Men’s shaving has become a lost art. This manly tradition that was once a rite of passage handed down from father to son has now become a dreaded morning inconvenience. Today’s man brainlessly rushes through his morning shaving routine, nicking and cutting his face with a cheap disposable razor and shave foam from a can.
Why do men do this? Certainly not because the quality of the shaving is better than traditional shaving. The answer is because of time constraints. Most men feel that traditional shaving takes up too much time. What they don’t consider is that by rushing through their shaving routine with these cheap, low-quality products, they are doing their skin a disservice and will end up spending more time and money in the end to fix the skin-related problems they are creating. For a few minutes more each morning, they can get a higher quality shave that will be much kinder on their skin.
Always of fan of the traditional gentleman and manly grooming, I turned to the shave experts at Art of Shaving to give my readers some tips on rekindling this lost art:
Christie Moeller: What is the difference between shave lather and canned shave cream?
Art of Shaving: Think of it as the difference between wet and dry, between heat and cold. First, most foams and gels bought in drugstores are 100 percent synthetic and are not good for the skin. Second, foams are packaged in aerosol cans. Cold air makes the product come out of the can in a fluffy cream consistency. This foam is cold and does not require water, but water is the most important ingredient in shaving. Cold shaving cream makes the hair follicle stiffen and the pores close. Further, many foams are mentholated, which creates a cold reaction on the skin and can be irritating.
Gels are not as bad as foams but are still not very effective. Gels generate a lightly lubricating lather that offers very little protection to the skin. Therefore it is hard to get a close and comfortable shave. If you go against the grain when using a gel, you will most likely irritate the skin. Gel is also used cold.
The Art of Shaving Shaving Cream and Soap are made to soften the beard and open the pores using hot water. Water is the most important ingredient in shaving — that’s why it’s called wet shaving — and heat is nearly as important. Shaving Cream and Soap contain glycerin and coconut oils to offer great lubrication and protection. When lathered up with a shaving brush and hot water, they will lift the hair away from the skin and soften the beard, allowing the razor to shave the hair with very little resistance. Result: a most clean and comfortable shave.
CM: What is the best kind of razor to use?
AOS: In order to achieve a closer shave you need the right products and proper shaving techniques. You will achieve the same shave with a modern swivel-head razor (like the Fusion Chrome Collection ProGlide Power Razor) or a straight razor as long as you know how to use one properly. If you decide to use a straight razor, we recommend that you invest some time and effort in learning how to use it from a professional barber.
CM: Should men use a shaving brush? What are the benefits?
AOS: We see the shaving brush as part of the wet-shaving routine. Using a shaving brush generates a rich and warm lather to protect the skin; brings sufficient warm water to the skin to soften the beard and open the pores, lifts the beard for a close shave, and gently exfoliates to prevent and relieve ingrown hairs.
Trust me, moving from a “fast food” shave to a “classic” shaving routine will be the best decision you have ever made. Not only does it up your cool factor with the nostalgia aspect, its great for your skin and makes you feel like a real man!
Holiday gift giving tip: Ladies! The Art of Shaving offers traditional barber shaves at many of its locations. A gift card for a classic shave is a great gift for your guy! Visit their Web site for other great gift ideas http://www.theartofshaving.com/.
The Art of Shaving wants to help you become a well groomed gent. One lucky winner will receive a four elements of the Perfect Shave Carry-on Kit! To enter, if you haven’t already, subscribe to this blog and leave a comment on this post between Dec. 6 and Dec. 11 telling me who you belive is the ideal classic gentleman. Comments can be left at bottom of post or at top right by clicking the comment icon, depending on your browser.
Good luck and thanks for reading.