I’m just documenting this because I am waiting for a system rebuild to progress and I have shaving on my mind.
Who ever thought I would discover shaving as, almost, a hobby. If someone had shown this to me when I was still in high school I would have been so much happier. Wet shaving (or classic shaving) is one of my new favorite things. Who ever thought that scraping a razor accross ones face could be something to look forward to?
History: When I started shaving in the 7th grade no one showed me how so I just grabbed a disposable razor and scraped off some hair. Very dry and very painful. Since I can remember I’ve been using electric razors because every attempt I’ve made at wet shaving went horribly bad (Mach 3 razor and shaving cream for sensitive skin and all that crap).
Essentials: Cobra razor with Feather “Professional” blades, Vulfix #662 super badger brush, Mitchell’s Wool Fat Soap, Truefitt & Hill Ultimate Comfort After Shave Balm and a basic styptic stick. Also good to have: brush/razor stand, soap bowl or scuttle.
I’m very sensitive to chemicals in the things that touch my skin. I decided one day that I was going to try shaving with a straight edge razor. I did a ton of reading and figured out that was not going to work for me for various reasons. But I did discover that I could accompliosh the same thing with an old fashioned safety razor. I gathered the essentials I listed above after some trial and error with glycerine based soaps and different after shave lotions/balms/whatever.
The Cobra razor IS a safety razor but is much wider than most and the blades are very aggressive. I like the weight of it and I like the size and feel of it in my hand. It will only take the Feather “Professional” blades, not the super or the others.
The Feather “Professional” blades are about $10 for 20 of them. I can use them twice each because my beard is rough and course. Each pack of them is designed as a safe dispenser and a safe disposal unit.
The Vulfix #662 super badger shaving brush is a big key to quality shaving. There’s tons of reading out there as to exactly why so I won’t go in to that. But, I’m glad I spent the $80 on it instead of going through several cheaper ones first. There’s good reading out there on badger hair in shave brushes too. Basically, anything else just sucks.
Mitchell’s Wool Fat Soap is a wool tallow soap with natural lanolin in it. I can’t say enough good things about this soap. I got it for shaving and now I use it for my hair and body as well. So very clean and non-irritating …. mmmmmm. My friend Brent gave me a cake of some tallow soap he tried but could not stand the scent (some perfume smelling thing … why would he buy that anyway …hmmm). I tried it, hated the scent, but loved the lather and feel of it. NOTE – don’t microwave tallow soap for more than 15 seconds … ewe.
Truefitt & Hill Ultimate Comfort After Shave Balm. Kyong got me another skin smoothing herbal liquid for Christmas that works well too, but the Truefitt & Hill stuff seems to have the magic formula for me; no razor burn no breakouts, no nothing. I use both sometimes, depending on the temp outside and stuff like that (the skin smoother helps in the winter).
The styptic stick is awesome. If you have a cut it will plug it … stings like a mother, but it stops the bleeding. As far as I know these are mostly, if not all, alum. I’ve even had a few shaves where I haven’t needed it … oooooo.
Process: Taking a hot shower before shaving is the best, but the tallow soap makes up some of the difference. I also can not shave without a shower if I’ve gone too long without a shower (no comment). Once ready to shave:
1) Use the hottest water you can get. This ensures good lather and helps keep the beard hair softer. Once we redo our master 1/2 bath I may get a small single cup coffee maker to put in there because they heat water to almost boiling temps very quickly (nline).
2) Run the tip of the brush under the hot water source and it will soak up as much as possible. You’ll notice the weight of it change and you know it’s full when it drips water upon holding bristles down.
3) With just the tips of the soaked brush make a circle pattern on your soap cake (or whatever you use) until the lather starts to show in the bowl/scuttle/whatever
4) Use the same circular motion with the soapy bruch on your face and not to hard. let the lather build up; the badger hair ends will work the soap in to your skin and help lift away dead skina nd stuff.
5) Once you’re lathered up start shaving. I can not use long strokes or else my skin get mad and angry looking. I use short strokes and you have to make sure that whenever you scrape the razor across your skin there should be a layer of lather there first. Keep the lathered brush handy and apply it liberally where needed.
6) Most can go north to south and then south to north and then pick up odd areas after, but I have to do small strokes in several directions a few times.
7) When done with the razor, rinse with water; I like hot water and then cold because the hot feels good and the cold helps close the pores.
8) Dry with towel; I use green striped barber towels because they are soft and non-irritating and because I can be assured they are clean (as opposed to existing hand towels).
9) Apply styptic if needed and then apply after shave stuff.
That’s pretty much it. It does cost a little more (especially up front) but it’s so worth it. Over time the cost evens out from a strictly financial stand point, but the better shave makes up all the difference and then some. I get my stuff from one of these sites currently: