How to Care for Your Shaving Brush

If you’ve ever had a relative pass down a vintage shaving brush, then you know that with proper care, a shaving brush can last a lifetime – if not longer. For a brush that gives you years of great shaves, regular cleaning and periodic deep cleaning are fundamental.

Here’s how to keep your shaving brush performing optimally:

Basic care and cleaning

Prior to a shave:

If you soak your brush in water before a shave, do so with warm water rather than boiling hot water, which can ruin your bristles.

During a shave:

Only apply light pressure, since using too much pressure (especially in a circular motion) can twist the bristles and cause them to break. Don’t push down so far that the handle is close to the skin. Lighter pressure will also allow you to use the entire brush loft rather than just the inner, longer bristles.

The ideal way to prolong the life of the brush is to use back and forth motions, but if you prefer lathering in circular motions, just remember to do so with a light touch.

After a shave:

Shaving cream and soap are slightly acidic, so be sure to rinse all product out of the brush. If some product is still left, the acidity will condense as the water evaporates. Over time, the acidity will eat away at the bristles. So make a habit of rinsing your brush thoroughly with warm water, followed by cold water. The warm water allows the bristles to absorb water more readily, while the cold water seals the bristles’ cuticles for strength.

Tip: Don’t use hot water, as hot water will open up the cuticles of the boar bristles, leaving them exposed and weak.

When you’re done rinsing, shake the brush dry and place it facing downward in a brush holder. Look for one that doesn’t grip the brush at the base of the bristles, as this damages the knot. Try MÜHLE brush stands, which typically grip the brush at a groove on the handle.

Storing your brush upside down not only removes the bristles of water, but also, more importantly, prevents water from loosening the glue that holds the bristles together. Place the brush in an area with good air flow, as confining a wet brush to a small space encourages mildew growth.

Deep cleaning

Even with a flawless technique, shaving brushes are subject to wear and tear from hard water, certain soaps and creams, and improper storage. You’ll know you need to deep clean when you notice crooked, stiff hairs or soap scum. Or you may find that your brush doesn’t produce lather as well as before.

It’s important to remember that shaving brushes are made of hair, similar to our own. And like our own hair, they need to be cleaned to stay soft and strong.

You should only need to deep clean your brushes once every couple of months. Select the method most convenient to you:

Method 1: Shampoo & conditioner

Start with a gentle, pH neutral shampoo, like Johnson’s Baby Shampoo. Avoid any shampoo with silicones, as silicones cover the hair with a thin, waterproof coating that builds up over time. This can reduce the bristles’ ability to absorb water. Dimethicone, in particular, is a silicone that is water insoluble and very hard to remove.

Work a small dab of shampoo into the brush, then rinse with warm water. To make your bristles feel extra soft, follow with a dab of gentle conditioner, allowing the conditioner to sit for a few minutes before rinsing out with warm water. Finish with a cold water rinse.

Method 2: Vinegar and water

Mix a solution of 9 parts warm water, 1 part vinegar. Soak the shaving brush in the solution for a few minutes, swirling it around every now and then. Rinse the brush with warm water, followed by cold water. The vinegar should dissolve any calcium deposits, removing the coating from bristles.

Method 3: Borax

Mix a tablespoon of borax in a cup of water. Soak the shaving brush in the solution for a few minutes and then rinse in warm water, followed by cold water.

Grooming Artist News Roundup: April 2017

New beginnings are aplenty this spring in the wet shaving community. For starters, there are two high-tech razors in development. Gillette filed a patent on March 9 for a heated razor that warms up during shaving. And The Defender, which is currently crowdfunding on Indiegogo, prevents contact dermatitis for all the joy of wet shaving, minus the irritation. OneBlade has also released Model 2 of their signature razor – see full details on Sharpologist’s review.

While companies are hard at work creating the perfect razor burn-free shave, there’s a lot you can do during your own routine for a better outcome. We’ve put together a blog post on 9 unconventional solutions for razor burn. It’s true that a huge part of a good shave is having a quality razor, but making small adjustments – such as exfoliating before a shave – can go a long way.

We’re wrapping things up with grooming tips for the rest of your body.

Enjoy!

Paul Mitchell, the actor who plays Sweeney Todd in the Studley Operatic Society’s production of the same name, was put through the paces by a master barber. (Redditch & Alcester Advertiser)

Gillette just filed a patent for a heated razor. (Biz Journals)

Another razor in the works: The Defender, a shaver that protects you from dermatitis by removing the cause of histamine breakouts. (Yahoo! Finance)

Sharpologist gives his take on the OneBlade Model 2. (Sharpologist)

The hair on the rest of your body deserves some attention, too – especially before summer starts. Here’s how to get rid of back hair. (GQ)

9 razor burn solutions you may have not thought of before. (Grooming Artist)

9 Easy Razor Burn Solutions

No matter how masterful a wet shaver you are, you’ve experienced razor burn at some point. As a shaving connoisseur, you already know that switching to a DE razor or straight razor eliminates most of the threat. But there are plenty of other solutions, too, that might not occur to you right away. Making moisturizing a daily routine, for instance, instead of only after you shave, or shaving at night so you’re not stressing your skin with a full day of activities and environmental toxins.

If you have a tip not mentioned on this list, share it with us – and your fellow wet shavers – by leaving a comment below, or connecting with us on Facebook or Instagram.

1. Exfoliate before you shave

If you’re not exfoliating, you’re missing a crucial step to preventing razor burn. Exfoliating removes dead skin, oil, and other debris that can clog your razor blade and lead to razor burn. Exfoliating can also unearth ingrown hairs.

Choose an exfoliator based on your skin type: if you have normal/oily skin, try an exfoliator with glycolic acid, which dissolves the outermost layer of skin to encourage cell repair and healing. Pick one that comes with physical exfoliators (like beads or pumice) to get a deeper clean. Billy Jealousy Assassin is an intense exfoliator with walnut shell powder and sweet almond meal for physical exfoliation, as well as natural exfoliating enzymes. It’s so effective you can reduce the appearance of discoloration and scars over time!

If you have sensitive skin, a chemical exfoliator with beta hydroxy acids is gentler. We’re a big fan of Triumph & Disaster Rock & Roll Suicide Face Scrub, which exfoliates with salicylic acid, volcanic ash, and green clay.

2. Make moisturizing a routine

Good skincare, plain and simple, is the basis of strong, healthy skin.

Dragging a piece of metal across your face is highly irritating. Keep your skin hydrated and irritation-free with a gentle aftershave balm, followed by a fragrance-free moisturizer. Avoid products containing alcohol, which is drying.

But don’t just limit moisturizing to after your shaves; apply moisturizer every morning and at night before you go to sleep.

3. Rinse your face with cold water after shaving

Warm water feels better, but at the end of a shave, splashing your face with cold water closes pores and cuts. It can even prevent ingrown hairs from forming.

4. Clean your blade between strokes

Each stroke you make collects a fresh batch of bacteria, shaving cream, and whiskers. If you don’t rinse your blade before the next stroke, you’re using a blade that’s filled with goop. Because the razor is now dull, you’ll get an uneven cut and may end up pressing down harder to compensate, irritating the skin. Not only that, but the dirty razor will also distribute pore-clogging bacteria. The solution? Simply rinse your blade with water between each stroke.

5. Disinfect the blade with alcohol

Over time, blades dull as mineral crystals from the water form microscopic “teeth” on the edge. These teeth drag across the skin, producing razor burn and cuts. Prevent this process by dipping the blade in rubbing alcohol at the end of your shave. Dip the blade in rubbing alcohol again right before you start your next shave.

6. Natural remedies

Aloe vera – Aloe vera is nature’s gift to irritated skin. It’s a painkiller that reduces swelling while forming a moisturizing barrier to encourage healing. Plus, it naturally contains salicylic acid to destroy bacteria.

Aloe vera cools on contact to sooth razor burn. Apply aloe vera gel on your face and allow to set for 5 – 10 minutes before rinsing off with cool water.

Tea bags – White, green, and black tea contain tannic acid, which is an anti-bacterial, astringent, and antioxidant. Once you’re finished with your morning tea, place the tea bag in the fridge for 10 minutes. Then rub the tea bag over the inflamed skin to calm redness.

Honey – Honey is an antibacterial that reduces swelling and inflammation while moisturizing the skin. Apply honey to skin and leave on for 10 – 15 minutes before rinsing.

Aspirin – Make use of aspirin’s excellent anti-inflammatory properties by creating an aspirin paste. Crush two aspirins in a teaspoon of water, then rub the paste on affected skin. Rinse off after 10 minutes.

7. Use an antibiotic face wash or ointment

Razor burn is caused by bacteria, so eliminate the source with either an antibacterial face wash or ointment.

8. Shave at night

Think about your morning routine. Let’s say you shave, apply aftershave, lotion, and sunscreen before heading out the door. Then you spend a full day out and about, during which time you’re likely to sweat. The sweat, in combination with using multiple products, can make your skin more prone to razor burn.

You are also more likely to come into contact with bacteria and toxins during the day.

Switch to shaving at night so you’re not stressing your skin out right after a shave. Instead, your skin will have a full night to focus on nothing but repair.

9. Remember your environment

If you live in a cold, dry climate, consider using a richer aftershave and moisturizer. If it’s hot and humid, you can get away with using a lighter product. Even if you live somewhere with moderate weather – like California – you may still want to switch up your products depending on the season.

Tips for Wet Shaving While Traveling, Part 3: Strops, Mugs, and Razor Cases

muhle-travel-kit

Welcome to Part 3 of Tips for Wet Shaving While Traveling! Today we will be looking at the best solutions for strops, mugs, and general toiletries when you’re on the go. Just because space is limited in your suitcase doesn’t mean you have to halt your grooming ritual. Get a fantastic shave away from home with the tips below.

Remember to check out Part 1: Razors and Blades, and Part 2: Brushes, Shave Soaps, and Aftershaves.

Strops

Traveling with a straight razor and want to bring along a strop? How you pack it will depend on its size. Long, hanging strops belong in your checked bag (lie them flat to prevent creasing).

Paddle strops are sturdier and smaller, so they can fit safely in your carry-on. We have used the Bison Paddle Strop Razor Case to great success. Measuring only 9 inches in length, this two-in-one strop and razor case maximizes space.

Mugs

No matter how well you pack a mug, there’s always the possibility that it’ll break during your travels. Plus, mugs are rather bulky to fit into your dopp kit. Instead, borrow a handy contraption from the camping world: a collapsible mug.

The Sea to Summit X-Mug Collapsible Mug is made of durable silicone and features an accordion design that folds flat for easy storage. Lather the same way you do with your regular mug, then let it float in a sink of hot water to keep the lather warm.

Razor cases and dopp kits

If you’re an infrequent traveler, you can get away with simply rolling your razor in a towel for storage. But if you’re always jetting from place to place for business trips, invest in a razor case that’ll keep your razor secure for the long haul. The RoyalShave Nappa Leather Safety Razor Case by Dovo holds your razor with an internal elastic band, and even includes a blade storage compartment.

Frequent travelers will also benefit from a dedicated travel case or dopp kit. Made of supple vegetable-tanned leather, the Muhle Small Handmade Leather Travel Bag features a rigid body for safe storage of all your toiletries. Plus, the leather will develop a unique patina over time, reflective of your life and travels. A dopp kit is another valid option – make sure to purchase one that can withstand sharp razor blades and possible spills, like the Piccadilly Gladstone Leather Washbag.

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