The Barber

Some stories defy time, oceans, countries, and words. This meeting between Luca Farina, and an older proud barber in Italy is one of these. Take this journey; feel the pride, and love this unites us for all time. – Aaron

Luca 1

Sometimes, if you leave the main street, you can discover a fairy-tale spot…..
I was walking through the streets of Domodossola when, looking down a little side street, an old barber-shop’s sign caught my eyes. It piqued my curiosity and I moved closer. I found myself in front of an old barber shop, where time seemed to have stopped at the 50s. Inside a white-haired barber said: “Please take a seat, if you have patience, I’ll serve you, Mister!”
Tommi welcomes me with his friendliness and his 87 years of age. After preparing the necessary items, he starts brushing, very slowly, the shaven soap on my face with an Omega 48, while explaining me, step by step, what are the right moves to do a good shaving. Then he tells me about his life. He started working at 10 years of age as barber’s apprentice. At 22 he opened his own shop. He says: “I even had 3 very good employees. At that time there was so much work, we shaved more than 100 beards a week”.
Then he explains me how he cuts and smoothes hair with the tip of the scissors; that he has travelled a little the world; that he has been an actor of dialect theatre, that he writes books and poems. “When I’m writing a book I feel alive” and he let me read a piece of the book he is going to finish. He tells me about his famous and important clients and I perceive his great love for his job.

Luca 6
At the beginning of this year he had an artificial hip implanted. Its shop remained closed for 3 months and he thought he would not open anymore, but back from the hospital, he told himself: “What can I do at home?”. And he opened his historical shop again, where you can find him working with his scissors and razor.

Luca 5
You can spend a lot of time listening to Tommi’s tales and you go away happy, well shaved and with one of his books (autographed) under your arm.

Luca 4


-Farinik. by, Luca Farina

Diary of a Road Warrior: Travel Tips

How do you bring the comforts of home while traveling for business or pleasure? Simple, bring your gear with you! The trick is to pack them in a way that won’t take up space and provide some variety. Why limit yourself, or worse, shave with that ‘Goo & Plastic’ while away. First, decide what you would like to bring and where are you going. If you’re going someplace warm & tropical, perhaps Coconut Cream Soap or something that smells like The Beach (wink wink). For me, there’s nothing better than a nice mentholated freeze when visiting someplace hot & humid. I have tried many travel cases & toiletry bags and found that eBags is the absolute best for traveling with your shaving stuff.  My shaving gear packs nice and flat  without sacrificing space in your luggage.  At only 2-1/4″ thick, you’ll be amazed how much shaving stuff you can pack into it! My travel bag wasn’t cheap, but it works well for me, as I’m able to fit all my gear with room to spare.

Remember, variety is the spice of life and as you can see, I travel with a number of soaps, lotions, splashes and razors. All you need is to find the containers to ‘right-size’ the amount needed for your journey. Let’s start with soaps. My TOBS Sandalwood is always with me and the container tubes work just fine for travel. Tabac is another go-to soap that’s Always with me when on the road. Since the a Tabac jar is glass and very heavy, I simply added shavings that I pressed in a Tupperware container.  I also travel with the matching AS & Cologne, which I placed into miniaturized containers.  By the way, eye dropper containers work great for cologne and AS , as well as little vials pictured. I think vials can easily be found with the local crack dealer (only kidding!).  The eye dropper contains my Tabac AS and the vial has Tabac cologne. Both are secure and have never leaked. Another tip is to bring your favorite AS/Cologne in travel sprayers that can be found in any fragrance specialty store. I found mine in Perfumania in the mall for a few bucks. I have two that I have brought along for my journey. The red sprayer has Al Fin and the clear has Penhaligon’s .  I sometimes travel with more than two razors, but for this trip, decided on just two. Below is a list of what I’m  traveling with this week:

  • Preshave:
    Homemade Oil (in bottle w/ black cap)
    Proraso Green (small round container w/screw top lid)
  • Soaps: 
    TOBS Sandalwood
    TOBS Coconut
    Tabac (in Tupperware)
    Soap Commander Courage (Sample)
    WSP Black Amber Vanilla (Sample)
    Trumpers Eucris (round container w/ screw top lid)
  • Aftershave & Cologne:
    TOBS AS Gel (Sandalwood)
    Soap Commander Balm (Courage)
    Al Fin (Red Travel Sprayer)
    Tabac AS (eye dropper container)
    Tabac Cologne (tiny bottle)
    Penhaligon’s Endymion
    Osage Rub (mouthwash travel bottle)
  • Razors:
    Vintage Gillette Black Handle SS
    EJ DE89L
  • Blades: Voskhod
  • Brush: Plisson Synthetic with Travel Container


Written by: Peter Charkalis



Shaving and Traveling ? Lets make it easy !

Travelling and traditional shaving for the modern wet shaver can be a daunting challenge or, is it ? I remember when I first started shaving we did not have the artisan community pumping out soaps, creams, and aftershave at lighting speeds, but that was back in the early 1990’s. Today’s wet shaver is living in a time only rivaled by the early 1900’s when we were literally liberated; from having to see a barber to have a shave 1-3 times a week, now we can do it ourselves. What happens though when we travel ? Be it for work or pleasure the world has become smaller with invention of travel like flying, railways, and even just long car rides. What absolutely changed was our options as wet shavers….. I in the last year alone 2014 have lost count of the amount of razors being made for distributors as private labels, soaps that are private or, artisan made, finally we still have the “big” houses of razors, soaps, and blades. How do we travel with all this and how do we keep the TSA from charging us more in baggage claims because we brought a few extra soaps, after shaves, and a few razors. Well the solution is way simpler than you may think, trust me I travel for work on a regular basis, and have to an extent gotten into my groove, so this may just work for you too !

The first thing I would invest in if you do not have one is a bag known as the “Dopp bag”. Simply put it is either a single or dual zippered bag about the size of a lunch box and this is home base for you shave gear. I have a few Dopp bags I use depending on how long I’ll be away. Lets assume for this article it’s for a week. Now I need you the reader to kind of trust me on this one, but only you can answer this question. What is most important to you in your shave ? is it the razor ? soaps ? changing up different blades ? After you answer this simple question your on your way to packing you Dopp bag more efficiently. For me it’s usually soaps, I am a 3017’er, and have more soap than I will ever use, but when I travel soap sticks are king. If you have a favorite soap chances are they make a shave stick version. If you do not travel often not all is lost, if you don’t want to use soap sticks invest in a few small containers that you can place some creams or,  soap in so you don’t have to clog your Dopp bag up with 5 full tubs of soap. I still would recommend multiple shave sticks, but the mini container method is still VERY viable, and will save tons of space. You also have the option if you want to bring only 1 maybe 2 full size tubs…. keep in mind though this is taking up space, exactly what we want more of.


Next up is the brush, this is an important choice. A brush on average takes 3-4 days to dry completely depending where you are both temperature wise, humidity, and elevation. I love my badger, boar, and now even horse brushes but when traveling…..Synthetic all the way. The newer synthetic brushes dry within an hour and 1 single brush can be used for your entire trip. I usually bring 2 as I believe in redundancy just in case something goes wrong with the first brush. Today also synthetic brushes are near as good as any natural fiber, and usually cost less and some prefer the synthetic feel. My personal favorites are the Plisson, Vanguard by Dreadnaught (Blue Beard in the EU), and the Omega Syntex. If for any reason you want to or, have to use natural hair brushes, never dry them with a blow dryer let them naturally dry, and I would only bring 1-2 as the last thing you want is mold to start growing in your favorite Silvertip. Remember the outer bristle may feel dry, but it can still be wet towards the knot.


How to travel with your razors and brush you may ask ? I would NEVER just throw a razor and brush into any bag and jump on a plane or, in my car. I personally use or reuse actually the boxes that my Simpsons brushes and WSP brushes came in they are the perfect size to hold you razor or brush and fit perfectly in any Dopp bag I have ever seen with tons of room for your other gear, other use Altoids tin filled with foam, toothbrush holders for straight razors and over sized pill bottles for your brush ! just be sure to store the brush as dry as possible, and drill holes for ventilation.  for your soap, they make travel tubes that work wonderfully !


Next up is your aftershave……this all depends how you travel. If by plane it’s going in your luggage and into a cargo hold…..all I can say here is I wish you the best of luck ! if you are traveling any other way if you followed the above advice and brought shave sticks and boxed your razor(s) and brush(es) you can actually fit a few FULL sized bottles of aftershave. If you want to like I do save more space, you can decant jus enough aftershave into travel tubes they are about an ounce for the larger ones, I have seen them as small as a 1/4 ounce. This is also true for your balms.


By this point if you are looking into your Dopp bag and saying WOW ! I still have a ton of room in a tiny bag….. well throw your deodorant, facial soap in a container, styptic pencil, alum, 3 oz. shampoo, and whatever ever else makes you feel a bit closer to home in there.  This method yes involves a bit of compromise and even maybe a bit of sacrifice in your daily routine. I will say though always keep in mind travel is temporary, and even when we as wet shavers make compromise or, travel “light” we are still leaps and bounds beyond our friends that are traveling with canned goo and the newest 20 blade cartridge razor as we will still have more options than they will EVER have in a single tiny Dopp bag. Oh and blades….. a 5 pack is enough usually for 2 weeks of travel, so go nuts ! I would recommend a mini Altoids tin to keep your blades in, and organized just remember to clean the sugar out before you throw your blades in there.


I hope this helped a little for all of us road warriors that travel regularly, from here on out you never have to be that far away from the comforts of home, and still get the best shave possible. – Aaron