Saturday, September 24, 2022

A Simple Luxury

 Although on the whole I try to be economical and thrifty (often fancy words for "cheap"), there are a few luxuries I purchase for myself that literally make no logical sense.  Books are one of these, of course - not that books are illogical of course, only the rather sheer quantity I own and continue to procure.

Another is shaving cream.

Many many years ago - good heavens, looking back I see it was 11! - I wrote a post on A Good Shave.  I had converted over to using soap in a bowl and a bristle brush years before that, mostly originally out of an obstinate need to be different and vaguely British (while everyone uses the same cream, for some reason I associate it with 19th Century Britain).  And then at some point, I took a risk (most likely based on some article I read) and bought shaving cream.


I purchase my shaving cream from Truefitt and Hill, a British company specializing in Men's grooming (So, the British motif is still working for me).  It is certainly not the least expensive such thing on the market, but it has become one of my personal justifiable luxuries.  

On one hand of course, it makes no sense.  I could get the same thing much more cheaply in vast quantities at my local grocery store for what a single bowl costs (although to be fair, a bowl lasts a long time).   And yet, there is something about opening up the lid, working the brush in a little, and then putting the full-bodied thick soap onto your face, letting it sit there for a bit, and then shaving. It makes it more of a production, something to look forward to, rather than just something I have to get out of they way.


The original scent I purchase was Trafalgar, which was delightful.  My current scent above is 1805, which I think I like a trifle better. Also - because I got a gift card for Father's Day - I purchased a smaller tube of the West Indian Limes shaving soap.  This in particular has an amazing scent.

It can be said - and righteously so - that in an age of increasing expenses and instability, the concept of spending a rather foolish amount of money on something that can be procured more cheaply is silly at best and foolish at worst.  

If practiced for every item we buy, I agree.  If practiced in small ways, I do not.

We can always purchase things that are effectively the cheapest and the lowest common denominator, and if practiced over time, we will save money.  What we will not save and sometimes sacrifice is the enjoyment of very simple pleasures.  Something like whipping up a shave in the morning that is from a bowl and brush instead of a can is indeed a very simple pleasure for a practice millions do anyway; the difference is that something simple like shaving cream turns a daily task into something of a pleasure.

Arguably this sort of thing does nothing for my shave.  It does, however, do a great deal my larger life.  And if it is somehow improving that, it not just a justified expense - it is a bargain.

15 comments:

  1. It's my belief that few small indulgences are good for the soul. The time may come when they're not possible, but for now...

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    1. I believe the same, Sbrgirl. And to be probably fair to myself, my actual indulgences fall into three categories; books, shaving cream, and sword training items. It is a pretty small list.

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  2. Nylon124:46 AM

    Agreed, what is life without at least one simple pleasure? There are times when pinching pennies is needed yet ALWAYS doing so drains the soul some........there are far worse things to "splurge" on TB.

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    1. Nylon12, there is a certain sense of being able to do this that restores the seasoning of my life, making it seem like it has a little extra elegance. And yes, there are far worse things...

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  3. Filthie6:46 AM

    Is it soap or cream, TB?

    I agree 100% and urge you to spend MOAR money on a good quality straight or safety razor. On weekends I wake up early and go into the crapper and enjoy a good shave too. I take a tankard of coffee and after I’m done, I clean and sterilize everything squeaky clean.

    I consider it maintenance for the soul. You have excellent taste in brands too, BTW…

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    1. Glen, it is in fact shaving cream (I have used soap in the past). At the moment, I may have a lifetime of disposal razor heads from TB The Elder's store - although I am set for many years, I keep thinking about a safety razor (although I would prefer to try the kamisori, or Japanese straight razor).

      Truefitt and Hill makes an excellent product. I am nothing but happy with them, and am seriously thinking about "expanding" my purchases.

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    2. Anonymous6:06 AM

      NOBODY makes better soap than the Brits…except maybe the Japanese… I’m really liking that straight razor but how would you store when it’s not in use…?

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    3. From the little bit I know, the kamisori comes in a paulownia box. I assume it is to be dried and place in there.

      Honestly, I am hoping that when Japan reopens (October 11th - yay!), we can go to train again and I can look for one there. They are shockingly expensive if I am buying one from over here.

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  4. The inner Scot is a penny pinching miser most days. And it took a bit to change that in the shaving arena. I moved from a plastic bag o' razors to a safety razor about 10 years ago. Picked up some blade sample packs and learned to use it. Taking it apart after shaving to clean and dry it extended the blade life by weeks. I'm not a hair factory, so my whiskers aren't that tough. I bought a tube of some super slickum Cremo with sandle-wood flavor. I really like that smell. Add a dash Clubman and I'm smooth and like the scent. It makes shaving less perfunctory and more of a skill. Since life has taken the turns it has for me, it's a lot slower. And I found that slowing down allows me to become less a workman, and more a craftsman. That's acceptable, not that I have much choice. (proofreading fail today)

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    1. STxAR, one of the great things I found with using shaving cream is that it truly makes it more of an experience to be slowed down and experienced rather than rushed through. And it does add a certain elegance to the whole process (I do like the idea of shaving as craftsmanship).

      One wishes Blogger had an edit button. I have wanted to redo many of my own as well.

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  5. But there is something to be said for enjoyment and quality. Which a cheaper local product would probably not supply either of.
    Stock up while you can, is what I say, TB.
    You all be safe and God bless.

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    1. Solid advice Linda. Christmas is coming, so...

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  6. I break all the rules when it comes to shaving I guess. I only shave my neck and only because the hairs catch on my shirt collar and annoy me. I have been probably using the same disposable razor blade all year thus far. I just use cheap off the shelf shaving gel. But I did make a handle for my razor out of deer antler, so not a total heathen. I'm also in absolute agreement about spending for books and thus haven't been to a library in decades.

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    1. Are they rules Ed? Maybe guidelines?

      There are days that I will not shave my face, but I will always - always - shave my front neck below the chin. There is just something about neck beard that bothers me.

      Honestly, I use disposable razor heads as well - especially now that I have my father's remaining supply, I am set for years.

      I started buying more books than going to the library when I found the books I wanted were not in libraries. In all the years since then, nothing has really changed - if anything, my book wants have become even more obscure.

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  7. Becki - I know precisely what you are speaking of. I make yogurt (a post a few days after this one) because I can and I like the process, not that I save any money doing it (I suppose I save a little). The knowledge and ability that I can do something, even if slower and less skilled or even less "good" than buying it, provides its own sense of satisfaction.

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