Too many men succumb to the mass appeal of a quick fix. The foams, gels and balms easily obtained surely do the job of a shave, but by no means to any degree of satisfaction. Simply put, the shave hasn’t been significantly advanced by modern technology. So, men stop looking for modern means. The simple fact is an old-fashioned shave is far better for your skin. As a bonus, it imbues you with a sense of old world luxurious pampering. You’ll embark on your day with an extra hint of ancestral charm.
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For those who enjoy using precise products, you’re in luck. The choices are seemingly endless. You will have to experiment and seek out what works for you. There are only a few shops that carry multiple brands of product so you’ll be visiting a few proprietors. A few I recommend are: Aidan Gill (New Orleans), Caswell-Masey (Select National), Truefitt & Hill (national), The Art of Shaving (national) Crabtree-Evelyn (national), L’Occitane (national), Saks, Nordstrom, Sephora and other purveyors of traditional or fine grooming goods.
You’d find the following items in my dopp kit, which are listed in order of use. After a thorough, yet gentle face wash, I apply Kiehls’ “Close-Shavers” Shaving Formula #31 oil to soften the beard, which also provides an easy shave due to reduced friction with the razor. Next, I use a pure badger brush to apply a hearty lather of Crabtree & Evelyn’s Nomad Shave Soap. Your prepping is complete.
The razor is the key ingredient. It must be sharp no matter what you use. I have a straight razor, but have only wielded it on a handful of experimental occasions, since it is seriously precarious. Opting for safety and modern convenience, a multi-blade or safety razor will do the job. Now, shave with the grain. Clean your razor after each pass, then once complete reapply lather for round two, which should be against the grain. *Skip this step if you are prone to irritable skin, as I am.* Rinse, then observe thy countenance. Surely, this will be among the closest shaves you have ever had. I like to finish off with a few sprays of rose water hydrating toner to reduce irritation prior to moisturizing with pure aloe gel.
For traveling and days with little time for such extravagant formalities, use a real shaving cream. You’ll find them in a tub or tube, not a can. These creams are formulated for an instantly rich lather to moisturize your skin during the shave. As a trick, apply it with the badger brush and you’ll use less with no loss of lather.
Sure, this seems like a lot of work for something so trivial. Your skin and your beloved will thank you. Admittedly, I’m not able to take the time for the full treatment each day, but when I do I am a better man for it. When you do have the extra time, find a reputable barber in your area and treat yourself to a shave under the tutelage of a professional.