The Art of Shaving comes to Tacoma Mall with blades, balms, lotions and skin-care advice

From stubble and trouble to a luxurious ritual, what once was a chore for most men hereabouts on Wednesday became a “masculine experience” with the opening of an Art of Shaving store at Tacoma Mall.

The Procter & Gamble retail subsidiary welcomed its first customers Wednesday morning, offering a range of lotions, creams, balms, soaps and equipment. The Tacoma property is the 138th Art of Shaving outlet nationwide, joining other Washington stores in Seattle, the Southcenter mall and Bellevue.

Within 640 square feet at Tacoma Mall, it’s a man’s world.

“We’re helping a man care for his skin,” said District Manager David Hart.

He said customers will, simply by being customers, gain entry into “the brotherhood of shaving.”

It’s a brotherhood that requires no initiation ceremony, and although there is no secret handshake, members will gain knowledge of the company’s major tenets – composed primarily of a four-step program aimed at the Perfect Shave.

1: Prepare. 2: Lather. 3: Shave. 4: Moisturize.

“We can help make shaving fun again,” Hart said. “Every man deserves to have a great shave.”

Which could cost money.

The Tacoma store does not offer shaves, but does sell most any implement a shaver might require.

For example: Muhle safety razors from Germany. Safety razors with handles of brass, nickel, acrylic or “hand-carved bovine horn.”

Not “cow,” but “bovine.”

There’s the new Gillette “Flexball” razor which offers, Hart said, “23 percent more contact.”

Shaving brushes all feature badger hair.

There’s a new line of water-based balm made using North Atlantic ocean kelp and Vitamin B3.

The pre-shave lotion contains oils of castor and olive and provides, Hart said, “an improved glide.”

Lathering soaps contain coconut acid and glycerin, and they “gently exfoliate.”

Aftershave lotions and balms contain Shea butter, glycerin and grape seed extracts.

It’s like a nice lunch on your face, and as to aromas the customer will have his choice between Indian sandalwood, Bulgarian lavender, that kelp or cold-pressed Italian lemon.

Need a strop? Here it is. Plus tweezers, manicure sets, nail clippers and tiny scissors. Add mustache wax and beard wax from Hungary, and electric beard trimmers and a product called “mask” that contains oil and clay and is meant to “clarify and detoxify the skin,” Hart said.

Prices for shaving kits run from $25 to $210. Balms go for $18 or $40, creams $17 or $25 and the same for pre-shave lotions. Safety razors start at $70 and jump to $100. Those badger-hair brushes begin at $55 and rise to $250.

A good shave, Hart said, helps a man “feel good about himself” all while being “a part of a prized daily ritual.”

The store, he said, is “a uniquely masculine destination at the mall.”

Dark wood predominates and tufted leather decorates the cashier’s station inside the store. Frank Sinatra sings from speakers.

Ring-a-ding-ding, sings Old Blue Eyes. Ring-a-ding-ding, goes the cash register.