Category Archives: Back to Basics

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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.

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How to Winterproof Your Skin

Whether it’s the harsh blizzards of New England, the chilly rains of the Pacific North West or the comparatively mild, cool days of LA, winter weather conditions can do a serious number on your skin. You might find that your rest-of-the-year skin care regimen isn’t cutting it, but not to worry—we have everything you need to keep your skin looking its best, even in some of the most inhospitable conditions.

Extra Hydration is Key

Cold temperatures cause our pores to close tight as surface moisture is bled away, leading to dryness, itching, chapping and even cracking. Your regular moisturizer might not cut it so we recommend something a little more emollient like the Super Shape Skin Recharge Cream with its rich, hydrating complex of botanical oils, glycerin and natural humectants. These ingredients strengthen the lipid barrier—your skin’s natural defense against dryness—while promoting firmness, elasticity and a healthy-looking tone.

Don’t ignore the rest of you though—hands and lips can become dry, chapped and cracked so they’re definitely going to need an extra layer of protection. The Hydro Salve Hand Cream and Lip Balm hydrate and nourish with plant-based oils, rich in Omega fatty acids which help create a layer of insulation from the cold.

Take Your Time When Shaving

For shaving, we’d recommend putting in in a little more prep and post work to keep your skin on an even keep. This means starting your shave right after exiting the shower while your pores are still open. Start with our Shave Tonic to wake up your skin before shaving. Follow with the Super Close Shave Formula with its soothing blend of peppermint oil, tea tree and menthol crack down on any potential inflammation before it has a chance to begin. Finish with our alcohol-free After Shave Balm to get that extra layer of hydration between you and the elements before you step out of your door.

Other Tips and Tricks

Just like in the summer months, it’s important to stay hydrated so that your skin has an emergency reserve of moisture it can draw from. The aloe vera in many of our products draws moisture up to the surface of the skin while our botanical humectants keep it locked into the lipid barrier to keep skin looking soft and healthy.

If your skin is more on the oily side, you may still find yourself in need of an extra layer of moisture when the temperatures dip and your pores go into survival mode. Odds are your skin isn’t going to be producing too much sebum if it’s really cold, but that doesn’t mean the moisture can’t be sapped from it by the environment. But if you’re worried about breakouts, we’d recommend exfoliating with our Facial Scrub first to help keep your complexion clear.

In the Beatles song, “I Am The Walrus,” John Lennon writes about “getting a tan standing in the English rain.” That wasn’t just a cool bit of lyrical poetry. UVA rays pierce even heavy cloud cover as if they weren’t even there, causing redness and premature aging. So it’s always a very good idea to wear a sunscreen even on a cold and gloomy winter’s day.

Apply these changes to your skin care regimen for a noticeable improvement in your skin’s behavior during the colder months.

Ice, ice, baby.

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6 Tips for Strong Beard Growth

Growing out your beard takes more than time. It’s part of the process, make no mistake about it, but there are a few other things to take care of while you wait. We caught up with our local Baxter Finley beard experts and had them weigh in on a few things to keep in mind while growing out your beard.

1.     Accept that it Will Take Time

It will take most men roughly a month to grow out a full beard. This is an average length of time and it will vary based on the individual. Whatever the case, it’s important to let it grow. Resist the urge to tinker with it too much until it’s long enough to see what you’ve got to work with. You can (and should) keep is neat during this time by keeping the hairs at an even length, but the time and place for full on trimming will come at a later stage.

2.     Remember to Wash it

Your beard is still hair and that means sweat and dirt will collect inside of it, even if it’s short. A gentle shampoo may be best until you’re sure you know what your face and hair can handle. How often you clean it is up to you, although most men wash their beards whenever they wash their hair.

3.     Comb / Brush it

Combing your beard while it’s growing serves two separate purposes. First, you’re training your hair to grow in a uniform direction. This will only help your beard be more magnificent when it grows to its full glory. Second, you’re keeping it smooth and free of tangles, snags, or knots. There’s nothing worse than an unruly beard so grooming is essential during this time.

4.     Soften It Up

Many men find that their facial hair grows in rougher than the hairs on their head. This is where beard oil comes into play. Beard oil softens the hair and allows it to lay flat. At the same time, it provides moisture to both the hair and skin underneath. Conditioner can also be used when showering to help keep the hair moisturized and soft.

5.     Accept that it Will Itch. And Try to Resist the Urge to Scratch

If you are growing out your beard for the first time, you may experience a certain amount of itchiness. This is normal. Try to resist the urge to scratch, as you may damage the hairs or irritate the skin underneath. Combing your beard may help alleviate some of the itchings, and beard oil can relax the hair as well. Thankfully, the itchiness usually goes away after about a week or so.

6.     Use A Beard Growth Oil

Beard growth oil may sound like something you see in cartoons but it actually does exist. It’s important to remember, however, that beard growth oil is not a miracle ointment. You won’t slather it on your face at night and wake up looking like ZZ Top. What it does contain, however, are essential vitamins and minerals that help promote hair growth, such as vitamin E. Many beard oils meant for moisturizing purposes will also double as growth oils.

Growing out your beard for the first time is a process. And you thought all you had to do was sit back and wait? If you’re one of the many men who are fortunate enough to grow a full, magnificent beard, these tips should help get you where you want to go. If you’re cursed with a baby face, condolences, it just isn’t in the cards.

For the rest of us, happy growing!

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How To Grow Out Your Hair

Every now and then you want to explore a new style, which often requires growing out your hair. Well guess what? In theory, growing out your hair is actually pretty easy—just don’t touch it! In reality, this ends up being one of most difficult challenges for men with little to no experience in managing a longer mane. So for the guys that decide to take the plunge and go for it, we turned to Baxter Finley Barber & Shop‘s Frank Sariles for a few quick tips on how to get through this journey with success:

Consult and Partner with Your Barber or Stylist

Understanding how to manage and style your hair is not only important, it is a crucial part of this process; maintaining a neat and well-groomed appearance during the awkward phase of growth (between styles) will be your key to success.  You should be prepared to spend some time learning how to style your hair with different products to help you through the transition. For example, while the firm hold of Clay Pomade or Hard Cream Pomade works well with shorter hair, you may find that you prefer the lighter, more natural hold of Cream Pomade or Grooming Cream as your hair grows. Take advantage of your barber/stylist’s expertise in these instances—they could just be the saving grace you need to make it through this.Take advantage of your barber/stylist’s expertise—you’ll quickly learn that this will be the saving grace that gets you through the awkwardness.

Plan Your New Look 

Growing out your hair means a new hairstyle and a new look. Consider what your new style will consist of as it pertains to your grooming, including facial hair, and plan accordingly while you’ve got the time.

Start with an Even Cut 

Odds are that unless you’re starting out with a shaved head, your hair is already uneven. This is actually pretty normal—very few men grow hair evenly throughout. This doesn’t mean you have to buzz it down in order to start over. If you’re starting off with some extremely uneven parts, it may be a good idea to even things up before you let it grow out.

Leave it Alone for 8 Weeks

 Keeping in mind that everyone’s hair is going to grow at different rates, you’ll generally hit new style periods approximately every 8 weeks. At that point, you can cut your hair and have it remain in that growth style rather than returning it to what it was before.

Maintenance is a Virtue

While you should resist the urge to cut your hair for at least 8 weeks, remember not to neglect other areas of your head and face. Your body doesn’t know that all you want to do is grow the hair on the top of your head, and the tendency to completely shut down all grooming is what leaves men looking messy. Remember your eyebrows, neck, and facial hair is all still growing. Maintaining these areas effectively goes a long way towards presenting yourself as a man who is intentionally growing out his hair as opposed to someone who flat out became lazy.

Power Through the Awkward Phase

There will be some awkward times during those 8 weeks. As your new hair takes shape and style, it can be a new and uncomfortable time as you learn to deal with that new mop. Take it in stride and power through. Above all else, resist the urge to cut or trim it down. This will be the perfect time to revisit your barber/stylist to educate yourself on haircare and styling products that might assist you though this awkward stage.

Don’t Force the Style You’re Going For

Growing your hair out can be a lengthy process. Regardless of the look you’re going for, remember that it will take time to get there. Don’t force your hair into braids or buns if it’s not ready. Not only will you look silly, you could damage your hair in the process.

Growing out your hair isn’t as easy as simply putting down the scissors and backing away. Your new look will take time and there will be some messy, awkward experiences along the way. Some men struggle with their newfound locks while others embrace it.

In the end, a clean and focused approach will have your hair on its way to levels of handsomeness while minimizing the annoyance of coping with the awkward phase. Your regular barber/stylist understands your hair, perhaps better than you do, and will be happy to offer assistance during this time.

Happy growing!

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Back to Basics: When to Shampoo & Condition

Every hair type is different and requires a different approach to cleanliness. You want to be clean, but maybe you’ve heard it said that cleaning too frequently isn’t good for your hair? Don’t worry, we sat down with Baxter Finley’s expert barber, Erik Taylor, to get his pro take on the controversial subject.

It’s true that the shampoo and conditioner of yesteryear weren’t always the healthiest thing for your hair. The chemical compounds found in shampoo led to the excessive stripping of the hair’s natural oils, leaving hair dry and brittle.

To combat this, most modern shampoos have added moisturizing agents and the chemical formulas have gotten a lot gentler. However, shampoo is an emulsifier. This means it attaches to the oils in your hair and rinses them away. It’s gotten better, but it can still lead to dry hair. This still begs the question: how often to shampoo and condition your hair?

First thing, everyone’s hair care needs are different, and what works for one may not work for another. Personal preference, your specific hair type, and style will all impact this decision. Erik told us it isn’t unusual to encounter a variety of types in a given day: from guys who shampoo and condition daily, to weekly, or even not at all.

The reasons for ditching shampoo and conditioner altogether vary. Some guys are chemical-conscious and wash simply with water or all-natural ingredients. Others simply swear they can style their hair better without washing. We don’t think that’s a good idea. Take care of your mane, gents.

To get general, Erik gave us a few tips to guide us:

1. Wash daily to remove buildup, styling product, or just that dirt & grime you know you can’t avoid.

2. Curly, thick haired individuals can go longer between washes. Conditioning is always optional but recommended to smooth the cuticle.

3. Fine-haired people may want to wash more frequently. The reason being, your hair produces natural oils in between washes and that can lead to an oily, greasy look and feel. It’s more noticeable in thin, or fine hair.

4. If you’re working out or otherwise sweating a lot, you should wash your hair afterward, even if you already washed it earlier that day.

5. Heat styling (curling or straightening) zaps hair of its moisture. Shampoo can do the same. If you can’t quit the heat, stay out of the shower… at least for a few extra days to let your hair regain its moisture.

6. Some people may need to condition more often, depending on their hair type, but a good rule of thumb is to condition every time you shampoo.

7. Shampoo your hair before you come in for a cut. The conditioner is optional. This is good for the hair, though it won’t necessarily impact the haircut itself. Your barber definitely appreciates it.

8. Use a comb when applying conditioner to distribute the product evenly. The sitting time of the conditioner does not significantly impact its effectiveness, however; the key is making sure you’re working the product through from roots to ends.