Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Are You Getting Your Best Shave?

A lot of estheticians fail to educate themselves on all available shaving options. I know I know, that's because we wax! Well males can't wax off their facial hair and shaving is a common source of sensitivity, dehydration, breakouts and annoyance. Now as much as we love beards (and appreciate that not shaving is less work then shaving), a lot of men still shave the edges of their beard or facial hair just isn't an option.

Saul's has just started carrying safety razors and shaving brushes, Eliss has been testing the razors out for awhile and loves them. They're an initial investment but after that they're a lot cheaper then your typical cartridge razor. A replacement blade can be as cheap at 9 cents when you buy your blades in bulk (cartridges hover around the $2-$4 mark each). They're easy to clean, they're easy to travel with and let's face it, they're pretty hot (they're chrome for frig sake!).

So why aren't these razors more popular? Most likely it's the learning curve. You're not going to be as fast for the first bit, while you learn the best pattern for your face. Since the razors are cheaper though you're less likely to fall into issues from a dull blade that can lead to razor burn and irritation. It's generally recommended that until you're fully comfortable you shave with the grain, if you find that this is a close enough shave for you then stick to it, it's a lot easier on most skins. This means you need to look at your skin closely and figure out your hair's growth pattern, swirls are not unusual. It is preferable that you warm up the hairs with either a warm towel or shower so that they're softer when shaving. From there you want to hold the skin somewhat taught, don't rush and use appropriate product.

Oh the product, THE PRODUCT! I'm sure you've noticed that Saul's employees are product junkies. Here's a brief overview of what we're carrying:

Dreadnought Pre-Shave Oil - the words 'pre-shave" was generally met with, "How many steps do you plan on adding to my morning!?" by our testers, well we're sorry, we like your face and want it to be it's happiest. Pre-shave oil is for prior to a shaving cream or foam, it'll help soften your stubble and protect your skin while giving extra glide to your razor. It's one step more where you put a couple drops in your hand and warm over your facial hair quickly. (Please ignore some of Dreadnought's packaging, Saul's is generally against the whole, "Real Men do/are blah blah" and this product is also appropriate for females).

Brooklyn Grooming (vegan) Shaving Oil, available in Commando (fragrance free), Red Hook, Williamsburg and Fort Greene- Now this you wouldn't use with a pre-shave oil, this babe is full of mineral rich natural oils that help soften your hair. You can apply to wet or dry hair/skin, just a couple drops over the area and wait 2 minutes for the product to penetrate. This oil does not contain an emulsifier so be aware that you might have to clean your razor more regularly when using this product. The Red Hook Shaving Oil is one of our testers favourite products by far. He noticed happier skin and an easier shave on his stubborn growth.

J.M. Fraser's Shaving Cream - J.M. Fraser is a Toronto based company that makes small batches and is over 50 years old! This cream works nicely with brushes to make a generous foam. The coconut oil is anti-fungal and a lighter oil which is nice for break out prone skin. This product has a "cleaner" feeling when washing off the face.

D.R. Harris Rose Shaving Cream - This is an classic line from England, as in this in the Queen's and The Prince of Whale's jam. We get rose isn't a typical male scent, whatever it smells nice and has rosehip oil! Rosehip oil! Rosehip oil is vitamin C rich, which helps undo hyper-pigmentation and repair sun damage. It's a beautiful nourishing ingredient in this very travel friendly shave cream. It can also be used with a shaving brush, it comes in a squeeze tube so we'd applying a dab to your dish (or palm of your hand) that you're using to froth up the brush.

Whish Shaving Cream, available in Lemongrass, Pomegranate, Lavender, Blueberry, Coconut and Almond - Calm down boys, you can use this product too. Full of naturally sourced and organic ingredients this product leaves minimal scent after use, it does leave the effects of anti-ageing green tea, moisturising squalene (full of wonderful omega 3), shea butter, and jojoba oil. Dry and wind burned skins love this stuff. This product is also brush friendly when used in a similar style as with D.R. Harris' Shave Cream. It comes in a pump bottle, meaning it won't explode when travelling by air.

Hudson's Made Beard and Shave Soap, available in Citron Neroli, Cedar Clove and Original White - Well this stuff is moustache perfect, helps nourish your facial hair while also doubling as a shave foam. Most cost effective when used with a brush, you simply wet your brush (start with not sopping and find your perfect balance) and "load it up" (run over the bar lightly), then foam up the soap in your palm or dish. Voila! If you need a bit more foam just rework with your brush. The foam should form stiff peaks. When done shaving just wet your hands and work into your 'stache and rinse for a nice shampoo-ing.

We mention shaving brushes a couple times, we're now carrying Omega's Boar Brushes, available in a set with a stand and bowl or just solo (or can be paired with our black metal stand). Brushes help you use less product, get your hairs to stand up for a closer shave and generally look bad ass. Brushes do need some care though, you want to rinse and clear out excess water after use, we recommend also wiping over a towel. In general we'd recommend against drying upright / with water potentially pooling in the handle. Try to keep in open space, drying in a cabinet with a lack of airflow can make a musty smell. Once a year you want to soak your brush in diluted vinegar (1 part vinegar to 10 parts water) to help break up any mineral deposits and soap residue and gently brush out the edges with a toothbrush.

What about after shaving? Alum sticks are popular because they'll help stop any potential bleeding, are anti bacterial and are cheap. Simply run over your still wet face after rinsing off shaving product, let sit for a couple minutes and then rinse. We'd then recommend Brooklyn Grooming's alcohol free Anchor aftershave (that smells rich and woodsy) or Razor MD's barely scented aftershave lotion. These are very basic hydrating products. Whish's Flawless is a face safe ingrown hair preventer that's alcohol free, so it won't sting. Moor Spa's Glycolic Toner will also help prevent ingrowns but increases your photo-sensitivity (ability to burn in the sun. This is typical will exfoliants). Any of Aromatherapy Associate's Toners can also work well as an aftershave, or you can go right into your skincare regimen.