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You wake up, slap some white muck from a spray can on your chops and scrape away your stubble with a throwaway plastic razor. Then you squeeze some fluorescent green goop out of a tube and scrub it all over your body, even washing your hair with it. Does this sound your usual routine in the bathroom? Let’s hope not, but for too many guys the quick fix shave and wash has a steely grip on their grooming habits.

Convenience and speed, an instantly gratifying way to get yourself looking and smelling fresh is what we’re sold in those cringeworthy TV ads. Ignore the propaganda. The reality is chemical-laden foams, creams and gels along with toxic plastics that end up in the trash and damage the environment.

The truth is men have been keeping themselves impeccably groomed for centuries before all these newfangled five-blade cartridge razors and micro particle shower gels were invented. You think you would be here right now if your grandpa hadn’t been looking dapper when he made eyes at your grandma from across the ballroom dance floor?

Don’t buy into this new-age grooming, go back to basics with an old-fashioned grooming routine that has stood the test of time. You’ll be tipping your hat to the generations of a by-gone era, gentlemen who recognized the necessity of a proper grooming routine and didn’t skirt around the edges.

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Scott Feldstein ‘Hot Lather’ CC2.0 via Flickr

Brush Up For a Shave

Ditch the spray can shave cream and add a classic touch to your shaving ritual with a trusty shave brush and shave mug to mix up a lather in. Warm water in the mug, wet and soften the brush for a minute, then whisk up a thick lather with a natural shave bar. This is how the old guys did it. Using a shaving brush to get that soapy lather on your disheveled mug will actually help to lift hair off of your face and away from the root. This means when it comes to shaving you can get close and you won’t feel any tugging at your skin.

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Joe Haupt ‘Vintage Gillette Aristocrat’ CC2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Two Blades are Enough

Who needs multiple blades on a razor? Not you sir. Two is plenty, and the double edge safety razor will do a fine job a stripping that unruly beard from your face. One of these razors can last you a  lifetime, all you need to do is swap out the stainless steel razor blade before a shave. These blades are easily recyclable unlike their modern plastic and metal cartridge counterparts. Double edge blades are cheaper too, so in the long run you’ll actually save yourself a bunch of cash. It might take a bit of practice to get the knack of shaving with a safety razor, but once you’ve got it down you’ll be slicing off those whiskers like a real man.

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Tatlin ‘Piece of Soap’ CC0 via Pixabay

All You Need is Soap

Showers gels and creams, body wash, face wash, antibacterial hand wash, this depressing list goes on. Scrap the lot of them. All you really need is a decent bar of natural soap. You can wash your hands with it, your face, your entire body including your pongy feet. It will do a fine job of making you smell fresh and getting your skin clean. You’ll also be saving your skin from all the unnecessary chemicals and detergents that most modern gels and creams contain. Soap made the old fashioned way uses the cold process method, which keeps all that skin moisturizing glycerin locked in.

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Tanya Dobraya ‘Dali’ CC0 via Pixabay

Control That Beard

Got a big bushy beard? An unruly handlebar ‘tache? Don’t let it get out of hand. Bring your bristles under the whip with some beard oil or balm. Natural oils have been used since antiquity to stop facial hair becoming brittle, to relieve itching and add moisture. Almond oil, grape seed oil and jojoba oil were all favorites with the proud beard wearers of yesteryear. Now there are a whole bunch of specially formulated natural beard oils and balms that will help nourish and soften your hairy face, along with adding some style to it. How do you think Dalí managed such gravity defying twists in his signature mustache? Try Sam’s Natural for a quality hand blended beard oil.

Micky Bazaldua ‘Albu Ghrar’ CC0 via Wikimedia Commons

Make Good Your Mane

That mop atop your head can give off a pungent whiff if you don’t give it a wash every once in a while. Your grandpa might not have any hair left now, but when he did have locks to wash he wouldn’t have used the modern stuff full of sulphates and phthalates. What are phthalates you ask? It’s a group of chemicals, often used to soften plastics like vinyl flooring and also to add long-lasting fragrance to shampoo. Your hair doesn’t need these. While washing hair with things like rosemary, vinegar, egg yolks and rum have fallen out of fashion, some great all-natural shampoos and conditioners now exist to bring washing hair back to its roots. You can’t go wrong with all-natural Yarok Shampoo, packed with plant oils like sea buckthorn and cedar, and Yarok Conditioner, with macadamia nut oil and the earthy aroma of natural vetiver.

References:

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/20/style/safety-razors-regain-popularity-for-men.html?_r=0

http://www.gentlemansgazette.com/double-edge-razor-guide-de/

http://sharpologist.com/2014/04/shaving-mugs-scuttles.html

http://www.shaving101.com/index.php/education/shaving-brush-basics/142-ode-to-a-shaving-brush.html

http://beardoilrecipes.com/what-is-beard-oil-for

http://ourheritageofhealth.com/victorian-shampoo-alternatives/

http://www.fda.gov/Cosmetics/ProductsIngredients/Ingredients/ucm128250.htm

Featured image: ArtsyBee ‘Vintage Grooming’ CC0 via Pixabay

Join the conversation! 1 Comment

  1. Regular exercise is also important. Cardio three to four times a week and weights should do the job. You’ll look better and clothes hang better too. Oh, and good posture is everything too.

    Reply

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About Jack Taylor

Jack Taylor’s stories have been printed in The Yak and KuBan, and published online at SurfSection, Deus Ex Machina, Drift Surfing and Drifting Thru. When not writing he’s out catching waves or planning his next overseas adventure. Follow him @byJackTaylor

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