For a few months now I’ve been predicting the demise of the beard. I admit its taking it’s time, but by Christmas 2015 I think the game will be over. I tried wearing one in late 2014, but after a month or so decided it wasn’t for me. Much respect to those who are now sporting huge Gandalf like beards, but, at some point they’re coming off.
In anticipation, I thought I’d try out a few shaving products. You can thank me later.
While at Barber Connect I saw The Handmade Soap Company stand and really liked their stuff. My wife is Irish, and their products (as the name suggests) are hand made in Slane, County Meath, Ireland. They had just run out of the shaving soap in a ceramic dish, but luckily I managed to pick one up as The Golden Scissors, Dorking has just started stocking their products. While there I picked up a shaving brush too, nothing fancy, a basic one from Italian Brand Proraso. Duly equipped I headed home ready to get rid of my weeks worth of stubble.
I’ve never been a fan of the high tech, multi-blade razor. I don’t own a Mach 3. An ill fated attempt at using a cut throat razor ended up with more blood than ’The Red Wedding’ scene from Game of Thrones. It is a billion dollar industry I know, but for me I’ve used the same style razor for the past 25 years. I use the thin headed, dual blade, Wilkinson Sword ‘Sensitive Extra 2’ disposable razors. They are light, have a lube strip, and the narrowness of the cutting head just seems to work better on my face. I have always found the multi-blade heads just too big. The Wilkinson Swords don’t last long, but then I don’t shave often. I learned the hard way that my skin wasn’t up-to a daily wet shave, so now its two or three times a week at the most.
My normal routine would be to have a shave and then a shower. That way any nicks dry up, and any redness dissipates before I head out, and thats exactly what I did on this test.
So with a fresh Sensitive Extra 2 razor, I first lathered up the shaving soap. Sentimentally it reminded me of my Dad, and I can remember watching him shave when I must have been eight or nine. He had this kind of mug thing with a picture of a vintage car on it….Any way, getting back to the test!
I love the smell of the shaving soap. Its the Wintergreen I think? It produced a rich lather, which I sploshed on liberally with the Proraso brush. I don’t think the Proraso Brush i used had badger bristles, but it did the job of lifting my beard and getting the lather where it needed to go. A few of the bristles came loose, but nothing too drastic.
As the pictures show, the combination of Lather Shaving brush and razor lifted away the beard and left a very close, smooth finish. A bit of redness on my very sensitive neck is not unusual for me, and I did get some small reaction, but it had gone by the time I was out of the shower.
In summary I was happy with the result.
The Handmade Soap Company’s shaving foam in a hand made ceramic dish retails for around £25. Its expensive but I liked it a lot, love the smell, and it’s a recommendation from me.
The Proraso Professional Shaving Brush is a good ‘entry level’ brush. Bit light weight, not something I would cherish, but does the job. You can pick one up for around £15.
Where can I get hold of one of those Shaving Mug things that my Dad used to have?
More details on can be found at www.thehandmadesoapcompany.ie
The British Master Barber Team