At some point in the life of the modern wild man, he is bound to have to shave his face. Whether for a job, a special occasion, or because his hockey playoff dreams were dashed and the beard he's babied for the entire post-season must unfortunately be shorn. Whatever the reason a man may have for shaving his mug clean, it's often met with some trepidation, annoyance, or worse: fear.
Here at Labrador Supply Co. we are no strangers to these feelings. We know that sometimes every modern wild man needs to have smooth cheeks and a bare chin. For my day job I’m required to be clean shaven every day. I’ve encountered this off and on over the past 11 years in my chosen profession and up until very recently I disliked — rather, hated — shaving my face.
Then, a chance encounter changed my entire outlook on shaving.
Step back to Christmas 2016 — just prior to the inception of Labrador. I was given a gift set from Like Grandpa that included their Double Edge Safety Razor with extra razorblades, Pre-Shave Oil and Aftershave Balm. It all smelled so good, but I was nervous to try it. I decided to reach out to the company and see if they’d give me some pointers on how to shave with his products.
Ken was eager to help, thankfully! He explained to me how products made with natural ingredients and moisturizers are actually better for your skin, and that there is a huge difference in using beard and shaving products in regions with higher humidity (like Toronto or Vancouver), versus those with drier conditions like here on the prairies. The natural humidity in coastal areas ensures that skin is naturally moisturized, whereas we need a helping hand in places like Alberta when it comes to achieving the proper moisture levels in our skin. He also noted that beard oils and beard balms are much the same, and that some products out there just don't make the cut!
So now I understood that, but I’d certainly never used a traditional safety razor before. I asked Ken for more info and he advised me not to rush it — as mentioned in our last blog introducing Like Grandpa to the lineup — just relax and make it a ritual for yourself. Strong, but gentle single-motion strokes will leave you with no unnecessary irritation on your skin, and a nice, clean shave.
I ended up finally meeting Ken a little while later for a photoshoot. The entire time Ken was educating me on shaving and giving me pointers and the knowledge that I admittedly never had prior. He explained how nearly the entire commercial shaving industry implies that they are helping you achieve a closer shave with products that will keep your skin soft and moisturized but in reality they’re doing far more damage than good. How?
First off, the gels and aerosol creams they hock are full of chemicals that actually dehydrate your skin when you use them, rather than moisturize them! Why? So you keep coming back for more! Geniuses...
Next are the expensive razors with three, four or five+ blades in each disposable cartridge. This is nothing more than a strange and awful marketing gimmick (anyone remember “diamond-shaped Shreddies?). Five blades running across your face is actually terrible for your skin, despite what the advertisements say. Why? Well, the first blade is on your team. It’s doing exactly what it’s supposed to by shaving the hair while working with the lather. However, the second, third, fourth, fifth (or however many) blades have no lather left to lubricate them, and they end up actually scraping through like a dry shave — pulling and irritating every follicle with each pass!
No wonder I also hated shaving (and the resulting bumps, sores and irritation so much…
So now you have dry, damaged skin that will need time to heal. Unfortunately, for most of us uneducated shavers, it never gets that opportunity and we just keep damaging our skin perpetually . On top of that, most of us are using the aforementioned commercial shaving creams and gels, so our already super-dry skin (especially here in the prairies), is being dried out even further with these products! It’s truly a vicious circle.
With everything that Ken taught me, shaving is an entirely different experience for me now. Not only does my face feel a million times better than it ever did shaving with commercial razors and products, but I also actually enjoy and even look forward to shaving. Using high quality products and tools in the shaving process has made me completely reverse my thoughts and feelings toward shaving and has led to my skin being softer, healthier and irritation-free. I highly suggest doing the same.
In short, when shaving with a traditional style razor, make sure you use a high quality, natural and moisturizing aftershave balm or cream along with a pre-shave oil, every time. This will aid in the moisture being reintroduced into your skin and also help protect your freshly-shaven face against all the elements you face on your adventures — whether that’s in the backyard mowing the lawn, hiking in the mountains, running with your dog or laying on a beach.
Shaving should not be feared, nor resisted. You just need to have the right tools for the trade.