Sunday, 11 August 2013

Start the day with a real shave

In times gone by, if you were a respectable gentleman then it would have been highly unlikely that you would have dragged a razor across your own face.  Following the application of hot towels to open the pores and cleanse the skin, the skilful hands of your valet or barber would then have used the finest badger hair brush to whip up a profuse lather which was liberally applied to the skin. A well choreographed routine, involving a safety razor and a wet towel for blotting, ensured that any undesirable hair was elegantly and swiftly despatched. Finally, a liberal application of good quality aftershave was all that was needed to seal the skin and act as an astringent, prevent infection.

Unfortunately in today's modern world, few us of can afford the services of a valet or have the time to visit a barber on a daily basis.  Instead every morning millions of men follow the same shaving routine, into which the conveniences of modern life seem to have crept. We now associate shaving with disposable razors and shaving foam straight from the can. Neither of these perceived conveniences are good for us. The numerous chemicals and alcohols that make up modern day shaving creams and foams have harsh effects.  Apart from stripping the natural moisture in the skin, these products often leave the face feeling dry and tight and coupled with disposal razors that clog and blunt easily, the result is awful razor burn.  Having suffered all of these problems myself, I decided to try and find a way of injecting some pleasure into my daily shave not to mention address the razor burn issue. After hours of trawling the internet for a more natural shaving range, I stumbled upon a company called D R Harris & Co.

This quaint shop has operated from St James Street London since 1790 and has been producing colognes, perfumes and shaving preparations for Field Marshalls, Admirals, rakes and dandies as well as royalty. DR Harris currently hold a Royal Warrant from HRH Prince Charles the Prince of Wales.  Though D R Harris do have an online store, I was lucky enough to visit their London shop. Walking through the door was like taking a step back in time. The original dark wood display cabinets continue to showcase everything from bone handled tooth brushes, beautiful leather wash bags through to shaving soaps, razors and aftershaves.  An eclectic mix of smells including fern, citrus, toffee and lavender follow you throughout the store.
During that initial visit I purchased a pot of the Arlington shaving cream.  Made on the premises from natural ingredients and containing no alcohol, this triple milled luxury cream produces a rich lather and is slightly fragranced with citrus and fern undertones. With this product I did not experience any skin dryness or irritation and it has only just started to run out.  That means this 150g pot costing £16.50 has lasted just over 2 years and that's with me shaving 4 out of 5 working days a week.  I try and give me skin a rest on Fridays and weekends unless I have meetings or engagements requiring a freshly shaved face. Having worked through my initial purchase, I recently decided to splash out and treat myself to the Arlington shaving set costing £55.95. 
This consists of a solid shaving soap, beautifully presented in a mahogany effect bowl (also available in beech effect)  and a badger hair shaving brush.  The soap is also available as a refill at £9.85.  The brush has an ivory coloured base and most importantly it's filled with pure badger bristle. As the connoisseurs of shaving amongst you will know, you really can not beat a badger bristle shaving brush.  The soft hairs not only gently exfoliate the skin, but they are wonderful at creating a rich soapy lather which is essential for a good shave. 

Arlington Cologne 30ml

Having become a fan of the Arlington range, I also splashed out on a 30ml bottle of Arlington cologne at £12.50.  Again I was not disappointed, the citrus and fern undertones result in an ever so slightly soapy scent which lingers beautifully. Applied first thing in the morning I could still smell it right into the mid afternoon.  Soon I hope to add the Arlington aftershave to my growing collection.  One of the great things about using little known products such as the Arlington range is that you are unlikely to meet anyone else who smells as you do. 

D R Harris also supply shaving products in their Lavender, Marlborough and Windsor range.  I have yet to try these but I am planning a visit to London in the coming months and I hope to be able to bring you additional product reviews from the D R Harris range.

DR Harris badger shaving brush
Arlington Shaving Bowl & Soap


All of the products mentioned in this post were purchased at full price and were not gifted.