I had a blogger recently express a little shock that the creator and owner of Valor is a woman…
Once I explained my interest (obsession?) for all things to do with mens’ whiskers AND organic living, he got it and said he liked the idea that this business grew out of passion rather than it being solely a business venture. I’ve made it my business to talk to hundreds of men over the last 8 years, about their shaving habits…and wow, they are all so different; but this is the story that underlies my fascination with shaving and beards.
When I was a little girl, I used to sit on the floor of the bathroom and watch my dad shave.
It took about 10 minutes and was a daily ritual for him.
He would fill the basin with hot water, place his razor and shave stick on a face cloth to one side of the bench, soak a face cloth in the hot water, wring it well and place it over his face – moistening and softening the skin. Then, (this is an unusual M.O. these days) he would rub the dampened soapstick on his hard whiskers and with a wet brush, vigorously brush up a lather on his face.
Using his double sided razor he would shave “roads” into the shaving lather until finally, miraculously, his whisker-free face was revealed and the last vestiges of soap could be rinsed off. He then patted it dry with a hand towel, and splashed some Old Spice on…
Then I got to kiss him – all smooth and sweet. I can almost smell him now. Dad’s the one on the right, above…he’s on holidays there, but wore a suit to work in the city everyday, and looked much like Don on the left.
It seems shaving has got a bad rap in recent decades – the idea is to do it as fast as possible with little regard for the mans skin or wellbeing.
Chemical shave foams, electric razors – all designed for speed and relative efficiency … Where is the few minutes a day, that a man can take on his own personal care?
It happens that I married to a man with a sensitive skin and understood the importance for him to stay away from chemicals and synthetic fragrances which are known irritants. So, I set to developing a shaving soap that would do the job, not irritate his skin…and on top of that I wanted him to have skin that FELT great – not dry or irritated – just nourished and smooth. And yes, he grew a beard a few years ago, so we developed Beard Balm…but that’s another story…
In 2008 I developed a shaving soap, from luscious Organic Cold pressed Oils (then called “Manbar” now called Original): Olive Oil, Coconut oil, Avocado oil, Rice Bran oil, Castor Bean and Shea Nut butter, plus some Aloe Vera and French kaolin clay to produce a fine lather that plumps the whiskers and allows a razor to glide over the face, slicing those whiskers clean off.
In 2015, to please the traditionalists, we released a new recipe using Organic Australian Tallow (as well as Olive oil, coconut etc). Still gentle, but with a bigger stickier, cushiony lather.
Valor is still made in small batches by hand by us and I reckon my Dad would be proud.
Also read our last article on the “Rise of the Safety Razor”