I've been shaving for many years and never really gave much thought to the razor or shaving cream that I used. It was just a routine that I followed in the mornings because that's what guys do I guess. Wake up, brush my teeth, shave, and head off to the office.
These days the office has turned into the home, but you get the point. Shaving was something that I had to do. Nothing more and nothing less. Until one day when I stumbled into another world that would change my trajectory in starting a business and improve my shaving.
Classic Shaving aficionados can be a pretty serious group of people. Taking pictures of their favorite products and show off their collections of razors, soaps, aftershaves, and other supplies on reddit, instagram, facebook and other forum or community based sites.
One might think that the bathroom is the appropriate place to keep such stuff and it is. However, wet shaving enthusiasts have a special name for this place known as the "Shaving Den"
The most common products you will find in a wet shavers den (aka bathroom) are: Shaving soap, shaving brush, Safety razor and blades, aftershave, and a styptic pencil.
A shaving soap is just what it sounds like. It's a soap, but not just any soap. It has special ingredients that cause the soap to create a thick creamy lather that protects your skin while shaving. It also has ingredients helping moisturize your skin and they are usually scented with a fragrance and sometimes essential oils that can smell amazing.
A typical 4 ounce shaving soap will last for hundreds of shaves and usually runs about $10 to $15 dollars for that amount of shaving soap. It's no doubt cost effective, but only if you can resist the urge to buy the latest and greatest shaving soaps on the market.
You'll find shaving soap in pucks (exactly what it sounds like) a hockey puck looking shape of soap. There is also shaving soap in stick format (Arko is a well known shaving stick brand that has a fragrance that some love and others, well not so much)
Our shaving soaps at Sir Hare are made by hand and come in a plastic container with a screw on lid. This provides you with a container to keep the soap, enough room to load the soap, minimizing the mess, and a nice looking container with waterproof labels to keep in your den.
A shaving brush is used to transform shaving soap from a dry circular piece of soap, to a soft creamy lather that can be applied to your face for shaving. This is done by soaking the shaving brush in a bowl of water to hydrate the bristles.
The shaving soap is loaded on the shaving brush by agitating the surface of the soap with the damp shaving brush in a painting motion or circular motion. Once loaded small amounts of water are added to the shaving brush to thin out the soap while it is being applied to your skin. The water and soap mixture and air from the brushing creates tiny bubbles that produce the lather in the soap.
Shaving brush bristles are typically made from one of three types of material. Synthetic, Boar Hair, or Badger Hair. The first is an animal friendly brush and the other two come from the respective coats of the Badger or Boar. The animal versions tend to have a scent to them initially that will take a bit of time to go away. There are other pros and cons of each that we won't cover in this post and the opinions vary drastically depending on who you are talking to.
In the beginning of my shaving days I was 100% onboard with a badger hair brush, but more recently I switched to a synthetic and also decided to stop selling badger hair brushes. The lather is just as nice and I feel a bit better by reducing the dependency on animals for this product.
Most wet shavers use traditional safety razors or straight razors. You'll find these old fashioned razors in antique shops, restored razors on ebay, and brand new ones on various shaving websites. You'll even find them at Target and Walmart.
There are many different types of razors such as double edge (DE) razors, Single edge (SE) razors, Slant razors, different combinations of handle length, razor weight, open comb, closed comb, and the list goes on and on.
It's possible to consume days or weeks debating what type of straight razor or safety razor to buy. The thing is that you really won't know how it works until you try it out and there is a bit of a learning curve.
Don't spend a crazy amount of time deciding on a razor. Just find one in your price range that gets you started and learn to use it. There is nothing like real life experience vs reading about others experience online. This experience will teach you how to use a razor and you'll start to better understand what handle length is important, if you like smaller or larger razors, etc, etc, just get started is the bottom line.
One important thing that was confusing when I started reading about safety razors. All DE razors or sometimes called double edge razors use the same type of razor blades also known as DE razor blades or Double edge razor blades.
Buy a razor and a sampler pack of blades when you get started in order to find the right combination for your preferences.
After you are done shaving you need to close up your pores and cleanse any areas that might have been cut while shaving.
Some aftershaves will burn like crazy because they use an alcohol base and others are more soothing with a non-alcohol base. Either way it's a good idea to give yourself a splash with your favorite aftershave to complete your shave.
I know this is probably a product that makes you think about grandpa and the awful smell that came from his bottle of aftershave. The products on the market today smell amazing.
Our Wing Man aftershave smells like a modern cologne, so don't worry about smelling like grandpa. Aftershave is the perfect post shave application that will leave you feeling complete.
You shouldn't need this product for every shave and if you do then something is wrong. Styptic pens are used to stop a cut from bleeding, so do keep your styptic pen handy and also plan to never use it.
The pens or pencils can be made from different materials, but they all do the same thing. They coagulate the blood and stop the bleeding. Using one is as simple as pressing the pen onto a small cut firmly and you'll quickly notice that it will stop bleeding.
The first time I started reading about wet shaving I really had no idea what that meant. I used a cartridge razor and shaved with shaving cream and wet my razor to clean it off.
Could there be such a thing as dry shaving? I was really clueless, but after seeing this term time and time again I realized it was associated with shaving brushes, shaving soaps, and double edge razors.
Technically if you shave with water you are wet shaving, but we will just define it as the use of traditional shaving products such as a shaving soap, shaving brush, and double edge and or straight razor.
I know that sounds crazy and it probably is, but once you get in it becomes tough to escape. The addiction takes over and you'll have more shaving gear than you would have ever dreamed of. Be Warned!
The more I learned about these products the more I became interested. I'm a sucker for auctions and antique stores. There is something about old stuff that really interests me and wet shaving products fell into this category.
I started buying new and antique razors, brushes, and eventually launched our own line of products at Sir Hare. The journey has been fun so far and we continue learning as each day goes by.
If you have sensitive skin, are prone to ingrown hairs, or just want a better shave, then you are looking in the right place. It's hands down a better than using cartridge razors and canned cream.
The communities are an amazing bunch of people. It's very large, active, and they are helpful to newcomers and professionals alike.
Be sure to checkout a few of our favorites and and tell them Sir Hare sent you
I hope this gave you a good introduction to some of the common products to get you started.
At first I know it can be overwhelming and difficult to know where to begin. We created our Vintage shave kit to provide you all the basics to get started.
Be warned that this can be very addictive and soon you'll have a collection of razors, soaps, and after shave and you'll be calling your bathroom a shaving den :)
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