Men’s Gifts – Shaving with Products that Do More Than Just Make You Smell Good
As much as we might like to think the contrary, we humans are still animals. We differ from other species in our communication skills and opposing thumbs, that give us a huge advantage over hooves and paws. Whether we like it or not, we have retained a particular detail that might remind us of our more primitive nature… Hair!
Throughout the ages, the absence of facial hair has given men a semblance of youth and cleanliness. A face full of unkept, poorly groomed facial fur is highly undesirable, unless the ‘wild’ look is what you are going for (no judgement here).
Before razors were available, shells or other sharp tools were used to remove hair. As we advanced in metallurgy, these tools got much better, but also required a level of greater skill. When it came to wielding a straight razor, It was not surprising that we quickly figured out that it was easier if someone helped us with this kind of project. A person with a steady hand could do well as a barber and might also assist in important functions such as blood letting and tooth removal.
In my own youth, I contemplated shaving with my grandfather’s straight razor, as it was one of the very few remembrances of his that I have (see photo).
Sheer luck saved me from this project, as I could not get my hands on the additional materials that are needed for such a technique (Sharpening strap, Shaving soap, Brush, septic pencil, etc.)
The development of the safety razor and electric razors have been key tools in self-management of our facial foliage. There have been great advances in this area, but that is a topic for another day.
With the process of shaving came an awareness that there are potential complications if you don’t do it correctly. I have experienced this myself after years of military barbers futile attempts to remove the mole from the back of my neck. Niks, cuts, abrasions, razor burn and razor bumps are some of the possible outcomes of shaving improperly.
Thankfully, there are companies that have stepped-up to the plate to provide modern man with excellent products to minimize these aforementioned complications and achieve a smooth and comfortable shave. Their focus is on facial preparation more than the razor itself.
Lets take a closer looks at some of these products.
Somersets English Shaving Oil
In 1991 David Somerset created shaving oils using all natural oils to facilitate shaving, while reducing the inherent problems. Different formulations are made to counter specific problems. Maximum Glide Original uses Plant oils, Juniper Berry, Tea Tree and Vetiver to eliminate cuts or razor burn. Maxim Glide Tough Stubble uses Moroccan Camomile and Cedar wood oils to stop razor bumps and Maximum Glide Extra Sensitive uses Java Vetiver and Alpha Bisabolol to moisturize skin.
The use of these oils is very easy. You wash your face with warm to hot water before shaving. Apply about three drops (yes, that is all it takes) of the selected oil to the area and proceed to shave. Unlike with foams, you can clearly see where you have removed hair, although it takes a bit of getting used to as I used the foam to know where I have already shaved.
The end result was a very smooth, problem free shave! The aroma of the oils is pleasant and “Manly” and even though the manufacturer recommends an after shave face balm, I got great results without it. The oil works with safety and electric razors. The15 ml size is excellent for travel and will render about 90 shaves.
The Schulz and Malley Trading Company
Don’t let the “Old Timey” appearance of this product line fool you, these fine folks have put together a superb “Gentleman’s Shaving Collection” that is like a ‘spa-day in a box’ for your face. The regiment includes (in order of use) Cleansing Face Wash, Pre Shave Oil, Brushless Shave Cream and after Shave Balm. All of these are made with 100% ‘manmade’ products, whose exact ingredients I encourage you to look up if you are so inclined.
Now on to the shave!
To begin with, you clean your face with the wash (something you can use even if you aren’t shaving).
Next you apply the oil which prepares your beard by softening the hair and creates a friction free field.
Immediately after the oil the shave cream goes on, which is loaded with ingredients that are designed to give you a close shave, further soften hair and protect your skin.
Finally, after all is said and done, you soothe your facial skin with the balm.
The end result is a wonderfully smooth shave and a very clean, pleasant fragrance. The key here is to give yourself time to enjoy the process and engage in each step. My take away is that the journey is as important as reaching the destination, and this company has made sure that you are well taken care of.
The kind people from Razor MD have come up with a variety of products to meet different tastes.
First, lets look at their Cheech & Chongs Grooming factory line.
This is the stuff you want if you are keeping some or all of your facial hair and want to maximize its health and appearance. I personally sport a Mustache/Goatee combo, so this is perfect for my needs. The line uses Hemp oil and other select natural oils that give it a kind of pleasant herbal aroma.
We start with “Love Machine” Beard Wash. If you are using regular soap on your beard, most likely you are drying out your beard and the underlying skin. This wash, if used a few times a week, is designed to prevent brittle hair and flaky skin.
“Sweet and Low Beard Oil” should be applied after washing and just a couple of drops has the essential oils that tame your whiskers and give you a healthy shine.
“Happy Herbs Mustache Wax” is designed to give you both control of your mustache, but also give you the nutrients to make it look thick and healthy.
If shaving is your plan, Razor MD has a very nice Essential Sandalwood shaving cream and Post shave lotion or you can go with their “Popeye” line of a pre-shave oil, shave cream lather and a post shave lotion.
Sandalwood has always been one of my favorite fragrances, so I tried it first. This combination gave me a smooth shave, a comfortable after shave smoothness and a subtle lingering sandalwood scent. Amazingly, the pleasant Sandalwood scent lasted all day and did not just evaporate off.
The “Popeye” line incorporates a pretty viscous pre-shave oil to soften things up. The cream was a tad fluffier than the sandalwood and the after shave lotion seems a bit more fluid, but the end result was equally pleasant. The fragrance is called “Sailorwood” and leaves you with a very clean, masculine, woody aroma.
Summing things up, like many men, I have been shaving for most of my life because I had to; I never have taken any steps to enjoy the process. I will admit to being pleased with the excellent results I got from all of the products I tried and I intend to incorporate each into my routine. The fragrances were all nicely clean, subtle and non-invasive (My wife approved of them all) and work well with or without an additional cologne. My face felt great after every test!
Perhaps it is time for you to check them out for yourself, both your face and the special person in your life will appreciate it! That said, you might consider some of these fine products as holiday gifts for the man in your life. You will both enjoy them!