The term “love-hate relationship” couldn't be more applicable to my association with shaving. I really struggle to find pleasure in it each morning, as I find it to be more of a chore than than this pleasing ritual that I’m meant to find some skewed sense of pride in. For those reasons, I prefer a traditional wet shave from time to time. I can switch-off, relax and be in the knowledge that I’m safely vulnerable to someone with extremely skilled hands and a sensibly sized blade (unlike Cary Grant in North by Northwest) to alleviate myself from the shackles of my shaving relationship. Post 45 to 60 minutes later, I’m revitalised and refreshed. I’m back in the game.
Coinciding with the grooming industry’s astronomical rise in recent years, barber shops that offer traditional wet shaves are seeing an increase in customers wanting the experience. “Up until 10 to 15 years ago, shaves were a bit of a dying art,” Stefan Avanzato, Master Barber and founder of Avanzato Grooming Lounge - which can be found in a shared space with Bennett & Winch in the basement of Private White V.C. on Duke Street, Mayfair - tells me as I lean back into his bespoke, vintage-style armchair and get comfortable. They did have this old, stuffy connotation however, there are now a considerable amount of young men wanting to get in on the act. Stefan continues, and explains that “most barber shops shied away from doing them in-stores as they can be very time consuming and need to be done with a close attention to detail.”