Whether it’s camping, fishing, backpacking, or any other activity, us men love spending time in the outdoors, enjoying nature to its fullest while being secluded.
One reccuring concern however for many of us who spend more than a day or two outdoors, is how to handle shaving.
There are two issues regarding shaving outdoors :
1. While many guys just settle for growing a temporary beard, others like myself who suffer from sensitive skin or specific facial hair types, find that a beard irritates their skin, followed by their moods.
2. Shaving outdoors is usually an experience that resembles a prison shave. For classic wet shave enthusiasts such as myself, this is quite depressing.
Luckily, I found that with pre-planning and some creativity, a classic wet shave in the outdoors is possible. In fact, I noticed that after implementing these methods, shaving in the outdoors turned into something I look forward to, rather than dread, as it has a rewarding and even spiritual feel to it.
A quality washbag provides room for all my wet shaving necessities, while maintaining one of the most important factors in camping… keeping things minimal. My favorite is The Bluebeards Revenge washbag as it was made with shavers in mind and is also extremely durable. It contains a special room for items like my shaving brush (which helps keep it undamaged), shaving cream, razor, and plenty of room for other items to put inside its zipped compartments, as well as a hanging hook and a detachable mirror.
Items I Put In The Washbag (Shaving Related):
- Merkur 42 Nickel “904 Replica”Double Edge Razor
- Edwin Jagger Best Badger Brush
- Truefitt & Hill Authentic Ultimate Comfort Shaving Cream Bowl
- Styptic Pencils (in the case of cuts and nicks).
- Mirror (comes with the washbag)
Why I Chose An Unscented Shaving Cream
Since you’re in the outdoors, it is most recommended that you go with an unscented shaving cream, as the ones with fragrance could attract annoying bugs, not to mention bears or other wildlife. Additionally, unscented shaving creams are much more forgiving on sensitive skin, and prevent annoying burns and bumps, which trust me, you do not want to experience during your time outdoors. I chose to go with Truefitt & Hill Authentic Ultimate Comfort Shaving Bowl because not only is it fragrant free, it has enough moisturizing capabilities to enable me to skip the use of an after shave, while providing excellent skin protection.
Shaving Outdoors, How It’s Done:
1. Begin the process by warming water using a water boiling pot over the campfire, or even a grill.
2. Take a washcloth and dampen it in the warm water, then simply let it rest on my face for about 1-2 minutes (be careful not to let the water get too hot)
3. Start lathering using your choice of shaving bowl or mug. I actually love using the same pot I used for warming water, as it tends to provide a uniquely effective lather.
4. With a mirror in one hand, you can begin to lather up your face with your favorite shaving brush. Take this time to get used to using the handheld mirror before moving on to the next stage. I personally prefer to hang the washbag with the mirror on a branch in front of me, as it allows me to have the other hand free to use various skin stretching techniques for a better shave.
Tip: If for some reason you forgot to bring a mirror, you can always use a vehicle’s side mirror as a last resort.
5. Apply your favorite razor using the same techniques you would at home.
6. Rinse off your face using cold water in order to close your pores, then rinse off your razor and clean your brush before putting it all back.
That’s all there is to it! Remember, none of this is set in stone. Feel free to alter things in order to address your own shaving needs.
Do you shave outdoors?, if so, how do you go about it? Leave a comment below
Philip Morgan, from the UK, asks:
“I am thinking of starting to use a DE razor after a lifetime of overpriced Gillettes and not very good Azors. However, I am utterly bewildered by the choices on offer, from pre-shaves to post-shave products, especially brushes, razors, and blades. Re the razor I would like one razor, instead of several different razors for different levels of “aggression”. I have a beard that is quite tough in places, and currently have to shave against the grain to get a decent result – shaving with the grain leaves my face only half shaved. Any advice you can give me across the whole board of shaving products would be greatly appreciated.”
Thank you very much for your question! As wet shaving becomes ever more popular the number of choices and options grows exponentially! Confusion is easy, and I hope to help with that. Regarding your razor choice, I highly suggest going with the Merkur Progress. It is one of the most popular adjustable razors on the market right now, and is well loved by anyone that I’ve talked to that has used it. Another thing that will greatly affect this end of your shave is the blade. Buying a blade sampler is a very good way to find out which blade works best for your skin and hair type.
Regarding a brush go with a badger hair brush around 20mm in diameter. This will give you the all around best general application brush that you can use for now, and you can choose the grade of hair (Pure, Best, Finest, Silver tip) that suits your budget.
Any of the other products are really kind of up to you. Many of the top brands have complete lines of products that go from pre-shave to post-shave with everything in between. My suggestion is to go with a well known brand such as Bluebeard’s Revenge, Art of Shaving, Geo. F. Trumper’s, Taylor of Old Bond Street, Truefitt & Hill, Proraso, Speick or another of many numerous others and pick the scent that you like the best. This will give you great products to use and in a scent that you will enjoy!
Do you have any burning questions you would like ask our wet shaving expert Aaron Wolfenbarger? CLICK HERE TO ASK AARON YOUR QUESTION
The Progress Vulfix 404 “Grosvenor” Mixed Badger and Bristle Brush is a firm favourite amongst wetshavers looking for a bargain brush. The badger/boar bristle mix provides that rare combination to give a stiff backbone, ideal for lathering soaps, yet not at the cost of being too scratchy like a pure bristle brush can be.
The handle itself is substantial and feels very much fit for purpose. It does a fantastic job of whipping up a lather from soap or cream in no time at all. So, at £10.99 this brush is a real bargain – and don’t forget that it will make your order eligible for our free razor blade selection too!
American wet shaving legend Mike Sandoval has described The Bluebeards Revenge ‘Corsair’ Super Badger Shaving Brush as having “an outstanding density and lathering capability packed into a comfortable size format that will appeal to a wide range of wet shavers”.
The lathe turned handle was previously marketed under the name “Buccaneer” and filled with a good quality pure badger hair, making it an affordable luxury.
But the Corsair is knotted with super badger grade hair that Vulfix is well known for using in some of their finest shaving brushes. In addition to the upgraded hair type, the brush is also loaded with around 20 per cent more hair to create a knot that has a stiffer feeling and more density for water retention and lathering capability.
Mike, who runs leading shaving blog Shaving101.com, started off his review by saying: “Vulfix brushes are softer than and not as stiff as other brands, such as Simpsons. They are well made and are well known for their quality and durability, and the Corsair is not an exception to these standards.
”The Corsair is not a firm brush but rather a soft and luxurious brush with a full density that gently massages the face and easily releases the lather on to the skin where you need it rather than holding it in the brush’s core like some overly stiff brushes tend to do,” Mike Sandoval, Shaving101.com
“Unlike the standard Vulfix models, the added badger hair gives it denser feel that is immediately noticeable upon first inspection. The loft of the brush is perfectly uniform in colouring with an attractive three-band colour pattern and a nice shape that is symmetrical and not overly bulbous.
”The handle of the brush is made of a quality faux ivory material and is polished to a nice shine and stamped with the Bluebeards Revenge logo in blue.”
Mike, considered a legend in the wonderful world of wet shaving, tested the Corsair on both shaving creams and hard shaving soaps and said he “found it to be useful for almost any product”.
“When submerged in water, the brush absorbs an impressive amount of water and infuses it effortlessly with any quality shaving cream to create a rich and voluminous lather,” he explained.
“Despite the softer characteristics of the fine super badger hair, the Corsair easily loads with shaving soaps and is great at producing quality lather directly on the face. The tips of the badger hair feel soft on the skin and combine well with the added backbone of the brush to create an ideal balance of density and comfort, which is heavily favoured by many experienced wet shavers.
”The Corsair is not a firm brush but rather a soft and luxurious brush with a full density that gently massages the face and easily releases the lather on to the skin where you need it rather than holding it in the brush’s core like some overly stiff brushes tend to do.”
Mike concluded his review by describing the Corsair as a “well made piece”, adding it is “filled with quality super badger hair”.
You can read the full review by clicking here.
As mentioned previously I don’t see myself as a wet-shaving expert. But like anyone learning a new skill or way of doing something I did make mistakes and learn from them. So here are simply some pointers which I found worked for me. Naturally, and you’ll see this said on all the shaving sites and forums, your-mileage-may-vary. What worked for me might not work for you, just try things out and see for yourself.
Don’t be stingy with your soap or cream. Particularly at the beginning I found it’s better to have leftover lather than poor quality lather through not using enough cream or soap. So keep swirling your brush on the soap for a full thirty seconds, try a dollop of cream larger than the recommended “almond-sized” amount. If using a stick of soap be generous as you rub it over your stubble, go against the grain so your bristles pick-up a good layer. You can always scale it back afterwards.
Face-lathering is my preferred method of generating a good lather. I tried bowl-lathering and found I got airy, light lather that disappeared inside the brush and had to be squeezed out to be of any use. Swirling my brush on the soap or putting a dollop of cream inside the brush and then lathering directly to my face gave me better, faster and more consistent results.
When working out which blade works best for you try the same blade in different razors. I found this out when testing Crystal-brand blades. In my Lord razor with its Merkur-style head the blade was just average; decent results but not particularly smooth. In my Gillette slim adjustable razor it turned into the smoothest blade I’d tried up to that point.
Listen to your face. When I first got into shaving with a DE razor I was so pleased that I could shave across and against the grain of my stubble that I became obsessed with trying to get closer and closer. This just lead to redness and irritation. I now know that on my neck and my moustache going against the grain is just not possible. I’ve therefore not experienced that holy grail of wet-shavers, the BBS (babies’-bottom-smooth) shave. But that doesn’t matter, because I can still get close and comfortable shaves just going across the grain in those areas. Besides, I’ll have to do it all over again the next morning, so why risk the irritation.
Try different brushes. I started with boar, but found that a badger brush gave me better results and was more enjoyable. If you’ve only known boar, try badger, and vice-versa. You can always revert back to your original choice.
When I first got my badger brush it went through its initial shedding stage that most new brushes do, but then continued to lose a hair every-other shave. I was soaking it in the sink in the same hot water I used to heat-up my face cloth. I then read that some folk used warm water and only soaked their brushes up-to the base of the bristles, saying that submerging the brush in hot water loosened the glue used to hold the bristles in place. I tried this and found that it worked; my brush has now stopped losing a hair here and a hair there.
Take advice, read the reviews but go with what works for you. Many on the forums say that Feather blades are very sharp but quite a rough blade to use, I happen agree with this. Many also say though that Supermax-super-stainless blades (blue packaging) are very poor blades, I happen to disagree with this. Many say that a lack of bristle density in a brush is a bad thing. I happen to prefer a floppier, less densely-filled brush that splays on my face as I lather. Don’t be put off by what the majority think if what works for you is different.
More articles by Richard Wall
For many people who don’t make the time to prepare when shaving, they may not be getting the most out of the experience. The application of the shave cream to work up a lather is, in fact, an important part of the wet shaving process and should not be taken lightly.
If you put a bit more thought into this, you can perfect your shaving performance and get the close shave you desire. You need to start by looking at your pre-shave preparations.
By working the lather into your face you can offer your face protection from the razor and the lubrication allows the blade to glide smoothly across the skin. Once you get this right, you will also notice your skin looks great as the lather moisturises and exfoliates the skin.
The process should begin with the use of a badger brush as this type of shaving brush can get the best results. Choose the brush carefully for a more luxurious and softer feel on the skin. Also, be sure to select shaving soap that allows for a moister and richer lather. This does three things; moisturises your face, lubricates the beard and softens it, giving it the best preparation for the shaving experience.
If you have followed the advice so far, you will have gathered all you need to make a good lather which is ideal for getting the most out of wet shaving.
The next stage is to run the hot water, getting it as hot as you possibly can. If you have bought a decent badger brush that holds moisture well then you will find that as you turn the brush slowly in the water, it absorbs and holds plenty of water.
After this you need to use the tips of the badger brush to permeate the ends with the shaving soap. A lot of force does not need to be applied here, so only do this until lather starts to form in the soap mug.
There is not much more you need to do now until you begin the shaving process. First, you just need to check that the badger brush is warm and full of water and soap, and that your face is still warm and lubricated. If this is the case you can now apply the soap using just the tips of the brush in an unhurried circular motion on the facial area.
As you start to build the lather, the soap is worked deeper into your skin, achieving what you wanted at the outset: a clean face that is exfoliated and protected from the razor blade. Make sure you work the lather evenly on the face to get the best shaving preparation.
If you follow these tips for a good lather technique you can get a much closer and better shave, plus you reduce the need to spend your hard earned money on an excess of other shaving products. However, a pre-shave moisturiser may still be required and a quality aftershave.
In the last article we explained that badger hair is particularly suited to shaving brushes because of its unique qualities. Also, there are various hair grades to choose from when it comes to badger brushes. Now, we will take a look at some of the classifications of badger hair grades available to buy online.
Pure badger hair
This is the least expensive type of badger hair as it is highly available. Pure badger is great for beginners who wish to experiment and learn their craft before progressing to a higher quality wet shaving brush. These brushes can be bought in a variety of colours and are fairly coarse which makes it useful for lathering the soap.
Best badger hair
This is the next level up for wet shavers with an improved quality over the badger hair above. It has better qualities in terms of water absorption and in creating a shaving lather. There is also a softer feel with best grade hair and you can still get good value for this product.
Super badger hair
This type of badger hair is even softer still and is much finer than the best grade. You will find it feels luxurious when used on the skin. However, you will need to take greater care with a more delicate brush such as this, and it is also more expensive. The performance of this brush is particularly high and this is why it is a popular choice for wet shavers.
Silvertip badger hair
Silvertip is the highest grade of hair and is much harder to come by. This is softer and even more luxurious than super badger hair, while also being the more delicate, requiring special care to be taken in caring for the brush. This brush has a very distinctive quality making it stand out from the rest in terms of price and performance.
As well as the types of badger hair above, you can also decide to go for one of the special grades offered by some of the leading shaving brands.
Handmade badger brushes do have a variation in colour between grades and different makes, but if you need help when choosing, it is always best to speak to the wet shaving experts on what product would be most suitable for your shaving style and the budget you have to work with.
When you are in need of a shaving brush but you are fairly new to wet shaving, it is worth spending some time getting to know the various grades of badger brush which are available. This will help you to understand the benefits of each grade and be able to select the right one for you.
There are quite a number of different types of brush on the market these days, but the most popular is certainly badger hair. The most standard grades of badger brush are pure, best, super, and silvertip. This material is the most suitable for a shaving brush due to its excellent capabilities of absorbing water.
For wet shaving novices there is no industry standard in place to work on, and so this is why it can be confusing to choose between variations of brush offered by the main brands. If you want to find out more it is important to think about shaving brush quality and how to select the right grade of brush for your shaving needs.
In the next article (to be published on Wednesday) we will look at the main types of badger brush and the particular qualities of each. This should hopefully give the newcomer more of an idea when going shopping for a badger brush.
When you go off to university for the first time there are many things filling your head, such as what to take with you, whether you will instantly make friends other students in your halls of residence as well as other important stuff. However, there is one area that is often neglected – and this could be the difference between having total confidence in yourself or not – and that is to ensure you look after your skin and facial hair while you are away.
At home it is easy to get into a shaving routine, but in the day to day life of a student this is an area that can soon be ignored. Many students don’t shave while at uni because of the hassle associated with it, leaving the facial hair to grow and grow until it becomes unbearable. However, by ignoring your skincare needs, this can often result in irritable skin and the onset of acne.
For those who are already affected by acne, devoting the time needed for wet shaving can be very rewarding in the long term as it can help you to maintain healthy skin. Instead of oily skin, which actually encourages the formation of acne, by taking a more careful approach to grooming, you will soon be able to notice the changes, with clear looking skin.
You can also prevent razor burn to your face by shaving in the right way. Once you get on top of things by wet shaving after a shower and gently massaging the lather onto the face using a badger brush, giving your face the moisture it needs, these good habits should yield effective results. Just make sure you leave enough time to shave each day and you will look and feel great for the day ahead.
And if you don’t have an effective razor already, you could invest in an affordable shaving set which will give you all you need for a smooth, close and luxurious shaving experience. These stylish products for real men are becoming ever popular as they offer traditional shaving, but with a modern look. So, be sure to consider your grooming needs when going away to uni, the effort you put into this will certainly be rewarded by how you look and feel after a wet shave.
Mantic, the American wet shaving guru, today answers the final question in The Ask Mantic promotion.
Imran asks: “What’s the best way to clean my badger shaving brush bristles when it becomes clogged with soap?”
Watch Mantic’s answer in the YouTube video below.
Mantic, the veteran of the BadgerAndBlade and ShaveMyFace forums, has now answered questions on variety of wet shaving topics, including slant razor shaving, brush break-in, passes, runny lather, grain shaving, suitable brush types and even female shaving.
We would like to take this time to thank Mantic for his time to answer the ten great questions.
The Shaving Shack team will now spend the next few weeks choosing their favourite question, with the winning questioner receiving a tub of Truefitt & Hill 1805 Shave Cream (worth £14.99).