A portion of our proceeds from this new artisan will go to support those effected by the current eruptions of the Kilauea volcano.
Aloha to Al Braun, founder and owner of Hawaiian Shaving Company, and one of our newest artisans. We love to find and highlight the stories of so many amazing people who are experimenting with, developing, and perfecting soaps and products that enhance the wet shaving experience. We hope you love them, too. Hawaiian Shaving Company’s story (mo’olelo) was born and raised on the Big Island of Hawaii.
It all started with Al’s journey to wet shaving, which began long before he began making soap. “Being Hawaiian and Italian, I can shave each morning and have a beard by the time I eat dinner. When I was young, my Italian nonno (grandfather) had classic Gillette safety razors, and I was always curious about them. I started wet shaving over 20 years ago, when I found that I could get a closer, longer lasting shave with a brush full of lather and a safety or straight razor than I ever could with a cartridge razor and some chemicals from a can,” said Al. Can I get an amen? Many in the wet shaving fold can relate to this tale. Discovering the joy of a close, BBS shave is almost paradise.
But all was not well not paradise. Although Al sought the perfect shaving soap, it was not to be found. If he wanted a local, natural option, he found he would have to make it himself. “I started making shave soaps in 2016, after a few fruitless years of searching for a locally made shave soap. There are a lot of soap makers in Hawaii, but the specific requirements of shave soaps seemed to elude these artisans who concentrate on bath and facial soaps. When I couldn't find what I wanted, I started making my own with the encouragement of my wife and daughter.” They began the testing, designing, and tinkering to create a natural soap that connected to its Hawaiian birthplace.
As they began the creation of their soap, they knew that they wanted to use local ingredients and traditions. “As a kanaka maoli (native Hawaiian) I knew the importance of the niu (coconut) and kukui (candlenut) in skin care. Using activated charcoal made from coconut husks helps to exfoliate the skin and follows the Hawaiian way of using every part of the plant, so nothing is wasted,” said Al. Even the name of the soap is in keeping with their roots. The soap base is named Kaimū (gathering by the sea) from a black sand beach of the Big Island. "Once the first batch with the activated charcoal cooled, my family noted how similar it looked to the cooled pahoehoe lava rock that is so prevalent on our island" said Al. The Kilauea Volcano erupted in 1990 and overran his popular beach and its coconut groves. “During our family's frequent visits to Kaimū, we planted coconut trees to help restore this special place to its former beauty. These keiki (young) coconut trees and our daughter have grown up together,” said Al.
The scents of the soaps are also inspired by the local aromas and flavors which surround this tropical locale. Notes of grapefruit, orange, lemon, and lime meld with ginger, lavender, peppermint, eucalyptus for unique natural fragrances. “We have received so many positive comments and reviews from customers, but these words from a customer who grew up in Hawaii but now lives in the mainland really resonated with me. I immediately was transported back to Laupahoehoe at my grandparent’s house standing under the big rough skin lemon tree (the one with the big thorns) picking up the lemons that fell to the ground,” said Al. We hope you will be transported as well.
We are carrying the following soaps and matching aftershaves.
'Alani Pomelo Kinika (Grapefruit Ginger) - It is scented with Alani Pomelo Kinika. This Kaimu shaving soap is scented with essential oils of grapefruit and ginger. Together the bright citrus and spicy ginger might remind you of sipping a cocktail as you sit on the black sands of the Big Island.
Lemi Poni'ala (Lemon Lavender) - This essential oil scent is called Lemi Poni'ala. It has notes of bright lemon and calming lavender. If you are fan of infused drinks, then this will hit the spot. Like sipping your favorite lemonade with hints of lavender as you enjoy the ocean breezes from your lanai.
Palepiwa Lemi (Eucalyptus Lime) - With essential oils of eucalyptus and lime, this scent will brighten your morning. On the Humakua coast of the Big Island of Hawaii forests of eucalyptus grow and scent the air. The strong aroma of eucalyptus is joined by citrusy lime.
Pepamina 'Alani (Peppermint Orange) - Peppermint and orange essential oils will give you an eye-popping start to your day. The strong aroma of peppermint blends with the sweet scent of orange for a delightfully pungent fragrance. This one will probably remind you of an umbrella drink delivered to your poolside chair. Enjoy!
Photos from @hawaiianshavingcompany on instagram