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Upgrade his shave for Christmas

November 26, 2008

Hey, while I’m thinking about it, let me remind you: shaving gear makes a great holiday gift for the man in your life. Does he hate shaving? Some good equipment might make him change his mind. If he’s already a well-groomed fellow, he’s bound to appreciate being introduced to a an entirely new level of foppish dandyism. Here’s a few ideas to get you started.

There’s no more important piece of advice than this: Get Leisure Guy’s Guide to Gourmet Shaving. Shaving with a safety razor and a brush is very different than squirting cans of fluff on your face and scraping it off with the latest multi-bladed, turbo, mach, nuclear, vibrating, disposable plastic monstrosity. That being the case, it pays to have a decent introduction to the subject and Leisure Guy delivers it.

Get an inexpensive but good quality badger hair shaving brush, such as the one I use. Don’t be tempted to save $10–get real badger hair. Trust me. No badger, no sale.

Get a solidly made safety razor. No need to spend a fortune. Try the German-made Merkur “heavy duty.”. Most shave geeks agree that it’s a great one to start with. I use a Merkur and so do the two younger men in my house. One of the great things about these is that they’ll last a lifetime. You can tell that the moment you pick one up.

You’ll need blades for it, of course. Each shaver is different, so it pays to get a sampler pack and let him discover for himself which one suits best.

Then there’s shaving cream. Again, everyone will have his own favorite. I prefer the traditional English ones like Taylor of Old Bond Street or Geo F. Trumper’s. Both manufacturers make a variety of shaving creams, so click around. (No, you can’t pick this stuff up at Walgreens. Sorry.)

Entire package total? If you were to get the brush, the razor, the blades, some shaving cream and the book, the total is about $110. That’s a pretty classy gift for dad or hubby. And remember: the razor lasts forever, and the blades cost less than ten cents each. Thus if he’s currently using one of the more expensive multi-blade systems, it could actually cost less to go the traditional route. If you prefer an incremental approach, first get the brush and the good shaving cream.

Not every man will be delighted by such a gift. You know him better than I. But if you think men don’t like grooming products, you’re wrong–we just don’t like girly ones. I kid about being a fop, but I’ll tell you this: A guy wants to shave the way his grandfather did, and smell like a gentleman when he’s done. With this stuff, he can.

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  1. Even if you do not go the route of the safety razor, and stick with your other prime-numbered blade, using a brush and lather and a quality after shave skin care product will really start your day of quite nicely, remove the mundane daily chore feeling from shaving, and hey — you will smell nicer! I am a big fan of the Eton College and Sandalwood pre-shave lathers from Geo. F. Trumpers (although Taylor’s is nice as well).

    I have to admit that I often just do not have the extra 10-minutes to use my safety razor and often go the route of a more popular brand of razor, but the I just will not sacrifice the additional 30-seconds that a nice brush lather gives me. Also, I do not use a safety razor when shaving the rest of my skull, I just do not trust myself at oh-dark-30 with shaving the back of my head with a safety razor.


  2. It’s been 18 years since I last had a bare chin, but before that, I would use (and still have) my father’s Rolls safety razor. What’s great about it is that it’s got the strops built into its case, and it gets a great edge. And no blades to buy.

    I’ve looked periodically, and you can get them from people selling them on eBay. Here’s a link to some information about them:

    http://www.geocities.com/safetyrazors/Rolls_Page.htm


  3. […] Posted in Daily life tagged gift ideas at 12:50 pm by LeisureGuy Go read. […]


  4. Do you know of a good store in the area that sells this stuff? I’d imagine they have it all at your typical department store, no?


  5. I don’t think any stores in the area sell safety razors. You can get blades for them in any grocery or drug store (although they’re often not the best blades).

    Good shaving cream is possible to get, though. The Body Shop sells some pretty good stuff, as does Bath & Body Works. I was just at TBS over the weekend and they gave me a free sample of a new variety.

    I don’t know of any local stores that sell badger brushes. There may be a few, but I don’t know of them.

    In my experience, department stores sell gift packages that are high on kitsch and short on quality. It’ll be a Mach 3 razor with a wooden handle, an unusable toy brush, and a chrome stand to display it all on. Totally useless. I’d be delighted to learn that there were better products to be had in these stores, though. I’d visit them more often.



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