The Brush

THE BRUSH MAKES ALL THE DIFFERENCE

The Shaving Brush

Shaving foam from a can is gross. Canned foam is largely made up of air bubbles and therefore has a very hard time lubricating and protecting skin. Foam also tends to soak into skin, leaving an itch-causing residue when you rinse. A shaving brush, on the other hand, will leave you with smooth, irritant free skin.

A shaving brush creates a thick, skin protecting lather and distributes it evenly so that your razor does not shave exposed skin. The bristles of the brush exfoliate your skin, effectively removing dead skin cells right before you shave, ensuring your razor has the clearest path possible. A shaving brush also lifts each individual hair (by running it against the direction of hair growth after you lather) so that the razor slices through them rather than over them. Another bonus of the shaving brush is that by combining its exfoliation and distribution of soap it can greatly improve skin affected by acne.

By trading in your canned chemical goo for a shaving brush and luxurious soap you can go from a mediocre, irritating shave to a “feel how smooth!” spa-like experience. Who knew such a little brush could do so much!

Shaving Brush Experts

In the beginning of The Copper Hat, Brad made all of the shaving brushes we sold by hand on a wood lathe.  Each brush was one-of-a-kind and made without patterns.  For the most part, Brad uses reclaimed materials, like upcycled denim, styrofoam and windfallen trees, to make the shaving brush handles. He has also had years of experience refurbishing old shaving brushes.

As The Copper Hat became busier, Brad didn’t have time to keep up with making brushes by hand, so we began to design our own production shaving brush. Creating this brush was a wild adventure, so we thought it only fitting to name it after the Journey to get here!  “The Journey” is our very own Canadian-manufactured shaving brush and we’re confident you’ll love it!

This shaving brush features a heavy-duty anodized aluminum handle with a modern, easy to hold shape.  We’ve designed this brush to easily whip up a thick lather in both shaving creams and soaps.  Each brush handle is manufactured, anodized, and engraved at small, Canadian shops. Then Brad sets the handles with the highest quality bristles.

Shaving Brush Bristle Types

Many wet shavers will tell you that you must go with a badger hair shaving brush, and for many years, we kind of agreed.  That being said, after 10 years of manufacturing and setting people up with shaving brushes, we’ve learned that Synthetic bristles outlast natural bristles and are easier to care for.  They are lovely and soft, making them excellent for those with sensitive skin.  Synthetic bristles are also vegan.  

Badger hair is harvested from badgers and is typically sourced from China where badgers are considered invasive species.  While harvesting badgers/badger hair may be considered sustainable, it’s definitely not cruelty-free.  So, after many years of selling badger hair brushes and weighing other options, we’ve chosen to no longer use it in our brushes.  

Over the past 10 years, high quality synthetic bristles have come a long way and are now softer than any natural fiber.  They age really well and look pristine, even after many years.  A good quality synthetic bristle will not shed and is easy to keep clean.  They also have great back bone, meaning that while they are soft on the skin, they aren’t floppy!

We believe in the quality of our synthetic bristled, solid aluminum Journey shaving brushes so much, that we guarantee them with a 5 year warranty.  That is unheard of for a shaving brush, but we stand behind our brushes 100%.

We also offer shaving brushes set with Boar hair.  Boar hair is coarser than badger hair and synthetic bristles.  It is excellent for leg and body shaving, but most face shavers find it a bit too rough.  Boar hair exfoliates very well, so is great for covering large surface areas quickly.  

If you have any questions about shaving brush bristles, please let us know!

A Quick How To

If you are using a shave puck (a hard bar-type soap), put the puck in your lathering bowl/mug and fill it with warm water for a few minutes.

Soak the shaving brush bristles with warm water either in the stream from the tap or in another bowl/mug. The brush only needs to be soaked for 10 seconds or so. Before lathering, shake most of the water off of the brush and empty the water from the bowl containing the puck.

Next, swirl the brush around the puck of soap quickly until lather appears (if you are using a cream from a tub or tube, put a quarter-sized amount into your bowl to lather). A good lather should take about 30 seconds to build. If it seems like not much is happening after a few seconds, add a few drops of water.

If the lather is very bubbly, there is too much water in the mixture and you should shake the brush out a bit more. The optimal lather will look just like whipped cream – fluffy, thick and white, but few bubbles. Make sure your skin is damp, then swirl lather onto your skin moving your brush in a circular motion. Once you have distributed a thick, even layer over your skin (you may choose to go over the same spot with your brush more than once), pull your brush over your skin against the grain of your hair growth (this lifts the hair so that it is easier to cut). Now you`re ready to shave!

Shave Sets

COMPLETE SHAVE SETS

Complete Shave Sets

We realize that for those who are new to wet shaving, it can be an overwhelming routine to set up. What razor will work best for me? What kind of blades do I need? What is a brush for? Where can I find the best soap for my skin? These are all very common questions.

We have tried to make the transition into wet shaving simpler for you by creating all-in-one wet shaving sets that include everything you need to get started. Our sets are definitely not just for beginners; any savvy wet shaver who is looking for some new and unique products will be interested in taking a look.

We endeavour to provide sets at many price ranges so that everyone can partake in the perfect shave! Most shave sets contain the 5 essential wet shave components:

  • Shaving Brush
  • Shave Soap
  • Razor
  • Blades
  • Aftershave Splash or Body Butter

Shave sets are customizable and we are happy to accommodate substitutions and custom orders… adding other goodies like aftershave, a brush stand or a blade bank can kick your set up a notch!

Please don’t hesitate to let us know if we can help you build the perfect set for you!

Why Make the Switch?

WHY MAKE THE SWITCH TO TRADITIONAL WET SHAVING?

Why-Make-the-Switch

So you use a cartridge razor and canned foam from the drug store. You can shave with your eyes closed and it takes you 32 seconds flat to do so. But do you also smell like a 15 year old boy covered in generic body spray (men) or a sugar plum fairy (ladies) because of your canned foam? Do you dread buying another pack of cartridges because you could buy a few meals instead? Do you get razor burn, ingrown hairs or rashes? Do you ever wonder how many plastic cartridges you throw out a year and what that’s doing to the environment? For you, there is The Copper Hat! Here are our top reasons to make the switch:

Do the Math

Modern razor blade cartridges are a waste of money. Currently, a mainstream drugstore charges $20 for 4 cartridges. That’s $5 a blade. At The Copper Hat, most of our double edged blades are $3 for 5, that’s 60 cents a blade. $5 or $0.60; it’s up to you.

What Are You Throwing Out?

Drug store razor cartridges are composed of a number of different plastics and metals that cannot be separated and recycled; disposable razors are even worse. By using a Copper Hat double or single edged razor you ensure that the only thing you ever replace is a single blade; a blade that is one metal and can be recycled (check with your community recycling program on how to recycle sharps). While it is necessary to chuck your cartridge razor handle when styles change and it is no longer compatible with blades, new and vintage double edged razors are standardized and have used the same style of blades for decades; there is no reason to ever throw one away or replace it. And hey, if you get a straight razor, you will never have to worry about blades anyway! Another environmentally unfriendly component of drugstore shaving is the aerosol can of foam. Can you imagine how many of those cans are used up and tossed every year? Use a puck or tube of shave soap instead, your skin and the Earth will thank you!

The Brush makes all the Difference

The most important part of the wet shave is arguably the brush. Canned shave foam can contribute to razor burn because it is composed mainly of air, making it so light that a razor blade can easily shave under, not through it. Traditional shave creams and soaps are formulated to prepare and condition your skin while the shaving brush distributes product evenly and helps raise hairs for a closer shave. A brush exfoliates skin, removing dead cells and leaving skin properly prepared for your shave. Not only does the brush provide essential skin preparation, it also allows you to discover endless shave-specific soaps that don’t smell like generic body spray!

Quantity Does Not Equal Quality

As you draw a 5 blade cartridge over your skin, the first blade acts as a snowplough, dragging your shaving cream with it. Now, multiple blades are shaving unprotected skin – that is like dry shaving over and over again every time you use that razor! The result: irritated skin smeared with a gooey substance deposited by your cartridge to camouflage razor burn. There is no reason for a razor to have more than one blade. If you use a good quality, sharp blade, it will give you a better shave every time. Do it right, do it with one.

Wet Shaving is an Art

Wet shaving is all about slowing down enough to get the best quality shave; a shave that you enjoy rather than rush through. When you begin to wet shave you discover an array of razors, blades, brushes and soaps with which you can customize a shave routine that suits you perfectly. There are so many combinations that half the fun is in finding your next favourite razor or aftershave. Not only does wet shaving give you the ability to personalize your routine, it also allows you to display it. How many people are proud to exhibit their plastic cartridge razor and can of foam on the bathroom counter? I bet you would rather show off a nickel plated twist-to-open double edged razor, mug of bay rum shave soap and custom-turned Olivewood shave brush? Come on, that even sounds impressive!

Shave of The Day: La Toja Review

image

 

Finally got a chance to take the new “Sensitive” version of La Toja shave cream for a test drive.  

Wow.

The scent is a mild woodsy fragrance to me.  A small dollop in the mug provided ample lather for 3 passes with an easy 2 passes worth left in the mug.  The cream goes on thick and provides fantastic cover with lots of slip.  

I loaded up a “Crystal” Israeli blade in my 1949 Gillette Aristocrat Jr and set to work.  3 days of stubble cleaned up quite quickly in 3 passes with 0 irritation even on the final ATG (against the grain) pass.  

The true test comes if I don’t use any aftershave balm or splash.  I often use this as a benchmark for the quality of the cream as a few hours after shaving how my face feels tells me a great deal about the soap or cream.  Beautiful.  My face felt fantastic, moisturized yet not oily and no razor burn at all.  The scent lasted very lightly for a few hours into the morning and faded out by around noon.  The scent alone earns this a place on the shelf in my regular rotation and the overall quality of the lather ensures it will stay there.

 

Cheers

Brad

1890 Douglas Fir Framing Custom Brush

 

Custom Work

This is a very cool project that I feel honoured to have taken part in.  The brush in the photo was hand turned by me however the wood used is the unique part.  The wood is original Douglas Fir framing lumber taken from a renovation on the Boulder Hotel in Vancouver.  The hotel was built in 1890!  Giving us a basic date of 130 year old framing lumber not including the life of the tree before that!  This piece was so unique I had to design a logo to be engraved in the bottom to commemorate this piece of wood.  The apothecary mugs seen with the brush feature hand turned handles made of local Victoria wood called London Plain.  A gorgeous wood with a grain that more resembles ripples on a pond than wood.  All in all I’m a little jealous of the recipient on the other end of this gorgeous little package.

I do have a few more pieces of the Douglas Fir and will be working on a limited edition run of brushes similar to the Vintage Insulator brushes from a little while back.  Keep your eyes peeled!

Cheers

Brad

Awesome Vintage Avon

Selection of Vintage Avon Bottles

After a recent massing of some very cool old Avon cologne and aftershave bottles I thought I’d throw up a quick snippet of the companies history.

n 1886, David H. McConnell started the business in a small office at 126 Chambers Street, in lower New York City. In 1892, Mr. McConnell changed the company name when his business partner, who was living in California, suggested that he call the business the California Perfume Company, because of the great abundance of flowers in California.

The California Perfume Company, Inc. of New York, NY filed their first trademark application for Avon on June 3, 1932 with the USPTO. Part of the description for goods and services provided to the USPTO included “perfumes, toilet waters, powder and rouge compacts, lipsticks,” and other toiletry products. First use and commercial use for Avon by the California Perfume Company was on September 1, 1929. Registration was granted on August 30, 1932. The trademark is owned by Avon Products, Inc. of New York, NY. The status of the original stylized word mark for Avon is expired

They’ve been around for a little while and in that time have made some very creative bottle shapes.  Although I do use some of the vintage aftershaves still as a treat it’s sometimes recommended not to for good reason.  You never really know what’s happened in that bottle in the last 20-50 years.  For that reason a common practice is to rinse the bottles well with hot water and decant your current favorite after shave splash into the bottle.  Being that a lot of newer aftershaves come in plastic bottles this gives you a classier looking shelf with a little flair.

There are a few of us who even swear that the scent of an aftershave in a plastic bottle decanted into glass matures and mellows a little.  But who knows.

Cheers

Brad

September 24th Shave of The Day

Shave of The Day September

I’ve been waiting all weekend for this one. My Proraso shipment finally came in which meant my first run at the new Proraso Sandalwood and Shea Cream.  In the personal collection I picked up a couple cases of vintage Avon bottles and dug out a brand new bottle of Island Lime aftershave.

Copper Hat 24mm Silvertip Badger Brush
Sandalwood and Shea Proraso Cream
Gillette tech with Feather Platinum Blade
Avon Island Lime A/S

Wow, love the new Proraso. Warm, soft scent, thick luxurious lather. My new winter cream for sure. The Tech and Feather is such an outstanding shave so I’ve stuck with it a while. The Avon Lime A/S is fantastic, no burn with a nice dry finish. Light scent that both my wife and I enjoy.

All in all I’d give this a 4 out of 5

Cold Water Shave – SOTD for June 21 2012

The Gear I Used For My Cold Water Shave

What I used for my cold water shave.

The Cold Water Shave

So you may have heard mention of cold water shaving before.  The idea is simply to shave as normal but lather, rinse etc with nothing but cold water.

This has sounded like a terrible idea to me forever.  I like my warm water because I can be a suck.  However….my views have now changed.

Here’s the idea:

Pre Shave soak with a towel soaked in cold water

Soak your brush in cold water, and lather your soap or cream as usual.

Fill the sink with cold water for rinsing etc.

Here’s my play by play:

Gear:
Copper Hat Mahogany Silvertip
Figaro – Habzo shave cream
Gem Jr SE razor
Gem PTFE Blade
RazoRock Alum
Pinaud Bay Rhum Aftershave

1 minute Pre soak with a cold cloth while I soak my brush in…cold water…well this is refreshing…but I still won’t like it.  Double almond size dollop of Figaro because this isn’t going to work.  Fill the sink with cold water to rinse my razor.  This is dumb.

Lather : What! It keeps coming!  What’s happening!  The smell by the way is incredible, I love this stuff.  The un-edcuated scientist in me thinks cold lather may be more stable as hot lather when it cools will contract where cold lather can’t get colder and thus stays as is.  I lather my face, again, kind of refreshing…But I still won’t like it!

The Shave :  3 passes of amazing.  No irritation, flawless BBS.  Cold rinse which is normal and brings no more feelings of hatred.  Quick rub of alum for an amazing refreshing feeling and a splash of Pinaud Bay Rhum.

That’s it I’m sold.  That was amazing and I can’t wait for my next camping trip to forgo heating water and shave with water right from the lake.  It’s not even “hot” out here and that was incredible.

Let me know your experiences with the ol’ cold water shave!

Cheers

Brad

Gotta Love R & D Projects!

Recycled Compressed Styrofoam Synthetic Bristle

30 cups compressed to make one brush handle. Keeping it out of the dump.

“That’s a very strange looking brush handle” you might say.  Well, I will have to agree with you on that.  It’s funky, rough, and covered in popped bubbles – not a flawless finish for an acrylic handle by any means.  However, as much as this brush may be strange looking, at it’s heart I believe it’s beautiful.

You see, this is the very first prototype of its kind.  This handle is comprised of 30 styrofoam cups.  That’s right, 30 of them!  We’re perfecting a technique that re-shapes normally wasted styrofoam cups and packing material into something that will be used again and again rather than ending up in the dump.

For those of you who think that using a material like this is wrong and will only perpetuate it’s construction, I ask… what else is being done with it?  I do not buy any new stryofoam, I simply use up the smoothie cups, meat trays and packing material that would normally end up in land fills.  When the day comes that I can’t find any used styrofoam, this brush handle material will vanish from my repertoire and I’ll be content.

Even if the world ceased production of styrofoam today what happens to all of it that’s left in the world?  I don’t want to see this crap floating in the ocean or drifting on the breeze at the local dump.  I want to see this stuff compressed and re-used to infinity.  Did you know it takes styrofoam up to 1000 years to “break down”???  Or that we currently add over 25,000,000 ( that’s right 25 million) cups to the dump every year! I know that my little brush handles may not completely erase that damage but I hope that it may inspire others to rethink uses for this garbage material!

Cheers

Brad