Selling Out

When Danielle asked me to work at the êShave store for a day and gain some experience moving our product, I was hesitant.  Despite my natural charisma, I never pictured myself as a salesman.  All of the smooth talking and slick manipulation I had seen on television struck me as overly artificial, and I personally hate it when I’m in a store and some clown with a name tag and a clip-on tie insists on showing me every expensive item on the rack until I buy something.  If I want to silently walk into a store, touch everything, and then leave without buying anything, that should be my prerogative, and I don’t appreciate anyone disrupting my method.


But of course, being a part of this company means knowing how to sell, so I spent the day at our shop at 30 Rockefeller Plaza.  Navigating through the mass of tourists and important looking men in suits, I found the store among other upscale boutiques and fancy eateries.  While I did not find a beleaguered Liz Lemon around the NBC offices, waiting for me was Christopher Gerrard, a student from France engaged in a summer internship here.


As I admired the creams, brushes, and razors lining the walls, Christopher taught me the business.  He had only worked at the store for a couple days, but he was already proficient in almost every aspect of its operation, from dealing with customers to operating the computer check-out.  He explained that êShave salespeople refrain from badgering customers and instead provide insightful help in choosing the best product for their needs.  From him I learned when to approach a customer and when to stay back, as well as how to spot someone who clearly was uninterested in buying anything.  He had answers to all my questions and could readily name which scents came in after-shave soothers (Verbena Lime, Lavender, Fragrance Free) and which came in after-shave creams (White Tea, Cucumber, Almond).  The only thing he could not teach me was how to use the computer; I messed up enough check-outs (and probably cost the company enough money) that we eventually decided he could handle the cashier’s job for the rest of the day.


Also present was Said, the barber.  The Moroccan native offers top-quality shaves and haircuts, and the deftness of his work was mesmerizing to watch.  During a lull in the store’s sales, I took the opportunity to receive a shave myself, but that is a topic for another column.


After observing Christopher and learning the basics of the sales method, it was my turn to try.  The next man to come in was a well-dressed gentleman in his mid-twenties, probably on his lunch break from an office upstairs or across the street.  He looked around for a minute or two before I approached him with the customary “Bonjour” and asked what he needed.  He explained that he had heard about wet shaving and was trying to start but was unsure of what to buy.  Using many words I did not fully understand like “paraben-free,” “astringent,” and “sandalwood,” I led him to a new set of shaving products including a badger brush.  Christopher rang him up as I beamed at my accomplishment.


I had never made a sale like this before, so I was on top of the world.  This must be what Don Draper feels like after a pitch, I mused.  Where’s my glass of rye?  And a secretary?  Confident in my newfound mercantile prowess, I hovered over the next customer excitedly, expecting another easy sale.  Unfortunately, my exuberance may have been too much, and he hurried out empty-handed.  From here, I learned that sometimes in the art of business, less is more.  Also, customers hate salespeople accosting them the second they walk in the door.  Granted, I probably should have been able to figure that out in the beginning, but it was my first day, after all.


As the day progressed and shoppers came in and out, to buy products or get a trim, Christopher and I chatted despite our cultural differences.  I tried to hold a conversation about international soccer using only knowledge gleaned from FIFA 12.  (Apparently Poland is a dark horse for this year’s Euro Cup.  Go figure.)   I gradually gained a better understanding not only of sales tactics but for the brand and image in general.  Until now, I had been taught how to use the products by the makers themselves, but of course most buyers would not have this luxury.  Part of working at êShave means teaching others a new way of shaving, one with which they may be unfamiliar or even wary.  A company is only as effective as its salespeople, and this company is lucky to have such knowledgeable and helpful employees.


Meanwhile, now that I have discovered that I am a retail genius, I am officially leaving this company to start a new life as a traveling salesman.  I don’t know what I will sell, but if I end up intentionally crashing my car, then something must have gone terribly wrong.  Until then, I have Christopher and the good people at êShave to thank for helping me unlock my potential.

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My Lucky Friends…

êShave offers professional shaves at its Rock Center store, and I wanted to get one in order to learn about the business.  But there was just one problem: I hate haircuts.  Being semi-restrained in a prone position while someone else wields sharp objects mere inches from my head is distressing to say the least.  The same goes for massages and dentist appointments.  They creep me out.  Sometimes, I would rather let my hair grow out and resolve to be completely ignored by women (which, honestly, is not too different from normal) rather than suffer through a fifteen-minute procedure.

So the concept of a professional shave—done by a trained barber in a public setting—was not high on my bucket list.  Sure, I had heard that they were incredibly relaxing, and the reviews I had found online lamented the lost art of the pro trim.  I had no firsthand experience, of course, so my only references were Sweeney Todd’s pie shop and Bugs Bunny as the Barber of Seville.  While musically pleasing, these pieces did little to allay my fears.

Still, the more I read and asked around, the more people sang the praises of the barber’s trade.  As the hype grew, I began to be swayed, but I still asked myself, how good could it really be?  After all, it’s just a shave.

On my first day of work at the store, I met the barber, Said, a Moroccan immigrant and the Rock Center êShave’s resident hair expert.  Jovial and smiling, he greeted me when he walked in the door and began arranging his tools.  As customers arrived and received his shaves, I was almost hypnotized by the skill of his hands and the precision of his motions.  He had been a barber in his home country for years before coming to America, and in his short time (less than one year) with êShave, he had already established himself as a master and a valuable asset to the team.  I enjoyed watching him, but I still had my doubts.

During a lull in business, my coworker, Chris, persuaded me to get shaved at least once to find out what it was all about.  I had already changed my daily routine with êShave’s products at home, and Said seemed to know what he was doing, so I took the bait.  Said sat me down, tilted me back, and covered me with the sheet.  I could have sworn he whispered “My lucky friend” to his razor before he started.

The process was like nothing I had experienced before.  First, he rubbed some pre-shave oil on my face.  The fruity smell indicated it was either White Tea or Verbena Lime scent, but to be honest, the feeling of his large, soft hands massaging oil into my cheeks made it difficult to concentrate.  Then, he covered my face in a hot towel, letting the steam open my pores and preparing my skin for the blade.  He covered my mouth and nose a little bit, making it difficult to breathe, but the heat calmed me, and, combined with the lack of oxygen, I found myself gently nodding off to sleep.

Of course, if I slept, I would have missed the most exciting part.  From a machine on his stand, Said took a small handful of warm, pre-lathered shave cream and smoothed it over my face with his hand.  I wondered why he did not use a brush, but he was so skilled at spreading the cream with his fingers that it was effective nonetheless.  As he reached over for his razor, I stole a look at myself in the mirror with my white, fluffy beard of foam, and for a second I considered not shaving at all and letting me mane bloom, but I intended to see this out until the end.

I had never used a straight razor—I had rarely even seen them in person—so when Said approached with the cutthroat in hand, aiming for the soft, defenseless skin on my skin, it was all I could do not to leap out of the chair, face still lathered, and run for my life.  But I persevered.  He carefully scraped the stubble, starting under my right ear and moving across my face.  His movements were so minute that I could almost feel each individual hair being cut.  The oils and lathers protected my skin from the sharp blade, and Said’s dexterity ensured my protection.  In a few minutes, my face felt smooth, and while I find the comparison to a “baby’s bottom” exceedingly creepy, here it worked.

Then, to my surprise, he started over.  Pre-shave oil, shave cream, shave, as if he could have missed something the first time around, when I was almost certain he had not.  In his quest for the smoothest possible shave, Said left no follicle untrimmed.  Finally, he applied the post-shave soother and shocked me with a cold towel.  While before I had been relaxed almost to the point of sleep, these last steps rejuvenated me.  He was like a hypnotist, putting me to sleep and waking me with a snap of his fingers.  I made a mental note to check to see if he had a pocket watch later.

As I stood up from the chair, I felt my face, smoother and softer than it had ever been.  The creams moisturized it, and I saw no nicks or scratches in the mirror.  I thanked Said profusely, as I had never experienced anything like what had just happened.  I am hesitant to call it a religious experience, but I now think that heaven has a fairly busy angel barber.

Today I went from scared to relaxed to inspired.  With the rollercoaster of emotions finally over, I realized what I must do: I am now accepting applications for my own in-house barber, to shave me everyday.  Experience preferred but not necessary.  Salary: appreciation.

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With apologies to William Shakespeare

Shall I compare thee to a perfect shave?

Thou art more coarse and more vexatious.

For when a smooth and gentle touch I crave,

To choose you o’er my shave seems quite fallacious.

And not to be the bearer of bad news,

But sometimes what you say can cut and burn.

You care but little when your words abuse

And ignore and not my bleeding skin discern.

My razor, on the other hand, is kind,

With creams and lotions that caress my skin,

And blades that, though their sharpness may decline,

Will cheaply and correctly trim my chin.

For too long I’ve been love’s unlucky slave.

I’ll find another girl with my êShave.

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In which our hero regresses to a previous state of shaving

Two months ago, I underwent a shaving conversion.  It did not take long for me to get hooked on êShave products in particular and the larger wet shaving trend in particular.  A few swipes of true quality creams with a good razor and a real badger-hair brush was all I needed to see the error of my previous methods.  But after two months of shaving exclusively with êShave, I began to think that maybe I had been too harsh on my old shave-in-a-can.  Barbasol had served me adequately before, so perhaps it deserved a second chance.  Yesterday morning, being the scientifically minded young man that I am, I set out to test that hypothesis.


I began to question my commitment to êShave a week or two ago.  I had gotten used to such a sustained level of excellence that I began to take it for granted.  Plus, to research these blog posts, I had trolling message boards and product reviews that decried everything having to with pre-foamed cream: the texture, the consistency, the cost.  I began to think that I had been swayed by what these nameless strangers were saying and not what I had experienced myself.  Besides, I said to myself, Internet commenters are known for many things, especially poor facial hair.  Why should I take their advice?


To add to my concerns, I have spent the better part of two months in the êShave offices, surrounded by ad copy (some of which I wrote) and employees extolling the virtue of the products they create.  Had they indoctrinated me in some kind of They Live-subliminal advertising scenario?  I had to be sure.


Of course, more had changed in the last several weeks than just what products I had used.  êShave taught me all about the techniques I was doing wrong: for instance, there’s the whole deal what with the shaving after the shower, alternating hot and cold water, short strokes, yadda yadda yadda.  In order to make the most scientific test possible—and because I didn’t want to completely shred my face—I decided to maintain the same techniques I had developed with êShave.  This way, the only dependent variable is which product I use.  And with that, I put to good use all of the science training I received in twelve years of school.


So after my shower, I reached to back of my medicine cabinet for the bottle of Barbasol I had used before my great awakening, and I even found an unused Bic disposable razor that I figured would be perfect for my needs.  When I sprayed the foam in my hand, I remarked that the process was very fast.  I guess if I was in a major hurry, I could understand opting for the pre-foamed shave, but it really only saves a couple seconds, and if you ask me, the foaming is the best part.  There is just nothing that matches the classic feel of rubbing foam on your face with a shaving brush.  Only smoking a cigar in a tuxedo and drinking scotch at work rank above it in terms of old-school swagger.


However, when it came time to actually start shaving, êShave proved its dominance.  I could feel every nick and scratch of the cheap blade against my skin, and by the end, I had cut myself so much that I looked like one of Jason Voorhies’ prom dates.  And to add insult to injury, the shave was not even that close.  I could feel the stubble on my chin when I cleaned off my face, something that you don’t get with êShave.  It would pass muster for a normal day, but if I was dressing to impress, like for a date or a job interview, I wouldn’t put my trust in the hands of a lackluster product.


But of course, this all pales in comparison to the true problem of the shave-in-a-can, the problem which êShave sought to eliminate altogether: irritation.  Immediately after I finished shaving and began to rinse off with cold water, I felt the forgotten sting of dryness and razor burn, and the bottom of my chin got so red I looked like a lobster.  It made me wonder how I got by before; I had put up with this kind of irritation before, but it always seemed like it just came with the territory.  After just a short time of using êShave, I had become so used to pain-free shaving that I completely forgot there had been any pain to begin with.


Even after using some êShave After Shave Soother, the irritation remained, if slightly diminished.  I could still feel some inflammation, but the cooling properties of the lotion relieved most of the pain and redness.  However, for the rest of the day and even most of the next, my skill felt dry, tender, and even brittle, as if the shoddy razor and foam had taken off too much skin, and now there was only a small layer separating my muscles from the outside elements.  It was bad, is what I’m trying to say, and I will definitely never try that again.


Overall, this entire experience just confirmed for me that making the switch from aerosol cans to real cream was the right decision.  I no longer have irritation, and I’ve grown to expect nothing less from my shave.


I guess it’s true what they say: once you go wet, you never regret.


Or how about: once you go cream, you’re bound to switch teams.


Or maybe: once you ditch the can, you’ll feel like the man.


This is harder than it looks.

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For the Love of the Game

I just watched Roger Federer beat Andy Murray in the Wimbledon finals, simultaneously winning his seventeenth major and crushing the hopes and dreams of the remnants of an empire.  Not bad for a day’s work.

But watching him win at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, his luscious locks bounding atop a white headband, all I could think was: what happened to all the great facial hair in tennis?  Long gone are the days when Ion Tiriac, known in some circles (around my computer) as the Rugged Rug of Romania, would crush opponents using the sheer intimidation of his epic ‘stache.  Nowadays, we have guys like Murray, who would look just as comfortable playing tennis for his junior high team than for the glory of Britons everywhere.

And that doesn’t mean that facial hair is declining in sports worldwide.  Basketball has James Harden and Lebron James (who, granted, is only growing hair on his chin because he can’t grow any on his head); baseball has Bryce Harper, who at 19 can already cultivate some pretty respectable scruff; and hockey has the entire league come playoff time.  And with notoriously hairy Europeans, you’d think the pro tour would have some thoroughly professional looking face swag.

In order to redeem tennis’ lost allure, I present a brief list of notable facial hair of men’s number-one ranked players from 1973.  I tried to compile a woman’s list, but you have to get down to at least number seven before they start getting really hairy.

One of the first with the fuzz but still the best, this American spent eight weeks at the top of the charts in the Seventies, thanks no doubt to his glorious handlebar mustache that even graced the cover to Sports Illustrated.  Though he’s no longer heating up Wimbledon or Melbourne, he can still be spotted with his signature ‘stache whenever he makes appearances or commentaries, or when he puts it on a leash and takes it for a walk.

No conversation about tennis greats would be complete without Bjorn Borg, whose record of three consecutive years winning both Wimbledon and the French Open remains unbeaten, and apparently will be for years to come.  The Swingin’ Swede matched his prowess on the court with a resplendent mane up top and a respectable pre-beard below.  Reports on his ability to cook meatballs are still unfounded.

Mac Attack gets an honorable mention not for his facial hair but for that glorious mess he called a hair do.  Although now he’s doing analysis for ESPN and sports a respectable buzz, back in his Eighties prime he had what we can only assume was a young badger growing on top of his head, held in place by a headband and kept docile by his constant yelling.  He may have been one of the best players of his decade, but that clown wig will always be his claim to fame in my eyes.

Some people have scruff, and some people have scruff.  This eight-time Grand Slam winner and one-time Olympic Gold Medalist had that perfect blend of business-in-the-front, party-in-the-back that must have made ladies in the Fabio era swoon uncontrollably.  Like, seriously, he probably needed to keep a medical team on hand at all times to care for all the women constantly fainting in his presence.  Though today he’s got a shaved head and an equally shaved face, we can’t help but think he longs for the glory days of his full mane.

The Serb with the Serve (man, I need to start trademarking all these nicknames) earns his spot on this list for his seeming nonchalance about his hair.  It’s not that the look itself is impressive, it’s that he seems to be so cavalier about it.  It’s like he looks in the mirror every morning and thinks, “Should I shave today, or should I go win the Australian Open for a fourth time?  Decisions, decisions.”  You don’t have to decide for me, Djoker™.  You’ve already won.


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Cutting through the Confusion

As you delve deeper into the world of wet shaving, the mysterious fauna—badgers, boars, Internet shaving geeks—and flora—palm, lavender, whatever sandalwood is—will make you wish you had the right weapon with which to defend yourself.  But if you are like the majority of Americans, you have been shaving with cruddy disposables that are worth little more than the garbage can where they inevitably end up.  These have low quality blades that can irritate skin, and their light, flimsy construction makes them difficult to wield with precision.  Most wet-shaving aficionados prefer either traditional safety razors or the straight razor, that symbol of the barber’s art.  However, the general public still remains woefully ill-informed about these tools and even the differences between them.


Simply put, a safety razor is any razor where only the cutting edge is exposed, with the rest covered to protect the skin.  This includes disposables and multi-blade cartridge razors, but when people today say “safety razor,” they usually refer to the old-style single- or double-edged ones you may have seen in old movies.  Cartridge razors, like the Gillette Fusion or the Schick Quattro, provide close shaves, but they may irritate skin because of the multiple cutting surfaces in contact with the skin, and as the number of blades rises ever upward, they are becoming more difficult to follow the contours of the face and offer an absolute perfect shave.  Not only that, but they are skyrocketing in price; it is common to spend upwards of three or four dollars per cartridge, not to mention to initial cost of the handle itself.


Double-edge safeties, on the other hand, are generally less expensive than cartridges (around $0.25 per blade) with less environmental impact (given that the only thing that ends up in the garbage is a single thin blade).  Proponents attest that, with just a little bit of practice, a “DE shave” is the closest shave available; it’s a trick to learn how to align the blade at the proper angle to the skin, but once this has been accomplished, the DE can cut in ways disposables simply cannot.


In addition, disposable-blade razors are said to be sharper then other types, if only because they can be thrown away when they become dull.  Novice users may find this dangerous, because despite their name, safety razors can still cut.  A high-quality shaving cream and proper shaving technique are generally enough to prevent most injuries, but care must be always be taken.  New users should remember to use very little pressure; one of the bad habits developed from using cheap disposables is the heavy pressure needed to pull the poor-quality blades over the skin, but doing so with a DE is a recipe for disaster.


Although safety razors have dominated since the turn of the century, some connoisseurs still choose the iconic straight.  Consisting of a single long blade which can fold into handles called “scales,” the “cutthroat” is effectively a safety razor with the safety turned off.  With such a sharp blade placed directly against the skin with no barrier but shaving cream, considerable skill is required to handle it effectively.  Whereas most people can wield a safety with precision after only a couple tries, users often need several months before they can get comparable smoothness out of a straight.  This often deters new users.


However, once the art has been mastered, many proponents claim it to be the most satisfying shaving experience, seeing it as “cooler” and more “old-school” than the alternatives.  One major drawback, though, is that it takes much more care to maintain a straight than a DE.  The straight razor must be stropped (passed back and forth along a leather strip to remove rust and restore smoothness) before each use and periodically honed to sharpen it.   In addition, it usually takes more time in the morning, which for busy or impatient people may be a major turn-off.  To avoid this, you can also buy straight razors with disposable blades like a safety.  Besides eliminating the need to strop and hone, this is also more sanitary, and for this reason, barbers are required to use disposable blades in barbershops in New York City and other urban areas.


Debate rages over whether the straight or safety razor provides the closest shave, but the truth is that either tool, handled with care and skill, can leave skin fantastically smooth.  Smoother than what you’ll get from a disposable, that’s for sure.  New users are attracted to the traditional, rugged feel of both tools, and it takes time and care before the true beauty can be revealed.  But for those who want the best shaving has to offer—and who want to finally understand the hyperboles with which enthusiasts sing praises—try a straight or safety razor shave.  You likely will never look back.

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Hit the Showers

As Derek Zoolander elegantly stated, “Water is the essence of wetness, and wetness is the essence of beauty.” This maxim holds true for shaving: the key to the best shave ever is keeping hot water close to your skin to open your pores and help the razor blade glide with no irritation.

Unless you live under a waterfall or in a pineapple under the sea, your skin is probably too dry to start shaving right away. You can moisten your face with a hot towel, but for the absolute best experience, shave right after a warm shower. The water and heat will open your pores, exfoliate your dead skin cells, and soften the hairs to make them more cuttable.

When you step out of the shower, pat your face with a soft towel to get rid of excess liquid. You don’t want your skin too dry, but having water dripping off your face can be distracting and may wash off your shaving cream before you want to.

A quick tip, learned from experience: don’t make your shower too hot or long, unless you want your mirror to fog up. There’s nothing more frustrating then waiting for the glass to defrost enough that you can see yourself while your sister yells from the other side of the door to hurry up so she can use the bathroom. Just trust me on this.

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Are Five Blades Really Better than One?

In recent years,  comedy writers and ornery belligerents have united in their distrust of “multi-blade shaving systems.”  These three-, four-, or five-blade razors strike many as unnecessary and increasingly ridiculous.  After all, shaving tools remained essentially unchanged since King Gillette’s first patent in 1904, and our  grandfathers were satisfied with their double-edged safety razors.  So when Gillette released their twin-bladed Trac II in 1971, complete with its claims of scientific efficiency, the product was derided as a cheap gimmick meant to reinvigorate a stagnant market.  As the number of blades grows, culminating today in Gillette’s 5-and-1 Fusion, how can modern users distinguish between the different brands?  The question remains: what difference does more than one blade make?


First, we have to look at what multi-blade razors don’t do.  The explanation from the razor companies that has appeared more or less unchanged for the last forty years is called hysteresis: The first blade is duller and pulls the hair up and slightly out of the follicle.  The second blade then slices it before it can retract, resulting in an exceptionally close shave.  You may recognize this from the dozens of animations in commercials touting these products.  The modern Schick Quattro (four blades), Schick Hydro (five), and Gillette Fusion (five, plus one in the back) purport to repeat this process twice, presumably to make sure the hair is extra cut.


Independent research in the ‘70s and ‘80s could not verify these claims, but that did little to stop the burgeoning razor wars.  The late ‘90s saw Gillette upping the ante with its Mach3, and the new millennium welcomed Schick’s counter, the Quattro.  Now, the two main five-blade combatants, the Fusion, released in 2006, and the Hydro, 2010, vie for our attention and wallets.  However, more and more dermatologists are recommending fewer blades to reduce skin irritation.  The Fusion addresses this issue by placing the blades closer together to flatten the skin and spread out the force applied to the razor, but for people with sensitive skin, five blades may still be too much.


By most accounts, shave quality is based on blade sharpness, not the number of blades.  If you don’t want to waste money throwing away the whole razor, disposable cartridges provide an easy way to keep your shave smooth.  The razor companies refuse to say what is the best time to change (claiming it is “too subjective” for each customer, with “subjective” here meaning “potentially profitable”), but the general consensus is five to seven shaves per cartridge.  The life can be extended by carefully drying the blades after each use, reducing corrosion caused by water.


And for those of you who think that a straight razor is the only way to get a professional quality shave, or if you have sworn vengeance on all of humanity for your mistreatment by a corrupt judge, remember that if you are not practiced in the art, your shave will be coarser with a much greater chance of nicks and razor burn.  They don’t call it a “cutthroat” for nothing.


So for the best shaving results, ditch the disposable in favor of a new, sharp cartridge, and while the exact number of blades is less important than the commercials would have you believe, more blades means less pressure is required, resulting in less razor burn and irritation.  Of course, a great shave requires more than a great razor: pros favor quality creams, brushes, and oils for the best results.  Check out for fantastic deals on everything you need to lose that unfortunate soul patch.

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What’s the Brush Got to Do, Got to Do with It?

I have often wondered how the first man decided to use badger fur for shaving.  Who looked at a badger, didn’t mistake it for a skunk at first, and thought, “You know what?  I’m going to rub soap on my face with that thing.”


However it came about, I’m glad it did.  Badger hair has several unique properties which make it perfectly suited for shaving.  Most importantly, it is the only kind of fur that retains water, and keeping hot water close to the skin is the secret to a great shave.  It moistens and protects the skin and creates a richer, more luxuriant lather than fingers could alone.  The richer the lather, the less cream is needed and the smoother the shave will be.  And badger hair beats wannabes like boar hair or synthetic by being both softer and more resilient; a well-maintained badger brush will provide upwards of ten years of quality shaves, while boar or synthetic will fall apart and lose their softness after repeated use.


But the benefits don’t end there.  Badger brushes exfoliate dead skin cells from the face.  As a guy, I am always wary of traditionally feminine sounding skin-care terms, but exfoliation helps to leave skin feeling smoother and looking fresher.  The brush restores a youthful glow, especially helpful for older users.  Also, by removing dead skin, the brush exposes more of the hair follicle, allowing for a closer shave.  Your girlfriend may be onto something with all her talk of exfoliation.


As if that wasn’t enough, to get the closest shave possible, the brushing motion raises whiskers, exposing more of the shaft to the razor’s edge.  The thick lather helps to hold up the hairs while protecting the skin, meaning you only cut what you want to cut.  It’s like the ‘Lectric Shave commercials, without the horrifying implication of decapitating thousands of little hair clones.  On the contrary, applying shaving cream by hand tends to mat down hairs, meaning you have to use more pressure or—perish the thought—go against the grain with the razor to get the same closeness of shave.  Raising the hairs is one of the secrets of the perfect shave, so for best results, go badger or go home.


The first thing that turns men off from traditional shaving brushes is the price: why pay extra for a badger brush when you can get a synthetic for less than five dollars?  The badger may be more expensive initially, but if cared for correctly, it will save you loads of money in the long term.  You can use it for years, and because it requires just a small amount of shaving cream each time, you will save money on that as well.


Who would have thought that the badger held the key to the perfect shave? Maybe I’ve been to harsh on those innocent little critters…

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Best Types of a Badger Hair for Your Shave Brush

Maybe dad didn’t tell you this, but one of the most important steps in shaving is to use a shaving brush made of Badger hair. Badger hair is the only type of hair that will retain water…and warm water is the secret to a great shave!

In order to obtain the best results from using a Badger Hair Shaving Brush, it’s important to fully understand the differences in the grade of bristles that are available. The following are the three best types of badger hair from which to choose from:

Fine Badger Hair: Best suited for beginners. It offers all the benefits of the badger hair at an affordable price. Fine badger hair is a good quality hair that will soften with time. This brush should last several years with minimal maintenance.

Finest Badger Hair: Best value for the money, the finest badger hair is a high quality hair that is hand assembled. It is soft at the tip yet resistant enough to last many years. Upgrade to it as soon as you know you will be using your brush regularly.

Silvertip Badger Hair: The must-have grooming tool for the serious shaver. This is the ultimate quality in badger hair. Silvertip badger hair is the softest and the most resistant hair. Silvertip brush heads are hand assembled and should last 10 years or more when used properly.
Once you’ve selected your brush, be sure to treat and store it correctly. A high-quality shaving brush can last up to 10 years, as long as it is cared for properly. When using the brush, never apply pressure on the brush. After each shave, be sure to rinse the brush out completely, shake out the excess water, and store the brush with the bristles down to dry in an open space. Some brushes come with a string for proper storing or you can purchase a shaving stand.


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