There's something ironic about travel: you’re out seeing incredible things, meeting new people, and having the time of your life, and you feel ALIVE—
…but because you’re so far away from home, and therefore so far away from all your grooming gear, you can end up looking... well, you can end up looking like a scrub!
So, here, we'll share a few tips to keep you looking great on your next adventure. We'll help you plan so you can get a proper shave and continue to look as debonair and dashing as you do when you're home and have access to your full shaving setup.
We'll start with what is probably our most important tip:
Plan to Shave, and Make Sure You Have Everything You Need
Have you ever taken off on a vacation, only to arrive and find out a day later, you don't have your shaving gear—and you end up buying some garbage disposable razor / can of puff-puff shaving cream at a local store (or for $35 at the hobby lobby)?
It's the worst. Not only is your shave terrible, but those disposable razors rip your skin up and make you look bedraggled—when you should be looking relaxed and happy (and spending that money on drinks!).
So here's a quick rundown of what you need to look your best:
- Safety razor
- Shave soap
- Shave brush
- Shave bowl
- A few razor blades, and
- An alum block
Throw all that in a dopp kit travel bag, and you're good to go! It's not much, but it can make all the difference in the world when it comes to your on-vacation appearance.
It can be a bit difficult to put all that together, but luckily... it's all the gear you'll find in the Gentleman Jon Complete Wet Shave Kit ;) Throw it in your backpack and your good to go!
So our first tip is "Plan your shave." If you don't plan it, you end up running around trying to find gear, looking shaggy and disheveled.
Our second tip should be easy, but somehow we all forget that you need to...
Stay Hydrated to Avoid Terrible Shaves and Nicks and Cuts
We don't think about it, but travel is an incredible dehydrator. When you're en route, you tend to move around a lot and lose moisture via sweat. If you're on a plane, all that recycled air can dry you out and sap your skin of moisture. And if you've had a couple of drinks in the airport lounge or in the air, that dehydrates you even further—and quicker.
It's kind of amazing the abuse your skin goes through when you're out seeing the world, and all that dehydration can result in a terrible shave, with lots of nicks and cuts and irritation. There's nothing worse than a weekend in paradise where your face is bleeding like a spigot.
So find a few quiet moments to stop the momentum of travel and take care of your skin. It's not difficult—you just need to drink some water, use sunscreen (and reapply throughout the day), and use a moisturizer at night. That's it.
It's can be a pain, sure, because part of the joy of vacation is ditching all those routine responsibilities you have to take care of when at home—but it's worth it. If you've ever suffered actual dehydration, it can ruin an entire vacation (and waste a lot of your money!).
Remember That Your Alum Bar Can Heal All Wounds
Well, maybe not all wounds, but certainly the ones you'll encounter shaving. If you're dehydrated—or if you simply give yourself an expedited shave because you're in a rush—it's likely you'll get cut. A good alum block can mend you up in an instant.
And when we say "a good alum block can mend you up in an instant," we mean it. If you're new to using safety razors, we'd urge you to give alum block a shot. The way it closes bleeding cuts can border on miraculous, and you may be pleasantly surprised at how effectively you can patch yourself up. You can go from "bloody mess" to "raffish gent" in the blink of an eye.
This next one is a bit quirky, but it's legit:
Stick to Solid Products Instead of Liquid Products
This is a tip we haven't read anywhere else, and it comes through experience—unwanted, unfortunate experience:
With grooming products, you want choose solid grooming products over liquid grooming products.
Why? Because a liquid grooming product can leak out of its container and sully all your clothes and paperwork and gear, and make your life on the road miserable.
We came to discover this tip in a hiking trip through the Laugavegur Trail in Iceland. On Day 2 of a 6-day trek, our bottle of body wash cracked and got alllllllllllll of our clothes sudsy and soapy and gross. We didn't see a river for two more days, so those sudsy, soapy clothes caused redness and skin irritation like you would not believe. The trap was fantastic, but that was a bummer, and it could have been easily avoided.
So, whenever possible—choose solid products over liquid ones!
When it comes to wet shaving, your "solid over liquid" option is a shaving soap instead of a shaving cream. A reliable shaving soap like Gentleman Jon Glycerine Shave Soap travels well, won't ever leak, and will reliably perform whenever you need to shave.
It may not be possible in all cases, but whenever you can, choose a solid over a liquid—especially if you're on an "adventure"-type vacation (like backpacking), where you may not get the chance to wash out your clothes.
There's another fantastic aspect of shaving soap that can save the day in a pinch, and that's because...
You Can Use Your Shaving Soap to Bathe
Not all vacations are the same, and they come in a few different varieties: sometimes you're heading on an all-expenses-paid trip to a luxury resort, while other times you may be taking a backpack—and that's it!—and hoofing through foreign lands.
If you find yourself on an adventure where you can't bring a lot of gear and you need to make some tough choices and pare down to the bare essentials, a shave soap is a versatile item that can keep you looking dapper—but can also cleanse you if you need it to. And, because shaving soaps tend to be dense, a well-made option can last you a long time—good for trips that seem keep getting extended.
You might have to "work it" a little bit—shave soaps don't always have the same cleansers and surfactants that regular soaps do, and you may need to give it some elbow grease to get a good washing lather going—but they can do a fantastic job when you're in a bind.
Remember that Razors Blades Will Need to Be Checked
We talked above about different types of travel, and here's something you'll need to keep in mind if you're planning on flying with a safety razor:
A safety razor by itself will probably be fine, and you won't run into any problems, but if you include razors blades in your safety razor—and you bring all that in your carry-on luggage—you'll probably get stopped by the TSA (the Transportation Security Administration). Safety razors blades are disallowed by the TSA, so make sure you put them in stowable luggage.
If you're travelling light and only bringing a carry-on, that may mean you need to leave those razor blades behind. But, fear not! If you're not checking luggage and you have nowhere to stow your razor blades, you can send blades to your location, and if you're going to be staying a while, you can send yourself a steady supply.
After all, just because you're far from home, doesn't mean you have to live like a barbarian.
Try to Get Your Shave Brush as Dry as Possible
If you're using a synthetic shaving brush, you may not need to worry about this one, because synthetic brushes tend to dry quickly. They're not the most durable items in the world, but they do have that going for them.
If you're using a high-quality badger brush—the gold standard of shaving brushes, like you'll find in the Gentleman Jon Deluxe Wet Shave Kit—be mindful of any moisture that stays in the brush. A good shave brush is designed to maintain some moisture, and if you have it packed away where air/oxygen can't get to it, you can damage it a bit.
So, if possible, take it out and give it some air when you touch down where you land.
Have Fun, Be Good, and Return in One Piece!
After the last few years, with all the lockdowns, variants, and broken plans, we're all excited to get out there and see the world again. A little bit of prep and foresight can allow you to present your handsome, dashing self to all people out there lucky enough to cross your path. Have fun, be good, and happy shaving!