Soap and Brush

For a proper traditional shaving experience one needs a razor, a brush and some soap. Having tried out seven or eight different brushes over the last dozen years, for the last while I’ve settled on two that I alternate between. The one shown above is a Portuguese-made Semogue 1250 bristle brush with a wooden handle. It cost me less than a tenner and I’ve been using it for two and a half years. The other is an Omega 108 Professional brush (bristle again, but made in Italy) with a slightly larger knot and a plain dark blue plastic handle. It cost the same as the Semogue and I’ve been using it for twice as long.

Also made in Italy is my current choice of soap: Cella, specifically their regular ‘Extra Extra Purissima’ variety in the red plastic container, with its simple but eminently agreeable sweet almond aroma. I stockpiled three tubs of it when Connaught Shaving (also my source for the brushes) had it on offer the October before last (for less than £4 per unit, delivery included). Each tub lasts me several months and I’m still working my way through the second of the three. One of the good things about Cella is its easy-going nature, with even a somewhat underworked lather providing plenty of slickness for a first-rate shave with a straight razor.