter side of the aggressive scale, with the gold one being slightly more aggressive.  Both would be welcome in the den, but I’d opt for the gold one for the slight aggressiveness increase.  If you don’t have a Gem in the Den, get one today.  The only knock I have on these vintage SEs is that blades are harder to come by and have much less variety.

I finished up the shave with the matching post shave balm.  Scent on this is on the lighter side of medium as well.  It won’t carry like a strong splash.  But it does give a fantastic feel.  Not thick, heavy or greasy.  It absorbed really well.  This is one of the tops in my den.  I’ll have to bug Linda about an unscented mentholated version…. I’d use that every shave in the summer.