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Old fashioned wet shaving

October 22, 2005
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shaving gearLast months announcement of a five blade razor prompted me to write about a much better alternative. A shave that is cheaper, closer and with less risk for razor burns or ingrown hair: the old fashioned wet shaving.

I used to be the ideal mass consumer. My deodorant, shaving cream and after shave all smelled the same and I was happily buying into the latest razor blade on the market. I could not resist names like 'Turbo', 'Speed' and 'Mega'; especially when put together.

This meant that I had to buy a new razor every 6 months. Of course that the cartridges for the old razor were not compatible but I just assumed that this was the price I had to pay to be using the latest and the best.

Boy was I wrong. After reading an article about old fashioned wet shaving and trying it out, I have been converted. The old bi-daily scraping has been replaced with daily wet shaving. If you are suffering from razor burns and/or ingrown hair, you have to give it a try.

There are three main components in a gratifying shave: a badger brush, a double edged safety razor and high quality shaving cream.

The badger brush will bring the most important change. It lifts up your beard and massages the skin to make it softer by using the brush in a circular motion

A natural badger brush traps a large amount of water which is then transferred to your face. Put some shaving cream in your palm and lather it up by making a circular motion with the brush.

Authentic badger brushes are quite costly. Go for the smallest size you can afford. Just make sure it's badger.

Traditional shaving soap is very rich and enables the blade to slide easily across your skin. It is made from natural ingredients which means you will not get it in 'Turbo Mint' but instead in coconut, violet or traditional sandal wood. Expect to pay around £13.50 for a large tub that will last more than 6 months.

The safety razor is a bit tricky to start with. You will not be able to shave with the famous ear-to-ear stroke seen in commercials. Instead you will be using many small and light strokes. Since there is only one blade the shaving angle is important but does not take long to get used to.

Double edged razor blades are very affordable. A pack of 10 best quality blades is £2.50 which means you can change them more often than those more-expensive-than-gold cartridges. Each blade has two edges so it's almost like a two blade cartridge. By having two edges you don't have to rinse the razor as often. Purely genious!

Don't splash any alcohol based products on your newly shaved skin. It has just been exfoliated by the shave and is very sensitive. Instead use a after shave moisturiseror or even better some Skin Food. It moisturizes the skin (non-greasy) and makes it amazingly elastic.

Shopping list:
----------------
Shaving brush - badger: £60 ($106)
Shaving cream: £13.50 ($24)
Safety razor: £25 + £2.50 ($48)
Skin food: £10 ($17)

I get my gear from the traditional English Geo. F. Trumper. They even have an online shop.

Hopefully you have a barber shop not too far away from you too.

P.S: Here is The Onion's comment on a five blade razor.



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Comments

  1. Mark Says:

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    Sage advice David. I haven't made the plunge with a straight or safety razor _yet_ but have recently switched over to shaving soap and a badger brush.

    That change alone saves cash, decreases razor burn and provides a much closer shave. It's also fun to lather up with a brush like you see people do in old movies and TV shows.

    David says:

    The addition of a badger brush and proper shaving soap was the most pleasent change to my shaving routine.

    However the most cost saving change was the ditching of Turbo Ultra Supersonic Mach 7-TM in favour of safety razors. A pack of ten for £2.50 ($4.40).

  2. Nick Says:

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    I can't agree more - I changed to brush + shaving cream/soap two years ago and I get a MUCH better shaving experience AND I save money. I can't believe people keep shaving against the grain thinking it gets a closer shave either!

    I would really like some advice as to where I buy my first safety razor as Trumpers don't seem to list any on their site at the moment (except the travel one). Any recommendations sincerely welcome.

  3. Steve Says:

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    I have been wet shaving for years now and I must say, the best shave soap I have used is one by the name of MacTavish Shave. Purchased 1 3/4 ounce cake at a tobacconist shop. I love the light scent and after shaving, my face feels clean. Not just soapy clean, but clean from chemicals. Thick lather that lasts throughout your shave and then some. Well worth the price of $1.95. Scottish name, but made here in the USA.

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