Ask the Barber

Below is a list of common questions and answers about shaving and the Gentlemens Refinery product line. If you have a grooming question please send an email to question@askthebarber.com.

    Key Highlights

  • 1m 40s - Perry discusses how and why he got into the shaving industry
  • 6m 54s - Perry discusses his reasoning behind starting The Gentlemen's Refinery and what makes his products different
  • 11m 27s - Why 'high-end' branded shaving products don't always equal well done!
  • 16m 09s - Perry and Robert discuss Shaving Oils and Pre - Shave Oils. What's the main difference, and what to look out for when buying one
  • 22m 45s - Perry explains the evolution of razors, from safety razors through to today's 5 blade cartridge razors
  • 23m 47s - A quick tip from Perry on how to care for your shaving brush using shampoo
  • 26m 54s - Perry reveals his favorite razor... apart from his cut throat of course
  • 33m 29s - Perry answers 3 questions asked by the Men's Shaving audience - Should you use a facial scrub before shaving? Can hair conditioner really improve your shave? How long should a cartridge razor blade REALLY last?

 

Ask The Barber Categories

Barber Questions

  • Q83: I'm so upset I honestly feel like crying. My grandson is mixed (race) and went to the barber for the first time. His aunt who is 18, took him to the barber to get his hair cut while he was at his dads for the weekend. The Barber gave him a very short cut ( shadow) I think is what my daughter called it...and he was cut right along the edge of his hair line, from one side of the forehead to the other side, and the same for the back of his his, bled and there is one long scab, and its lined up, the scab isn't squiggly as if my grandson was moving accept all the way to the right side of his face/hair line the scab is really thick, my guess is he moved when at that point from the continual pain, but the fact that he didn't move while being cut until then is surprising. My grandson will be three in a couple days so I know he cried, his father said that he was never taking him back there and will cut his hair from now on, but what I want to know is , is this normal? How did this happen? I have never seen this before on a kid with that short of hair. He cut him....this barber literally cut him. Is it normal for little kids to have this happen, and why the heck would the barber keep going, was the blade too sharp? I am furious, and I know my grandson will never want to get his hair cut again. Frances

    A83: The good news is that your Grandson will get past this in time, and likely get many many fine haircuts and Barber experience...from a Barber who has pride and takes care in performing his/her trade as a professional. Now for the Barber in question and your Grandson's experience. This is not normal. The Barber was too aggressive with him and caused him pain, this is negligent and not acceptable. If you are inclined, don't hesitate to send this Barber pictures and a note voicing your concerns. If not, make certain that you research Barbers for your grandson in the future...the best references come from referral i.e. ask people that you see have good work performed on them or their children for a Barber referral. On behalf of all Barbers, I apologize for your experience with this anomaly within our proud profession. Please don't give up on us!

  • Q82: Are you aware of any reputable old fashioned barber schools still up and running in the U.S. anywhere? preferably in Nevada or Western U.S. Rick

    A82: I am not officially affiliated with any Barber school at this point, however we do have plans for a TGR branded Barber school in the future. There is a very reputable and fine Barber school that I am aware of in Salt Lake City. It is called “The Barber School”. Richard takes great pride in what he does and I would recommend having a conversation with him.

  • Q81: What is the best thing to apply to a clients face after a cut&shave? Is alcohol good? William

    A81: No! Alcohol on the face is very drying and can cause many adverse affects. To name just a few, ingrown hairs, pain, and premature aging...nothing good at all comes from alcohol splashes for the face! I would suggest an alcohol free after shave balm that is PH balanced and designed to close pours while healing. I developed and produce this type of after shave balm to stop the insanity of the alcohol splash! Please stop!

  • Q80: I go to a local barber to get my hair cut once every 2 months. When he cuts my line, it leaves these bumps on the back of my neck that don't go away between hair cuts. what are they, and is there anything I can do to get rid of them? I've tried shampoo, rubbing alcohol, soap, everything. Any suggestions? Lav J

    A80: Yes...suggestion 1, if he is lining you up with a straight razor, ask the Barber to shave you as lightly as possible, and most importantly to change the blade using a new blade only for you...do not be shy about this, it is the law in every state! 2, if he is using clippers, ask him to spray them with antiseptic spray before using them on you and also to shave you very lightly... you are reacting to bacteria and or getting ingrown hairs. If the problem is ingrown hairs, the lighter shave will help. You should also use a light cleanser and moisturizer daily on the neck. All of these suggestions should make this issue a distant memory.

  • Q79: I'm 18 years old and have a swirl on the right side of my cheek. Its very hard to shave there.. is there a way to make it straight ?? and how can I shave that area smoothly and without irritation or bumps... and some areas of my beard are uneven... my mustache doesn't connect with chin hair... will it grow in future.. or will i have to take action... ?? Anonymous

    A79: Thank you for the picture of the swirl on your face. These are very common, also common for your age (18) is your partial and or sparse barba (facial hair/beard). You need not worry as it pertains to either issue you are encountering. First the swirl and irritation shaving...shave lightly over the swirl and or any other sensitive areas and in the same direction every time you shave, also use a good pre-shave oil, and an after shave balm that will heal and close pours without alcohol. As for the sparse growth, this will very likely fill in over time, if it does not, the best way to make the sparse growth inconspicuous is to shave daily.

  • Q78: I am a black male who keeps a bald haircut but I only use trimmers to do it. Due to the sensitivity of my scalp I stay away from actual blades to shave my head. Currently I'm using battery operated trimmers to get the closest cut possible, but in order to get the best results I have to let my hair grow for a few days before I can cut again and get a good close cut. Because I'm trying to keep a more consistent look, I am considering buying corded clippers so that I can consistently keep "the bald" look without waiting a few days and was wondering if you could suggest the proper type to get. Quinn

    A78: I have no affiliation to any brand of clippers, however I would suggest the "Wahl Chrome Pro"...they are about $40, and adjustable... triple 000 (about bald)to number 1 (very short)... they should be quite suitable for your needs.

  • Q77: I was wondering if you could help me out with advice for my hair. My hair is thick (two cowlicks at least) and curly, so it's impossible to manage and get a style going, which is why for the past 10 years I've been flat ironing straight (I'm 29.) I usually try to keep it about 3 or 4 inches long on top and 1 or 2 inches on the side (long enough that my flat iron grab) but presently my hair is longer, probably 5" top 4" sides, and at this length it's flat and styleless on top (side swept bangs) and the sides and back are poofy and dry. I need a change.. I've noticed a current trend that I like, the really short sides and longer swept back top (beckham/beiber) and was wondering if I could pull this off with my curly thickness. Amir C

    A77: With the extreme curliness of your hair, the change you are asking about may have to be modified slightly...I would suggest extremely close on the sides so that it appears straight and almost no graduation at the meeting of length on top. In other words, super short to your temple tops, then as long as you feel looks appropriate on top. This will help you manage it with the flat iron. Change is good and I'm certain you will be glad you did it, especially as well as you manage your somewhat unmanageable hair...until the next change!

  • Q76: I've been wet shaving for about 5 months now. I started out with a DE safety razor and still use it on my problem areas ie.. Upper lip and parts of my chin. Recently I have started using a Straight and enjoy it. I'm fine with the Straight on the sides of my face and my neck. The only problem I have is my upper lip and lower lip, and under my chin as it curves. I can't even get a decent pass under my chin with the DE, thus I always end up resorting to a cartridge razor for under my chin. Any advice re. my chin would be most helpful. Also I use a pre-shave to help keep the razor smooth and provide a glide. Dave M.

    A76: Congratulations on your progress so far with the straight razor. I would suggest for the time being that you do resort to the DE for problem areas as there is no tried and true universal technique for straight razor shaving oneself. Based on what you've described I will suggest you not move your face i.e. tense up the skin around your mouth...the looser the skin around tour mouth the better...open mouth relaxed jaw is the best advice I can give. As far as the chin, it is a matter of angles and comfort for you. I will suggest that you choose a point in the middle of your chin, and that you shave to the point, and or away from it, use it as a pivot point. Remember as you continue to find your comfort zone and as you improve, use more pre-shave oil on trouble areas...apply and re-apply. My tips would obviously be easier to show in person, however I do hope I have been of some assistance. Keep up the good work, those who can shave themselves with a straight razor proficiently are few and far between.

  • Q75: I have many times asked people who cut my to please make it look "English or European aristocracy or upper class." Most people do not even know what I'm asking them to do; but as you know, you know what it looks like when you see it. I like that style. If you went to a hair stylist for the movies or the theatre, they would know how to cut it. What would be the instructions to the person cutting hair for achieving this look? I am a male in my early 60's with thick, straight hair....fortunately, still a lot of it.

    A75: I believe the best way to describe your desired look would be as follows. Tapor the back, cut around the ears and graduate sides to length of top, leave top longer, approximately 3 inches long, and cut precisely (very evenly). This should get you the desired look. You will have to use some sort of fixative...pomade, light gel, etc... If possible print a picture form a computer image, and take it with you. I ‘d suggest going to an upscale established Barber for this.

  • Q74: I am a 40 year old male that shaves daily after taking a hot shower and using hot towels to ensure my skin is prepared before starting. My routine then consists of applying the GR unscented pre shave oil and then applying the unscented shave cream with my fingers. After letting the cream sit for a few minutes I begin shaving with the grain on my cheeks and finishing up with my neck. My facial hair is such that I do require a second pass against the grain to get a smooth shave. I finish up by rinsing with warm water and then splash cold water to close the pores. I then apply the GR unscented after shave balm to finish. I do however continue to experience some redness and bumps on both sides of my neck that do go away if I don't shave for a couple of days. Unfortunately I'm a business professional that needs to be clean shaven 5 days a week. What can I do to help reduce or eliminate these red bumps? Andrew W Canada

    A74: Your problem is common. Some relief will come from lightening up on the pressure you use in the problem area. So shave as normal everywhere except the problem areas, in those areas ease up about 50 percent on pressure. This will not produce the same results, however it will appear visually well shaved. Two more suggestions, first, and this is more trouble... If you are using a Fusion or something like it, try a machIII, or DE razor (fewer blades) just for the area in question, again using half of your normal pressure. The other suggestion would be to use our moisturizer after the ASB dries completely. Sometimes when we wear a shirt and tie, or even scarves, they will aggravate the sensitive skin on our necks. Try to make sure the products are completely dry before buttoning up. I used to use a blow dryer on cold to dry my neck when I had to wear business attire daily as I experienced the same thing you do.

  • Q73: I wear very *very* short hair-1/4 to 1/8 on top and 1/32 or even way less when I can get it, with home clippers. One thing I remember from my military days is that 1. A majority of my barbers were older black or white men, or Asian women, and 2. WOW they could cut fast and skin tight with those Osters! I also never remember having any scalp irritation when they did it. What can I put on my scalp when cutting to reduce some of that irritation? I finish with a combination of Thayers SuperHazel, and a lotion called Kanwa that I use on my face after DE shaving. Do you have any suggestions for pre-cut scalp care? Thanks. CAS

    A73: There are likely a couple of causes for your issue, first, you have a sensitive scalp/skin, second, the clipper the barber's are using are likely not being sanitized properly between clients. I would suggest you take a different approach to avoiding scalp irritation going forward, in other words, the "immediate after cut" care is the correct preventive approach in your case. If offered at the shops you frequent, have your hair and scalp washed and conditioned immediately following the haircut, if not offered, go home and do it yourself. This should end the issue permanently, allow you a worry free experience, and the desired look of a Barber haircut.

  • Q72: I'm in my mid 20's, African American male, and have been shaving my head for 2 years now due rapidly disappearing hairline. I've suffered from very noticeable bumps on the back of my neck and also to a lesser extent my face and beard area. I use mach 3 razors (have tried depilatory creams without a close even result). I've also tried bump no more, acne creams as well as various moistures / PH creams. I'm at loss as to how I can move forward or if I'll be able to ever get rid of this folliculitis. Any help, advice or suggestions on alternative actions would be greatly appreciated. Jason

    A72: The best way to attack foliculitis is to precisely follow a multi level approach. Here is the process I recommend. 1. wash face in shower 2. apply Pre Shave Oil followed by shave cream 3. remember only make a single pass with the grain of growth in problem areas 4. after shaving, wash with a ph balanced face wash or shampoo 5. a cold rinse followed by The GR ASB, this will instantly regulate your skins ph level, help seal the skin and provide a bit of moisture 6. Moisturize the entire head with The GR moisturizer for protection and balance throughout the day 7. at bed time repeat steps 4 & 6 on your head Also, remember to change your blade frequently, every other shave if possible, and please stay away from any product containing alcohol (any form ending in “hyl” or “pyl”. If these recommendations are followed and results are not exemplary, and the bumps persist, please be sure to see a dermatologist. My strong feeling is that you will be very happy with the results.

  • Q71: How can I keep my head bald? Should i shave every night? What is the best solution?

    A71: I would definitely shave your head every night for a clean look. Please use the blade of choice, my recommendation is to shave with the Gillette fusion, Schick hydro 3 or 5, or the any blade you feel most comfortable using. Please note that the skin on your head is super sensitive, as such, it would be beneficial to use a pre shave oil to protect the skin, and an after shave balm to regulate the skin after shaving daily.

  • Q70: I have sensitive skin, heavy dark beard that grows kind of curly and used to get ingrown hairs and dry skin from shaving. I started using the Mach III and really learned how to shave with the grain and then across it and find that my shaves are really close and and smooth and my stubble for some reason seems to grow back not as coarse as it does when I use a DE nor as fast. In other words, my close shave seems to last longer. The other thing I noticed is that my skin is much softer and moisturized after shaving with the cartridges. I can use a DE pretty well at this point, but my skin always is more dry postshave no matter how careful I shave with it and my stubble seems to grow back more coarsely as well. Do you have any ideas or opinions on why the cartridges (when used properly) seem to leave the skin in better shape and cause the stubble to grow back softer? The only drawback to the cartridges is that it's much easy to get ingrowns if you're not careful. Marion A

    A70: Try the new Schick Hydro 5 (or Hydro 3) ...they are great. These razors just came out, and I find the results unparalleled. I think I've shared with you how sensitive my skin is while shaving in the past, and these things are great... I've even found I can use the same blade for much longer than I can the Mach III, or Fusion razors .

  • Q69: I am 47 with a moderately course beard. I switched from Mach 3s to DEs about a year ago and can get a very close comfortable shave. I've been experimenting with straights the past 6 months. There are aspects about them that I really like and aspects I find a pain. There are two differences I find between them in terms of attaining a close comfortable shave. First, my beard on the lower half of my neck grows almost directly to the side. Making things more interesting, I have a fairly pronounced trachea, creating a valley between the muscular structure on the side of my neck and my windpipe. With a 1.5" wide DE, I can easily traverse this landscape directly sideways to achieve a nice against the grain stroke. With a 3" straight, it is very difficult to get across my neck and traverse this landscape. Second, I find my against the grain stroke with a straight under my chin to be fairly uncomfortable. Interestingly, I can shave myself quite comfortably with a straight everywhere else. I am currently laying the blade almost flat against my skin on my against the grain stroke and using a bit of a slicing and a bit of a scything action. On a final note, it has always bothered me that I cannot achieve as close and comfortable a shave with a modern razor as I can a single blade. I know, there's all the hype on the wet shaving forums about how single blades are still superior shavers, but is that really true? I see a lot of guys out there with very close shaves and I'm sure that few, if any, are using single blades. I've always wondered if there's a technique I've missed to maximize the effectiveness of modern razors. Michael B.

    A69: My advice and recommendations are as follows. It will be very difficult to match the results of a DE, or cartridge razors with a straight razor given your face' landscape, and the directional growth patterns of your hair. With angle, pressure, and blade size limitations, it will be very difficult to achieve a consistently close, comfortable shave with a straight razor. I must say that I am proud of you for mastering it for the most part...bravo! Speaking to the cartridge v. the DE or straight, my thoughts can be found throughout the Ask the Barber Q&A forum here. In short, I believe on aggregate with more care and some thoughtfulness with respect to shaving process, proper shaving product choice, usage, and support, the cartridge blade will provide the most comfortable, close, and quickest shave for most of us. You are a special case however, so please keep in mind I am referring to "most" of us!

  • Q68: I have a curly beard and would like to know your thoughts on the best razor to use. Should I be using a DE or a multi-blade razor. I currently use a DE with pretty good results, it takes me a lot longer to shave with a de than a multi-blade razor. I heard the new 5 blade razors are suppose to reduce irritation and ingrown hairs. Any input would be appreciated. Rick, San Diego

    A68: Thank you for your questions. I think for the most part, a 5 blade or cartridge razor is more "practical" also a safe choice for today's man. Even though I believe there is great value in DE (double edged blade) shaving on a couple of fronts, i.e. blade cost, and the "one blade, one pass" theory of possibly reducing irritation and ingrown hairs, for those prone to shaving adversities such as irritation and ingrown facial hair, shaving in the direction of beard growth with a cartridge blade in most cases perform more efficiently and produce better results than a DE shave and can be achieved in less time. For Men today, time is of essence, and most of us appreciate a close, multi directional shave. I believe today's cartridge shave provides much more protection and comfort with less time and effort spent. All that said, if your results; DE vs. cartridge razors are similar your ultimate decision will be based on cost not comfort or quality.

  • Q67: Does exfoliating (but not washing) prior to a shave help the process in any way? Does it make a difference if you have some ingrown hairs from a previous rough shave? Finn C.

    A67: Exfoliating before you shave can do more harm than good. If you’re shaving closely after using vigorous exfoliating scrubs, your chances of experiencing lasting irritation from blades significantly increases. The best way to exfoliate pre shave, is with a silvertip badger hair shave brush...this should provide precisely enough exfoliation, and help with prevention of persistent and lasting irritation, and ingrown facial hair.

  • Q66: Hello, I've been using your standard shave cream for a about a year and half (can't believe how long it's lasted) with a DE saftey razor. Is it alright to use a brush, when u are using a pre-shave oil? also, i have some trouble getting close shaves under the chin/nose, and I was wondering if u had any tips. Could I use a electric micro-trimmer without causing adverse effects? Thanks-love ur products,,, Chandar

    A66: Yes you may use The Gentlemens Refinery Pre Shave Oil with a any shaving brush, it will not build up...just remember to rinse very well after each use. As far as using the hair trimmer, that sounds fine, you shouldn't run in to many, if any adversities. I would like to know more about your shaving process before I can answer completely. Why aren't you able to shave closely under your chin? Please let me know more, if and when convenient..

  • Q65: I have a question for you about barber training. I've always been drawn to places that offer a classic straight razor shave. As you might imagine, my experiences range from incredible to horrific, depending on the knowledge and proficiency of the barber. As a Master Barber yourself, is there anything specific I should look for when it comes to finding someone who knows their way around a straight razor? Is there any specific training or credentials that I should look for when seeking this service? David R., 129/2009

    A65: I can of course only vouch for the men and women I have trained. That in no way means that they are the best and or only choices, only that they are the only ones I can verify are sanitary, extremely proficient, and practise the highest level of customer service. Incidentally, please visit our Barber services page to find one. A straight razor is a very "involved" process where trust and skill are essential ingredients. It would be in the best interest of anyone looking for have a straight razor shave, to look at cleanliness, and in general a good question may be to ask how many shave per week a Barber is doing...a good place to start...if the Barber is doing more than 5 per week, and he/she and the shop are clean, give it a go!

  • Q64: My question is do vibrating razors make a difference? Edmar L., 12/9/2009

    A64: Only in rare cases where the absolute closest shave one can achieve with a cartridge blade is essential, will a vibrating blade make the slightest difference. In my opinion, one is better off using the non vibrating blade simply because I believe blade life is longer. Shave results, and post shave skin condition differences are negligible.

  • Q63: I would like to try shaving cream instead of the soap I have been using. I use a good brush as I like the invigorating feel in the morning. There are so many choices in creams...where should I start? Alan W. 12/9/2009

    A63: With shave cream you must determine skin type, beard density, etc... now, I can only speak for our creams of course...I recommend as follows... Unscented: Good for all skin and beard types, very sensitive to normal skin, and all beard types... The Standard: Normal skin to slightly sensitive skin, all beard types... Black Ice: Normal skin, all beard types... I do hope this helps just a bit. I must add that all of our products are natural, and organic ingredients are used wherever possible. The benefit of using natural and organic products, particularly when shaving are numerous, however the main benefit is that the skin is extremely vulnerable, and absorption of whatever is on the skin is accelerated, so using products that have fewer synthetics, and possible side effects is just smarter and more conscientious for overall health and wellbeing.

  • Q62: I would really like to wet shave but however I always end up with terrible dry and tight skin after shaving no matter what after shave balm I use. For this reason I do shave with an electric razor which results in an okay shave. Thanks. Rick A. 7/7/2009

    A62: Here's my best suggestion...use TGR pre shave oil to shave with. Use it on a well prepared moist face with or without the addition of shave cream, and shave as normal, This will cure the dry skin, itching, etc... you currently experience. You can follow up with our unscented balm, and moisturizer to your entire face and ears for added moisture and benefit. This will most certainly solve your issue. Thanks Rick

  • Q61: What is After Shave Conditioner and how does it differ from After Shave. If they're basically the same, then why would one use one or the other. I've noticed that a lot of shaving sets come with one or the other and sometimes both. Doug B. Pomona, CA 4/27/2009

    A61: After Shave conditioner is just another term for after shave cream, balm, etc. That said all after shave's are NOT equal, nor are they similar in ingredient makeup, or goal result. “After shave” can be a traditional aromatic alcohol based splash, another can be a very thick moisturizing agent…they vary so greatly in my experience that I could likely fill this page describing the many forms. I can tell you only that our TGR ASB is uniquely formulated and effectively designed to cool, heal by increasing blood flow, moisturize, and return the skin to its normal ph level immediately.

  • Q60: I use TGR shaving cream unscented, and it gives a really nice feeling to my skin. However, it does seem to produce less lather than my privies cream. Can this be due to my brush or am I using to little cream? I do find that there is a fair amount of cream on the brush. I have read that you can apply TGR shaving cream directly to the face with your hands. I tried this ones, but I didn’t get a nice lather that way. Is it possible to use such a method? Francis N. 4/17/2009

    A60: You know we’ve never heard that our cream doesn’t lather enough when applied with a brush? It’s funny? There is actually a link on youtube where an independent party happens to show the lathering effects of TGR shave cream…quite remarkable what he was able to produce from so little! It was recently brought to my attention. If interested in seeing it, go to youtube and search keywords “Gentlemens Refinery”. When applying by hand, almost no lather will or should be evident, the cream is more slippery and thin when adding water and applying by hand. I prefer this application most of the time, it is in my opinion a little more protective of the skin in this state, and I have extremely sensitive skin.

  • Q59: I've traditionally used a typical drug store brand razor all my life and I’ve always had the same issue. After I have completed a shave i still have a shadow or an outline in my skin where my beard used to be. Someone has recommended a DE Razor do you think that this will help me with my situation or is it something I will just have to live with. I am a bit hesitant to use the DE Razor because I have never used one before but if it helps the issue I’ll be willing to learn. Harpreet B. 4/12/2009

    A59: Quite honestly I’m not sure the DE will solve the problem? This problem is more prevalent with pigmented, or darker skin…especially with heavier beards. What I recommend is using TGR pre shave oil, TGR unscented after shave balm, and moisturizing daily the area(s) in question with TGR Moisturizer for several weeks immediately after shaving…especially if you’re thinking of using the DE. By the way, the most common purpose of recommending the DE for your specific issue is to get a closer shave, thus removing or reducing the shadow, however this is definitely not your issue! Again, you’ll likely be the first to agree that you’ve shaved the area closely with the same or even more pronounced issue? This is normally an “inconsistent” skin hydration issue causing the discoloration. My advice will normally help, or clear the issue up.

  • Q58: Should I be embarrassed asking the barber how they go about keeping tools clean in their shop? Thanks Steve G. Boston, MA 3/16/2009

    A58: What a great question! At no time should you hesitate asking your Barber how they sterilize their tools (before and after each use), change their razor blades(new for each client), sanitize their combs and brushes (constantly in between clients), wash their capes (at least daily, we use new capes on each client in our partner shops), and on and on… If you’re not comfortable with the answers, I’d suggest voicing your concerns. Really good question again! Thanks!

  • Q57: . I feel that I don't get a close enough shave in moustache and neck area. And I also have razor burn issues on neck and part of face. I shave everyday, but usually don't one day a week to let my skin heal some. Do you need / recommend using a brush for using your products? I use a mach 3. Also, do you recommend washing face before shaving? Gabe H., 2/17/2009

    A57: Your issues are not uncommon. My recommendations are as follows; our Pre Shave Oil will assist or solve your razor burn symptoms, also our After Shave Balm (Unscented) will aid immensely in the skin recovery process. You may not have to skip days anymore! Our Shave Cream does not require a brush, in fact I use it (Unscented) daily without a brush, and love it (biased but true)! As for washing your face before shaving, I believe that this is a myth, and proves useless…you should actually wash your face (with a PH balanced face wash) after shaving, and before applying the TGR After Shave Balm. I would also recommend changing your blade after every other, or third shave. These recommendations should improve your situation immediately.

  • Q56: I am new to your site & found it very enlightening. My question is my son is a black male that has these festery bumps at the nap of his neck, they started out small but has become a larger mass that really looks sensitive & painful. He states they itch sometimes & looks to be spreading to me. I suspect he allowed someone to cut his hair to close or use unsanitize clippers. He has beautiful waves & keeps his head well groomed. I have seen men with this & would not wish this upon anyone & if it is not taken care of I am afraid it will look like one big mass of scar tissue in the back of his head. We also live in Florida where it is hot & humid most of the time & he works out in the elements wearing a baseball cap & I suspect that is not helpful as well. I would appreciate any suuggestion/direction you can offer in correcting this concern. Don W. FL, 1/12/2009

    A56: Your son has folliculitis, and or bacteria spread/build up, this is very common. Everything you explained i.e. the elements, his cap wearing, wavy hair, etc.. are contributing factors. My suggestions are as follows…he should keep the area concerned as clean (soap or shampoo) as possible, wash his caps daily, and moisturize (with TGR Moisturizer) the area several times daily, and after each shower. Also, he should immediately wash, and moisturize the area after each trip to the groomer. If he grooms himself, he should spray the implements used with “clippercide” (anti bacterial spray available at any beauty supply) before and after use. If he follows this regimen, he should see a major and lasting improvement within 3 to 4 weeks.

  • Q55: How do I prevent my beard from itching especially in the winter? Murphy S. Baltimore, MD 1/12/2009

    A55: Best way to prevent itchy beard “all” of the time (especially winter) is to wash with shampoo (yes), rinse extremely well, then moisturize the skin under the whiskers with TGR Moisturizer.

  • Q54: On my cheeks I can only shave with the grain due to the sensitivity..I use a double edge and take two passes but I end up with the 5:00 shadow at 1:00. I have been using TGR PSO (pre shave oil) and love the shave I get with it but I still have to (only) shave with the grain. Any thoughts or do I just have to except it for what it is. John H., Altoona, PA 9/17/2008

    A54: The best thing I can suggest, and you may not like this, is to keep a cartridge razor and blades handy just for the cheeks. I would recommend the vibrating fusion. Admitted or not, this is common amongst DE shavers with extreme skin sensitivities. Particularly since you're using our PSO, going across, or even against the grain should not create adverse effects. One tip I have when using this blade is to use "very light" pressure when going across or against the grain. You shouldn't notice any 5 o'clock shadows until at least 5!

  • Q53: I am a young (25) english chap attempting to grow a mustache. The hair on my lip towards the edges of my lips seems to grow in wiry patches and is a little 'red'. I am brown haired, and though I do not dislike red hair it looks somewhat strange and disjointed. The hair beneath my nose however grows in a far more pleasing manner. It is quite dark, full and already developing a natural curve. Due to the state of things and my taste, I think it would be nice to grow a handlebar, dali or english mustache (styles I have seen referred to) as it seems that these may be grown from under the nose out - taking advantage of the natural qualities and shape of things. I think I could then continue to shave my outer lip. I fully admit I am somewhat confused, but I do not wish to give up! Am I right in my assumptions and have you any advice on how to proceed? Tom S. United Kingdom 8/28/2008

    A53: I believe you're on the right track with your mustache. I can recommend using some light hair gel, and or mustache wax to help guide the growth as you go. Also regarding the red in your beard, if at some point it becomes disagreeable, you may want to color it?

  • Q52: I currently shave my head using hair clippers with no gradient/adapter on it, and its bringing me out in small red spots around my hairline and dotted across my scalp, I assumed these were ingrowing hairs and have been exfoliating the skin to try and prevent this, but this doesn't seem to work! Can you suggest something to stop this happening please? Mark G. United Kingdom 7/28/2008

    A52: I would suggest a couple of things, first make certain the clippers are extremely clean, you should spray with clippercide (or equivalent), then don’t let them touch your scalp directly. Use a clean guard (smallest you can find) as sometimes the pulling, and or scraping of the clippers straight on the scalp will cause ingrown hairs, and even spread rashes. Also directly after using the clippers, wash (shampoo) and seal (TGR After Shave Balm) the scalp. These suggestions should help significantly with your issue.

  • Q51: I’m a 38yr old African American man and for many years I have been using “Magic Shave” depilatory or clippers because of issues with in-grown hair and razor bumps. I just recently switched to a Merkur DE (shaving daily, 2 passes with the grain) and the first week was great...no issues at all!!!! My last shave, however, left me with slight razor bumps on my neck near my throat. I heard African American men shouldn’t shave daily because of the texture of our hair, others tell me that everyday shaving is recommended because it “trains” your beard. My question(s): How often should African American men (or men with thick, curly facial hair) shave with DE razors? Can you recommend any certain technique for those of us with this type of hair to reduce or eliminate bumps? More importantly, is a DE a good option for me? Noel N., San Francisco, CA 6/12/2008

    A51: This issue is subjective to each individual’s skin type and growth pattern, however I’d be happy to make a couple of recommendations. First I think you’re on the right track shaving daily, there are many reasons I subscribe to daily shaving particularly for bumps and the like, however the main reason is; the implementation of proper method and maintenance, is surely the best way to rid yourself of bumps for life. The DE is actually the perfect choice for your issue. I’d recommend a using a Pre Shave Oil (TGR), a new blade for each shave, utilize a single pass in the area in question, finally wash face and apply a ph balanced balm (TGR Unscented of course) immediately following the shave. Also, make sure to moisturize your face after the balm dries, and at least a couple of more times daily. These recommendations should assist greatly. Keep up the good work!

  • Q50: What do you think about electric shavers. Are they good for skin health? Carlos N., Rio De Janeiro, Brazil 5/29/2008

    A50: Thanks for your question. In my opinion electric shavers are an acceptable option for men. That said I believe a lot of guys don’t maintain them or use them properly (apologies if your one that does). An electric shaver is not a substitute for wet shaving, it is generally a quick and mediocre solution to removing barba (facial hair). The inherent problems are poor results, improper cleaning and maintenance of the machine, and the lack of pre and post shave support for the skin. First the results, compared to a proper wet shave, results are at best mediocre. I know a bunch of marketing dollars (usually in the form of a stud with at least one beautiful woman hanging on his arm while he gazes at himself in a mirror touching his face) say otherwise, but as everyone out there that has tried both can attest to, there is no comparison to the results attainable by wet shaving. Next, the ease of use of electric shavers usually leads to complacency in replacing heads in a timely manner, and cleaning the machine properly leading to the possibility of conducting the spread of oils and other funguses such as folliculitis. Next, when thinking of the electric shave we all picture the guy in the car, airplane, or subway giving his face the once over before he gets where he’s going …in reality if that’s what you’re doing on a regular basis, I would recommend against it vehemently! The skin is ruffed up significantly using the electric, thus one needs to use proper method i.e. pre shave oil or ointment (yes TGR works beautifully with reduced volume), post shave face wash, then ultimately application of a Moisturizer and or After Shave Balm (yes again, TGR would work beautifully). The moral is electric shavers are fine, however proper use and maintenance are essential.

  • Q49: For some reason every time I shave my mustache. I get a very light shawdowy type glow above my lip That stays there until my mustache grows back. Do you what this might be? If so how can I prevent this glow from occurring after I shave. I often keep my mustache thick because I am ashamed of this "glow". But I am supposed to join the army real soon. Which means I would have to keep it trimmed. I just want to get this together before I leave. Cedric S., MD 5/13/2008

    A49: I have only a couple of suggestions and some not so immediate good news. First the good news, this entire situation will pass in time, when we men are young (15-25 y.o.) our skin and hair are ever changing....mine used to grow more on one side than the other, then there was a period of time when I had such sensitive skin I couldn't touch my face for a couple of days after shaving. I also had skin discoloration, mine it turns out was dry skin(most likely your issue as well) and a poor shaving regimen...this is where my suggestions come in; first I would recommend shaving the area daily using a pre shave oil, and followed up with quick face wash with shampoo, then finally face moisturizer. Remember to keep the entire face (even the skin under your goatee) moisturized, you can apply often throughout the day, after a while your skim will regulate itself. If you do this for a few weeks, you'll see a marked difference. Best of luck with you enlistment, and be safe young Ced, we want you using TGR for a long, long time!

  • Q48: I notice that you don't offer Double Edge razors for sale. I understand that once you get the hang of them, they give a closer and less irritating shave than the multi blade cartridges. is that the case? Tony C., NY, NY 5/5/2008

    A48: You are putting me on the spot here…the short answer is yes. You can get a closer less irritating shave with fewer adverse after effects using a DE razor, however a couple of things to consider, becoming proficient enough, and or devoting the necessary time needed to attain this level of proficiency is another story. I have been shaving people with a straight razor (same idea as DE, single blade), and training other Barbers to do so for many years and must tell you, even the Barbers I train with full mobility around the client, optimum lighting, perfect prep, the finest blades, and perfect angles don’t get it! So my answer is yes, but…you have to work at it!

  • Q47: 1) I see that you often recommend washing one's face with a "pH balanced" formula. Are there any in particular that you recommend? There are so many on the market and each company has their own line of 3 or 4 different products. It is madness! I'd appreciate any tips for face washing that you have as I feel this area of my skin care is lacking. 2) My parents visited me recently and I had my dad sample your aftershave balm. He uses an high-end Braun electric but really liked the feel of your aftershave. Would he benefit from your aftershave and moisturizer or is it only for us blade shavers? Also, he was wondering if your company makes one of those pre-electric shaving prep solutions or if you could recommend a good one. He's occasionally uses the stuff from Williams that you buy in a drugstore, but I thought maybe you guys could do better. Ben S., Lincoln, NE, 5/5/2008

    A47: 1) As far as a ph balanced soap/face wash, I use a ph balanced (to the skin 5.5 on ph scale) formula I have been testing for TGR for the past year, so making a recommendation ??? I've used so many previously? I normally recommend ph balanced shampoo's used as an after shave face wash because they are readily available, however please be advised our all in one (hair, scalp, face, and body) ph balanced all natural wash is almost ready! Looks like July/August, and it's fantastic! 2) The electric shaver is of course adverse to optimum skin condition, and of course your Dad would benefit greatly from our ASB, and Moisturizer. As far as a pre "electric" shave oil/prep, our TGR pre shave oil is great for pre "electric" shave prep, just be sure to use only a half to one full pump depression and to work in well...it will not affect the razor, and will provide protective and healing properties. We don't advertise it as a pre "electric" shave because we are primarily a wet shave company.

  • Q46: Soon after I shave, brown liquid begins to ooze from my pores towards the top of my cheeks right under my eyes? It looks like dirt until you touch it and i can gently squeeze my face and it will just ooze out in many, many pores. What may this be? Should I be concerned? Lenny W., 3/24/2008

    A46: The condition you described sounds normal, this is likely just oil buildup. It can usually be remedied by a face wash and skin conditioning routine. My suggestion would be to use a ph balanced face wash of your choosing after shaving followed up by TGR unscented an after shave balm, then the TGR moisturizer, and finally TGR under eye gel. What this does is keep the area clean and sufficiently regulated with moisture so the skin doesn’t excrete an unusually high volume of oil, and essentially regulates itself. After a week or so of this routine, you’ll forget you ever had an issue!

  • Q45: I just started using premium shaving creams and brushes, and I was wondering what the best way is to lather up. Some advise putting the cream on the face, and some use dishes. In addition, it seams that the shaving soap is recommended for men who have more time to prep in the morning. Is the soap better if I have mor time to prep? John B., Chicago IL, 2/8/2008

    A45: I recommend the dip/twirl, or the shave cream placed in the core of the brush by hand methods. The dip/twirl method is wetting/soaking your brush for 30-60 seconds, whipping off the excess or dripping water, then simultaneously dipping and twirling the brush into the tub. The other method involves the same soaking wetting of your brush as previously outlined, then dipping a finger in your shave cream removing a nickel sized dollop and placing it into the core/middle of the brush, then proceed to lather. Of course your face should be pre moistened, and prepared adequately (shower, or hot towels) as well. Regarding shaving soaps, although they do an adequate job, they are certainly not better than cream (at least TGR) in any case. They are hard soaps with a lesser glycerin or slippery content, and in my opinion are more drying, and or less conditioning than creams in general, and certainly not as effective as TGR creams.

  • Q44: I am 25 years old and i have a shaving-ralated problem which i hope you can help me work out. The problem is a spot on my neck (just next to my larynx) where the direction of the grain is just, well, chaos. almost like a swirl. No matter how carefull i am shaving this particular area, it always ends up with with severe irritation, ingrown hairs, bloodshed and so on. If i keep from shaving for a few days it will heal but as soon as i start its the same story all over again. What do you think i should do? Roger W., Sweden 2/4/2008

    A44: Your issue is not uncommon in men your age, in fact I have 2 swirls that caused me many ruined shirts in my youth. Believe me, your issue will subside naturally over time, however for some instant relief I would recommend 2 additions or changes to your routine. First I would recommend shaving the area in question with a Gillette mach III blade (better blade angle consistency), again maintaining (as much as possible) a with the grain method, changing it weekly, next the addition of our TGR unscented After Shave Balm immediately after washing your face "post shave" would be of great benefit as it instantly begins healing and sealing the skin.

  • Q43: I am a 26 y/o man with a not so thick beard and very sensitive skin. I shave every 3 days when i look like a caveman or a criminal. I do this because this is the best way that I can eleminate all those annoying razor bumps and little pimples that only have white liquid come out of them. First off I shave in the shower, I wait 5 mins then lather up and shave. When I get out I trim my sideburns and shave the bottoms of them. Later on in the day I notice that I get 1 or 2 mega pimples. Now my question.. What are those pimples? They usually happen slighly below the jaw line on my neckish area. I dont mind them because I'd rather get them than those ones I get form shaving every 2 days. I use a fusion. What are those pimples and what to they come from? Keith M., Vandergrift, PA 1/14/2008

    A43: What you are describing is a common occurrence for men, especially young men. The quick answer is that these (skin pregnancies) are a form of ingrown hairs. This means that you need to take extra care with shaving technique, and follow up with products designed to help avoid this issue. I’ll tell you now that there are no guarantees, however if you use the following guidelines, you should achieve much more satisfactory results. First it’s important you do not shave against the grain in the problem areas. This is a pain but if you’re not shaving for two or three days at a time already this won’t matter. The fusion blades are good (especially if they are gratis) but tend to shave close, so be or become aware of the direction of growth in the problem area, and shave with the growth! Next use a pre shave oil before lathering (btw that shave cream you use should be changed for something alcohol free) up, then wash your face with shampoo (yes) when done shaving, apply after shave balm, then when balm dries finish up with moisturizer. All TGR of course! You will see marked improvement, and will likely be able to shave more often!

  • Q42: I use an electric shaver when I need a quick shave before work (I'm in construction, and I shower after work). My old electric broke, and I'm considering buying a used shaver. Can I safely trust that the "clean and renew systems" really clean thoroughly enough to buy a used shaver? Can I boil the head of the shaver? Or should I spend the extra $100 and buy it new? Don C., San Leandro CA 1/2/2008

    A42: I have a couple of thoughts about used electric shavers…first, I’m unsure that these extremely delicate machine made heads would hold up to a good boil??? Hate for you to to spend money on a used shaver only to find out the part literally “couldn’t stand the heat in the kitchen”. Next I am such a stickler about sanitization i.e. if I couldn’t boil the entire thing, I wouldn’t have it! That’s just me of course. If you do end up going the used route and are happy with your decision, and sanitization results, please let me know, and I'll updat this q&a. Thank you!

  • Q41: I am 28 years old and I have seem to have a very thick, coarse beard. I can only shave once every 2 days because of my sensitve skin. I've tried certain products to minimize the red bumps and bleeding but I still can't shave every day. My problem is that on the days I do shave, from the moment I'm done, I have a shadow. When I get to work everyone always asks if I even shaved that morning. It looks completely unprofessional not to mention the red bumps along with it. What can I do? I have tried all types of razors, shave creams/gels, and pre-shave products, and nothing works! I don't have the money for any type of laser treatments and I am not even sure I want to go that route. Although I don't have any desire to grow a beard, I don't want to make the situation worse. Michael C. 12/15/2007

    A41: It sounds as if you are suffering through what many of us (including me) with tough beards and sensitive skin experience…pure dissatisfaction, and aggravation! The answer my friend is in method, tools, and skin care/maintenance. I’m assuming your shaving method is sound, so if I may make a few suggestions? Make certain to soften your beard to an extreme by soaking in hot water towels, or shower for several minutes, use TGR pre shave oil, allow TGR UnScented shave cream to sit on the beard for at least a few minutes (I usually brush my teeth while it sits), wash your face after shaving with a ph balanced soap, use TGR Unscented After Shave Balm, allow to dry then finish with the TGR Moisturizer. If you get in to this admittedly time consuming routine, I'll make a personal promise that the improvement will be measurable! Hope you enjoy the smoothness and calmness that I enjoy using these methods!

  • Q40: I use an alum block all over my face after rinsing with cold water, right before applying the The GR after-shave. I do that because I have learned to do so, and because it does feel like it helps sealing the skin. But is it something you recommend, when using modern products to shave? William C., 12/15/2007

    A40: Alum should be essentially unnecessary if using the proper methods, and well designed products. It has a drying effect, and counter acts the primary goals of maintaining balance and moisture in the skin. It is however an effective coagulant, and can be used to stop bleeding.

  • Q39: I am new to your web site and enjoyed reading the questions and answers. I have been wet shaving for a few months and for fun, I recently purchased a vintage "razor" which the seller claims to have cleaned and sterilized. Just to be on the safe side, how do I sterilize it myself before I use it? In addition, can you please explain the difference and or benefits of a pre shave oil (such as yours) as compared with a pre shave cream? I look forward to your answer. Orin K. Westlake Village, CA 12/5/2007

    A39: Congrats on your recent purchase, I am more than a bit of a stickler on sanitization/sterilization practises, so this question is right up my alley. Any or all of the following would suffice, soaking the implement in a quats/barbicide solution for 30 minutes, boiling it for several minutes (not joking), and or steaming it. I know this probably sounds like overkill, however where sanitation is in question, and as far as I’m concerned, there is no overboard! Regarding your question on the differences in a pre shave cream vs. TGR Pre Shave Oil. The pre shave cream is a highly alkaline solution designed to soften the beard (much like a shave cream or soap) with short lived moisturizing, and limited skin recovery properties. TGR PSO is designed to benefit the skin by creating a natural protective moisture barrier, it contains certified organic oils and or natural fatty acids essential for good skin health, it also possesses healing properties that calm and restore your skin. Can you tell how much I like this product?

  • Q38: In one of your posted Q/As, you recommend soaking Mach3 (and similar) blades in your PSO. I use Merkur DE blades (in a Merkur Vision) -- Is this good advice for me as well? Will soaking prolong the life of my blades, make the shave better, or what? Thanks for your time, Carl L., Brooklyn Park, MN 10/10/2007

    A38: Yes, keeping your blade (any) immersed in TGR PSO will help preserve its longevity. These blades have tendency to deform (generally warping and microscopically chipping) in a bathroom environment, the oil keeps the blade pristine, and protected from changes in temperature, the main culprit in the deformation process. Please note in the case of keeping cartridge blades (mach 3 Fusion, etc) in PSO, PSO's sometimes have a tendency to swell the "comfort strip". These cartridge blades do however benefit greatly from storage in PSO, they are so thin and susceptible to every little change in temp or otherwise, with proper preservation/protection one might get two or three extra "comfortable" shaves out of a cartridge blade. With a DE blade like yours, expect at least one, and perhaps even two extra comfortable shave from a blade. Remember another important tip, do not allow hot or cold water to hit your blade. Whatever method you use (still water or running), please make sure the water temp for blade rinsing remains tepid. Following this advice will keep the blades straighter, sharper, and stronger, longer.

  • Q37: I have a question about shaving my head. I've be shaving my head about 10 years and I don't go against my grain. I have a friend that cuts his hair against the grain and he has a really nice closer shave. How can I cut my head bald without getting any irritation from going against my grain? I tried to do that about 3 years ago and I got a real bad case of "irritation". Also the razor left a dark mark around the side of my head, right above my ears. Is there anything I can do to bring my sides back to my original color. Court D. Novi, MI 10/1/2007

    A37: Regarding the darker shaded area on the sides of your head and assuming this is hair shadow, shaving against the grain may help with lightening the area. Shaving against the grain is an acquired art, especially on the head. The head sometimes has hyper sensitivities and or reactions, and needs to be prepared properly for shaving against the grain. Not knowing your routine, I'll just outline proper procedure. Keep in mind this should be attempted every other, or even third time you shave your head and gradually work up to every other time, and or e very time. Shower, or soften area with hot water (towels) sufficiently, apply pre shave oil, apply shave cream, shave with the grain, reapply pre shave oil, reapply shave cream, shave against the grain, wash head with shampoo,, dry and apply after shave balm, allow to dry and add moisturizer. Using this method, the results will be outstanding! You'll get that close shave you're looking for with maximum comfort.

  • Q36: I am 16. Recently as this year, I have been shaving more and more, mainly because I just lost my peach fuzz and just started getting longer thicker stubble. The problem is my upper lip hair (which is more whisker like), when ever I shave my upper lip I get greasy white heads in the crevice of my nostrils on the outside of my nose. Why do I keep getting these whiteheads everytime I shave there? And how can I avoid these nasty little devils? Joe K., 9/19/2007

    A36: Well my young friend you will be going through many stages of beard growth and shaving experimentation/adjustments over the next 10 or so years…that’s the bad news! The good news is that the current issue (whiteheads) should be fairly easily remedied. It would help if you apply The GR Pre Shave Oil then very carefully shave with the grain using very light pressure. Immediately after shaving wash your face with a ph balanced soap or shampoo (yup). Follow up with a skin sealer (like The GR After Shave Balm) and your current issue should fade away never to be heard from again.

  • Q35: I am 16. Recently as this year, I have been shaving more and more, mainly because I just lost my peach fuzz and just started getting longer thicker stubble. The problem is my upper lip hair (which is more whisker like), when ever I shave my upper lip I get greasy white heads in the crevice of my nostrils on the outside of my nose. Why do I keep getting these whiteheads everytime I shave there? And how can I avoid these nasty little devils? Joe K., 9/19/2007

    A35: Well my young friend you will be going through many stages of beard growth and shaving experimentation over the next 10 or so years…that’s the bad news! The good news is that the current issue (whiteheads) should be fairly easily remedied. Apply The GR Pre Shave Oil then very carefully shave with the grain using very light pressure, then wash your face with a ph balanced soap or shampoo (yup). Follow up with a skin sealer (like The GR After Shave Balm) and your current issue should fade away never to be heard from again.

  • Q34: I recently shaved my head just to try a new look. From what I hear from my friends the new look seems to be a hit. I'd like to maintain a shaved head for a while... infact for a long while. I have an important question that haunts me when I think of shaving my head for an extended period. Does my hair grow back after several years of regular shaving? Does it damage the hair growing nature and attributes of my head? Also a strange odor comes of my head after shaving, although not strong enough to be noticed by others, I would like to get rid off it? Do u have any advice? Karra S. 9/12/07

    A34: Your concerns should be laid to rest. Your hair growth will not be affected by shaving your head. You may change slightly the pattern of growth by shaving against the grain for extended periods of time, this can be avoided by shaving with the grain of growth. Shaving your head will not cause the hair to recede or fall out prematurely. Regarding the odor you are experiencing after shaving, to retard or remove this odor simply wash your head with a ph balanced soap or shampoo, then apply an After Shave Balm. This should clear everything up. Enjoy your new look!

  • Q33: My husband has very curly hair and has worn it long enough for years that it would curl. He has recently decided he wants to buzz his hair short (with about a 2 guard). After he did, his hair looked somewhat nappy. The hair is growing in all different directions...some to the front, some to the middle, some straight up...it's crazy! Is there any way he can retrain the hair so it won't try and grow in a direction that it would then curl? He's wondering if he should shave his head and start from scratch, or grow it long and keep training it by brushing it. My thought is after 20 years of being curly, it's not going to want to go straight? Mandy H., Dubuque, IA 8/7/2007

    A33: About Mr. H’s hair dilemma it sounds like a couple things would probably work for him, first hair products like gel or pomade, second shaving the head completely may be a good idea. I would recommend after his shower to towel dry the hair in the preferred direction, followed immediately with his chosen styling aid. This should help considerably, eventually he’ll become a pro at it. If this doesn’t work to his satisfaction try the complete head shave, he may like the look and of that, and it requires very, very little styling. There is of course another option for Mr. H, he could go to a local expert for a proper haircut and styling advice, he may even learn enough from the experience to maintain it himself?

  • Q32: Please tell me if it’s ok to shave with the grain twice or should I shave once with the grain and once against the grain. David B., Dunkeld, Scotland U.K., 7/5/2007

    A32: It really depends on your skin sensitivities. If your skin is sensitive I would recommend shaving with the grain only, if normal to not sensitive you can certainly shave with then across or even against the grain. Please note shaving against the grain may cause other side effects, like ingrown hairs, razor burn, etc, however if you find the process of shaving both with, and against the grain to be benign, then go for it, there is no better feeling than a super close and comfortable shave.

  • Q31: I notice many personal care products, including nearly all "old school" creams list coconut acid in their ingredients lists. Relatively few, such as your own shaving cream, list coconut oil. Much information about coconut oil is available on the internet, but very little seems to be written about coconut acid, such that I don't even know what it is. I assume it is not the same thing as coconut oil, but I do not know that for sure. Can you tell me in what ways coconut oil and coconut acid differ? In what ways do they affect the skin differently? What was behind your decision to include coconut oil in your cream, rather than coconut acid? Nathan H., Wilsonville, OR, 6/27/2007

    A31: I wouldn’t want to pretend I can answer that question to my(or your) satisfaction, so I’m going to ask our Chemist for the best answer...Here is our Natural Chemist' response...“Coconut oil is the oil fraction of the coconut. Coconut acid is the fatty acid fraction of the coconut and is generally composed of C12-18 fatty acids although highest (about 45%) in C12 fatty acid (lauric acid from which many cosmetic ingredients are made). These would be saturated fatty acids and so are oxidatively stable ( do not go rancid). The coconut oil as opposed to coconut acid also contains unsaponifiables (not fatty acids) that have healing properties and are less refined or processed.”...Somewhat technical, but I hope you can appreciate the difference in using certified organic Coconut Oil vs. Coconut Acid. The Oil is also a more expensive choice, however nothing is too good for The Gentlemens Refinery client.

  • Q30: I have a question regarding cutting patterns. I've been told by several long time wetshavers that the use of cutting patterns have been used by barbers for quite some time. They necessarily don't follow the grain of each individual. They shave according to how the old barber manuals teach. Is this a dated philosophy or is it still used to today? Do you shave your customers using these patterns? If you do agree with this concept, does it apply to using a DE as well? It certainly doesn't work with multiblade cartridges (at least for me). Marion A., Los Angeles, CA 6/23/2007

    A30: The Shaving steps that Barbers learn in school, and most practice in their shops as professionals is a good basis for the straight razor shave, however the process certainly does not apply to everyone. I use about a third of the fourteen step process on my clients. I then adapt according to the individual's beard growth for maximum comfort. This percentage varies with each Barber and their respective skill level. I shave my clients with the grain on the first pass. If and when I execute a second or even third pass, I will shave across, then against the grain respectively. If you don't shave in this order (even on oneself), considerable ultimate comfort will be left on the table.

  • Q29: First, let me say that your shaving products are outstanding. I really enjoy using them. I was having a discussion with a buddy of mine the other day about shaving products and what not. I was talking about my favorite creams. He told me that I should consider using something such as a lower lathering cream that he was told is a newer technology, and was informed that it would work even better than a traditional cream...or even from what I am using. In hearing this advice, my friend got some shaving cream from another company. Now, I understand to each his own, but I find it hard to believe that you could get a better shave with a product that does not lather much like this. I also question the ingredients that go into these. Again, I know it's more about what works best for you as an individual, but what is your take on something like this? Is there a reason your cream is more of a lather cream? Channing G., Los Angeles, CA 6/1/2007

    A29: The Gentlemens Refinery cream was formulated to lather for a couple of reasons, first for those of us that use a brush and want the benefits that come along with that for example exfoliation, rich lather, etc, and the other reason is that it works very well in the lather machines universally implemented in Barbershops. We went through literally dozens of natural formulations before settling on what you wisely use today. The non lathering preparations perform well and may even perform better for certain individuals, conversely a lathering cream may perform better for some. In general a non lathering shave preparation is just another approach. The companies that claim in either case that one outperforms the other, are simply serving their own needs. At the risk of serving our own needs, we are extremely proud of our natural Shave Cream formulations and would not trade them for anything.

  • Q28: My question has been daunting me for years. When i started shaving I was in my late teens and now I'm 25. At that time i did not have much stubble on my cheeks. Now it is quite the contrary. However it is not the thickness of my facial hair that worries me. Actually it is the area that it covers. My stubble almost reaches my cheekbones and that;s the culprit. I'd like to know if that state of affairs could have been avoided? Or did I cause it to happen by shaving my cheeks to high(dark peach fuzz in my teens)?? So my question is. Can improper( mainly gliding the razor too high) shaving turn tainy hairs on one's cheeks into tough pernament stubble over a periodof time?? Tom, Warsaw, Poland 5/31/2007

    A28: Thanks for your question. Fortunately this is an easy one that should give you some peace of mind. Quite simply put, you cannot alter a hairs thickness and or increase the number of hair follicles by shaving it…period! If only it were that easy, just shave and grow thick hair, we wouldn’t have many bald men in the world we? The relatively high geometric level of hair growth on your cheekbones was definitely unavoidable, purely hormonal. Laser hair removal is the most viable option if it really bothers you. I say keep shaving…with The GR of course!

  • Q27: I'm 58 years old, and I grew a fairly large and thick beard in a very short time. After a few months of being like that, I noticed that it begun to thin slowly first and more accelerated after. To my utmost dismay I realized that its hair was falling down. Then, it also stopped growing. At first, its hair would fall when I would brush it, but then it begun falling on its own. Now, it does not look thick and healthy anymore. My skin and hair are on the oily side. Reading your site I have realized that maybe I have not been drying it up as much as I should. Should I blow dry it, or just towel it like I have being doing (although not too theroughly)? What should I do about the whole thing? Thanks for your great site. Pablo M., Hobe Sound, FL 5/21/2007

    A27: With oily skin and improper maintenance the follicles can clog and cause the aforementioned symptoms. The best course of action for you would be to follow my advice in question 33 of this Q&A forum …”while showering shampoo the beard, I suggest using a “hair shampoo” as it has a much more neutral ph level and has fewer drying properties than soap, rinse well. Follow by massaging in a thick hair conditioner (Nexxus Humectress for example), leave the conditioner on the beard and skin for a couple of minutes then rinse very, very well. Once out of the shower dry the area well (very important, and yes blow drying is fine) and apply moisturizer (The GR of course) to the skin beneath the barba (facial hair), during application please manipulate the barba as necessary to ensure the moisturizer finds its target. Apply moisturizer again before you go to sleep” The main objective here is to reduce bacteria by proper cleaning, and optimizing skin and follicle health beneath the barba with the moisturizer. …These steps although requiring some effort and expense will improve your beard appearance and health dramatically. These suggestions should solve the described issues, however if the pattern of hair loss and growth retardation continue, please consult a dermatologist.

  • Q26: I was wondering why you recommend washing the face after shaving. That's not the typical advice one receives. Andy L. New York, NY 5/15/2007

    A26: I don't necessarily advise people not to wash the face before shaving, however I highly recommend washing the face after shaving. Washing before and after is perfecly acceptable. In my opinion washing your face before (as opposed to after) you shave "only", is old outdated advice, this advice was given by old school barbers and the like as a method of beard softening. These days we pre soften differently, mainly in the shower or with hot towels, then we use a pre shave application like oil...after these steps we apply shave cream, another form of soap. There are many benefits to washing the face after shaving, they include rash prevention, removal of oils, heavy creams and or alcohols, also a balanced face wash will help post shave skin return to normal PH levels. Post shave face wash will also help with acne and any nicks or cuts by sanitizing the area. Of course all of this washing should be followed by a alcohol free, PH balanced after shave balm to seal and heal, and a daily moisturizer (the GR of course).

  • Q25: Does your shaving cream have any menthol in it? I have sensitive skin and some shaving creams bother my skin. Also, what is the best way to get your shaving cream on a brush. I always use a brush and I hate shaving creams that come in a jar for that reason Craign M., Las Vegas, NV 5/14/2007

    A25: Our creams both travel (coming soon) and full size are in tubs expressly to assist those of us who shave with brushes. There are more than a few methods used for applying cream to brush. I prefer the swirl or tapping methods. First the swirl, wet your brush by soaking in hot water for several seconds, then whip once to remove dripping water, swirl brush gently into tub so that the brush tips are slightly covered, at that point add a bit of water (by either quickly passing through hot running water, or a quick dip into a receptacle of standing water) then proceed to lather. The tapping method is the same except you tap the brush into the tub instead of swirling. There is another method if you don’t care for either of these, with your finger remove a nickel size portion of cream from the tub and place into the core of a presoaked brush and proceed to lather. Hope these suggestions help.

  • Q24: I am a Black man and I have unsightly bumps on the back of my neck line. I haven't cut my hair in months, thinking that was the problem. Unfortunately, the bumps won't go away. Sometimes they get itchy and I scratch and they bleed. I know it is not healthy to scratch or pick the bumps, but how do I avoid the itchness? Additionally, how do you make them go away, especially since I have not cut my hair in months? HELPLESS IN MASSACHUSETTS!

    A24: Sorry to hear of your chronic ingrown hair or bump issue. I am going to take an educated guess at what could be causing or contributing to your problem. In most cases the bumps are caused from one or all of the following; large pours and curly hair combination, constant irritation from a collar…etc, shaving too close, or hyper perspiration for example dripping sweat on a skin area can cause the pours to open and the hair (new growth) to curl back in. The best advice I can give first off is to stop scratching! This is likely contributing to your bump problem. Next my suggestion entails some effort however you should see significant improvement, clean and moisturize the area twice a day, when you wake up then before you go to sleep. This includes a light scrub, a wash, and thorough rinse and dry followed by a moisturizer (The GR of course) to balance and protect the skin in the affected area. This works very well to prevent bumps caused by any of the reasons stated above. After several weeks you should be able to cut your hair as often as you ‘d like and see noticable relief from your bumps. If the problem persists I would recommend seeing a dermatologist. Once again, please stop scratching!!!

  • Q23: I am 20 years of age. I am just out of the pimple/puberty stage and my skin is clear. The thing is I think that I might have started shaving early and my beard on the right side of my face only along the jaw and below toward the neck grows sideways instead of downward. I am desperate at this point on how to fix this. I can use any advice. Satesh R, Elmont NY, 4/10/2007

    A23: Unfortunately I don’t have much helpful advice for retraining the directional growth of your beard. I’m afraid any attempts to retrain the direction would likely be moot. Instead I would recommend making certain to shave with the direction of barba (facial hair) growth and using a Pre Shave Oil to provide protection and an After Shave Balm to help seal and heal expediently, especially if you are thinking of shaving against or across the grain. I wish I had used PSO at 20; it would have saved a bunch of (bloodstained) shirts and tons of discomfort! At 20 years of age the barba is usually not fully developed and quite often our skin is overly sensitive to shaving, thus any misdirect ional growth can be irritating and annoying. The sideways growth of barba will become less of an issue for you in time. Not much consolation I know.

  • Q22: I am 50 years old and have been wet shaving off and on for 35 years. I use a double edge razor and a good quality brush and creams. I take two passes on my face, first with the grain, second at an angle from ear to chin. My neck is not a problem so I won't go further with that. My problem is that I get red bumps every now & then on my cheeks that turn into a pimple that is embarrasing to say the least at a man my age. A week doesn't go by where one or two will not show up. PLEASE tell me what I am doing wrong. I started using a double edge about 8 months ago & had used a Gillette Atra before that. Should I just shave with the grain on my face and leave it at that and have 5:00 shadow in a few hours?? As you can tell I am very frustrated. John H., Altoona, PA 4/2/2007

    A22: I am assuming these pimples are ingrown hairs that fester or plain skin reaction to over irritation from the blade or blade pressure. The issue may be caused by shaving to close and rough. I recommend shaving with less pressure, perhaps changing your blade more often or even going to the newest multi blade for optimal blade angle, then begin washing your face (followed by cold rinse) and moisturizing immediately after shaving. Have you ever used a Pre Shave Oil? This too may provide protection and optimize ultimate results. These changes or additions should help.

  • Q21: I was wondering - what razor can I use to keep a five o'clock shadow (or something in which I'm not cutting beneath the skin)? I've been using clippers for a very long time to just keep the stubble look, but I have to shave every other second day or else I can't really cut the hair (so I'm in between the five o'clock shadow look and the really longer hair look). I'd like to be able to shave every day or every other day and maintain the stubble or as close to that as possible with a razor as I have also tried electric shavers and gotten a ton of ingrowns and white heads. Matt M. College Park, MD 3/15/2007

    A21: You might consider blade/wet shaving with very light pressure and only with the direction of growth. You could use any blade you are comfortable with, If you choose this route, proper shaving methods should be followed, for example… 1.shave after shower or hot towel 2.prepare skin properly with a pre shave oil 3.use products without alcohol 4.gently wash your face after shaving and at bedtime, 5.finish with a cold rinse 6.use an after shave balm on the shaved area to seal and heal the skin 7.use a ph balanced moisturizer... Proper shaving methods will help with any ingrown hairs or whiteheads, it will also normalize, moisturize, and protect or maintain overall skin health. No matter if you choose to start shaving with a blade or continue with the clippers, please make sure to wash your face at least twice daily (after shaving and bed time) and apply a moisturizer each time, Also please keep in mind clippers and electric shavers are great bacteria carriers and should be cleaned (anti bacterial spray would suffice) after each use.

  • Q20: I suffer from bumps or folliculitis mainly on my neck. I shave after I shower, or after a hot wet towel then shave. I use a Gillette Mach3power razor, and I use Aveeno therapeutic shave gel, or Gillette Fusion Hydra-Gel. My main problem is bad, but not chronic yet. I am a African-American male light brown complexion. Fred S. New York, NY 3/14/2007

    A20: The best way to attack foliculitis is to precisely follow a multi level approach. Here is the process I recommend. 1. wash face in shower 2. apply PSO followed by shave cream 3. remember only make a single pass with the grain of growth 4. wash with a ph balanced face wash 5. a cold rinse followed by The GR ASB, this will instantly regulate your skins ph level, help seal the skin and provide a bit of moisture 6. Moisturize the entire face with The GR moisturizer for protection and balance throughout the day 7. at bed time repeat steps 4 & 6 Also, remember to change your blade frequently, every other shave if possible, and please stay away from any product containing alcohol (any form ending in “hyl” or “pyl”. If these recommendations are followed and results are not exemplary, and the bumps persist, please be sure to see a dermatologist. My strong feeling is that you will be very happy with the results.

  • Q19: My problem is that I don't have proper beard growth. I'd like to know if there is a remedy that would promote a good and healthy beard all over my cheeks? Clifford M. Calcutta, India 3/10/2007

    A19: I must tell you that I am 38 years old and cannot grow a proper beard due to the fact that around my mouth ( the goatee area ) I have sparse, spotty growth. My problem was caused by drooling in my sleep as a young lad/man, the saliva killed my hair follicles as they were developing. Gross eh? But true. There is no way to remedy your sparse facial hair growth aside from an unsafe and unrecommended hormone supplement, I’m afraid your whole body could begin to resemble shag carpet if you went that route. Clifford if you are a young man there is a chance that this will straighten itself out with age, however if this is not the case do the best you can with what you’ve got. Perhaps you could even grow a goatee and leave the cheeks out of it?

  • Q18: My question is regarding beard shadow. I've noticed that lately after a shave, the area above my upper lip appears to be noticeably darker in appearance than a few months ago. I have coarse facial hair with sensitive skin and post shave, a beard shadow appears in that area while the rest of my face appears very smooth (using a DE razor). Do you know what the cause of this is and how to reduce this shadow look? Regardless of whether I shave with or against the grain, the shadow appears. Should I be looking into applying shave talc in that area after a shave? I never had this issue a few months ago and there's been no change in my shave routine. Alex, Toronto ON 3/9/2007

    A18: Hi Alex My educated supposition although not helpful would be that your barba (facial hair) volume and or coarseness is indeed thickening and condensing with age. Please know that shaving as closely as possible is the only recommendation I would offer, and this should only be done with great care. I would use The GR Pre Shave Oil so to see the target area clearly, provide maximum protection, and natural healing, pull my top lip down and carefully shave as close as comfortably possible. I believe any depilatory solutions to be loaded with bad stuff and unsafe on many levels, and a hair removal, for example laser would look uneven or worse. I am a little disappointed that I can't offer a better practical solution.

  • Q17: My question seems simple, in your opinion which is better: shaving cream or shaving soap and why? Or, is it just a matter of personal preference? Jeff A. Calabasas, CA 3/08/2007

    A17: Shaving Soap vs. Shave Cream First the technical scoop from the finest natural chemist available, our GR chemist “Shaving Soap is made up of vegetable oils that have been reacted with lye which is sodium hydroxide to form the hard soap. Shave Creams are usually a mixture of vegetable oils that are neutralized with potassium hydroxide (makes a softer soap) as well as sodium hydroxide to make a softer product. Glycerin added also softens to make a more liquid soap. So the answer is they are both soap but different production methods and additional ingredients in the shave cream produce different products”. I believe our GR Shave Cream is more slippery and moisturizing than Shave Soaps in general due to the added glycerin. The one glaring practical difference is that Shaving Soap tends to be the more messy if not unsightly option. The receptacle tends to resemble an sordid soap dish showing build up and overflow after minimal use. There is certainly a romantic and nostalgic attraction to the soap and I actually enjoy the process, however I’m not sure about how things are at your house, but my wife wouldn’t let me fall asleep at night unless I made that Shaving Soap cup/receptacle look brand new everyday. So for me it’s more like “get a very good shave easy and clean” vs. “get a good shave not so easy and clean”. No competition! Shave Cream for me please.

  • Q16: I have two questions: #1) I have a goatee/beard for years. For lack of a better term, it has dandruff. My scalp doesn't, just my facial hair, and only there areas where I don't shave. My cheeks and jaw line don't flake...grow a beard and sure as sunshine... it flakes. I am sure the condition is not hepled by constantly playing with my goatee/beard. How do I fix this... facial dandruff? #2) I have a hard time getting the hairs in my mustached to grow in the downward direction... most of them do, but I get some odd fliers. These fliers lead to an unkept apprearance. How can I best get them to grow in the same direction as the rest? Please keep in mind that my facial hairs is unusually coarse and of thick diameter and because I keep my facial hair pretty trimmed, it is not long enough comb (no Magnum P.I. here). Thanks for your time. Sincerely Ray T. Cary, NC 2/12/2007

    A16: I believe what you are experiencing is a dry skin issue that most likely incrementally worsens with time due to improper maintenance. I suggest shampooing, conditioning, and moisturizing. Here’s how I would go about it, while showering shampoo the area, I suggest using a hair shampoo as it has a much more neutral ph level and has few drying properties, then massage in a thick hair conditioner (Nexxus Humectress for example), leave the conditioner on the beard for a couple of minutes then rinse very, very well. Once out of the shower dry the area well (very important) and apply moisturizer (The GR of course) to the skin beneath the barba (facial hair), during application please manipulate the barba as necessary to ensure the moisturizer finds its target. Apply moisturizer again before you go to sleep. This process should end all of your flaking troubles. Now about those wild hairs, the new maintenance routine and in particular the moisturizer will help with this problem; also if you don’t already, do as much trimming as possible with scissors.

  • Q15: I have always wondered about the relative place for shaving balm vs. moisturizing cream. Would one typically use a shaving balm after shaving and then put moisturizer on top? Or is moisturizer reserved for non-shaving times of the day when the skin is dry? Or are they interchangeable, i.e. use one or the other after shaving? They seem to perform pretty much the same function. I have noticed that most companies produce both but their use is unclear to me. How do you see it? Steve C. Montreal, Quebec

    A15: Our after shave balm possesses moisturizing properties however it's primary features are to seal the skin, close pours, normalize ph levels(hence acidity is elevated), and immediately and expeditiously begin the healing process. Our moisturizer works at a neutral ph level, can indeed be used throughout the day and as often as desired, it is formulated to generously dose the skin with moisture, after regular use to normalize the skin evenly over the entire area with a high absorption rate and sans shine. As you mentioned both of the products moisturize, however as you'd notice if you were to use balm allow to dry, follow up with the moisturizer on half of your face, you will feel the difference, particularly over time.

  • Q14: Recently, I've been attempting to create some finer detailed designs with my goatee, primarily around my chin and under my nostrils. I find that traditional 3-4 blade razors are often wide and bulky making it difficult for me to create the nice clean lines I would like to have. Are you aware of solutions/products I can use at home to achieve these results? Thanks! Harley C. Benicia, CA 2/5/2007

    A14: HI Harley – Absolutely right about the multi blades not meeting your needs when it comes to beard/goatee definition. I suggest using a Merkur Moustache Razor, it is a miniature triangular version of a double edge (DE) razor and is readily available (if you do order this razor please remember to order plenty of blades as they may be hard to find in your area). After softening/preparing the area, apply The Gentlemens Refinery Pre Shave Oil liberally this allows a “clear view” of the target area, provides maximum protection, glide, and helps with skin recovery, then use either or both edges of the blade to exact desired form. This is an excellent way to achieve optimum results in finite goatee design. Harley, please be aware that if you have never used a single blade razor that there is a learning curve associated, proper pressure (light to very light), and blade angle (max of 30 degrees, min 15) are two essential tips to beginning the process. After time your level of proficiency should improve dramatically. Don’t forget the keep the skin around and under your goatee well moisturized and conditioned(with The GR Moisturizer and or After Shave Balm of course), this will help significantly with daily maintenance and skin preservation.

  • Q13: I like to keep a beard—longer than the stubble look but not all the way to Grizzly Adams. I have noticed that the hairs of my beard, particularly in the chin area, get split ends. Not knowing anything else to do, I take hair trimming scissors and clip the split ends off every 1-2 weeks. Is there some sort of treatment for this? And/or, is there some regular treatment that you should use with a beard? I shampoo it daily with the same shampoo that I use for the hair on my head. What is the best treatment for maintaining a healthy beard? Jeff S. Mantachie, MS 1/30/2007

    A13: I believe the best way to maintain a healthy beard is three fold, first use a good (hair) conditioner daily (after shampooing) on the beard, second moisturize (TGR of course) the skin under the beard, this keeps the skin balanced, prevents itching flaking or rash, and promotes beard health, and third use scissors rather than clippers to do any trimming, this is a cleaner cut and will help to retard the formation of split ends.

  • Q12: I have thick, unruly, fast growing hair, and like to keep its length within well defined window. This means frequent haircuts. I was wondering if there is a product out there that slows hair growth - maybe a cream or shampoo - so that my hair would stay in this optimal window longer and I could save myself from getting it cut every month. Matt H. Carrboro, NC 1/11/2007

    A12: Hi Matt, Thanks for your question. There are sooo many guys out there that wish for your "issue" of thick fast growing hair. They say your hair and nails even grow post mortem, this of course is untrue, the illusion of hair growth comes from your ogans and body shrinking. Unfortunately for you, and fotunately for your Barber, there is nothing out there specifically designed to retard hair growth. I'm not sure I'd use it if there were. Let's just give some thanks that you are healthy and your hair grows fast. Generally with thick hair it tends to grow "outward" (puffy) as much or more than it does in "length", sometimes giving the illusion that it is growing exceptionally fast. I actually see several clients on a weekly basis for hair legth maintenance, so consider yourself lucky that a monthly trip to the Barber is satisfactory.

  • Q11: This is my first contact with your website. I enjoyed reading "ask the barber." After reading some of your responses, I have a couple of questions. First, please define wetshaving for me. It would appear to be self explanatory. I just need a clarification. I, like a previous questioner, have facial hair that grows in all sorts of direction. How do I know when I'm shaving with or against the grain? Lastly, you've stated that shaving too close produces ingrown hairs(I've this problem for years). What razor would you recommend for a less close shave? Thank you - Theodore C. Alexandria, Virginia 1/12/2007

    A11: Hello Theo, Thanks for your questions. Wetshaving is shaving with a blade, cream, and/or other preparatory agents, as opposed to electric shaver. As far as how you know you are shaving with the grain, if it’s a matter of not being able to see the grain, perhaps you can use a Pre Shave Oil to shave with rather than a cream. If the question is that you are unsure which Is the way of the grain or growth pattern of your beard, grow your facial hair for 2 or 3 days it will be more evident where the swirls, directional changes etc… are. If you follow the hair from the skin to the end of the hair shaft, that is the direction of growth, or with the grain growth pattern. Shaving too closely is a large contributor to ingrown hairs. Since it is more a matter blade pressure than blade choice, any razor will provide you with the perfect shave. Please be sure to shave with the grain and light pressure when shaving your historically problem (ingrown) areas

  • Q10: I have a question I'd like to pose you regarding your TGR Shaving Cream. Corey (Corey Greenerg of Shaveblog.com) compared it so closely w/ the T&H Ultimate Comfort that I must ask you if that is indeed a fair comparison? From the very first time I tried the T&H Ultimate Comfort, all the way to the end of the jar, I absolutely HATED it! For whatever reason, it never seemed to agree w/ my skin, and I often looked like a Stop Sign for an hour or so after shaving w/ it. It is for this reason that I'd like to honestly know if they are indeed as similar as Corey intimated, and if not, what the main differences are. John E., Berkeley CA 1/9/2007 Follow up: . I'm devoted to using shaving brush as a staple of my daily ritual. As with some I've run across, (T&H UC Pre-Shave Oil for instance) does sustained use of your TGR PSO in conjunction w/ a shaving brush eventually/inevitably lead to the brush getting "gummed up"? Or was your PSO formulated for everyday use w/ a shaving brush in mind? John E. Berkeley, CA 1/11/2007

    A10: All of our ingredients are listed on the “more info” page of each product, and the difference between our products and any other, are plain to see. John, I think it might be easier to list the similarities to the T&H UC Shave Cream. First, they both contain lavender, lavender is both unique and unmistakable, next both of the creams are lighter in consistency, not unique(see NB Cream), then they are both made in Canada. Quite honestly I think that’s where the similarities end. Our Cream is designed to be used with brush, brushless, with the Campbell Lather King hot lather machine (a barbershop staple), and in conjunction with pre shave oil. My preference, and the scenario I believe to be most effective when using The GR Cream is to use a PSO, lather w/brush for a good sixty or more seconds, then have at it repeating the same for each directional shave. I am aware that PSO is a bad word with purists and shave geeks, however I honestly believe The GR PSO enhances results and recovery time. Really!! This is not a sales pitch. Back to the difference between the two creams, it may end up that you don’t care for our Cream either, all I can say is that we put much thought, the finest ingredients, and a few lifetimes of professional knowledge and experience in to all of our products. In short we didn’t consider T&H, or any others in any of our formulations, I think once you try them, you’ll evidence that fact. Follow up Answer:: As for the shave oil, we did indeed give thought to brush build up per se, we used light and effective oils steering clear of heavy oils such as olive, etc… I have been using The GR 450 Silvertip Shave Brush for 13 months and have virtually no residual build up, and blade clot. There is one thing you should know, I am almost obsessive about rinsing my brush well after use, however it is more for preservation than anything else.

  • Q9: Hello, I just came across your website. I have had dealings with acne and have tried numerous ways of shaving. Currently I switch b/w a double edge and a mach3. I keep trying both months at a time. I like the thought of the double edge but can go faster with a mach3 which seems to be what your website says. I am currently using (certain) products and am still having some acne issues. Are your products noncomedogenic? And with your system, what do you wash your face with? Thanks for your time. Jonathan M. Lubbock TX 1/7/2007

    A9: Thank you for your question. I have battled acne since my adolescence, so I can empathize and tell you I use The GR products daily without any adverse effects. Just so we are clear about comedogenic, here is my definition “something that is comedogenic possesses a small enough molecule to get into the pore ”. We do not have any oils or ingredients that small in our products. That said, sensitive skin may react to anything, I suggest doing a patch test on a small area of skin over two days to be sure. As you may or may not have read on the website, we offer a 30 day full satisfaction money back guarantee on The Gentlemens Refinery products so there is very little risk in trying them. As for the face wash, we are currently developing our face wash and facial scrub, however in the mean time, I strongly recommend using a gentle face wash after shaving, but before applying after shave, and/or moisturizer. I hope you enjoy The GR products, should you choose to use them.

  • Q8: Would you tell me the best way and product to use to shave my face to keep just the stubble look. I am having a very hard time finding out how to do this. Mike D., New Windsor, NY 12/21/2006

    A8: Hello Mike, Thank you for your question. I would definitely use small trimmers/clippers with a guard. The guard size depends entirely on the look you want to maintain. I would start with a #1 guard and go up (longer) or down (shorter) in size accordingly. The product I would recommend with a beard or stubble is our moisturizer, you should use it after you trim the beard. Beards (even stubble) can promote dryness in the skin, the moisturizer will help regulate the skin under the barba (facial hair), and even soften whiskers

  • Q7: Hello, I was just curious if you use a straight or DE razor on yourself. Or, do you prefer to use a modern blade? I'm in the process of finding the right razor for me. I've had people tell me that when I find a razor that works for me to stick with it. Also, my beard grows in all sorts of directions. Slanting downward on the cheeks, sideways along the jaw and sideburns, and all different directions on the neck. I'm finding that precise with the grain shaving can be difficult. Also, the shave is never really close in some spots. With a Mach III razor, my skin doesn't seem to like any against the grain shaving. What do you recommend. I have a thick beard with tender, somewhat sensitive skin. I do use a brush and cream and pre shave oil. Anthony W. Denver, CO 12/16/2006

    A7: Hello Anthony, I perform straight razor shaves on clients regularly and am (after years) very proficeint with a straight razor. I can and have used a straight razor to shave myself, however currently choose to use the vibrating Fusion razor. Anthony with a thick/course beard and sensitive skin combo you will have to continue to take extra care in shaving…forever. If you read Q1 in the “ask the Barber” section at www.thegr.com it speaks to the part of your question regarding my opinions on blades or razors. To be more specific to your question, I must assume you are a young man, not that your issues are at all exclusive to young men, it’s just that I, and many of my former and current clients could not shave comfortably against the grain of the beard until well into our twenties, or in some cases early thirties, particularly those of us with your beard/skin combo. I recommend that you shave as well as you can with the grain using any razor you choose (be sure to change the blade every other shave) every day for a week or two. After a couple of weeks and when you have a few extra minutes to devote to your shave use the following process; using a new blade and immediately following a shower apply Pre Shave Oil (TGR PSO possesses skin healing properties), lather up with your brush and cream(TGR of course), shave as you normally would with the grain, then rinse with warm water, reapply PSO, then with light pressure shave against the grain (please do not over stretch your skin during this process), rinse your face with very cold water, then immediately apply After Shave Balm (TGR Balm is arguably the finest available) to the shaved area, the balm begins and expedites the skins healing process. Continue shaving daily with the grain, and against the grain every couple/few days (always with a new blade) until it becomes more and more comfortable, then eventually (after a couple of Months) you should be able to shave with and against the grain daily, or whenever you’d like. Hope this helps. Anthony, please let us know how you are progressing.

  • Q6: There is a lot of talk on the internet about the advantages of the old double edge blade shaving, with most of the premium blades made in Germany, and even straight razor shaving. At the other end of the spectrum, manufacturers are now going beyond the Mach 3s to a four- bladed system, and it may not stop there. What is your opinion about using the "older systems" verses the so-called "latest and greatest"? Joe F. New York, NY 12/15/2006

    A6: Hello Joe, Thank you for your question. My point of view on the evolution of wet/blade shaving, and in particular razors is that the new blades ie: Sensor, Mach III, Quattro, and Fusion(vibrating and not ), are generally made to provide maximum performance, and comfort. I rarely recommend straight razor and DE (double edged, or safety) razor shaving for men these days, even though I perform the straight razor shave (an amazing process done properly) on a regular basis. I will say that shaving with a DE/safety razor is a far less expensive more romantic way of shaving, and when learned well is a perfectly viable option. As just stated the evolution and or improvements in performance, and in particular “shave comfort” of mass marketed blades is extraordinary. The learning curve associated with using a straight razor and or the DE proficiently is significant. I recommend men only attempt to shave with one of the older (straight, or DE razors) methods if they have time to devote to lerning properly. I will tell you if the closest possible shave is your valhalla, 2 to 4 hours of growth is what you can expect to "shave", and this closeness will only be achieved on oneself after much practice, and considerable (far less with the DE) bloodshed. Overall I believe there are few practical reason to shave with the older methods given today's advances in this area. I have heard many guys say they get an amazing shave after switching to the older methods, however this is generally because they have to slow the process way down and take much care with blade pressure, (this fact in itself can become pleasurable) they generally end up using better preparation, and advanced shaving products (The GR being at the pinnacle of course). Joe, believe me if men took the same time and care with the Fusion (my personal choice until they improve on it) or any of the other advanced blades of today, albeit far less romantic and considerably more expensive given the cost of blades, men would have just as nice an experience, and very likely more comfortable in about half of the time. I hope I’ve shed some light, and wish you all the best with your shaving, regardless of your tools of choice

  • Q5: My husband is African American and he uses electric clippers to shave his head. He always gets bumps on the back of his neck and top of his head. Sometimes they are filled with pus and other times they are just grown under the skin. He has never used an actual razor on his head as he is afraid his whole head will break out with bumps. He has tried bump no more, sea breeze, alcohol, peroxide, and acne creams. I have tweezed hairs from around the bump area to try and prevent other hairs to worsen the problem. I have used a magnifying glass to check for the ingrown hair if that is what is causing this, but I haven't been able to see any.

    Can you please offer us some professional help regarding this problem. Should he shave with a razor? If so will it clear up the problem or make it worse? I have read shaving daily is partial answer, however, the hair on his head doesn't grow back that fast, so would shaving daily make it worse? He has no problems with his beard area.
    -Alicia A., Amityville, NY

    A5: Alicia, Thank you for your questions and concerns. Please keep in mind that very rarely when extreme folliculitis (bumps or ingrowns) is chronic, a dermatologist should be consulted. These are some suggestions you may find helpful.

    1. The easiest suggestion would be for your husband to not take it so close. In other words leave his hair a bit longer in the problem areas, if not all over, after several weeks of growth the ingrowns will grow out and the problems will go away.

    The next two suggestions take more work, investment, and commitment. Several factors contribute to causing the ingrowns and pustules. The first is that the clippers are actually irritating the problems areas(in your case, and most cases the top of the head and base of skull) and causing the scalp to overreact. The second is that the PH level of the scalp is not constant, and releases too much sebaceous fluid (oil) helping to form the puss. This can also be caused by the application drying solutions, for example sea breeze, alcohol, peroxide, acne creams etc... these cause the skin to produce more oil. Another factor to forming ingrowns is the obvious hyper curly hair/oily skin combination. The key is regulating PH levels, and keeping clean the affected areas. Here are my next suggestions.

    2. Clean the clippers and spray with Clippercide, or a comparable clipper friendly germicide, before and after use. Make sure that immediately following the headshave that you shampoo with a ph balanced shampoo or soap, then apply an alcohol free after shave balm that is ph balanced. This will seal the skin, and moisturize. It is very important to keep the problem area clean and bacteria free, so I recommend repeating the washing and balm application at least once a day, and preferably twice until the bumps go away. You should find a marked improvement after only two weeks, however please maintain this program indefinitely for optimum results.

    3. Since your husband does not get bumps from shaving his face, I would recommend (preferably after the bumps subside with the prescribed program above) that he try shaving with a reputable multi (two or three) blade with the direction of hair growth. Once the bumps subside, it would be safe to say he should not experience any adverse affects.

  • Q4: Does a shaving brush really make a difference?
    - Kimo H., Phoenix, Arizona

    A4: Absolutely! A good brush exfoliates brings facial hair out, straightens it, stands it up and is the best method of applying shaving cream. It’s also fun and enjoyable. Remember to rinse your brush thoroughly after each use and hang it upside down to dry evenly, preferably in a stand.

  • Q3: How often should I change my blade and why?
    -Constantine H., Long Island, New York

    A3: The Gillette and Schick Company’s newest blades come with colored strip indicators. My advice for longer blade life is to use only tepid water when rinsing your razor. Extreme hot or cold water warps blades. Performance wise, four to six shaves is generally the course. Also if possible, between shaves, store your blade immersed in small receptacle with The GR Pre Shave Oil.

  • Q2: Product I’ve used in the past still doesn’t prevent ingrown hairs; why?
    - Eric D., Las Vegas, Nevada

    A2: The main reason for recurring ingrown hairs is shaving too close; and don’t accept any other answer! A too close shave doesn’t allow curly and even African American hair an opportunity to grow out if cut beneath the follicle exit. The hair looses access and continues to grown in a curled direction.

  • Q1: What’s the difference between After Shave Balm and After Shave Splash?
    - Steve T., Santa Barbara California

    A1: After Shave Splash is cologne which contains a large percentage of alcohol. Alcohol dries skin. Dry skin reacts by over compensating your body’s natural oil production, resulting in oily skin.

    After Shave Balm is an alcohol free skin sealant. It heals skin irritated by the shaving process, protecting the face from external impurities and possesses moisturizing properties.

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