Male grooming: Afterthought no more
Long before the term “male grooming” was ever coined, there were males, they were grooming and they were doing it in style.
Before the days of swivel action, multi-blade single use razors, shaving took time and no small amount of skill.
In the golden age of the safety razor, this aspect of male grooming was an intricate and even intimate process, rather than a last minute consideration while awaiting the arrival of a cab.
The age of the disposable razor, however, brought with it a different narrative. Television ads featuring square jawed men, rushing headlong into some fantastic future, set the tone.
Success, they seemed to say, won’t wait. Real men were ever in motion; shaving on the run with never a moment to spare.
Male grooming had become the equivalent of coffee to go or lunch on the run. The McShave had arrived!
Beards, blades and brushes
Recently, however, that has begun to change. No longer just a chore, carried out with one eye on the clock, shaving has become the luxury pastime of choice for millennial man.
When the American Razor Company, later Gillette, introduced disposable blades to the world in 1906, they could never have imagined the humble safety razor would endure for so long.
Sales of the safety razor, now a design classic; along with blades, brushes, high end soaps and oils continue to soar. So much so, in fact, that this renewed interest in traditional has made its way to wider markets.
Retailers such as Big Bathroom Shop are showing increased interest in high end mirrors and designer bathroom furniture to match.
Jack Hutchinson, eCommerce manager at Big Bathroom Shop, says: “It was probably to be expected.
“When people find themselves spending more time on a given activity, interest tends to ripple outward, extending beyond the activity itself.
“As a consequence we’re fielding ever more enquiries, from men, about bathroom interior design.
“The renewed interest in traditional shaving techniques has meant that men have started to sit up and take note.”
Look younger for longer, whatever the cost
Hardly surprising when you consider the amounts being spent by serious shavers.
But it’s not only the cost that counts. Shaving with a double edge safety razor – as oppose to a cartridge, where several blades are grouped together – is actually much better for the skin.
Cartridge blades cause lot of drag, which over time can lead to premature ageing as the skin takes on a weathered look. Little wonder that the best kit available can run to hundreds of pounds for a shaving brush alone.
Take for example the Marfin Silvertip #164. Handmade in Italy by designer, Marco Finardi, the handle is crafted from Italian plateau Briarwood and polished to a high shine.
Part of a highly exclusive run, each brush in the collection comes stamped with its own individual number and certificate of authentication, meaning nobody else in the world has the same brush.
At a cost of £222.00 it is not the most expensive brush out there, but it does represent a substantial outlay and a serious commitment to shaving.
When it comes to choosing a double edge safety razor to go with your brush, you will want something with an equal pedigree.
Razors and Blades
Billed as “probably the finest looking double edge safety razor ever made,” the Feather WS-D1S Safety Razor in Stainless Steel & Wood is made by the legendary Japanese company, Feather.
It is built to the highest and most exacting standards and arrives in a hand-lacquered presentation box. At £270.00 this is certainly not a razor for the casual user.
For those who would prefer not mix and match, however, it may be worth considering a full shaving set. Above the Tie is a retailer which prides itself on supplying only the best of class in grooming products.
One of our personal favourites is the Atlas Solid Bronze Limited Edition Shaving Set.
At a cost of £425 and with only 100 sets ever produced, you are guaranteed to be among a very select group of very serious wet shave devotees.
So, when it comes to looking and feeling your best, it’s safe to say that male grooming isn’t something to be rushed. Taking time to shave closely and properly makes all the difference.
Wet shaving, whether using a straight or safety razor, should be part of your daily regime. It should always be less an afterthought and more a ritual.