This is a guest post from Danielle Malka, President of êShave.
Here is something dad may have not taught you when it comes to shaving: A high-quality badger hair shaving brush is the single most important component in getting the absolute smoothest shave possible. Dad may not be completely at fault – blame it on his generation.
Men have been using shaving brushes for over 150 years. However, during the late 1960s, when social and political issues took center stage and nearly everyone had a cause to champion, men did away with the traditional brush and women threw out their bras. In my opinion, this became the “de-volution” of grooming. Shortly thereafter, disposable razors and foam aerosol shave cream replaced high quality shaving soaps, double -edge razors, and the shave brush.
Thankfully, during the past 15 years, there has been a major shift regarding the use of grooming tools in the US. Guys as young as 17 are now using a shaving brush on a daily basis. It is no longer viewed as something your grandpa shaves with; instead it has become a modern man’s essential grooming tool.
A high-quality shaving brush is the most effective way to guarantee a smooth, painless shave. The bristles gently exfoliates the skin, which removes anything coming between your whiskers and the razor. As you sweep the brush in a circular motion over your face, the bristles lift the hair up and away from the skin allowing for the closest shave possible without common shaving issues such as razor burns and bumps.
However, not all shaving brushes are created equal. After spending over 25 years in the industry, I’ve come to rely exclusively on brushes made of badger hair. Yes, there are less expensive, synthetic versions available, but badger hair is the only type of hair that retains water and using warm water is the professional barber’s secret to a great shave. The combination of hot water mixing with the shave cream and the brush, results in a thicker, richer, more emollient lather that’s impossible to get with your fingers alone.
In order to obtain the best results from using a Shaving Brush, it’s important to fully understand the differences in the grade of bristles that are available. The following are the two 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.
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.
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.
Now that you’ve learned about selecting, using, and storing a shave brush, here are some simple steps for performing with a brush.
- In order to obtain maximum brush benefits, always use high-quality shaving products so you can get the smoothest, closest shave possible without irritation. It’s best to shave after you’ve showered, as the warm water will have opened your pores. If you can’t shower, place a hot towel on your face for a couple of minutes.
- Next, be sure you prep your skin for the shave with highly emollient Pre Shave oil. Since the shaving brush will bring the razor closer to your skin, you want to be sure the blades can easily glide over the skin. A high quality Pre Shave oil will have the right formulation so that it won’t cause you to break out or leave your skin feeling greasy.
- Second, run the brush under warm and shake off any excess water. You don’t want your brush dripping.
- Whether you choose a shaving cream or shaving soap, you should only need a small dab. The better the shaving cream, the less you’ll need. Some jars of shaving cream can last you up to 4-6 months of daily use. Dip your brush in the jar or sweep across the soap and apply to your face in a circular motion. This will generate the lather as it exfoliates your skin, raises and softens the hair for a closer shave.
- Once you’ve prepped your skin, you are ready for your razor. It’s important that you always use a sharp blade and rinse it often. Begin by shaving in the direction of hair growth. For stubborn hair, reapply shaving cream and repeat shaving in sideways motion, using small strokes to prevent irritation. Around the neck area, where hair grows in different directions, run fingers along neck to feel and follow the pattern.
- Finally, rinse and apply a light aftershave cream that is designed to penetrate your skin quickly and easily when applied after shaving. A good after shave will regenerate cells after shaving and hydrate your skin, leaving it feeling soft and smooth.
After years of working in the industry, I can’t stress how many times guy’s have said to me “I wish I could get the same results at home as I do when I go to a barbershop.” Well, now that you know the tricks of the trade, you can get professional results at home. Invest in a high-quality shave brush, treat it properly, and it’ll be your best friend for years to come.
About the Author: Danielle Malka, President of êShave, the leading brand of modern shaving essentials. Danielle has been educating men on the proper way to shave for the past 25 years. Malka lived as a professional artist before making her mark in the men’s grooming industry. Working alongside some of the best barbers in the world, she discovered that the men’s grooming industry lacked both modern appeal and education. Her creative background coupled with the need to educate men on proper grooming habits, inspired the creation of êShave. With its fresh ideas, innovative products, signature scents, commitment to quality and customer service, and educational platform, êShave has become the modern man’s go-to source for all things grooming. You can follow êShave on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Youtube.
Image Courtesy: flickr.com/maurymccown