After having written extensively about shaving creams, soaps, razors and brushes it is time to take a closer look at secondary, but nonetheless, essential shaving accessories that help you achieve to the perfect shave.Shaving mirrors, mugs, and stands. As always, you will find a list of recommended products at the end of the article.
For some men, a shaving mirror is the ultimate object of vanity; for others, it’s a tool to get the job done. In either case, a mirror is an absolute necessity to understand the different angles of the hair on your face, monitor your strokes while shaving, and last but not least to pay attention to detail.
There are 2 shaving mirror options: fogless and non-fogless (or standard) mirrors, each with varying degrees of quality and price. Since a lot of men prefer to shave in the shower, mirrors that won’t fog up are popular. They usually come with a suction-cup attachment that adheres to tile, though they are not always 100% reliable, which may cause the mirror to break – so choose wisely. Technically, fogless mirrors are not mirrors at all because unlike real mirrors, which are made from glass and metal, fogless ones are made from bent plastic, and so they tend to scratch more easily and the quality is inferior. Hence you may have to replace your fogless mirror on occasion.
If you don’t shave in the shower, use a standard mirror made with glass. You can choose from two basic styles:
1. Standard wall or medicine cabinet mounted
2. A separate stand or wall mounted mirror
Stand-up mirrors come with different magnification powers. A 3x magnification will show just enough detail without getting too small. If your mirror fogs up, the best way to get rid of it is to use a hot air dryer. Also, make sure that the humidity level in the bathroom is low and you should have no problems with your mirror fogging up. Some people even, lather up some bath soap in their hands and apply the lather to the face of the mirror. After about five seconds, they splash hot water on the glass to remove all the soap (do not use your hands or towel). The mirror will stay fogless for about ten minutes, which should be more than enough time for a shave. Always remember to secure your mirror and in a safe place to avoid the chance of its falling and shattering, because it’s a mess to clean up.
You can usually purchase a simple handheld or freestanding shaving mirror with fogless features for about $20. On the other hand, ordinary installable shaving mirrors with extra features should cost $50 and up. The ones offered for less are usually of poor quality. Please see our list below for recommended mirrors.
For the purpose of whipping up lather, you can take a mug or bowl from the kitchen, or you can buy one of the old-fashioned shaving mugs – they are a lot of fun. If you have some time on your hands, a good place to buy one is on eBay or in vintage shops. Prices range from next to nothing for a plain functional bowl to a small fortune for the collectible ones that are hundreds of years old. If you prefer a new one my personal favorites are Truefitt & Hill, Edwin Jagger and Mühle Shaving mugs. The prices range from about $ 20 up to $60.
Using a shaving mug is easy. First, you have to heat it up. The best way to do so is by filling it with hot water for a few minutes. Once the mug is warm enough for you, empty it and add an almond size amount of shaving cream and a few drops of hot water and start lathering with a shaving brush until you are satisfied with the consistency of the lather. For detailed instructions, visit the shaving cream and shaving brush guide. If you use soap you have to load the brush first with soap and then start the lathering process in the mug or bowl, for details click here. Be cautious by adding water to the lather because you can always add more but not remove it once it’s added.
The old-fashioned type of shaving mug (like the one from Truefitt & Hill) has a lower part where the hot water can be kept during the whole shaving procedure. The large open spout is for dipping your brush in. You put the cream or soap in the top part, which normally has a couple of holes in it to let the excess water drain off, then whip up the lather.
Sometimes, the size of the shaving soap does not fit the mug, but if you are set on the mug, you can always change the size of the soap by carefully melting it in a saucepan or microwave and introducing it in a different container. Personally, I would just get a mug that fits my soap but each to his own.
If you get some nicks and cuts during while shaving, you should treat the wound as quickly as possible so it stops the bleeding before you apply any aftershave. An alum block helps to stop bleeding of smaller cuts, nicks and razor burn by constricting blood vessels and tightening pores. An alum block is a naturally occurring substance that was originally a part of every barber´s toolkit. Once it gets wet, it serves as an antiseptic for your skin. A block of alum while last you forever, and it contains mineral salts that were used by the Egyptians more than four thousand years ago for their healing and antiseptic properties. However bear in mind the minerals are astringent, meaning that they pull moisture out of your skin, so men with dry or sensitive skin should avoid using them.
An alum block can also be applied to the underarms and used as a natural non-scented antiperspirant. It has been used as such for centuries in particular in the Far and Middle East.
The French brand Bloc Osma is one of the most renowned producers of alum blocks and offers affordable prices for less than $ 10 mostly through specialized brick & mortar or online shops. Other shaving suppliers like Omega, Edwin Jagger and Shavex offer good quality alum blocks in all kind of shapes and sizes priced between $ 5 and $ 20. The German brand Mühle even has an alum stone with a rope that makes it very convenient to use and dry.
Unlike the alum block, the styptic pencil is specially used for one-off cuts and nicks. It´s derived from the alum block crystal, and it is powdered form is concentrated into a stick. Simply moisten the tip of the pencil with water and apply it directly to the nick or cut for a few seconds. It serves as an antiseptic and helps stop the bleeding. The styptic pencil´s protective cap and packaging are very convenient for traveling. You can get styptic pencils for less than $ 5 from brands like Osma, Col. Conk and Pinaud Clubman. A single-use, hygienic alternative to the styptic pencil are alum matchsticks. They come in a little handy book, perfect for tearing off to apply to any minor nicks on the face and chin.
In addition to the mirror, mug, alum block and styptic pencil you must not forget about the shaving stand. Most men ignore a stand in the beginning, especially if they are on a tight budget but a stand is really important.
You need a shaving stand to hold your brush and razor. If you have a brush that you want to keep dry and in a nice shape, this is an ideal way to do it. On top of that, these stands look nice and provide a sophisticated touch to most bathrooms. The stand is meant to hold the brush upside down on the handle, and thus it is not uncommon for men to buy a stand directly from their brush manufacturer. At the same time, if you find a stand that fits, all is good.
What to Buy?
Here is a list of shaving accessories that have performed well.
|Accessories||Brand||Average Price||Where to Buy||Details||Origin|
|Shaving Mirror||The ShaveWell Company||$10||get it here||Budget Fogless shaving mirror||USA|
|Shaving Mirror||Toilet Tree||$30||get it here||Value Fogless shaving mirror||USA|
|Shaving Mirror||Ikea Fräck||$5||get it here||super low budget,extendable shaving mirror that fogs more easily||Sweden|
|Shaving Mirror||Jerdon||$ 20 - 150||get it here||Range of shaving mirrors, including travel mirror||USA|
|Stand||The Art of Shaving||$ 9 - 145||get it here||Chrome shaving brush and razor stands||USA|
|Stand||Omega||$15||get it here||Chrome brass shaving stand||Italy|
|Stand||Edwin Jagger||$25||get it here||Unconventional shaving brush stand||UK|
|Stand||Mühle||$ 9 - 90||get it here||Chrome brush and razor holder from Germany||Germany|
|Mug/Bowl||Col. Conk||$ 12 - 44||get it here||Chrome, porcelain and wood mugs and bowls||USA|
|Mug/Bowl||Edwin Jagger||$30||get it here||Porcelain Shaving Mug with handle||UK|
|Mug/Bowl||Mühle||$ 30 - 40||get it here||Chrome and porcelain shaving mugs and bowls||Germany|
|Mug/Bowl||Truefitt & Hill||$50||get it here||Old-fashioned porcelain shaving mugs||UK|
|Alum Block||The Art of Shaving||$20||get it here||3.66 ounces||USA|
|Alum Block||Osma||$7||get it here||2.65 ounces||France|
|Alum Block||Geo. F. Trumper||$22||get it here||4.8 ounces||UK|
|Alum Block||Mühle||$29||get it here||2.3 ounces with rope||Germany|
|Alum Block||Gentleman Jon||$6||get it here||3.5 ounces||USA|
|Styptic Pencils||Clubman Pinaud||$5||get it here||1 ounce||USA|
|Styptic Pencils||Osma||$7||get it here||0.4 ounces||France|
|Styptic Pencils||Col. Ichabod Conk||$7||get it here||0.2 ounces very small in size but prone to breaking.||USA|
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Shaving is a ritual that involves products, tools, technique and knowledge to create a smooth, closely shaven face. Each man has different needs, and even though we love a deep dive into one part of shaving, we know that the Big Picture is just as important. To answer the many shaving questions and concerns that we receive from men every day, we put together the most comprehensive Shaving Guide out there. Take look at the video below!