Grooming and personal style has always been important to me, I truly believe you only feel as good as you look. Any style savvy gent knows intuitively that grooming is just an extension of style and fashion sadly, most men drop the ball here.
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They spend hundreds on suits and accessories while trying to groom themselves on the cheap. Seeing this “trend” over and over I decided to focus on spreading the virtues of traditional shaving and grooming.
I, like most men my age became hip to the concept of upkeep and grooming in high school, I’m certain it had a lot to do with hormones.
Not only did we want to look appealing to the opposite sex, but also wage battle against acne and body odor. I thought I was on top of my game back then but let’s just say I wish I knew then what it’s taken me years to know now.
Grooming consists of not only how you maintain your outside appearance, but what you put inside your body too. That said, I take supplements daily.
When most folks think Supplements, they imagine capsules and pills which can turn some off. Aloe Vera is wonderful to include in your diet, and a fine example as an often overlooked supplement.
Not only do I use it topically as a moisturizer, but I also mix it with ice water and lemon.
This tonic works wonders for digestion and stomach lining but also strengthens your hair and gives your skin a healthy glow from the inside…and that’s just a few benefits of consuming it!
Pro Tip: Keep a bottle of aloe in your fridge, not only to use in drinks, but also to use as a cool aftershave splash.
Another key practice that a lot of us guys often skip out on due to the hustle and bustle, is showering immediately after a workout or at the very least, washing your face.
When we ignore this step the salt in our sweat does a number on our skin drying it and even aging it.
Another everyday product that I wish I knew of in high school is the Alum Block. This crystal has been used by barbers for thousands of years as a post shave astringent and minor cut sealer, deodorant and even a cure for acne.
It was lost for sometime with the advent of shiny new grooming products that truly cannot compete, good to see it making a comeback, this is a must for every man’s den.
I choose to use natural deodorants and they are great but on heavy workout days even the toughest can fail, so I rub the Alum block on first, then apply my deodorant over it. The results can’t be beat.
That brings us to The Shave. Most men totally get this wrong and it’s not our faults, we were sold a lie. I have given many talks at different events and I always begin by asking, “how many of you think you have sensitive skin?”, 9 out of 10 hands always go up.
This is not natural but comes from years of using “one size fits all” multi blade cartridge razors. Not only do/will they cause razor burn and razor bumps, but they also cost a small fortune to replace. That being the case, we often wait too long before we replace the cartridge adding more harm to the skin.
Granted there are some Dollar Deal Clubs you can join to save a buck, but what’s the point of saving money if the tool is still inferior?
That’s why I made the switch a while back to a traditional Safety Razor and tossed out the plastic toy. A safety Razor is constructed of metal and is an heirloom piece that will last generations. The blades used are double edge and 100 blades will cost you between $9 to $15.
The soap you use is also traditional, comes in a puck or jar and is applied with a shave brush. The goo in the can stuff is loaded with propellants and other junk that really have no business being on your face, not to mention these empty cans, along with the plastic razors only end up in the landfill.
By using a soap puck and brush you not only reduce waste you also prep your skin for a better shave. The natural exfoliation of the brush lifts the hairs and stimulates the skin, then there is the almost massaging effect when building hot lather.
Hot and warm lather is what makes for a relaxing close shave.
Beards are back and a carefully groomed and shaped beard is really where it’s at! But then there’s those dreaded grey hairs! I used Just For Men for a short time until my skin started reacting to the chemicals in it. It was a horrible, oozy experience that I don’t wish on my worst enemy. So for awhile after that I stopped using it, the grey returned. I tried to accept it but really just didn’t dig it. After digging around I found a great all natural beard dye by Grizzly Mountain. It’s henna based but really works. I have tried many natural beard dyes over the years and all have failed until I stumbled upon this one. That said, I use it every couple weeks to maintain my natural color.
Before bed I apply a seaweed based moisturizer by Biotique. It’s meant for use around the eyes but I find it really works miracles when used all over the face. It will even take the red out of a sunburn on your nose. Natural, Ayurvedic and SUPER Moisturizing.
Douglas Smythe is a master perfumer and artisan soap-maker at PhoenixShaving.Com and Co-host of The I’d Lather Be Shaving Morning Show.
Having created his first perfume with his chemistry set at age 9, you could say he was destined for this career. Douglas is also the organizer of the Annual Big Shave West, what can only be described as a traditional shaving carnival held in Pasadena, California for the last 4 years.
His passion for shaving & grooming is well known in the niche and has been a feature lecturer at many a grooming and style conference, Style Con 2017 being the most recent.
Follow Douglas on Instagram: phoenix_shaving