Words by Brian Wilder
For men of the past, the basic terms for grooming simply consisted of “shower, shave, deodorant”. An easy three-step process and we were out the door.
Nowadays, there are so many new tonics, tinctures, and techniques that it can be a little intimidating to even walk down the men’s care aisle. Some of the newer concepts and terms within the men’s grooming world today can be a bit of a stretch to what we heard in previous years, so we’ve come up with our own grooming glossary to keep you up to date on what’s really good when it comes to shaving. Peep game.
Balm – A catch-all term for practically any lotion or cream that’s primarily used post-shave. They’re usually semi-solid and can be used for everything from skin moisturizers and shave recovery serums to beard lotions and more. Our Restoring Balm is extra bomb. (It’s not one of our most popular soft goods products for nothin’.)
Barbicide – If you didn’t grow up watching a container of combs floating in this Listerine-like solution in your local barbershop, then we may have to question your childhood. For those who aren’t familiar, barbicide is a commonly used antiseptic that was developed by Gillette in the 1940s. It’s still used in hospitals today as a general disinfectant.
Blotting Sheets – These can come in really handy if you’re transitioning from work to play, and you don’t have any time in between to get fresh. Blotting sheets are small, single-use tissues—so to speak—coated in mineral oil to help absorb any dirt, oil, grease, and bacteria on your face and skin. Mega clutch for those hectic days.
Classic Shave – This is the method of using a straight or safety razor, as opposed to an electric shaver or multi-blade razor, to cut hair above the skin in order to avoid bumps or irritation. Typical drugstore multi-cartridges tend to be the primary culprits when men with coarse, curly hair encounter issues with shaving. A good barber will always have classic shaves on the service list, and they’re especially key for those special occasions where you really need to step-out in proper fashion.
Double-Edge Safety Razor – These razors usually have an interchangeable blade with two usable edges. This is your weapon of choice if you’re looking for a real shave – the clean and classic way. Our Safety Razor is the one that started it all for us here at Bevel.
Grain – In terms of shaving, this refers to the natural direction in which your hair grows. It’s important to become familiar with your own face’s grains as it will determine exactly which directions you’ll need to maneuver the razor when shaving. For an irritation-free shave, this is the most crucial step. It should also be noted that not all facial hair grows in the same direction and it can get real tricky real fast. Check out our previous post on mapping your grain to get up to speed!
Shave Brush – Once something that seemed a bit extra, utilizing shave brushes have now become the absolute standard for whipping up a proper lather to not only evenly distribute the shave cream but to also exfoliate and cleanse the skin in the process. That’s a 3-in-1 tool and we don’t know how we went so long without it.
Strop – You may have seen an old-barber use one of these leather or linen straps to help sharpen their straight razors, but with the rise in popularity of disposable safety razors and electric shavers, strops have become rare to find in many modern barbershops.
Styptic Pencil – Also known as a hemostatic pencil, these are used after you’ve finished shaving to stop any nicks or cuts you may have gotten during the process. Some brands also have versions that disinfect those cuts as well.
Wet Shaving – The home version of a classic shave at the barber and the basis for everything that Bevel encompasses. This method of shaving requires water and other lubricants, such as shaving cream, priming oil, after-shave balms and more. One of the most popular ways to shave today, wet shaving is far more forgiving to your face and skin, compared to dry shaving methods.