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Thread: Why alum block vs. styptic pencil?

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    Default Why alum block vs. styptic pencil?

    Hello,
    Before getting to my question here is an update:
    I've done about six to 10 SR shaves now and am making progress. No more nicks or cuts but still haven't mastered the chin area. I need a DE to do that. But the DE gives me razor burn after the SR shave.

    What is the purpose of an alum block? Do I need it? If I get a cut I use a styptic pencil.

    Thanks for your help.

    July10newbie

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    'with that said' cudarunner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by July10newbie View Post
    Hello,
    Before getting to my question here is an update:
    I've done about six to 10 SR shaves now and am making progress. No more nicks or cuts but still haven't mastered the chin area. I need a DE to do that. But the DE gives me razor burn after the SR shave.

    What is the purpose of an alum block? Do I need it? If I get a cut I use a styptic pencil.

    Thanks for your help.

    July10newbie
    No Violin needed----

    The styptic pencil is the way to go with nicks and cuts. The alum block does a nice job of 'Tightening' the skin----or at least that's the best description I can give.

    It's also useful to apply to your fingertips when you go to stretch the skin as it will help prevent 'slippage' which may result in a cut.

    I hope this is of some help.
    Our house is as Neil left it- an Aladdin’s cave of 'stuff'.

    Kim X

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    Thanks Cudarunner!
    I'm also a runner and a musician. Hence, the violin.

    It may sound naive but how does tightening the skin help with shaving?

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    'with that said' cudarunner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by July10newbie View Post
    Thanks Cudarunner!

    It may sound naive but how does tightening the skin help with shaving?
    It's a sensation that is really hard to describe----It's kind of like how some LOVE that Slight Sting from the Aftershave---myself included

    Pick up a bar and give it a try you may like it
    Our house is as Neil left it- an Aladdin’s cave of 'stuff'.

    Kim X

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    Do you apply alum over the whole shaving face? When do you do this? After washing and before lathering? Do you wet your face, dry it, then apply alum, then wet and lather, then shave? What is the routine?

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    'with that said' cudarunner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by July10newbie View Post
    Do you apply alum over the whole shaving face? When do you do this? After washing and before lathering? Do you wet your face, dry it, then apply alum, then wet and lather, then shave? What is the routine?
    After you have shaved and right after you've rinsed the lather off of your face. Then apply your aftershave--if you desire.

    However as I've said you can use it on your fingertips before you shave to help keep your fingers from slipping on the skin.
    Our house is as Neil left it- an Aladdin’s cave of 'stuff'.

    Kim X

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    Gatling-Gun Jerry Gasman's Avatar
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    Yes. As Roy said. After the shave and just after rincing the leftover lather off. I will then rince in cold water and get the alum wet with cold water and rub it on anything you shaved. This will tighten the skin and tell you by how much sting you find, how well your shave went. Some folks leave it on but i dont. I wont let it dry on my face. After i get my brush rinced out so only a minute later, i rince in cold water. Dry the face and xlap on the A.S.

    Its not nessasary to do but some folks do it with every shave. I do it once or twice a week just to see how well my shave went. Plus i got it so might as well use it up.
    It's just Sharpening, right?
    Jerry...

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    Senior Member blabbermouth
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    Just to add to what has been said, alum does have some anti bacterial properties also. Witch hazel can also be used instead of alum after you have finished shaving. The use of either is optional and the only way to see if it works for you is to try it.

    Personally I like to use alum after every shave since discovering about 5 years ago. I have oily skin and it seems to help keeping the excess oil down and in so doing keep pimples away. Being a mild anti bacterial also helps with that. It also seems to help my sagging soon to be 65 year old face by tightening the skin if only temporarily.

    Bob
    Life is a terminal illness in the end

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    Senior Member ZipZop's Avatar
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    Aloha!

    As mentioned by me esteemed colleagues, many use the Alum Block to "test" how they did with the shave. Huge sting means you burnt your skin a bit with the razor. "Tightening" of the skin is a figure of speech. Your skin pores don't necessarily "tighten" by contracting via muscles as pores have no muscles. But when cleaned out and free of dirt and oil the skin can appear tighter because the pores are free to close when they are empty, so an astringent "seems" to tighten skin. Styptic pencils are typically softer and are intended to clog bleeding from cuts, not to rub over large areas like an Alum Block. I use a Styptic for cuts and an Alum Block (or Stick) for rubbing over my face after shaving as an astringent and an anti-bacterial agent. It gives me feedback on how I did as a razor-master. Styptic pencils give me feedback on how I did as a butcher.

    Alum is a natural astringent and anti-bacterial so it is a good way to finish up a shave. I also use an alum roll on for underarm deodorant. These are very inexpensive from places like Amazon and they last a very very long time. It works well for me and many others as a natural deodorant. Then I am free to use any aftershave or cologne I want with no specific scent from a commercial underarm deodorant.

    Both of my Alum products (after shave and under arm) I have in "stick" form. It's just easier for me to have a plastic twist-up container for use at home and for travel. Both available from Amazon;

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    UNDER ARM

    FACE AFTER SHAVE

    PS, if you are razor burning yourself with a DE, you are either applying too much pressure to the shave, or using too aggressive a blade reveal if an adjustable razor, or going over dry skin without re-applying lather or any combination of these. Also, blade sharpness and blade reveal of fixed razors factor into this. I love Feather blades, but in the wrong razor (too much blade reveal) and with too much pressure while shaving, they can give you the razor burn from hell. In my tame Merkur 34c or my tame Jagger DE89 with tiny blade reveal, the Feather is a miraculous blade. But even then I can't press on the skin with the razor or I'll STILL get Razor burn. There is a science behind blade sharpness, blade reveal, and pressure on the skin while shaving. Go easy and let the razor do the work. And never go over an area multiple times with no lather if you can help it.
    Last edited by ZipZop; 12-31-2017 at 03:00 PM.
    "I get some lather and lather-up, then I get my razor and shave! Zip Zop, see that? My face Is ripped to shreads!"

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    Gatling-Gun Jerry Gasman's Avatar
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    Zip, i remember using the Feather blade in the Jagger 89. It was a great match for me too. Then i found a very agressive razor and tried the feather and found it was a BAD match! Bad things kept happening to my face and i learn to use another blade. Now a straight is the way to go and the alum is still a good way to test the shave.
    ZipZop likes this.
    It's just Sharpening, right?
    Jerry...

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