Beard maintenance can be difficult if you do not have the right tools or products. If you are like me and have sensitive skin, you’ll understand how the slightest overbearing chemical or fragrance can cause irritation. Thankfully there are scads of products out there today that use natural ingredients to avoid hives, itching and breakouts.
I was recently sent a complete range of shaving products by newcomer Crown Shaving Co., a company lead by Dino Caracciolo that specializes in mens grooming products made with natural ingredients. I like testing products on myself, but before I give it the old college try, I like to get a bit “woodsy.” Why test products on stubble, right?
Prep is simple. Run your water to a warm temperature and wet the face. I was tidying up the neck and trimming the wild hairs from the major growth, but I still wet the whole face because – let’s face it – selective splashing is kind of silly.
First comes a pre-shave, which – to be honest – is something I have never tried. The razors I use are typically quite sharp and I never seem to have too much trouble with razor burn. I tried the “Supreme Glide” pre-shave formula (4 oz, $18.00) and I did notice my razor glide. It is an additional step and one that can be skipped, but for the luxury of knowing that you will always have a comfortable shave, it is definitely worth the extra effort.
Then it was time for the big show. We’re all familiar with shaving cream, but does high vs low make a difference? In my experience, it can. Some of the low end options are just fine, but Gillette and various other gels of that kind can leave my skin incredibly dry. I have tried two options from the Body Shop which are a little pricier, but seem to limit the amount of dry itching I endure. Needless to say, I am always skeptical of new options. No alcohol is something you are going to want to look for. If its primary ingredient is water, it is a good start.
First, I gave it a smell test. My nose was instantly greeted by a fresh mint smell, which is something I actually look for in “beauty” or “beard-y” products. Although some can be alcohol based and dry out the skin, those that are not can leave your hair and skin (or whatever else) feeling tingly and fresh. Not only was the smell pleasing, but the cream (8 oz, $24) itself was not too thick. My advice is to invest in a shaving brush, wet your palm and with a circular motion, thin out the shaving cream before application. This will ensure an even layer, instead of think gobs throughout your facial hair.
Since shaving should be pampering (despite being a necessity), I continued in the process with a soothing after shave lotion. It may sound like maintaining a beard is a lot of work (and it can be), but once you have quality products, you are going to want to use them more regularly. Crown’s after shave (4 oz, $18) contains aloe, coconut and jojoba (among many other natural ingredients). Don’t be as worried as I was. Once I read the word “coconut” I assumed I was going to smell like an air deodorizer from a taxi cab. The after shave’s scent is very subtle and is more important as a means to soothe the freshly shaved skin. Remember, you are taking a sharp blade to your skin – as tough as it is, it could use something nice to take the edge off. I felt like I was at a spa, completely relaxed as I let the after shave do the work.
The last step is upkeep and cleansing. A beard should always be washed, because we are human and stuff can get caught inside (crumbs, dust, you name it). Like the hair on your head, you are going to want to avoid washing it every day, but I like to do it every other day to be clean. As for conditioning, there is no real schedule to follow. I enjoyed Crown’s Peppermint Tea Tree conditioner (8 0z, $18) a lot because the tingle from the peppermint was quite a treat. I felt refreshed for hours after I used it, which has never happened to me from beard conditioning. It is something I will use all the time. Bonus: you’ll have the softest beard on the block. Soft beards exist ladies and gents and once you find one, you’ll instantly wonder why you ever hated facial hair in the first place (believe it or not, these people exist).
You can order an entire kit for 79 dollars on the website and it is delivered inside a gift box, which makes it perfect for the men in your life who need an extra stocking stuffer or are incredibly difficult to shop for.