Veteran's Day is not just about cooking up some steaks or burgers on the barbecue. It's a time of humble remembrance, thanks, and recognition of our veterans' duty to serve and protect our country. No matter what duty, no matter how much recognition or what the cost, we thank those who have sacrificed much for the safety of our country. As part of our recognition, please enjoy this set of some of our favorite veteran-owned and veteran-appreciating artisans!
Reef Point Soaps, Aviator: Eric, founder and maker of Reef Points, is a Navy Veteran who, upon his return from service, realized that his morning shaves were not treating him kindly. With his interests in science and chemistry, he quickly noticed he needed to find a way to make the necessary changes himself. Thus began the start of a shaving soap company that produces incredibly well-rounded scents and one of the slickest soap bases I've tried. Upfront, Aviator sounds like a very divisive scent, with notes of leather, vetiver, lemon, rosemary, sandalwood, and patchouli. However, the leather is very dry and clean, and serves as a great base upon which rests the rest of the profile. Highly recommended!
Soap Commander Shaving Soap/Aftershave Balm, Fortitude: I've talked about Soap Commander a number of times in our curations but, long story short, they are a Navy Veteran-owned operation churning out incredible vegan skincare products. Their shaving soaps are loaded with coconut oil and shea butter for a comforting shave and healthy skin post-shave. Their aftershave balms deliver as a powerful punch of oils and butters to heal the skin and restore it to its ideal state. Fortitude seemed a befitting scent profile for this holiday of remembrance and respect. Dry hay melds with pungent, wet tobacco and is rounded out by the dark, caramel-like sweetness of rum for a scent that is truly demanding of your attention and respect.
Stirling Soap Co., Barbershop (soap/splash/balm): Army veteran Ron, along with his wife, Amanda, are the owners of arguably one of the biggest names in the artisan wet shaving community. A trip to Scotland pampered them with natural products and skincare ingredients that made them realize just how much we are missing out on these quality items here in the states. From the moment they decided to take matters into their own hands, their determination led them to produce some of the most available, high-quality, great-value shaving products with incredible skin healing properties. Stirling's Barbershop is a very warm, spiced, and powdery iteration of the "barbershop" scent: Clean, masculine, inviting, and calming. Perfect for a morning or night shave.
Mickey Lee Soapworks, Unforgiven (soap/splash): In addition to this curation of products is a blog which outlines a few questions I decided to ask Samantha of Mickey Lee. Not only are they my favorite shaving soap but, being so very well respected and loved by the wet shaving community, I decided to ask them how they got their start in wet shaving, and what things they've taken/continue to take from military service and involvement. Anyway, on with the soap! Unforgiven is a truly manly scent, a blend of dark and dry rosewood, bolstered by an ashy, smoldering mixture of birch tar and patchouli, and ever-so-slightly rounded by sandalwood, amber, and a touch of caramel. Like an Old Western gunfight in the middle of a forest fire in the Sierras, this is a daring scent, not for the faint of heart.
Duke Cannon Soap, Naval Supremacy: Duke Cannon products have been in production long before they had an established name. To this day, their products are produced in the same family-owned plant which supplied U.S. troops during the time of the Korean War. Their incredibly large, natural soaps last a very long time, gently exfoliate with steel-cut oats, and have great scents. Naval Supremacy is a warm, inviting, oceanic scent perfect for any time of the year.
Anchors Aweigh Hair Co.: One of my personal favorite hair products, Anchors Aweigh pomades are the proud creation of Army veteran Ben Miller. One of the kings of unorthodox water-based pomades, the texture and hold are very unlike most other hairstyling products. With many water-based pomades that contain wax, a heavy hold often is accompanied by extreme difficulty scooping out of the jar. Not so with Anchors pomades. The texture is much like a dense gelatin, spreads easily, yet grips the hair naturally and lets you restyle with no issues. Very subtly and pleasantly scented with bay rum and peppermint.
Krampert's Finest Frostbite (soap/splash): Krampert's Finest products are some of the first I tried when I began wet shaving. For ex-US Army Paratrooper Brian Krampert, his natural shaving products are only one aspect of his self-sustaining lifestyle. His "Frostbite" soap and splash are quite bracing, but not in an unpleasant manner. The cooling of the soap is very comfortable, for any time of the year. The aftershave does have a fair dose of menthol however, in combination with the alcohol content, this provides a well-balanced spectrum between warm and cooling. The cooling in both the soap and aftershave is accompanied with very subtle, dry pine notes. Give it a try!
Captain's Choice North (soap/cream/splash): In collaboration with WCS, North is a woody scent of pine, cedar, juniper, vanilla, and spices, perfect for the impending, intense cold of winter. The vegan soap is packed with coconut oil for skin hydration, while the cream contains aloe juice for a slicker and more comfortable lather. Differing from the norm, Scott's aftershaves do not heavily sting, but rather yield an accumulating warmth for a more pleasant astringency. What isn't always given is Scott's support for several veteran shelter and support groups in his community. For me, purchasing products with the guarantee that my investment and support will, in turn, help to support our veterans, makes a huge difference. Purchase with pride and patriotism!