Friday, 29 August 2014

Product Review: Parker 22R Safety Razor

Here is our review of the Parker 22R Safety Razor: 

I received the 22R as a gift just over 2 years ago. At that time I was using the cartridge system that is the norm today. Just another tool for shaving I thought. But boy was I wrong.

My initial thoughts were that this thing is heavy. Looks nice though , gun metal finish and easy twist to open guard to load blades. I decided to give it a try. My first shave was with gel from a can. A dry shave you could say. But the results were better than a cartridge shave. Very encouraging.

Over the next few days I got a cheap brush which I am still using today and a stick of Arko. Now that took it to another level . The shave was close and comfortable better than any cartridge system I ever used. 

I have never looked back since. I used it solidly for just over two years. The build quality is good. It is very heavy (approximately 91 grams). Changing blades is super fast and easy and a nice comfortable shave.

I still have the R22 and it is still rock solid (even after dropping it a few times).

Can’t really think of many negatives about this razor - the only thing that comes to mind that it does collect soap scum. So you have to clean it properly every now and again. This is minor in my books.

Apart from that, the mechanism has never failed and it performed its duties with aplomb.

The R22 , has sentimental value for me. I have now retired it as I am using a 3 piece. But it will always have special place for me. Even if I had not retired it, I am sure it would have outlived me.

River Valley Trading

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Product Review: Weishi 9306-G Safety Razor

Here is my review of the Weishi 9306-G Safety Razor:

The Weishi 9306 comes in a blue plastic travel case which has a mirror under the lid. You also get a free Dorco blade.

The plating and finish are excellent. No noticeable flaws. The razor has a butterfly guard which opens by turning the nub at the bottom of the handle. The butterfly mechanism seems solid and works as intended. The square pattern tooling is very pronounced on the handle and the grip is secure (even with wet or soapy hands). The razor weighs approximately 56 grams. Not a heavy razor but not too light either. Feels good in the hand.


Dropped in a Merkur Super Platinum blade. The blade reveal looks good and straight. I lathered up with Valobra Almond soap and set to work.

This a very mild and gentle razor. I was previously using an unforgiving FaTip grande razor which was ultra aggressive, so it was a major relief to use a razor that wasn't going to chop you up if made the slightest mistake. The Weishi is easy to manoeuvre and the weight seems just right.

After three passes the result was a super smooth, clean shave. No nicks, cuts or irritation. I was impressed. The build quality of this razor might not be in the league of Merkur or Edwin Jagger, but the shave I experienced was very enjoyable. Easy and gentle.

I would highly recommend this razor to wet shaving beginners (especially those who want to try wet shaving without making a big investment).  The butterfly guard also makes for quick and easy blade changes.  For seasoned wet shavers, it’s always good to have a milder razor in your rotation for travel and quick shaves.

Verdict: A very good razor at a nice price point. Definitely a class above other budget Chinese manufactured razors.

* The Weishi 9306 is now available from River Valley Trading for 179.99 (including travel case and 5 free Supermax blades. The razor is also available as part of our wet shaving starter kit.

For all your wet shaving needs check out our product listings on BidorBuy

Monday, 25 August 2014

Product Review: RiMei Safety Razor

The RiMei double edge safety Razor has been getting some positive feedback as a good value for money safety razor.  Our crew member Riaz took it for a spin and shared his thoughts:

So this weekend Mo from River Valley showed me the new Rimei safety razor that is up for sale.  It’s a 3 piece - somewhat light (approximately  52 grams). In fact, he was not too happy about the casting of the razor and wanted my opinion.

It looked good to me, not top notch like the Parker 89R I use. But looked good none the less. I took it apart and fitted a Derby Extra blade from the 89R.

The blade reveal initially looked really open so I was thinking this is going to be really aggressive.

Later on that day I took it for a test drive. I lathered with Samsol (My safest bet  when going into the unknown -  the cushion and glide from the Samsol is amazing!)

I was pleasantly surprised. An extremely mild razor. For its lack of weight,  a very clean shave with minimal discomfort. Easy to manoeuvre. No nicks or cuts.

Tried it again this morning with the body shop lather (A lather which in my opinion is not up there with the Jolly, Samsol , Arkos of this world). I was expecting a few nicks or cuts.

But to my surprise no nicks or cuts. Very mild shaving experience. Mildest DE shave I ever experienced. Easy to handle and quick.

I am sticking with this for the next few months.  Lets see how it holds up long term.

Verdict:  This is a budget razor that offers excellent value for money!

For all your wet shaving needs check out our product listings on BidorBuy

Friday, 15 August 2014

Verified Seller

We are pleased to announce that River Valley Trading is now a verified seller on BidorBuy

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Product Review: Parker 89R Safety Razor

Here's a product review of the Parker 89R safety razor courtesy of River Valley Trading crew member Riaz:

Before I give my thoughts on the Parker 89R let me tell you a bit about my previous razor the Parker 22R.

I received the Parker 22R as a gift about 2 years ago. At that stage I was using the cartridge system (Mach3 , Fusion etc) and even flirted with disposables a few times. So when I received the 22R my initial thought was it looked solid and it had weight - another tool for the chore of shaving (or so I thought).

So I took it home and lathered with Nivea shaving gel and gave it a go. I was pleasantly surprised. A great shave, better than any of the new fangled cartridge systems out there presently. In the next few days I got a stick of Arko shave soap  and that took it to another level. An even better shave. The gels and foams in a can are absolute junk.

For the next two years the Parker 22R is what I used. Butterfly style loading was easy. The weight and control was good. Solidly built item with great performance.

Then recently I acquired a 3 piece Parker 89R. A beautiful razor. Solidly built with a serious look about it. Loaded the same blade from the 22R directly into the 89R. Lathered up with the Samsol and gave it a go.

Wow, I thought the 22R was good. This is even better. I felt it more aggressive than the 22R but not harsh at all. The 22R is a very forgiving razor - a good place to start. The 89R is easy to handle and maneuver and the shave is ultra close. I have never experienced anything like this before. Cartridge shave systems don’t even come close. This gives you a tight clean shave like nothing I ever experienced before without being harsh on the skin.

Verdict: A great razor that can give you barbershop quality shaves consistently.

After the shave I lathered up gain to let the good stuff in the cream work on my face for a minute. Washed it off, then used an Alum stone to ‘seal the deal’.

The Parker 89R  - what a fantastic razor!

For all your wet shaving needs check out our product listings on BidorBuy

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Handy Tips for Wet Shaving While Travelling

For most traditional wet shavers the thought of going back to multi-blade cartridge shaving systems would be unthinkable. Therefore travelling presents a problem for those of us who swear by soap, brush, and razor.  Here are some handy tips for shaving whilst on your travels. 

The golden rules are: "Keep it light" and "Keep it tight" . Choose a nice compact size dopp kit bag. A good high quality leather bag can last you a lifetime. As a traveler you should be robust and be able to pick up all baggage at a moments notice. You don't really want to lug around a heavy bag with all your shaving gear. 

It's obvious that when travelling you will have to sacrifice some of the comforts of home. Carrying around pre-shave oil, shaving soap, and bowl (or mug) is not really practical. A lighter, smaller  option is needed. We can sacrifice the pre-shave oil in favour of a hot towel or shower.

Instead of traditional soap, I recommend carrying a tube of shave cream (Samsol, Jolly, Proraso etc.), or shave soap sticks (Arko, Williams, Valobra etc.).  My personal preference for travelling is Arko shave stick. The nice thing about shave creams and soap sticks is that they can be lathered on the face easily. No bowls or mugs required. 

Your travel brush should be small and light. My personal brush of choice is a Simpson Duke. To avoid damaging your brush while it is packed in your bag, store it in a small metal cylinder or a plastic pill tube. I use a metal tube for both brush and soap. 

Carry a light razor for travel purposes. I use a Muhle R106.  Another good option would be the Merkur 42C (Small, light weight, and compact).  It's not wise to travel around with a blade in your razor so carry an extra pack of blades with you since you will changing out blades more often. Keep your razor in a small flat box along with your extra blades. 

Instead of heavy bottles of aftershave splash or alum stones, use a lightweight compact plastic bottle of aftershave balm that has a secure lid. I like the "Sul filo del rasoio" brand from Proraso. It's light,compact, has a secure lid, and it's very soothing. 

My travel shave gear: Simpson Duke, Arko Shave stick, Muhle R106, Proraso Aftershave balm

Metal tubes for storing brush and soap stick

All packed and ready to go. Light and tight.

For all your wet shaving needs check out our product listings on BidorBuy

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Shaving Tip: Keeping Your Brush Clean

After extended daily use you might notice that your badger brush becomes less effective at working up a good tight lather. You could also notice the the bristles becoming discoloured (especially close to the handle). It could be time to give your brush a clean. As with most things it's always a good idea to keep it clean. I normally clean my brushes every 3-4 months, but it depends on your personal usage and preference. 

I recommend using pet shampoo. Badger brushes, as the name suggests are made from badger hair so the effect of the pet shampoo should be just as good as when you give dear old Rover a bath. Wet your brush and leave it to soak in a mug of warm water for a few minutes. Then squeeze a drop of pet shampoo into the palm of your hand, shake off the excess water from the brush  and start lathering vigorously.  Work up a good lather in the palm of your hand ensuring that the shampoo is soaked deep into the brush. Rinse off the brush thoroughly , and repeat the process. 

Finally, leave your brush to soak for a few minutes, then shake off the the excess water and leave to dry. Never put a wet brush into closed cabinet. The result will be a good clean fresh brush. 

For all your wet shaving needs check out our product listings on BidorBuy

Friday, 8 August 2014

Product Review: Arko Shave Soap

River Valley Trading crew member Riaz has submitted a  review of Arko Shave Soap: 

Manufactured in Turkey, Arko  is a brand that has a long tried and trusted heritage. I have been using it in my rotation for 2 years now. This was my first shave soap (given to me when I was still involved in the folly of cartridge, gel, foam gimmickry). My current razor is a  Parker R22 butterfly double edge (Review to come soon).

The soap comes in a foil wrapped 65 gram stick, and is pliable enough to be molded into any bowl.  It has an old world feel to it. The fragrance is distinct. Very clean and not too strong. I wet the tip of the stick under warm water then apply directly onto the face lightly. After getting fairly decent coverage with the soap I then work it up with a moist brush. I was using a regular bristle brush that I received as a gift. 

The Arko soap lathers up great. You can work it up thick or thin as you want. A very compliant soap and the foam is rich and very creamy. The cushion and razor glide is brilliant. Silky smooth. I do feel though that it is harder to wash off compared to others.

After the shave is complete I lather up again and let it sit for a minute or two then wash off  (I do this with all shave creams). I find that the cream leaves the skin soft and invigorated. I finish off the shave with an alum stone. Results are  a perfect shave. 

The Arko shave stick is easy to use and is perfect for travelling or camping. Very good value for money - I’ve had my stick going on to 2 years now and there is still some left. A great product with a proud heritage, that is sought after and used by wet shavers worldwide. Highly recommended. 

For all your wet shaving needs check out our product listings on BidorBuy

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Shaving Tip: Keeping Your Sideburns Even

Here's a handy tip for ensuring your sideburns always stay even length on either side:

It's something that most of us take for granted, but with wet shaving the chance of lopping off a chunk of your sideburns is slightly higher due to the nature of the razor. For most people the shave begins at the end of their sideburns.

When lathering up with a shaving brush you want to get decent coverage over your face and beard so the lines between beard and sideburns often get obscured by foam. This increases the risk of uneven sideburns.

The solution to this problem is fairly simple: After you lather up and set down your brush. Wet your index finger with warm water and outline all the margins in which you want to shave. I recommend removing the excess soap completely from the bottom of your sideburns (you can also do the same around your lips, nostrils, earlobes and bottom of the neck area). You now have the margins of your shave area clearly defined. The starting point of the shave can now be clearly seen, so there's no chance of having one side of your sideburns much shorter than the other. An added advantage is the that in removing the excess is that you give the remaining soap just a few extra seconds to work on softening the facial skin before shaving (this pause is recommended by most soap manufacturers, but often ignored).

Remember folks, as the old Gillette radio ads used to say: "Look sharp, stay sharp!" .

For all your wet shaving needs check out our product listings on BidorBuy

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Product Review: Muhle Shave Soap

The Muhle company has been manufacturing premium quality shaving products in the German mountain countryside (near Stutzengrun)  since 1945. The Muhle name is synonymous with high quality, elegant design and presicion engineering. Originally specialising in brushes and razors, Muhle unveiled their skin care range in 2008. The range consisted of soaps, creams and aftershave lotions, all made from 99% natural products. In this review I will be covering the Muhle Sea Buckthorn shave soap.

The 65 gram puck of soap comes plastic wrapped and packaged in a neat cardboard box. The first thing that hits when you open the box is the fragrance: fruity and somewhat sweet, fresh with definite hints of citrus. A very refreshing  scent indeed.  

My first impression of the soap puck is that it is very hard. You won't be able to mold it to fit a smaller bowl.  I decided to use my Simpson badger brush for this review. 

I soaked may brush, shook off the excess water, then added a few drops of warm water to the soap and started working up the lather. This soap is hard so it does take a bit longer to load up the brush. I suggest you take your time when lathering with this soap. You do have to work it just a bit more but the rewards are great. The lather is very rich, creamy and fragrant. I was really impressed with the foam. 

The lather is very luxurious on the face and provides ample cushion and glide for the razor. The foam lasted well through two passes and didn't dry out too quickly. 

The best part about the soap is how it leaves the skin feeling afterwards. Absolutely no patchiness,  irritation  or dryness. It washes off easy and leaves no residue. The skin is left feeling soft, supple and refreshed. 

 The 65g puck sells for 149.99*. The price is fairly high, however these are high quality triple milled soaps. A single puck should take you a long way (probably 3 months). Also, Muhle has taken the extra effort to use essential oils and all natural ingredients. So this is a good choice for people who don't like animal products. 

Conclusion: Apart from the fragrance being too sweet for some tastes, this is a high quality soap that gives a really fine shave experience. Overall, a worthy addition to your shave soap rotation. 

*Includes a free metal bowl.

For all your wet shaving needs check out our product listings on BidorBuy

Monday, 4 August 2014

Product Review: Jolly Shave Cream

Jolly shave cream has been manufactured by the CHEMCOS company in Pakistan since 1972 and holds a dominant position in the shave cream market sector. It is widely used by barbers and wet shavers alike. Even in South Africa, this is the shave cream of choice for most (if not all) Pakistani barbers. 

For this review I used the 120 gram tube. As far as presentation goes, the shave cream comes in a standard twist cap plastic tube. The cap opens and closes easily with the only minor drawback being that the cap is smooth and does not have the easy-grip edge. When  using this cream I recommend taking the cap off before you get your hands soapy or wet. 

Once uncapped, the fragrance is clean, slightly fruity and very fresh. The cream is lightly scented and is not overbearing. 

I squeezed out just a large pea-sized amount of cream, and started working it up with my Muhle badger brush. The cream lathers up easily and fast. The lather is very rich and creamy. This is one cream that should be used sparingly. A little Jolly  really does go a long way. 

I was surprised how easy and mild the lather is on the surface of the skin. The lather goes on cleanly and comfortably.  It offers excellent cushion and protection. The razor glide is beautiful and the shave is silky smooth. However, the cream does tend to leave a very slight amount of residue on the face. The lather holds together very well, and lasted well through 2 passes.

The thing that amazed me most about the jolly lather is how soothing and mild it was. No tingling or irritation. Absolutely perfect for everyday usage. The fragrance is very mild so there's no fear of a clash with your favourite aftershave balm / splash. 

Conclusion:  Jolly is a cream that really stands up to more illustrious brands and is fast becoming my 'go to' shave cream. Value for money is amazing - the 120 gram tube costs R29.99. As I have mentioned, a little is all you need for a good shave so the tube will last a long time. I can see why this is the first choice for barbers. I highly recommend Jolly shave cream - great value and a great shave.

For all your wet shaving needs check out our product listings on BidorBuy

Product Review: Body Shop Maca Root Shaving Cream

The Body Shop has decided to create a shaving cream out of maca root, and we have decided to review it.  Fellow shaving fanatic and River Valley Razor crew member, Riaz, has been using this cream for a few months now and he has posted his thoughts.

First of all, what exactly is maca?

According to wikipedia:

"Lepidium meyenii, known commonly as maca, is an herbaceous biennial plant of the crucifer family native to the high Andes of Peru around Lake Junin...Maca is mainly grown for the nutritional and health value of its root."

R120. A bit steep (considering what's out there at the moment). Might well be considered a premium product. 


Pearly appearance that tells you that there is going to be some good glide. 


Very light scent. I haven't smelled many maca roots before but I must say that it's not bad. 


Lathers up fast and easy. Good foam.


Cushion is below average. Glide is acceptable. Dries up too quick for my liking. 

Moisturizing properties: 

Good moisturizing properties, by far the best thing about this product.


Ordinary looking tub. (200 ml). 

Final Verdict:

Overall a  decent shaving cream. However, at this price point I would have expected better in terms of cushion and glide. 

I currently have 3 creams in rotation and this falls in here (Number 1. being the best):

1. Samsol (Price: R30)
2. Arko Shave Stick
3. Body Shop Maca Root

For all your wet shaving needs check out our product listings on BidorBuy

Sunday, 3 August 2014

The Common Sense Approach To Lathering

Many people who are new to wet shaving may feel a little overwhelmed with the amount of information and techniques out there when it comes to lathering (with a shave brush and soap). Everybody seems to have their own 'trick' or formula for doing it the right way. 

The truth is that there is no magic. There are no tricks. One simply has to  to take a common sense approach, and be humble enough to learn from ones previous mistakes. Keep what works and discard what does not. 

I found this wonderful video on lathering from Michael Freedberg. While watching this video:

  • See how simple his brush technique is. 
  • Watch how easily he builds up his lather using feel and common sense. 
  • Lather too dry? Add more water. Lather too wet, add more soap.  
  • Note how quickly the lather builds up. No need to take up hours working the lather. 
  • Note how smooth and thin the layer of lather is. He doesn't lather too thick or try to end up looking like Santa Claus. :) 
The same common sense approach should apply too all aspects of wet shaving. Keep it simple, and your shave experience will be most pleasant. 

Have a a great day and a fantastic shave. 

For all your wet shaving needs check out our product listings on BidorBuy

Product Review: Samsol Shaving Cream

Samsol is a household name in West Asia (India, Pakistan). The Pakistan based company has been around since the 60's and Samsol shaving cream is a trusted name for Pakistani barbers and wet shavers. 

Our review was done on the 75 ml plastic tube. There is a larger tube used mainly by barbers. First impressions are that the tube is quite well presented and the cap opens easily enough. As soon as you open the tube you get the distinct Samsol fragrance. In keeping with the manufacturer's heritage, the fragrance  is somewhat spicy and partly potpourri. A nice exotic fragrance that brings back memories of walking into Pakistani barber shops.  

I must say that I prefer 'on the face' lathering, so I squeezed out just a large pea sized amount of cream and got to work with my badger brush . The lathering is fast and easy.  I was initially concerned due to the slight spiciness of the fragrance that this cream would be a bit strong on the skin. I need not have worried. Samsol lather is extremely mild and gentle. Perfect for use on those winter mornings where you don't  want that menthol 'zing'.

After about a minute or so of lathering I was ready to shave. The rich, creamy Samsol lather offers excellent cushion and glide. No nicks or cuts. Very comfortable shave with hardly any residue left on the face. The lather does not really dry out and lasted through 2 passes without any problem. 

 Overall, a very nice, mild shave cream. The fragrance lasts with you for a while and care should be taken when applying afershave, balm / splash, to avoid a clash. In fact, I would suggest using an Alum stone after shaving would be good enough. 

Conclusion: Highly recommended and excellent value for money. The 75 ml tube costs R29.99 and will definitely go a long way. Perfect for everyday use. 

 - Funny ad for Samsol shaving cream :)

1 When testing out a shave cream I prefer not to use any pre-shave oil or face prep balm.
2 My current blade in rotation was a Gillette 7 o clock, I was using an Italian made open rake safety razor, and a Muhle vintage large badger brush.

For all your wet shaving needs check out our product listings on BidorBuy

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Welcome to the River Valley Razor

"This is how my Grandfather shaved. This is how my Father shaved. This is how I shave."

This is the official blog of River Valley Trading - suppliers of traditional wet shaving products in South Africa. We are also wet shaving fanatics.

Our aim is to create a central hub for the South African wet shaving community. Wet shaving is seeing a huge comeback worldwide and we hope to revive this wonderful traditional way of shaving here in SA. 

This blog will contain detailed product reviews and wet shaving tips. 

For all your wet shaving needs check out our product listings on BidorBuy