TheBaldNation Welcomes back @Lamm1
Hi again all,
Its great to talk to you again.
I wrote recently to introduce myself and talk briefly about my decision to start shaving my head and using a DE shaver to do this…
I would now like to talk about some of the things that I found important and helpful along the way. My hope, that I can share what I have learnt, and apply what I found helpful, in order to help anyone reading this blog.
I will talk about my routine and current product choices as well as future considerations that I will be trying out soon. I hope you find it useful and as importantly, enjoyable. It is a pleasure to talk to you all.
I mentioned in my first blog, I like to read… I like to read a lot. Reviews, blogs, forums and chatting to fellow bald guys. I like to feel I am making an informed decision about my product choices. The downside of all this reading; it can take me a long time to make a decision on occasion!
When I first started to read about products and routines I quickly started to feel overwhelmed (does this sound familiar anyone?). Alum, witch hazel, exfoliator, cream, soap, gel, shave oil, brush, no brush, moisturiser, after shave, alcohol, no alcohol, hot rinse, cold rinse… Where was I supposed to start?
I aim to briefly introduce you to some of the products that I am currently using before detailing my routine for you to review and maybe try!
I decided, after much deliberation, to go for a shaving cream. My product of choice: Taylor of Old Bond Street Sandalwood shaving cream. This cream has been formulated without parabens making it suitable for sensitive skin. Perfect.
Now I have no basis for comparison but having used this product for a full month now I feel I have given it a fair trial to share my opinion with yourselves. This cream gives me a smooth and irritation free shave. It whips up really well with minimal product so you only need a small amount on the end of the brush or your chosen applicator. The sandalwood smell is fantastic, manly and enhances the whole shave experience for me. I would definitely recommend this product to anyone reading today.
To brush or not to brush… Well, this is surely up to personal preference but as someone who had never used a brush before I had to find out what it was all about… You will face a number of questions when considering a shaving brush. Boar, horsehair, synthetic, badger (4 grades: pure, best, super, silver tip) for starters. Then there’s knot and loft height, handle and of course manufacturer. I was lucky enough to find a Merkur Silver Tip Badger brush with chrome handle, medium size, in the January sale so didn’t hesitate and hit ‘buy’. I love using a brush. It helps to generate a rich and lush lather, gently exfoliates and maximises coverage whilst reducing waste. Not to mention, it adds to the overall experience of DE shaving.
I went for two exfoliators, one from Neil’s Yard of Covent Garden Remedies and the other, Green People ‘Organic Lifestyle’ (both UK based). Both of these products are certified organic using natural ingredients, an important factor in my decision making. The Green People product works up to a gentle exfoliating paste to smooth and soften the skin. Ans is an excellent treatment to prepare my skin for shaving. Neil’s Yard ‘Facial Scrub’ is a little harsher but just as good so I find I make a choice depending on how my skin is feeling on any particular day. Both products I have incorporated into my shaving routine to good effect and with great results.
Next up an Alum block. What even is an Alum block I asked myself?? Let me explain. An Alum Block is a crystal-like stone that is moistened with cold water and gently rubbed over the shaved area to act as an antiseptic and to combat razor burn. It can also help to stop bleeding from small nicks and cuts. The Alum block also has antiseptic properties that not only cool and refresh the skin after shaving, but kill surface bacteria too. I have been using an alum block for a full month now and I love the feeling it gives you after a shave. A mild stinging to the skin where your technique could use some improvement (hey, ill admit the technique is far from perfected!). I use it immediately post shave wetting the block then rubbing it over my dome and face. I then leave this for about a minute before a cold water rinse. Make sure you dry your alum block after use or it will disintegrate.
Witch Hazel is largely considered to have anti-inflammatory properties stopping itchy bumps from forming up around your irritated hair follicles. It should certainly have an impact on your itchy red skin if this is something that you suffer with. I tend to get some irritation at the back of my head around the neck area although this has significantly reduced with the combination of DE shaving and using Witch Hazel. My product of choice is Thayers alcohol free, unscented witch hazel with aloe vera. And it is brilliant. I apply either by splashing on the head/face or with a small cotton wool pad then I leave to naturally dry.
A moisturiser is essential after any shave. Shaving can leave a tight sensation and/or an angry red rash. Applying a moisturiser can help you look and feel your best and help avoid razor burn, razor bumps and irritation. A good moisturiser helps to achieve optimum skin health. I again have two products here. One, a ‘luxury’ after shave gel the other a straight up men’s moisturiser. The after shave gel is from Taylor of Old Bond Street and that fantastic sandalwood scent again! (I cant get enough of that scent!). The moisturiser from the Green People – Organic Homme Cool Down Moisturiser. My choice of product depends upon the occasion or my mood. As an everyday I opt for the Green people moisturiser saving my favourite scent for social activities.
That’s an introduction to some of the products that I have used so far which I hope you find useful. Now for how I use them…
1) Firstly I leave my brush in hot water to soften the bristles and have a hot hot shower. Really getting the hot water to my head and face. During the shower I will use one of my two exfoliators on my face and head and use a good quality face wash.
2) Next I apply some cream to my silver tip brush and start to whip it up in my shaving bowl. Approximately 90-120 seconds should whip up a lovely lather.
3) Now its time to brush your head and face in lovely (sandalwood scented of course!) lather.
4) And start your DE shave. First pass, with the grain. Second, against the grain. Third, against the grain again. (some will go across the grain on second pass)
5) I now check my shave by touch then rinse any excess shaving cream off under the tap (luke warm water) before wetting the alum block and applying all over my head and face. The mild stinging will tell you where you need to improve your technique!
6) After about a minute I rinse my head/face under the tap again using only COLD water rinsing the alum off and closing the pores.
7) A pat dry with the towel then I apply witch hazel either by hand or using a cotton wool pad. Whilst this naturally dries (90-120 seconds) I clean my brush, bowl and razor.
8) Time for some moisturiser/after shave gel and I’m ready to go!
I have got this process and routine down to about 30/35 minutes and I have to say, I thoroughly enjoy my shaving experience now.
I have not tried a pre shave oil yet so cant comment on its benefits but I am aware of a number of people who enjoy adding oil to their routine. This is something that I will try and when I do, I will write about my experience.
I am using a Merkur 38c with Feather blades currently but am excited that today I have just purchased a Merkur Futur which I cannot wait to try. I am advised it is an aggressive razor so slowly as I go but I will write with my experiences in the coming month. Further, I have also just purchased a tub of Agua de Colonia Barberia Shaving Cream to try. It wasnt cheap (and its not sandalwood scented) so it has a lot to live up to!
I hope you have found this informative and enjoyable and I look forward to speaking to you again soon.
Peace, love and respect to all.
You can find @Lamm1 here and read all of his tweets