Where Men Can Become Better Gentlemen

The Perfect Dopp Kit

Shaving Contents

Electric Razor



Dry shaving with an electric razor is certainly convenient and easy by comparison to wet shaving. Most people have an outlet rechargeable type as their main one and either take this with them or have a second one for travel, which is either outlet rechargeable also or battery powered. There are some good battery powered travel models available: The Braun M90 Mobile Shaver is one of the better travel shavers. There are nice compact shavers out there but they tend to lack the power and performance, our best pick of these is the Rechargeable USB Travel Razor from Sharper Image. At $40 it seems to have the durability compared with cheaper options but is best used for “touch ups”.

A key drawback with electric razors is reliability - the need to carry converter plug and/or power lead; lack of mains supply at destination; running out of charge; dead batteries etc. – there are many ways for it not to work. An alternative is to use a dynamo electric razor - Solarrific produce the P7002 Handcrank Personal Shaver, which can be charged from a normal outlet, via USB or cranked by hand. It’s a greener option and useful when travelling, especially if in the backwoods for an extended period. However, do not expect this to be a great shave and certainly do not expect it to deal with any facial hair growth over a day old.

Razor

If you wet shave with a cartridge or safety razor, and choose to use it for travel also, ensure it is protected. A protective case is usually sufficient and we suggest the leather one from Parker’s, although it’s suitable for other makes too.

An alternative, where space is at a premium, is to use a safety razor specifically designed for travel. These tend to unscrew into smaller pieces for easier storage and are lighter, with a shorter handle. These differences change the feel of the razor, compared to a standard sized one, but with a little practice it becomes easier to use. Our favorite is the Merkur Chrome-Plated Travel Razor for $43.  Don’t forget to pack a spare blade or two.

If you use a straight razor then protect it with a carry sheath (known as a coffin), Straight Razor Designs have leather ones in black or brown for $8. If traveling for longer periods then don’t forget a sharpening implement to assist in keeping it finely honed (or pack several razors instead). Although not a small item to carry, we suggest the small Leather Paddle Strop by Garos, and a small amount of fine (green) buffing compound. Alternatively use a shavette, straight razor with disposable blades, we particularly like the one’s by Parkers.

Unfortunately straight razors and the blades for safety razors are not accepted by the TSA for carry-on luggage, but disposable and cartridge ones are. With this in mind, unless you check your luggage, the inexpensive retractable cartridge Twist Razor from Cleveland Traveler’s Shoppe for $7 may just be perfect. This nifty lightweight razor is protectively held within a container, just a little larger than a tube of lip balm and with a simple twist becomes a fully functioning razor. The replacement cartridge heads are fairly easy to find.




Shave Oil

A frugal and effective buy is King of Shaves Alpha Oil, it is small, making it perfect for travel and will last a good month or more. This can be used: instead of shaving soap/cream; in combination with shaving soap/cream; or as a pre-electric shave oil – a real all-rounder and you only use a few drops each shave! Shave oil is a great preventative at reducing shaving nicks and you may wish to reduce the cost by buying a bulk pack of 6 (also available from Amazon).

Shaving Brush

You could just use your hands but this is not as effective by comparison to using a brush, as is lifts your stubble, giving a closer shave. Travel shaving brushes are usually smaller, so you have to work a little harder, and often (a strong preference) have a protective container. Some brushes work on a retracting basis, with the bristles being held in the handle. However, these typically use synthetic hair and are only slightly cheaper than badger hair brushes. We like the Edwin Jagger Best Badger Travel Brush with black container from West Coast Shaving for $55. If you want a really small, but still very effective, brush try the “Wee Scot” - it’s about as wide as your finger! Unfortunately this does not come with a suitable travel container but an easy remedy is to use a prescription pill bottle (ask your pharmacist for one, it should be less than $2). Make sure you get the right size and drill a few holes in it (one each on top and bottom, and two on the sides) for ventilation. Final Tip: remember to air dry your brush upon returning from your travels.



Shaving Soap/Cream


Aerosol shaving foams are bulky and poor quality, at very best they may provide a little oil (or similar) to your skin to help a razor glide over your features and to soothe the skin from razor burn. At a pinch, you could use your usual washing soap/gel or try Dr. Bonner’s Castille soap (see Dopp Kit Washing Contents). However, it is best to use a good quality shaving soap or cream (coupled with shave oil, see above) for the best results. For travelling an effective item is the shaving stick, a hard cylindrical soap, which is rubbed over the beard whilst damp. You can then lather up with a brush, we suggest trying the inexpensive and long lasting Arko brand. Store in a suitable container, again try your local pharmacist  - see Shaving Brush above.

Styptic Pencil

Available in most pharmacies and many grocery stores and are small enough for travel purposes. However, these sticks are reasonably fragile and can break in transit (and disintegrate in water), but there are less fragile alternatives: Clubman’s “Nik Relief” is a liquid dab-on styptic which leaves no residue and “My Nik is Sealed” is another liquid styptic but this is a roll-on version, dries clear and costs $5 from Royal Shave. If you are seeking to go ultra light, in terms of weight, try the matchbook style “Thawas” pack of 20 styptic matches costing $4 from Royal Shave. 

Aftershave/Cologne


Most people have their special fragrance, so pack this. There are small unisex perfume atomizers available, which permit you to decant your choice of scent into for travel purposes. If you have a spray (e.g. eau de toilette) to decant use the Travelo brand (available in many colors including black & silver). If you have a “pour” type scent (e.g. aftershave), we suggest using the niceEshop brand. Alternatively, you may wish to consider omitting your aftershave completely in favor of a scented balm (see Moisturizer below).

Moustache/Beard Kit

If you have facial hair then consider including a suitable specialized grooming kit. This is really an Every Day Carry item: to be used after every meal, upon waking in the morning, going to a meeting, going out in the evening etc. There are readymade kits available and we like: eBarbershop’s Deluxe Moustache/Beard Grooming kit (plus this kit is also available with moustache wax for an extra $5) with nearly everything you’d need; for simple elegance you might wish to try the Concord 4-piece Beard & Moustache Kit for $35; or for an ultimate quality kit try the Dovo Moustache and Beard Grooming Kit from Royal Shave for a corresponding expensive $100! 


Nasal Hair Trimmer



Always important (especially the older you get, as the hair leaves your head and starts sprouting everywhere else), but only really required when travelling for more than a few days. The battery powered Panasonic ER-GN30-K Vortex Wet/Dry Nose Hair Trimmer is a popular choice, although on the large side for travel. However, rather than use one that requires batteries, and be subject to it not working, we highly recommend the robust The Groom Mate Platinum XL. It is hand operated, requires no batteries, has a life time warranty, is made of non-rust stainless steel and is so light and compact, the price tag is more than worth it.

Moisturizer

You’ll probably have your own favourite so pack this, but you may prefer to use a scented balm, which could discount the need for carrying an Aftershave/cologne - it is always recommended to use one with a sunscreen included. As an alternative, you could simply use a sunscreen as your moisturizer instead - especially useful if travelling to sunny climates. We particularly like the Coppertone oil free sunscreen range of lotion.



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