Over the past few months, the Garden Gal has noticed an increase in men visiting the store to stock up on their supplies for wet brush shaving. Many are seasoned wet brush shavers and some are novices; all looking for the clean, close shave that they find lacking through the use of disposable razors and drugstore shaving creams.
Beyond being traditional and slightly romantic (it makes the Garden Gal think of old-school Hollywood, like Cary Grant… swoon), wet brush shaving creates a more effective shave and healthier skin. Men who try wet brush shaving find that by using a quality brush and shaving soap, their shaving experience goes to a whole new level of comfort, smoothness, and enjoyment. And if it’s something that you have to do every day, you might as well enjoy it!
Well, it’s called wet brush shaving for a reason. Warm water is the key- it will help to open your skin’s pores and soften your whiskers, while providing a foundation for the shaving lather. The first rule in wet brush shaving is to keep your face wet with plenty of hot water before and during the entire shave– the best time to shave is immediately after taking a shower. By having a layer of hot water between your skin and the lather, the blade will skim the surface of your skin instead of dragging on it, which is the main cause of irritation, redness, and shave bumps.
Are You Going My Way?
How well do you know your beard? It is time to get up close and personal and learn the directions in which it grows. Beards typically grow in more than one direction, so take the time to understand how your beard grows. Some men find it helpful to make a diagram of their facial hair growth.
Believe it or not, it is most effective to use the lightest pressure as possible on the razor when shaving. While this may seem totally counterintuitive, the fact is, using too much pressure on the razor will ripple the skin in such a way as to not only skip over hair stubble, but also irritate the skin as well. The trick is to use slow and careful strokes by guiding the razor’s head over your skin WITHOUT PRESSING DOWN.
Working the Angle
As a guide, keep the blade between a 30 to 45 degree angle to your face. Don’t obsess of the perfect angle, but make sure the blade edge is set to cleanly cut whiskers without scraping or slicing the surface of the skin. To get the proper razor angle, put the top of the razor head directly on your cheek, with the handle parallel with the floor. Now slowly lower the handle until the blade can cut your whisker. Practice on your arm if you’re not comfortable practicing on your face.
The goal with shaving should be gradual beard reduction, not beard removal in one try. Most men try to get rid of their beard in one pass of the razor. This hack-and-go technique is what causes the majority of skin irritations. If you want to avoid skin irritation, lather up and pass your razor over your face several times. Your face will thank you!
The perfect shave has three ingredients: a good razor, a good brush, and a moisturizing shaving cream. If you’re not ready to go all out and leave your disposable razor behind, you can still benefit from wet brush shaving. By simply changing it up with a high-quality brush and shave cream, you will be able to feel the difference!
Cuts Like a Knife
If you are planning to really go old-school, read on. Choose a high-quality, non-disposable, double-edged safety razor that you feel most comfortable with. This is the one supply we do not carry at Garden of Eden, however you can find them at Gent, conveniently located in the same building as our store or online at http://gentcg.com/. Along with saving money by not constantly replacing disposable razors, men who shave with a safety razor find that any irritation from shaving is quickly eliminated.
Brush On, Brush Off
A good brush, such as the Colonel Conk badger-hair brush carried at the Garden of Eden, will effectively absorb hot water. After you dip the tip of the brush into your tub of shaving cream, the brush releases and mixes the hot water with the shaving cream as you skim the brush back and forth across your face and neck in an up-down motion.
The combination of hot water mixing with the cream and getting beaten by the brush all over your face delivers a thicker, richer, more emollient lather that’s impossible to create with your fingers alone. A shaving brush will also gently exfoliate your face before shaving, which gets rid of anything coming between the blade and your whiskers. Finally, the up-down brushing lifts your whiskers and suspends them standing upright in the thick lather, which exposes the maximum whisker length to your blade as it skims along your face.
A high-quality shaving soap is the final ingredient in the perfect shave. A little bit of a good soap will go a long way when lathered with a shaving brush and will last for many months of daily shaving. The best soaps have either glycerin or Shea butter as their main ingredient and the scents are to die for! Once they make the switch to wet brush shaving, many men find the fragrance of the shaving soaps is the most important part of their new routine.
At Garden of Eden, we carry a variety of shaving soaps. Our most popular soaps include Colonel Conk, Crabtree and Evelyn, and Omega.
Don’t Forget to Moisturize!
Now that you feel like a new man, the final step in your shaving ritual should be protecting your skin with a facial moisturizer or aftershave. We have a variety from which to choose, including Kiehl’s Facial Fuel or Ultimate Men’s Aftershave Balm, and any of the Royall Fragrances aftershaves.
Now that you’re ready to stock up on your supplies, stop by our store or shop online. Hopefully, the Garden Gal has helped you successfully navigate the secret of wet brush shaving. If not, here is a step-by-step video tutorial at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-qSIP6uQ3EI. Happy shaving!