The Manly Art of Shaving: Part 3

I’ve been going for sometime trying to switch back to the old ways of shaving using double edged blades because they were cheaper and shaving soap, also because it’s cheaper and I’ve finally come to a decision: I’ll have to do a modified form for our modern times.

The double edged blades worked, but I was getting nicks sometimes and they also took me a long time to shave and prep, so I’ll have to put the double edged blades aside. The shaving soap will stay because it’s actually a rather pleasant feeling to put on your face and there’s very little difference between the soap and canned shaving creme except cost.

Now I have the dilemma of what blade to use since while I’ve become used to the five blade Fusion blades I can’t stand paying close to $5/blade for a blade that lasts me almost a month. That was until I came across an ad on Facebook that I actually clicked on. Dorco USA that also makes the first double edged blade I tried also makes a pretty close duplicate of the Gilette Fusion blades only these have six blades and cost less than a dollar a blade.

I purchased the starter set of holder and two blades for $4.75 at their website. I really didn’t notice a difference between the Fusion and the Dorco. So now I can shave for about $12 per year instead of around $60/year and the best part is it’s faster with the multi blades.

I’ve also found I don’t have shave right after I get out of the shower in the morning so let me share my technique with you.

1. Take a washcloth and turn on the hot water and make the water as hot as you can stand. Drop your brush in the water and run some water over the soap.

2. Take the hot wet cloth and run it all over your face for about a minute. If water is dripping off your face you’ve done it right.

3. Grab the brush and start working it in circles in the soap until you’ve got a good foam up.

4. Cover your face in the foam which should also now be hot to warm. Badger brushes tend to hold more water than boar brushes so you’ll get your face wet and lubricated better.

5. I like to run the blade under some hot water as well to warm it up and then start shaving.

6. While people tell you not to do this, I always shave against the grain and start with my throat and move to the cheeks then do the chin and mustache area. I do it in this order because the chin and mustache area are always the hardest to shave and you want the water to soak in a lot.

7. Once you’re finished rub around your face to see if there’s any place that need a little more work. You should still have enough of the soap left over that you can do the clean up just fine.

8. Once you’re finished splash your face with witch hazel and then water.

9. Rub off any water left with your hands then apply a suitable aftershave moisturizer.

By doing this I only have to shave every other day and when I’m finished I’ve got baby’s butt smooth skin. Try it and see how it works and let me know.

My Manly Man Experience First Week

So on my first chance I tried the new double edged razor and shaving soap and found them to take a bit more time and needed some help at the end from the fusion razor to get a good close save so I decided to test in various combinations to see which would work out the best.

Next shave was with the 5 blade fusion and shaving soap. It was faster, but just as close a shave as with the double edged razor [probably because I finished up with the fusion]. I can see using these in a hurry, but I’m also used to shaving against the grain with the 5 blade fusion which probably was why it’s faster. In both cases no nicks or blood in either case which in my opinion is good.

Third time is the double edge with fusion gel and shaving against the grain. No problems here. Took a little less amount of time, but I still had to finish off with the fusion in a few places. I’ve been told while reading around that the Dorco blades that came with it are not very aggressive, well now I understand that means they are so sharp, but I did get almost as close with a double edged razor blade than I did with a five bladed razor that cost about $4.87 each as opposed to the double edged blade that I can get for around 8¢.

Four time is the double edge with Col. Conk shaving soap and against the grain. Still not as close a shave. I think I have to get some sharper blades since I once again had to finish off with the five blade fusion, but it was faster. I have a sample pack on order from West Coast Shaving and should have them by Monday. From what I’ve read the Dorco blades that came with the razor aren’t considered very sharp. In the mix of blade is a set of Feather blades which are supposedly not for the timid or untrained in double edged shaving. I think I’ll wait a bit until I’ve had enough practice to try those, but I think I’ll have this down in no time. So far not a single scrape, nick or cut. If anyone out there still uses double edged blades and has some blade recommendations I’d love to hear them.

The Rat Pack: Three Guys Who Influenced How I Think.

I was a kind of strange kid growing up. I had older tastes for a young kid. While I always liked rock music there was something about a bunch of guys on TV that made me want to be like them and that was the Rat Pack. Started as a group of guys who hung out with Humphrey Bogart, they came down to three guys that were the main attraction, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis, Jr. Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop were kind of honorary members who were included at times, but it was the big three that I wanted to be like.

Being a member of the rat pack wasn’t very healthy by today’s standards. In almost every picture of them they all had cigarettes and a glass of scotch. I’m convinced that’s where I got my love of scotch. I would sneak a beer or two as a teenager, but when I turned 21 there was nothing like the look of sitting and talking with other people with a glass of that dark brown wonder swinging from your hand. I started smoking as well, both of which aren’t good for you as my liver told me one day and when I started to have trouble breathing. So I had to cut back. Besides, having your friends refer to you as someone who drinks old people drinks didn’t help my character as much during everyone else’s beer days. I was always of the mind that real men drank scotch or bourbon, not cosmopolitans.

This isn’t what this article is really about though, this is about the old times and some things that we used to do that we don’t anymore and we might be able to save ourselves some money in this economy if we thought about some of them.

One of them to me was shaving. When I started shaving they had two bladed razors that were pretty good. I never had to used the old safety razors, they were starting to be on the outs then so you went with what was available. Then came the three blade, four blade and now five blade razors. I moved up with each one and realized the other day that even when I’m buying my razor blades online I’m still paying close to $5 for a blade that doesn’t last me a month. With the three blade razors I used to get around 2-3 months out of them before I had to replace them. I learned at an early age how to take care of a blade.

The five blade razors don’t seem to last as long though and I notice that not only is it harder to get the hair off my face, but after a week I start to get more nicks from them. I’ve always taken good care of my skin and I rarely have gotten cuts from shaving, but now I’m noticing them appearing more often.

I want to go back to the old safety razor days. I’m not willing to go for a straight razor as I’d probably slit my throat since you have to manually sharpen them, but the single bladed Gillette and Wilkenson blades of yesterday seemed to be just fine for my Dad and they were cheap as well. You could get like 25 blades for a buck and you’d just replace them once a week. To me that’s a deal.

When King Gillette started the disposable blade business in 1904 he started a revolution. He sold the holders at a loss knowing that men would pay more over time for the blades. It was a success and I heard the other night that because of Gillette and the disposable double edged blade that that is part of the reason all Presidents to this day no longer have beards. It used to be a cumbersome act to go to the barber where a person who was professionally trained with a straight razor would carve the hair off your face. Now everyone could do so in the convenience of their own home.

Another thing that I miss that I did use at one time was shaving soap. Sure it’s convenient to pull out a can of shaving creme and spray some into your hand, but during a period living on my own when money was in short supply I switched to shaving soap with the old fashion boar bristle brush for applying the soap to your face. You know what I found out? It wasn’t much different than the spray foam and a bar of the stuff would last me over a year and cost me a couple of bucks. There was just something more manly about using the soap on your face before shaving. It was old school before people used the word old school. It was a relaxing methodical process that had the benefit that if you wetted your soap with hot water you got a hot lather on your face to make the shaving easier.

So now I’m on a quest. The going back to old schools single blade shaving with shaving soap is making a bit of an odd comeback, but at a higher price. I think I can find something out there that is affordable and will do the job right. If you’ve got an old safety razor you don’t know what to do with let me know. I’ll take it off your hands. I’m going to find the blades and soap out there somewhere, then I’ll have to go purchase some new cufflinks to go with my French cuffed shirts.