Tag Archives: Badger Brush

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.

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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.

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

Maca Root Shave Cream by The Body Shop

Maca Root Shaving Cream

Men can be fiercely loyal. When we find something we like, there’s no separating us. Take for instance my love of sweatpants. Over the years I’ve only had a few and I wore them to shreds. The most recent pair I was forced to part with had holes in both pockets but I loved them.

The same is true with grooming products. When it works, it’s hard to try anything else. As someone that loves to try new things, I still find myself using some of the same products. Lately, however, I felt the desire to use a new shaving cream so I blind bought a jar of The Body Shop’s Maca Root Shave Cream and I’m hooked.

To be completely honest, I reached into my pockets for this one because it was at an irresistible price. At $12, how could I go wrong? Nevertheless, what I observed before using it made the decision easier. Upon opening the tester, I noticed immediately its pleasant scent that reminded me of a barbershop. (The added chemicals from scent, however, could be a reason for concern…more on that in a bit) I also noticed its light and creamy texture, which is usually a good sign that it’ll build a nice lather.

From the very first shave, it lathered up beautifully. I didn’t notice the scent all that much and after more than 10 uses, I haven’t experienced any dryness or irritation. My face has felt incredibly soft and hydrated. Chalk that up to its use of Brazilian Nut Oil and Sesame Oil. What really impresses me about this shave cream is how close my shaves have been. I shave every day to avoid ingrown hairs but while I’m using this cream, when I’m ready for my next shave, my face feels like it can skip a day and I have. On one occasion, my wife ran her hand across my face and asked, “Did you just shave?” I said why and she replied, “Your face is so smooth.” While that may seem like it was taken right out of a commercial, it shocked me because she never mentions that sort of stuff. But I noticed it myself and it’s amongst the reasons why I think you should grab a jar for yourself. If you need another reason, consider this – a quick dab of your badger brush into the cream will produce a rich, frothy lather. At that rate, you’ll be sitting on this shave cream for a long time. The return on investment will continue yielding benefits.

Add The Body Shop’s Maca Root Shave Cream to your daily regimen. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.

Wordless Wednesdays

Badger Brush