Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Bathrooms and Men's Grooming

Here are some photos of bathrooms that I particularly like. They contain elements which we are incorporating into the design of the ensuites at Willowbrook Park...

Above: I love the warm marble vanity tops.
Below: In these two pictures I like the molded panels around the baths.

Above and Below: I like the stylish and convenient cupboards, and the high spec paneled finish.

Above: It would be nice to have a chaise in the master bathroom. I think we can live without the gold upholstery with the diamond studding though...

Above and below: These two are my absolute favourite bathrooms. They are both by the designer Clive Christian, who specialises in the traditional and the luxurious. These two photos are the major inspiration for the master bathroom.

Above and Below: Alcoves give a tub a sense of privacy and cosy seclusion. They also allow for extra detailing and design features within a defined space, such as the wallpaper below...

Above: The pink might be over the top, but I love the old Roman style marble tub.
Below: Water and books- not the most practical mix, but it definitely has its style.

now on to...
Men's Grooming


Facial hair might be in fashion but when it comes to passion, being clean shaven always wins out. Poll after poll suggests lovers prefer their men to be smooth. So, how to get that perfect shave...

1. Hot Water

The first essentials to a perfect shave are water and warmth. When hair absorbs hot water it becomes softer and easier to cut and with warmth the skin and facial muscles become relaxed, making shaving so much easier - thus the best time to shave is after a bath or shower. This effect can also be achieved by soaking a folded flannel or small towel in hot water and wrapping it around the face for thirty seconds or more.

2. Preparing the Face

Those who desire a particularly smooth shave, (or who have sensitive skin) might wish to apply a glycerine-based Skin Food; this protects the skin and helps the razor to glide smoothly across the face. Massaging the skin food against the growth of the beard also helps to lift the beard in readiness for the lather.

3. The Lather

Shaving cream may be rubbed into the beard with the fingers, but the best results are obtained when using a good quality badger shaving brush. When using cream, place a modest amount in the palm of one hand, dip the brush into hot water and using a circular motion in the palm, build up a rich creamy lather on the brush. Wet the face, and again with a circular motion apply the lather to the beard, allowing the brush to lift the beard, making the hairs stand proud. The brush may be dipped lightly into hot water if more moisture is required in the lather. If using shaving soap, dip the brush in hot water and use a similar circular motion on the soap to create a rich lather.

4. The Shave

Using a good blade that has been warmed in the sink or under hot running water, shave the face in the direction of the beard growth, rinsing the blade in hot water frequently. Never shave 'against the grain' of the beard, in awkward areas such as the chin and under the nose the blade can be moved sideways across the growth - but never against as this pulls the skin in the wrong direction causing small cuts and 'grazing' to the skin and is the most common cause of 'razor burn', in-grown hairs and shaving rash. Rinse the face thoroughly with cool water and pat dry with a soft towel.

5. Caring for the Skin

A good wet shave exfoliates and cleanses the skin, leaving smooth new skin and a healthy clean appearance. Newly exfoliated skin needs to be protected from the elements, so for healthy skin it is important that men use an after-shaving Moisturiser or Skin Food. Products containing alcohol should not be applied to the skin directly after shaving as this may inflame the skin and cause dryness. For best results cologne and other fragrances should be applied to the 'hot spots' behind the earlobes and on the sides of the neck.

General shaving tips

  • Shower or bathe before shaving, or warm the face with a hot flannel.
  • Use plenty of hot water and shave in a warm environment.

  • Protect the skin with skin food or moisturiser.

  • Use a quality badger brush with good shaving cream or soap.

  • Brush in a circular motion to lift the beard.

  • Shave with the beard, never against the grain.

  • Rinse the blade frequently in hot water.

  • Rinse face well with cool water and gently pat dry.

  • After shaving use a moisturiser or skin food.

  • Avoid applying alcohol-based products to the face after shaving.

Taking care of your brush and razor

After shaving, rinse your brush and razor thoroughly to remove soap and flick to remove most of the water. Brushes are best hung on a brush stand so that water can move away from the base of the hairs. To avoid mildew, do not keep damp brushes in a closed cupboard or washbag for any length of time. If your brush becomes clogged with soap, soak in a mild solution of borax until clean.

How to shave with a Classic Straight Razor

Wash face thoroughly leaving the face damp before you commence lathering.

Lather face with a pure badger shaving brush and decent shaving soap or shaving cream (The cream will give maximum moisturising of the skin) producing a fine creamy lather which softens the beard.

Hang the leather strop on a secure hook or towel rail and pull taut. Use the leather side of the strop first. Apply the razor with the blade side facing downwards and push upwards using firm pressure towards the top end of the strop. Rotate the blade with the sharp side now facing upwards and pull down towards the end of the strop. Always keep the blade flat. Repeat action for approximately 10 times and repeat using the reverse side of the strop.

The Taylor Shaving Techniques

Place the blade on the face very flat and pull the skin taut at the side of the neck, slide razor down face without pressure: repeat this action on all areas of face. Firstly, in the same direction as the hair grows and then against the direction of the beard growth.

Rinse face with cool water, if you should nick your skin use an Alum Block / styptic pen.
Towel dry your face and apply an after-shave cream or gel.

Dry your razor thoroughly using a towel on the back of the blade to avoid cutting yourself. Lubrication of the blade and between the handle and blade areas will prolong the life of the razor and help to prevent any rust forming.

Rinse out your badger shaving brush shake well and place upside down on a stand.

Mens Barbers and Grooming stores which I recommend...

There are some establishments that I would not recommend...


Choose a nice, soothing aromatic shampoo that is appealing to one's taste. The flavor doesn't matter, as long as the shampoo is ph balanced to ensure clean and healthy hair. Shampooing daily with the rinse and repeat instructions is not a ploy to sell more products. A second shampoo gets the job done. The first shampoo prepares the scalp to be throughly cleaned by loosening up all the "cool" products that make hair look and feel great!

Tone: Gently massage your scalp as you shampoo. Use the balls of the fingertips in a "spider doing push-ups" fashion. This is an often skipped part of everyone's hair care routine. It's too bad because toning for a few minutes -- even after shampooing, not only feels great, but helps the scalp release natural oils from one's sebaceous glands (that's a good thing). There's no special way to massage, although, try to avoid a circular pattern on long hair. Most of the oil is near the scalp. If no conditioner is to follow, gently towel dry the hair by squeezing to avoid tangles. A light, BB-sized dab of a moisturizing conditioner works miracles.

Condition: Moisturize your hair. Conditioner is an essential hair product if your hair is dry. An herbal rinse is better for those with oily hair. You can make both products yourself but they can be purchased for a few dollars at any popular pharmacy or salon supply store.

Get the right tools. You'll likely need the following:

  • brush (natural bristles are best)

  • comb (wide-toothed if you have curly hair) >

  • pick (plastic or metal tines)

  • hair dryer (if it's less than 1000 watts, you're wasting your time)

Style: Find a comfortable style that you can easily maintain on your own daily in less than five minutes. The better you know hair products, the faster you'll get your hair done.

Skin Care

You don't need to be a metrosexual to take pride in your appearance. If for no other reason, than the fact that other people have to be around you, you need to consider how your appearance and personal freshness will affect others. This doesn't mean you need to race out and buy Guy-liner, Man-scara or a stick of glamo-flage.

A good site for all things related to men's grooming is Mankind. It has great articles on how to manage tired eyes, to ensure you never end up with a monobrow, general skin care, and of course the secret to eternal youth.


  1. I love your post so much I'll come back a few time to absorb it all.
    I was on old Bond street once, bought a pair of gorgeous shoes.
    This is a fabulous post.

    yvonne in Maine

  2. I love men's shaving brushes! My husband has 3 including one badger. He uses them often, but not everyday as he used to.

    I really enjoyed you post and all the details!

  3. 4VOO Reviews

    This blog is highly informatics, crisp and clear. Here everything has been described in systematic manner so that reader could get maximum information and learn many things. This is one of the best blogs I have read.


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