Is It Time To De-beard?
Whether you’re completely clean-shaven, sport sexy stubble, or have a full-blown beard, a razor remains an essential item in bathroom cabinets of all well-groomed men. But there’s something to be learnt from the resurgence of big-bodied facial hair that even die-hard smooth-faced fans can take on board. The nod to rugged manliness, strong, powerful jawlines and lumberjack shirts, the signs of being a ‘real man’, a ‘mans man’, yet it needn’t be so cliché.
These ideas hark back to a more basic time, where there was an emphasis on skilled labour, trade and craftsmanship. Carpenters, dentists and metalworkers held the most revered jobs. With the rise of the metrosexual male, more equality in the workplace and at home, more office jobs and less physical skills, it’s no wonder men want to reassert themselves. However times have changed and continue to evolve. We live in a society where it’s widely accepted and more so expected for men to look good. City jobs, working lunches, client entertainment, you’ve simply got to look the part. That’s not to say men are no longer men, as with success comes power. And there’s not much that’s more attractive.So while men remembered their roots, those that could grew beards. Dividing opinion and winning over the masses, they became a trend that caught on. But after three or four years of being in fashion, have beards reached tipping point?
Going For The Chop
We’re huge beard fans but many men are going for the chop, perhaps as the weather gets warmer, perhaps just because everyone’s now got one. It’s a sentiment reflected in the collections at London Fashion Week and among fashion-savvy, now less-hairy celebs such as David Beckham and Captain America’s Chris Evans. If you’re considering downsizing or going cold turkey (literally), take what the beard has taught you and introduce it to your shaving regime. Ditch the disposable or battery operated plastic razor that’s been gathering dust and opt for a handcrafted option that’s built to last. Think quality, great workmanship and a little luxury. Your face and ‘man-tra’ will thank you for it. We particularly love ‘The Icon’ shaving set from Thomas Clipper, which includes a limited edition razor, an exfoliating cotton flannel and a bottle of anti-inflammatory Frankincense shave oil. The razor features a weighty solid steel handle – the quality is instantly apparent, even before you’ve picked it up. We caught up with Matt Brown, Founder of Thomas Clipper, who shared his five steps to a perfect shave:
Five Steps to the Perfect Shave
STEP 1 – PREPARE
Load your blade and put your razor and brush in the sink; fill it up with piping hot water. Wet your flannel and hold it to your face to really get your skin warmed up, then rub to exfoliate. NB: always shower before you shave as the hot shower will give your face longer to prep for the upcoming de-bearding.
STEP 2 – OIL
A drop or two is all you need; the key is to only use a little. It’s to add a very thin base of lubrication.
STEP 3 – BRUSH UP
Roll the tip of your wet brush on your shaving soap using a circular motion. This will produce lather after 5-10 seconds. Apply to your face gently, but with enough pressure to lift up your stubble.
STEP 4 – SHAVE
Shave down from your sideburns in the direction of least resistance. This is called shaving ‘with the grain’ and makes for a far more comfortable shave, while reducing the chances of razor rash. Take short, gentle strokes – let the razor do the hard work. After every stroke or two, put the blade back into the water to clean and wet it.
STEP 5 – WIND DOWN
After you’re thoroughly de-stubbled, splash some cold water on your face to get rid of the soap, close up your pores, and re-invigorate you for the day ahead. End with a drop or two of shave oil – to help keep moisture in. Recommended for those with normal or dry skin – if yours is already a little oily give this step a miss and replace with your moisturiser of choice.