Gentleman’s Journal Grooming Awards 2020: Shaving

In the second of our Grooming Award finals, five celebrity judges trial, test and choose their winning creams, balms and shaving tools

Reach for your razors, gents! It’s time to tackle your shaving routine. In the second final of the Gentleman’s Journal Grooming Awards 2020, our judges — including ballet dancer Eric Underwood and model Sam Harwood — lathered up their shaving soaps, readied their recovery balms and spent several weeks working through the best stubble-taming products on the market.

But, with many multi-bladed razors and foams, creams and soaps to choose from, which came out on top? Below, we ask our experts for their recommendations — and the products that’ll ensure your shave goes smoothly every time…

Sam Harwood’s winner in the shaving category was a razor. But not just any razor. With an intricate grain and quality construction, Czech & Speake’s Zebrano Razor is one of the most attractive available to any discerning shaver. Here’s why Harwood liked it:

“I’ve recently converted back to wet shaving — for no real reason other than I find it mildly therapeutic. This timber-handled razor from Czech & Speake helps add to the authenticity of the experience. I have a lot of respect for the brand, it’s very elegant.”

We couldn’t agree more. Perfectly weighted and crafted from sustainably sourced Zebrano wood, the distinctive narrow streaks of colour down the handle are certain to add a little style to your bathroom cabinet. It’s a singular material — traditionally used in boat building and old wooden skis — and, at £225, this razor is a luxury you’ll use every day.

The Dapper Chapper himself, Adam Tanous, knows a thing or two about keeping himself well-groomed. But, rather than plumping for a razor in this category, it was an aftercare product that caught Tanous’ expert eye. So why did he choose Percy Nobleman’s Recovery Balm?

“The first time I used the balm, I really knew about it. But, once your skin gets used to it, your face begins to crave the healing properties this product boasts. The fresh cucumber is quite unique and shaving blemishes noticeably improved during the period I used the product.”

It’s high praise from a man who knows his stuff. But Percy Nobleman’s oil control moisturiser is indeed a one-of-a-kind aftershave balm. That’s thanks to cardiospernum, a soothing natural active that regenerates damaged skin barriers, relieves itching and has anti-inflammatory properties. And, at just £15, there’s no reason this balm isn’t already part of your morning routine.

Another razor to make the cut, model and personal trainer Toby Huntington-Whiteley has chosen Gillette’s SkinGuard Sensitive Razor as his winner in the shaving category. But what was it about this £9 product that attracted him?

“Experiencing the occasional razor bumps, I was keen to see how the razor would work on my skin. After only using it for a week or so, I could noticeably see a decrease in bumps. I would definitely recommend this to anyone that has sensitive skin and/or experiences razor bumps.”

It’s a razor that does what it says on the box, then. Sensitive by name and super soft, delicate and effective by nature, Gillette’s SkinGuard is the grooming giant’s first razor specifically developed for men with sensitive skin. But how does it work? Easy — a guard is positioned between the blades to minimise tug and pull, which in turn prevents irritation and ingrown hairs. A simple, cost-effective solution to a very popular problem.

Max Brown has crowned an aftershave balm as his fragrant winner in this category. From heritage perfume house Creed, the actor opted for the Creed Aventus Aftershave Balm — a masterclass in aromatic aftercare. Here’s what he said about it:

“With Creed’s Aventus Aftershave Balm, my winner in this category, I found that a little really does go a long way. It also just makes your skin feel fantastically moisturised!”

At £70, it errs on the steeper side of shaving products, but Creed’s aftershave balm will also double as your daily fragrance. Scented with Creed’s iconic Aventus, it soothes the skin, seals in moisture and prepares you for the day or evening ahead — while softly infusing your freshly-shaved skin with notes of Italian bergamot, Calville Blanc apples and sparkling pineapple.

Eric Underwood is the only expert judge to choose a pre-shave product as his winner in this category. The American British ballet dancer has plumped for Acqua di Parma’s Soft Shaving Cream for Brush — a cornerstone of the Italian brand’s vividly hued Barbiere collection. In his words, here’s why it won:

“I’m such a fan of this brand. Whenever I do a clean shave, I can rely on this cream to leave my skin moisturised and fresh.”

Again, it’s one of the more expensive options — £52 for a tub — but the uniquely hydrating formula makes it worth every penny. This one’s characterised by a soft and rich consistency, formulated with pomegranate oil and basil extract and, like Gillette’s razor above, it also effectively protects against razor burn and skin irritation. A worthy winner.

Want more recommendations? Take a look at the products that came out on top in the skincare category…

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