Tag Archives: Men’s grooming

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

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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

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“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.

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Wordless Wednesdays

Shaving Essentials

The Beloved Is Back

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If I pulled a bunch of my guy friends together and went down a scented memory lane, a few must haves from back in the day would be repeated, Polo in the green bottle, CK One, Cool Water, and Joop are a few that come to mind. One in particular was hands down a crowd favorite, Issey Myake. I remember having a conversation with my barber and the way he emphasized his fondness for the scent, it was though an outfit for a night out was incomplete without those final few sprays.

For the first time since dropping his beloved namesake scent, Issey Myake, the Japanese designer has released a new scent, Nuit D’Issey. On first sight, I thought it was another flanker because the bottle’s shape has remained the same. For this scent, Myake enlisted the noses of Dominique Ropion and Loc Dong and they’ve produced a crowd pleaser.

The scent’s opening is sharp and crisp  and we can thank its grapefruit note for that. I also detect hints of pepper, which give it enough of a lift to spark curiosity. From there leather and woods give it a virility that we’ve  come to expect from men’s fragrances.

Nuit D’Issey hits all the right notes and for that I expect it will be well received. Whether or not barbershops and cigar dens will be reminiscing about it a decade from now only time will tell.

Nuit D’Issey can be found nationwide at Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, Nordstrom, & Sephora.

Dove Men Care Expert Shave Cream

Dove Men Care Expert Shave Cream

 

Now that we’re in the thick of summer, shaving can be a real chore…umm add to that grooming in general. While we’re taking off layers of clothing, the last thing we want to do is put on extra lotions, etc. I recently gave Dove Men Care Expert Shave Smoothing Shave Cream a test run and out the gate, it felt incredibly light against my skin – a win for the brutal summer months.

The Dove Men Care Expert Shave Cream is a partnership between Dove and leading barbers and dermatologists. It’s been formulated to give shavers adequate moisture, protect the skin and provide a smooth glide. Sound familiar, you bet. Does it deliver, indeed it does.

The first thing that caught my attention about the shave cream was it’s scent. It’s beautifully masculine without being being overly bravado. It smells like you’d want to smell all day. Next, the cream does produce a very good lather but it felt more foamy rather than creamy. I like a good lather and with just a tap into the shave cream, you can work up a good one. The more I worked it in, the frothier it became. The best part, and I suspect most men will appreciate this, it didn’t weigh down my face; it barely felt like it was there. In the summer time, that’s a beautiful thing.

On some occasions while testing the shave cream, I felt like it could have produced more glide. Some of the best shave creams I’ve used, after the first pass, while there maybe little visible shave cream left on my face, what remains is a slick enough surface that allows my razor to glide with ease. That’s usually when I run my hand cross grain to find spots I missed. In the grand scheme of things, it’s not a big deal. You can always reapply more shave cream with what’s left over on your badger brush and doing so with this shave cream gave me the extra glide needed for subsequent passes.

Overall, the shave cream performs well. Even with its scent, which could be an issue for some, my face never felt dry.The collaborators also know a thing or two about packaging. My wife commented that it looks high end. It’s very well done.

Dove Men Care Expert Shave Cream – 150ML – $21.99