Going Back to Barbasol

A shaving life comes full circle

Andy Spears

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photo by author

When I was a kid, I remember watching my dad shave. A blue and green can of Barbasol and a yellow, plastic Bic razor with two blades. I’d marvel at the fact he rarely cut himself.

He’d often pick me up after his morning shower/shave and I’d revel in the clean, aloe scent his warm face exuded.

When it was my turn to start shaving, my dad showed me how — Barbasol, Bic, and patience. Hot water for shaving, a cold splash to finish, and then some aftershave for soothing and a more pronounced scent.

I loved the routine of it. Loved the transformation. Plus, as a teen, my facial hair was pretty suspect. I liked being neat, and shaving made that happen.

On my 18th birthday, I went to the mailbox to find a gift box from Gillette. The best a man can get, they say. Inside, was a nice razor with a triple-bladed head.

I used it with the Barbasol, and it was the best shave ever. Of course, this product gift caused me to explore the Gillette line of shaving products — soon, shave gel and aftershave from Gillette graced the bathroom alongside my dad’s trusty Barbasol and Bic.

I continued in this fashion through college and into my early career.

By the time I was 30, I had a job requiring me to wear a suit every day. I loved it.

I chose shirts with French cuffs and fun cuff links. I picked out a new, more “adult” cologne.

And I decided my shaving routine needed an upgrade.

photo by author

I did some research and some exploration and settled on a shaving kit including a badger brush, a traditional, double-edge razor (like my grandfather would have used), and shave cream from England (Taylor of Old Bond Street).

My morning transformed from routine to magical.

Using the brush and hot water, I turned a bit of shave cream into a rich lather for my face. I would make two passes — first with, then against the grain of my hair. The air around my sink became beautifully scented.

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Andy Spears

Writer and policy advocate living in Nashville, TN —Public Policy Ph.D. — writes on education policy, consumer affairs, and more . . .