Ahhh….The morning shave.  For most guys this daily ritual is something we rush through (or on a good day skip entirely) on our way to work, play or whatever. But we are here to tell you that this ritual should be something that you enjoy and look forward to each day (too much?) instead of dreading as a part of your morning preparations.

Few things in life feel better than a good shave, just like few things feel worse than a bad one.  And our good friends at The Art of Shaving have the products that are going to make your every shave from now on a good one!  The Art of Shaving takes that old disposable razor and gives it a big F-U! by providing classic looking razors, stands, brushes, and shaving products with a modern twist.  This stuff isn’t your dad’s old razor.  While you could go a bit old school with a Safety Razor ($50) or a bit more Sweeny Todd with a Straight Razor ($170) most of their nicer sets come made ready to use some of the todays modern three or five blade cartridges.  Their Manual Razor ($100) is designed to use the Fusion blades by Gillette which is one of the more popular blades out there today.

But the Art of Shaving takes shaving to another level with their line of shaving cream and pre and post shave oils.  If you are new to the fine art of shaving, we recommend one of their Full Size Kits ($100) in your scent of choice.   Each of the kits comes with an authentic Pure Badger Hair Shaving Brush ($55), Pre-Shave Oil ($22), Shaving Cream ($22), and After-Shave Balm ($38).

We were lucky enough to try out their Carry On Kits ($50) recently and were blown away by the products that came in the kit.  It comes with all the above products, but in smaller sizes, as well as a shaving brush.  Perfect for…well traveling of course.  We tried the sandalwood scented products, but they also carry an unscented, lavender, and lemon scent as well. This kit is a great value because just the brush alone will cost you $55 if purchased separately.   There is easily enough of the products to get a month or more of shaving out of them if used in the right quantities.

One brisk Monday morning I decided to give these products the test of a three-day beard (who shaves on the weekend?), so after the morning shower I grabbed the pre-shave oil and briskly worked it into my beard.  The first thing I noticed was the nice scent of sandalwood that reached my nasal passages as I was slowly massaging in the oil.  Being one that normally doesn’t go for scented shaving products (I have sensitive skin, so shut up!) I didn’t find it to be overpowering.   Next came the shaving cream (also sandalwood scented) and the brush.  I wet the brush and applied a small amount to the brush.  Not really knowing what to expect I just started brushing this onto my face.  First impressions, badger hair is a bit corse!  But what came next was a nice rich foam all over my face that felt like none other I had experienced before.   I took time to massage in the cream into my beard so it would soften it up nicely.  Now the moment of truth, time to blade up and see how it goes.  With this shaving experience I grabbed my trusty Hydro (review here) and started to shave.  First off, the blade just slide over my skin, no doubt thanks to the previous two products I had just massaged into my skin.  Gone was the normal pulling that comes from my normal shave.  No small nicks and cuts that come with the use of inferior products.  An all around excellent shaving experience.  I quickly rinsed my face (they recommend cold water, which was quite a shock to the face), applied the after shave balm, and rolled out the door.

My impressions as the day went on were that it was one of the closest shaves I have ever had.  And now, even a week later on an older blade I am still getting close shaves.  No doubt a testament to the great products I am using.  The oils in the products not only soften, but make my whiskers (what am I a cat?) stand at attention, just waiting to be hacked off.  The first day the over powering scent of sandalwood was a bit much for me.  But I think that might just be a personal preference thing, since I generally don’t like strong-smelling products.  I ponied up to my favorite lady friend for a kiss on the cheek after the shave and she like the smell (and feel) of my freshly shorn face.   For long-term use, I would probably go with the unscented products, just so it wouldn’t clash with any cologne I would decide to wear that day.  But to each his own on that case.

All in all, The Art of Shaving gets a big five star-two thumbs-cartwheeling-high five from me.   They have taken everyday products and given them a classic look and feel.   Retro shaving is pretty dang awesome.  I would recommend these products as a gift for anyone this holiday season, including yourself.  They have tons of locations for you to shop from, of course their website but they have retail locations all over the country as well.  At some of their retail locations you can even get spiffed up with a shave and a hair cut.  Two bits!