Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Classic Shaving: Soaps & Brushes

Modern technology has transformed the shaving ritual to the point where "ritual" isn't even the proper word. It's really just a task at this point. But as one of the touchstones of masculinity, it seems a shame to relegate it to one of a litany of grooming "S"s (I'll assume you know the rest). 

In recent years there has been a renewed interest in the elements of classic shaving, but lethal-looking razor blades and the plethora of shaving accessories out there can be intimidating. At Hugh I've waded through it all to bring you a selection of products suited to everyone from the curious to the committed.   My goal is to put a little enjoyment back into your shave without the hassle.

We're gonna spend a little time this week diving into it all, starting with ...

Shaving Soaps & Brushes

One thing every man can benefit from is switching from shaving cream in a can to a good shaving soap and brush.  It's the simplest way to improve your shave, not to mention give you a little old-school grooming cred each morning.

Hard shaving soaps remove dirt and oil from whiskers, allowing water to easily penetrate for optimal softening.  It's as simple as wetting your shaving brush and working up a lather. At Hugh we sell D.R. Harris shaving soap, either with a covered mahogany bowl ($38) or alone ($19) for use in a shaving mug (our apothecary mug is $19).

Another great thing about a shaving soap?  A single 3.5 once puck will last months and months.

Quality shaving creams in bowls or tubes are great to use with a brush too. They are good for guys who value convenience, or who have dry skin since they are rich in moisturizing agents.  Our Omega Eucalyptus Shave Cream comes in both a bowl and a tube (great for travel) and is only $8.

Using a shaving brush is key in making your perfect shave dreams come true.  A shaving brush lifts whiskers and gently exfoliates, resulting in a better shave with less irritation and fewer ingrown hairs.  A shaving brush also helps your bottom line, as it generates more lather using less soap.

Shaving brushes come in many varieties: boar hair as the baseline quality, horse hair a step up from that and badger hair is the best.  And even badger hair comes in multiple grades, ranging from coarser & less expensive to very fine and very expensive (you can spend over $100 on the best brushes). 

The badger brush I've chosen to stock at Hugh is the Vulfix Old Original Super Badger brush ($50).  It's the next-to-finest grade, providing softness and excellent absorbency, and is hand-made on the Isle of Man in the U.K.

Super Badger on the left, Horse Hair on the right.

Hugh also sells the Vie-Long Horse-hair brush from Spain ($25) which has longer bristles and is a bit stiffer/"scrubbier" than badger hair, but is also more affordable and is ethically-produced (the hair is gathered in grooming). [Caveat: this brush is backordered right now but expected in soon]

Of course I can special-order any other brushes and the lead time is generally quick.  Feel free to come in and we can discuss the nuances of animal hair.

Next up: the Double-Sided Safety Razor


PQZ said...

My first shave was with soap & brush and its been that way for the last 32 years. You will pry my Penhaligon's from my cold dead hands. That said, I do need a new mug and a new brush. Are they available in anything besides black? I have a large slab of dark brown / black granite on my vanity top and would like a nice silver or white to set off nicely against the sea of darkness.

Joe said...

This particular mug also comes in white. We just didn't bring it in yet. But we could definitely order it.

Eva Karea said...

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