Danielle Malka (Shaving Expert ) gives expert video advice on: What is pre-shave oil?; Why do I need pre-shave oil?; What is shaving cream? and more...
What is pre-shave oil?
Pre-shave oil is a blend of oil whose purpose is to create a layer of protection over your skin. Normally what you will see, these oils will have a few benefits. One of them being the fact that it is protecting your skin so it creates that layer over your skin to protect you from the contact of the razor. Another thing about the pre-shave oil, it has emolients so it really softens the hair and creates like a "slip". It allows the razor to glide easily. And also what we have done in the pre-shave oil is to put some ingredients that will also penetrate your skin and help relieve, for example, some of the irritation, help calm the skin and regenerate. There are some relaxants. For example, if you have a pre-shave oil that will have grape seed oil, that relaxes the skin and it helps it with any of the aggravation of shaving. So there are many ways to use it. And what is interesting about the pre-shave oil is that it can also be used as a shaving oil. I don't recommend it but you can still use it as a shaving oil. It can also be used as an after shave oil.
Why do I need pre-shave oil?
I would say you need pre-shave oil one hundred percent of the time? If you have a good shaving cream, you could get a good shave. But if you want an excellent shave, if you want that perfect shave, if you want that close shave where your skin will feel like a baby's butt, that pre-shave oil is that extra step that will get you there.
What is shaving cream?
If we look at what we use, what's available, you have shaving foams, you've got shaving gels, you've got shaving cream, and then you've got lathering shaving cream. Those are the four creams that you could use for shaving. What the lathering shaving cream does is that it allows you to prepare for shaving and to have some protection over your skin, so you're not going raw on the skin. What the shaving cream does is basically moisturize and with the emollient effect of it, soften the hair. And when using a shaving cream with a brush, it raises the hair instantly and when using it with your fingers, then you want to lather or massage the cream in such a way that you're working your skin and you're working your hair to soften it and you're also working it to raise it.
Why do I need shaving cream?
Shaving cream is basically supposed to do is inside of the preparation for shaving. OK? So it's really inside to make sure that you keep your pores lush, and that you keep your hair soft and that you rise the hair away from your skin. So a shaving cream will protect your skin and soften up your hair.
What is an aftershave soother?
An aftershave soother is an aftershave in the lotion form that is very light. It's a light lotion, it's like a light cream that usually doesn't have much alcohol, that will finish up your shave by moisturizing your skin, by nourishing it. Sometimes it will have some ingredients that will also calm the skin, particularly in the case of sensitive skin, and really regenerate it. So, it could be also very refreshing.
Why do I need an aftershave soother?
You need an aftershave soother to finish up your shave. When you shave, you are going at your skin. You are taking some of the dead cells away, and you are using the razor and everything else. So, when you've done all that, and your skin is perfectly clean of any hair and any residue. Because, shaving is a natural way of exfoliating, by the way which is a great thing to do. Then you want to finish that up with a good moisturizer and a good after shave. What that will do is moisturise your skin. It will also calm down your skin if you have any irritation, and it will help to really regenerate your skin and bring it back to normal.
Why do I need a shaving brush?
The shaving brush is the best tool possible to get a close shave. It's like we call a shaving brush a shavers best friend, and the reason for that is in today's world where we are all in a hurry, a shaving brush is what's going to allow you to prepare for shaving the fastest and the most effective way. It lathers you instantly, it softens your hair in three seconds, it raises the hair away from the skin, it prepares your skin in a one-two-three process and you're ready to shave. If you don't have time, use a shaving brush.
What is badger hair?
A shaving brush should only be in badger hair. If it's not badger hair, it's not a shaving brush. In fact, in French we don't have the expression shaving brush, that word does not exist. In French we call a shaving brush a "blaireau", and a "blaireau" is a badger. Because if it's not a badger, so if it's not a blaireau, it's not a shaving brush.
Why is badger hair better?
Badger hair is the only type of hair that retains water. Every other animal hair repels water. In order to get a good close shave, the most important product to use is hot water. Everything you do, you want it to be in a way that you maximise the effect of hot water. For example, we call our shaving product, "Water activated shaving product." When you take a shaving brush, you run the warm water, it soaks up the water right away, and it warms up instantly. When you dip it in your cream, it instantly warms up the cream, and helps generate a rich lather. The more water you use, the better the lather. The better the lather, the more hot water, and the better the shave.
What is the cost for the best badger hair brush?
The very best badger hair will be like between a £120 and £200 depending on the brand. And what makes the price of that is basically what you want to look at is to have a badger hair brush that's called 'silver tip', because the silver tip quality is really the highest grade of hair. And what defines the price is a couple of things. One is obviously, if you're dealing with a company that manufactures versus somebody that distributes, cause that obviously adds some cost to it. But really what you're looking at and why you're going above the hundred dollars range, you start to look at the density of the hair. You want a brush that's fuller and you start looking at the purity of the silver tip, because there's many grades of silver tip. The higher the grade, obviously, the more expensive it's going to be, but the more expensive it is, the higher the grade, and the better the shape.
Is there a cheaper alternative?
There is a cheaper alternative. I will say as long as what you are using is badger hair, you're on the right track. There is a very cheap alternative which is to use, to buy those little $5 brushes with what they call natural bristle, which in fact is boar's hair. Which is absolutely to avoid. It's irritating to the skin. It doesn't lather. It doesn't work. I will say the cheap alternative will be a lower grade of badger hair. In that respect I could recommend for example using a shaving brush that will be in genuine badger which is a starting quality of badger hair and that should be like between $25 to $45. Then the second grade…and that you know if you go that road you just want to do that because you're not sure, right. You don't want to use that for the next 20 years. Just like a few months, then you know that's what you want to use and it's time to upgrade
Are badgers harmed in the process?
No. The one thing I will say when people are concerned about animal rights or who are, for example, vegetarian and obviously have some kind of thinking regarding animals, I would say if you don't mind wearing a wool sweater or leather shoes which obviously have to do with animal by-product, then you'll have no problem using a shaving brush. If you are such a purist or have such concern with the animal rights, you wouldn't wear a wool sweater, you wouldn't wear leather shoes, you wouldn't drink milk, you would be against killing cows for meat or whatever. Then obviously a badger hairbrush is not for you. But there is no cruelty to the animals. They basically get shaved. There are countries where badgers are a delicacy, just like for us lamb is a meat that we enjoy - not me personally, I'm vegetarian - but some people do. That's what it is.
What is a shaving razor?
A razor will be a handle and a blade. It's a blade that has a handle attached to it so we can manipulate it because I could not see myself shaving with just a blade. It would be very awkward to hold that. That handle makes the difference between a blade and a razor.
What are multiple blade razors?
We could look at the last 40 or 50 years, which has seen a progression in blades. The first blade that came about was a single-blade, which is a great blade -- it gives you a very close shave -- but it's a very difficult blade to handle. You have to be pretty good to shave with that. So that would be the downside of the single-blade. So then came the multiple-blade. If you go into the disposable razor, that's supposed to be used only once, so obviously, it's not very sharp. It's not going to give you a close shave unless you really let it go really hard on your skin and it doesn't flex. So that is totally passé and totally ineffective. Some guys can get away with it, but generally speaking, it's not the blade that I would recommend. Then you've got the Sensor blade that was the blade of the '80's, and that was a revolution right there. It was great at the time. Today it's over. And I think the '90's that I would call the war of the blades. That's where in the early '90's the Maxwell blade came about; this had three blades. The maxwell blade were very, very fine -- very sharp -- and so fine and sharp to the point of flexing. And also, they started to go into the blade itself with the handle being able to flex. This allowed the blade to have more movement so it that gave it a little bit more in the way of manoeuvrability, and the razor could therefore give a better shave. That was quite interesting. And then, today, the Fusion -- that's the latest one that came about -- is taking some of the technology of the Mach 3 and then adding a few little things to it such as, for example, the single blade on the other side.
Why are multiple blades better than a single blade?
It's a lot easier to use. It's going to give you a closer shave and you don't have to worry about cutting yourself. Also, you don't have to learn how to handle that razor, because a single-blade is quite a tricky blade to use.
Why shouldn't I use a disposable razor?
It's a razor that is only meant to be used once. First of all, it's not very sharp. It's not going to give you a close shave. Secondly, it's a rigid blade. A rigid blade is not going to follow the contour of your skin. As a man you might get away with it, but, for example, if you're taking a woman using a disposable razor, they'll certainly cut their knees. They'll cut around the heels, because a razor is trying to go through your bone, and that's not going to happen.
Do I need a lot of different products to shave?
No, if you want a simple shave what you need, absolutely, is a good razor, a must, shaving brush and a lathering shaving cream. You get those three tools, you're already in very good shape, because they will give you that close shave. Now if you want that ultimate shave, if you want that easy shave, that's when you add the pre-shave oil, that's when you add the alum block or an aftershave, because those are little tools that will make the difference. There is no magic product or no magic ingredient to give you a close shave with no razor burn, no bumps, no ingrown. What there is, is an association of product, one after the other, and steps. So if you want the ultimate shave, if you want that face that feels like a baby's butt, and you have a very strong beard, then you need all the help you can use, and then you obviously want everything that I told you about.
What are my alternatives if I have a tight budget?
Very often, people think of this as something expensive. But in fact, a good lathering shaving cream - and I'm not just saying done by us, but by other companies. There's quite a few companies that have lathering shaving cream. They cost around $20, which could sound expensive, but when you think that a four ounce jar will last you four to six months, that ends up being cheaper than Edge. So, if you're on a tight budget, throw away your can and buy a lathering shaving cream.