A Few of My Favourite Things, Part 2: Taylor of Old Bond Street

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This week I popped into Taylor of Old Bond Street for a few Christmas presents.

Most men hate shaving, either because of the time consuming monotonous tedium of the act itself, or the inevitable soreness and discomfort afterwards. But, investing in the proper kit can turn it into a pleasurable little morning ritual.

A family business originally founded in 1854, Taylor of Old Bond Street (now located at 74 Jermyn Street) are specialists in the art of shaving and male grooming. Their Chairman –the great grandson of the founder- to this day formulates many of the company’s hair and skin products. The staff are the friendliest, most knowledgeable people you could wished to be served by, so don’t be intimidated by its old world air or location. In the back of the shop is a full barber’s, offering shaves with a cut throat razor. If you have time, I strongly recommend such an experience. You’ll not only come out with the best shave of your life, but feeling wonderful serene.

Now, my father is notoriously hard to buy presents for. Simply put, he has enough money to buy whatever he wants, and usually does. Last year, however, I decided to take a punt and introduce him to Taylor of Old Bond Street, and their beautiful array or shaving and grooming products. We bought him a Silver-tip Badger Brush, shaving soap and imitation Ivory handled razor. Ever since, he has not stopped raving about what a real pleasure shaving has become – back of the net!

The key to the ritual, and eliminating most of the irritation, is the Badger Hair brush. The brush not only softens the hairs and lifts them, but it also holds water and thereby creates a rich moist lather which helps prevent razor burn. Be aware that there are essentially 4 types of badger hair brush; Pure Badger, Best Badger, Super Badger (nothing to do with caped crusading) and Silver-tip Badger, and each grade is better than the last. The names relate to where upon the badger the fur is taken from, its denseness per brush as well as its softness and water holding properties.

- Pure Badger most commonly refers to hair from the under belly.

Best Badger is hair taken from the body of the beast and these are more pliable. The handle will have a denser concentration of hair than one made of pure badger.

Super Badger comes from the back of the badger and is softer still than Pure or Best. Because the hair is finer the handle will be more densely packed. You may find the tips of the hairs dyed white, this is to differentiate it from Best and Pure.

Silver-tip is made from hair on the underside of the badger’s chin or neck. These hairs are noticeably softer than other grades and tips of the hairs will be off white in colour –this is natural colouring and not a feature of dying.

Happy Shaving.


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Andrew Williams blogs at www.bespokeme.com and is based in London. For him style is a frame of mind not just a state of dress.

Comments

  1. Yossef says:

    At 30, I recently switched to a safety razor rather than the Mach 3, and I love it. It took a little time and effort to learn how to handle something without all the technological benefits of the tilt head, and my face was a bit raw after my first shave, but the experience I have now is well worth the investment.

    For my part, I don’t understand why someone would want a fancy handle for their multi-blade cartidge.

    I found the Art of Manliness article “How to Shave Like Your Grandpa” to be useful reading before my switch. (http://artofmanliness.com/2008/01/04/how-to-shave-like-your-grandpa/)

  2. Patrick says:

    Yes, I also recently switched to a safety razor by Merkur. Really great shave, less irritation, and the razors are cheaper, but I still find myself using my Mach 3 power because 1) I don’t have to worry about taking it on a carry on luggage. (I don’t know if this is actually the case, but I’m not going to risk having to deal with it at the gate) 2) if you really need to shave in a hurry, you don’t want to use your safety razor.

  3. gary says:

    If I lived near taylors i’d use them for you are totally right in your estimation of them

  4. Matt says:

    If you aren’t lucky enough to be able to visit the store in London then you can buy Taylor of Old Bond Street shaving products online. Most products are a bit cheaper online as well. My favourites are the Avocado and Rose shaving creams!