If you don’t know Murdock, then the first thing that you need to know is that this is a decidedly cool place to tackle your grooming needs. The emphasis is on the experience of shaving, and not the wham bam thank you ma’am approach!
A fusion of modern and traditional, this site in Covent Garden has swagger and if I’m honest I just want to hang around there and drink whiskey! These Master Shavers are the cornerstone of the brand, so anything they have to say is worth hearing… Unless it’s about mortgages, apparently they are rubbish with mortgages!
Gavin, led the tutorial that I watched and really took the time to answer specific questions from the gents in attendance – whilst wielding a cut throat razor! Now THAT is Skill!
What is to follow, is my interpretation of the stages, this is not a verbatim account… I hope I didn’t miss anything!
Shower – make your life easier by shaving after a shower. Your pores will be more open, and this will encourage the hair out and to soften.
Facial – A real man looks after his skin, and shortly you will be running a sharp blade across your face… A little bit of product isn’t going to hurt you! To that end cleanse the skin and massage it with the finger tips. This will encourage blood to those areas.
Murdock have an amazing range of products (in fact they recently wine my best shave range award) so you could use the daily facial cleansing wash, which refreshes and prepares the skin for the shave.
Prepare – Use plenty of Preshave oil to really get moisture into the skin, and whilst you have that applied, use a decent scrub to tackle the upper part of the face and remove any of the dead skin. This will brighten the complexion and leave you looking much more fresh faced.
Note avoid the beard area with the scrub.
Hot Towel – a hot towel can be prepared really easily at home. Simply use 1/2 boiling water & half warm water (please check before applying to the face, a scold or burn can result so ensure its not too hot before applying). Leave this on for 5 mins.
You can also add a dash of fragrance onto the towel if you wish.
Remove scrub after first hot towel
Repeat hot towel process
The Brush – Use this time to soak the shaving brush in hot water. The hair will take on the moisture and that will result in a much foamier foam!
Hair Growth – over time you will get to know your face and the direction of the hair growth, however generally speaking you want to move in the direction of the hair growth. The facial area is usually pretty simple, and generally it grows downwards, but the neck is where it can get a bit more difficult. This is where most people get irritation, because the direction can differ greatly, and in dealing with this people can press too hard on the skin.
Technique – People often neglect their less dominant hand! Whatever the type of blade that you use, the other hand is really important in achieving a good shave. You simply use it to tighten the skin, which creates a smoother shave experience.
Lubricate – you don’t need a large amount of shave cream, enough to cover your finger tip should be enough, when combined with your well soaked brush. Shake the excess water off and work the cream into a lather. Apply liberally in circular motions, ensuring that the whole area is thoroughly covered.
At any point throughout the shave if it feels dry, reapply the lather as if you shave on dry areas this will cause the blade to snag.
For a more precise application , Pinch bottom of the brush to get more control over the bristles whilst applying it.
The blade – A shavette uses a disposable blade for each shave, so this means no stripping in required. But whether you use a shavette or cut throat, the optimum shave angle is 30 degrees from the face.
– Keep the motion slow and steady, in small controlled strokes.
– Head Down the sideburns and then along the jawline
– it is easier to head across the Mo line rather than downwards.
– Adam’s apples can be tricky so try to ensure that the skin is kept very taught to make it easier!
– Do it in one pass! Not four!
Finishing up – use a cold flannel to remove any remaining soap. This will also help close the pores. We mainly use after shave for the purpose of scent these days, so there is no need to apply it to already irritated skin!
Behind the ears and along the collarbone are the best places as they will stay warmer and therefore the scent will be longer lasting.
And that my friends is how Murdock London achieve their fantastic shave!
A huge thank you to Gavin Sharp for this amazing tutorial.
If you get a chance do visit the gents in one of their amazing stores and book yourself a proper English Gentleman’s Shave.
Their range of products is phenomenal, both in quality and function so if grooming is your thing, why not visit their website, linked below.