For the Boys. March 2011 Issue.
Eric Malka: The GoodsAbout The Art Of Shaving
What was the inspiration for The Art of Shaving?
I had sensitive skin. That inspired my wife to help me avoid razor burn by creating the pre-shave oil in our kitchen in Chelsea.
Is there really an art to it?
No. Art elevates the act into something special. That’s what we’re really trying to say. We’ve turned it into a science where you’re able to get the perfect shave every day at home without compromising comfort or closeness.
Which camp can we count you in — manual or electric?
Do you recommend that for everyone?
Yes, unless you have some specific beliefs.
But you sell electric products in your store.
Those can be used wet, though. I don’t believe you should be using an electric shaver in your car or while eating cereal because you don’t have time. You’ve got to re-evaluate the whole package at that point. We are not here to dictate. We are here to recommend, help and guide. I’ve tested electric many times, and it doesn’t give you the close shave that you want. But, if you don’t want a close shave, it could be an option.
Get The Perfect Shave
Take us through your skincare routine.
I like to use our face wash, and a couple of times a week I’ll use a scrub. I am also a big fan of our hydrating toner. It’s a non-alcoholic, 100 percent-pure rose-water toner that’s really refreshing. I usually use it after a shower (whether or not I’ve shaved) and might do a little moisturizing afterward. I don’t have very dry skin, so the toner is a really good routine for me.
You hit snooze too many times and now you have five minutes. What’s the one thing you have to do?
Brush my teeth. Wait, that doesn’t count. Face wash. I like to wash my face in the morning when I’m in the shower.
What constitutes the perfect shave?
I shave in the shower. I always recommend shaving during or after a shower, because the hot water gets your skin really well prepped. Then, I use preshave oil on my face and lather up shaving cream with a brush. I love the brush. I think it’s the key to the perfect shave. I also use the Gillette Power razor with the ProGlide blade and shave with the direction of the hair. I then re-lather by applying a little hot water on the brush and shave against the direction of the hair with a very smooth touch. You want to hover and just grab the hair — not the skin. When I come out of the shower, I put some aftershave balm on my face and maybe a little hydrating toner if I’m in the mood, but usually the balm is enough.
The Art of Shaving seems to be big on old-school methods. Is a badger brush really necessary?
Again, the shaving brush is the key to the perfect shave. I think there’s an Old English saying about a great lather being half the shave or something like that. Water is one of the essential elements of a comfortable shave, and the brush brings that water to the skin. You can’t do that with your hand. Badger is the only hair that retains water — every other hair repels water. At the same time, it is a hair that is both soft on the skin and very durable.
“You see the commercials, and they’re always shaving against the grain. It looks cool on TV, but you’re not supposed to do that.”
Shaving Tips From Eric Malka
How often do you shave?
It depends. If I have a lot of business meetings, I’ll shave every day. If not, I’ll shave every other day, because I can get away with it. I don’t have strong growth, but some guys have a five-o’clock shadow at noon. I’m not one of those guys. And unless I have an event, I never shave on weekends.
How often do you refresh your razor?
If my wife hasn’t used it without me knowing, probably once a week or every three to five shaves. I really wait until I feel that the blade is a little tuggy and doesn’t move smoothly. At that point, it’s time to go.
When it comes to taking a blade to the beard, what’s the one thing most guys miss the boat on?
First of all, it’s an afterthought. Guys should put more thought into it. Secondly, there are a couple of misconceptions. One is that pushing harder on your razor will get you closer. What it will actually do is grab skin and create irritations. If you’re using a modern razor like the Gillette ProGlide, it’s made to hover over the skin with a very smooth touch. You don’t need to really apply any pressure. Guys tend to even hold the razor in a way that increases pressure. The other is that guys shave against the grain directly. You see the commercials, and they’re always shaving against the grain. It looks cool on TV, but you’re not supposed to do that.
OK. So what have guys got down pat?
Not much actually. Although, recently I’ve noticed that shaving during or after a shower has become part of the universal consciousness. That’s really cool, because 10 or 15 years ago, it was a very unusual thing. Now, I hear everyone saying, “Yeah, I shave during a shower because of the hot water.” We’re making progress.
Grooming Trends For Men
Beards are back. Are you a fan of facial hair?
I don’t like to put all men into one basket. There is a group that wants a beard now. But there is also a huge trend with Mad Mento be very sartorial — three-piece suit, pocket square, super well-groomed. Everything is perfect. From where we stand with our customer demographic, we’re definitely seeing men groom more and more from head to toe.
Is it possible for a guy to get too fussy about his face?
No. That’s the whole point. You should have the right to look the best you can with what you’ve been given by nature. If that means going the extra distance and using a face mask every day, why not? A face mask will make you look great, but that might be considered fussy. Permission to groom: granted.
What do you tell a real man’s man when he’s scared sh*tless over a professional shave and a mani/pedi?
The way we’ve always approached the category (and I think the way we’ve become the leader) is by bringing men through the shaving door. Shaving is the point of least resistance for guys. It’s the thing we own. It’s the one thing men do that women don’t. Right?
Which is why your wife steals your razor?
Well, hopefully women don’t shave their faces.
But that’s why the market for women totally changed. Razors for men were better.
That’s right. It’s the only part of the cosmetics industry where women are taking the guy’s stuff.
What’s the last grooming good you put down plastic for?
Hair pomade by Shu Uemura. It’s very light and doesn’t give you that sticky feeling. Actually, it’s called Art of Hair.
What’s your favorite new find?
I love the ProGlide blade.
Give us three essentials when you’re on the road.
I’m a guy. Three things? Deodorant, pomade and natural toothpaste.
The Art of Shaving is about more than just lathering up and clipping clean. What’s next for the budding brand?
The power shave brush. It’s the first in the history of the world.
I wasn’t quite sure what this was all about, but I’m told we’ll find out more when it hits stores in about two weeks. Can’t wait.
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