Spotlight: Anthony Berriola on Shaving

anthony_razorsAnthony Berriola has some choice words for Gillette and Schick.

“I’m completely against them,” says Berriola, proprietor of Razors Barbershop & Shave (308 Highland Ave.), of the multi-blade cartridge razors that dominate the shaving market, “They market this product to have three, four and five blades to give you a closer shave, but what’s actually happening is that one blade cuts the beard, and that second and third blade run over the area already cut, irritating the skin and cutting hair below the skin, which leads to ingrown hairs and razor burn.”

According to Berriola, the only way to get a proper shave is with a single-blade razor, ideally a flat razor. But there’s far more to it than that – a truly proper shave, says Berriola, ought to take as long as twenty-five minutes from start to finish, which is why so few barbershops today offer the once-ubiquitous professional shave. But at Razors, he says proudly, “We take the time.”

As one of the few remaining bastions of this lost tradition that Berriola holds so dear, Razors draws clientele from miles around. “People are looking for a better shave,” he says – and Razors, which celebrated its ninth birthday this spring, offers just that.

Scout Somerville swung by the shop to find out just what constitutes a proper shave, and why it takes so long:

1. A hot towel, sometimes even two or three, to moisten the skin and soften the beard.

2. A layer of pre-shave oil “to get the skin more pliable and supple… so it contours to the blade a little more.”

3. “The proper cream is clutch. You want something that has just the right amount of slickness and just the right amount of cushion.”

4. Apply lather with a badger brush, which is “really key in lifting the beard and getting a good lather on the face.”

5. “Shave with the grain first. And if you feel like your face can really take it, if it was good but it wasn’t close enough, then lather and do a second pass across the grain. Not against the grain in the start – get it down as far as you can first before you go against the grain.”

6. After shaving, close the pores with “a nice mentholated product that we put on the face, almost a post shave cream, and cold towels.”

7. Finish with a “good old-fashioned aftershave splash to make you burn and put the hair on your chest!” -Nick Cox