Andrew is the editor-in-chief of Electrogent, a men’s interest, grooming, and lifestyle website which squares the modern interests of men with the classic notions of manliness.
As men, we’re uniquely advantaged in the upkeep department. We are usually able to take a shower, get dressed, and get out the door in about a quarter of the time as the fairer sex. However, the bare minimum is often not good enough for guys who care enough about their appearance to read this website (as it should be!). For these guys, consider this three-part grooming upgrade that will leave you feeling as great as you look, without breaking your Dappered-sized budget.
1. Ditch the shaving cream in a can.
Specifically, Barbasol. This stuff has a few things going for it: it’s cheap, it’s ubiquitous, and its well-known. It’s sort of like the Nickelback of the shaving world–you can listen to them, but why would you want to? You can shave with Barbasol, but why would you want to?
The real problem with the shaving cream in a can is that it was created to remove water from whatever it touches. The makers achieve this by using propellants and petroleum-based chemicals that act together to draw water away from the face. However, water on your face is one of the best ways to improve your shave (hence why it’s called “wet shaving”). Water will help raise your facial hair and wet it down in order to soften it up for a quick and painless decapitation. If you use products like Barbasol you’re going to dry out your facial hair (which means more tugging and pulling) and your skin (which will double the damage shaving alone inflicts).
To upgrade from the aerosol can, try a traditional shaving cream. For starters, it’s hard to beat the Crown Shaving Co. line. At $28 it will run you a little bit more than the cheap stuff, but should last you around 50 great quality shaves (note: Crown Shaving is a family barbershop out of Toronto, and their online ordering is via PayPal). You’ll probably also need some sort of shaving brush, and the options there are pretty much limitless. It doesn’t really matter what kind you use, but the purists prefer badger hair. Before you go dropping some cash, ask your grandpa for his–maybe he’s got an awesome one he wouldn’t mind parting with.
2. When it comes to razors, fewer blades are better than many.
We’ve all seen those cartridge razor commercials where they zoom in on an animated hair getting cut 5 times with the same cartridge, each blade cutting closer than the last one. If you have 5 blades cutting at different lengths, I’ve always wondered what purpose the other blades serve. Call me a dreamer, but those commercials beg the question, “Why can’t I just use the single razor that cuts closest to the skin?” The answer: you can.
Now that your mind is blown, here’s the scoop: use a double edge razor. A double edge razor, despite its unintuitive name, contains a single blade that essentially is that one blade on the cartridge razor which cuts closest to the skin. The “double” edge name comes from its ability to flip around and cut on the other side. When you use a double edge razor, you’re cutting out all the other unnecessary blades from the equation, which means your skin has (literally) less razor sharp metal scraping against it. This will reduce razor burn, irritation, and dryness.
To ditch the cartridge razors and upgrade to a double edge, I suggest anything from the Merkur line. They are the most reasonably-priced razors for their quality, but you can certainly find some cheaper razors made from plastic. Again, same as before, ask your grandpa. I know a guy who inherited a beautiful wooden handled double edge razor from his grandpa who was going to throw it away.
3. Protect your skin with a moisturizer.
If you recoil into the fetal position when I say, “moisturizer,” you’re not without company. Most guys I know shy away from moisturizer because that’s girl stuff. Well, unfortunately, the girls have it right on this one, guys. If you want to get the most out of your grooming routine you’re going to need to use a little moisturizer every day. I know, I know.
Moisturizer is incredibly useful stuff. Most (good) moisturizers have some sort of low SPF built in, which is great for everyday casual protection from the sun (you’ll need to use more powerful stuff if you head out to the beach, though). In addition, moisturizers both prevent oily skin and softens up dry skin by providing the perfect middle ground for your skin. Lastly, moisturizing lowers the amount of sebum your skin produces. Sebum is that gross waxy stuff that builds up in your pores and causes pimples. A good moisturizer will act as a substitute for your skin’s sebum, lowering the instances of sebum-induced blackheads.
The absolute best (considering quality and cost) moisturizer on the market is Urth’s face balm (usually $42 for 4 oz. Ships free through Amazon if you have Prime). Yeah, the upfront price is pretty steep, but I’ve used the same 4 ounce bottle for close to a year because you only need to use a dab about the size of a pencil eraser. It has everything you can want in a moisturizer, and when used after a nice shave, will help repair your skin back to its natural state.
In conclusion, switching to a traditional shaving cream, a single-blade razor, and using a quality moisturizer are three great upgrades you can make for your skin without breaking the bank or going full-on Mrs. Doubtfire at a spa. Continued application of this 3-part routine will surely bring beneficial changes to your skin over time.