Shave Update, 3/22/16

Posted: March 22, 2016 in Shaving Articles
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There has been no great revolution of my shaving strategy in the recent months. No new blades, no new equipment. I’m using the same soaps and so on that I was before. Hence, the rarity of updates. That being said, my learning has not altogether stagnated. Let me share the kernels of information that I’ve come upon recently.

  1. The importance of not being frugal. What do I mean by that? Well, here goes: If in doubt, change the blade. Don’t try to stretch an extra shave out of it. It’ simply isn’t worth it. It’s better to err on the side of too much lather than too little, so go ahead and load your shaving brush without reservation. I have found that pushing for more than three shaves with any blade I know of is looking for trouble. Your mileage may vary, of course, but that’s what I’ve found to be the case. In terms of shaving soap, the cost differential between using a bit more than you strictly need and being stingy is not that high. Even with softer soaps, they last pretty well. So you have to buy them a bit more often? Big deal. A small price to pay for not having a torn up face. Finally, don’t be frugal with your time. Being in a hurry is not what traditional shaving is about. Shave when you have time to enjoy it.
  2. It’s not about orthodoxy. People may give you hard and fast rules about how to shave, when to shave, what to use, etc. They mean well, and can often help, but it comes down, in the end, to your own experience, your own face. For me, although everyone and their hound dog indicated that shaving after a shower was the best way, I have found that, time and again, shaving, then showering, works best for me. In fact, that’s probably my biggest change in recent months. I now finish shaving, lather a final time, and let the soap sit on my face as I put my gear away and prepare for the night’s shower. I then use my aftershave when finished and dried from the shower. Works great.
  3. A new blade is sometimes better than “the best” blade. With rare exceptions, I’d say that I’d rather have a new “medium sharp” blade, like a Personna Blue, brand new, than a more luxurious brand, like a Feather, on it’s second or third shave. This is purely a personal thought, but I think that, to some extent, having an inexpensive blade that you changed more often, even with every one or two shaves, might be the way to go. The Feathers blades in my arsenal have been all used up, by the way. I am on the fence about getting more. They are good, but I might like Astras and Wilkinsons better. At the price, I wonder if the wise choice is simply to get some Derby Extras, and throw them out after a few shaves. Hmm.
  4. You’ll eventually find “your thing”. For instance, I could happily use Proraso Green soap and Aqua Velva just about all the time. Not that I don’t like other soaps and aftershaves, but those two perform for me, every time. In the same way, I’m very happy with my two primary razors, the Feather AS-D2 and the Merkur 39C slant. Between those two, I can pretty much do anything I need to do. I’ve sort of stopped looking.
  5. The strategic off day is vital. I suppose that some leather-skinned folks can shave every day, come rain or come shine. Sadly, that ain’t me. I have to shave tactically, or I get razor burn. Yes, even with the best stuff and on my best behavior. You’re still abrading your skin when you shave close. It’s just the way of the world. So, I’ve found that planning my week to include a few off days, ideally shaving about three times, is the way to do it. My manic enthusiasm for shaving has now died down enough that I can countenance a bit of beard stubble here and there, without feeling like I’ve missed an opportunity. My face and neck are much happier.
  6. Learn your trouble spots, and pick your battles. My neck is the spot where I get razor burn. Right where it creases, I have to be careful. I’ve learned that I have to limit the “full on” shaves in this area to once or twice a week. Any more, and I’ll be sorry. Going directly across the neck, side to side, is a tempting thing, but I have to avoid it. I’ll just tear myself up, just about every time. It’s a no go. On the low neck, It’s basically north and south now. Side to side shaving, while it does get that last bit of closeness, is just too risky.

Well, thanks for tuning in. I will be talking about a moisturizing product I like in the upcoming posts, as well as discussing some health stuff (getting this blog back to its roots, of hoisting things and so on!)

Regards,

Patrick

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