When the art of shaving opened its first grooming boutique and shaving spa in 1996, cofounder and president Eric Malka had to convince men to take their shaving accoutrements as seriously as their cologne. “Men went to Barneys New York to buy fragrances, but to the drugstore for shaving products,” he explains. Well, times have certainly changed. Over the past few years, the dreaded morning chore has transformed into a near religious experience with painstakingly crafted razors and brushes that are designed to do more than merely look good. These ergonomically sound razors are specially weighted and balanced to prevent applying too much pressure with the blade, while pure badger hair brushes retain water, exfoliate skin, and create a frothy lather. Add a little style to the substance and these utilitarian tools are transformed into decorative treasures you would never want to hide away in your medicine chest.
Black palm wood twist razor, $160, John Hardy, 866.4.JHARDY; Horn and nickel razor, $200, The Art of Shaving 800.696.4999, www.theartofshaving.com; Chatsworth badger hair brush, $369 for three-piece set, Edwin Jagger at the Grooming Lounge, 866.4.LOUNGE, www.groominglounge.com; straight razor with ebony handle and gold inlay, $250, Truefitt & Hill, 800.897.8503; sterling silver Flame set, $900, ê Shave, by special order, 800.94.SHAVE, www.eshave.com