June 29, 2009

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

Flip for it.jpgFacial hair just grows. You don't have to think about it, feed it, or nurture it, you simply have to deal with it as it grows. You can shave it all, or you can just shave part of it, leaving a goatee, a moustache, a soul patch, or even some Neil Young style lambchops.

But you have to make that decision every single morning.

"To be a man is to decide about facial hair. Even to just shave and not think about it is a form of decision. To the ancient Greeks, a beard was inseparable from manhood. The Romans shaved, probably to say they weren't like those uncouth Greeks. Through the centuries facial hair came and went like hemlines and tides. Most of the presidents between Lincoln and Taft had beards." - Mail Tribune

If you choose to shave it all everyday, you've got to decide on the method: electric razor, disposable razor, safety razor, or straight razor. And which cream or gel are you going to use? What about after the shave - are you using an aftershave or lotion, or just a rinse?

If you're only going to shave part of it, how much are you going to leave? If you have a trimmed beard, how far up the neck do you shave? How long will you let your beard, moustache, or goatee grow? And how will you keep it even? I'm sure every man has had one of those "Ooops" moments, where you slip and take off more on one side than the other...

Starting from a clean shave and growing out some facial hair takes some thought as well. What's my wife going to think? How will the guys at work respond? How long do I let it grow before giving up and just shaving the whole face again?

The cool thing about it is that you're in control. You can change your looks within a week, and if you don't like it, you can change back again, no problem. And as you get older, you may lose your hair, but you'll probably not lose your whiskers, which means you get to keep your style for a long time...

What's the toughest decision about facial hair for you?

Image: Freddy The Boy at Flickr

Derek Markham at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

March 31, 2009

How To Shave Video from Esquire's Virtual Valet

"You've been shaving for years. Now do it right. A long time ago, you learned to shave from your dad, the same man who is still using a twin-blade disposable. Time to rethink what you thought you knew."
Derek Markham at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

March 4, 2009

Review of John Allan's Slickwater Pre-Shave Solution

slickwater.jpgWhat does the name "Slickwater" make you think of? Quicksand? An oil spill? Or perhaps some Clinton era scandal? Whatever you associate with Slickwater, it's all slippery and lubricated goodness when applied to shaving. There's nothing wrong with adding an extra layer of protection against that razor sharp steel doing battle with your whiskers. And John Allan has come through with another fine product which does just that.

John Allan's Slickwater pre-shave solution is a new pre-shave oil which goes underneath your regular shaving cream. I have been using Slickwater with Cremo Cream and REN High Glide Cooling Shaving Cream and it works well with both. Cremo cream doesn't really need a pre-shave oil, but I got a few more shaves with my razor when I was using it. REN High Glide definitely benefits from a layer of Slickwater, since it's a dry shave to begin with.

For me the major improvement that Slickwater brings to the pre-shave oil is in the area of application. Pre-shave oils are very viscous, and are often difficult to transfer from your hands to your face. The packaging will say use two or three drops, but you're never sure if any of that ended up on your face. Slickwater is a snap to apply and the slight shine on your face will let you know where it is. That's a big plus in my book.

Now, I'd like to take a moment out of this review to deconstruct the full name of this product and show you the true genius of Mr. Allan's marketing department. You see, this product is not called John Allan's Slickwater Pre-Shave Oil. It's called John Allan's Slickwater Pre-Shave Solution. Why is that important? Because if there's one thing that's rubbed off from me schmoozing my MBA friends, you don't sell products; you sell solutions.

I like Slickwater and I think you will too. It's a got a pleasant herbal smell, goes on easily, and adds an extra layer of protection to your shave. If you've got extra sensitive skin or just feel you could benefit from another layer of smoothness, give Slickwater a try.

John Allan's Slickwater pre-shave solution is $28 for a 2 oz/59 mL bottle.

Russell Neufeld at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

February 11, 2009

Preserve Razor Triple: Recycled and Recyclable

Triple_side.jpgIf you shave with a cartridge razor, consider switching to the Preserve Razor Triple as a nod to the 'green' movement. Recycline makes the handles from 100% recycled plastics, including at least 65% recycled Stonyfield Farm yogurt cups, and provides a postage-paid label to mail in your worn-out or broken handle to be recycled. The recycled handles get a second life as plastic lumber for park benches, decks, etc.

"An innovation in shaving, the Preserve® Triple Razor provides an eco-friendly shaving option that doesn't sacrifice performance. With our titanium-coated blades and lubrication strip for comfort, Preserve's Triple Razor delivers a clean, close shave for both men and women. Available in four vivid colors, the ergonomic handle exhibits contours and gripping regions that enhance performance and control."

"Gripping regions that enhance performance..." Hmmm... I can't vouch for that, but I did shave with the Preserve Triple last week, and for a cartridge razor, I thought it was good. It was comfortable and the triple blade gave me a close shave, and knowing that I could send it back to be recycled again was a plus for me.

I used Cremo Shave Cream to shave with it, and I was impressed by the richness of the cream enough to want to keep using it. It's super concentrated, so I was able to shave my whole face (3 days of stubble) with just a dab the size of a quarter. It also has a great manly scent - I highly recommend it.

Derek Markham at Permalink | Comments (3) | social bookmarking

February 10, 2009

From Soul Patch to Chin Strip, a Little Goes a Long Way

Have you noticed the resurgence in tiny beards? There are soul patches and chin strips and goatees everywhere. What's the appeal?

Olympic skater Apolo Anton Ohno had an article written about his choice of facial hair on ESPN.com, and the author had this to say about the soul patch:

"The soul patch is the "I meant to do that" of facial hair. Unlike a Grizzly Adams/Ted Kaczynski full-on beard, the soul patch doesn't require a lot of scratching or checking for ticks. And unlike geometrically correct goatees, it doesn't say, "I'm on Satan's team." Instead, a soul patch says things like, "I'm cool" or "I'm a little rebellious" or "I'm sensitive" or "I'm a little hung up on myself" or "I can grow hair right there on that spot right below my lip, and some of my friends can't."

I have to confess that I wore either a goatee or a full beard for many years, but never considered a 'flavor saver' until last year. I started letting a little stubble collect under my lip until it became noticeable, and now my soul patch has morphed into a full-on chin strip. It really does say "I'm cool" (or maybe it just says "I'm hung up on myself") when I look in the mirror.

Whatever it says, having a little bit of facial hair growing in the midst of a clean shaved face definitely adds a touch of variety. It's not just for the hipsters anymore...

What about you? Got a soul patch, goatee, or chin strip? Why do you wear one?

Image: Doug88888 at Flickr under Creative Commons License

Derek Markham at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

January 26, 2009

Review of Cremo Cream Shaving Cream

creamocream.JPGMy New Years resolution - get a better shave without breaking the bank. It's recession time, people. And while it may have taken a couple extra months for the federal government to admit it, the average joe has known to watch his wallet for a long time now. That's why I'm psyched to have found Cremo Cream, a shaving cream which ranks among the best, and costs among the least. At $8 for a 6oz tube, Cremo Cream is by far the best shave for the shekel, the best bang for the buck.

If you remember back in December when we first got Cremo Cream in, creator Mike Boone had set out to make a different type of shaving cream, one that wasn't mostly air. He was on to something. Cremo Cream shaves like the high end brands we've come to know and love. I'd put this shaving cream up to the likes of The Art of Shaving, Gentlemen's Refinery, or Billy Jealousy. Super close shave with nary a nick or cut to mention.

Cremo Cream is a white cream with smooths on easily and doesn't gunk up your razor. The tube suggest you use an "almond-sized" amount, but I typically weighed in at the pecan or walnut level. Regardless, this isn't one of those "use generously" shaving creams. One tube is supposed to last 60 days, and I think that'll come close to being true.

The only place Cremo Cream falls short when compared to the high-end brands is scent. There's absolutely nothing malodorous about Cremo Cream. It's just verges slightly on the artificial lemon. If you want to pay three and four times as much for a natural manly aroma, be my guest. You won't regret it, but you won't be getting that much of a better shave.

Cremo Cream is a winner. At $8 a tube, it's cheap. Get some.

Russell Neufeld at Permalink | Comments (1) | social bookmarking

January 9, 2009

Review of the Schick Quattro Titanium Trimmer

schick-quattro-titanium-trimmer.jpgBack in the day a razor had one blade. Simple. Understandable. Then someone got the brilliant idea to put two blades on every razor cartridge. Genius. We can charge more money. And thus the razor arms race was born. Now we've got four and five bladed behemoths, with micro-vibrating powered handles, and edging blades for sideburns and those hard to reach places. What else could you possibly jam on to a razor? (Wait, I just remembered The Art of Shaving special edition Gillette Fusion Power razor with built in flashlight!)

OK, so back to the question at hand - what else could you possibly jam on to a razor?

Schick's answer - a trimmer. If you haven't already seen the Schick Quattro Titanium Trimmer, which came out last year, say hello to the latest in shaving improvements. This razor has a four-bladed cartridge for a super-close shave, an edging blade for keeping your hairlines straight, a powered handle for a smooth comfortable shaving, and now trimmer for taming your bushy sideburns. (The trimmer is at the bottom of the handle; see picture on right.)

And as ridiculous as it sounds, I really like it. I haven't been a huge fan of Schick razors before, but this one won me over. The Quattro has a big, beefy, rubberized handle which allows you to get a nice grip. It's certainly heavier than razors of 10 years ago, but for me that's a plus. It feels sturdy.

The trimmer is great. I typically get my hair cut every five weeks, and by the end of that fourth week my sideburns are looking a little unkempt. I'd gotten pretty adept at using a comb and an electric razor to thin things out, by it was always a precarious operation. The Quattro's trimmer makes this task easy. There are three settings depending on how close you want to trim. (Schick's site claims there are four. What's the fourth? No trimmer attachment on? Oh marketing department...) My advice - don't take the plastic trimmer head off. You'll lose it.

One thing to note - the Schick Quattro Titanium Trimmer is loud. Of the three powered razors out there - Quattro, Fusion, and Mach3 - it is by far the loudest. Not a huge deal in my book, but worth mentioning.

So there you have it. A Schick razor that was finally good enough for me. I think you'll like it too, and I think you'll really appreciate the trimmer. How much you want to bet Gillette adds a trimmer to their Fusion this year?

Russell Neufeld at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

January 7, 2009

Win a full size The Art Of Shaving Kit from Foreman

There's only one thing that can make The Art of Shaving even better, and that's when it's free. If you haven't shaved with this brand's products, you haven't elevated your shave to an art form.

So here's what I recommend. Click on over to Foreman's blog 4mind4body, and check out the contest they're running. All you have to do is sign up for their mailing list, tell them about your current shaving habits, and then promise to tell them how much you love The Art of Shaving once you win. And trust me, you won't have any difficulty doing that last part.

Contest ends Monday January 12th, so you bests get a-clickin'!

Russell Neufeld at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

December 19, 2008

Billy Jealousy Gets Personal With Gifts

In the age of big corporations and outsourced phone support, it's nice to come across a company that still has a personal touch. Today only, buy $40 worth of grooming products from Billy Jealousy (at their site) and you and a friend will both receive a free 2oz bottle of Hydroplane shaving cream (which is one of the absolute best shaving creams out there, and we should know).

Here's the personal part - place your order on billyjealousy.com, then send an email to Melissa at Billy Jealousy telling her the name and address of the friend you'd like the Hydroplane to go to, and she'll make it happen. What? No online impersonal form? No faceless click? I'm so not used to interacting with people the way. It feels weird... and good, at the same time.

We've purposely not mentioned Melissa's email address, but you should be able to figure it out, Sherlock. If not, click the picture above for an expanded view and look in the lower left corner. Damn you spammers! You have to make everything difficult.

Russell Neufeld at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

December 18, 2008

Baxter of California Saves You 20%

Only two more days to save 20% off your order from Baxter of California. Enter promo code "FINLEY" at checkout to score big. They've got a huge selection of shaving and grooming gifts for you to choose from, including a pretty sweet Travel Kit for $50 filled with "TSA Approved travel ready 2oz. tubes." Isn't that what the Internet is made out of?

Russell Neufeld at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

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