Our Favorite Posts of 2016

As we head into the end of the year, we wanted to look back on some of the highlights of 2016 on The Grooming Artist.

We brought you behind the scenes of two of the most respected names in wet shaving: Truefitt & Hill and Edwin Jagger. We also gave due coverage to the ever-expanding group of wet shavers who have taken their craft to Instagram, inspiring us with their beautifully composed #SOTD (Shave of the Day) setups, reviews, and tips. The traditional shaving community on Instagram is strong, and we plan to explore this scene further in the upcoming year.

From our archives, we also pulled out a couple of our favorite “how to” posts, from How to Clean Your DE Razor to How to Use the 3 Razor Shaving Method.

Give these posts a gander if you’re looking for some reading material during your holiday break.

All of us at RoyalShave hope you have a season filled with warmth, comfort, and good cheer!

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Our interviews with…

Truefitt & Hill

Edwin Jagger

Captain’s Choice

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Tips on how to…

Avoid 5 common wet shaving mistakes

Clean your DE razor

Use the 3-Razor shaving method for a close shave that’s gentle on sensitive skin

Care for a leather strop

Get lather from Geo. F. Trumper Hard Shaving Soap

honemeister

Our favorite Instagram accounts for…

#SOTD (Shave of the Day) inspiration

Wet shaving tips and tricks

Young barber applying a hot towel on a client's face before giving him a shave

Some miscellaneous…

How to DIY a barbershop hot towel at home

The long, royal history of Truefitt & Hill

Is a synthetic fiber brush worth your time?

Wedge straight razors vs. hollow straight razors: a comparison

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The RoyalShave Guide to Pre-Shave Treatments

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As with everything in wet shaving, there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to pre-shave treatments. Some men can’t live without them, others notice no difference, and some even find their shaves to be better without a pre-shave. The best way to determine if you should be using a pre-shave treatment is to try shaving 1 – 2 weeks with, then 1 – 2 weeks without, then with again. You can also experiment with applying the treatment only before your shave, or applying before each pass.

There are a couple pre-shave options available: pre-shave oil, gel, and cream. Here, we break down the benefits of each option.

Pre-shave oil

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What is it?

A pre-shave oil makes your skin softer and more supple for a shave, which means you won’t experience as much irritation. Oils penetrate the skin better than creams or gels, so they are able to retain water in your skin and keep it strong during a shave. As noted on Badger and blade, “when a blade drags across the well-moisturized skin, the skin ‘gives’ to the blade and will bend or conform significantly to the shape of the blade BEFORE it will be torn or cut by the blade…on the other hand, if the skin is dry…the skin will not give or conform to the blade but will instantly tear.”

Who should use a pre-shave oil?

We recommend pre-shave oils for any man with sensitive skin, as it will protect you from razor burn and razor bumps.

How do I use pre-shave oil?

It must first be noted that a pre-shave oil is not effective without water. This is because the stratum corneum (the outermost layer of skin) absorbs water with ease, but does not keep it in well. Thus, an oily substance – a pre-shave oil – is needed to trap the water in the skin.

To optimize a pre-shave oil’s benefits, apply it in the shower, where the steam will open up pores for deeper penetration. Or apply it right before a hot towel treatment to similar effect. Wait until your skin feels ultra soft, then commence lathering.

What are some good pre-shave oils to try?

Highly absorptive oils include jojoba oil, coconut oil, grapeseed oil, hempseed oil, castor oil, and sunflower oil. You can simply use a few drops of any of these oils (or a blend) for a pre-shave.

In the realm of commercially prepared oils, St. James of London Pre-Shave Oil has excellent reviews. It contains sunflower oil and jojoba oil to leave your skin feeling smooth as silk.

SHOP: St. James of London Pre-Shave Oil

Pre-shave cream/Gel

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What is it?

Whereas pre-shave oil makes the skin itself softer, thereby preventing nicks and cuts, pre-shave creams and gels create a cushion between your skin and the blade. This cushion allows the blade to slide more easily across the surface. Pre-shave creams and gels simultaneously soften the beard, making your hair more pliable and easy to cut.

Who should use a pre-shave cream or gel?

The best way to determine if a pre-shave cream or gel will make your shave better is to try one out for yourself (see method in first paragraph).

How do I use a pre-shave cream or gel?

Apply to damp skin prior to shaving. We suggest applying the cream or gel right before you start building lather. By the time your lather is ready to go, your skin should be thoroughly lubricated.

If you shower before you shave, apply the pre-shave cream or gel right before you shower.

What are some good pre-shave oils or gels to try?

Proraso Pre-Shave Cream – Green, Refreshing and Toning has been said to not only improve shaves, but also to reduce acne and razor burn. It has the added benefit of refreshing your skin with a minty, tingling sensation as you shave.

If you have reactive skin, The Art of Shaving Ocean Kelp Pre-Shave Gel is highly effective for men with sensitive skin and thick beards. Glycerin coats the skin for enhanced glide, and the alcohol-free formula reduces irritation.

SHOP: Proraso Pre-Shave Cream – Green, Refreshing and Toning and The Art of Shaving Ocean Kelp Pre-Shave Gel

A note on Geo. F. Trumper Skin Food

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If you find yourself short on time or just looking for a multitasking product, Geo. F. Trumper Skin Food makes a good pre-shave and aftershave balm. Its glycerin base protects the skin. You can also place a few drops onto your puck or brush to combat lathering issues with hard-to-lather soaps like Geo. F. Trumper Hard Shaving Soap.

Tip: For a step-by-step guide to producing lather with the Geo. F. Trumper Hard Shaving Soap, see our blog post here.

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How to Get the Barbershop Experience at Home

Old school barber shop with a checkerboard floor in black and white

Few experiences are more relaxing and luxurious than a classic barbershop shave. But few of us have the time or money to visit our barbers every day. Thankfully, there are a few ways you can bring the barbershop home (or at least ease the time between visits).

Below, we’ve compiled seven ways to recreate your favorite barbershop treatments, from the keystone hot towel to facial treatments that leave you feeling like a million bucks. Shop all the products mentioned at the end of this post.

Enjoy!

Hot Oil Beard Treatment

Just think of hot beard oil as beard oil turbocharged with VTEC. Proraso’s Beard Hot Oil makes it easy: Just warm a vial in hot tap water and massage into a damp beard. The heat helps the oil’s nourishing ingredients – including aloe and eucalyptus oil – penetrate deeply into your beard hair, making even the most scraggly beards feel silky.

SHOP: Proraso Beard Hot Oil

Barbershop Hot Towel

A classic barbershop shave always includes a relaxing and pore-opening hot towel. You can DIY the hot towel at home.

There are two ways to DIY:

  1. Stick a towel in a bowl of water and microwave for a couple of seconds until warm.
  2. Roll up the towel and run it under hot water for a few seconds, then wring it out.

After the towel’s warm, apply essential oils to your liking. Try eucalyptus and lavender oils for relaxation, or sandalwood for an antiseptic and anti-inflammatory effect.

If you’d like a more thorough course in the art of crafting the barbershop hot towel, check out this video:

The Correct Way to Towel Dry Your Hair

Hair is weakest when it’s wet. According to head barber Rob McMillen of Blind Barber, your natural instinct to vigorously push your hair back and forth while drying is the exact opposite of what you should be doing. To dry hair without damaging hair follicles, pat your head instead, squeezing sections of hair dry.

Also, avoid heat styling if possible. McMillen says not all styles need a blow dryer’s help, and that products typically work best when your hair is half dry.

Quality Clippers for Your Beard

McMillen recommends the Wahl Lithium All in One Trimmer if you’re planning to trim your beard at home. It’s light so you can hold it for an extended period of time without fatigue. It also boasts a very sharp blade and accurate beard guides.

SHOP: Wahl Lithium All in One Trimmer

Face Mask

A good shave starts with good skin. A razor passes most easily over smooth skin, reducing your chances of razor burn and rash, ingrown hairs, and inflammation. So don’t be scared to reach for a face mask (or think it’s too “feminine”) the next time you need some R & R.

We like Baxter of California Clay Mask, which taps kaolin clay and bentonite to draw out impurities (i.e. to unclog your pores), while aloe vera and avocado oil moisturize and hydrate your skin so it’s strong and supple.

SHOP: Baxter of California Clay Mask

Hydrate, Part 1: Face Oil

If you’re a guy with oily or combination skin, you’re probably wondering why you’d want to put more oil on your skin. Face oil is actually extremely lightweight yet packed with nourishing ingredients – plus it penetrates your skin better than lotion – so it moisturizes without clogging pores. Smooth a few drops on before moisturizer for that just-got-back-from-the-barbershop feeling.

Try Jack Black Epic Moisture MP10 Nourishing Oil, which infuses skin with a blend of 10 natural oils, fatty acids, and potent antioxidants.

SHOP: Jack Black Epic Moisture MP10 Nourishing Oil

Hydrate, Part 2: Moisturizer

For all that we look forward to our daily wet shave, the fact remains that every time we shave we’re traumatizing our skin. Combat the redness and irritation by following your face oil with moisturizer.

Our tip? Look for a moisturizer with a cooling element, like Dreadnought Cooling Moisturizer, which leaves your face feeling nice and refreshed after a shave. Jojoba oil keeps skin resilient by preventing excess oil production and inflammation.

SHOP: Dreadnought Cooling Moisturizer

Product-Picks

SHOP: 1. Wahl Lithium All in One Trimmer, 2. Jack Black Epic Moisture MP10 Nourishing Oil, 3. Proraso Beard Hot Oil, 4. Baxter of California Clay Mask, 5. Dreadnought Cooling Moisturizer.

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The Royal Shave 12 Minute Morning Routine For Men

12 minute shave

Most of us when we wake up aren’t all that energized. The first thing we head to when we step out of bed is the coffee pot (for those of you who drink coffee) hmm, that does sound great right now! After that we head to the shower knowing we need to shave (if it is needed) but the thought of lathering our face, and shaving seems like it will take hours in that moment. Not true! This can be down in 12 minutes. Follow this Royal Shave routine and you will see the result. To add a little fun, time it and let us know how it goes!

First things first. Run a hot shower and wait for the steam to fill the empty cold air in your bathroom. Once you see this, hop in and soak your face in with the hot water and let the steam open your pours. we recommend bathing and shaving at the end so the pours on your face are 100% open. This will give you a closer shave because the skin is softer as well as the hairs in your beard.

 

1. Use a preshave oil.

Pre shaving oil is a type of lubricant that is applied to the skin prior to shaving your beard. The pre-shaving oil provides a closer, smoother shave and allows the razor to glide on the skin’s surface which reduces irritation.

We recommend:

 

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The Art of Shaving Pre Shave Oil, 60ml ($19.95)

 

2. Use a shaving cream and brush

Another term used for this is to ‘lather the face.’ This causes a foamy substance on the beard in order to shave. Soak your brush in hot water and then dip it into the shaving soap or cream and swirl it around a few times to create a foam substance and then apply this to your face.

We recommend:

toobstSandalwoodTaylor of Old Bond Street Luxury Shaving Cream Bowl ($15.95)

 

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RoyalShave PB2 Best Badger 3-Band Shaving Brush ($42.95)

 

3. Choosing your razor

There is a very big difference between a cartridge razor, safety razor and straight razor. To read more about this go to www.royalshave.com Whatever tool you use, prepare it for your shave. Make sure your blade is sharp!

we recommend:

Safety Razor:

 

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Merkur 34C HD Chrome Plated Safety Razor ( $49.50 )

Straight razor:

HR-405-009-00-RoyalShave-5-8-straight-razor-by-dovo-2014-004_2Royal Shave 5/8″ Full Hollow Straight Razor Exclusively by Dovo ( $159.00 )

 

4. Time to shave!

When shaving with  a safety razor make sure the weight of the razor does most of the work.   Hold it to your face like the picture below and pull down against the grain. If this is your first time shaving with a safety razor expect irritation on the face. The skin has to get used to this razor, the lather and everything that goes with this method of shaving. After a few shaves the irritation will be less. If there still continues to be irritation please look into changing your shaving cream.  Repeat this shaving method twice to ensure a close shave.

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With a straight razor when shaving make sure you pull the skin opposite to the direction you are shaving. Gently scrape down the face against the grain. There should be a slight gap between your skin and the razor. Please be very careful when using this technique it is easy to cut up your face.

 

5. Rinse and skin food

Once the shaving is over, rinse your face and then dab with a hot towel. Wait about 1 minute and then apply skin food to your face. What is skin food? Skin Food is a smooth gel-like liquid primarily used as an aftershave treatment. This will help with irritation and smoothness to your skin after your shave.

We recommend:

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Geo F. Trumper Skin Food, 200ml ($37.95 )

 

Enjoy your 12 minute shave time!

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