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Thread: Adios Alum

  1. #1
    The Assyrian Obie's Avatar
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    Default Adios Alum

    Gentlemen,

    I had used alum for post shave for years. Alum has been around, in various forms, for centuries as a good astringent. Last week I stopped after using alum finally admitting that, although it did its job in repairing the usual microscopic nicks after every shave, alum also irritated my ultra sensitive skin.

    My post shave routine was: warm water rinse, cold water rinse and then alum. About a minute or so later I rinsed off the alum with cold water and dried my face, applied witch hazel, balm and finally a fragrant aftershave. By then, no matter how efficient and comfortable my actual shave, I felt some sort skin irritation afterwards. To make sure nothing else was causing this irritation, from time to time I would eliminate fragrance, which usually contains alcohol. Yet often the results were the same.

    Since dropping the alum in my post shave routine, I have eliminated my post shave irritation. Now I go from warm water rinse to cold water rinse, and then after drying my face, I apply witch hazel, balm and then fragrance. My Hollywood face loves me for it.

    Gentlemen, have you made peace with alum, or made significant other changes in your post shave routine for a more irritation free shave?

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  3. #2
    Hones & Honing randydance062449's Avatar
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    Thanks Obie
    Randolph Tuttle, a SRP Mentor for residents of Minnesota & western Wisconsin

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    Obie (11-08-2018)

  5. #3
    Senior Member blabbermouth RezDog's Avatar
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    I did not use alum long. After a while of shaving with a straight I wondered if it was truly the alum or just that it had been my poor beginner technique. It was the alum. All products are not for all people.
    :-)
    It's not what you know, it's who you take fishing!

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    Senior Member blabbermouth Speedster's Avatar
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    I stopped using alum somewhere during my first year of wet shaving. However, Obie, you're reminded me I need to try out this popular witch hazel concoction one of these days. Yes, I tend to procrastinate.

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    Senior Member blabbermouth rolodave's Avatar
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    Have never used Alum and don't plan ever subjecting my face to the stuff.
    Thanks for confirming my alum decision.
    If you don't care where you are, you are not lost.

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    Senior Member Brontosaurus's Avatar
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    My understanding has been that both the alum block and witch hazel solutions serve the same function as an astringent. So if I am using the alum block I don't use witch hazel and vice-versa. I can understand that one might prefer witch hazel to alum given the latter's tingling effect, but for me, it doesn't last long after a cold water rinse, and is certainly gone once I apply the after-shave.

    Applying the alum block, water rinse, then witch hazel, then an after-shave balm, then an aftershave seems pretty complicated. Each of the ingredients could risk to interfere with another, leading to irritation. After shaving, for me it's cold water rinse > alum block > cold water rinse > after-shave; or in the dry, winter months it might be more like cold water rinse > witch hazel toner > after-shave balm.
    Striving to be brief, I become obscure. --Horace

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    Senior Member blabbermouth
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brontosaurus View Post
    My understanding has been that both the alum block and witch hazel solutions serve the same function as an astringent. So if I am using the alum block I don't use witch hazel and vice-versa. I can understand that one might prefer witch hazel to alum given the latter's tingling effect, but for me, it doesn't last long after a cold water rinse, and is certainly gone once I apply the after-shave.

    Applying the alum block, water rinse, then witch hazel, then an after-shave balm, then an aftershave seems pretty complicated. Each of the ingredients could risk to interfere with another, leading to irritation. After shaving, for me it's cold water rinse > alum block > cold water rinse > after-shave; or in the dry, winter months it might be more like cold water rinse > witch hazel toner > after-shave balm.
    That has been my experience with alum in that tingling if any does not last long after the cold water rinse and is gone by the time I apply after shave. Keep in mind I use an ammonium based alum deodorant. The tingle can be non existant or slight depending on how well I have done my job of shaving.

    Bob
    Life is a terminal illness in the end

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    I also stopped using the alum block very early on in my shaving journey. I found Witch Hazel to do the same job with much much less sting or irritation. I also kept dropping the blocks in the sink and breaking them!

    Now I do almost the same routine as you do Obie, I only switch the order a bit and do a fragrant splash then balm, after the water rinses and Witch Hazel.

    This has been a great post-shave combo for me. Some ask why I use a splash and balm, but I find them both necessary. The splash compliments the astringent qualities of the Witch Hazel, provides some moisturizing effects, and smells great. The balm soothes, hydrates, and helps heal the skin. Most importantly, I very much enjoy how my skin feels after.
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    Senior Member Badgister's Avatar
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    I stopped using all post-shaving products all together safe for fragrance. I find that when using a high quality soap my skin really doesn't need it.

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  19. #10
    Gatling-Gun Jerry Gasman's Avatar
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    I still use Alum but just for testing/confirming of a great shave with a new to me razor. If i get no tingle or next to none then i know the edge is passing and the shave was right. But i do use witch hazel every time. Its just easier and i dont get any burn as its alcohol free.
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    It's just Sharpening, right?
    Jerry...

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