A GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE TO A LUXURY SHAVE - THE BEST SHAVING PRODUCTS
Gentleman’s grooming for the modern man involves a number of procedures and taming agents to keep your skin, hair and body in tip top condition. At the very root of a man’s daily maintenance is shaving - at least it is if you’re already on the soon-to-be returning trend to be clean shaven, instead of still growing a post-Movember beard.
Whether bearded or clean shaven, every man needs to know how to properly tidy his facial fuzz. From the bearded to the tastefully trimmed, these universal tips will help you to avoid common ailments, such as razor bumps and dry post-shave skin.
ManCave UAE’s shaving guide looks at four key areas of the shaving routine, including: skin preparation, choosing shaving foam, cream or soap and why a brush might be best and finally post-shave treatments. We hope to help you to get an amazing shave with the very best shaving products.
As an added bonus we have also more information on shaving brushes and why you should use them below. Enjoy.
When pondering pre-shave preparation, most men ask themselves, do I really need to? While you may be used to waking up and whirling your razor around your face, you won’t be doing your skin any favours in the long run if you don’t prep it first.
Even in the short term, a lack of skin preparation can leave your face looking more dull than refreshed. If nothing else, use warm water to clean your face and soften the hair before you start to shave.
To properly set up your face for a smooth and cut free razor run, use a pre shave lotion.
Regardless of whether your preference is for a wet or dry shave, pre-shave gels and lotions will help your skin survive shaving. By adding a protective, pre-shave layer, you will be able to help avoid pesky cuts and nicks caused by the sharp razor on dry skin.
Shaving Foam Or Shaving Cream?
Many modern men choose shaving foams, such as to calm razor burn and repair skin when wet shaving. However, both classic gentlemen and grooming savvy guys are making the switch to shaving creams or the classic Shaving soap.
ManCave recommends: If you want to use a better shaving foam, with moisturising capabilities not found in basic brands, we recommend an organism shaving foam. With soothing ingredients such as aloe vera and minerals like the volcanic rocks used in certain Foams, however we at ManCave prefer using shaving soaps and heres why.
HOW TO USE SHAVING SOAP? A STEP BY STEP GUIDE
You took the decision to start shaving in the traditional and more manly way and what’s better than knowing how to use shaving soap. Good for you.
You got yourself a very nice and sharp DE safety razor. A straight razor? Even better.
You did your search online to build your shaving set, compared prices for hours and bought all the things that you need for a great traditional shaving experience. You got the shaving soap, the awesome badger brush with a shaving bowl which by the way was a great bundle deal, and lastly the aftershave balm.
So how are you going to use all these goodies that you just bought?
How to you use a shaving soap?
Before you even begin thinking about shaving, you need to start with the fundamentals of traditional shaving. That includes lathering with a shaving soap.
It is necessary to understand how to build lather and when/how to apply it on your face in order to have an easy and pleasant shaving session.
There are 2 common methods to build lather with a shaving soap and are pretty similar to the one with shaving cream. One way is to prepare it in a shaving bowl and then apply it on your face. The other one is to build the lather directly on your face. By the way, this is the method that I personally prefer. I will dig into the reasons in more detail.
So let’s not lose more time and let’s find out how to use shaving soap to wet shave like a boss.
Things you ‘ll need for using a shaving soap effectively
- A shaving brush
- Shaving Bowl (if you aren’t building lather on face directly). You can also use any bowl, mug or cup if you don’t want to spend money on this. Keep in mind that you‘ll have to swirl the shaving brush in it . Therefore a short and wide bowl is more preferred.
- Shaving soap.
- A properly wet face with warm water when you are about to apply the lather.
Method 1: Building lather in the shaving bowl
Before we begin, we assume that you already follow a few steps to prepare your face skin for shaving. Pay special attention in case your skin is sensitive to shaving.
Ideally, you have at least splashed some warm water on your face just before you begin applying the lather. Here we go then.
1. Soak the brush
Since you have the shaving bowl, fill it with hot water -not boiling, and let the brush soak inside for a minute or two. Alternatively, you can also soak the brush with running hot water.
Avoid soaking up your brush inside a sink full of water since most of the times the sink is not at its cleanest state. Since this shaving brush is going to touch your face, it doesn’t seem to be the most hygienic thing.
Tip: Make a wise decision when selecting a shaving brush. A badger hair brush is a good choice for retaining water and it’s usually softer than artificial brushes
2. Empty the water
Once you let the brush soak in the bowl for a couple of minutes, take it out and empty most of the water. Leave just a teaspoon in it. You will also now need to get rid of the excess water on the brush. Shake it a couple of times until the brush stops dripping.
3. Soften the shaving soap
Now it’s time to do some preparation for the shaving soap. Add a little bit of hot water on top of the soap, a few drops or a teaspoon maybe. This will make the soap softer. Ideally, this step is completed at the same time that the brush is soaking in hot water.
4. Swirl on the soap
This is the most important step if you want to make a great lather. Take the brush and start swirling it on the soap. You will need to swirl it a few times for 10-15 seconds. Once you ‘ve finished swirling the brush on top of the soap, it’s time to make the lather in the bowl.
5. Swirl in the bowl
Time to grab the shaving bowl. You kept a little bit of water already in it, right?
Grab the brush and start swirling it in the bowl. This will take you approximately a minute or a bit less. When you swirl the brush in the bowl, you will see the lather starting to build up. In the beginning, it will be bubbly but as you swirl but it will soon become thicker.
6. Check if lather is ready
Now, there might be a chance that the lather is not exactly how you want it to be. There are 3 possible outcomes.
The first one is that the lather is perfect, and you can start applying it evenly across your face, that’s great.
Alternatively, it might be too bubbly and you will need to continue swirling until it gets the necessary thickness.
There is also the chance that the lather is too thick and in such case it’s a good idea to pour a few drops of water in the bowl and swirl once again. The key here is to add water little by little to avoid making the lather too watery.
Tip: If the lather seems to be too bubbly, continue swirling in the shaving bowl until it gets thicker. If you still can’t get the lather thick enough, go back to the soap, swirl a few times and repeat the swirling in the shaving bowl.
7. Happy shaving
Once you are confident that you have a good and thick lather, it’s time to start applying it with the brush on your face until it covers all the areas you wish to shave. Just brushing your face would be enough and no extra swirling required.
You ‘re good to go with the shaving.
Method 2: Building lather on the face (Preferred)
If you’re just starting out with wet shaving and want to know how to use shaving soap, I’m confident that this method is something that you will enjoy. Besides that, I’ve got the impression that it’s a bit easier to build up lather.
Just like in Method 1, we assume that you prepared your face properly for shaving and avoid possible irritation or razor bumps.
1. Soak the brush
Just like in method 1, you will need to soak the brush in hot water (caution with the water temperature) and make the badger hair soft and moist. Once you’ve done this, shake the brush a few times until most of the water goes away but be careful not to dry the brush too much.
2. Soften the soap
This is not as important as in method 1. Pour a few drops of warm water on the soap to make it a bit softer.
3. Swirling time
Now that you have a soap ready to be swirled and a wet shaving brush, time to do some swirling. Take the brush and swirl for 10-15 on top of the soap. You don’t have to put pressure here. Just make some gentle moves on the soap until the tips of the brush get some soap on it.
4. Apply it on your face
You prepared your face already right? Your face needs to be properly wet.
Start swirling actions on your cheeks for the lather to build up. After 30 seconds of swirling on your wet face, you will have a nice and thick lather.
Similarly to Method 1, there is a chance you might get either a watery or a very thick lather. If this happens, follow the same procedure.
- If you got a watery lather, swirl the brush on the shaving soap and continue with swirling on your face.
- If the lather is too thick, pour a few drops of water on the tips of the shaving brush and put it again on your face and get the swirling started once again.
5. Shave yourself
You ‘ve done it. You got yourself a great lather and you ‘re ready to shave.
Why A Brush Might Be Best
Once thought to be the preferred pick of beard barbers and luxury home shavers, the shaving brush is a tidy tool that could actually improve your shaving routine. Now, you don’t have to be Royally appointed or one of the Bond actors to see a shaving brush on your bathroom shelf.
Soothing Your Skin Post-Shave
Once you’ve shaped your beard, tidied the ‘tache or gone for a good ol’ clean shave, you’ll need to ready your skin for the rest of the day.
Your pre-shave products and choice of shaving implements are all in the business of making sure your shave is stress and scratch free. That’s all well and good, but ultimately you have just taken a blade to your skin and no matter what you shaved with (even if it was a razor forged by the Norse god Thor himself) it’ll need some help with soothing and repairing.
Depending on your skin type and needs, there are specialised after-shave balms and treatments that will allow for the best results.
It works to cure what ails you skin, while treating post shave skin by combining the soothing succour of a shaving balm with an additional spot-stopping treatment. Apply with a cotton wool pad (after 30mins for razor bumps) to exfoliate upper skin layers. This will help to unclog pores and remove excess oils and dead skin.
Whether wet or dry shaving, as a modern man you’ll want to take extra strides to make sure that both your skin and beard hair are cared for during the shaving routine. You can do this by experimenting with what works best for you, be it a shaving brush and cream, or electric razor and a good pre-shave oil.
Shaving may have been around for thousands of years, but there’s no reason to do it the same way as our ancestors. With any face, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, so go ahead and indulge your follicles - get the best shave for you.
The Shaving Brush Guide
We are going to be introducing our guide to shaving creams and shaving soaps, but there is another tool that is at least as important: the shaving brush. A few decades ago almost every man who shaved used one. Due to modernization, quick and easy disposable products like shaving foams gained in popularity while the shaving brush became somewhat obsolete.
It is only with hindsight that men are finally beginning to realize the importance of shaving, of taking care of their skin, and thus of the brush. Once you use a shaving brush, you will never go back. It is much more efficient, employing a smaller amount of shaving cream for a rich and warm lather, and there are less waste and fewer cans making it a greener alternative. For those who want to use a shaving soap or cream, a brush is indispensable.
Brief History of Shaving Brushes
Before brushes, there were sea sponges: men used them to lather up soap to their faces. The shaving brushes with bristles as we know them today were invented by the French in the eighteenth century. Since then, different kinds of bristles have been used – both natural and synthetic.
Advantages of a Shaving Brush
The purpose of the brush is fourfold:
- Generates a rich and warm lather by whipping air into shaving cream or soap
- Softens and lifts the facial hair off the face
- Adds heat to the skin during the shaving process which helps open pores and lubricate the skin
- Gently exfoliates the surface of the skin to rid it of dead cells
By virtue of its numerous bristles, a shaving brush is the best way to generate a warm and unctuous lather. Rich lather is important because it protects and lubricates the skin. Also, the gentle friction of the bristles on your face as you lather up arms the shaving cream and your skin, softening the beard and opening pores.
The brush helps guide the direction of your whiskers as they loosen up in their pores, preparing them for the blade. The shaving brush is also ideal for ensuring adequate moisture to the face when shaving: it captures and transports the moisture from the sink, through the bristles to your skin and beard. This is a far more efficient method of wetting your skin than cupping water in your hands and bringing it to your face when shaving, which is what you have to do without a brush.
Finally, the brush provides gentle exfoliation and removes dead surface cells, something that fingers alone cannot do.
Types of Shaving Brushes
Shaving brushes are mostly made from the hair of badgers, boars, horses or synthetic fibers.
The bristle taken from boars are harder than badger hair and are at first very coarse, which is not so comfortable on the skin. The courser texture of the bristles makes it very useful for lathering soaps well because of its ability to agitate the surface of the soap very easily.
Over time, the tips of the bristles will soften and feel a bit more broken in, but will never be as soft on the face as badger hair. Colors range from yellow to white, often with a black imitation band as decoration. The price of a boar brush is hard to beat. You can get a decent boar shaving brush for less than $ 10. Interestingly, boar bristle brushes are particularly favored by Italian barbers.
Horsehair is finer and softer than boar, but slightly stiffer than badger hair. Horsehair brushes come in as many colors as do horses. They seem to be favored particularly in Spain and are compared to badger modestly priced (price range: $ 20 to $ 40).
Synthetic bristles have been significantly improved in recent years. The cheapest brushes still use relatively thick nylon bristles and are not particularly comfortable. But you can also find amazing products made from high-quality synthetic fibers analogously to the best natural badger hair.
The best synthetic bristle brushes retail between $ 40 and $ 140.
Badger hair has been used for more than two centuries to make the shaving brushes. There are essentially four different grades of badger hair: pure, best, super and silver tip though the meaning and the names of the categories may vary by manufacturer.
Pure badger hair is the least expensive of the four grades and ranges in color from brownish-grey to black. The hairs are more flexible than boar bristles and usually coarser in texture than higher grade badger hair. Their stable quality will perform well for wet shavers who like a massaging effect while preparing to shave. Pure graded brushes normally offer a good value in quality for the price (price range: $ 35 to $ 70). A pure badger lasts on average three years.
Best Badger offers a significant improvement in feel and quality over pure badger. The hair ranges in color from lighter brown to gray and has better water absorbing capabilities than pure badger. On the face, best grade hair has a softer feel and is not as scratchy as pure. Best graded brushes are priced between $ 50 to $100 and last on average six years.
The super badger grade is even softer on the face and has little to no scratchiness on the skin. The hair has a color pattern with a black banded midsection and whiter tips than the other quality hair types. The density and water holding capacity of super badger brushes offer a noticeable difference in performance. Super badger is significantly more expensive than best badger (price range: $ 75 to $ 150) and can last up to ten years.
Silver tip is the best and the most expensive grade of hair. Like super badger hair, the silver tip has a very distinct color banding, but usually a more defined contrast in color between the black and white-silver color bands. Silver tip hair is gentle and luxurious, like a soft sponge that massages the lather on to the face. The price range for the silver tip category usually starts at $150. An average silver tip badger brush will last ten years or more.
There you have it a ManCave UAE guide to shaving.