Tag Archives: Men’s grooming

West Coast Shaving Build Your Own Starter Shaving Kit

SAMSUNG CSC

On a rainy Saturday afternoon, I was bouncing around the Internet and came across West Coast Shaving’s Build Your Own Starter Shaving Kit. For $30 plus shipping and tax, you’re given a choice of badger brushes, double edge safety razors, shaving cream and razors to choose from. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Could this be? Would I go through the motions only to find out nothing I want is available or worse, the site hadn’t been updated and this offer no longer available? After poking around and building what I thought was a good set, I realize this is happening. This set is priced at $30 plus tax and shipping. I know we’re used to free shipping these days but I was so intrigued by this offering that I wasn’t going to be turned away.

I ordered the set on Saturday afternoon and by Wednesday night, it was waiting for me. Excited see the product, I tore into it that night, took a peak and knew I scored a set that would rival any. I held out though and did an unboxing via Instagram stories. If you missed it, be sure to follow my in the gram.

Out the gate, West Coast Shaving impressed me with it’s packaging. For $30, they are giving you a badger brush, razor, shaving soap and razors. No one could blame them if they bubble wrapped each item and sent it along in a brown box. Instead, each piece is packaged by itself in West Coast Shaving branded packaging. As for the razor, the handle and razor head came in separate boxes.

SAMSUNG CSC

The badger brush I choose has an ivory handle and I’m loving the blue tip. Made of synthetic badger hair, the bristles are soft and overall, it’s well constructed.

The stainless steel double edge safety razor is a thing of beauty and by itself, it will last you a lifetime. I’m loving the ergonomic design of the handle and its grip strips. What’s most impressive is its weight. It’s by far the heaviest starter razor I’ve ever held in my hand. This razor is a closed comb, three piece that requires breaking down by unscrewing the handle to dismount the head, which is an additional two pieces. If there’s one criticism, one could argue that a twist to open would be a more appropriate “starter” razor.

Astra Superior Platinum Double Edge Razors were the default or you could pay an additional $7 for a sampler pack. The latter would be a good option if you’re truly purchasing this as a starter kit for someone but kept the Astra blades since I knew I’d use blades I already have at home.

Lastly, the shave soap is West Coast Shaving’s own brand and comes in three scents, bay rum, ocean and lime basil. For a fragrance head like myself, I thought the lime basil would be the most interesting. It’s quite fragrant and I’m liking the juxtaposition of the lime and basil.

Bottom line, this is an excellent kit. It’s remarkable they are offering all of this for $30 plus tax and shipping. What’s pictured above is the set I put together and I love that even at this price, West Coast Shaving offers choices.

Father’s Day is right around the corner and this would make an excellent gift, even for someone who is a seasoned shaver. For a young man graduating college and moving into the professional world, this would make a great gift too.

Well done West Coast Shaving.

This product was purchased by me and all views are my own.

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

SAMSUNG CSC

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.

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

26050996261_485a657982_o.jpg

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.

SAMSUNG CSC

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.

Gym Bag Essentials

SAMSUNG CSC

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

SAMSUNG CSC

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.