Last January, I came across a blog post at zenhabits that suggested a way to save money, save the environment, and have healthier skin all at the same time: shaving the old fashion way, with a real razor. When I mentioned this to Gretchen, her eyes nearly popped out of her head. After all, only a month before, I accidentally drove a screw through my hand while fixing our son’s toy. Once I explained that it wasn’t the folding straight razor, a la Sweeny Todd, but the double-edged “safety razor”, she relaxed a little. And (knock on wood) I’ve been doing it ever since with only a few nicks. And I love it.One of the key ingredients to old school shaving is what is generally referred to as a wet shave. Using a shaving brush and shaving soap (not that chemical-laden stuff you buy in the can), you make your face so soft and slick that the razor glides across, giving you the smoothest, gentlest shave you’ve ever had. Finish off with a splash of witch hazel as your aftershave, instead of all those scented things that just dry out my skin.The only real expenses are the one-time purchase of the razor handle and the shaving brush. And for those, you can spend as little or as much as you want. My first brush was only $7. It fell apart after a few months, but by then, I was sure that I wanted to commit to this and didn’t mind spending the $20 for a decent brush. The actual razors themselves are only a few bucks for a ten pack (as opposed to $20 for a four pack of Mach 3 disposables). The shaving soap is another dollar or two and one cake will last you at least 3-6 months. That’s also a lot less waste and chemicals you’re putting out into the world.One word of caution. It may seem obvious, but remember that you’re dragging a razor across your face. You can’t just rush through this like you can with the plastic disposables. There is a skill to this that requires patience and practice to learn. It’s a dying art perhaps, and in a way, strangely decadent.If you’re interested in embarking on this journey, or perhaps you’re desperate for a last minute gift item for one of those hard to shop for guys, there are a lot of great videos out there that can help you (or them) get started.
Excellent post! Be sure to check out the traditional shaving sub-culture at forums like shavemyface, badgerandblade, and theshaveden (all ".com"). And if you need help with technique be sure to check out the videos mentioned in the post (particularly mine! LOL).
Ala Sweeny Tood? *snort*
So did you cut yourself a lot in the beginning?
I've always thought about going for the old school shave, and now that I know someone who loves it, I just might take the plunge.
The only times I cut myself were when I tried to rush through. You really just have to take your time, especially at the beginning. With working up the lather, with brushing it on, with the razor. It makes the whole shaving thing an event. An experience, not just something to hurry up and get through.
There are so few luxury things like this for men. But what's more manly than shaving like John Wayne?
Jon, I have one of these for my lady legs. You should try one--they come with a strop and are sort of automatic--very cool and sort of add to the ritual.
Teri from the Debs
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