So, you'd like to learn more about Traditional Wet Shaving?
Below, find answers to your questions:
1.) What is this “Wet Shaving” thing?
2.) Why would I change what I’m doing?
3.) Okay, but what’s the catch?
4.) What do I need to start out?
5.) How do I do it?
1.) WHAT IS WET SHAVING?
Wet shaving is what your grandpa would have simply called shaving: a bristle brush, real soap, a mug, a single-edged blade. Because of the onslaught in recent decades of canned goo and overpriced multi-blade doo-dads, the word “wet” was added to distinguish the classical method of depilation from the modern degenerate one.
2.) WHY WOULD I CHANGE WHAT I AM DOING?
Simple. You’ve gotta shave, and how you’re doing it right now sucks, and you know it. That’s why you’re here.
But, in case you need more:
SAVINGS: Haven’t you ever wondered why those four plastic cartridges are so frickin’ expensive? Yeah, us too. For almost every wet shaver, the cost of shaving goes down significantly. For instance: how many shaves do you get out of that one multi-blade cartridge? Eight? Nine? And how much did that one cartridge cost you? Three, four bucks? Those same nine shaves would have cost you as little as fifteen cents with double edged razor blades and a safety razor.
ENJOYMENT: From the time you were thirteen you’ve simply tolerated the act of shaving as a necessary evil, all the while grumbling over the outrageous prices of cartridges and razors at your local drug store, or hoping beyond hope mom would put enough of them in your Christmas stocking to last all year long. It doesn’t have to be that way–shaving can be fun. It probably never even occurred to you that there existed, not just a couple, but an entire world of incredibly delicious shaving products. Scents that will send you to the moon! Rose, lavender, avocado, grapefruit, sandalwood, bay rum, barbershop, dirt. Whatever scent you can think up probably exists as a shaving soap.
SAY GOODBYE TO IRRITATION: A lot of guys complain of irritation caused by shaving with cartridge razors. This is mostly because, true to the television adverts, multi-blade cartridges actually do “lift and cut,” so that the hairs retreat beneath the layer of the skin. When these hairs start growing back, guess what happens? Ingrown hairs. Especially if the hairs are naturally curly. The neck area is particularly susceptible, as you may have already noticed. However, a single-edged blade does not cause this and, in fact, works wonders for chronic ingrown hairs. The other piece of this irritation puzzle is the canned chemical crap that’s slathered all over the freshly shaven skin, before and after the shave itself. Wet shavers won’t let that junk near their face!
STICK IT TO THE MAN: Many of us wet shavers use vintage razors that look as new today as when they came out of the factory fifty-plus years ago—we’re talking metal shaving tools. For some it’s because we like the ideals of conservation. For others it’s because we enjoy “sticking it to the man” by refusing to buy his overpriced Chinese plastic. You are not sticking it to the man when you shop for shaving products at CVS; the man is, in fact, sticking it to you. And he’s been doing that for far too long. Don’t you think?
3.) OKAY, BUT, REALLY, WHAT’S THE CATCH HERE?
TIME: About the only thing that the multi-blade cartridges got right is the time-savings bit. To give the devil his due, it is very fast to shave (wrong) with a store-bought cartridge razor. It’s for sure going to cost you more time to wet shave, especially while learning. If you’re a Hollywood agent, this might not be for you. For the rest of you, have patience. The rewards here far outweigh the cost—promise.
TECHNIQUE: Wet shaving is quite a bit different from shaving with that multi-blade cartridge razor that you’ve probably never even realized, with its vibrating, gybrating, piano-playing, twizzle-necked head, was doing all the shaving for you. As a result, and unbeknownst to yourself, you’ve acquired very bad shaving habits. Once you start wet shaving, you’ll actually find out how well you can shave yourself!
CHOICES*: Once you enter these woods, it’s very easy to get lost in just how many options there are out there. Cream or a puck? Established company or local artisan? Boar or badger? What about horse? Single or double-edged safety razor? Vintage or modern? What’s a slant? Do people actually shave with straight razors??? How do I know what type of blade to buy, there’s like five million?!?! Keep your wits about you! The answers are out there, and you are sure to find a collection of wonderful products that will make your shave a truly unique and special event in your day.
*note that choice is also one of the greatest strengths of wet shaving
4.) WHAT DO I NEED TO START OUT?
The basic tools you will need are:
brush: choose from badger, horse, boar, or synthetic
soap: choose from creams or hard soaps, established houses or artisans such as us, Phoenix Shaving!
razor: A quality metal safety razor is the proper way to start.
blades: way too many to choose from! You will find your favorite by trying as many brands out as possible.
A really great way to start out with everything you need to get you up and going, is with one of our Starter Kits - Click HERE!
5.) HOW DO I DO IT?
I thought you'd never ask! Here is a vid on just that, the very wet shaving basics to get you up and going ASAP! If you can't watch the video right away I have also given you the bare bone basics below, just remember it's good to see these techniques in action too!
1) Prepare brush by soaking the bristles in warm (not hot) water. If the soap is a hard soap, you may want to put about 2 tablespoons of hot water on it for 1-5 minutes. This will boost the scent and at the same time soften the soap making it more workable.
2) Prepare face by taking a hot shower prior or applying a warm cloth to your face for roughly 30 seconds.
4) Begin to build lather in a separate bowl directly on face. More water may be added by simply dipping tips of brush in hot water, then lathering more. Water ration is key and you will need to learn what works for each new soap you discover...not all soaps lather the same! Apply lather by using the brush in a circular motion to draw facial hair outward away from the roots.
5) *For the "First Pass", shave with the grain at a 30-45 degree angle - using the weight of the razor to shave rather than applying the typical pressure used in Cartridge Razor Shaving...this is a No, No.
Try another pass. Re-lather your face and now try an "across the grain" pass either to the right or left. Rinse and repeat or stop there. In time when your technique gets better, you may prefer a 3-4 pass shave...but it's all up to you!
6) Rinse off face with cold water and apply aftershave, alum or jelly/balm as an antiseptic and skin healing aid.
Remember, these are just the basics but an important foundation for beginning Wet Shaving. Take your time in the first weeks and you will be rewarded with the best shaves in your life!