Enter our Valentine’s Day Giveaway!

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Love is in the air, and we’re here to help you look debonair on the 14th and beyond with our Valentine’s Day Giveaway! Make your day extra special with these exquisite wet shaving products from The Art of Shaving, RoyalShave, D.R. Harris & Co., and more!

Submit your entry by 11:59 PM PST on February 13th, 2017.

DETAILS:

WE WILL BE CHOOSING 2 WINNERS! YOU CAN ENTER ON BOTH FACEBOOK AND INSTAGRAM AS MANY TIMES AS YOU WANT.

PRIZES:

Each prize package includes a carefully curated selection of wet shaving favorites, worth over $200!

Products in each prize package differ slightly*, but here’s an idea:

  • The Art of Shaving After Shave Balm
  • The Art of Shaving Shaving Cream
  • D.R. Harris & Co. Arlington Bath Soap
  • V76 Clean Shave Gel Cream
  • RoyalShave Chrome Shaving Brush Stand
  • RoyalShave PB2 Best Badger Shaving Brush
  • RoyalShave Special Edition Origami Shaving Mug
  • RoyalShave Alum Pen
  • Hairgum Moustache Wax
  • Hairgum Shaving Soap
  • Tons of samples!

HOW TO ENTER:

Facebook

  1. Like us on Facebook.
  2. Finish this sentence:

“The most romantic date I’ve ever been on was ___________.” Share a couple details about your date!

Enter Now on RoyalShave’s Facebook >

Instagram

  1. Follow us on Instagram.
  2. Post a photo and finish this sentence in the caption:

“The most romantic date I’ve ever been on was ___________.” Share a couple details about your date and tag us @RoyalShave and #RoyalShaveGiveaway.

Enter Now on RoyalShave’s Instagram >

RULES:

No purchase necessary. You may enter as many times are you’d like on both Facebook and Instagram.

Last day to enter is 11:59 PM PST on February 13th, 2017. The RoyalShave staff will announce winners on February 15th, 2017 via Facebook and Instagram. Limited to residents of the United States of America.

*Prizes may vary slightly from photo.

5 Vintage Wet Shaving Products You Should Be Using Today

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Photo: Badger and Blade

There’s something undeniably intriguing about vintage wet shaving products. Shaving with a vintage razor (especially one that was passed down) may remind you of your father or grandfather, adding a nostalgic dimension to your daily shave routine.

In addition to vintage/collector’s pieces, there are a small number of old school items still in production today. These are time-tested grooming superstars that deserve your attention. From an alum block that has been produced in France the same way since the 1950s to a revival of the WWII Bakelite safety razor, we take a look at five vintage wet shaving essentials you should be using today.

Study this list before you pick up your next aftershave or DE razor.

Osma Alum Block

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Bloc Osma has been producing natural potassium alum blocks since the mid 1950s. Unlike many alum block makers, who cut costs by sourcing their alum from Asia, Osma Laboratories reduces their carbon footprint by only using product found in France. 100% crystalline alum soothes and cools the face while stopping bleeding from minor cuts. Alum blocks have a myriad of benefits: they are natural astringents, tightening pores and combating oil. They also act as antiseptics, killing surface bacteria.

Fun fact: Alum blocks are the first known aftershave. They were used by the ancient Egyptians more than four thousand years ago as antiseptics.

SHOP: Osma Alum Block

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D.R. Harris Arlington Pre-Shave Lotion

D.R. Harris boasts the title of the oldest pharmacy in London, and also holds the Royal Warrants to Her Majesty the Queen and HRH The Prince of Wales. D.R. Harris was founded in 1790 on St. James Street, where it still operates today. The D.R. Harris Arlington Pre-Shave Lotion is part of the British pharmacy’s classic collection.

This non-oily pre-shave enhances glide and cushions for the shave ahead. A subtle blend of fern and citrus make this pre-shave a delight for the senses.

SHOP: D.R. Harris Arlington Pre-Shave Lotion

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Boker 6/8” Silver Steel Straight Razor

The Boker 6/8” Silver Steel Straight Razor is a modern edition of a classic razor from the Boker range. Around the beginning of the 20th century, Boker came out with a razor featuring blade steel that contained real silver, which they called “Silver Steel.” Because the blade contained silver, the cutting performance was literally cut-throat.

Thus, the “Silver Steel” etching references the days when silver was included in the blade. The current version employs a sharp, extra hollow carbon steel blade with a grooved thumb rest. Timeless faux tortoiseshell rounds out this elegant piece.

SHOP: Boker 6/8” Silver Steel Straight Razor

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Ballistol Lubrication Oil

Straight razors are beautiful tools of precision, but in order to keep them sharp, consistent maintenance is mandatory. Prevent your razor from rusting while promoting free joint movement with Ballistol, a lubrication oil. Invented in 1904 by Dr. Helmut Klever for the German Imperial Army, Ballistol (from the words “ballistic” and “oleum,” the Latin word for “oil”) quickly went into use for cleaning and maintaining the metallic parts of a rifle, as well as its wooden stock.

By the 1940s, hunters, hikers, and other outdoorsmen had adopted Ballistol. If you’re worried about using a propellant on your pricey safety razor, don’t be – Ballistol is biodegradable, and doesn’t produce byproducts that are harmful to the environment. It’s non-carcinogenic and safe for use on skin.

SHOP: Ballistol Lubrication Oil

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Merkur 45 Bakelite Safety Razor Travel Set

During the WWII metal shortage, companies were pressed to find a high-functioning substitute. Bakelite, the first synthetic plastic, went into service for a number of applications, including DE razors. The plastic was named after Belgian scientist Dr. Leo Baekeland, who invented it in the early 20th century. Popular manufacturers of these Bakelite safety razors included Souplex and Wardonia.

A few years ago, Merkur brought back this retro design with their 45 Bakelite Safety Razor, outfitted in a pop of red and black. Because the razor is made of plastic, it is much lighter than your average DE razor, but don’t let the light weight fool you – customers who have used this razor say it produces an aggressive, close shave.

The Merkur 45 Bakelite Safety Razor’s plastic construction requires less maintenance than metal razors.

SHOP: Merkur 45 Bakelite Safety Razor Travel Set

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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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