Here at Grooming Lounge, we know a lot about shaving. Hecht, we do dozens of shaves in our Barbershops and Spas every day, make our own shaving supplies and sell thousands of shaving goods online every year. But, we do realize there’s a bigger shaving world out there and it’s getting bigger and bigger by the minute. There’s entire blogs focused on improving your shaves and dozens of You Tube channels with video after video on how to up your shaving game. And these guys are good – they know their stuff.
Enter one of our favorites and as knowledgeable a guy as you’ll find in the realm of wet shaving – Mark, or as he’s better known in the shaving community by his handle, “Mantic59.” This guy’s got a shaving You Tube Channel with nearly 10 Million views and a web site at Sharpologist.com that gives some of the best insight you’ll find on shaving and general grooming. The Lounge sat down with Mantic59 (we know, it sounds like a Shaving Super Hero or a computer hacker) to learn about his background and get some of his top tips. Enjoy.
Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself and your business?
A: I’m Mark, otherwise known as “Mantic59.” I was born and raised in small-town Wisconsin but moved to Texas after college. Even though I’m known as a shaving guru, my professional background is actually related to telecommunications (though I’m retired now). My “business” started in 2011, after one of my shaving converts -- who also happens to own a digital media company -- suggested that I needed to start a website to complement the shaving videos I have on You Tube. We created Sharpologist.com and things have grown from there!
Q: How’d you get so into shaving?
A: I shaved with an electric razor for 30-odd years and never much thought about it: buzz buzz zip zip, done in two minutes. I had a 5 ‘O Clock shadow at two, but I thought that was “normal.” In the mid 1990’s I began a serious relationship a special young lady. One thing she absolutely adored was the feeling of my face just after it was freshly shaven. Unfortunately she could only enjoy caressing my face for a few hours before it would get a bit “sandpapery” again. We were married in 2002.
A couple years later she had a barber give me a shave as an anniversary present, and it was life-changing: I had never felt my face so smooth and soft. And of course my wife loved it too. So I started researching “old school” shaving.
Q: What are the three biggest misconceptions about getting a great wet shave?
Q: Why are classic shaving tools (like 2x edge razors and brushes) making such a comeback?
A: I think there are two major reasons. First is price. Consumers are rebelling against expensive multi-blade cartridge systems. The second reason is a little more amorphous but it’s related to a connection to the past in some way -- for some it’s a family memory (maybe watching dad shave when you were a kid) or a recollection of a simpler, more friendly time (like going to the barber just to chat with friends).
Q: What’s your favorites shaving product(s)
A: For razors I really like the Parker Variant and the OneBlade. Favorite creams and soaps include Truefitt & Hill Trafalgar, Castle Forbes Limes, Speick, and a bunch of artisan products.
Q: Who taught you how to shave?
A: Ha! I got the hang of it through the collective help and wisdom of the internet shaving community (which was tiny at the time compared to now). That’s why I started doing shaving videos --I wanted to help those going through the same process succeed a little quicker than I did.
Q: Do people seem to care more about packaging or the product inside when making a shaving selection?
A: In my experience it’s the product. Packaging seems to take a back seat to the performance of the actual product.
Q: Ever get a professional shave? Where and how was it?
A: I’ve had several. I’ve had some excellent shaves at a couple different “spa” barbers...and some ghastly ones too. It really depends on the skill of the barber.
Have any other questions you'd like us to ask Mark/Mantic59? Just leave them in the comments and we'll get some answers ASAP.