Wetshaving and the Holidays
It is just a few days before Thanksgiving and we all know what that means. No, not getting stuffed with turkey and mashed potatoes. It means gifts and the holidays. Black Friday usually means that it is time for everyone to put products up on sale, but things are going to be different this year. Given the pandemic, stores have decided to get Black Friday going early. However, for your favorite soap makers, things won’t be that different. This week’s blog is to help out those of you who are looking to convert, um I mean, gift wetshaving gear to non-wetshavers and to remind you to support your soap artisans. This year has been hard for everyone and it is important to show small businesses some fucking love.
As a wetshaver, I have gifted wetshaving starter sets to various people in my life and I have some tips for those looking to do the same. If they have no idea what wetshaving is, this can be a challenge. The holidays bring about the perfect opportunity to introduce (read as convert to our glorious and superior form of shaving) someone to it. While shaving soaps are far better than that cheap gel shit you find in big box stores, they can still irritate people’s skin. It is important to find out if the intended recipient has any allergies or skin issues that may impact which soap you can get them. Another factor is if the recipient is vegetarian or vegan. If they have sensitive skin, it may be best to start with a soap that has no fragrance oil. They tend to be the main culprit behind ill reactions to shaving soap. Lanolin is another probable cause for such issues and is also an animal byproduct, making it unsuitable for sensitive skin and vegans. Tallow of any kind will also not be good as an ingredient for these kinds of recipients. Picking out the soap can be the most difficult thing to figure out because of the aforementioned factors, as well as what kind of scent that person enjoys. With a plethora of scents available and the nature of the hobby, it may take some time.
Picking out a starter brush becomes easier after the soap because you will know if the person you intended to give the gear to is a vegan or not. Someone who is vegan will only be able to use synthetic knots for their brushes. For those who are fine using animal byproducts, you have a lot more choices to get them. A good boar brush is probably for the best, as they are just getting into wetshaving and it won’t be so costly on you. I cannot advise badger as cheap badger is bad badger and for a good badger brush, the price will be steep. If the recipient takes to wetshaving and continues for years, a silvertip badger brush would make an excellent gift. Synthetic brushes are great choices as well and can be even cheaper than a boar brush.
The last major part of a starter kit will be the razor. It is best for newcomers to start with a double edge safety razor. Shavettes and straight razors are advised against because of their cost and because of their steep learning curves. For a good safety razor to start out with, one should check out Maggard Razors. As a long time customer of Maggard Razors, I cannot stress how good their products are. Their starter kits include several options for DE razors.
Once you have those three major components for a starter kit, it is possible that you may include some extra stuff such as aftershave, a shaving bowl, a razor and/ or brush stand, etc. Aftershave comes in splashes, which can be alcohol or witch hazel based, or as a balm. Personally, with the cold months coming up, a balm should be preferred but to each their own. A shaving bowl is not always necessary, but it is possible for some to build their lather in a bowl separate from the soap container. It is only really needed when dealing with samples. Stands for brushes and razors would add a nice touch to the gift, but not needed. I guess it depends how much you want to spoil this recipient with this already badass gift.
You may be looking to get multiple people into wetshaving and that is fine. If there is anything else I can recommend, it would be that you should get your gear from us artisans. As a small business, we value our customers and we really appreciate the business. Given what this year has brought, this would be an excellent way to put a smile on the faces of not only those who you are giving to, but also to the good, hard working artisans who you choose to support. Big box stores will rip you off when shopping for wetshaving gear, if you can even find it. Support your favorite artisans, not just this year, but all the years to come.