For as far back as I was able to do so, I’ve always been a ‘problem shaver’. I attribute this to a mix of good old genetics – thick, black, wiry hair, sprouting like razor wire out of particularly sensitive skin – and a lack of decent parental shaving advice.
By my mid-twenties, my neck looked like it had gone 15 rounds with Count Dracula. It didn’t help that I was using cheap, disposable things, miserably hacking at my face (and nose – it grows everywhere, this hair stuff) like a gardener with a grudge. And though I’ve since invested in a half-decent razor, and milder foams tailored to my wimpy epidermis, nothing ever seems quite gentle enough.
The Ushvani Men’s Range – courtesy of the award-winning Ushvani Spa located near London’s Sloane Square – aims to transform this daily chore into a pleasurable and revitalising ritual.
To this end, Ushvani has produced the Kemiri and Perilla Pre-Shave Oil (100ml, £42.50) – and, at a slightly less pricey £35, Kemiri and Nutmeg Shaving Cream (100ml). Containing pure botanical oils, and fragranced with a signature blend of nutmeg, bergamot and ginger, its extra magic ingredient, kemiri oil, is traditionally employed to soothe burns and wounds. And is thus ideal for cowboy shavers like me.
A handful of lathered cream is gently massaged into the shaving area with fingertips (or, as Ushvani alternately suggests, a ‘shave brush’ – if you happen to be in the vicinity of a Manhattan barber shop circa 1930), before a fresh razor is applied.
The first thing that strikes is the scent – gloriously exotic and expensive-smelling – followed by the astonishing smoothness of the shave. Thanks to the healing kemiri oil, there’s zero after-burn too; it’s genuinely the cleanest and most painless shave I’ve had in years.
And frankly, if anything could convince a hipster to finally shave his WG Grace off, it’s this.