Hitched is an aficionado of good old fashioned wet shaving, so i told him to write a post about it. Find it after the jump.
What we have to remember is to take time and pleasure in the little things in life, everything today is rushed, and we lose sight of what’s really important, life and living, pleasure and happiness.
What the Manly Essence is all about is to take back the small pleasures in the daily grind.
I remember as a kid, being mesmerized watching my dad in front of the bathroom sink and mirror with shaving cream on his face, razor in hand, effortlessly cleaning the whiskers off his face. Even more so was the day I watched my grandfather shave with his little mug, and brush and thick creamy foam overflowing over the top and him using a gorgeous chrome razor to shave. The smell, the sound..and how it just seemed to be such an important part of their day.
As part of the series of manly activities, lets talk about wet shaving.
The Shaving Ritual, why rush it?
Shaving began losing its appeal the moment it started being treated in a “fast food” sort of fashion. Companies that sell convenience do so by treating the shave as something unpleasant that needs to be dealt with quickly. It doesn’t need to be so, and there’s nothing convenient about a second-rate shave. Advertising offering more and more blades on a razor and alcohol filled gels from aerosol cans have taken the ritual out of shaving and turned it into a burden. As far as electric shavers go…that’s just lazy and the shave truly is sub-par.
Fortunately, men the world over have started to rediscover not only the efficiency but the pleasure of an old-style wet shave. As with all other things, we take pride in doing and time to accomplish and master, wet shaving grants us benefits that outlast a smooth face. The morning shave becomes a time of solace and relaxation. A tradition to be passed on to our sons. A better way to start our day.
Elements of a Classic Shave
The secret to wet shaving is getting yourself a good double-edge razor or straight razor, shaving soap or cream and a shaving brush. Different people prefer different razors and with time you will find the one that works best for you. For starters a medium size, moderately priced, new razor will do the job. I personally use a double edge razor similar to what was common from the 1930’s till the mid 1960’s.
Buy shaving soap or cream from a reputable manufacturer. When you buy from an old English barbershop with 200 years of experience there’s no way to go wrong. As you develop your preferences you can start to experiment with newer brands. If you care for what goes into your shaving products, and ultimately your face and body, you might want to consider shaving soaps over creams because they have fewer preservatives. They also last longer. Stay away from the aerosol type gels and foams, they tend to be full of alcohol and actually dry out your face while you use them.
The shaving brush is the pivotal element of wet shaving. . The brush will massage and exfoliate your skin and the motion required to apply the soap will also lift your hair, preparing if for the shave. For a scrubbier feeling try a brush made of pure or best badger, for a soft touch super badger or silver tip will do the trick. Trust me on this one, you will love how this works compared to rubbing cream on your face with your hands.
The Learning Curve
As with anything new to you, there will be a learning curve. If trying a straight razor, it literally can cut through your jugular vein fast and painless as can be, so take your time and be gentle. Your face will thank you. If a double edged razor or safety razor as some call it is your choice, as mine is, there is as well a learning curve to keeping your face in good shape. Learning how to get a good lather with your cream or soap, learning to apply it and learning to slow things down and make multiple passes in the right direction are all part of this ritual. In time your morning (or evening as is the case with me) can easily take half hour or more. But why rush? This is your face after all!
A Better Shave
A lot of us discovered wet shaving while looking for a way to deal with a tough and coarse beard. Wet shaving is not about being a snob, and certainly not a trend or fashion. It is a tradition that has outlasted fads, “revolutionary” solutions and any amount of blades held on plastic contraptions. Wet shaving is simply about a better shave with less irritation and fewer ingrown hairs. An old style double-edge razor or straight razor won’t pull the hairs and cut them below the level of the skin as is the case with multi-blade cartridges, therefore taking better care of your skin and your beard. Also, with an old style safety razor you have the luxury of choosing the sharpness of the blade; so you can find the one that fits you best. With the straight blade (cut throat) razors you can also sharpen the blade to your liking. So it all comes down to control, comfort and noticeably better results.
You will love the feel of your face, you will feel better having taken the time to properly shave…and women will love to touch your face! Best of all, you will keep the manly ritual of shaving your face a pleasure….not a burden.