Hello WSP readers! My name is Sam, I’m the new social media intern here at Wet Shaving Products. In this new weekly column I’m going to bring you along on my personal journey through the world of wet shaving. Until I started here, I knew almost nothing about wet shaving - my usual go-to is a cheap disposable razor and whatever else I have around. I’m not really a club guy, or a fashionable guy, I don’t know “my fragrance” or “my season”. I’d say I’m pragmatic, and maybe just a bit scruffy. So this will be a learning experience for me and you! I want to take you through my wet shaving experiences - I’ve never used most of these products before - so you can see what they do for you from someone just starting out.
My shaving kit at home has been going through something of an identity crisis. My grooming gear is split between two camps. On one side, I have a bag of single use disposable razors, a red & black can of shaving cream, and a small bottle of some scented aftershave lotion. All bought for under $10 at the supermarket. On the other side, a new class of shaving products - considered lost to a bygone era or reserved for the fanciest of lads. I was given a Synthetic Silvertip Brush, Double-Edged Safety Razor, Tobacco Shaving Cream (not in a can), unscented Shave Oil, and a Black Amber Vanille Aftershave Tonic Splash.
Most of these items are familiar household items, but I was struck when I first saw “Shave Oil” and “Tonic Splash”. I’d never heard of these products before, and asked Lee (the wizard of WSP) what they are for. He responded that Shave Oil is applied before the shave and protects & moisturizes your face, and that the Tonic Splash refreshes your face post shave. He told me to take them home and try them out for myself. And, so I did.
I uncapped the bottle of Unscented Shave Oil and splashed a few drops into my palm. I was surprised by the consistency of it - less viscous than other oils and slightly thinner than most lotions. Normally I wouldn’t put anything on my skin before a shave besides a bit of soap & hot water (and I typically avoid any kind of oily face cream to keep from breaking out) but spreading this oil on my hands I found it didn’t leave any grease or residue. Rubbing it into my cheeks left no slickness on my hands or face, and it seemed to soak into the skin quickly. It acted as a moisturizer which allowed for a smoother shave and prevented irritation.
I lathered up my brush and applied a modest layer of foamy “Tobacco” shave cream to my cheeks and neck. It’s cool and airy, with a more floral scent than you might assume- the primary scents are tobacco leaf and flower. I used the Double Edge Safety Razor, designed in-house but with replaceable razors (some assembly required). The combination of the Shave Oil and the cream left my skin moisturized and full, and resulted in one of the closest shaves I’ve ever given myself with no bumps or nicks.
For those of you wondering how to cap off a good shave without applying that old lotion, fret not - that’s where the Tonic Splash comes in. I picked out Black Amber Vanille - a sweet, musky scent that is fast becoming one of my favorites here. I splashed a few drops into my palms and patted them onto my cheeks & neck. Immediately I felt a quick tingle in my cheeks, followed by a kind of coolness. This sensation subsided after a few seconds, leaving my skin toned and fragrant all day. I hadn’t been sure what to expect - my experience with aftershaves and/or fragrances had primarily been either aftershave lotion or Axe, so I was surprised to find how effective the tonic was at “finishing” my skin and leaving me with a fragrance that was pleasant but not overpowering or tacky. Again where my old aftershave cologne or lotion might have just sufficed, the tonic excelled.
You might be asking yourself what the point of these items are- neither of them will singularly replace the function of your aftershave lotion/cologne, in fact I myself might have argued on behalf of the lotion up until recently. The idea of these products is not, in fact to streamline the process, but to elevate and refine it. Wet Shaving is only a “lost art” due to the premium we’ve put on convenience at the expense of care and quality. The process itself is simple, and doesn’t take much more time than your basic canned goo shave, but you will notice a difference in how you feel when you’re done. It feels a little more like a ritual, like something to help you center yourself and prepare for the world outside - something more meaningful than just facial hair maintenance.