So I piqued your interest in wetshaving…
You’ll be whipping up a lather in no time.
In this month’s print edition of Link, I gave readers just the tip of the brush. Let’s get to the root of it.
In recent years, wetshaving gear has become much easier to find, with two different online retailers shipping out of Toronto. It’s becoming more accessible locally – with House of Knives completely revamping their shop over the last 18 months to carry supplies. Even Shoppers Drug Mart and The Body Shop carry some products.
I asked Brad & Casie Maggard of Maggard Razors what they recommended for first-timers. As explained in Link, Brad didn’t hesitate to extoll the virtues of boar brushes. Casie was a bit more diplomatic.
“There are a lot of different factors when it comes to brushes. But for first time users I recommend getting a quality brush that does not have clipped ends. Doesn’t matter whether it’s boar or badger, just no clipped ends! Clipped ends can make the brush feel scratchy and if it’s a boar brush it will prevent the hairs from breaking in,” he explained.
Badger has three different grades: ‘Pure’, ‘Best’, and ‘Silvertip’. A good silvertip brush can cost upwards of $500. That’s not to say you can’t find one cheaper, but the grading system is vague, and there isn’t an independent body to standardize it.
Boar brushes are, as Brad said, very inexpensive. They must be soaked in warm water for 10-15 minutes before use because they are literally bristles – not hair. They break in over time. My personal favourite is an Omega 10048.
Modern synthetic brushes are just as good as animal based. Synthetics vary in quality – Mühle and Omega are arguably the best brands and easily available online. The brush at The Body Shop is a great brush to start with (hell, I started with one) and there’s always a full bin to buy from.
It’s worth mentioning all shaving brushes must be soaked for at least a minute or so, enough time for you to get yourself toweled off after a shower or brush your teeth.
I put the question to Brad & Casie whether it was better to start with a shaving soap or a shaving cream – both said creams over soaps for newbies.
Shoppers carries a few varieties of Proraso (White, Green, and Red), and The Body Shop’s offering is not bad. House of Knives carries Taylor of Old Bond Street, which has so many scents you could spend days deciding. If you’ve spent time abroad you’ll likely have seen Palmolive’s offering on store shelves– as per the link, it’s available online and it’s fantastic.
So you’ve got the gear, and now you need to use it. Typing out a lathering tutorial is painstakingly difficult. Thankfully this is the internet, and we have Youtube.
Have fun, BCIT!