Straight Razor Hone Basics: Natural vs. Synthetics

Straight Razor Hone Basics: Natural vs. Synthetics

There was a time when men did not rely on disposable razors and blades.  When a man bought a razor, once it became dull, it was the job of someone to resharpen it.  Most often than not the razor was taken to a barber, but sometimes the owners themselves would do the sharpening with a hone.  There are primarily two varieties of hones that can be purchased today: natural and synthetic hones. It’s a fact that when you’ve got the best straight edge razor, then it’s your responsibility to keep it sharp. This article provides a brief introduction to the types and their advantages.

Natural Hones for Straight Edge Razor Sharpening

Natural stones are defined as those that are not manmade.  They are mined from the earth, so in other words they are actual rocks.  Some of the names that might sound familiar are Coticules, Eschers, Thuringens, Arkansas, or Japanese Naturals.

Natural hones stone for straight razor sharpening

Usually when you purchase one, you receive a main stone as well as a slurry stone, which is a smaller stone of the same material. When the two stones are rubbed together with water the byproduct is slurry, a thin mixture of water with the particles of the two stones rubbing together. Using a slurry stone on the main stone creates slurry, which aids in the removal of steel in order to achieve keenness.

The slurry is used to speed up the honing process, so that as you progress you basically dilute the slurry and finish on water. Unlike most naturals that have no set grit, Japanese stones are a bit different in that their slurry stones actually are different grits, and it is the slurry stone that is primarily responsible for the sharpening.

Synthetic Hones for Straight Razor Sharpening

Synthetic hones are manmade.  Some of the names that might be familiar are Norton, Shapton, and Naniwa.

synthetic hone sharpening stone

The advantage to using a synthetic is a more reliable stone because, for example, when you order a 1k stone, you get a 1k stone.  There is no guessing game in the grits.  Another consideration is that they are a more consistent hone because certain variables that might arise with the naturals are not an issue.

When honing a straight razor with synthetic hones to restore an edge, this is accomplished by using progressive stones.  The most popular grits are 1k, 4k, 8k, 12~16k.  Anything above 8k is for pure polishing and smoothing out the edge.  One should be able to shave with an 8k edge.  On the other hand, honing with a natural is currently at the center of a heated debate.

There are those that subscribe to the view that everything can be done with one stone. By first raising slurry on a coticule/escher, the honing process will begin sharpening the blade and throughout the progression the slurry is lightened until it is only water. Men often will use a synthetic hone for bevel setting, which is accomplished at the 1k or lower level.  Again, some people will use synthetics for the entire honing process, and then switch to a natural for the finishing in order to achieve a smooth finish.

Which to Choose? 

If you are on the fence about whether to purchase natural or synthetic hones, you should send your razor to be honed by one or the other and compare the shave. If you shave with a razor honed with a synthetic and then a natural, odds are you will feel a bit of a difference. Natural stones typically provide a smoother, less aggressive shave, while the synthetics are a crisper, brisk edge.

In all, both have their advantages and disadvantages.  Each type of hone will be a challenge to learn properly, but you will be rewarded the satisfaction of sharpening your own straight razors and enjoying your morning shaves.

Why I Need Waterproof Powder for Swimming?

waterproof powder for swimming

In my opinion, makeup powder is no good if it does not stay perfectly in place until you get back home. Unfortunately, in my life, there are constant threats to its integrity. Perhaps the worst offender of them all, water can really cause havoc on your makeup by turning into a pasty mess.

Luckily, there are products on the market that are completely waterproof, allowing me to engage in a variety of activities that involve the liquid element without having to worry about anything at all. Some of them are so good, in fact, that they allow me to go swimming.

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Advantages of Using Waterproof Makeup Powder

Without a doubt, using waterproof makeup powder has a few very important advantages. This is particularly true for people who, like me, live active, dynamic lifestyles.

If, when the day begins, you don’t know where you are going to be a few hours later, it’s a good idea to prepare for everything. For that reason, I tend to carry a bathing suit in my purse.

Also for that reason, I need to have waterproof powder with me at all times. This product has more advantages than you can imagine. However, the most important are the following:

I Don’t Have to Worry About the Weather

I live in an area where tropical rains and storms happen with a certain level of regularity. If I didn’t have my trusty waterproof powder, I would be in trouble whenever I am out in the open and rain starts to pour.

Thankfully, I have made a habit out of carrying a bottle (or two) of this kind of product whenever I go out knowing I will be outdoors a considerable portion of the time.

I Can Cry

Whether it is due to joy, sadness or anything else, having a good cry from time to time is a necessity. At least, it is a necessity for me! However, crying often has the terrible side effect of messing up your entire makeup.

This is particularly true for makeup powder because, when combined with the water and salt from your tears, it forms a pasty substance that can look absolutely dreadful when it dries. That gives me one more reason for wearing waterproof makeup powder as often as I can.

I Can Go Swimming!

I love swimming. Many of my friends and acquaintances have pools, and they often throw impromptu pool parties. What is more, I live relatively near a beautiful beach, and it’s not rare for me and my friends to decide on a late-afternoon dip in the ocean before going out to dinner. To me, that is the best reason to always have waterproof powder for swimming at the reach of my hand. Even if I am not planning on swimming, a particular day may lead to a situation where I will be tempted to take a quick swim.

Tips for Choosing and Using Makeup Powder for Swimming

Use an Efficient Powder Remover

Most waterproof powders and makeup products require the use of a good remover in order to be properly eliminated. The reason for this is that, typically, products of this kind are heavy and difficult to get rid of after application. As a matter of fact, using the wrong products to remove this type of makeup product can result in the clogging of your pores.

Do Not Use Waterproof Powders Every Day

Because they tend to be quite heavy and chemically-charged, it’s not advisable to use waterproof powder products on a daily basis. Even worse, this type of product, usually, does not include conditioning agents that are good for your skin, such as meadowfoam, seed oil and argan oil. For that reason, even if you are planning on having a swimming-heavy vacation, try to alternate the use of waterproof powder with regular powder. If you do this, you will ensure your skin does not become damaged over time.

In Conclusion

Even though it can’t be used on a daily basis, waterproof powder for swimming is a product that every woman should have. After all, you want to look like a beautiful mermaid when everyone sees you coming out of the water.