Men’s Grooming: The search for wet shaving brushes in Manila

There’s a huge disparity in men’s grooming products in the Philippines — this became apparent when I was looking for a shaving brush and shaving soap for use at home. Say what you want, but hipster barber culture has had that effect on me. My facial hair grows rather fast and although I am far from ready to upgrading to a straight-edge shaver for a nice wet shave, I do appreciate good shaving lather on my face. No matter what I do, the ubiquitous shaving cream you find from Gillette still leaves me unsatisfied.

After much research on the types of brushes that are locally available, I was able to buy a PRORASO boar hair shaving brush from The Barberian Barber Shop in Westgate, Alabang. I chose this because many online review sites recommend brushes made by Omega because of its quality + affordability and in this case, it seems like Omega acts like an OEM for Proraso brushes. I also checked online, and you can get the same brand from Slickville, a local online store for men’s grooming. Lazada also carries a number, but these brushes are from Parker — not hating on these — they’re actually pretty good, but I really wanted something from Omega. Between pricing, Slickville is by far the cheapest, at P780.00 for the brush plus you can also pick up shaving cream and patchwork for your skin. The Barberian however does sell Proraso shaving soap, which is what you need to form a thick lather before you shave.

For other brands, Slickville Barbers at the second floor of Uptown Mall sells a lot of pomade, shaving soap and grooming kits. You can find boar, badger and even synthetic bristle shaving brushes (if you are vegan or allergic to animal hair).

Many people have asked me why I’ve decided to hipster-ize my grooming regimen and to be honest my answer would be “because it feels good.” I think the art of shaving shouldn’t be treated with shortcuts because hurrying it can literally cut you. Building lather takes time — about 30 seconds to a minute of dry rubbing your brush. I think it is also enamoring to experience how your brush grows with you. Boar brushes are the cheapest of the lot — but once you break them in, they’re really soft.