A Close Shave

I’m one step closer to becoming a real badass. Unfortunately, stating that takes me like four steps back, but whatever. Let me start with some context before the exposition.

Mens-safety-razorThis week, I attempted my first shave with a safety razor. There has seemed to be an increasingly popular trend in old school shaving in the last few months/years, and I’m more than OK with jumping on a bandwagon, as long as the bandwagon is actually worth jumping upon. In this case, I think it is.

I’ve been shaving my face for probably around 13 years, and I’ve tried both electric and blade. I’ve never gone super high end with the electric razors, I’d say $50 was my max spend on a standard Norelco. Even after weeks of use, the electrics never did get as close as I was hoping (especially on the neck) and it didn’t lessen razor burn on the neck at all.

With blades, I’d tried both super cheap Bic plastics and various permutations of Gillette’s Mach Insert Number of Blades Here. The Bics were terrible, used them like twice and after my recovery from so much facial blood loss, went back to the Gillette. The Gillette is easily the shaver I’ve used most often over the years, and I never had any real reason to switch. Sure, they were insanely expensive (4 refill blades for $20? Ludicrous), but they gave me a baby soft face every time, at least for the first two weeks of using a new blade until it dulled. Plus, aside from the multiple blades used to cut whiskers super close, the razors usually had a gel strip on either side of the blades, making the whole process quick, painless, and seemingly as close as one could ever want.

So why did I change? Let’s go back to the badassness of the safety razor. It is a chunky piece of metal, onto which you screw a very thin piece of metal that is so sharp it cuts hair off of your face. That is all. There is no gel strip to make the whiskers disconnect from your face easier. It’s just your skin and a metal blade. Badass. It’s what men shaved with in the “olden days.” It is the first technological improvement over a straight up hunting knife.

Along with this razor, I’ve purchased a shaving brush and some fancy shaving cream to lather my mug up. The brush is awesome; I’ve been using it for about a month and I can’t believe I used my hands to smear Barbasol on my face for so many years. The brush transforms me into Don Draper, minus the alcoholism and mommy issues.

Many years ago I wrote about my connection with Old Spice deodorant. Using this safety razor gives me the same feeling. I didn’t grow up watching my dad shave with one of these things, but it’s more the idea that this is actually what men used to use to shave.

Sure, it doesn’t take off whiskers from half my face in one swoop like with the Gillette. I’ve only shaved twice with it, and both have resulted in cuts. My third attempt is this afternoon. Probably won’t go great. It’ll be a while before I’m any good at it. But I’m reclaiming a skill that is lost on most males of my generation. Give me a month or two, and I’ll be shaving quickly, closely, and I’m nearly positive I’ll have zero neck razor burn (or so the Internet says).

That’s what feels great about using this thing. Shaving with this razor is a small declaration that men had some cool skills 60 years ago, and I’d like to learn one.


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