Grooming Artist News Roundup: May 2017

Wet shaving is an ancient art – we’re talking as far back as 30,000 BC, when the ancient Egyptians used flint blades to scrape their faces. So it’s only fitting to pay tribute to this tradition with some wet shaving history lessons. The Star digs deep into Sheffield, England’s long history of straight razor manufacturing, while we offer a history on the evolution of Proraso.

Moving forward to present day, there’s exciting news in the barbering world, with the first female barber ever to win the title of Welsh Champion of the Wet Shave. And with spring vacation on the horizon for many of us, we’ve included tips how to dress for any destination.

We polish off this month’s Grooming Artist Roundup with grooming tips for keeping your skin healthy and your shaving brushes performing optimally.

Enjoy!

A history lesson on Sheffield razors. (The Star)

Barber Sophie Collins is the first woman to win the title of Welsh Champion of the Wet Shave, and goes on to compete for the British title at Barber UK this month. (Daily Post)

How to travel in style for every kind of getaway this spring. (MR PORTER)

A quick guide to exfoliating: the secret tool to better skin and a better shave. (GQ)

Shaving tips for sensitive skin. (Men’s Journal)

Are you a fan of Proraso? Then be sure to read our history of the popular Italian brand. (Grooming Artist)

How to care for your shaving brush so it lasts a lifetime – or longer. (Grooming Artist)

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.

Holiday Gift Guide 2016: 7 Gifts for the Well-Groomed Man

Finding the right gift for the well-appointed man with a refined taste can be a daunting task, to say the least. Here, we offer a little inspiration, whether you’re buying for someone else or taking notes for your own wish list. These following seven items are thoughtful, useful, and certainly better than defaulting to a gift card.

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KINGSMAN by Drake’s London Striped Wool Tie $165

The perfect piece to complement winter tailoring, the KINGSMAN by Drake’s London Striped Wool Tie strikes a casual take on stripes. Midnight blue, brick, and white stripes run the length of this wool tie, crafted in England by esteemed accessories brand Drake’s.

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This is Ground Voyager Cognac $725

Is he always fumbling around for various cords, pens, plugs, and battery packs in his carry on when he travels? This is Ground Voyager in Cognac will make disorganized packing a thing of the past. The Voyager has enough space for a long weekend’s worth of stuff, but the real gem is its easily accessible front pocket, which contains a tech pod that neatly organizes tech and travel gear.

If he deserves something extra special this year, add on the WiFi option, which turns the weekender into a WiFi hotspot so he can stay connected anywhere in the U.S.

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SALT. OPTICS Alex Glasses $340

SALT. OPTICS Alex takes inspiration from the natural beauty of SALT. OPTICS’ home base in Southern California. Alex is crafted by third generation Japanese artisans.

This casual, no-fuss style suits all face shapes, and will add an air of sophistication to his look.

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Triumph & Disaster Stash Box $150

A good shave starts with good skin. Triumph & Disaster’s Stash Box contains the full skincare and shave prep regimen: Rock & Roll Suicide Face Scrub, Gameface Moisturizer, Badger Hair Shave Brush, and Old-Fashioned Shave Cream.

Made from natural ingredients (some of which are sourced from Triumph & Disaster’s native New Zealand), this gift set will be a delight for any wet shaver.

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Coronado Metropolitan Leather Dopp Kit, Black $125

This toiletry bag is one he’ll be proud to display on his sink, no matter where he’s travelling. The Coronado Metropolitan Leather Dopp Kit in Black is crafted from smooth Horween Leather for a streamlined, modern look.

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Merkur 34C 3-Piece Safety Razor Set – Silvertip Badger

The Merkur 34C 3-Piece Safety Razor Set is a perfect gift for any shaving aficionado. Our brand new RoyalShave Chrome-Plated Razor and Brush Stand holds our premium Silvertip Badger Brush and Merkur’s famed 34C Safety Razor, a go-to for many a wet shaver for its easy maneuverability and two-piece construction.

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QUODDY Leather Derby Shoes

For the man who wants to look good without sacrificing comfort, QUODDY Leather Derby Shoes offer the best of both worlds. Hand crafted from high quality ‘Cavalier’ leather from Chicago’s Horween tannery, these derby shoes will wear beautifully with time. Cushioned insoles and Vibram rubber soles keep his feet supported for all-day wear.

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Top 5 #SOTD Instagram Accounts to Follow

Today’s blog is a continuation of our Top 5 Instagram series. While we started with a Top 5 list devoted to wet shaving Instagram handles, we realized soon after that: 1. There are many different niches in the wet shaving world, and 2. There are even more beautifully curated Instagram accounts deserving of being shared with our readers.

The following 5 accounts are the best we’ve come across for Shave of the Day posts – known as #SOTD in the Instagram shaving community. These posts consist of a layout of whatever the gentleman is using that day for a shave. Other than acting as eye candy, #SOTD posts give insight into how well products work and which products are a standby for that particular shaver (and are therefore good bets). They’re also a platform for discovering new shaving brands.

Below, our roundup of the top 5 #SOTD Instagram accounts you should be following now.

The Shaving Edge (@theshavingedge)

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The Shaving Edge started off as an online store, and then became a blog. So the guys who run it have extensive expertise about products as well as personal experience with the minutiae of wet shaving – razor burn, nicks, etc.

On The Shaving Edge Instagram, you’ll find beautifully set up Shave of the Days, along with tips and links to reviews of new shaving tools and products on the blog.

Tony Shaves (@tonyshaves)

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Tony Shaves is one of our favorite Instagram accounts to follow because he not only shares photos of his shave setups, but he also doles out helpful tips with every post (and the vacation photos depicting his #SOTDs in awe-inspiring settings don’t hurt either). For photos with new products, he’ll give a quick, honest review of whether they’re worth your time.

While Tony lives in Amsterdam, nearly all the products he includes in his posts are available in the states. For more in-depth reviews, check out his blog at bartonio.com.

Gabe Shaves Australia (@gabeshavesaustralia)

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If you’re short on time or not much of a blog reader, Gabe Shaves is your guy. Gabe, who’s based in Australia, does full product reviews on each post. So you’ll get your lovely lather shot as well as a review of the soap he used to create the lather. And if you’re a gentleman who is keen to know specs, Gabe consistently mentions every single item featured in the photo – from the specific Omega brush to the DE blade in his razor (he loves Feather blades).

This account is also useful if you like to discover up-and-coming shaving brands. Companies from all over the world send Gabe products that he shares with his followers.

The Razor Guy (@therazorguy)

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The Razor Guy is unlike any of the Instagrammers we’ve mentioned so far. The man who runs this Instagram is interested in the historical and cultural roots of wet shaving. Devoted to razors crafted by longtime straight razor artisan Maestro Livi in Italy, The Straight Razor Guy details his trips to admire and purchase razors made by the esteemed craftsman. His unique purchases mean his #SOTDs include signature pieces, like a Maestro Livi Carbolnox Snake razor featuring a snake tail, or a straight razor with abalone scales.

Desiring to share his love of pogonotomy with the rest of the world, The Razor Guy also has a fascinating, instructive Youtube channel. Of note are his behind-the-scenes videos into the art of making a straight razor, and his wet shaving school series.

Honemeister (@honemeister)

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Honemeister’s Instagram posts are the definition of shaving as art. This wet shaver is a skilled photographer, and his #SOTD shots are almost sculptural in arrangement. Furthering the sculptural element are his handmade shaving brushes, which he crafts from briar wood.

Give Honemeister’s account a follow for inspiration on how to set up your own fancy #SOTD.

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