Much has progressed in the art of shaving; it’s a man’s world. Your old GI Joe shaving kit lacked the technology that we have today with the 18 blade, pulsating, vibrating, systematic tremoring, lifting, massaging razors. Even though today’s razor might look like something George Jetson might use, I find myself taking a step back in history each time I reach for my grooming implements. And that’s how I likes it.
I have continually suffered having a red and raw neck, housed the odd ingrown hair and was generally unhappy with the condition of my skin at the hands of my shaving. We’re not animals, it is acceptable for a man to pay attention to such things. A few Google’s, and some helpful confirming advice from a fellow Ginger; I was introduced to the world of wet shaving.
What is wet shaving? Don’t we all wet shave, we all use water do we not? Yes, yes we do, but traditionally the term wet shaving has been used to describe the fine art of using a shaving brush to apply a rich lather of soap or cream in which to keep the face “wet”, while one uses a single or double edge razor to maintain ones landscape.
Why should I wet shave? First of all, take a look at your current razor. Is it all shiny and flashy, perhaps it looks like it got a makeover from a Be-dazzler? Does it have tassels? If you answered yes, and I know many of you have, I’m not sure how you can look yourself in the mirror and call yourself a man; might as well put on some lipstick and some rouge while you are standing there. Reason #1, it’s MANLY! If you actually needed further convincing then that, wet shaving will reduce redness, prevent razor bumps and other irritation. Wet shaving is also less expensive and better for the environment as it results in less waste; I know this something I look for. <sarcasm></sarcasm>
Weapons and Armory:
This is the kit I bought to get me started; everything you need, and at a great price. (http://www.imperialformen.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=product.display&product_ID=660&ParentCat=9)
Double Edge Safety Razor: This is one manly assed bit of beauty. There are tons of options here, heck even your Grandpappy may have one for you. For the sake of hygiene clean the shit out of it first if he does!
Razors: These are old school and bad-ass. Some helpful advice offered to me was that these shouldn’t find there way into your carry-on as you might have some “splainin’ to do”. I have tried many different types of razors and have found that the Astra Double-Edge blades are the best for me. These cost about $0.25 a shave, as I use a fresh blade every time.
Soap / Cream: The key to a successful wet shave is lubrication. There are many soaps and creams out there, all manly. I am currently using Kent / Mitchell soap on advice from a friendly wet shaver.
Brush: The best brushes are made from badger hair. This exudes manliness, it’s a friggin’ badger. The only way to get any more manly would be if it were made from wolverine hair. In addition to applying your lather, the brush also helps to exfoliate your skin without the use of some girly product.
Additional accessories includes a brush stand and there are also razor stands available as well. You will also need a mug to keep your soap in, which also helps you build the lather.
Two quick words of caution before we get started. Go slow! This isn’t a race, and the last thing you want to do is hack up your man beauty. Be gentle! Let the razor do the work. Don’t go at your face like you would with one of those fancy lift and cut jobbies.
- Prep your beard. I shave after I get out of the shower so my beard is soft. You can also soften it using a hot facecloth or by splashing lots of hot water on it for a minute or so.
- Prep the brush: Soak the brush in hot water to absorb water, gently shake once to remove excess water prior to creating your lather. A hot brush will also help soften the beard.
- Create and apply the lather: Lightly swirl your brush in your soap filled mug about 8-10 times until you get a nice rich lather. Apply the lather to your face in a circular motion.
- Shave: The angle in which you hold the razor to your face is the ticket; 30 degrees. Use short, gentle strokes, frequently rinsing in hot water to remove stubble. Let the weight of the razor do it’s thing. Pay attention to the direction of your beard, and shave with it. I quickly learned that the growth on my Adam’s Apple was different then the rest of my face and now shave that one section upwards. If you really want that baby’s ass feel, you may want to shave a second time around with a fresh razor. I rarely do this as I am very happy with my initial shave but it is something some people do.
- Post shave: First thing I do is rinse my face with hot water to remove any remaining soap, and stubble but this is optional. What is a must, is to rinse your face with cold water to close the pores on your face. There are many aftershaves and balm’s out there. I use an alcohol free, sensitive skin after shave cream. If your after shave product inflicts pain, get rid of it.
- Clean your brush: Rinse your brush each time you use it so it lasts longer and doesn’t get all gunked up with dried up soap.
- Step out of the bathroom more of a man then when you first entered.
There are 1000s of online resources for wet shaving, and perhaps the odd store in your neighborhood. Keep it Canadian! To get started, I recommend the kit mentioend above from Imperial Barber. http://www.imperialformen.com
For all my supplies, I now order online exclusively from Fendrihan. http://www.fendrihan.com/
There you have it boys, get out there an become men!