The Double Edge Razor
On the journey to join the Smooth & Groomed, the first decision you have to make is that of your first double edge safety razor. Although there are many different models available on the market, they can often differ greatly in price and quality. At Smooth & Groomed, our exquisite double edge safety razors have been handpicked specifically for their exceptional usability and craftsmanship. We have tried and tested all our razors in order to provide the fairest feedback and most in-depth knowledge.
When choosing your double edge safety razor it is important that it is suited to your needs. Ultimately, your razor should be weighty, well balanced and comfortable to hold. If you are switching to traditional shaving from a cartridge razor, it is highly beneficial to buy a double edge safety razor that helps you to hone your shaving technique. Therefore the best safety razor for your needs is likely to be simple, refined and easy-to-use – the DE89 range from Edwin Jagger is highly recommended.
The DE89 is defined as a ‘fixed-head’, ‘closed comb’ razor. This means that the razor is fitted with a well-angled safety bar designed to protect your skin from the open blade. Fixed-head razors are designed with a fixed gap between the razor and the safety bar, which will suit all skin types and beard lengths.
The DE89 Razors are available in three different handle designs – ‘Chrome’, ‘Barley Chrome’ & ‘3D Laser Diamond’. The fixed head design on each of the three razors is identical, as is their weight. These extremely well built razors are designed and made in Sheffield, UK, by highly skilled engineers before being hand polished and boxed. My razor of choice is the Barley Chrome DE89 for its subtle and delicately patterned handle. But ultimately, this is a razor that will last you for many years to come so the choice is yours…
The Badger Hair Brush
Badger hair shaving brushes are used to create a rich, creamy lather from the shaving cream or soap. Badger hair is chosen specifically due to its super-absorbent qualities. A brush made from badger hair is able to absorb and retain a large amount of water, which is then infused into the shaving cream or soap creating a rich and velvety lather.
The other main benefit of a badger hair shaving brush is it’s gentle texture. When the badger hair is used on the face in applying the shaving soap, it softly cleanses the skin. Its bristles gently exfoliate the skin too, lifting dead skin and clearing the pores. A clean and soapy face is then the perfect cutting area over which the sharp double edge razor blade can pass.
Badger hair is graded into four different levels of quality: Pure Badger Hair, Best Badger Hair, Super Badger Hair and Silver-Tip Badger hair. The more water a brush can retain, and the softer the hairs, the better the shave will be. All the Edwin Jagger shaving brushes we stock are chosen for the density of the badger hair. The more hair, the more water retention, and therefore better the shave.
The Pure Badger Hair brush has a greyish tint to the hair. It’s hairs are slightly firmer than the other brushes but its water retention is still very high so will result in a quality shave. Best Badger Hair has a mix of lighter shades of brown and grey. It produces superb quality lather and is the most popular brush for beginners to DE shaving. Super Badger Hair is longer and softer than best badger hair and is untrimmed so extends to its natural pure white tip. Finally, silver tip badger hair is the finest and rarest shaving brush money can buy. Its finely graded hairs are hand sorted and carefully filled to create an ultra soft shaving brush that will last for decades.
Oils, Soaps & Creams
The key to a barber-quality shave is the shaving method or process. At every step of the method, the Smooth & Groomed man has a choice of many different shaving oils, soaps, creams and milks at his disposal. Without them, slicing though thick facial hair would be a very difficult task, as facial hair can be as tough as copper wire of a similar thickness.
Oils, Soaps, Creams are designed to create a protective cushion between your skin and your razor, allowing the razor to glide over the skin, cutting the hair, without catching or causing irritation. They also soften the stubble in the pre-shave, whereas milks help to keep skin hydrated after the shave.
Oil is predominantly used as a pre-shave, the first line of defence against the sharp edge of the blade. When the face is wet and your pores are opened from the shower or the hot towel, apply the pre-shave oil or lotion. The oil works by creating a smooth, frictionless surface for the razor to glide on. Lotion on the other hand works to raise the hairs away from the skin for a closer shave.
During the shave itself, you have a choice to lather up with shaving cream or shaving soap. Shaving cream is the more popular method as it creates a thicker, creamier lather when used with a little water. With shaving cream you may not even need a brush, but it is highly recommended to use one. Shaving soap, on the other hand creates a lighter, silkier lather, which is better for those who want to see the area they’re shaving. The other main benefit of shaving soap is it lasts much longer than its cream counterparts. For beginners, I would always recommend cream due to the ease by which you can create a thick, quality lather.