SPECIAL OFFER - 40% OFF ALL PRODUCTS* July 09 2015, 0 Comments
Yes 40% OFF - But Only for 24 Hours!
You need to be quick to secure a bargain as stocks are limited and demand will be high!
OFFER AVAILABLE FOR 1 DAY ONLY - FRIDAY 10th JULY 2015**
DISCOUNT CODE: SUMMER2015
Enter code at the checkout
* Offer excludes all Gift Cards & Shaving Vouchers
** Offer starts at 12am BST & ends at 11:59pm BST
The Village Barber is Looking for New Retailers, Resellers and Distributors May 14 2015, 0 Comments
Interested in Becoming a Village Barber Retailer, Reseller or Distributor?
Over recent years, the unique range of Village Barber Shaving Oil and Shaving Balm is growing to become a recognisable brand in the UK and Worldwide with the help of established market leading companies who are already selling our products in their respective areas.
We aim to become market leaders in Shaving Oil and Shaving Balm products. We are now focussing on establishing a network of stockists, retailers and wholesalers both in the UK and worldwide.Village Barber is offering a range of opportunities for you to become part of our growing number of successful, profitable retailers.
If you are interested in becoming a Village Barber Retailer, Reseller or Distributor…
Click Here to Apply >
Village Barber Shaving Balm Attains Finalist Status at The 2015 Beauty Shortlist Awards March 24 2015, 0 Comments
We are proud to announce that Village Barber Shaving Balm has attained Finalist status at the prestigious 2015 Beauty Shortlist Awards.
Iain Kane, founder and Managing Director at Village Barber Skin Products Ltd said: “I am absolutely delighted to attain ‘Finalist’ status for our Village Barber Aftershave Balm! Particularly when you look at the phenomenal competition in this year’s awards, it makes the achievement even more special!”
“In just a few short years since we launched our Village Barber Shaving Oil and Aftershave Balm, to be up against big brand names such as Braun and Bolin Webb in the ‘Best Shaving Product’ category and achieve such a great accolade is a true measure of success and shows our products are becoming recognised within the ‘male grooming’ industry.”
The Beauty Shortlist Awards highlights the best of beauty and skincare with an emphasis on natural, organic and eco-luxury skincare. A quote from one of the judges after trialling Village Barber Aftershave Balm on behalf of the Awards panel stated: "Definitely top of the class - sinks into the skin easily, and it’s calming effects post-shave were instant. Delicious fragrance." - Simon, Grooming Judge, The Beauty Shortlist.
Village Barber products are unique and produced using only top quality, therapeutic-grade natural oils from around the world in a synergistic blend. Available in bottles, Travel Packs and Gift Sets, the products are available online at www.villagebarber.com as well as other carefully selected retailers around the world.
Village Barber Premium Shaving Oil will let you experience the smoothest, most comfortable shave ever and will also leave your skin irritation-free, moisturised and nourished. For the perfect shave use in conjunction with Village Barber Aftershave Balm - This will fully moisturise, nourish and protect your skin, leaving it irritation free and feeling fully rejuvenated!
The Beauty Shortlist Awards 2015
“Our Awards are 100% independent, objective and unbiased, we have no allegiance whatsoever to any brand or product. We run them to recognise fresh, innovative, "this works" beauty heroes and new launches - our annual "best of" edit based on judging feedback, to help consumers find what works for them in today's ultra-competitive beauty and wellbeing market.”
Village Barber Sponsors Ash's fundraising for Parkinson's UK March 02 2015, 0 Comments
Ash Kane, whose mum has been diagnosed with Parkinson's, is aiming to raise £3700 for the UK Charity.
To assist, Village Barber is sponsoring her heartfelt efforts by donating £1.00 for every Shaving Oil or Aftershave Balm product bought from our website over the next 12 months. Each time you buy a product from us you also will be helping in the worthy cause.
Ash said recently: “I am cycling 500 km (310 miles) between two countries for Parkinson’s UK because my mum has Parkinson’s and I want to help find a cure. My intention is to cycle 500 km from Vietnam to Cambodia to raise as much money as possible for Parkinson's UK charity”.
“My mum is diagnosed with Parkinson's and it is difficult to see her struggle with daily tasks. So many families have to go through this knowing that there is no cure at present. Hopefully with support and fund raising, we can all help research to find a cure soon”.
Every hour, someone in the UK is told they have Parkinson's. This affects everyone in the family and the charity helps people to face this difficult challenge by offering friendship, support, expert information and advice. They also fund ground breaking research into Parkinson's and are leading the way to find a cure.
If you would like to contribute directly or just see what’s happening with the appeal over the next 12 months - Here is the link to Ash's fundraising page: www.justgiving.com/Ash-Kane
A Close Shave with History and a Warm Glow of Nostalgia February 02 2015, 0 CommentsAssuming that, like me, you weren’t waiting to be born – what were you doing in 1956? Spencer Tracey was still recovering from his Bad Day at Black Rock, Charlton Heston was delivering the Ten Commandments – whilst John Wayne was in The Searchers. Tom Hanks and Geena Davis were still at the bouncing baby stage.
While all this was happening, someone was making my Gillette Superspeed Flaretip in the USA – possibly listening to Elvis sing Heartbreak Hotel on the radio. My Gillette Blue blades were being manufactured in Great Britain while the British population was talking about the Suez Crisis and petrol rationing. And, just like me – my 1962 Slim Adjustable was still in the pre-production stage and wouldn’t arrive for another six years.
I bought the razors and blades after filming the Village Barber videos for Iain. I thought to myself – “I’m going to give that pesky DE razor another chance and follow Iain’s advice about blade angle and pressure.” My angle was okay but as for pressure, I had been pressing like I did with a cartridge. Well – to say that the shave was an improvement is an understatement. My previous attempts at using the £5 Wilkinson Sword Classic DE razor had left me nervous, and reluctant to try again, after slicing myself and making my face look like that of Edward Scissorhands. So I continued, and the shaves got better and better, until I got superb, comfortable shaves from this inexpensive razor.
I had long been a wet shaver, using a brush and soap for twenty years – but with increasingly expensive cartridges. Now I was thoroughly enjoying the art of shaving again and decided I needed, or rather, wanted another razor. I settled on the Edwin Jagger DE89L and a rather natty stand and bowl which certainly look the part sitting proudly next to the mirror in the bathroom.
Then I spotted the carbon steel Gillette Blue blades on eBay, still wrapped in cellophane. After opening them I discovered they were made in the third quarter of 1956 and set about getting a 1956 Gillette Super Speed Flare Tip razor to match – well who wouldn’t? By now this was proving contagious, and I obviously needed a 1962 to match me – after all we would have both survived and lived through the same world events – albeit, the one slightly more oblivious than the other! I settled upon a Slim Adjustable (James Bond uses one in Goldfinger). Both of these vintage razors give wonderful shaves, especially the more straightforward ’56, and some say they were around their best at that time.
Well, I was getting fantastic shaves with all the razors, but how would they perform with vintage carbon Steel blades? Originally, all razor blades were made from carbon steel until the 1960s, when Wilkinson Sword introduced stainless steel razor blades. Soon the company's blades made rapid gains in shares of the market and other producers such as Gillette followed suit. Not only did the blades resist rusting – they were noticeably smoother on the skin, without the rather scratchy feel of carbon steel.
So, now armed with vintage razor and blades I waited to try them that evening. So how do these, carbon Steel blades perform in a shave? Well, as mentioned earlier, rather scratchy and a tad uncomfortable – at first. But, after a couple of shaves they improve noticeably. I found it beneficial to use the Village Barber Shaving Oil as it allows the blade to glide over the skin comfortably and after the blades were bedded in, I got fantastic shaves. I also tried a brush and lather and found shaving soaps such as Mitchell’s Wool Fat, Palmolive and Proraso worked well, but benefited further from being used over the Oil.
I enjoy using these for an occasional walk through history – so I bought some more blades on eBay. I opened these after photographing the containers. The smaller carton was made in 1958 – the year Cuban rebels kidnapped five-time world driving champion Juan Manuel Fangio, and released him twenty-eight hours later. And in 1967 while Jimi Hendrix was recording Purple Haze in London – across the water – the French ‘Gillette Bleue Extra’ blades were being manufactured. Some of the ‘58s had a bit of rust – but not on the cutting edge. Don’t use them if the cutting edge has rusted. The French blades gave an incredibly close but smooth shave without any scratchiness! I only did a second pass for the sake of it. I wish I had a ton of these! These newer blades are marked ‘Extra’, and whatever extra thing they did to them made all the difference, as they are noticeably better.
In a world of people shaving with cartridge razors, it’s fantastic to enjoy a shave with a double edge razor – and even more special to know that you are one of the few on the planet shaving with a blade that hasn’t seen daylight for decades! So why not give them a try, if you can get some? Alternatively, try out modern carbon steel blades made by Treet such as the coated Treet DuraSharp and plain Treet Classic. In my opinion, the DuraSharps feel very similar to the ‘Gillette Bleue Extra’ blades.
The Village Barber Shaving Oil also helps prevent rusting, as given half a chance, carbon steel will rust – blow them dry after use. I take the razor to a dry room until the bathroom has dried off. I get a week of great shaves out of each blade and they leave a warm glow of nostalgia and a close shave with history!
Blog contributed By Shaun Dodds - shaving enthusiast and customer of Village Barber
Breaking News! Due to customer demand, Beard Oil is being introduced to the exclusive Village Barber Range! January 20 2015, 0 Comments
Village Barber Beard Oil has currently been undergoing trials in both the UK and USA and initial feedback has been very positive.
We are planning to introduced 2 types of Beard Oil to the range - A beard ‘Growth’ oil which will help stimulate a healthy beard for those starting out or with a thinner density of growth - and a beard ‘Care’ oil which will help maintain your skin/beard in top condition.
In keeping with the high standards set by Village Barber, these new additions have been created from 100% natural ‘therapeutic-grade’ oils from around the world and are chemical/paraben free.
HOWEVER - We Need Your Help… So here’s a little competition for you all.
Before we finalise the product for launch we would like to ask our fans and customers as well as ‘beard aficionados’:
- What in your opinion makes for a great beard oil?
- What size and colour of bottle do you feel would be ideal?
- Should the application of the oil be spray action, dripper or roller-ball & why?
To enter, simply follow us on Facebook (The Village Barber) and then give us your views. The winner will be selected at random from all entries received by the closing date and an EXCLUSIVE LUXURY PRIZE will be given away!
Two Alternative PRIZES*
Closing date: Saturday 28th February 2015 at midnight GMT
Luxury Merkur Shaving Gift Set + Village Barber Travel pack
from The Safety Razors Company – www.safetyrazors.co.uk
“FREE Village Barber Beard Oil of your choice for a whole year - receiving your first bottle a full 2 weeks BEFORE the official launch date! You will be the first to officially try it out!
(See Terms and Conditions for details.*)
* Terms and Conditions Apply
1/. You must ‘Follow’ and Like Village Barber on FaceBook.
2/. “FREE Village Barber Beard Oil of your choice for a whole year!” This consists of 1 bottle of Village Barber Beard Oil “Exclusively 2 weeks prior to the official launch date” (thus you will be the first to officially receive and experience it). Followed by a further 5 bottles automatically posted out to you at 2 monthly intervals thereafter.
3/. Closing date: Saturday 28th February 2015 at midnight GMT.
4/. You agree to being included in our online news and as being in possession of the official ‘New Launch Village Barber Beard Oil product’ before anyone else.
5/. One prize per winner from the 2 alternatives offered.
Seriously Good Batting for Ushaw Moor Under 13’s Cricket Team October 28 2014, 0 Comments
Congratulations to the Ushaw Moor Under 13’s Cricket Team who have won their League for 2014 in style.
Sponsored by Village Barber Skin Products Ltd, Langley Park, Durham, whose Managing Director, Iain Kane stated “The team deserve full congratulations on their cricketing excellence! They have played consistently well over the whole year and we are proud to be associated with the lads. Well done and congratulations, let’s hope next season plays out just as good for the team”.
‘Close Shave’ for Ushaw Moor Under 13’s Cricket Team April 29 2014, 0 Comments
Nothings left to chance when it comes to Ushaw Moor Under 13’s Cricket Team – in preparation for the 2014 season the squad decided to make sure the only ‘close shaves’ they get were at The Village Barber, not at the crease!
Team Manager, Norman Ferguson commented: “After being worthy Durham County League runners up last season the lads are determined to be at the top of their game in this year’s league. We formed the under 13’s and 15’s teams to encourage more young players into the game and are very pleased the team has been so successful.”
Iain Kane, of Village Barber Skin Products Ltd in Langley Park said: “I know we’re just having a laugh with the lads in the team, they are a great bunch, and I’m pleased to be able to sponsor them again this season with new cricket shirts. I hope it wasn’t too scary an experience for them. I’m always happy to spruce up their image with a shave and a haircut at The Village Barbers – who knows they might even start using my Shaving Oil and Balm when they get older!”
Iain has introduced his unique range of Village Barber Shaving Oil and Balm into the international market which is highly acclaimed by many of the world’s renowned professionals and recognised experts on shaving.
Iain comments: “With their cricket season due to open on Monday May 7th, the Ushaw Moor under 13’s cricket team are raring to get going with their first match at home versus Langley Park – we wish them all the best.”
Interested in Becoming a Village Barber Retailer and Stockist? February 14 2014, 0 Comments
Over recent years, the unique range of Village Barber Shaving Oil and Shaving Balm is growing to become a recognisable brand in the UK and Worldwide with the help of established market leading companies who are already selling our products in their respective areas.
We aim to become market leaders in Shaving Oil and Shaving Balm products. We are now focusing on establishing a network of stockists, retailers and wholesalers both in the UK and worldwide.
The Village Barber is offering a range of opportunities for you to become part of our growing number of successful, profitable retailers.
If you are interested, please register online and one of our sales team will contact you to discuss the options available to you.
My Venture into Shaving - A Beginner's Sojourn. October 23 2013, 2 Comments
Some time ago I asked if anyone who was relatively new to the 'wetshavng' fraternity wished to write a "Guest Blog" about their experiences so far for this website. The following is by Derek Sword CSCS, OMS-III who comes from Pikeville, KY USA.
Let me start by saying this…It is VERY difficult to express something to others in an articulate manner, when the subject isn’t something you're quite sure you understand yourself. You know you like something, but why do you like it? Because of how it makes you feel, or the memories it offers? What is it that keeps my mind going when it comes to the world of shaving?
Maybe it’s the history, sophistication, and classic nature that is so desirable. Maybe it’s ALL of that - and that’s what makes wetshaving a special hobby for me.
About two years ago shaving evolved from something I did on a near-daily basis - begrudging to my sleep schedule and personal hygiene as a grungy teenager. Eventually it became a routine that is nearly as elaborate as my wife’s clothing closet!
My mind can’t help but wander to a quote I read from a book recently: “It is always the simple things that change our lives. And these things never happen when you are looking for them to happen. Life will reveal answers at the pace life wishes to do so. You feel like running, but life is on a stroll.”
I know, for a fact that I love to shave. I love the scents each new cream I try can provide, the feel each brush I use has on my skin. I get excited to try new products from all parts of the world. I want to break the fragrances, textures and qualities down to their basics.
I’ve had hobbies, good and bad, that have stolen many hours of my life in the past. But never, have I had a hobby where I have found so much complexity and interest all at the same time. From the time my Dad began to introduce me to names like Proraso, Genco, Torrey, Case and Boker.
My collection of 'straights'
I immediately took note of everything he said. It was like I was finally being commissioned into this “Manly Gent’s Club” after so many years of living in the dark! I was finally going to just wake up the next morning, have my steam shower, beautiful, young blonde hanging off my shoulder and straight razor in my hand, ready to conquer the world!
Needless to say, after that first day of having shaving cream running all over my face, blade marks everywhere, and razor burns for days it was much more than I had imagined!
When I discovered all that the 'male grooming' market had to offer, I was easily overwhelmed with where to start. I remember thinking there wasn’t enough money in the world to try all the Truefitt & Hill creams, the Trumper soaps, as well as the Dovo and Theirs-Issard blades.
Was it my technique that was killing my ability to master the shave? Was it the products I’ve been using that were just poor for my skin? Or was it just that I wasn’t 'sophisticated' or 'manly' enough to figure this thing out?
You see…these simple things I had never noticed before had become my biggest social priority! I wanted to run into this brand new part of my life grabbing, taking and using every shaving implement and product I could!
Instead of slowing my pace to a casual stroll, I steam rolled ahead leaving no room for my sense of “patience” to take over. Finally my Dad, thank God, decided to pull me aside and say “Derek, don’t get in a hurry. Find some things you like and use them, stick with them and learn the basics. Learn how to master the basics, you’ll eventually learn what you like the most and then you can just add to that.” Great advice indeed!
Fortunately, since that great debacle years ago, I have had the great opportunity to meet people like Iain Kane (@VillageBarber) and Craig Whitely (@CraigtheBarber) who can give professional guidance to anyone, regardless of their experience, who appreciate this ever developing art of shaving. They helped me gain confidence in what I love and also showed me that this isn’t something to be hidden or embarrassed about.
Probably, like some of you reading this, I live in a community where shaving and grooming products aren’t really spoken of at all. There are no stores for men’s products or spas where we can go for a nice hot-towel shave. Even mentioning names like Proraso, Dovo, Truefitt & Hill, or even The Art of Shaving will get you some pretty strange looks. It’s a small coal mining town where money is abundant for the very few and scarce for the very many. I love my home but boy are these people sure closed off to a lot of the things the rest of the world has to offer!
To everyone reading this then, I guess this is my take on all things 'wetshaving'. It’s from the same book I used an excerpt earlier:
“I never liked jazz music because jazz music doesn't resolve. But I was outside the Baghdad Theater in Portland one night when I saw a man playing the saxophone. I stood there for fifteen minutes, and he never opened his eyes. After that I liked jazz music. Sometimes you have to watch somebody else love something before you can love it yourself. It is as if they are showing you the way.”
And that’s the sentiment I want to leave the readers of this blog with. I’ve found something different, that I didn’t appreciate before until I saw someone else love it. This elaborate form of Men’s grooming and subtle form of pampering. I have people like my Dad, Iain Kane and Craig The Barber who I look to for new products, advice, and technique to only further my appreciation and passion for shaving. These are the people from the above excerpt “showing me the way”. I want to encourage everyone reading this to do the same: close your eyes and dive in again…like it’s the first time, rekindling the passion you have for a hobby you love. Don’t let it end, don’t let it resolve, keep the music going!
P.S. Shameless plug for myself. My Dad and I restore, clean, & hone antique straight razors and resell them on eBay. We only sell them when they are at the highest restored level and shave ready. If you have Twitter, follow me @dsword10, I update our selling list weekly. If you have eBay my username is omt2013. We carry all the famous brands like Ambossmann, Wade & Butcher, Joseph Elliot, etc. Please look us up or simply tweet me. I would love to meet some of you or chat with you about wet shaving, products you’ve tried or tricks you have picked up along the way.
Author: Derek Sword & his wife Annie
Mantic59's 4 Tips For Shaving Success With The Merkur Progress Razor April 02 2013, 0 Comments
Mantic59 is one of the best known online personalities in the wetshaving community. His shaving-related videos have received accolades from fellow shaving enthusiasts and professional barbers alike. It was therefore my great pleasure to ask the man himself if he would write an exclusive piece for the Village Barber website. He very graciously agreed and, here it is - his personal tips on how to shave with his beloved Merkur Progress DE.
Iain Kane (@VillageBarberUK)
A Merkur Progress
"It is no secret that my favorite DE razor is the adjustable Merkur Progress. I've often said that it will have to be pried out of my cold, dead hand. I have plenty of razors in my collection but I keep on coming back to the Progress. Here is how I use it with success.
First, like some other razors (such as the Bakelite Slant) there is no need for a high performance blade. My personal favorite blade for the Progress is the quite middle-of-the-road Israeli-made Personna, also sold under the Crystal brand. Derby blades--which many people dislike--also work well for me in a Progress. High performance blades such as Feathers will work in the Progress but, for me, there's something about the combination that makes it less than ideal.
Second, rest a finger on razor head when installing a blade. This will prevent the head from shifting slightly, causing an asymmetrical blade exposure on the sides of the razor.
Third, grip the razor so that its angle is more parallel to the skin. Unlike most other razors the Progress bends the blade quite dramatically so if you are used to another razor you will have to adjust your hold accordingly. I now find this grip more "natural" than other DE razors (and similar to Single Edge razors like vintage Injector or GEM units, even some modern cartridge razors).
Fourth, start mild. I always make my first reduction pass on a low setting: about "2" on my Progress will comfortably reduce the worst of my stubble (remember, Progress razor settings are not necessarily consistent across all units manufactured). Then I raise the setting for the rest of the shave (usually about "3" or so). If I need to do a "touch & cut" cleanup I will drop it back down to a much milder setting."
The Role of Natural Oils in Shaving December 05 2012, 0 Comments
I often get asked for my take on the various oils used in shaving products from Olive oil to silicon based lubricants and what benefit, if any, they have on the skin.
Then too, I am frequently delighted to receive phenomenal feedback from wetshave enthusiasts and fellow professionals alike after they've tried my own Village Barber brand of Shaving Oil and I'm asked "What makes your Shaving Oil so exceptional?"
So, I decided to ask Christos Katsis, a clinical aromatherapist
and aromacoligist with over 30 years experience as a product designer and natural product
maker to give me his professional view on the matter.
Christos states: "If all you want is something to ease the glide of the razor over the skin then it doesn't much matter whether you use Olive Oil, Silicon based lubricant, chip pan fat or lard - all will give glide to the razor.
Olive Oil, for instance, in dietary terms lowers cholesterol and blood pressure and is good for the heart generally.
In terms of topical application, it can be good for burns and relieves some itching from stings and bites.
In terms of cosmetics - the ancient Greek Athlete's used it for "scraping" - rubbing it onto the body then scraping with a sharp knife to clean the skin and remove body hair before competing in the Olympics.
As far as shaving the beard with it is concerned however, it is very thick and tacky and provides little glide. Plus, even the smallest required amount needed would clog the razor with the first pass - pretty useless in other words as a practicable shaving agent.Olive is also a weak astringent which I guess is a benefit.
The Birth of Village Barber Shaving Oil
Any plausible shaving oil must be about more than just glide. Indeed, most men know from experience the problems that can arise as a result of shaving - from razor burn and skin irritation through to various skin problems arising out of the daily stripping away of naturally produced oils from the skin.Therefore, even the most accomplished shaver needs help if he is to restore the correct balance of oils in his skin, and that is where Village Barber Shaving Oil comes to the fore.
Village Barber Shaving Oil and Aftershave Balm are the result of the collaboration between Iain Kane, a top professional Barber for over 30 years, and myself. The Oil and Balm have been field tested by Iain and evaluated by industry and market professionals and, without exception, feedback has been universally positive and the products have already proved to be award winners.
Base Oils - Benefits
Whilst the base oils used in Village Barber Shaving Oil - Extra virgin and unrefined Avocado oil (Persea gratissima) and Virgin, Cold-pressed Sweet Almond (Prunus amygdalus dulcis ) - do give wonderful glide to the razor, the oils themselves are also naturally rich in vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, D and E. The combination of both is an excellent emollient (skin softener), is anti-inflammatory, moisturising and highly nourishing to the skin promoting healthy and young looking skin.
Avocado extracts are key ingredients in many anti-wrinkle and anti-ageing
creams - Avocado is well known for promoting both healthy skin regeneration and
skin rejuvenation. Avocado has a higher
degree of skin penetration than almost any other oil and effectively promotes
suppleness of the skin - Avocado, as any nutritionist will confirm, is a
complete food in itself.
Sweet Almond is so gentle and anti-inflammatory that it is widely used to treat nappy rash in babies, sunburn and relieves itchy skin caused by conditions such as dermatitis.
I hope you can see why we have combined these two wonderful, therapeutic grade oils to make the base for the Village Barber Shaving Oil but it doesn't end there. To the wonderful combination of Virgin Sweet Almond and unrefined, extra virgin Avocado we have added a synergistic blend of 14 therapeutic grade essential oils.
The synergistic blend
of the carefully selected 14 therapeutic grade essential oils (individual oils used can be seen on the ingredients page of this website and, of course, on the labelled product itself) brings together a wide range of well
known therapeutic properties inherent in the individual oils - anti-inflammatory,
anti-irritant, anti-bacterial, skin regenerating, skin balancing, cleansing,
moisturising, sebum balancing, anaesthetic and antiseptic - and it smells
So, whilst shaving with chip pan fat will give razor glide, it is hoped that you will agree that over 60 years of combined experience in the worlds of professional Barbering and Clinical Aromatherapy have produced two products that will deliver the perfect shave and so very much more!”
Copyright - Village Barber Shaving Products 2012
The Myth Behind Shaving Foams & Gels October 31 2012, 2 Comments
Over the years I have been repeatedly asked for my opinion on the use of canned foams and gels when it comes to shaving. These 'time-saving' products may do just that - save you time, however, with the best will in the world, they will not give you a great shave - and here's my professional opinion why.
The modern man, who is uneducated when it comes to shaving (and that accounts for the vast majority - after all, who teaches a guy how to shave?!) has simply become accustomed to seeing 'white stuff' squirted directly from a can on his face whilst shaving. After all, that's what all the adverts depict, right?
Sadly, they neither know nor understand the underlying reasons behind exactly why they are using it. "To soften the beard" they say. Oh really? So exactly what part does a canned foam or gel play in 'softening the beard' when it is on the face for only a matter of seconds before being scraped off by the razor?
Indeed, I challenge you to find any canned foam or gel advert that actually demonstrates to the viewers exactly how to apply the foam or gel. The advert starts by showing the guy already 'lathered up' and, by doing so, the producers of the advert miss out the most important part of the shave - the appropriate preparation of the beard!
Perhaps a little explanation of the 'science' behind 'the white stuff' may help some to understand how canned foam came about and therefore why it is used.
Too Busy to Shave
Unfortunately, the modern and at times frantic pace of life coupled with men's ignorance when it comes to shaving, has led shaving companies who mass produce these foams and gels, to appeal to those who want to get 'the dastardly deed' out of the way as quickly as possible.
Simply put, as your face is on show to all and sundry together with the fact that you also have to live with the consequences of your shaving habits, it is in your best interest to learn how best to look after it - and that means learning how to shave correctly using the best products for your skin type as well as the correct technique.
What does 'the white stuff' actually do?
When a traditional barber shaves a guy he should use a quality shaving soap or cream together with a quality shaving brush and very warm water. It is the actual process of applying the soap/cream to the beard using circular motions with the brush and adding the water as needed thereby creating a lather - a process which should take several minutes to undertake as it opens the pores, softens the beard and the heat from the water being continually added relaxes the more than 30 facial muscles - this is what is actually preparing the beard ready for shaving. Canned foams and gels merely give you instant lather without the vital preparation of the beard.
Be honest, if you have ever shaved using canned foam or gel, how long is the 'lather' actually on the face for before you start to shave? Seconds! So frankly, it can say "For Sensitive Skin" a thousand times on the can, but if the foam or gel simply isn't on the beard long enough to do what it's supposed to do - prepare the beard - then you'd be as well squirting it down the plughole for all the good it's doing! The canned stuff was designed by marketeers who simply wished to 'cash in' on the 'too busy to shave correctly' man. And boy, have they cashed in!
Instant foam and gel out of a can also need a propellant to squeeze the stuff out of its container. These propellants tend to dry out the skin rather than help add moisture. Add into the mix also the chemicals, alcohol and parabens usually contained in these products and you have a recipe for red, sore and irritated skin!
Remember then - wet and warm are the two key assets to a great wetshave. Therefore, acquiring and maintaining moisture in the beard throughout the shave is of paramount importance. That will rarely, if ever, be achieved with canned foams and gels!
Warm - Don't Cool Before Shaving! July 11 2012, 0 Comments
Having recently had some discussion with other shaving enthusiasts about the use of menthol in shaving products, it surprised me really the amount of guys who still use such products pre-shave. Here's my take on it:
Menthol. derived from peppermint oil, when used on the skin prompts the thermal receptors to produce a cooling sensation and for this reason it is often used in skin products that must have a cooling action (IE for muscle strain injuries). However, to prepare properly for a good wet shave, you really need to be warming your face, not cooling it, and here's the reason why.
We have over 30 muscles around the head and face area. What happens to a muscle when it is cold? That's right, it contracts and tenses. Hence the reason why all sportsmen and women 'warm up' prior to engaging in their sport - they don't want to strain, pull or even tear a muscle by exercising it cold!
We too want our facial muscles to be warm, thus relaxed and flexible when shaving.
That's why all good barbers use 'hot towels' as part of the preparation stage when shaving. Such hot towels serve to soften the beard, open the pores and, importantly, warm and thus relax the facial muscles prior to shaving.
If you were to then apply a menthol or any other heavily minted product onto the face, it would be counter-productive as you would immediately be 'cooling' the face again!
Is ALL Cooling Wrong?
I am not 'anti-menthol' by any means - minted products have local anesthetic and counter-irritant qualities which, when used correctly and at the right time - IE after shaving - serve to relieve and comfort.
Indeed, the therapeutic effects of menthol include germicidal and tonic effects as well as the fact that it reduces itching and tenderness.
However, it is the local anesthetic action that it produces immediately before the actual shaving process that is the most commonly used reason for utilising its use in shaving products. Whilst this may well have been seen as "beneficial" 50 years ago, the use of natural oils has moved on considerably since then. Therefore, it is basically 'tradition' rather than any well founded science that keeps such products alive.
By the very fact that some would wish to create a 'local anesthetic' effect prior to shaving indicates that they expect to experience some sort of pain as a result of the shaving action - hence the need to 'mask' it. However, when we learn to shave correctly, a close, comfortable experience should be obtained without any pain at all. In fact, if we experience pain at anytime before, during or after shaving, we are doing something wrong. Pain is the brain's mechanism to tell us that something is not as it should be and therefore to stop doing what we're doing. Pain serves to protect us from further damage!
When to Cool
Only after the shave do we want to 'cool' the skin and that's where mildly minted products have a role to play in my opinion. To go from very warm to very cold instantly also has proven benefits to the circulatory system which, in turn, helps replenish the new, young skin cells after shaving. Hence, it is good to always splash your face with cold water immediately after shaving or even wrap a face towel which has been soaking in very cold water around your face! That's the time to cool!
What's the rush?! Learn to shave correctly! May 31 2012, 1 Comment
Iain at The Village Barber has over 30 years experience in professional shaving. Here are some of his tips for a great shave!
Sadly, the correct technique of ‘wet shaving’ is a dying art. Life, it seems, has become just too hectic in modern times to allow men the time necessary to shave properly!
With clever (and somewhat misleading) marketing, we’re led to believe that with the quick squirt from an instant foam can, immediately followed by an almost effortless glide over the beard with the latest ‘best shave ever’ multi-blade razor, we will not only exhibit a face smoother than a baby’s bottom but also be irresistible to women!
The reality however is usually quite different, right lads? Red, sore, irritable skin due largely to incorrect shaving.
The simple truth when it comes to a good, comfortable shave lays in the preparation of the beard before shaving. It’s something that simply should not be rushed. So what if it means getting up five minutes earlier in the morning, you won’t regret it! Remember, your skin is living tissue, treat it as such! A well executed shave serves not only to leave you ‘clean shaven’ but is tantamount to a beauty treatment as you exfoliate the dead skin cells from your face.
The first essentials to a perfect shave are water and warmth. When hair absorbs hot water it becomes softer and easier to cut and with warmth the skin and facial muscles become relaxed, making shaving so much easier. Thus the best time to shave is after a bath or shower. Soaking a flannel in hot water and wrapping it around the face for thirty seconds can also achieve a similar effect.
Next, massage a good quality shaving oil into the beard with your fingers. This will not only help soften the beard but also hydrates and feeds the skin leading to a much smoother, irritation free shave.
If you use a top quality oil, such as my acclaimed Village Barber 100% Pure & Natural shaving oil that I use on my customers, there is no need to use a shaving soap as well. However, if you prefer to be pampered with the full works when you shave, as do my customers when I'm shaving them, you can also use a good quality, glycerine based shaving soap which helps keep the skin and beard warm and wet during the shave. Alcohol based shaving foams and gels have the opposite effect, dispersing moisture and cooling the skin, which can cause irritation whilst shaving.
Always shave with the grain of your beard. If a second shave is required, move the blade sideways across the growth. Never shave against the grain (unless you’re professionally trained) as this can pull the skin in the wrong direction causing small cuts and ‘grazing’ to the skin and is the most common cause of ‘razor burn’, ingrown hairs and shaving rash. Always finish your shave by rinsing your face with cold water to close the pores and pat the face dry with a soft towel leaving the residue shaving oil to soak into the skin (never harshly rub your face).
Caring for the Skin
As alluded to earlier, a good wet shave exfoliates and cleanses the face, leaving smooth new skin cells. Newly exfoliated skin needs to be protected from the elements, so it is important that men use a good quality aftershave balm such as my Premium 100% paraben-free Village Barber Aftershave Balm which will feed, protect and moisturize the skin. Never apply an alcohol based product such as cologne onto your newly shaved face as this will have the complete opposite effect and disperse any remaining moisture and almost certainly inflame the skin - as well as sting! If you want to smell great with your favourite cologne, apply it to what is known in the trade as the ‘hot spots’, the area behind the earlobes and on the sides of the neck. By doing this, you'll still smell great but you won't have damaged your skin in the process!
**Why not view Iain's shaving tutorial videos on the homepage and really get the Professional's touch when shaving!
Questions? Email Iain at: email@example.com
What Should You Expect from a ‘traditional’ Barbershop Shave? May 31 2012, 0 Comments
Village Barber At Work!
The very least that any customer who pays good money for a wet shave should expect is to be attended to by a professionally trained and competent barber who has sufficient expertise and experience to carry out a comfortable, safe and ultimately relaxing procedure.
When I shave my customers,
particularly if it’s their first visit, I take time to help relax them by
talking to them about correct shaving technique, something that they can take away from the experience and put into practice at home when they shave.
It’s a simple fact that, in my experience, the vast majority of gents do not shave correctly. This is due to two main reasons:
1/ who teaches a guy how to shave? Most are ‘self-taught’.
2/ They take the lead from adverts which are extremely misleading, unattainable and just plain wrong!
In short, I want my customers to leave my shop feeling relaxed, pampered and already looking forward to returning for their next shave. I notice with interest that many barbers in the USA charge similar prices for their shaving service as they do for haircutting. This is not generally the case in the UK and certainly not for me. I charge over double the price of a ‘standard’ cut for one of my shaves. Yes, there are additional costs involved for me (Shave takes around 40 minutes, hot towel steriliser, shaving oil, soap/cream, balm, etc) but the first and foremost reason I charge what I do for one of my shaves is the simple fact that customers are primarily paying for my expertise!
To read the entire blog as published on sharpologist.com click here http://sharpologist.com/2012/02/how-safe-is-your-face-from-the-barber-part-3-a-uk-view.html
End result equals 2 happy faces!!
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