When I started this blog back in 2004, if you have told me I would one day have a post about shaving I’d have thought you were insane. So, since you’re not insane, here it is:
My father was an electric shaver dude. I remember his trusty Remington cordless’ distinctive sound in the morning – somewhere between a blender and small animal trapped in a lawnmower. As I grew older and began shaving as well, it was only natural that I start with electric, and a birthday present of a Philips shaver began my lifelong dissatisfaction with electric shaving. You go with what you know, and until my early 20′s, despite the really crappy job it did, that’s how I shaved.
I think it was a free razor promotion or a gift that got me to try wet shaving with a cartridge razor and shaving goo from a can. This was a much better result, and having a beard that didn’t need daily maintenance, this is pretty much how it stayed for about 20 years until this fall. Sure, I made the marketing-induced progression from 2 blades to 3, then 4, then 5 with a helicopter/sling shot/back massager attachment. One thing I realized though, is that the cost of those little cartridges was getting pretty much insane. With every new generation and additional blade, I wasn’t entirely convinced it was getting better either, I just knew it was costing more.
After doing some reading online, I decided to go in the other direction : 1 blade. Cost : Under $0.10.
Up to this point in my life, the only time I’d ever used a blade like this was to edit audio tape and film, and oh yeah that one time to get a sticker off a window. I knew I’d need a few things to get this going: -some sort of razor to put this in, and learn a new (old) way to shave.
Now the prospect of shaving with a safety razor was kind of exciting as far as shaving can be exciting. My father didn’t teach me how to shave with a blade, though I’m sure he and his father used these implements without thinking about it. Since I’m now the oldest man in my family, I didn’t exactly have anywhere to go for this information to be handed down to me. But hey, it’s 2010, if anyone’s into it, it’s available online.
Having used Youtube to find videos on how to properly filet freshly caught fish, I naturally went there first for my shaving lessons. There are a great series of videos by mantic59 that show all kinds of tips and techniques for “traditional shaving”. I found these very helpful in learning technique, and also for using shave soap with a brush to make my own lather as opposed to slathering plastic whipped-cream-goo on my face.
Interesting side effect of this “journey of learning” has been the discovery of a ritual that makes the whole shaving process less of a chore. From trying different shave soaps, brushes and blades, the whole ritual of shaving has become quite enjoyable. As a bonus, my face has never felt better!
So now I shave with a 1959 Gillette adjustable just like the ad above, it’s one of several I different razors I now own (RAD=Razor acquisition Disorder – it’s real), and I’ve bought razors and enough blades to last over a year for much less than a set of Mach3 replacement blades cost at the warehouse store.
Here’s the tie-in to this blog – there is a HUGE community devoted to wet shaving. I’m doing a lot of reading at the Badger & Blade forums. Never in my life I would have expected so much talk and community around shaving. They review razors, blades, soaps, brushes, etc… I subscribed to the forum’s RSS feed, and there are hundreds of messages a week. Incredible.
Shaving is one of those things I have to do, and now it’s more pleasant. I also feel that doing it “the old way” somehow connects me to previous generations, much in the same way my old radios do.
So there’s the post I didn’t want to put up during #movember,