Grandpa’s shave was simpler than yours – a razor with one blade, a quality brush, and some long-lasting shave soap. Recently things got a bit weird with all of the vibrating razors and space-like shaving goo, but thankfully we’ve gotten back to the basics. The art of shaving has made a full comeback, and now traditional shaving kits are one of the most popular (and coolest) gifts you can give a guy.
Learning the art of shaving can be intimidating. Even more intimidating if their brand new kit is filled with a bunch of random tools and creams that they don’t know how to use. If you’re going to gift a shaving kit, be nice and only include what they need. Here are the four things a quality shaving kit should include.
Double Edge Razor
A double edge razor is the first tool a serious shaver needs. They’ve regained popularity because with a little practice, you can get a far superior shave compared to cartridge razors. There’s also a huge reduction in irritation and ingrown hairs since there’s only one blade instead four or five. Double edge razors are also called safety razors because they come with a metal bar that helps prevent serious cuts.
They’re a great investment because after you spend a little bit of money on a solid handle, you’ll only have to replace the blades. And the blades are cheap. You can either get 8 cartridge replacements for $25, or 100 double edge razor blades for $7.50. A third of the price, four times the razors, and a much better shave. You can get a really cool old school handle from eBay for a few bucks to complete the vintage shaving experience. Here are a few our new-school favorites for the budding DE shaver:
A shaving brush is a key part of shaving like a gentlemen. A good brush will do four things for your shave that you can’t do with your hands:
- 1. Create a warm and rich lather
- 2. Softens and lift facial hair
- 3. Maintain the right amount of warm water to the skin to open pores and lubricate skin
- 4. Gently exfoliates the surface of the skin to get rid of dead cells.
You have a few different options. On the lower end are boar bristle brushes which are relatively course, making them less comfortable on the skin but very good at lathering soaps since they can agitate the surface so easily. You can get a decent boar bristle brush for less than $10. Heres’ one.
Moving up the ladder, you have horsehair brushes which are finer than boar, then you have synthetic brushes made specifically for shaving. They’re PETA-approved, vegan, and you need about half the amount of cream or soap compared to an animal hair brush. Here’s a great synthetic.
At the top of the shaving brush totem pole are badger brushes. Super soft and feathery, stands your hairs up like a boss and lasts for a really long time. The quality and softness generally goes up with the price, but you can get an amazing pure badger brush for $35 that will last for 3-5 years. Here’s a good one.
It’s definitely worth the investment. Ain’t nothing better than a warm lather from a nice brush.
High Quality Shaving Cream or Soap
Many men who are still cartridge shavers use cream out of a can. Frankly, that stuff is gross and should be avoided at all costs. It clogs your pores, gives no lubrication, and irritates your skin with synthetic perfumes, artificial colors, dyes, preservatives…you get it. Creams and soaps are the only way you’ll get a warm lather that prepares your face for a single blade shave.
Shaving creams are similar to soaps in terms of results, but creams require less work to generate a lather. Look for a product with natural oils and natural essential oils that sooth the skin like this one. Creams with aloe vera also help with sensitive skin. Here are a few of the top-rated shaving creams available.
Shaving soaps are old school cool. Quality soaps have high levels of fat (30 to 50 percent) and glycerin. Glycerin is important because it locks in water and hydrates the skin while softening the beard and leaving the skin smooth and moisturized. Watch out for inexpensive products which are often bath or shower soaps in disguise, leaving skin dry and irritated. One of our favorites is Taylor of Old Bond Street.
Shaving soaps will last longer than creams, but a good lather will be hard to tell the difference between the two. Try both and see what you like, just please stay away from the foams and multi-colored gels.
People tend to gift shaving kits as if the person is already a shaving artist. This is almost never the case — nicks and cuts will be inevitable. To make the transition easier and save his skin, be thoughtful and include a styptic pencil as part of the shaving kit.
Styptic pencils contain astringent that stops the blood flow and seals nicks and cuts. They’re small, easy to use, and play an important role in helping you learn the shaving technique. It’s like customer support that comes with a new service. If you mess up, or have a problem, that styptic pencil will patch up your mistake.
The glyder pencil is awesome because it has a chapstick like applicator that keeps everything neat and fun. Instead of dealing with the full-length clear tube that has been around forever, Glyder upgrades things by sticking it into an easy cap. It’s a super affordable gift that will actually get used. We can almost guarantee that no one else will think to get him a styptic pencil.
Creating the Gift Package
The whole reason you gift a shaving kit is so that he is encouraged to level up his shaving experience, so why not make it fun? Include a cool ceramic mug and send him a beard map like this so he can learn how his hair grows to get the best shave possible. Include these key parts and you’ve got a gift that he’ll remember for a long time.