Men have been told for decades now that they have to use disposable razors and electric shavers because these options make everything easy, safe and fast. In fact, all commercials say the same thing – use these colorful, plastic razors (sometimes reimagined as race cars) and you’ll be done with shaving in a jiffy. Your skin will not be irritated and you won’t cut yourself.
However, a good shave is much more than that, and men are realizing it – a good shave can be more than cheap plastic and foam. The sales of disposable razors are showing it too – there has been a 10% drop in sales this year.
Men are starting to fall back in love with the old-fashioned way of shaving. This involves safety and straight razors, fancy soaps and fancy brushes.
All of this is showing that men don’t see shaving as a chore but rather as a relaxing activity, something they enjoy and that brings them back to a time to when shaving was a sign of manliness and coming of age.
Even though men have been told for decades that shaving is nothing more than a chore, they now realize how relaxing and enjoyable it can be, if done properly. It can be a meaningful ritual, a moment of mindfulness, indulgence and focus.
Some of it can be connected to Hollywood, as expected. Everyone has seen Don Draper shaving on Mad Men and he made it look cool and easy. Something similar happens in James Bond too, which makes straight razor shaving even more popular.
There has been a steady rise of straight razor sales in shops as well as a rise in sales of other gear needed.
A straight razor is a long blade with a handle. Some of them can fold and some of them need to be handled with care if you want to keep your skin. You can sharpen your blade by refreshing it on a strop.
But how will you know if you really need to sharpen it? Well, the blade will pull on your skin and hair rather than shaving it off.
So, is safety razor safer for use? In a way, it’s a bit safer, but only a bit. This is a device that has a replaceable blade within a metal handle and you can replace it every few weeks or when you feel like it needs replacement.
But do you notice something else? There is no plastic with straight and safety razors. This means that they are way better for the environment than the disposable razors that we regularly use. There is no plastic, waste and even the packaging is minimal. The best part is that none of it is disposable. Blades can be replaced but they are very cheap and everything else can last for decades if you take good care of it. So, your impact on the environment is minimal.
Safety and straight razors will also give you a closer shave than any electric razor ever will. However, some people are worried about the possibility for damage to their skin, cuts, blood and so on.
But if you do it properly, the chances of getting hurt can be reduced. So, how do you do it?
Here is some basic gear you’ll need.
This is also called a lather bowl and it looks like a cup where you will whip the soap into lather with your brush. There is a wide variety of choice of scuttles online and in brick and mortar stores. You can also repurpose old cups or go to antique shops.
You can get a cheap and simple brush at any drugstore or online. However, if you want something that’s a bit more upscale, you might want to try going with a horsehair or badger-hair brush. They can last a lifetime if you care for them properly. They can get pretty expensive, but you get more quality for it. Badger hair is softer than horsehair which is good for people with sensitive skin. With more expensive brushes, hairs are packed closer together and there is more of them.
Truly great soaps are actually made with only a few ingredients and the ones you can pronounce too. They might be made with essential oils, shea butter, cocoa butter. There are also creams and aftershave balms and so on. You can also buy multiple products from the same line of skin care products for men.
You can find one in many stores, or online if you are looking for something that’s really vintage.
Here are some of the basic shaving tips:
It will take some time to master the art of close shaving with a straight razor. Some people took two to three weeks, some more. The actress that actually performed the close shave scene in Skyfall, Naomie Harris, practiced for three weeks at the barber school. Then she could shave balloons covered with soap and then crew members before the big scene.
- Disinfect the wound if you cut yourself
No matter how small the wound, you should always disinfect it, just in case. While there haven’t been too many cases of people dying this way, there have been cases in the past where people would die because they cut their finger shaving. So, it’s best not to take any chances.
- The technique
Your facial hair probably moves in many different directions. So you should first go with the grain and then against the grain to get all of the hair possible. You also need to master the amount of pressure you need to apply to your skin to move it without cutting but still shaving properly. When you master this, you have mastered the shave. This is also a zen thing – you want to hear it but you don’t want to feel it.
- Don’t use too much soap
You first need to wet your brush and then swipe it across the surface of the puck. You should then put hot water in the scuttle and whip the soap and water together to create foam.
- Benefits of shaving with a straight razor
Not only is it cool and gives that old-fashioned feel, it also has numerous other benefits for your skin. Here are some of the benefits of close shaving with a straight razor or a safety razor.
- It gives you a close shave better than anything else
Using a single blade is by far the best way of getting the closest shave possible without any irritation or razor burn as well as other shaving issues. If you experience any of these issues regularly, you should probably blame your poor choice of razor. More blades never equal a closer shave, no matter how many cool commercials Gillette puts out saying that it does. The only benefit of more blade razors is that they reduce the amount of time you need to shave. With a single blade, you will probably need more time but the closeness of it will show you just how worthwhile it is.
- Less irritation
Using a single blade will reduce the amount of irritation you have after the shave. The less time a blade goes over your skin, the less irritation you will get. Multiple cartridge razors save time because they do the job of three razors but they also cause as much irritation as three blades at the same time would. Just think about it – every time you make a move, three stokes are made.
It’s an investment that will last forever
One of the reasons people shy away from this method of shaving is because it requires a bit more money initially. The best razors are not cheap, you will also need a strop, scuttle, a great brush, home and so on which can all be really expensive when you put it all together. You will also need many other accessories and shaving creams, soaps and similar things. But, when you see how long all of these last, you will not consider it so expensive in the long run. They will probably last a lifetime – most things will – and when you consider how much you spend on the disposable razors on a yearly basis, you’ll see that this investment is actually saving your money. It does seem big in the beginning, but it’s really not, considering the quality of what you are getting.
It’s good for the environment
Humans already create crazy amounts of garbage and toxins in nature. We are poisoning our planet, in essence. However, shaving this way is the best method of shaving for the environment because the amounts of plastic and metal you are throwing away on a monthly basis can accumulate up to be a lot. But with this method, you are not throwing a lot away. First off, products come in minimal packaging. Then, there is no plastic involved and you are not throwing away plastic cartridges because you can replace a blade and keep the metal holder with safety razors and just sharpen your blade if you are using a straight razor.
The creams and soaps are also made with natural ingredients which means that you will also release no toxins into the environment.
In conclusion, this is the best method of shaving. While it does seem a bit expensive initially, it creates no irritation and provides for the closest shave possible. Learn more about shaving with a straight blade if you want to get started.
Chloe Bennet is an academic blogger at Legit essay writing service. She creates courses on research paper writing and gives tips on how to write the assignments on time.