Most of us will still be using the same shaving methods we learnt when we first started. For the majority that means safety razors, with disposable cartridge heads, and vastly over-inflated prices. If you’re using an electric shaver for speed then you have my sympathy but it may not be too late to change. If you’re using disposables or electric because your skin gets ripped to shreds by blades read no further.
I recently read an article that described the discovery of old-fashioned wet shaving, the technique our fathers will have used. This uses disposable safety razor blades, placed in a metal safety razor, together with shaving soap and a shaving brush.
Now I’ve never been particularly happy with my shaving techniques, and I hate having to pay £11 for 4 disposable cartridge razors. What started with one blade, and then two, has now become a frankly ridiculous 5 bladed head and optional battery power. I’m sure most of us suspect that these cartridges cost pennies to make and are designed to go blunt at the merest sight of a beard!
So I read the article with interest. It explained that traditional wet shaving does take more time than using modern safety razors but I can live with that. I’m far from the definition of a ‘metro sexual’, but I don’t see why us men can’t afford a little extra time to get that truly close shave, and if it works for Daniel Craig in the latest James Bond flick then why the hell not!
So I invested in a quality razor handle from Edwin Jagger (£20), shaving brush (£6), and shaving soap (£2.49), and set to work. And wow! It’s advised that initially you only shave with the grain of your beard. But even just doing that has resulted in markedly better shave than using Gillette Fusion or a King of Shaves Azor. It really doesn’t take much more time, and will be even quicker once I get the hang of it all, getting a proper lather with the shaving soap and a brush.
And better still, not only has it resulted in a better shave, the double edged razor blades are unbelievably cheap. It’s suggested that you change the blade each week so at £1.50 for a pack of ten blades that’s a very respectable £7.50 a year compared with £11.00 for only four weeks worth of Gillette Fusion blades. The shaving soap lasts an age too, you need only tiny amounts to get enough lather for a shave, I’d be surprised if this didn’t last a year or more.
I did end up with a small amount of blood letting. A couple of very minor nicks on my neck, likely the result of insufficient lather , but a quick dab with a Styptic Pencil sorted that and as technique improves, and my skin adjusts, will become a non-issue.
Would I recommend it? If you’re not happy with your current shaving regimen, and fancy learning the technique, then yes, go for it. The whole caboodle could pay for itself inside three months and you’ll end up with a great shave. And if I still enjoy it after a few months I can upgrade to a badger hair brush and some high quality shaving soap.
Now, time to research skin moisturisers ……………
Update: May 2015
A twitter query re. shaving has prompted me to return and provide an update. I’m still wet shaving using a DE razor and haven’t looked back. I purchased a 100 pack of Derby razor blades from Amazon last year for the princely sum of £7.00 and am barely half way through the box after 16mths. As a Christmas present my wife bought me some Mitchells Wool Fat shaving soap and a badgers hair shaving brush a couple of years ago and that is barely half used. So the economics are clear but the most important bit is the shave and I still think the end result is a far closer shave then anything you can get with the 48 bladed wonder disposable or whatever is being pushed these days!