Why You Should Use Priming Oil

Use priming oil for a smoother shaveEver since I became a father, I haven’t had time for much other than being a father. As a result, my passions have shifted, things that I’m passionate about, have taken a backseat to my new responsibility. Don’t get me wrong, however, I love every minute of it.

Nevertheless, writing about grooming doesn’t seem to want to let me go. I don’t want to let it go either.

I am now a contributing writer for Bevel. If I wasn’t, I’d muster up the time to tell you how great I think this company is. Nevertheless, my first article for them, where I talk about the importance of priming oil, is live. I’ll be writing about shaving and hope you keep up with my posts.

Time is still elusive and I’m burning the midnight oil to write for them and hope to burn some more to get back to blogging here at Fragrantmoments. In the meantime, check me out over at Bevel.

Rituals Samurai Magic Shave

If there’s one thing about shaving I really enjoy, it’s using my badger brush. Not only is it good for preparing your face, but I find it soothing. When I opened this jar of Rituals Samurai Magic Shave and saw it had the consistency of cream, I knew this wouldn’t be my mind kind of shaving solution.

My heart sank a bit because I really like the Rituals brand. To save the situation, I gave it a try with my brush and as expected, it didn’t work. In a last ditch effort to give this thing a try, however, I used my fingers to apply the Magic Shave and I’m so glad I did.

The problems I’ve encountered with shaving solutions that have the consistency of cream is they end up clogging my razor, which lengthens the amount of time needed to shave. That can get frustrating. Rituals Samurai Magic Shave applies a nice protective coat to the face without being super thick. Even after attempting to work up a lather, which it did, a good portion absorbed into my skin and what was left was a thin coat which helped the razor glide across my face with ease.

I really enjoyed the scent of this Magic Shave. It’s infused with basil and ginger, which work really well together. Again, in this area, Rituals hits the bullseye. Not only is the scent not overpowering, I didn’t incur any feeling of dryness. Normally the additives associated with producing scent in shaving solutions can cause dry skin. That’s far from being the case here.

In a recent post, I gave a reader some tips for picking up the pace of their morning grooming regimen. For those occasions,  the use of Rituals Samurai Magic Shave will be my go-to. I can also see it being my travel partner as well.

Rituals Samurai Magic Shave is available in a 70ml tube for $12, which isn’t a bad price if you want to give this a try. If you do, let me know what you think.



Dude Beauty Blogger

Fragrant Moments blogger, Barney Bishop featured on Yahoo Beauty

Earlier this week, Yahoo’s Beauty site featured a story about male bloggers that write about men’s grooming and I was honored to be amongst the other seven gentlemen featured. About me, the writer Christina Valhouli said, “His blog posts are eloquent and elegant…” That touched me.

Thank you Christina. Thank you Yahoo.

In The Mail: Shaving Off Time


“I love my morning routine, which includes shaving, but I’m wondering how I can cut down on the time I’m spending in the bathroom? Shaving takes the most time?”

Martin – Memphis, TN

A couple of years ago while visiting Shinn Estate Vineyards in Mattituck, NY I was having a conversation at breakfast and grooming was the topic of the moment. When I disclosed I used a badger brush every morning, the looks I received from the gents at the table were priceless. One gent went so far as to say, “What? Where do you find the time?” My reply, “I make time. It’s me time.” I’m sure that tickled him pink inside. But in all seriousness, it’s true. I look at my morning shower, which also includes shaving, as a moment I not only have to myself, but a chance to gather my thoughts for the day. There are however, times when I just need to get it done, pronto.

I find when my blades are their sharpest, I zip through my shave. My first piece of advice then would be to make sure you’re changing your blades often. Some people recommend 5 days, other say sooner. I think you’ll know when it’s time and that’s when you should change them. If you find yourself going over the same areas a few times, it’s time to switch them out.

If you’re using a badger brush, ditch it and use your hands. While the bristles of the brush are good for massaging your face and lifting hairs, if you’re in a hurry, a few seconds count.

This last piece of advice may have the purists shunning me but oh well. For those mornings when you’re really pressed for time and you’re looking in the mirror asking yourself can you get through the day without shaving, go electric. Yep…I said it. Electric is where I started and I’ve never fully turned my back on it. Zip, zip, zip and I’m done. I enjoy the act of shaving a lot but some mornings I just need it to be done and my electric shaver comes in handy.

As always, thanks for the questions. Feel free to drop a line at fm@fragrantmoments.net.

Dolce & Gabbana Intenso

Dolce & Gabbana Intenso


I can’t remember the last time a fragrance by a mass brand REALLY caught my attention. While that may sound snooty, the reality is I find most them unimaginative because they’re all the same.

While working on a fragrance and grooming project, I came across the recently launched Dolce & Gabbana Intenso and haven’t been able to stop wearing it since.

Many years ago before I got into the blogging thing, there were a handful of fragrances I wore on a regular basis and Dole & Gabbana Pour Homme was one of them. Upon first sniff of Intenso, I was instantly taken back. While they have similar characteristics, they are very different.

For Intenso, it’s all about elegance and you get that right from the packaging. The box has a velvet feel and the dark bottle with brownish gold lettering definitely carries this thought all the way through. You really don’t expect the scent to open as light as it does from the usage of dark rich colors but it’s really fresh and clean. I find that this freshness lasts quite a while. As it dries down, however, the tobacco and woody notes begin to take shape and that’s when it truly becomes impressive. The way the scent juxtaposes the freshness and warmth is really nice. I’m a big fan of tobacco and wish it was a bit more present to cut some of the scents sweetness but I can live with it.

Intenso is an eau de parfum so it’s longevity is very good. Its last selling point, which I find equally as important, is its sillage. Intenso isn’t as intense as its name would have you imagine. Its presence is just strong enough to capture the right curiosity so don’t go and over spray or that curiosity will turn you into “that guy.”

Oh, by the way, Collin Farrell is the face behind Intenso. That’s cool and all but its the juice that seals the deal.

Interview with Dino Caracciolo of Crown Shaving Co


For a few years now, I’ve watched the men’s grooming category explode. We have more options than ever before and have the internet to thank, in part, for that. Unfortunately retail is still a bit stale but it’s getting there. Social media, however, has helped this fresh crop of brands get their message out there and attract customers. One of those brands is Crown Shaving Company.

One day while jumping around Instagram, I stumbled upon this company and have been a fan ever since. I remember the first time I tried the product, my first reaction was, Canada isn’t so bad. Seriously though, I experienced a silky smooth shave with no irritation and it’s been all good ever since. I try a lot of products but this has stood out and become a brand of choice for me in the morning. Everything from the lather it builds to the easy glide of the razor to the way it coats and protects my face has sold me on the shaving cream. But it doesn’t stop there. They also have an after shave that’s equally impressive and if you require a preshave oil, they have one of the best.

Below is an interview I recently conducted with it’s head honcho, Dino Caracciolo. Give it a read and get familiar. If you haven’t heard of them yet, well, keep your eyes on them.

The men’s grooming category has received a lot of attention in the past few years. So much so I heard someone compare it to what’s happening with microbreweries. It’s clear to see from following you on instagram, however, your roots run deeper than this trend. Please explain how you got started?

There has definitely been a revival of sorts with barbershops popping up everywhere the last several years and what may have seemed a trend is only picking up more steam with old school shops opening all over the globe. I was fortunate to grow up on both sides of the business, beauty salons as well as barbershops. My dad was a barber/hair stylist while my mom was a hair stylist and also provided manicures. I decided at an early age I wanted to be in that biz and by age 18 I completed my 10 months of beauty/barber school and went on to work full time in the family business.

What made you realize the category needed another brand?

After years behind the chair I suddenly began to develop adverse reactions to many of the products found in the shop. This became so bad that I eventually had to stop working behind the chair and I took on a management roll. In the mid 2000 I began having reactions to the shave creams and lotions I was using. Unable to find a brand that had ingredients I wasn’t allergic to and all the while being packaged for a man, proved to be quite a task so I set out to work with a formulator and develop something I could use. There were plenty of brands out there but I knew that a lot of guys wanted a better product without the frilly unisex packaging. I also knew that my barbering experience would come in handy and would also be a good selling point. After a few years of research and formulation testing Crown Shaving Co. was introduced in 2010. At this point I was back behind the chair, I would use these products on my customers and the feedback was very positive.

One of the things that drew me to Crown Shaving Co. was its imagery and overt masculinity. Your tag line is “For Vagabonds, Gentlemen and Ruffians.” Explain why you felt this was the right direction?

I believe all men can relate to our tag-line. Each man has within them a little vagabond, gentleman and ruffian. I wanted this brand to appeal to all men and I think we nailed that. I recently received an email from a gent in his late 60’s. He wanted to tell me how much he loved the products and how at different points in his life, he has been each of those, a vagabond, a gentleman and a ruffian.

What would you say is the biggest myth about men and their relationship to grooming?

The biggest myth about men in regards to grooming seems to be that its only the metro-sexual male that enjoys it. I don’t know where that term came from or why but I can tell you that every man out there enjoys good pampering. They only have to try it once, sit in a classic barber chair, get a good haircut, some good conversation and maybe even a manicure and it will become something you make time for and look forward to.

What’s next for Crown Shaving Co.?

Crown will continue to grow slowly. I have had the opportunity for distribution as well as several partnership opportunities but I feel it is still in the early stages of a growing category in the men’s grooming market and I prefer to be hands on for the time being working closely with my network of retail partners. As far as new products, we will be launching our roll on cologne as well as a body powder in 2015.

For a list of where to find Crown Shaving Co, log onto their site to see where they can be found online and stores near you.

In The Mail: Breaking in your badger brush


“I recently bought a badger brush but my excitement has faded as I can’t get it build a great lather. What am I doing wrong?”

Nathan – Detroit, Michigan

As a kid, I remember my dad would walk around the house in his new shoes. I found it odd that he would be pacing back and forth keeping a lot of noise. When I asked him what he was doing, he simply replied, “I’m breaking in my new shoes.” If you’ve ever worn brand new shoes, for the first time, for the entire day, I’m sure you can relate. The first few wears can be painful but the more you break them in, the better they feel. With a badger brush, the same is true – you’ve got it break it in before it becomes your best friend.

If you troll the Internet, you’ll find a myriad of opinions on breaking in a badger brush. To me, the simplest and shortest answer is to just use it. With the bristles being so new, they’re stiff and don’t hold water or your shaving cream, which ends up producing a lack luster forth. With time and regular use, they will soften, the brush’s hair will bloom and you’ll notice its performance changes producing the desired lather.

Patience is key to breaking in your badger brush Nathan. Fight through the frustration and know a lifetime of great lathering is just around the corner. Hang in there, you won’t be sorry. I promise.

If you have fragrance or grooming questions, feel free to shoot me a message at fm@fragantmoments.net.

Happy shaving Nathan.