We are delighted to feature a Shaving Q&A from Mark at Sharpologist. If you’ve ever searched the web for any wet shaving related question, you’ve probably hit on Mark’s site. Over 10 years ago, Mark posted his first “introduction to wet shaving” video on a then newly-popular little site called YouTube. Today, Mark reaches over 15,000 followers through various social media accounts and his Sharpologist blog, as well as 30,000 YouTube Subscribers. So, while he is usually reviewing, testing, or opining for everyone else, we wanted to get the skinny on what he would choose for his own “perfect” shave.
Our interview with Mark:
- WCS: How did you get into Wet Shaving?
- Mark:I shaved with an electric razor for 30+ years and never much thought about it. Buzz, buzz, zip, zip, done in two minutes. Yeah, I had a 5 ‘O Clock shadow at two, but I thought that was “normal.” In the mid ’90’s I began a serious relationship a special young lady, who is now my wife. One thing she absolutely adores is the feeling of my face just after it was freshly shaven. Unfortunately, she could only enjoy caressing my face for a few hours before it would get a bit “sandpapery” again. A couple years after we were married she bought me a barber shave as an anniversary present: one morning she comes to me with a gleam in her eye and says “don’t shave today, I have a special anniversary present for you.” It’s a little freaky at first – I mean here’s this stranger hovering over me with a straight-razor – but after a while it gets strangely relaxing and I enjoy it. The barber finishes and she pulls off the smock laying on me with a flourish. I feel my face. . . Whooooooooooaaa. . . My face is insanely soft and smooth. I’ve never felt anything like it before. My wife has a sparkle in her eye and a huge smile on her face as she runs a finger along my jawline: “Ohhhhhhhh, mama likes!” I’m sold on this way of shaving.
Isn’t it great when a hobby can bring as much joy to those around you as it does to you! Wet shaving just keeps on giving. Whether it is the warmth of the lather, the soothing aftershave, the smooth face feel, or the affectionate caress of a loved one, classic shaving immerses your senses.
- WCS: Describe your facial hair and skin.
- Mark: I used to think I had thick stubble and sensitive skin but now I realize I'm probably just "average" by most accounts: the typical "T-zone" complexion and average stubble growth.
Knowing the story of your hair can help you customize your shave to reach its full potential. From the time of day, to the razor & blade, to the prep, to the aftercare, all steps are important in homing in on the right way – for you – to shave.
- WCS: Time of Day?
- Mark: Usually in the morning, unless I'm working on a test product or a video, in which case I shave in the evening.
While a morning shave is still the typical story, the evening shave is gaining in popularity as well. There are pros and cons to both so you just need to find what works for you. Evening shaves can take out the rush factor and allow you to heal any irritation during a good night’s sleep. The morning shave, however, can capitalize on a hot shower to prep the skin and the feeling of starting the day with a fresh groom.
- WCS: Razor of choice?
- Mark: My preferred razors include the OneBlade, the Feather AS-D2, and the Parker Variant. They get about 80% of my time unless I'm testing something. The Merkur Progress was a huge favorite of mine--probably 90% of my shaves--until these other razors came along.
- WCS: Blade of choice?
- Mark: Usually a Polsilver Iridium but if a razor is exceptionally gentle (like the Feather AS-D2) I'll pop in a Feather blade.
- WCS: Soap of choice?
- Mark: I have a poor sense of smell so I prefer strongly-scented creams and soaps. Among my favorites are Castle Forbes Limes cream, Wm. Neumann "Old Fashioned Soda" cream, DR Harris Arlington soap, and NY Shaving Co. "Tonsorial." cream. But I'm always messing around with something. :)
- WCS: Brush of Choice?
- Mark: Badger. Specifically "super" badger grade. However just recently I've begun to kind of dig the new generation of synthetic brushes.
- WCS: Pro Tip
- Mark: Take your time!
Wanna get a peek at some of Mark’s favorites? We carry them right here at West Coast Shaving!
Feather AS-D2 Stainless Safety Razor - For over eighty years, Feather has been honing, crafting, and innovating blades for use in beauty, medicine, and industrial use. You can't go wrong with their quality, precision, and aesthetic including this stainless steel double edge beauty. This is Feather's second generation of their all stainless steel double edge safety razor. This three-piece razor is an ultra-premium shaving tool, with exacting tolerances and exquisite satin finish. Their unique method of holding the blade ensures it sits centered. The handle has a great knurled pattern for a firm grip and has a nice length for a comfortable grip. It is a mild razor, so a slightly greater angle of use it needed.
Parker Variant Adjustable Safety Razor - For over forty years, Parker has been crafting razors and wet shaving accessories with an eye toward quality and a commitment to customer satisfaction. To that end, they have an extensive line of safety razors to meet or exceed your expectations. But this adjustable option might just meet all your hopes and dreams in one gleaming package. The 3.5 inch handle is a nice length with a great non-slip knurling. (Slippery-handed shavers rejoice!). The two-piece design allows for easy blade changes. And speaking of adjustment- this wonderful tool allows you to "dial in" the perfect shave. The knob on the bottom of the handle can be turned to adjust the spacing on the blade for a mild to aggressive shave. 1 is the mildest setting while 5 gives you an aggressive option.
Polsilver Iridium – These are an extremely popular blade that gets great reviews. Sharp and smooth.
Feather – Feather blades and products have become synonymous with "sharp" in the wet shaving world. These grooming utensils are consistently sharp, durable, and high quality.
Castle Forbes Lime Essential Oil Shaving Cream – Castle Forbes resides on a 6,000 acre estate in Aberdennshire, Scotland. Lady Forbes (wife of the 23rd Lord Forbes) converted the former dairy building on the grounds into a perfumery in 1996. The Castle Forbes Collection has evolved into a range of top-quality fragrances which is particularly noted for its shaving products. This cream whips up a dense, frothy lather with a traditional brush and bowl. And the lime scent is the real deal. It is a strong, citrusy pick-me-up. If you like the clean, refreshing zip of lime, then you will love this cream.
D.R. Harris Arlington Shaving Soap – D.R. Harris has been crafting shaving requisites for over 200 hundred years. This high quality, traditional shaving soap is triple-milled for a rich and luxurious lather. And it is scented with a subtle blend of citrus and fern. A refined and intoxicating fragrance called Arlington.
The New York Shaving Company Tonsorial Shave Cream - The New York Shaving Company was born out of a desire to bring back the golden age of men's shaving. Their ideology harkens back to the days when dapper gents wore bespoke suits, opened doors for women, and groomed regularly at their corner shop. That corner shop they have successfully recreated in multiple New York locations, with antique chairs, white-coated barbers, hot towels, and nostalgic music. And if you were in one of those chairs, you just might get to enjoy their Tonsorial Shave Cream. A nostalgic cream with a nostalgic scent. It opens with a citrus top note of lemon, lime, and mandarin then the floral heart emerges with hints of lavender and iris. It finishes with base notes of warm musk and amber woods.
Shaving Brushes - There are so many great brushes to choose from. Use the filter on our website to search out the perfect badger or synthetic option. Depending on the badger grade you want, we have pure, best, finest, super, and silvertip. We also carry boar and horsehair as well as synthetic options that mimic badger and boar.