Code of The Gentleman
If I recall Gautier's commandments correctly, the ancient chivalric code stresses honour, loyalty and the possession of a really good shaving brush.
It is simply not possible to achieve a good shave (and shaving experience) without a shaving brush. A brush enables you to create a lather with your shaving soap or cream, whipping it to the requisite dense and stiff consistency. As you paint your face with the lather, working it in with a brush helps lift and soften the hair to be shaved, coating the area but allowing for enough traction to shave properly. Brushes won't work on those heavily marketed aerosol shaving creams or gels that are overloaded with silicates, which provide a surface that is way too slick to have a proper shave.
As an added bonus, a brush can be used to exfoliate the skin, removing dead skin cells. Before applying soap, use it to dry-brush your face and neck; then wash and use it wet to apply piping hot water to warm the skin and open the pores prior to shaving. Relaxing the skin with warm water helps prevent shaving rash.
A brush makes it easier to apply a two or three-pass shave as you can keep the lather on your brush handy for touch-ups. A first pass is in the direction the whiskers grow; a second pass is perpendicular to the growth; and a third is in the opposite direction to the beard growth (typically only in jaggy areas missed in the first passes).
Seductive Shaving Brush from Wilde & Harte
Remember the Osterley Safety Razor from Wilde & Harte? I'm still besotted. When I learnt that Wilde & Harte now produce shaving brushes in their famous men's grooming ranges, I thought it was time to do a little matchmaking.
Here's the Ostelerley Badger Hair Shaving Brush, gents:
A great idea was to make the brush ends detachable. You can unscrew the brush and replace with a new brush of best badger hair or synthetic fibre. The brush will last for years, but the handle — like the safety razor — will last forever. Obtaining a spare brush makes a lot of sense.
As with Wilde & Harte's razors, the brushes are engineered from stainless steel, then hand-finished and polished to a mirror finish. The handle feels good in the hand and the brush holds lather well.
Magnificent, eh? To match the razor, it had to be an Osterley — but the Art Deco-styled Eltham range is also staggeringly lovely.
A Wilde & Hart shaving brush will surely take pride of place on your ablutions tray. And you might consider a stand to hang it.
For men of noble habits, a good shaving brush is essential for a good shave.