This is the introduction to a three part series on men’s grooming, fragrance, and traditional wet shaving.
As fragrance enthusiasts, we are all interested – to some extent at least – in personal grooming. In addition to the artistry and the magic of the world of perfume, scent has a practical side; for both men and women, fragrances enhance our style, bolster our first impressions, and assists us with tailoring our personal presentation. And as savvy consumers know, perfumes are not the only product that can help us with establishing a more effective and luxurious personal grooming routine.
For hundreds of years, soaps, powders, and other ancillary products have been scented with quality fragrances. Personal grooming and fragrance are intimately related, and fragrance companies such as Penhaligon’s, Creed, Byredo, and so forth, are offering wonderful grooming products that are scented to perfection and will often perform far better than drugstore brands. Men are able to choose from their selection of fine soaps and similar products, but niche brands offer another kind of product that is often overlooked.
A gentleman shaves daily, or so many of us have been told. For many men, quality shaving products are as essential as some women might find makeup. Unfortunately, though shaving is an important personal and professional grooming ritual, many men have not been taught how to evaluate the quality of their shaving routine. I have had the same experience. Thankfully this is not difficult to remedy. Just as magical fragrances can be found by doing research on the best of the best, the same is true with shaving products. And if you are the type of man who demands quality in his fragrances, why not do the same for your shaving routine? After all, your face and the quality of your shave is at least as important an aspect of presentation as scent.
Years ago I began shaving with a disposable cartridge razor and shaving gel. It got the job done, but not well. Irritation, redness and dry skin were common as I found plastic razors and cheap shaving gel to be insufficient for providing a close and comfortable shave. I began researching for alternatives and came across internet forums devoted to a process called traditional wet shaving. This is similar to using a disposable razor, but instead the concept requires the use of a proper safety or straight razor combined with a quality shaving cream or soap that is slowly built into a thick lather using a shaving brush. Long story short, if you haven’t yet tried traditional wet shaving, do it. It works, and it is certainly much better than the alternatives.
If you are already a traditional wet shaver, well done! For those who have not yet made the switch, you can still learn about a grooming routine that offers as significant an improvement as switching from cheap and repulsively synthetic fragrances to the world of niche perfumery. To learn more, just do some reading – there are plenty of introductory articles that are available online. DamnFineShave is one great shaving forum, but there are a few others.
Many people who are attracted by the art of perfume are also conscious of personal image, hygiene, and style. Attention to one’s grooming routine, and in particular one’s shaving routine, is one way that gentlemen are able to express their sense of style. Fortunately for us, fragrance companies and other niche brands produce excellent products. My next posts in this series will showcase some of these products in more detail. For now, stay tuned!