Tuesday, December 30, 2008

You can shave, or you can shave well

I’ve recently discovered the joy of a straight blade wet shave. Far superior to it’s very distant cousin, the plastic, multi-blade “safety razors”. For a very long time, I’ve hated shaving. Mostly just because I end up with a raw, battle-ravenged piece of skin for people so see, and to burn and sting, even hours after the shave. Yeah you could say I have sensitive skin. It would be an understatement.

I saw Russ Roca posting about the straight blade shave, and was quite intrigued. I bought a straight blade razor while I was in Moscow several years ago, but several hours of digging through old boxes in the basement yielded nothing. I checked a few online stores that sold shaving accoutrements, but was holding off buying anything for some reason. My wife caught on, and she bought me the tools needed for a fine shave.

What a difference this is. First of all, the shave cream is incredible. It’s a sensitive skin formula, but unlike anything I’ve ever used. I actually works. My face feels no pain during or after the shave. I’m sure the lack of pain also has to do with the fact that the blade is just one, but a very keen cutting edged razor. The first two shaves were a little nerve-racking, and if you try this, you know how scary the first movement of the blade across your throat can be. As soon as the blade starts moving across the face, you become very aware of its sharpness. A few minutes later, I was feeling much more comfortable, but still cautious. I’ve got 4 shaves down now and I’m getting better and faster. No longer am I leaving little patches of random stubble, and I’m also not taking 20 minutes to shave.

I agree that a disposable is still probably the faster way to shave, and electric razors are incredibly convenient (I was using an electric for about 2 years) but the straight blade is in a different category of shave. It’s almost a luxury. If you really want to treat yourself to one of the finest shaves, give it a try. I’m quite certain, you won’t go back.


Christopher Johnson said...

I saw Russ' post and I was curious. Now I've seen yours and am intrigued. Since I'm sporting winter coverage at the moment, I wonder if maybe trying a straight blade around the edges would be a good way to start? Or would I miss the luxury of it all?

mantic59 said...

I think the "luxury" centers around the brush and traditional lather soap/cream. The blade is (almost) secondary. The "happy medium" for me is a single-bladed safety razor: less "fussy" than a straight razor (no honing/stropping/sharpening)and a lot less expensive than the plastic cartridge stuff (my blades cost me $0.17/blade in bulk). Check out my channel on YouTube for a lot of info on traditional shaving (youtube.com/shavetutor).

Smudgemo said...

I've been meaning to get a single-blade safety razor and a brush/cup/soap. I like the idea of inexpensive blades and no more cans to throw away.
I was looking here.

mantic59 said...

Smudgemo- You should also check out www.emsplace.com.

Jerome said...

Christopher, I think that even shaving the neck would feel oh so much better with a decent set up. For me, that's the part that gives me the most grief and feel the most raw after a shave. I can use a rust axe on my face and it doesn't hurt too much, but my neck is feel oh so much better with a nice shave. It also seems to be the hardest to shave. I am right handed, and shaving the left side of my neck was very awkward at first.

Mantic59, I think you're probably right. Good lather does probably make the hugest difference. I know that I've got a great soap for my skin type. I do have a theory on multiblades though. I think that the hair gets stuck between the blades and sometimes it's more of a pulling action than a shaving action. With single straight blade, there is nowhere for the hairs to get caught. Might just be a crazy thought though.

Smudge, I was checking out that site also. My wife actually found an online seller in Canada that was over $50 cheeper for a razor, soap, badger hair brush and a strop. I forget the name of the company. The biggest advantage for us is not having to pay customs at the border. I bought a $500 used bike once, and it cost me $250 in fees to get it across.....ouch!