A Close Shave Part IV

There are a few advantages to living in ugly old Los Angeles. Homegrown Revolution contributor Hairy Picfair, in an email commenting on our post about switching to an old-fashioned safety razor, reminded us that we can find replacement blades at Ross Cutlery, the shop where O.J. Simpson picked up a folding knife while shooting a commercial next door, just a month before the murder of his ex-wife. Ross Cutlery is located in the Bradbury Building where Rutger Hauer had his showdown with Harrison Ford in the thrilling conclusion of Blade Runner. Celebrity gossip aside, cutlery shops are a promising place to find alternative shaving supplies.

Mark, another HGR reader, writes to ask about alternatives to shaving creams. We’ve been testing out Colonel Conk Products’ Almond Shave Soap with a cheap shaving brush. So far we’re happy with this product and while we’re disappointed that neither the container nor Colonel Conk’s website lists the ingredients, we’ve sent a letter to the company to see if they will let us know what is in the soap. We’ll report back when we find out.

Lastly, fellow bloggist and Starcrash scholar Doug Harvey writes to suggest a visit to a traditional barber for a professional straight-edge blade experience. We used to do this until a friend of ours started cutting our hair in exchange for lunches at pupusa joints. Perhaps we can get our volunteer hairstylist to take up the blade if we switch to three martini lunches at swankier digs.

To our international readers we apologize for the O.J. and pupusa references in this LA-centric post and we send our condolences to those about to undergo that thing called winter . . .


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  1. Did you ever find out the ingredients in Colonel Conk’s shave soap? I’m interested in trying this product, but would like to know what’s in it first. Thanks.

  2. Here’s what the Colonel Conk folks said is in the stuff:

    DI Water
    Porpylene Glycol
    Soap Flakes
    Stearic Acid
    Tetrasodium EDTA
    Titanium Dioxide

    Take a look at the Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database (www.cosmeticsdatabase.com) for more info on these substances. Several of these chemical are on their “high hazard” list. And let us know if you find any alternatives!

  3. Wow, thanks for the info. I don’t think I’ll be trying Colonel Conk. I have found a few other alternatives. I haven’t tried any of these products yet, so I can’t vouch for them. But, here they are:

    Rivivage soap from Classic Shaving (www.classicshaving.com) says that it is made from 100% natural “All-Vegetable” ingredients.

    Em’s Place (www.emsplace.com) carries glycerin shaving rounds which look promising.

    And, Burts Bees (www.burtsbees.com) makes a shaving soap and shaving cream.

    The first two would most likely have to be ordered, making them less attractive. But I have found the Burt’s products in my local health food store.

  4. Triethanolamine and SLES are the only ingredients I’d worry about at all in concentration you’ll find in Conk’s soap. In both cases, it’s more a worry about sensitivities than any real harm IMHO. That said, you can find better shave soap by far. Most drug stores and Wal Marts have Van Der Hagen Deluxe or Williams soap. Even better is Kiss My Face Moisture shave (when used with a brush) which you can find at most “hippy” food stores like Whole Foods. If you’re willing to mail order, the choices get much greater.

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