These shave kits have been showing up in grocery stores, mega-marts, and drug stores in the United States over the past year or so, and I’m even starting to see them re-branded for specific retail chains. Though they are labeled “premium,” probably by some sales and marketing genius, its a far cry from the genuinely up-scale traditional shaving products. Still, its wide distribution and low price make it a good introduction to traditional shaving, and when used properly may actually out-perform many of the other shaving products on the retail shelf.
The kit includes a shaving soap, a shaving brush, and a small bowl. You can actually find the soap and the brush seperately in many stores. The weakest link in this kit is the brush, but with some preparation and practice, you can make a decent lather with it. But First lets prepare the brush for its first use.
Most shaving brushes are made out of animal hair, usually boar or badger, and they can really smell bad for their first few uses. But you can knock down that stench to an acceptable level by thoroughly cleaning it before its first use. The instructions that come with the premium shaving kit suggest washing it with some of the kit’s shaving soap. Wet the brush thoroughly then scrub the brush onto the soap generously. Use your hands to work up a lather all over the brush.
By the way, this is not the only way to clean and prepare a brush. Pet shampoo is an excellent option, as is a mix of 1 part white vinegar to 9 parts hot water, or 1 teaspoon of borax into 2 cups hot water. A posting on one of the wetshaving discussion boards suggests washing the brush in a mild dish washing soap, followed by a 2 hours soak in hot water, then lathering the brush with shaving cream or soap and allowing it to stand overnight.
No matter what method you use, after cleaning the brush rinse it thoroughly with warm water, give it a couple shakes to remove most of the water, then gently wipe the brush with a dry towel, then let it finish air drying in an out of the way place over night. Don’t be suprised if you lose a few hairs from the brush. And don’t put it in a closed cabinet otherwise it won’t dry properly.
The kit suggests that you keep the soap in the bowl for storage and lather building so moisten both the bowl and the soap, put the soap in the bowl and let it dry overnight as well so the soap will stick to the bottom of the bowl. More on that later.
Disclaimer: I am not endorsing the company, product, or distributors.