– Sir Roger Moore in Live And Let Die, 1973. Photograph by AF archive/Alamy.
This article was first featured on MR PORTER, words by Cillian O’Connor.
How To Make Shaving A Joy Not A Chore
Riddle us this: what do 69 per cent of men hate doing and yet continue to do almost daily?
Work? Nope. Endure 7.00am HIIT sessions? Not quite. Catch up on WhatsApp groups they couldn’t care less about? Good guess, but no. The answer, dear readers, is shaving. That most necessary of evils that can too often feel like a total chore.
“The main reasons men cite for loathing, or just about coping with, shaving are that it’s boring and that it’s both literally and metaphorically painful,” says Mr James Jarvis, co-founder of Marram Co, a sophisticated Dublin-based grooming brand, available on MR PORTER, that plans to revolutionise men’s shaving experience.
According to Mr Jarvis, shaving shouldn’t be a burden so much as a restorative grooming ritual. Here are his four top tips for transforming your shave from downer to delight.
KEEP IT NATURAL
“A good shave isn’t all about the blade,” says Mr Jarvis. “To prevent post-shave burn, ensuring the skin and stubble are properly prepared for the blade is just as important.” Step one, swap chemical-crammed shaving creams for something closer to nature.
“It’s the artificial foaming agents, perfumes and alcohol in many men’s shaving creams that can cause that stinging feeling,” says Mr Jarvis, who recommends using plant-based products instead, such as Marram Co’s organic shaving creams and moisturisers, which are delicately scented with essential oils, including juniper, thyme and fir. Unlike products formulated with harsh additives, such as sulphates and synthetic fragrances, these natural alternatives offer a silky-smooth shave that’s kinder to skin.
While it might seem like an unnecessary extravagance, the traditional brush-and-bowl method of applying shaving cream far surpasses the rudimentary approach of, you know, just slapping it on with your hands.
But technique is everything. “Move the brush in a circular motion when applying the lather,” says Mr Jarvis. “This both lifts the hair up and away from the face and lightly exfoliates the skin.”
A rich lather also, Mr Jarvis points out, protects and nourishes the skin, acting as a barrier to stop the blade from slicing off the skin’s top layers, thereby preventing unsightly nicks and redness.
MAKE IT PERSONAL
Let’s face it, shaving is never going to compete with your favourite Netflix series in the entertainment stakes. But it needn’t be snooze-inducing either.
To keep things interesting, switch up your shaving creams now and then. “No two men are the same and not every shave needs to be the same,” says Mr Jarvis, who suggests matching your shaving cream to your mood. As well as its classic Wake Up Call cream made with invigorating lime, laurel leaf and vetiver, Marram Co offers a variety of options to suit a man’s needs, from Power Up, if you need “revitalising after a workout”, to Night Out “before a night on the town” (in which case, Mr Jarvis adds, you may also need The Morning After, a bracing mix of eucalyptus and orange bitter to bring you right back to life).
SHAVE IN STYLE
Like any job, shaving is best done with tools that are both fit for purpose and pleasing to look at.
“Plastic is never going to make for a pleasurable shaving experience,” says Mr Jarvis, who recommends eschewing disposable razors in favour of a true design statement, such as Marram Co’s brush, bowl and razor set.
“A good-quality brush is made with hair that can hold lots of water, which in turn helps create a thicker lather,” says Mr Jarvis. “Warm water in the lather is absorbed by the stubble, which incidentally has the same tensile strength as copper wire, and softens it by about 30 per cent, making it easier to cut through.”
Crafted from premium steel, chrome, rubber and badger hair and expertly designed by former Hugo Boss head of design Mr Paul Edwards, no less, this Marram Co ergonomic trio not only makes shaving a cinch, but looks smart in your bathroom cabinet, too. Sharp.