Shaving Sticks: The Solution to Wet Shaving While Traveling, and Much More!

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Instagram: @gabeshavesaustralia

Sometimes it can be difficult to fit in a full wet shave ritual. That’s where shaving sticks come in. Whether you’re traveling or just short on time at home, shaving sticks offer you the luxury of a wet shave while shaving off time. These sticks typically come in a tube and are applied directly to your face, saving you the step of building lather in a bowl. They also create mounds of lather quickly.

The key benefits of adding shaving sticks to your wet shaving arsenal:

You control the amount of product used – Because you lather directly on your face, you have full control over how much you apply. When you lather in a shaving bowl, you might have a bit of leftover product that goes unused.

Foolproof lather, fast – Shaving sticks are known for producing generous lather. Simply rub the stick on your wet face, work it in with a wet brush, and add more water as necessary. You’ll create mounds of lather with these simple steps.

Because shaving sticks lather so easily, we recommend them for any gentlemen who are still struggling with producing a lather using a brush and shaving bowl. They’re also great if you need to produce lather quickly.

Ease of use for head shavers – The shaving stick’s ergonomic design – it’s a stick that fits comfortably in your hand – means it maneuvers nicely around your head.

You can use a softer brush – Because soap doesn’t need to be picked up by the brush, you can use a softer or floppier brush.

No need to clean a bowl after you shave – When you’re in a rush for time, this perk alone will save you a few minutes.

Application methods other than applying directly to your face:

Apply the shaving stick to the brush – Wet the brush and rub it into the shaving stick. Then proceed to massage the brush into your skin. This method can be even faster than rubbing the stick directly on your face.

Lather the shaving stick in a bowl – While the purpose of a shaving stick is to save you the trouble of using a bowl, some men may prefer shaving sticks to pucks or creams, but still like to use the bowl. In this case, simply shave off tiny slices of your shaving stick into the bowl. Do this with a small knife or even cheese grater.

Our product recommendations:

product-picks

SHOP: 1. Palmolive for Men Classic Shave Stick, 2. Speick Shaving Stick, 3. D.R. Harris Shaving Stick, 4. La Toja Shaving Stick

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Interview: Rob Hammer of Barbershops of America

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Tony’s Barbershop in Greenwich, Connecticut

Walls of memorabilia. The smell of Pinaud Clubman and leather, mixed with the telltale laughter of guys just hanging out and having a good time while getting a fresh haircut. Classic barbershops are unmistakable. But they’re also disappearing. That’s why, in September 2011, San Diego-based photographer Rob Hammer set out on a nationwide journey to document these amazing old shops. Sticking to back roads and small towns, Hammer discovered gems in every state.

For 2 ½ years, Hammer logged 45,000 miles and visited over 600 shops, capturing these community watering holes and their charismatic owners. From there, he compiled the 70 barbershops that stood out to him most in his book, Barbershops of America, along with memorable quotes from the owners.

We had the pleasure of talking to Hammer about what he wanted to capture within the barbershops, the similarities and differences between shops across America, and one of the most memorable barbers he met on the journey.

What inspired you to photograph barbershops all over America?

I’ve always been into barbershops; they’re great places for men to hang out, to B.S. with each other and not have to worry about anything. As I got older and traveled around, living in other places, I noticed it was really hard to find a good barbershop and barber. I realized that these old barbershops were starting to go away. The barber was either retiring, dying, or getting kicked out of their place by a higher-paying tenant. I thought that was really sad. For me, it’s a great piece of America being taken away by these salons that are a dime a dozen, flashy, with no character.

Little by little I started looking for old shops in San Diego, and then I branched out to Southern California and Arizona. Eventually the project grew, and I knew I had to document shops in all 50 states before they were gone for good.

Angel's Barbershop in Seligman, Arizona

Angel’s Barbershop in Seligman, Arizona

What traits make a barbershop a barbershop?

The simple answer is that a real barbershop is authentic. It’s not trying to be cool, it just is. The barber has his space the way he likes it, and the people who appreciate that stay customers, then become lifelong friends. The ones who don’t go elsewhere.

What was your methodology to finding barbershops to photograph? 

I spent a lot of time on the road. And most of that time was spent off the highway, on back roads, in small towns that most people never hear of. That’s where I found the real gems. At first I tried doing research on the internet, but that produced mediocre results at best. After arriving at barbershops I found online, they were always a letdown. They weren’t as they appeared in pictures. And after a while, I realized that the shops I wanted weren’t in any pictures anywhere. They were off the grid. So that’s where I stayed.

What did you want to capture within these barbershops?

There are only so many ways you can arrange barber chairs and mirrors. Yet each real shop has tangible differences. The space has been occupied for so long that it becomes almost like a social club. A place to hang out with your friends. And in each part of the country, all those friends do things differently. In Wyoming, people hunt. So most likely, a shop in Wyoming will be filled with hunting trophies. In Kansas people love the Jay Hawks. That’s life. So most likely, the shops will be covered in Jay Hawk memorabilia. These are the simple things that make them different. The things that I wanted to show. So the viewer can almost get a sense of where they are while looking at the images.

Harry's Barbershop in Biloxi, Mississippi

Harry’s Barbershop in Biloxi, Mississippi

Barbershops of America was a long-term personal project that took nearly 3 years. As a photographer, how important was it for you to set aside time to shoot what you wanted in additional to commissioned work?

It’s extremely important. Any photographer who doesn’t shoot personal projects is a moron. Don’t get me wrong, I love shooting commercially. And it’s extremely rewarding, but there is no better feeling than shooting for yourself, and having that idea come to life. If you only shoot what other people want you to shoot, then your work will never represent you. And you’ll always be a hired gun.

When commercial clients hire you because your personal projects stand out, that’s when it gets really fun. You’re hired because of your vision.

What was your most memorable moment when shooting for this book? 

Not even sure how to answer that. Driving around the country for 3 years is an incredible experience. You see so much and learn so much, that afterward, you’re practically a different person. I probably can’t narrow it down to one moment. So many of the shops were great to be in, and so many of the barbers were such characters, that you can’t ever forget them. Food was a big thing for me too. I did a lot of eating everywhere I went.

What about your most memorable barbershop?

Probably shouldn’t single out just one, but if I have to, it would be “Honest John’s” in Burlington, Kansas. A one stoplight town in the middle of nowhere. John grew up and lived his whole life there. He had been barbering forever, and was still so enthusiastic about it. His whole attitude was so positive and contagious. He knew everybody by name and was greeted warmly by everyone who walked in the door. He couldn’t believe that I wanted to take his picture, and could hardly wait to tell his friends about it.

I sent John a print, and called a while later to check in on him. His wife told me he was very sick, but had received the print and hung it above the mantel. More than that, he brought the framed print to the town’s 4th of July party to show everyone. Once in a while I try calling to check in on him, but get a never-ending busy signal.

Writing that made me want to get in touch with him again. So I Googled his name in hopes of finding his phone number, and the first thing that popped up, unfortunately,  was his obituary. John was an amazing guy and I feel better for having met him. It’s also pretty amazing to see my picture of him as the one they used for his obituary. I’ve got his picture hanging at my house, too.

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Honest John’s Barber Shop in Burlington, Kansas

Barber John working on a client at Honest John's Barbershop

Barber John working on a client at Honest John’s Barbershop

How would you describe your photography style?

I think that I have two styles. My commercial style is very edgy and dramatic, involving lots of strobe light. It’s a much more complicated process, which I enjoy very much. It’s almost addicting. Then the other style that I use for things like the barbershop project is more simple. More documentary I guess?

Which photographers inspire you?

That’s a never-ending list. I ingest an insane amount of photography on a daily basis, and have become obsessed with photo books. So my shelves are filled with books by photographers of all different genres. People like Walter Iooss, Neil Leifer, Tim Mantoani, Michael Zegaris, Steven Shore, Joel Meyerowitz, Danny Clinch, Walker Evans, Martin Parr, Gary Land, Michael Muller, and William Albert Allard. There are so many guys out there doing awesome stuff.

Stancil's Barbershop in Albany, New York

Stancil’s Barbershop in Albany, New York

Do you have any plans to do something similar in the future?

I have an itch to start this project again. I was recently in India and saw all these barbershop pop ups on the street. The barbers there are amazing.

When I drive around taking photos, sometimes I’ll see some really cool shops. Some young guys have started slick shops that’ll be amazing in 30 – 40 years.

Also, about 3 years ago I started photographing old basketball hoops in strange remote parts of the country. It’s sort of similar to the barbershop project, where I just spend tons of time on the road.

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Photographer Rob Hammer

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The Grooming Artist News Roundup: January 2017

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2017 is officially upon us! If you’re just heading back into work today, here’s something that’ll make the transition a little easier: a little daydreaming in the form of a guide to relaxing destinations for your spring holiday. Because although the climate may say otherwise, spring is coming fast enough.

Something else that will help you start the year on a high note? A quick primer on how to stick to those resolutions you made two days ago. By breaking your goals into actionable items, you’ll be able to tackle them more easily.

This month’s news roundup also includes dopp kit product suggestions from Men’s Journal, and GQ’s picks for the most popular grooming products of 2016. We’re proud to carry a couple of products from GQ’s “best of” list, including Grant’s Golden Brand Medium Blend Pomade and Ernest Supplies Protective Matte Moisturizer.

Plus, get some fantastic winter skincare and fragrance tips from Kristina Tsiriotakis, senior manager of learning and organizational development at L’Occitane en Provence.

Here’s wishing you a fabulous New Year!

Make weekend trips and plane rides that much more enjoyable by packing your dopp kit with the right stuff. Here, 12 toiletry bag essentials. (Men’s Journal)

Winter skincare tips from Kristina Tsiriotakis of L’Occitane en Provence. (Huffington Post Canada)

A barber from Pontypool, UK could be crowned as the best wet shave artist in the UK when he competes in a competition in a couple of months. (South Wales Argus)

We’ve all made them. Here’s how to stick to your New Year’s resolutions. (MR PORTER)

It’s not too early to start planning your spring getaway at these incredibly relaxing destinations. (MR PORTER)

The most popular grooming products of 2016, according to GQ. (GQ)

Peppermint isn’t just for candy canes. We take you through the benefits of peppermint oil for your shave and for relaxation. (Grooming Artist)

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The Top 7 Bestsellers of 2016

It’s coming on the end of the year, and we feel it appropriate to share a “Best Of” list to celebrate. With the immense growth of the men’s grooming industry, there are new products being released all the time, vying at our attention. However, there are certain tools that persist – whether it’s the blade that gets you the perfect shave or the safety razor that weaned you off cartridge shaving for good.

Every year, we take a look back on the wet shaving essentials that you loved most. The following seven items are our bestsellers of 2016. Take a gander, gain a few tips from the reviews, and perhaps discover your next standby.

30 Degree 320 Silvertip Badger Shaving Brush – Black Resin

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Features

  • Soft silvertip badger hair with superb water retention
  • Smaller knot for optimal precision and control
  • Bulbous loft for easier lathering in shave bowls and mugs

Customer review

“This is a good brush that produces a great lather. Great deal for the money.”

-Rod

SHOP: 30 Degree 320 Silvertip Badger Shaving Brush – Black Resin 

Merkur Super Platinum Stainless Blades, 10 Blades

 

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Features

  • Platinum-coated stainless steel
  • Excellent starter blade for men with light to medium beards

Customer review

“Makes my Merkur 34C sparkle in the morning. Gives my wife a great cheek to cheek.”

-Larry J.

SHOP: Merkur Super Platinum Stainless Blades, 10 Blades 

Merkur 34C HD Classic Safety Razor – Polished Chrome Finish

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Features

  • Midweight construction for just enough pressure
  • Stubby handle for better grip
  • Two-piece, closed comb construction

Customer review

“This is my first safety razor. I tried the Merkur blade that came with it and was so impressed at how mild yet effective the razor was. I was very nervous the first time. No nicks but the closest, smoothest shave ever in over 30 years of shaving.”

SHOP: Merkur 34C HD Classic Safety Razor – Polished Chrome Finish 

Taylor of Old Bond Street Luxury Shaving Cream Bowl

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Features

  • Glycerin-based for slickness and glide
  • Coconut acid for a rich lather
  • Available in a dozen scents

Customer review

“This is the best shave cream that money can buy. There is no burning or drying your skin out. It bathes you skin in comfort, and the Sandalwood scent is the best I have ever smelled.”

-Jerry B.

SHOP: Taylor of Old Bond Street Luxury Shaving Cream Bowl 

Edwin Jagger DE89L Double Edge Safety Razor with Lined Handle

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Features

  • Three-piece, closed comb construction
  • Chrome-plated for enhanced rust resistance
  • Fluted handle for a secure grip

Customer review

“This is a pretty amazing razor at a very economical price. Fantastic option for new DE shavers who want a superior razor but don’t want to spend a lot upfront. Very impressive build quality and materials. Weight is just right. And the longer handle is a great choice for those transitioning from cartridge and disposables. It will feel very familiar. At this price, you can’t go wrong. Actually, you’ll be pretty amazed at how much razor you get for just $32.”

-Kenstee

SHOP: Edwin Jagger DE89L Double Edge Safety Razor with Lined Handle

Dovo Best Quality 5/8″ Full Hollow Carbon Steel Straight Razor – Black Celluloid

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Features

  • Stiffer, more forgiving half hollow Swedish blade
  • Top and bottom tang jimps for enhanced grip
  • Durable celluloid scales

Customer review

“Nice Straight Razor. Smooth Dovo quality clearly felt in this razor, great first razor to jump into straight razor shaving. There are better Dovo razors but this is a great starter for the price and quality. It will last forever and be a great travel razor when you upgrade.”

-Michael L.

SHOP: Dovo Best Quality 5/8″ Full Hollow Carbon Steel Straight Razor – Black Celluloid 

Proraso Shave Soap Jar – Green, Refreshing and Toning

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Features

  • Coconut oil for enhanced slickness
  • Glycerin-based formula keeps skin soft
  • Soothing menthol scent

Customer review

“I purchased the Proraso Hard shaving cream as part of a straight razor starter kit. When Opened the Proraso hard shaving cream bowl, I could immediately smell the refreshing scents of menthol and eucalyptus. This cream lathers up very thick with little effort. The cream not only applies to my skin very nicely ( I recommend a badger brush), but it also doesn’t bubble out like a lot of other creams out there. After I use the shaving cream my skin is super soft. I will only use this cream from now on.”

-Jason

SHOP: Proraso Shave Soap Jar – Green, Refreshing and Toning

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