Holiday Gift Guide 2017: 7 Gifts That Last a Lifetime

Here’s an idea: this Christmas, instead of buying the man in your life something flashy, seek out an heirloom that’ll get use over many years – even a lifetime. Each piece is crafted intentionally by artisans preserving tradition. And while the prices reflect the old world craftsmanship and quality, remember: these are timeless investments with sentimental value.

And with that, here are 7 tokens deserving a look.

Moore and GIles Attache

Moore & Giles Standard Attaché

Globetrotters and businessmen on the go will delight in Moore & Giles’ Standard Attaché, a smooth leather briefcase made from titan-milled leather that combines chrome and vegetable tanning for a vibrant, burnished surface similar to that of high-end dress shoes.

But don’t let its sleek exterior fool you – the briefcase boasts serious substance, with functional design elements like a small padded computer compartment and a large compartment with an expandable gusset for document storage. Classic styling means the briefcase pairs well with any outfit, regardless of season.

SHOP: Moore & Giles Standard Attaché, $860

Junghans

Junghans Meister Handaufzug 38mm Stainless Steel and Leather Watch

A exemplum of masterly German watch-making, Junghans Meister Handaufzug is based on a design first built in the 1930s. This handwinding watch combines vintage aesthetic with contemporary technology (including a 42-hour power reserve). A luminous navy dial, slender calf leather strap, and lightweight design make the timepiece a staple suitable for daily wear. The stainless steel case and plexiglass dome ensure durability.

SHOP: Junghans Meister Handaufzug 38mm Stainless Steel and Leather Watch, $1280

Sandro Wool Blend Overcoat

 

Sandro Wool-Blend Overcoat

Add a bit of Parisian cool to his wardrobe with Sandro’s Wool-Blend Overcoat. Crisp tailoring and a streamlined fit – signatures of the Parisian fashion house – make the camel overcoat flattering no matter the occasion. He can dress it up with a shirt and slacks, or throw it over a sweater for weekend errands.

SHOP: Sandro Wool-Blend Overcoat, $645

ceramic

Terre Étoilée Ceramic Cocotte

This Christmas, give him – and your family – the gift of a lifetime of great meals.

Terre Étoilée cookware has been made by artisans in France since 1830. The cook in your life will appreciate the heavy ceramic of this cocotte, which maintains temperature to cook food evenly, and the bosses on the interior of the lid, which capture and redistribute moisture and flavor evenly. This cocotte is a mealtime lifesaver with a simple yet charming design.

SHOP: Terre Étoilée Ceramic Cocotte, $189

liliput

Kaweco Liliput Copper Fountain Pen, Medium Nib

The Kaweco Liliput Copper Fountain Pen (Medium Nib) is for the gentleman who appreciates the art of physically writing down thoughts and notations. The Liliput pen originally debuted in 1910 in Germany, and was re-released over a century later, in 2011. A smaller version of Kaweco’s Sport Fountain Pen, the Liliput Copper Fountain Pen transforms into full-size length once the cap is screwed on to the end of the barrel.

The raw copper body, which has an elegant silhouette, transforms beautifully over time. Frequent use will give the penny red pen a reddish brown patina that will protect it from daily wear.

SHOP: Kaweco Liliput Copper Fountain Pen, Medium Nib, $109


cashmere scarf

Johnstons of Elgin Fringed Cashmere Scarf

Treat your loved one to a luxurious cashmere scarf from a company that holds a Royal Warrant.

Johnstons of Elgin crafts time-honored knitwear he’ll treasure for a lifetime. Founded by Mr. Alexander Johnston over two centuries ago on the banks of the river Lossie in Scotland, the company continues to create knitwear in the same factory where it was founded, using traditional methods. Each scarf goes through 30 painstaking processes before it is delivered to stores.

This understated cashmere does a good job of keeping him warm while looking masculine.

SHOP: Johnstons of Elgin Fringed Cashmere Scarf, $175

hr_401-158-00_muhle-purist-safety-razor-briarwood

Muhle Purist Double Edge Safety Razor, Briarwood

Does he appreciate fine craftsmanship in his grooming tools? Then Muhle Purist Double Edge Safety Razor in Briarwood is a gift he’ll treasure for years to come. A collector’s piece with sinkside appeal, Muhle Purist Double Edge Safety Razor in Briarwood features a stunning briarwood handle, with reddish graining unique to each razor. Briarwood is prized for its aesthetic appeal and durability – it’s the same type of wood used to make high-end tobacco pipes.

This is a gift that keeps on giving day in and day out, as he’ll enjoy smooth, non-irritating shaves from the closed comb construction.

SHOP: Muhle Purist Double Edge Safety Razor, Briarwood, $195

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Should You Shave Before or After You Shower?

Should You Shave Before or After You Shower?

When’s the last time you took a step back and looked at when you shave? It’s easy to fall into a routine of shaving at a specific time every day, especially when you have a packed schedule. But just because your shaving ritual fits neatly between a quick shower and morning coffee doesn’t mean it’s the best time for you to shave.

While shaving post-shower has been touted to deliver the most efficient, enjoyable shave, Your Mileage May Vary (YMMV). Check the shaving forums and you’ll see just as many men exalting a post-shower shave as loathing it, with the latter claiming it sensitizes their skin.

If you find yourself stuck in a shaving rut and experience redness and irritation post shave, reevaluate your timing and take an honest look at what works and what doesn’t. A few changes can turn a monotonous shave into an enlightening one.

Here are the benefits and drawbacks of shaving after you shower and shaving before you shower.

Shaving after you shower

The ideal (i.e. most painless) shave involves removing everything that gets in the way of a clean, slick razor glide. Thus, many men shave after they shower, when their skin is soft and pores are open.

When your hair follicles are dry, they have the cutting density of copper wire, so you should never go at them before first reducing the cutting strength by wetting your beard. Steam from the shower softens hair, making it easier to cut with fewer passes. And an easier cut means less tugging and pulling your skin. Meanwhile, the steam opens pores, allowing you to get in closer to the follicle. Think about it: the tighter the pore, the harder it is to rip hair out of it.

Then there is the bacteria factor: shaving after you shower ensures you’ve let hot water wash away traces of pollutants, dirt, and grime so they can’t be caught in your razor and spread around your face.  This bacteria can easily seep into microtears in your face, causing irritation and razor burn.

Shaving before you shower

While shaving after your shower has a hefty list of benefits, some men say doing so actually causes more irritation and makes their skin sensitive. Indeed, depending on how you like your shower, there is some truth in the matter. If you prefer hot showers, the water may over plump your skin, predisposing you to weepers and nicks. Super hot water actually dries out your skin by removing skin’s natural oils, leaving you with a dry feeling when you shave afterwards.

While the solution is to switch to warm water and perhaps apply pre-shave oil to remedy the dryness, it may not remedy the situation for everyone.

Also, not all of us have time to devote to a luxurious shaving ritual after we shower. Shaving before you shower saves time and the effort of extra clean up at the end.

should you shave before or after your shower?

So which is better?

Although the hair-softening, pore-opening steam of a warm shower is fabulous prep for your shave, your skin has its own needs. Try both methods to see which one gives you less irritation and fewer nicks. You may have been successfully shaving after your shower until now, but as your skin changes (due to age or varying climates) you may find that shaving before your shower works better.

Or pick the routine that suits your daily demands.

If you’re simply short on time and can’t afford to progress slowly through the shaving ritual, save time by shaving before you shower – but with one caveat: complete a hot towel treatment before you shave.

A good alternative: A hot towel treatment

A classic barbershop tool, a hot towel treatment is the mid ground between shaving before you shower and shaving after you shower. If you’re planning to shave before you shower, this treatment will warm and soften skin and hair. While a hot towel isn’t as effective at softening hair as a shower, it does make whiskers swell up. A hot towel won’t remove environmental pollutants and grime.

How to do a hot towel treatment:

  1. Wash your face.
  2. Soak a washcloth in warm water and hold it up to your face for at least 3 minutes, the amount of time it takes to significantly reduce cutting resistance.
  3. If you don’t have a towel on hand, you can also wash your face with warm water for a few minutes before applying shaving cream.
  4. Shave your face.

Tips:

-For extra softening, use moisturizing conditioner on your beard in the shower. Look for one with softening properties, like Dreadnought Concentrated Conditioner.

-Test out your pre-shave shower method: use conditioner before you shave for a week, and then no conditioner for a week. Repeat.

-Beginners can benefit for a post-shower shave in the evening, when they can take their time to perfect their method. 

-Option: exfoliate in the shower to achieve a closer shave. Exfoliation removes dead skin and debris that would otherwise get in the way of a clean shave. However, if you are a novice do not exfoliate until your skin acclimates to daily shaving. If you do exfoliate, do so on the days you’re not shaving.

How to Produce Superlather

superlather

Superlather is an oft-discussed topic in the wet shaving community. Some see it as a waste of time, while others can’t sing enough praises about its lovely whipped consistency and easy customization. In the end, all of us desire lather that provides us with enough cushion, glide, and slickness for minimal irritation, cuts, and nicks. Superlather is one route to consider.

Today, we look at why you should consider adding superlather to your shaving routine.

What is superlather?

Superlather is the technique of combining shaving soap and shaving cream to produce lather. In doing so, you combine the smoothing qualities of shaving soap with the easy-to-lather, slick cushion of shaving cream. The result is a dense, creamy lather similar in consistency to whipped cream that is more beneficial than using soap or cream alone.

What is the point of creating superlather?

There are a few good reasons to give superlather a go:

  1. You own a wonderfully scented soap but its lather leaves much to be desired.

Let’s say you’re taken with Geo. F. Trumper Hard Shaving Soap in Almond, but it won’t give you a lick of lather. Combine that soap with an unscented shaving cream like Truefitt & Hill Ultimate Comfort Shaving Cream and you will have salvaged a soap that might otherwise just sit and collect dust.

  1. You have a soap lacking in one performance area and want to combine it with a complementary product that makes up for this weakness.

For instance, your Acca Kappa LiboCedro Shaving Soap Bowl may offer fantastic glide and lather stability, but you’d like more cushion. Add a small drop of Taylor of Old Bond Street Luxury Shaving Cream Bowl in Sandalwood for a creamy cushion.

  1. You’d like to experiment with scent combinations.

Wet shaving is a pleasure and a hobby. As such, many of us own more soaps and shaving creams than we’d like to admit. One way to get around to using your entire collection is mixing and matching scent combinations. The experimentation process is an adventure, and you end up with a customized scent!

  1. You have hard water.

If you have hard water where you live, lathering with a soap can be near impossible. The high mineral content in hard water reacts with soap, producing insufficient lather. Superlather mitigates this with the addition of shaving cream, which already contains water and is therefore not dependent on water hardness for a good lather.

That being said, we still highly recommend investing in a water softener or purchasing distilled water for shaving purposes. You simply will not get your best shave using hard water. Learn more about how hard water affects shaving here.

Superlather process

To create superlather:

  1. While you’re showering, soak your brush in water.
  2. Place an almond-sized dollop of shaving cream in your shaving bowl.
  3. Load your brush for 30 seconds on the soap.
  4. Build your lather by working the soap and the cream together in the bowl. Swirl the brush using circular motions while monitoring the lather’s consistency. If it’s becoming pasty or dry, add a few drops of water.
  5. You’ll know you’re done when lather starts resembling whipped cream.

Grooming Artist News Roundup: September 2017

Autumn heralds a bounteous season for gentlemanly pursuits. The casual shorts and breezy shirts of summer are replaced by a noticeably more grown-up and structured wardrobe. We switch out our zesty shaving creams for something richer, darker, smokier (more on that in the links below). As such, this Grooming Artist Roundup is dedicated to celebrating the new season.

We begin with the unofficial start of fall: Labor Day. Esquire provides a stress-free Labor Day weekend packing list so you can spend your last summer days in style, while Food Network dishes out simple standby recipes for the grill.

Once the leaves change color and you feel that first chill in the air, it’s time to work hydrating moisturizers into your daily routine; Esquire picks 6 options to prevent chapped skin. You also can’t be without a blazer, one of the biggest trends we saw on the fall runways. MR PORTER serves up 6 options along with styling tips.

And finally, we’ve included some wonderful wet shaving articles. Sharpologist condenses his encyclopedic knowledge of wet shaving into “10 Commandments of Wet Shaving,” while Men’s Journal picks 14 all-natural shaving creams to try if you’re looking for an eco-friendly way to enjoy your shave.

Enjoy!

Turns out, there is a good use for foam shaving cream: removing makeup stains from clothing, according to Kim Kardashian. (This Is Insider)

Men’s Journal’s 14 best all-natural shaving products. (Men’s Journal)

The 6 best shaving creams for fall. (Grooming Artist)

The 10 Commandments of Wet Shaving, via Sharpologist. (Grooming Artist)

One man’s journey to discovering and embracing the safety razor. (The Z Review)

8 ways to wear a blazer, just in time for fall. (MR PORTER)

Transition your skincare into cooler weather with these 6 Esquire-approved moisturizers. (Esquire)

Out of town for the long weekend? Here’s what to pack for Labor Day style. (Esquire)

Spending the holiday at home instead? Here are 30 cookout classics. (Food Network)

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