Man Bun

Here’s the Verdict on Man Buns

The man bun—a look we sort of never thought would last, something reserved for guys who also never leave home without a leather jacket, a motorcycle, and lots of rings. But it only seems to be getting more widespread. It’s true that the “ungroomed” look for men’s grooming has been in for a while, but when even Groupon rolls out a $10 clip-in bun for men, is it safe to say that this trend has come undone? Have we reached a saturation point as a culture or will it not be long until dudes start going full Castaway? Listen here, Wilson.

Are they still cool?

Since David Beckham debuted the look that brought ‘em mainstream back in 2003, we’ve since seen man buns crop up on a slew of Hollywood stars, athletes, cool bros, new dads, et al—Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Brad Pitt, David Beckham, Jake Gyllenhaal, Jared Leto, Bradley Cooper—the list goes on. A few of these high-profile man bunners have since snipped their top knots, some are just beginning their journey.  El Segundo, California-based toymaker Mattel recently announced they’re releasing a version of Ken (Barbie’s boyfriend, for those unfamiliar) with—you guessed it—a man bun. It’s safe to say that these buns ain’t going nowhere. At least for now.

Trends aside, what really matters is what works best for you. If you’ve got medium-length to long hair—whether you’re trying to grow it out, or life got in the way and you skipped a few haircuts—you know that hair, too, can sometimes get in the way. Even if you’re feeling the longer, shaggier new you—your neck gets hot, your hair flies in your face, or maybe you just want to mix up your look once in a while. We say, if you’re going to take a dip in these murky man bun waters, do it right, and keep it low-maintenance. It’s actually pretty simple, so long as you’re not stealing all your girlfriend’s hair ties. A few things to keep in mind, bun brethren:

What About Washing?

It really comes down to personal preference—some bunners swear by once daily routine, while others will tell you they’ll go upwards of 2 weeks at a time without washing their hair (gross). We don’t advise this, particularly if you’re a gym-goer (if you use the gym for more than just a social activity, chances are you’re going to sweat… and if you sweat, you’re going to want to wash your hair, trust us). Whatever your preference, you’re going to want use a 1-2 shampoo + conditioner regimen.

A good, nutrient-enriched shampoo will repair and cleanse without drying, while a coconut-infused conditioner will help deliver natural nutrients essential for healthy hair growth and act as a remedy for dry already hair and scalp.

Do You Need Any Product?

Something everyone deals with after washing their hair is frizz. If you have thick, wavy or curly hair and want a natural-feeling man bun, a little grooming cream with light hold is your best bet—throw it in while your hair’s still damp and it’ll take care of the frizz no problem. For a more gritty, lived-in look (regardless of hair type), you’ll want to opt for a texturizing spray, which can be used pre- or post-blow drying.

Don’t Pull Too Tight

Ideally the man bun is more about function than fashion, so it should definitely be comfortable and easy to wear. Gather the hair tightly enough to stay secured in a bun, but don’t pull it so tight that your sore scalp will be paying for it later.

Find a Midpoint

Placement is important. The eventual bun should sit somewhere on the back-center of your head. Make sure to get any stray hairs at the bottom that can tend to fall out and grab them into your hand. You can also tame the strays with a finishing spray

But, how?

To actually complete your man bun, pull your hair back into a mid-high ponytail, wrap the hair tie around twice, then on the third pass simply tuck the end into the band. All there is to it! Now get out there—you’re ready for a full man bun day.

LLT

Grooming to Live Life True

Los Angeles is a town of dreamers and dream chasers. Come for the weather; stay to find yourself. This sprawling city encompasses people of all different backgrounds and identities, lifestyles and hustles, and it’s the only place we know of where driving an hour in any direction can land you at the beach, the mountains, or in the hectic center of it all.

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Here at Baxter of California we know that grooming products are a tool for living. Since its birth in Los Angeles in 1965, Baxter has sought to be a part of your journey, never dictate which path you take. Rather than cater to trends with a short shelf life, we focus on producing simple, useful, quality products that bring out the individual—to showcase who you are as you experience life. Our new campaign celebrates Angelenos who are living life true. Trying to be something or someone you aren’t is exhausting — Life Lived True is our unfiltered depiction of modern masculinity grounded in California culture. What defines modern masculinity? Nowadays it’s not so one-dimensional. It’s everything and it’s nothing; “masculine” is whatever it means to you. It’s being real, being honest with yourself, celebrating who you are and embracing those unique qualities that make you you. “Modern masculinity is about more than just your physical appearance—it’s an expression of self that is non-binary, gender-agnostic, and blind to race or religion; a way of living bravely,” Global Head of Marketing Yasmin Dastmalchi expounds. “Venturing beyond the ordinary is in the brand’s DNA.”

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We teamed up with photographer Ben Grieme to introduce Life Lived True in the city that Baxter of California has called home for over 50 years. The series finds its inspiration in real people cast from the streets of Los Angeles, all with little-to-no modeling experience. From a professional fencer, to the brand’s own female barber, to an LA-native who quit his desk job, packed up and moved from a 1-bedroom apartment into a van parked at Venice Beach, with nothing but his surfboard and a bag of clothes—the diverse subjects are bound together through their embrace of authenticity. The portraits, amplified by the scenic backdrop of the city—the urban sprawl next to undeniable natural beauty—result in something quintessentially LA that’s true to the spirit and culture of this city and its population. With their urge to push beyond social constructs, unhindered by stereotypes or expectations, Angelenos live their lives according to their own rules.

The independent spirit of California culture is also illustrated by the subjects’ unique styles and grooming habits. We enlisted the help of Baxter of California Lead Stylist, Whitney VerMeer, to help tell these stories and convey the fresh approach. “I work with a lot of career models, but my favorite projects are the ones where I cast people from Instagram or someone I pass on the street who has an interesting look. There’s something really beautiful about watching a person transform behind camera and see their confidence blossom throughout the process.”

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Life Lived True is about embracing the perfection in imperfection—unafraid to be true to who you are, out here living and not caught up with what people think. Baxter of California provides the everyday essentials that you wear out into the world, empowering you to find your true stride and make your own mark.

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Celebrating Dads Who Live Life True

Father’s Day is a big deal for us here at Baxter of California. Much like grooming, it’s rooted in tradition. And while different cultures and nationalities have their own unique traditions when it comes to celebrating their Dads, every one of them has that one thing in common – whether it’s in LA, throughout the country, or across the world, and that’s celebrating Dad’s that #livelifetrue.

This year, we sat down with lifestyle blogger and GQ Insider Francis Kenneth (@franciskenneth) – a long-time friend of Baxter of California – to learn a little about his relationship with his Dad, and how they celebrate Father’s Day together.

 

BAXTER: Tell us about your relationship with your Dad.

FRANCIS: Two words: TOUGH LOVE. (For some context, I’m Asian, if you can’t tell from the photos. My Dad emigrated with his family from the Philippines to the US). As the oldest son of four children, I was/am the guinea pig and role model for my siblings. Growing up, I was always annoyed that he was strict (in comparison to my friends’ American parents), and would “micro-manage” everything I did from school to sports, Boy Scouts to music, choice of friends to girls I dated. Now that I’m older, and despite not being able to fulfill his own dream for me, I’ve come to realize that this was his way of supporting my passions. After all, those things in-n-out of school were my choice on how I wanted to spend my time, and I cannot be more appreciative of his guidance on all of it (even when he didn’t approve of them). After all, I wouldn’t be who and where I am today without him, which also means, I wouldn’t be here for this Q&A. If you’re reading this, thanks Dad!

 

BAXTER: What is favorite activity to do to with your dad?

FRANCIS: LAKER GAMES!!!

 

BAXTER: What do you admire most about your dad?

FRANCIS: Hard work and generosity. He sacrificed his own hobbies and interests to do whatever it took to make sure there was food on the table, clothes on our back, a roof over our head, and then some. HE NEVER ASKED FOR HELP (well, with the exception of my Mom, of course). I know that all sounds pretty basic, but this meant and still means the world to me.

 

BAXTER: What has your dad taught you about grooming and style

FRANCIS: In all honesty, he’s the reason why I even care about grooming and style. My Dad was a stud back in the day, and he made sure to pass on the importance of appearances to me at a very early age.

 

BAXTER: How has your Dad’s style influenced yours?

FRANCIS: If I had to narrow it down to one thing, it would be to be the best dressed for the occasion. Basically, dress accordingly but be the best at it. That still resonates in my personal style today.

 

BAXTER: What are some traditions you share with your Dad?

FRANCIS: Food and basketball. I guess you could say these are “new” traditions as they haven’t been passed down over the generations, but this has been our “father and son time” for as long as I can remember. I mean, the Lakers won the NBA championship the year I was born, so it only makes sense.

 

BAXTER: How do you typically celebrate Father’s Day?

FRANCIS: Dinner and NBA Finals!

 

BAXTER: What do you typically gift your Dad for Father’s Day?

FRANCIS: Ties (a Father’s Day must), grooming products, and/or cologne.

 

BAXTER: Do you think he’ll like the Better With Age Set?

FRANCIS: The better question is which father wouldn’t like the Better With Age Set? Don’t worry, I’ll wait.

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Introducing the Baxter x Fancy Barbershop Series

We’ve teamed up with FANCY (@fancy) to bring you into our world with a taste of what some of today’s biggest names in tech, entertainment, and sports talk about in the barber chair.

In our first episode, we’re joined by Grammy-nominated singer, songwriter and entrepreneur Ryan Leslie (@ryanleslie), who has not sat on a barber chair in a long time because he cuts his own hair. Baxter of California barber Ricky (@lordsticky) and Ryan talk about fashion, Ryan’s ventures in music and tech, and what modern masculinity means in his world.

Watch the video below and stay tuned for the next in the series. #lifelivedtrue

 

 

Celebrating Baxter Moms

Mother’s Day is a very important tradition for the guys at Baxter of California. There is arguably no greater influence in a young man’s life than that of his Mother. And it’s not because our Mothers taught us how to how to get dressed, tie our shoes, brush our teeth and wipe our own asses—you know, the typical “mom duties.” Here at Baxter of California, we celebrate diversity and look past the traditional gender roles that suggest Dads teach their boys about men’s grooming and Mom’s stay in the kitchen.

It’s 2017, and let’s face it, Moms are tough—physically & emotionally. They’re somehow built to handle a staggering amount of crap from just about every direction while still managing to be a source of strength, inspiration and admiration for their kids. These Baxter guys credit their moms for not only bringing them into the world, but for encouraging them to forge their own paths through it; each of them shows their appreciation for these superwomen in their own unique and individual ways.

Fernando (Marketing) with his Mom, Normy

Fernando & Normy

Fernando’s Mom, Normy, lived in Puerto Rico her entire life until moving to Miami in her 50’s, leaving her family in search of a better life. A lifelong school teacher, she’s always been known as “the fashionable one” by her students, and as you can see, her fashion sense is undeniable. Normy always encouraged Fernando to not only always look his best, but to always be the best version of himself as well. For his Mom’s special day, Fernando likes to fly cross-country to surprise her just so he can see the look on her face which, for him, never gets old.

Ben (Global Sales) with his Mom, Terrie

Ben

Ben doesn’t get to visit his Mom, Terrie as much as he’d like. She lives in England and he, here in LA, but they do Skype regularly. Terrie has never been afraid to speak her mind and has always encouraged her children to do the same. So it should have been no surprise to Ben that when, on a recent visit she made out here, he took her out to dinner at the ultra-exclusive Hollywood dining club, Soho House, Terrie spent most of the evening chatting up Harry Potter actor, Rupert Grint and criticizing his English accent.

Patrick (Marketing) with his Mom, Yvonne

Patrick

Patrick and his mom Yvonne are very much alike. Those close to them like to joke that he is definitely his mother’s son as they share many of the same character traits. Patrick credits his Mom with teaching him the value of unconditional love and for always supporting and encouraging him to dream big and pursue his passions. For her special day, Patrick likes to present his Mom with flowers and a card. They’ll typically spend the day outside, exploring a new hiking trail or going for a bike ride. Afterward, they’ll stop by Patrick’s Grandmother’s house so that Yvonne can wish her own Mom a Happy Mother’s day.

Sam (Business Development) with his Mom, Nancy

Sam

Sam’s Mom, Nancy taught her son to work hard, play hard and above all, always have fun. Nancy was the first female president of his local little league, which was an important organization for the youth in their hometown. She worked hard to provide young kids with a safe and fun space for them to learn and have fun through the league, spearheading community-driven efforts for playing field beautification and more. Sam’s Mom wasn’t just all work and no play, though. Sam recalls how she would often turn out all the lights in the house, blast music and dance with him on the coffee table. Seriously, that’s a pretty cool Mom. Sam credits his Mom with encouraging and inspiring him to be an active member of his community and to always participate in causes that he believes in. He can’t wait to celebrate this Mother’s day with Nancy and his wife, Jessica; they’re expecting their first baby in just a few short months.

Bolen (Business Development) with his Mom, Denise

Bolen

Bolen, as we learned from our Baxter Dads blog last year, is no stranger to tradition. His Dad’s a barber and his Mom, Denise, is a hair stylist, so the apple didn’t fall too far from the tree, it seems. Growing up, Denise often said to her son, “I brought you into this world and I can just as easily take you out of it.” It sounds like Bolen might have been a bit of a handful, but he understands full well that he wouldn’t be where he is today without his mom’s passionate guidance and strength at crucial points in his life, always being there for him no matter what. When visiting his Mom for her special day in their home state of Texas, he starts off with a lazy morning of coffee and grits followed by a long brunch with plenty of mimosas. They spend the rest of the afternoon by the pool until he fires up the grill and serves her a dry rub BBQ for dinner.

Marcus (Marketing) with his Mom, Tammy

Marcus

Marcus’s Mom, Tammy was a stay-at-home mom who raised 4 children, which is no small feat. As her children grew up and left the home, Tammy found she had a desire to leave her mark on the world outside of her immediate family. That’s why she started volunteering weekly for her local Meals on Wheels program and has been doing it for the last 15 years. Marcus, her youngest, knows how much his Mom loves flowers, especially tulips. So every year, when he and the rest of his family show up to their annual Mother’s Day BBQ, he brings her a great big bouquet of them just so he can hear her say, “Tulips, my favorite! How did you know?”

These Moms are all awesome, for their similarities and even more so for their differences. Each of these women we honor and thank for breaking the mold in their own unique way while raising sons that have taken their spirits of love, compassion, determination, dedication and individuality and made it a part of them in honor of the amazing women that they owe so much to. Whatever your traditions and however you celebrate, we here at Baxter of CA wish you and yours a happy Mother’s Day.

#lifelivedtrue

Aaron

2017 Style Guide: Aaron Thornton

Once upon a time, a German and a Swede met in Northern California and had Aaron.

Aaron Thornton (@athor13)Aaron

Aaron grew up in Yosemite, CA but left the world’s biggest trees for the world’s biggest fashion scenes—New York and Milan—where he modeled before moving to Santa Monica, CA. But don’t think he’s just a pretty face in low-slung jeans with six-pack abs; this 25 year old invented a yoga mat that rolls up by itself, having it crowd-funded and patented. He’s also done some stunt work for a TV show in LA and hopes to keep inventing, getting patents and inspiring others to dream.

Aaron

^He likes sporting the connected haircut shaped short to long, which offers a lot of versatility depending on how it’s styled. For a raw, edgy look, he wears it kicked up with a spikey texture, held firm with Clay Pomade. When it comes to skin, he’s all about soothing the razor’s edge with pre-shave treatment Shave Tonic and post-shave moisturizing protectant After Shave Balm.

Aaron

^The rocker in him likes to wear it wild, disheveled and pushed forward with a combination of moldable Clay Pomade and firm-hold Hard Water Pomade for a balance of structure and pliability. Aaron keeps his skin buff with Exfoliating Facial Scrub two times per week.

Check out all the looks from our Style Guide and live life true.

#lifelivedtrue

Jason

2017 Style Guide: Jason Koko

Jason is the product of something that happened in Vegas but didn’t stay in Vegas.

Jason Koko (@jason.koko)

Jason

This 20 year old North Hollywood newbie’s striking gaze and pronounced V-shaped hairline give him an intense aspect that he tries to soften by not taking himself too seriously. When he’s not hunting for vintage vinyl records around LA, you’ll probably find this beach addict strolling through Venice or chilling by the surf on most weekends.  Proud but never satisfied, he’s constantly trying to better himself and hopes to move forward in his acting/modeling career.

Jason

^Jason likes sporting the taper fade undercut with his every-day look characterized by a laid-back, natural texture and movement controlled with a light hold by Soft Water Pomade. This style shows off his face so he uses Herbal Mint Toner to balance his skin, a cross between oily and dry.

Jason

^For rebel roles, he wears it in an exploding front comb-over, brought to its full mayhem with the light hold of Grooming Cream and finished with Clay Effect Style Spray (coming May 2017). His chaotic schedule can be rough on skin, so he uses Exfoliating Body Bar every morning in the shower.

Jason

^For a Bad-boy-gone-good appeal, he wear it off to the side and ruggedly separated on top, set in place with pliable Hard Cream Pomade. He’s done with dry, chapped lips because he moisturizes them daily with mojito-flavored Hydro Salve Lip Balm.

Check out all the looks from our Style Guide and live life true.

#lifelivedtrue

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2017 Style Guide: Zac Taylor

Unlike René Grincourt, who likes to rock the classic “connected” cut, some guys tend to keep things a little shorter. Introducing Zac, rockin’ it high and tight.

Zac Taylor (@ zacleetaylor)

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Zac makes his home in Long Beach, CA, but you can’t cant take the country out of this good ol’ Texas boy. This 28 year old likes riding motorbikes, he even built one from scratch once. A self-professed “ninja at fixing things,” you’ll find him tinkering with cars when he isn’t hiking, surfing or kicking back with his Bae. He’s currently training hard for his black belt in Muay Thai and Jiu Jitsu, so maybe there’s more truth to that ninja thing than he lets on. He dreams of one day surfing the big swells off of Crescent Head, Australia, but for now, driving his 73 Ford Ranchero around LA gives him life.

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^Zac likes to keep it simple with a classic high and tight buzz cut, but don’t think that limits his style.  When he’s sporting an on-duty look, he likes to wear it militant but approachable so he uses the pliable, all-day hold of the Hard Cream Pomade.  He keeps his skin looking as youthful and fit as the rest of him with Super Shape™ Skin Recharge Cream.

Check out all the looks from our Style Guide and live life true.

#lifelivedtrue

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2017 Style Guide: René Grincourt

Here at Baxter of California, we believe in letting you set the tone for your own style—our simple, superior selection of thoughtfully curated hair, skin, and shaving essentials help you fuel your best self and unleash what makes you, you.

With the release of our 2017 Style Guide, we thought we’d share a little bit about the guys featured inside the guide, and the products used for their signature looks. First up, meet René.

René (@renegrincourt)

Rene

French-born René moved from his home town of Chessy to Paris to study and currently makes his home in LA. He sports a classic connected haircut and loves taking photographs, writing, French food and kickboxing. He hopes to make photography his life one day soon. Till then, he focuses on savoring today and not letting any of his fears keep him from stepping outside of his security zone and trying new things. Curious by nature, he’ll walk up to a stranger just to chat them up and see what they’re about. His beard and distinctive tattoo make it easy for him to be picked out of a lineup, not that he’s been in any that we know of.

Rene

^When going for an urban gent polished look, he wears it slicked back and smooth with a combination of Hard Water Pomade and Soft Water Pomade.

Rene

^For a rougher look, he wears it side-parted and separated with a mix of Clay Pomade and Soft Water Pomade for just the right amount of texture, hold and shine.

Rene

^For a casual, lived-in look, he wears it loosely defined with Hard Cream Pomade which delivers lightweight moisture and hold.

René likes late nights out, so regardless of his look, he keeps his skin in mint condition with a revitalizing skincare routine. The age-fighting nutrients in the Oil Free Moisturizer ensure he always wakes up to a healthy and renewed complexion. A quick weekly detox with Clay Mask leaves his skin ready and able to face whatever life throws out at it. Our signature aluminum-free Deodorant stops perspiration in its tracks and keeps him fresh, day or night.

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How To Choose The Right Type of Razor

Whether you’re sporting a full beard, a clean shave, or something in-between, shaving is a part of your life. For some, it is a meticulous ritual, a proud men’s grooming tradition to be enjoyed. For others it may be more of a tiresome chore. Wherever you fall on the spectrum, we’ve put together an easy-to-follow guide to help you figure out what works best for you.

You’ve got plenty of options to choose from when selecting the best shaving tools for the job. Depending on what style of shave you want, there are some important factors to consider, such as skin type, hair type and comfort-level. We’ve turned to our top shaving experts over at Baxter Finley Barber & Shop  for their take on which of the 4 classic shavers best fits your personal lifestyle.

Cartridge Razors

We’re not gonna lie, this isn’t exactly our favorite but we completely understand the appeal. Also known as the “disposable razor,” shaving by way of a cartridge razor is the most common men’s shaving method today. They typically feature a solid handle attached to a replicable cartridge that has multiple blades.

Best for: Getting the job done, quick & dirty when you’re travelling, at the gym or just pressed for time. Works for all skin types and for those who want to look clean-shaven for most of the day.

Pros:
  • Offers quick and easy shaving with less chances of knicks and cuts
  • Very travel-friendly
  • You can pretty much find replacement cartridges anywhere generic men’s shaving products are sold
Cons:
  • The blades dull quickly and the cost of replacement cartridge packs can really add up
  • The fact of the matter is they don’t offer the closest shave possible, which means you’ll have to shave more often
  • If you think triple-plus blades are better, think again. Added blades may cut hairs the first ones miss, but they’re also scraping against your skin multiple times, increasing the chances of razor burn, bumps and in-grown hairs

Electric Razors

Depending on your needs, this handy advance in men’s shaving technology works well for the gentleman on-the-go. Most are battery-powered these days while some still feature a plug-in cord, but don’t take those ones in the shower with you.

Best For: Anyone looking for speed and comfort over closeness and precision. Good for all skin types and if you’re looking to maintain a small amount of scruff.

Pros:
  • They’re fast and efficient at cleaning up a Five O’clock shadow and for quick touchups.
  • They dramatically reduce your shaving time.
  • The blades may need a little maintenance with lubricating oil (usually included), they’ll typically last longer than cartridge razors.
Cons:
  • Make no mistake, it offers the least closest shave of all men’s shaving tools, even the high-end ones don’t come close to other shaving methods.
  • These babies will set you back with the highest up-front cost of any shaving method.
  • Even among the best models, irritation and in-grown hairs are common.

Safety Razors

We may be a little biased, but bear with us. This classic men’s shaving tool offers up superior closeness and affordability. Most likely it’s what Dad used and his Dad before him back in the day but thanks to its simple design and undeniable efficiency, it’s been making a huge comeback.  It features a solid handle and one replaceable blade held in-place by a removable casing.

Best For: A patient and meticulous shaver rituals and value precision and neatness when shaving. Good for all skin types including sensitive.

Pros:

  • Double-edged safety razor blades are readily available and for affordable than cartridge razor replacements.
  • Delivers a much closer shave than cartridge and electric razors without causing as much irritation.
  • One pass of the single blade per facial area is typically all you need, this cuts down drastically on irritation making it great for sensitive skin types.

Straight Razor

The original men’s shaving tool, this timeless classic never goes out of style. It features a solid handle with a fold-out single blade.

Best For: Expert shavers and professional barbers who want a closest shave possible.

Pros:
  • Delivers the closest shave of the for men’s razors.
  • With the proper care, this baby can last you a lifetime, making it the last razor you’ll ever need.
  • You can’t help but look like a badass shaving with this.
Cons:
  • A quality straight razor might set you back with a higher up-front cost than even an electric shaver but it’s a good investment in the long run.
  • The sharpness of the straight razor’s blade needs to be maintained with a leather strop which is an added expense.
  • This razor’s definitely not for the faint of heart. If you’re not careful you can really cut yourself so there’s definitely a learning curve. We recommend consulting with your barber.

 

So there you have it, hopefully this helps you narrow down which shaving tool is the right fit for you. Each has their merits and their drawbacks, some more than others. If you’re after a truly complete and gratifying shaving experience, consider a safety or straight razor for that top-notch closeness and precision.