This top-five list has me thinking — are these products all a guy needs to enter the world well-groomed each day?

What about a natural deodorant or a reliable post-shave moisturizer?

What about whitening toothpaste or dental floss or an effective body wash?

The Art of Manliness has quite a different take on a man’s top five grooming essentials.

Gold Bond. Hmmm.

What products are mainstays in your bathroom?

We want to know!

- Marisa

A great shave takes a bit of focus, folks. Before sliding the razor across your face, take a moment to study the direction that your hair has chosen to grow in. Note that it may not be the same direction on each part of your face. Once you have a handle on the way your hair is growing, shave with the grain. Shaving oil and low-lather shaving cream are ideal companions to this process as they allow the shaver to actually see where he is shaving. For an even closer shave, take a second pass — sticking with the grain — but wrap it up there. Too many passes can lead to irritation.

Do you know how your facial hair grows?

- Marisa

I know you’re not asking for much: a relatively pain-free, close and comfortable shave.

STOP. Here’s your problem already: like most people, you are probably confusing a “close” shave with a “comfortable” shave.

The secret to a close shave is in the hardware and the hardware only: use a decent razor.

It doesn’t need to be expensive and it doesn’t need to have six blades. In fact, many dermatologists will tell you that three, four, five+ blades aren’t necessary and potentially provide diminishing returns. Those millions and millions of dollars spent advertising shaving products: they are all selling a close shave. But the truth is, it’s pretty easy to get a close shave. If you have a steady hand and aren’t rushed for time, you can even do it with a rock.

The secret to a comfortable shave however is in the software: It’s what you put on your skin.

The products you put on your skin (your body’s largest organ, don’t forget) before, during and after the deed are the very things that get you through the 24 hours in between shaves with skin that stays healthy, looks and feels great, and protects against harsh environmental elements.

You don’t need a long regimen for a close shave. No lather-warmer or hot towels necessary. Regardless of the products you choose to use, here are a few common sense steps to get you on your way to a comfortable shave:

  1. Clean your skin before you shave. Exceptionally clean skin prepares your face for an exceptionally smooth shave.
    Choosing a skin cleanser with a gentle exfoliant will help remove dead skin cells and lift whiskers. (An ounce of prevention here is worth a pound of cure here when it comes to ingrowns.)
  2. Use a shaving cream or oil that is moisturizing and free of harsh chemicals.
    Stay away from alcohol, menthol or other drying ingredients. They might feel tingly, but they are sucking moisture out of your skin. (When your foot falls asleep it feels tingly too, but don’t you feel better when the circulation is there?)
  3. Use a post-shave moisturizer to keep skin soft and supple.
    I know you want to be done after you rinse of the last bit of shaving cream or oil, but take the extra step to moisturize afterward. This doesn’t require reeking of Irish Mist, Morning Dew or a men’s locker room the rest of the day. Something light, free of harsh chemicals and moisturizing is all you need.

Voila! A comfortable shave.

PS: You already look five years younger. Seriously, I’m not just saying that. You do.

-Stan

Today, as I prepared to hustle around town crossing last-minute gifts off my list, I decided to change my approach to this now yearly ritual. Instead of slinking away in shame, mumbling something about “running a quick errand or two,” I owned my slacker ways, admitting calmly and cooly that I had a few more gifts to pick up before the big day. No, I wouldn’t be buying extra candy canes for the tree. No, I wouldn’t be picking up the mozzarella for the antipasto. I would be running around looking for something special to stuff the stockings, something grand to gift.

I highly recommend this approach. If you plan to sneak away on Christmas Eve under the guise of something other than 24th hour present purchasing, come clean — and stay focused. Think easy, think different, think practical. If they’re past puberty give them all the gift of a stellar shave. Nick Sticks in the stockings, All Natural Shaving Cream and All Natural Shaving Oil under the tree. Blade Oil for the dude who thinks he has everything.

Visit our store locator at pacificshaving.com for a retailer near you.

Happy last minute shopping and Merry Christmas to all!

- Marisa

Totally Tubular

June 10, 2011

New Look for All Natural Shaving Cream

Our All Natural Shaving Cream has a new look. It’s still the same luxurious, super moisturizing stuff, only housed in a slick new tube.

I’m feeling this new design — so are the NYC friends who spotted the tubes on my desk this week (Duane Reade can satisfy your needs NYers!).

Sure, the jar was nice, but this pliable, 3-ounce tube slips easily into a toiletry kit or bathroom cabinet and looks awfully nice standing by the sink.

Try it.

- Marisa

 

Something about Shea

April 29, 2011

Do you know what’s in your shaving cream? Have you taken a good, hard look at what makes that white, fluffy stuff, so, well . . . fluffy?

At Pacific Shaving we have a different take on shaving cream. We like it thick and moisturizing with a luscious low lather that packs a wallop. But how do we pull it off? How do we get this shaving cream to do what it does?

I decided to take a closer look. There are a bunch of awesome (sounding) ingredients in this shaving cream, but what do they do, exactly?

Today it’s all about Shea. Shea Butter, that is.

Ingredient Spotlight: Shea Butter

What: Intensely moisturizing butter (or fat) from the nut of the African Shea Tree.

Why: This is no average butter. Uh uh. So much more than a lotion or a cream, Shea Butter is nature’s balm, an organic way to bring your skin back to its natural supple state.

How: Shea is packed with vitamins A and E and absorbs quickly for supreme moisturizing. Shea has yet to meet a dry patch that it couldn’t take.

Extra Points: In addition to superior epidermis hydration, Shea Butter is also thought to promote healing. Yup. Take that nicks and cuts.

- Marisa

Happy, Happy Earth Day

It’s Earth Day.

Let’s celebrate with an eco-friendly shave session that will make the planet blush with pride.

The gear: two-blade razor kept super sharp with regular application of blade oil.
The eco-benefit: Consistently sharp razor equals a longer blade life, which equals less dull blades dumped in the garbage/landfill.

The product: shave oil or cream made from natural and organic ingredients. Think sunflower seed oil, avocado oil, tangerine peel oil, shea butter …
The eco-benefit: naturally derived ingredients are better for you, sure, but they’re also better for the planet. Every personal care product we use eventually goes down the drain and moves into the earth and our water supply.

Extra eco points:

** turn off the tap while shaving and save gallons and gallons of a most useful resource. Running water will not help you navigate around a blemish or sculpt your sideburns. Trust me. It won’t.

** choose shaving products housed in minimal packaging (read: skip the bulky aluminum can) and look for those that can be easily recycled.

Getting greener,

Marisa

I’m into straight razors. Not sure why. I have yet to personally know a gentleman — from grandpa to dad to boyfriend to husband — who has ever laid his hand on such a blade, but I am intrigued nonetheless. Perhaps it’s a connection to an old-world, more simple time. A time when a beard could be tamed with nothing more than a sharp blade, some frothy shaving cream and some serious dexterity.

I would love to introduce my male friends to the wonder of the straight razor, if only to see that shining blade holding court on the bathroom sink. But clearly I do not possess the skills to make such an introduction.

Enter Lynn Abrams, founder of StraightRazorPlace.com, the first wet shaving forum on the internet. Lynn was kind enough to take some time away from his straight razor advocacy to answer some of my most pressing questions . . . in incredibly helpful detail.

Newbies, read and learn:

What tips can you give a novice straight razor shaver?

I always tell new people that learning to use a straight razor is something that takes a little time to learn [patience, people]. It is an art that can transform the chore of shaving every day into a pleasure that you can’t wait for every day [you don't say!]. We encourage new people to watch shaving videos on SRP and on YouTube as well as reading all available information that they can. Learning to use the straight razor works well when you take on a portion of your face at a time to learn the dexterity and tactile skills necessary to be successful. We encourage new people to start off with a good brand of razor that has been honed and is shave ready. It can be new or vintage, so long as it is in good condition. We also encourage them to learn about beard preparation. A good strop [had to look this up. From Wiki: "A razor strop is a flexible strip of leather or canvas used to straighten and polish the blade of a straight razor, a knife, or a woodworking tool like a chisel"] is also recommended for daily use before shaving with the straight razor. People can start off with cheaper brushes like Boars Hair, but normally most upgrade to the comfort of badger brushes. New people should be encouraged not to rush and not to expect the best shave of their life first time out. And is always recommended to have an experienced straight razor shaver available to show you the way — this minimizes the learning curve dramatically [read: seek out a straight razor mentor]. I get asked a lot to give shaving classes at barber shops that do shaves and at regional gatherings and I will be doing them regularly at our shop when the shaving spa opens. [oh! We need details on that shaving spa and will you be coming through NYC any time soon?]

What’s the scoop on products for straight razor shaving?

As for products,  pre-shaving oils work well but it takes a couple weeks of use for them to give the full potential of their benefits [who knew?]. The skin gets used to them as well as the straight razor. I like the shaving soaps and creams that produce a very nice, thick lather with as much cushion as possible. Castle Forbes, Carecini, Mitchells Wool Fat, DR Harris, Truefitt & Hill, Fitjar, Coates, Cella, Penhaligons,Coates, Proraso, Trumpers and a few others are excellent in this regard. You want products that will not be drippy or dry out on your face. Straight razor shaving takes a little longer than a DE [Double Edge. Yup, looked it up] or more modern razors and these types of products work well with the process. There is also a large number of boutique soap makers out there these days making a variety of very nice soaps. There are some great glycerine and triple milled soaps and a lot of buzz on all the forums regarding the personal preferences of many people.

Common mistakes made by newbies?

The most common mistake new guys make are:

1) trying to do the whole shave the first time out
2) using too steep an angle on the razor
3) using excessively long strokes
4) applying too much pressure

When people hold a straight razor in their hands, normally the hand will bend backward at the wrist opening up the shaving angle from 45 to 90 degrees. The razor needs to remain vertical in the grip and the shaving angle should be 30 degrees or less to cut whiskers optimally. People should use short strokes with virtually no pressure and then follow up with longer clean up strokes.

Most people are amazed at how straight razors seem to get sharper as they learn to shave and how well things go when they learn proper preparation techniques. Once a person learns to use a straight razor, most are hooked for life. That silky, baby-butt-smooth feeling after a great shave is like nothing else in the world. You just can’t keep your hands off your own face.

To learn more, check out Lynn’s cheat sheet for new straight razor shavers: Part 1 and Part 2.

- Marisa

What has the world become when a simple shaving cream pie to the face results in a trip to the hospital?

Where has all the good, clean pie-in-the-face fun gone to?

These are some of the questions I asked myself as I read this small, but telling news blurb. My jaw agape with shock and horror (agape with surprise and outrage? disgust and discouragement?), I imagined cornering the Chicago educators responsible for such negligence and asking them in a grim and unamused tone: “Do you know what’s in the average can of shaving cream? Do you?”

Well, chances are high that it contained a handful of parabens, some synthetic fragrance and a good dose of isobutane and triethanolamine.

Look ‘em up. (I dare you.)

And kids, next time request whipped cream in your face pies.

- Marisa

Shave Right. Shave Smart.

February 9, 2011

Think you know how to shave?

Think again.

The man behind Pacific Shaving Company (Mr. Stan Ades) shares his tips on mastering the perfect shave. No more irritation. No more ingrown hairs.

Read and learn.

- Marisa

For most men and women, shaving is not the enjoyable ritual that many marketers would lead you to believe. In reality, it is a daily chore that must be endured, is often rushed — and frequently painful. As your mom taught you, when you rush things you make mistakes — and in the shaving business, those mistakes can be bloody.

Here are five simple tips that will keep your skin, your razor and your wallet equally happy.

1. Struggling with ingrown hairs? Less is more.

If your skin is particularly sensitive or prone to ingrown hair, consider stepping back from that four, five or six-blade razor you are using. That may be the primary cause of those unsightly and uncomfortable red bumps.

Remember those razor commercials where they show each subsequent blade lifting and cutting the hair follicle lower to give you that super-close shave? Well, they weren’t lying. The problem is that it works too well. After multiple cuts, the hair follicle is below the surface of your skin. As it grows back, it begins to curl under before breaking the skin. The result: ingrown hairs.

Nowadays, disposable two and three-blade razors get the job done well, without going overboard. (I use Gillette Comfort Plus blades or the still-great Gillette Sensor – if you can still find replacement blades.) Give yourself a couple weeks with fewer blades and you’ll see the difference.

2. Prone to razor rash? Cool it.

If you are prone to post-shave irritation and razor rash, consider changing your regimen slightly: don’t shave with hot water. I know it may sound counter-intuitive to everything you’ve probably heard, but give it a shot. That doesn’t mean shave dry (see below). It just means use cold water instead of warm (this is probably best attempted out of the shower). Warm water opens up your pores and all that good stuff, but it also draws the blood closer to the surface of the skin, which can lead to redness and irritation.

3. Tempted to dry-shave? Resist.

We all find ourselves hurrying from time-to-time, but don’t dry-shave – even if you’re in a rush. You’ll get a jagged, coarse shave that will likely be uncomfortable and far from smooth. Even for quick touch-ups, splash some water on your face to soften/hydrate your hair follicle. Think of your whiskers like pieces of spaghetti. If you try to cut through it dry and uncooked, it results in a sharp, jagged edge. Cut through that same noodle once it’s cooked and wet and you’ll get much smoother results.

5. What’s your product IQ?

The true measure of a comfortable shave is not about the razor, but ultimately the products you put on your skin to provide lubrication and protection. Do you know what’s in your shaving cream or oil?

Seek out products that are:

Good for the skin: The skin is the body’s largest organ, so it’s a good idea to consider what you put on it Take a look at the ingredients in your shaving products. Are they safe? Natural? Organic? If you’re unfamiliar with — or can’t pronounce — the majority of the ingredients – stay away. That goes for alcohol and other skin-drying ingredients, too.

Good for the wallet: A little goes a long way when you use products with quality ingredients. Consider the overall value of each product you’re about to buy. How many shaves does that can or bottle really hold? Skipping one morning latte can fund three months of a quality shaving product.

Good for the earth: How do big, bulky cans of shaving cream affect the environment? Before purchasing consider the effort and resources used to carry the can through the supply chain and remember the landfills they’ll end up in. Look for smaller, more concentrated products that pack an even bigger punch.

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