2015 Wet Shaving Accolades
2015 was a year of exploration for us here at Anthronicle.com. We reveled in the wet shaving renaissance and took joy in experiencing the wide variety of product from both emerging and established artisans and manufacturers. While we struggle at times to choose favorites simply because we appreciate different products for different reasons, certain products rose to a point of distinction for us. These products established the baseline and elevated each shave experience. The products featured below differentiated themselves for one reason or another from the ever growing mob of adequate, but otherwise unremarkable wet shaving gear. We chose a winner and runner-up from the six categories of products that we emphasize in each of our Shave Experience articles. It is our honor to present you with the Anthronicle.com 2015 Wet Shaving Accolades!
While we did not spend much time discussing our pre-shave routine in 2015 beyond simply mentioning a hot shower before the shave, we felt it necessary to reveal the product that we most enjoyed and used nearly exclusively.
Kiehl’s Facial Fuel Energizing Face Wash is the winner of the 2015 Wet Shaving Accolades Preparation category because it delivers a near perfect face cleansing experience by lightly lifting oils and grime from whisker follicles, firming facial skin while providing nourishment, and not stripping the epidermis. Nearly every other face cleansing product we have experienced is either too harsh and strips the face bare, or simply is too mild and ineffective at removing oils from our whiskers. Kiehl’s Facial Fuel is a refreshing and truly energizing face wash and the best we’ve experienced to date.
Runner-up – Alba Botanica Hawaiian Facial Cleanser
Alba Botanica Hawaiian Facial Cleanser is a light face wash that works well to remove oils from whiskers without stripping your face of essential nutrients. It takes the Runner-up position in the 2015 Wet Shaving Accolades for Preparation because, while effective, a fair amount of product is required to get the job done.
Safety razor technology plays a major role in each of our shave experiences and is one of the most influential components of a good shave. We think that if a wet shaver has a solid technique, then they can achieve a decent shave with just about any razor. That said, certain razors lend themselves to certain types of shaves and allow the wet shaver to fine tune their shave experience. While we experienced a wide variety of excellent safety razors in 2015, this year’s winner was chosen because we appreciated all aspects of the design.
Winner – Phoenix DOC Safety Razor
The Phoenix Artisan Accoutrements Double Open Comb (DOC) Safety Razor is the winner of the 2015 Wet Shaving Accolades Safety Razor category because it provides a consistently close, comfortable, and efficient shave while being gentle on the skin and pocket book. We appreciate Phoenix Artisan Accoutrements offering a unique razor based on a more obscure vintage design that gives an outstanding shave experience. Developing and bringing a new razor design to market is an arduous task. Many razors on the market, particularly ones branded by artisans, are simply a standard OEM type razor head and handle with little development or originality chosen from a pre-existing catalog of a foreign manufacturer and branded with a company logo. On the other hand, the Phoenix DOC is uniquely PAAs. Additionally, the Phoenix DOC is readily available at a reasonable price. We thoroughly enjoyed shaving with the Phoenix DOC in 2015! We welcome you to read all about our shave experiences with the Phoenix DOC here.
Runner-up – Edwin Jagger DE Safety Razor
The Edwin Jagger DE safety razor is common and well respected in the wet shaving marketplace. Edwin Jagger razors provide a consistent shave that is close and irritation free, time and time again. Their superb quality and craftsmanship are second to none at their price point and their finish is envied by all. We loved our Edwin Jagger shaves in 2015 which are cataloged here for your reading enjoyment.
Double edge razor blades are responsible for whisker destruction. Many wet shavers enthusiastically espouse a favorite and deride all others. We think that a passable shave is achievable with just about any DE razor blade if the wet shaver does their part with solid shaving technique. That said, razor blade selection allows for the wet shaver to fine tune their shave experience. We shaved with nearly every razor blade on the market in 2015 and chose this year’s winner based on overall effectiveness.
Winner – Polsilver Super Iridium
The Polsilver Super Iridium razor blade is the winner of the 2015 Wet Shaving Accolades Razor Blade category because they provide a smart and smooth shave with every safety razor we shaved with in 2015. Not only are Polsilver blades among the sharpest razor blades on the market, they also are comfortable and smooth shaving. We appreciate the superior quality and versatility of the Polsilver blade and reach for them over any other blade at our disposal. Our Polsilver exploits are archived here if you desire to read more.
Runner-up – Personna Comfort Coated (USA)
Known by some as the “lab blue”, the Personna Comfort Coated razor blade is another blade that simply works well with just about any safety razor out there. They are sharp and smooth shavers that are readily available at a reasonable price. Plus, they are one of the only blades we know of that is still manufactured in the United States. For their value and quality, Personna Comfort Coated razor blades are difficult to best. Read more about our Personna shaves here.
The selection of a shaving soap is perhaps the most influential choice that affects our shave experience due to soap’s multifaceted sensory characteristics. Soap scent evolution, lather quality, ease of use, performance, and face feel during and after the shave all add to or take away from a quality shave. This is the main reason we usually entitle our Shave Experience articles with the name of the shaving soap used. While we shaved with over 75 soaps in 2015, one artisan rose clearly above the rest.
Winner – Barrister and Mann
Barrister and Mann shaving soaps are the winner of the 2015 Wet Shaving Accolades Shaving Soap category due to the exceptional quality of their soaps in all areas. Whether an established best-of-breed like Seville or a limited edition seasonal release such as Hallows, Barrister and Mann brings to market the best shaving soap we have experienced to date. The performance of their tallow-based soap is second to none with truly outstanding post-shave skin feel. Barrister and Mann latha, standard, and newly released glissant formulas create remarkably luxurious lathers that elevate our shave experiences above all others. With quality scents both newly developed and inspired by fragrance house legends of old, Barrister and Mann is firmly seated in the shaving soap artisan throne, if there is such a thing. We were passionate about our Barrister and Mann shaves in 2015. Read all about our Barrister and Mann experiences here.
Runner-up – Phoenix Artisan Accoutrements
Phoenix Artisan Accoutrements (PAA) is a well known brand and is an iteration of the Douglas Smythe shaving empire which at various times has also included How to Grow a Mustache, Petal Pusher Fancies, and more recently Crown King. While some choose to dwell on this tumultuous lineage and focus on irrelevant drama, we here at Anthronicle.com love to shave and think that Phoenix Artisan Accoutrements shaving soap is outstanding in performance, face feel, and scent. In our estimation, PAA soaps are the best vegan formula shaving soaps on the market and far exceed many others which bob in the bloated sea of cheap, mediocre coconut oil based soaps. Due to copious amounts of kokum and shea butters and the more recent addition of avocado oil to their formula, PAA shaving soaps are one of the few vegan soaps that does not leave our face dried out and irritated. PAA soaps also whip-up into a great lather with ease and their scents are varied, abundant, and interesting. We really enjoyed Phoenix Artisan Accoutrements shaving soap in 2015. Read about our PAA experiences archived here.
We enjoyed whipping-up quality lathers with a variety of boar, horse, badger, and synthetic brushes in 2015. To our excitement, the later half of the year brought with it a fluorescence of superb synthetic brushes. As with many a wet shaver, this year’s experience resulted in a true appreciation for the synthetic knot.
Winner – Muhle Silvertip Fibre
The Muhle Silvertip Fibre shaving brush is the winner of the 2015 Wet Shaving Accolades Shaving Brush category because it excels in all areas essential to shaving brush enjoyment. The brush tips are soft to the face, yet firm enough to face lather and provide a luxurious feel throughout the shave. The synthetic fiber is capably of lathering even the most stubborn of soaps with minimal effort. When preparing the shaving surface, the brushes release lather appropriately, yet also retain stores of concentrated lather for subsequent passes without fear of loose, runny results. While the technology has been on the market for a while, it is our estimation that the Muhle Silvertip Fibre is the current pinnacle of synthetic shaving brushes. You can read more details about our Muhle Silvertip Fibre shaving brush experiences here.
Runner-up – Plisson Synthetic and Imitations
The Plisson synthetic, mostly brought to the attention of the US market by the L’Occitane edition, is much beloved in the wet shaving community for good reason. It’s an outstanding knot that creates wonderful lathers easily and feels very soft on the face. What’s not to like? Well, while enjoyable, it lacks the solid face feel that we look for in a face lathering brush. In short, it can be too floppy for some. Enter the Plisson imitation. In the second half of 2015 we witnessed a variety of synthetic Plisson-like knots come to market but now with varying knot diameters and loft. We picked-up a Sunrise synth in 24mm to test the waters with good results so far. Will these Plisson imitations have what it takes to dethrone the Muhle Silvertip Fibre in 2016? We’ll see what the new year brings. Regardless, we appreciate the Plisson for what it is and thoroughly enjoyed our Plisson shaves in 2015. We even gave one away last spring. You can read more about our Plisson exploits here.
Our Shave Experience Finish category encompasses all products applied after the final rinse of the shave such as aftershave, cologne, toner, astringent, balm, lotion, etc. It’s an important part of the shave and one that often remains with us long after other aspects of our shave experience have dissipated. We experienced all sorts of finishing products in 2015 and chose our favorite to put the “finishing touch” on this year’s 2015 Wet Shaving Accolades.
Phoenix Artisan Accoutrements Aftershave Colognes are the winner of the 2015 Wet Shaving Accolades Finish category because they are the complete aftershave product. PAA aftershave/colognes are more than simply fragranced alcohols and include ingredients that few others do in their formulas. The addition of aloe, alum, glycerin, rose water, hydrosols, and various extracts and oils to many of the PAA aftershave colognes means that they nourish and protect the skin in addition to smelling good. Moreover, their wonderful and creative fragrances have staying power and last throughout the day. We were quite fond of Phoenix Artisan Accoutrements Aftershave Colognes in 2015. Read more about our experience with them here.
Runner-up – TIE Nivea Post Shave Balm and Thayer’s Witch Hazel
When we reach for an aftershave that lacks the protective and nourishing aspects we appreciate in a finishing product, we often apply a splash of Thayer’s Witch Hazel or a smear of Nivea Post Shave Balm to pick-up the slack. Sometimes we even apply these products after a good face washing even if we don’t shave that day. Nivea Post Shave Balm is light but nourishing and protective. The scent is mild and goes with anything. We tend to reach for the balm on cooler days often accompanied with harsher weather. Thayer’s Witch Hazel is another outstanding product that nourishes our skin, keeping it healthy and supple. We often apply a solid dose of Thayer’s after the rinse, but before a fragranced alcohol (most aftershaves). Both Nivea and Thayer’s are outstanding products that were a staple in our den in 2015.
With that we have completed the Anthronicle.com 2015 Wet Shaving Accolades. Congratulations to all those receiving honors. You’ve earned it! 2015 brought with it all sorts of enjoyable wet shaving products, many of which were omitted in these accolades for one reason or another. Please know that we thoroughly enjoy variety and competition in the wet shaving marketplace and encourage artisans and manufacturers alike to continue their innovations and product developments. We can’t wait to experience all that 2016 will offer to the wet shaving community. Please share with us some of your favorite wet shaving products of 2015 in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you and don’t forget to sign-up for our mailing list to get a note in your inbox when we publish a new article!
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