One of the interesting things about being in the wholesale men’s grooming business is the different types of people you come across. I wanted to share with you one 27 year old’s journey from canned foam and a Mach 3 to shaving soap, badger brush, and a double edge razor.
I started shaving right before my senior year of high school and almost from the very beginning, hated the process. The smell of canned shaving cream was nauseating and I started to get in-grown hairs on my neck around my Adam’s apple the more frequently I shaved. I had always thought that my distaste for shaving was a shared experience among all men and that there weren’t any solutions out there. It wasn’t until my freshmen year of college that my understanding of shaving would shift. I was strolling down the men’s grooming isle at a local drug store when by pure serendipity, I happened upon a box of Burma Shave shaving soap. “Shaving soap?” I remember thinking. All I knew was shaving cream. The price was low enough to experiment with so I bought a box and went home to try it out.
Not having a brush (or even knowing that I was supposed to use a brush), I rubbed the shaving soap together in my hands and produced something distantly related to a lather to apply to my face. Ten minutes later, I had a much closer shave than I was accustomed to and I didn’t smell like cheap cologne the way a can of Colgate shaving cream had. I decided to do a bit more research online and that’s when things really got interesting.
Googling “shaving soap” introduced me to so many soap and shaving cream options that I needed some type of guidance on how to navigate the various products in the market. More Google searches led me to Shave My Face’s forum, which broadened my horizons even more. Within about six months, I was shaving with Truefitt & Hill’s shaving soap, a Merkur HD with Derby blades, and a badger shaving brush I had gotten on clearance from a website that caters to wet shavers.
As I reflect on my transition and the years that have transpired, one thing is clear: it would have been impossible to learn about the world of wet shaving if the internet hadn’t existed. Shaving with a brush was something you saw in the movies that either cowboys or wealthy English gentleman did, which means that for all intensive purposes that world was unknown and inaccessible to people like me. One’s concept of what’s possible changes when you’re on the internet though when some truck driver from Duluth shows off his English shaving creams on a forum post, and all of a sudden, you realize that anyone can enter this world if they want to. I’m forever thankful for that fateful trip to the drug store and my online research, because without them I’d probably still have ingrown hairs and smell like my grandfather.