Common Shaving Problems: Not Using the Right Blade + Incorrect Blade Angle

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Why is selecting a good safety razor blade important?

Blades often get the short end of the stick. They’re inexpensive and replaceable, so it’s easy to focus instead on purchasing a nice razor handle. But your double edge safety razor handle is merely the device that holds that sharp piece of metal which ultimately makes contact with your face.

Because each man’s face is different – we all have different skin types, hair textures, and contours – a sharp blade that one wet shaver swears by may tug and pull at another man’s skin. If you participate in wet shaving forums, you’ll hear raves about brands like Feather, Crystal, and Derby, coming from men who had amazing experiences with them. But take their raves with a grain of salt until you try the blade for yourself. Think of it this way: Every brand will have people who love it and people who hate it.

If you’re just venturing into the wet shaving world and feel a little overwhelmed by the sheer amount of blade options, our advice is to purchase a sample pack so you can find the right one for you. We sell a couple sample packs with blades from different manufacturers in each one. Once you determine which one you like, you can then invest in a larger quantity of blades.

What is the correct angle at which I should hit the skin with the blade?

If you’ve been shaving with cartridge razors up until now, realize that unlike cartridge razors, safety razors do not pivot. This means you must pay much more attention to the blade angle to avoid nicks and cuts.

Ideally, your blade’s edge should strike at almost a 90 degree angle to your stubble, nearly parallel to your skin. Try to keep the cap’s edge in contact with your skin. Take extra short strokes on areas that have more curves – your chin, neck, and jawline – so you can more easily maintain blade angle.

I’m shaving at the correct blade angle. Why am I still getting nicks?

When shaving, take into account that some razors are more aggressive than others since they expose more of the blade. If you have thick hair and/or normal skin, aggressive razors may provide you with the pefect shave. But if your skin is sensitive, you might find yourself in a bit of a (bloody) mess.

In the end, it comes down to experimentation. Try different blades in combination with different double edge razors until you get a shave that’s comfortable and enjoyable. It sounds like a lot of work compared with simply grabbing a cartridge razor, but trust us, once you master the art of safety razor shaving, the closeness of the shave is incomparable.

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Infographic: The Top Reasons Why Men Shave

The hipster beard is not becoming obsolete anytime soondespite constant discussion of whether or not we’ve hit “peak beard” – yet a staggering 90% of men still shave at least once a day. That means that more often than not, you’ll find a clean-faced chap greeting you at the coffee shop, or helping you out at the bank. And it’s not just for convenience or to look corporate friendly – according to the following infographic, shaving can boost all aspects of your life, from feeling more confident to performing better at sports to being more attractive to the ladies.

Shaving regularly can literally make you look better, too. Shaving exfoliates skin and removes dead skin cells, so you look dashing no matter what your age.

The list of reasons why you should shave continues below, but let’s not forget the heritage aspect. Wet shaving inducts you into the fold of an incredible wet shaving community. And admittedly, it’s a great feeling when you can lather up just like your father and grandfather did and handle that razor with discipline and finesse.

Enjoy!
Top Reasons Why Men Shave - By TheArtofShaving.com

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Why You Need to Moisturize This Fall and Winter

Skincare is an oft-neglected topic in the wet shaving community. We all worry about finding the perfect razor and blade and debate the type of bristles used in our brushes. But all of this neglects the foundation of a good shave – good skin.

We like to think of proper skincare as laying the primer before you paint a wall in your house. Sure, you could save some time and just skip straight to the paint, but you’ll be painting directly onto a wall potentially strewn with bumps, cracks, and small holes. Putting a primer on first smoothes over these imperfections so your paint goes on nice and evenly. The same concept applies to skincare. Moisturized skin means strong and resilient skin that stands up better to a razor blade and razor burn.

And during fall and winter, when the temperatures drop and icy air and wind rip at your face, hydrating your skin keeps its natural protective lipid barrier up. This is the barrier which locks in moisture and prevents bacteria from entering your skin. Without supplemental moisture, you can look forward to chapped lips, flakes, itchiness, and the running motif of winter – ashy skin.

So it goes without saying that moisturizing is important.

Read on for what adjustments you should be making to your skincare routine to keep skin hydrated through fall and winter, and what ingredients to look for in products.

What tweaks do I have to make to my skincare routine in the winter?

For the most part, use products with a denser, richer consistency. If you’re using a gel cleanser, for example, switch to a more emollient one like Triumph & Disaster Ritual Face Cleanser, formulated without alcohol (which is very drying). It contains Tamanu oil, an antibacterial that promotes skin elasticity.

Avoid cleansers that foam as well as ones that contain sulfates (sulfates dissolve the outermost layer of skin).

If you don’t use a facial serum currently, now’s the time to do it: Layer it beneath your regular moisturizer. Serums are composed of smaller particles than moisturizers, so they penetrate deeper and stay locked in longer. We like Jack Black Protein Booster Skin Serum, which is brimming with protective antioxidants and peptides.

You can further strength your skin’s lipid barrier by making these changes to your daily routine and lifestyle:

  • Avoid long, hot showers – these dry out your skin
  • If you have the radiator running, put a bowl of water next to it so the air won’t be completely parched
  • Eat a diet rich in omega-3s and omega-6s, which reduce inflammation and help skin retain moisture

What should I look for in fall/winter skincare products?

These ingredients are your skincare heavy hitters:

Glycerin – Glycerin is a humectant, which means it draws in moisture from the environment and traps it in skin. By doing so, it helps maintain the skin’s water balance. Glycerin also makes skin appear healthier because it’s highly emollient, making skin soft and reducing scaly, dry skin.

Hyaluronic Acid – A powerful humectant, hyaluronic acid keeps skin plump and hydrated. It can penetrate the outermost dead skin cell layer and moisturize the skin underneath. It also improves elasticity and acts as an antioxidant.

Non-Fragranced Plant Oils – Rich in antioxidants, plant oils like extra virgin olive oil, safflower oil, and jojoba oil can be mixed with moisturizer or applied afterwards to combat stubborn dry areas.

Ceramides – Your skin’s lipid barrier is made of 35-40% ceramides, so boosting it with some topical ceramides during the winter will keep it extra resilient. Ceramides are the glue that holds skin cells together. Anytime your skin suffers damage from a dry environment, the sun, or bad skincare products, the ceremides in your skin decrease. Replenishing your skin’s ceramides protects your skin overall so it feels better and looks younger.

Peptides – Peptides are animo acid chains that stimulate the production of collagen, which increases elasticity.

Do I still need sunscreen when it’s so cold and gloomy outside?

Absolutely. Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean the UV rays have disappeared. In fact, up to 80% of UV rays bounce off white snow, which means exposed skin is vulnerable to damage if you’re not wearing good sunscreen. And yes, you can still get a sunburn in winter.

Seal the deal after you moisturize with a broad spectrum sunscreen, like Game Day Men Moisturizer: Hydrator + SPF 30, which includes peptides and vitamin E.

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Interview: Triumph & Disaster

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If you’re an avid reader, you may recall some familiarity with the phrase “Triumph & Disaster” – it’s from a line in Rudyard Kipling’s poem “IF.” Specifically: “If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster / And treat those two imposters just the same.” The poem, which details a father’s advice to his son, is about humility, honor, risk, and reward.

Triumph & Disaster founder Dion Nash received the framed poem from his father when he was a kid. More than two decades later, he found the poem at the bottom of an old chest and merged these values – as well as the memorable phrase – into his New Zealand-based men’s grooming line.

In fact, Nash has a thing for memorable names. The former professional cricketer and skincare enthusiast (the two are actually more related than you’d think) dubbed his clay face scrub Rock & Roll Suicide (after a David Bowie song) and his popular facial moisturizer Gameface, a nod to his sports past.

Sourcing local indigenous ingredients from New Zealand, Australia, Polynesia, and beyond, Nash ensures each product is thoughtfully conceived and not harmful to nature or humans.

We were delighted to talk to Nash recently about many facets of his skincare line, from the line’s beginnings to product packaging to the importance of men remembering to take care of their skin.

Enjoy!

Tell us the story of how Triumph & Disaster began.

I started out in life as a sports jock. A cricket-mad sports jock to be precise. I chased this as far as I could and was lucky enough to play professionally and represent New Zealand for a decade before retiring due to a series of back injuries. In hindsight this was a lucky twist of fate as it gave me time to refocus and have another dig, so to speak.

After sports I ran into Geoff Ross and the guys setting up New Zealand Vodka brand 42Below and hung on to their shirttails long enough to learn a bit about selling, branding, and marketing, all of which sort of leads me to today.

Skincare was a more natural calling that you might think – it’s actually very close to a cricketer’s heart because when you stand in the sun and wind every day for hours on end you learn to appreciate the finer points of a moisturizer and sunscreen and the joy of exfoliation. So I felt like I had an industrial knowledge of the category, and I had learnt some skills I wanted to put into practice.

How did you come up with the name of your company?

The name comes from Rudyard Kipling. At about 13 years of age my father gave me a framed poem called ‘IF’ by Rudyard Kipling. The poem is advice from a father to his son on how to be a man. It is about humility, honour, risk, and reward. Values that would help mould a brand capable of reminding us that acts of ritual and preparation are worthy endeavours and that being well presented is something of which to be proud.

So when a tattered old poem that my dad had given me years before was uncovered in the bottom of an old chest and I read the line, ‘if you can meet with Triumph & Disaster and treat those two imposters just the same’, well, the deal was done and the brand was born.

The rest of story, as they say, is still ahead of us…

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You played for the New Zealand cricket team in the 1990s! Any special memories?

It all feels like another life ago now. I’m extremely proud of it and we had some wonderful moments (and some disastrous ones). Overall I just feel blessed to have had the chance to do it. It has given me a huge amount of confidence and also a very unique perspective on life and this adventure we find ourselves in.

Before Triumph & Disaster you worked for the vodka company 42Below for quite some time. Why the jump into men’s skincare?

Truth is Vodka’s a young man’s game : ).

Actually I just wanted to have a go at my own thing and as I have said I felt I had a real advantage in this category. I had used the products since I was 18 and had been exposed to/had to survive outdoors under the sun. I had worked out a routine.

At 42 below I learned about branding and marketing, so I really just put the two together.

Why did you decide to base your products in natural ingredients?

There really is no excuse to use synthetics and nasty chemicals anymore. Perhaps there never was. The lasted green science is better than anything else out there and utilizes ingredients that the body has become familiar with over thousands of years in nature. Therefore these ingredients are gentler on the body. It was a simple choice, especially when you start to dig into some of the ingredients that have become commonplace. Take denatured alcohol for example – it’s only there as a form of paint thinner. It has no place in skin care.

We hear your Gameface moisturizer contains natural ingredients traditionally used by Maori warriors?

We do use many indigenous New Zealand plants that were also used by Maori in their medicines. Many of these how now been clinically proven for their effectiveness, particularly in toning, antiseptic, antifungal, and antioxidant properties. Gameface uses ponga fern, which only grows in New Zealand and has been proven to lift and tone skin – it’s awesome like the Maori.

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We love the vintage barbershop feel of your packaging. What was your aesthetic inspiration?

The challenge we set ourselves was this: The moisturiser or cleanser needed to be able to fall from our gym bag and not have us feel embarrassed, but rather have people say, “Wow, that’s cool! What is it?”

We referenced too many points to recount fully, but it was as varied as rock ‘n’ roll album covers, long-forgotten fonts, and old gig posters.

What are some of your accomplishments as a business?

We are now stocked in over 400 stores globally, including great accounts like Selfridges in London, Fred Segal in LA, and Harrolds in Sydney. We were voted by Details magazine as one of the top five independent brands to watch for, and Men’s Journal voted three of our products into their Top 20 Best Men’s Products (YLF got first, Rock & Roll Suicide got 3rd and Gameface Moisturiser got 9th).

More than those achievements, though, is the sense of growing a great and loyal team around the world. We all sense the best years are still ahead; we have a lot to get done.

What is one Triumph & Disaster product every man should own and why?

Rock & Roll Suicide. Firstly, guys really need to exfoliate, even more than girls. We have larger pores and generally oilier skin, so cleaning it out, drawing out the dirty oil deposits, and taking away the top layer of dead skin is essential to an oil-free surface. Rock & Roll Suicide is our all-natural exfoliator designed to do just this job. It has two types of clay and volcanic ash that act to draw out and then slough away the impurities. It is named after a David Bowie song and is a game-changing product – a must, must have. Use twice a week: Once for business, once for pleasure.

What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs?

Start.

Any new product releases we can expect in the near future?

Hair care has just launched and we are focused on that at this stage. We also have a body moisturiser that has launched in Australia that will be made available this year to the rest of the world. Everything else is top secret : ).

Quick Question + Answer:

Right now, I’m obsessed with:

Smells, always smells, I think I have a predisposition or hypersensitive nose, but whatever it is I love smells of all kinds.

I’d love to visit:

The Ivory Coast – I know nothing about it, but it seems to me that the best way to find out is to visit.

Rule I live by:

Nothing comes from doing Nothing. – William Shakespeare

Learn more about Triumph & Disaster on their website. Follow Triumph & Disaster on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Shop Triumph & Disaster products at RoyalShave.

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