Category Archives: Grooming

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.

Gym Bag Essentials

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I recently started going to the gym again. I’m paying a more than I have for my membership but the experience is worth it. One thing that hasn’t changed, however, is guys either having to much grooming products or relying on whatever maybe thrown together by the gym. I’m all for a lighter bag. Not having to carry around a towel is beautiful amenity. One thing I won’t skip on though are my essential products. Call it what you want but after a great workout and a long day ahead of me, it makes all the difference. Below are a few my must haves for your consideration.

Lucky Tiger Liquid Shave Cream – While I love using my badger brush, even I know when to leave it home. I love this shave cream because even with my hands I get a nice lather but more importantly, its ingredients moisturize the skin and gives the razor a super easy glide.

Crown Shaving Co After Shave Balm – Ever since I tried Crown Shaving Co., I’ve been hooked. Boasting traditional formulations and masculine marketing efforts, these guys know shaving and know how to take care your skin while doing it. The balm isn’t super thick and doesn’t leave my face greasy. Makes a difference when your metabolism is still revving and while rushing so you won’t be late, you find yourself sweating.

Curel Itch Defense Moisturizing Spray – It’s easy in the rush to forget to apply lotion and if you happen to remember, what’s provided at most gyms smells medicinal. Believe it or not, spraying the lotion actually shaves time off getting ready but what I love about Curel Itch Defense Moisturizing Spray is it absorbs into the skin super fast, isn’t greasy or heavy and most importantly for a scent enthusiast like me, it doesn’t compete with my cologne choice of the day. It’s just what I need to keep the ash away.

Degree Motionsense Dryspray – Not that I need protection for 48hrs (God forbid that amount of time passes and I haven’t showered…can you say ewww) but after an arduous day, I find this deordorant is still going strong. Works for me!

Bevel Razor – balanced weight, extra long handle, never looses its grip…never leave home with it. (Disclosure, I am a freelance writer for Bevel. My decision, however, to use it daily is because it’s really a great razor.)

Musc Imperial by Atelier Colgone – I will admit, this is the one thing that changes regularly. I’m not a signature scent kind of guy, as I love variety. If I was, however, this is one I’d chose to go with. I’ve been a fan of the Atelier Cologne brand for a very long time as I’ve never been disappointed by their scents. Developed as the signature scent of the Majestic Hotel & Spa in Barcelona I find this simply magnificent. If this is in part a reminder of Barcelona, I want to go. This reads traditional to me. I think of well-dressed Barcelona men that make me want to wear a suit. It opens sweet and clean and right away I pick up the lavender and fig. As it develops the leather, woods and musk kick in. Its longevity is incredible as is the case with all of Atelier Cologne’s fragrances. When I’m headed out on a business trip, I usually throw Oolang Infini into my dopp kit. Musc Imperial is now a no brainer for gym bags and business trips.

 

Whipping A Great Lather

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As a kid, I can remember running around the house, stumbling upon my dad shaving in the bathroom while watching his face, full of shaving cream and always thinking, that was so cool; it often left me wanting to do it, too. He never formally taught me how to whip up a great lather, but with time I developed a reliable technique of my own. Continue reading my latest post on Bevelcode.com.

Breaking In Your Badger Brush

Shaving Essentials

Is there anything more beautiful than a brand new badger brush? Of course there is but for a shaving enthusiast like myself, it does rank up there as an object of beauty. That love affair can quickly evaporate upon first use, however, as it’s really stiff and doesn’t give you the lather you’re looking forward to building.

To learn how to break it in, head on over to Bevel Code and learn how easy it is to break in your new badger brush.

Taylor of Old Bond Street Review for Customshaving.com

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While life has been extremely hectic as of late, I’m never to busy to shave. I might rush every now and then but I always manage to give my grooming regimen the time it deserves.
My latest review for customshaving.com had me trying out Taylor of Old Bond Street. These guys have been around and thriving since 1854 for a reason.  An exceptional shave is achieved with quality products. Read my review here.

Microtouch One Classic Safety Razor – As Seen On TV

Microtouch One

Just the other day some friends were having a good laugh about As Seen On TV commercials. Somehow they always exaggerate the problem, e.g., her knife is so dull it flies out of her hand or her colander just doesn’t work the way it used to.  My wife usually gets a kick out of them barking at the TV, “You’ve got to be kidding me.” One As Seen On TV commercial that couldn’t be more spot on is the one for the Microtouch One Classic Safety Razor.

With the boom the men’s grooming sector is receiving, this couldn’t have come at a better time. For the young man looking to take up traditional shaving, his choices could be overwhelming. And with the some of the sexy marketing companies are employing, he could end up spending more than he needs to before he actually knows what he’s doing. The Microtouch One Classic Safety Razor is $19.99 and it is exactly what he needs.

For this very attainable price, you receive a double edge safety razor and a generous amount of razor blades. The one I was sent came with the stand pictured above as well. The instrument itself is a twist to open constructed razor, which is very easy to use (that was actually the design of my first safety razor). It also has a good weight to it and an excellent grip, both important qualities when looking for a good razor. As for the shave, I was impressed. It handled just as well as the safety razor I use everyday. The blades provided are by Dorco and while they aren’t the sharpest, for someone just getting into traditional shaving, it’s a good place to start.

Overall, the Microtouch One Classic Safety Razor is an excellent option for anyone looking to get into traditional shaving. Good craftsmanship along with good weight and excellent grip makes it hard to beat at that price.

Disclosure: This review is based on a sample I was sent. My opinions are, however, my own.

Travel Essentials For Weekend Getaways

Memorial Day Essentials 

Memorial Day is approaching and that weekend we celebrate the unofficial beginning of summer. Queue backyard and rooftop barbecues, casual and summer Fridays and ice coffee-everything. And since summer and everything fun is all we begin thinking about, it’s when we start thinking about running away for the weekend.

I love hopping down to Philadelphia and exploring its burgeoning food scene and maybe, just maybe I’ll make it to Maine this year. One thing I’ve come to realize, however, is although you’re escaping for a few days, you can’t depend on your hotel to stock quality grooming essentials. Grab these essentials and take them along for the ride.

Kiehl’s
Since you can’t take everything with you, where will you cut a corner? Maybe a 2-in-1 product is what you need and why not look to Kiehl’s for the answer. Their Cross-Terrain All-In-One Refueling Wash is packed with goodies like Aloe Vera, vitamin E, and citrus oil and will keep you squeaky clean from head to toe.

Bulldog Natural Skincare
Since your routine will be thrown off in the name of fun, slash time of your morning shave sensibly. Bulldog Natural’s shave gel has 8 essential oils, aloe Vera and jojoba to moisturize, and protect your face, while quickly moving your razor along sans any irritation.

Baxter of California
While the look of Baxter of California’s Citrus deodorant can be deceivingly simple, it packs a subtle punch. It’s so light you won’t even notice you’re being protected all day long.

Ursa Major
Loaded with all natural and organic ingredients, here is another combo pack you don’t want to leave behind. Ursa Major’s Fortifying Face Balm fights ingrown and razor burns with its soothing antiseptic properties, and provides anti-aging benefits. The best part, all of that won’t leave your face feeling greasy as it quickly absorbs into you skin.

Thirdman
The beautiful thing about fresh, citrus scents is they can be worn anywhere. One of the things that has bothered me about them is that many lack depth. Thirdman has created a collection of invigorating Eau de Cologne’s that are far from basic. Eau de Nomade’s Sicilian lemon, blood orange and cardamom are beautifully balanced and what you get is a zesty, slightly sweet and tantalizingly warm scent that’s far from your average summer cologne.

Finding Your Way

Facial Hair Growth
For the last month, I’ve been answering the grooming Q&As of men across the globe for Men’s Health Magazine’s micrrosite, awardwinnersplaybook.com. It’s been fun learning about the grooming issues that leave men scratching their heads. A fair amount of the questions that have come in so far have been related to shaving in some form or another. How do you figure out what direction the hair on your face grows, what’s the best after shave routine, or is it true that letting shave cream sit on your face is a good thing, are just a few of the questions I’ve fielded.

A common theme that’s developed in my responses is what I call the 3 P’s of wetshaving: patience, preparation and practice. Many of the issues we suffer from while shaving can be prevented if we adhered to the 3 P’s. That’s not to dismiss severe cases of anything that plagues us. In those instances, a dermatologist should be consulted. But if you’re patient, and your preparation is thorough, with practice, your technique should result in irritation free shaving.

Another thing I stress is paying attention. There are no quick fixes and with that, we must keep an eye on what’s happening to our skin. Case in point – I realized that shaving everyday and shaving with the grain is key in my defense against ingrown hairs. That may or may not work for you but keeping a watchful eye while exhibiting some patience and with some practice, you’ll find your solution.

If you have a chance, pop over to awardwinnersplaybook.com and tap on the “ask an expert” tab and see if anything already answered will put you on your path to solving your grooming issues.

Odor Eaters

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Gents, what do you do when the day is hectic and you know a shower isn’t possible? You either wing it or hope no one notices you’re not your freshest. For occasions like these and many others, Niche For Men has developed deodorizing wipes made especially for men.

Individually packaged wipes, which are about the size of a hand towel (9×11), are infused with ginseng and aloe vera. What you’re left with is a very masculine scented wipe that’s good for one use but well equipped to get the job done. I recently tested Niche For Men after a night out at the cigar lounge and it easily washed away the odor of hanging out for a few hours in a smoked filled room. The best part, my wife couldn’t detect any cigar scent. My skin felt rejuvenated and moisturized.

Tis the season for increased activities. After work cocktails, which can lead to flirty dinners and late night shenanigans is just one of many possibilities that can occur now that the weather is breaking. Do yourself a favor and keep these in your bag or at your desk. You won’t be sorry.

A one pack of Niche For Men’s deodorizing wipes, which brings two individually wrapped wipes are $3.00

Niche For Men sent a sample of this product to me but my opinion is my own.

Headed Out The Door, Don’t Forget This

Hand Creams
Wallet – check. Phone – check. Keys – check. Money – check. It’s safe to say these items are part of the checklist of items men run through before they leave home for the day. Perhaps lip balm is on there when it’s really cold out but the question I pose today is this, how many of you carry around hand lotion? Does that seem a bit too fussy? Consider the fact that women notice fine details and ashy hands will result in the loss of brownie points. If that got your attention, read on.

If you suffer from ashy skin, you’ll notice it occurring during the winter and after long hot showers, two common factors. During the winter, temperatures drop and the air gets very dry, and while long hot showers can be soothing, the heat opens our pores allowing moisture to escape. In both of these instances, the top layer of our skin is being stripped of its natural moisture, leaving the skin dry and itchy. Add to that the fact that in the winter, we’re constantly washing our hands to kill germs and that is a recipe for ashy hands.

So, what can we do to remedy this? Cutting down the length and temperature of those showers will help but what you really want to do is moisturize your skin more often. Add any one of the following to your daily checklist of must have items before you leave the house to keep your polished look intact. (From L to R):

Palmer’s Cocoa Butter
I can’t even remember when I started using this but it’s stood the test of time. Cocoa butter will do your skin justice. Its rich formula will create a protective barrier between your skin and the elements. The result, moisturized hands that look manicured without feeling greasy.

Jack Black Industrial Hand Healer
Jack Black’s Industrial Hand Healer is a quiet worker bee. Before you know it, eucalyptus, vitamin A and E quickly penetrate your skin to rid it of ash. There’s no residual greasy feeling or extra shine. Hands are left feeling smooth and moisturized and no one’s the wiser.

Portland General Store Wood Super Thick Hand Cream
Formulated for overworked hands, Wood Super Thick Hand Cream is all natural and loaded with essential oils. It works fast to moisturize hands and is the most masculine smelling of the bunch.

Bliss High Intensity Hand Cream
You probably noticed your ladies’ Bliss products but this is one you can use with no shame. You only need a little bit of Bliss’ High Intensity Hand Cream to heal your ash. Macadamia nut oil and grape seed extract work to hydrate and soothe your skin leaving hands feeling rescued.

L’Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream
Super creamy and packed with 20% shea butter honey, almond and coconut oil, L’Occitane’s Shea Butter Hand Cream is by far one of my favorites. Creamy and light, it quickly penetrates the skin to hydrate hands leaving them polished and soft without the feeling of grease.