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Rediscovering a Tradition

Grooming History Shaving

It was in 1975 when I first stumbled upon the world's finest shaving products.

 

I was a college student back then, in London to study writing and English Literature. At the close of a school day I often walked through Central London, whose old streets brought me past rows of traditional, high-end shops: bespoke tailors, fine tobacconists, and a hand-made umbrella store right out of a Dickens novel. Along the way I also happened upon several classic shaving establishments — and there on St. James’s Street I discovered London's oldest barbershop, Truefitt & Hill.

 

I stopped in, sampled the cologne and browsed the handsome shaving gear. The history, the aesthetics, and the quality all cast a strong appeal — but my meager student budget caused me to postpone a purchase. (“Just temporarily,” I told myself.) Although I returned to America empty-handed, my intention was clear: I would invest in first-rate British shaving equipment one day.

 

Little did I know that decades would pass before that day arrived. Not until I had a son — and it was time to teach him to shave.

 

 

The prospect of introducing my son to the art of shaving caused me to reexamine my grooming practices, which — truth be told — had become a tired routine. As a father, would I instruct my son, Charlie, with a disposable plastic razor and canned shaving cream? Clearly, my uninspired workaday shaving practices wouldn't provide quite the rite-of-passage I had in mind for him as a father-son bonding practice.

 

I had some catching up to do — and my first task was to assemble the proper shaving kit. For starters, a local shop sold me a simple shaving bowl (of water buffalo horn) that had the classic, heritage feel about it that I so craved. Pleased with my purchase, I next sought a quality razor — possibly of similar material? After considerable online searching, I happened upon photos of a shaving set that was exactly what I wanted.

 

Clicking through the company’s website, I glimpsed a familiar looking exterior photo of the original Truefitt & Hill shop in London — and it dawned on me — I know this place! Other photos showed the shop’s familiar interior, and memories of my long-ago visits to London’s classic shaving establishments came flooding back. By stumbling onto Truefitt & Hill once again, I was given a second chance to experience the firm’s legacy — shaving gear made to live along with you — many generations over. But this time I didn't hesitate: It was time to embrace the lasting pleasure of classic shaving.

 

Soon I was enjoying my first Truefitt & Hill shaving experience — with a razor, a badger brush and shaving cream unlike any I had used before.

 

Now that I was reacquainted with Truefitt & Hill, I also learned about the storied history of this venerable firm — whose clientele has included notables such as Winston Churchill, Oscar Wilde, and Frank Sinatra. And with every subsequent product I tried, the firm’s pedigree of quality and tradition was evident throughout. After all these years, Truefitt & Hill had at last become my go to brand for toiletries and shaving gear. Better late than never…and just in time to pass the tradition along.

 

Since I had my shaving act together, I now was ready to instruct my son and grooming protégé. Charlie's first shave was with my Truefitt & Hill faux horn razor and a thick bowl of that fragrant, sandalwood lather. To my lasting pleasure, our shaving ritual made for a memorable rite-of-passage — and the photograph I snapped always makes me smile. We built on this experience, as well — as it opened the door for ongoing conversations about grooming, style and masculinity as we know it.

By demonstrating to my son what shaving can be, I had every confidence that he would choose well for his own grooming practices. As you'd have it — when Charlie left for college in 2014, he packed a Truefitt & Hill razor of his own. Today, my son happens to be just about the age I was when first strolling down St. James’s Street in post-Beatles London. Unlike his father, however, Charlie hasn't wasted any time in laying the foundation for a lifetime of enjoyable shaving.

 

When I revisit those memories of my student days — wide-eyed on discovering Truefitt & Hill’s London shop — do I regret not having adopted their shaving products and practices way back then? Yes, sometimes I do. (After all, I have missed out on thousands of excellent morning shaves.) But what an unexpected pleasure to rediscover it — and at the perfect time to pass this grand tradition along to my son! A poignant reminder that life sometimes surprises us with the gift of second chances.

It's never too late to groom for greatness.

Made In Britain

All our products have been carefully crafted in England since 1805 and they embody the essence of the British heritage at its best. Our dedicated team of highly skilled professionals, chemists, designers and craftsmen work tirelessly to deliver our products known today for their distinctive tradition of innovation and excellence. Our iconic ranges will continue to be produced in England as we constantly endeavour to bring new and exciting products in response to our customer’s needs.

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