Frederick Benjamin Shaving Regimen

Frederick Benjamin Shaving Regimen

If there’s one thing I love about shaving, it’s the ritual. I especially love using my badger brush. Yes, it takes more time but it’s time I deserve and love giving to myself. For that reason, I’ve never really been a fan of shaving gels. I have, however, met a few I like and I’ve found another.

Frederick Benjamin Grooming recently launched a three-step system that includes a primer pre-shave oil, hydro-Glaze cooling aloe shave gel and post shave bump treatment. The brand knows that African American men have an aversion to shaving so the shaving gel is touted as see through (cut down on shaving strokes and lessen razor burn) and the bump treatment gets to the heart of the fear, razor bumps. Smart!
This collection of products is fantastic. The pre-shave is light and sits close to the skin. I’ve found some pre-shaves are too thick and as a result feels heavy on the face. Not so here! Avocado, grapeseed soy and olive oil work well together to smoothen and lubricate the skin in preparation for shaving. The shave gel goes on cool (Aloe), which is a nice feature and provides a nice glide. The shaving gel also includes witch hazel, which soothes inflammation and castor oil, good for extra hydration.Together, the pre-shave and gel work well together. I actually found the glide was better when I used the pre-shave. The post shave treatment is good too; not too thick and absorbs into the skin quickly. It contains sunflower oil, which moisturizes and hydrates the skin.
I wish the gel itself provided a bit more after glide. After your first past when your razor and water removes most if not all of your shaving solution, what’s left back can provide enough of a glide that you don’t have to reapply. Perhaps turning up the gels emollients a tad bit more would help this. That said, as is, I’m really impressed and pleased I purchased this collection. I did shave time off my shaving regimen with no noticeable difference in the quality of the shave. I was so pleased with this collection that I didn’t use my badger brush for two weeks straight.
At $36.00 this is pound for pound a worthwhile investment that will deliver many happy returns. Well done Frederick Benjamin Grooming.

Discover Your Aha Moment with Scentbird

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I am a firm believe that sampling a fragrance before purchasing it is a necessity. That would seem like a no-brainer but retail isn’t set up to accommodate that. In my experience, often, a quick spritz is all you can expect. It’s likely it’s cost prohibitive but some offer it without hesitation. It’s also likely that some retailers believe if they give you a sample vial, you won’t buy. I was in Sephora once and overheard a guy asking for a sample and inquiring about how long it would last. Was his intention to buy or to wear free samples for as long as he could? Who really knows. The bottom line, don’t buy without sampling is my mantra. Through sampling, you’ll experience your “Aha Moment,” which will determine if you want to own a fragrance or not.

When Scentbird approached me about their sampling program, I said, it’s about time somebody offered this service. As they so eloquently state, Scentbird was designed for the pickiest girl- or boy- to let you date luxury perfumes before marrying them.” Wait, what? With over 450 fragrances to choose from, you can purchase a sample of either designer of niche fragrance for $14.95 a month. The intent here is a subscription service, where you’ll receive a new sample every month but you can cancel at any time or pay as you go. Here’s the added bonus, the samples are more generous than what you’ll find in a store. 30 days worth (8ml.) is how long they estimate the sample will last. If you’re an excessive spritzer, don’t expect it to last that long. You also get a cool carrying case that any of their vials can hold in.

Scentbird really is a win in my book. You’re headed out on vacation in a few months and have been wanting to try the new XYZ scent. Check them out on Scentbird, order a vile or two, throw them in your carry on and by the time you return home, you’ll know if you’re ready for a full bottle.

Head over to Scentbird, check out their FAQs, get to sampling and await your Aha Moment.

Fall Fragrances…Furthermore

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With the change in weather, comes the much needed change in fragrances. Fall is my favorite time of the year. Not only can I layer my earth tone color palette, I can reach for deeper, richer fragrances.

I recently had the pleasure of chiming in on a fall fragrance feature for Equinox’s website Furthermore. Check it out when you have a moment. There some fragrance application tips as well as one of my favorite of the season thus far.

Thanks folks.

Mug Scrubber by Grooming Lounge

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One of the keys to maintaining healthy looking face and avoiding ingrown hairs is incorporate the use of a good facial scrub. In addition to ridding the skin’s surface of dead skin, oil and dirt, it can lift the hairs on your face and stop those pesky ingrown in their tracks. The Grooming Lounge recently launched an energizing facial scrub and I was immediately intrigued.

The D.C. based men’s grooming company known for their array of men’s products and barbershops and men’s spas describe Mug Scrubber as “a deep-cleansing and skin-smoothing facial exfoliator that does away with oil dirt and dead skin, helping to improve skin’s appearance while thwarting ingrown hairs and shaving irritation. Powered by varying sizes of eco-friendly Jojoba Beads, the formula evens skin texture and soothes without irritation or dryness.”

What really piqued my interest was the scrubs use of Jojoba Oil and its use of biodegradable microbeads. If you’re like me and enjoy shaving in the shower, the prolonged exposure to the heat can dry out your skin. That said, I look for ways to bring back that hydration and jojoba oil is great for that as it seals the skin’s natural moisture. Additionally, as we look for ways to do our part in saving the environment, using microbeads that are biodegradable is a plus in my book.

Stripping away all of that (pun intended), however, I found Mug Scrubber to be an incredibly rich exfoliator. In appearance it resembles a shaving cream but the texture is obviously gritty. One unique aspect is its microbeads come in in varying sizes. The scrub also isn’t as harsh as others. Guys tend to be rough and in a hurry but I didn’t experience any irritation during my testing. Its scent is minty and upon rubbing in circular motion on my face, my skin felt renewed and I started to wake up – cue the minty fresh scent/menthol doing its job.

Ultimately what won me over was the way my face felt post washing. Yes, my skin felt soft and alive but it also felt like I didn’t need any preshave oil. My skin didn’t feel greasy but it felt like there was a coating locking in moisture that made it feel extra soft.

Each time I’ve used Mug Scrubber, I’ve enjoyed it more and it has led to an excellent shave.

Some may feel that at $24.oo it’s pricey but a little goes a long way so in the end, it mathematically pays for itself. Give it a try, you won’t be disappointed.

 

Crown Shaving Co. Supreme Glide Preshave Formula

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When it comes to shaving, I find that the more patient I am, the better the experience. When I’m rushing and cutting corners, often times I suffer the consequences, e.g. I nick myself.

Preparation is everything and to do it well, you need time. I have found, however, the right preshave solution can make all the difference in the world and even speed up the process a bit.

Crown Shaving Co.’s Supreme Glide Pre Shave Formula is not your typical shaving oil; it’s not heavy and overly greasy. It’s a clear colored solution that’s gel-like in texture. With a combination of essential oils and botanical extracts, what  results in a rather light solution that produces a slick surface for a smooth shave.

I’ve used it with their shaving cream and others and the results are pretty consistent – a smooth, irritation free shave and a face that feels great. What sets it a part from more traditional preshave oils is that moment when the shave is done. With other shave oils I’ve used in the past, I have to wash my face several times to rid it of the let over oil. Crown Shaving Co.’s Supreme Glide Preshave Formula leaves no residue and washes away very quickly. As for the glide of the razor, it holds up well and is comparable to any of the leading preshave oils on the market.

If you’re looking for a preshave solution that will coat your face while giving your razor that extra glide, I think you’ll be happy with this product.

Philosophy for Men

Ever since I heard Philosophy was jumping into the men’s grooming arena, my interest was piqued. To some respects it felt late; I mean, the trend has been on the upswing for some time now. But if there’s a brand that could do it right, Philosophy surely could. Then I caught wind of the tag line: Prep, shave, hydrate. Simple? Yup. But it hits the right points so in my opinion, they started off on the right foot.

After using this new collection, which includes an all-in-one face and body scrub (Microdelivery), a 2-in-1 cleansing shave cream (Razor Sharp) and an oil-free gel moisturizer (Renewal Hope), I was a big fan but chose to wait and really put it to the test. I wanted to sit with it and put it through a number of shaving conditions. A few days of beard growth, using a new razor, days old razor, using the shaving cream with my hand and with a badger brush, medium beard growth and day old growth, etc., etc. And no matter what I put it through, it delivered exceptionally well. Here’s why this is worthy of your attention:
Scrub
I love a good exfoliator as it really preps your beard’s hair for the shave. Microdelivery is a gentle scrub that’s in gel form and contains provitamin b5 and glycerin. It also contains diatomaceous earth, a finely ground material clay that acts as a physical exfoliant. Bottom line, it’s gentle enough to use daily but leaves your skin feeling soft and moisturized.
Shaving Cream
I’m a badger brush lover. That said, when I can get a good lather with my hands, I’m in love. Razor Sharp can be used with or without a brush. Either way a creamy rich lather develops providing a nice cushion for your razor. I’ve thrown mine in my gym bag as it’s officially a morning essential.
Renewed Hope

Their men’s version of Hope in a Jar? Perhaps. It’s lightweight, not greasy and contains vitamin e and beta glucan. No sting factor here upon contact. Absorbs into the skin quickly leaving a matte finish. I absolutely love it.

Last but certainly not least, the collection has an excellent masculine scent that’s carried through each product. A fusion of bergamont, ginger and vetiver in manly without beating you over the head with bravado.
Sometimes being late is a good thing. Philosophy’s new collection is done so well, it leaves me desiring more from the brand. I hope they decide to stay as our skin will be better for it.

Alluvian Silver Tip Badger Brush

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A few weeks ago I was contacted by the men’s grooming line, Alluvian, inquiring about my willingness to test some of their naturally fragrant products. Upon doing my research, I realized there was something here not to be missed. The founder John Cowan was working in biotechnology and his sustainability and holistic reservations about what he was doing led him to the idea of “making grooming products geared for men that would be pure, unadulterated, high quality, sustainable and most importantly, distinguished.” Translation, John knows formulations. John comes from a science and technical background. Two reasons in my book to get to know this brand.

As I was poking around Alluvian’s site, I realized John was very attentive to details. The site’s presentation was well curated with product and lifestyle imagery and short and to the point copy. He even handmade badger brushes. All of this piqued my interest.

After exchanging a few emails, my product arrived and its scent was a dead giveaway. Alluvian’s soaps are beyond run of the mill. While I pick up masculine traits, they won’t leave your bathroom smelling like coast guard. If that’s what you want, this isn’t the brand for you. After geeking out on the soaps, I couldn’t wait any longer and had to open the tube holding the badger brush.

As a shaving enthusiast, the sight of a new brush is like running down the hallway on Christmas morning to a tree full of gifts. From appearance alone, it’s a thing of beauty. They are handmade in Peoria, Illinois using American hardwood and the finest silver tip badger hair. The brush’s barrel feels right at home in my hand and when wet there is no slippage. What was most impressive was how easily it broke in. As you know, badger brushes can take a bit to get to that sweet spot. I found with Alluvian’s Silver Tip Badger Brush, after 3 shaves, the bristles had soften quite a bit and was holding water and soap exceptionally well. The brush’s loft has also bloomed beautifully.

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Last but certainly not least, Alluvian had the genius idea to attach a leather strap so the brush could be hung out to dry. While the handle is shaped to fit your standard T stand, the brand leaves nothing to chance. It’s the little details like this that often excite me about new brands and it won me over with Alluvian’s brush.

Bottom line here, this well priced, handmade shaving essential, which retails for $68, will rival any brand name brush on the market.

Well done Alluvian.