In our fast-paced, convenience-focused culture we’ve lost a lot of rituals and arts that were once commonplace.
Shaving properly is one of those things.
As much as Dollar Shave Club and Gillette Mach 3 Turbo 200 blade vibrating razors have made shaving more convenient, they’ve taken something away from what was once a noble art.
If you’ve never had a proper shave, or have no clue how to even get started, sit down and give this a read through.
Even going with something like Dollar Shave Club costs you $72/year in razors, along with shaving cream and other accessories. Let’s call it $100/year.
When you switch over to a double edge razor, you buy your razor once and it lasts you the rest of your life. The razors come in packs of 5-10 and are extremely cheap – I picked up over 150 blades of different varieties for around thirty bucks…two years ago. And I still haven’t run out.
Shaving cream will run you about $5 a can and are filled with all sorts of nonsense that you don’t actually need to get a quality shave. Picking up some traditional shave cream might cost a bit more up front, it’ll last a lot longer, so you’ll save more in the long run.
Save the Planet
Instead of chucking a plastic razor in the trash every week, you’ll be throwing away a single small metal razor blade. If you want, you can recycle them, so there’s almost no waste compared to traditional shaving. You’ll avoid all of the aerosol shave cream canisters hitting the landfill as well. If you’re an earth-conscious groomer, it’s a no brainer.
Shaving with a straight or double-edge razor is going to give you a better shave, hands down. If you do it properly, you’ll have an absolutely perfect shave. Don’t listen to the marketing from the big razor companies – you don’t need 243,209 blades on your razor to get a great shave – you need one blade, and you need to use that one blade properly. You’ll have less skin irritation and a closer, cleaner shave by going the old fashioned way.
You Feel Like a Boss
When I switched to shaving with a straight razor, I instantly felt like my life became 10% manlier. I got in touch with the way that my father and my grandfather used to shave and felt a connection to them in a new way. On top of that, your morning shave becomes a ritual and a time of reflection as you go through the motions. It’s hard to describe until you give it a shot, but you feel like an absolutely badass when you shave the old-school way.
Tools of the Craft
Unless you’re really daring, it’s best to go with a safety razor, also known as a double-edge razor. The other option is to go with a straight razor, but if you’re switching from disposable razors that’s kind of like swapping your Prius out for a space ship – a little bit too big of a jump for a beginner.
Safety razors can be found just about anywhere, but there are a few things to keep in mind when buying one. The cheapest way is to ask your dad or grandpa if they’ve got one lying around. Chances are good that they will, because safety razors last a lifetime. If not, you can grab one from an antique store, check eBay, or just hit Amazon and pick up something from Merkur or Edwin Jagger.
When you’re first starting out, it’s best to pick up a variety pack of blades so you can find out which ones best fit your face. Every manufacturer is different, and most manufacturers have a couple varieties of their blades for closer shaves, or different materials. Play around with a couple manufacturers and types of blades until you find the ones that really fit your face, then pick up a bulk pack of those. Or if you’re like me, keep testing out different blades in search of the holy grail ;).
Your shaving brush and your safety razor are the heart of your shave kit, so I wouldn’t skimp on them. You can pick up some really cheap brushes and have an okay shave, but since it’ll be lasting you a while, why not spend a little bit more for quality and have awesome shaves for years?
Brushes are made out of one of two materials: boar hair, or badger hair. Most beginners go with boar hair because it’s cheaper, but it’s also more coarse and abrasive against the skin. If you want to splurge, pick up a badger hair brush, but either one will do.
Soaps and Creams
A quality shaving soap will leave your face smelling amazing without all of the chemicals in the blue/green glop that comes out of the classic aerosol cans that most people buy. There are a seemingly unlimited amount of soaps and creams you can use to shave, so don’t get overwhelmed. A few good brands to check out are Proraso, and Body Shop for Men.
This video is the absolute basic beginner’s guide to giving yourself your first wet shave with a safety razor. This is the video I learned from when I first started out, and it’s just as good as it was a few years back.
Reddit’s Wicked Edge Subreddit (I learned almost everything about shaving from here)
WetShaveClub.com – started by some Redditors from the Wicked Edge subreddit. Neat idea and is like Dollar Shave Club, but for those of us that want to wet shave!