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I Shave the Old Fashioned Way – Classic Shaving 101

You can’t be a professional without a good shave, right? Even if you wear a mustache or beard, it must be well-kept. This especially applies to lawyers. Whether we’re in a conference or a courtroom, a scruffy face doesn’t command much respect.

Personally, I got sick of using the disposable Bic-style razors. I wanted something that didn’t hack my face to pieces. And I wanted to save money. So I went on the hunt for a better way to shave.

Electric razor

I used my dad’s electric razor a bit when I was younger, but it didn’t work that great. He even had the fancy Norelco kind, but it just didn’t shave very closely.

Plus I was turned off by the huge price tags on the nicer models. $80 or more is a lot of money for something that doesn’t work too well.

And then there’s maintenance. Replacing blades, changing screens, cleaning, charging. That’s a lot of work. There had to be a better solution.

Old fashioned shaving

Have you ever gone to a old-style barber shop? Did the barber shave your neck with a straight razor? It’s a bit intimidating at first, but it gives a nice shave. And it’s neat!

I looked into old fashioned shaving a bit, and I decided this was something to try. Men used it for centuries, right? It can’t be that bad. We’ve only gotten away from it in recent history. And our “improvements” aren’t that great. With all my fancy techno gadgets, a classic razor might be a nice contrast.

My old fashioned shaving kit

I didn’t go all the way and get a straight razor. That’s a bit scary still. I opted for the Merkur “Classic” safety razor. It’s imported from Germany, stainless steel, and only cost $25.99. Not bad for a tool that will likely last my whole life.

Blades for this razor are simple. They’re double-edged, stainless steel, and sharp. No more of this Super Mach Turbo Quad VII junk. Just a single blade. And you can get a 10-pack for $4.59. That’s 45 cents a piece, much cheaper than decent disposable units.

That’s all I bought at first. It was a small investment, to try this system out. I’ve enjoyed classic shaving for a few weeks, so I decided to up the ante. I’ve abandoned my Super Aloe Creamy Shaving Gel and purchased a pure badger shaving brush. This cost more than the razor itself ($39.99), but the difference in shave is astounding. I went cheap on the soap, and bought a $4.99 cake, to get a feel for what I like.

The classic shaving technique

A good shave is part tools and part technique. The above kit will get you part way there. You can even get fancier brushes, creams, and soaps. But none of that will matter if you hack away at your face like you’re used to.

Here’s what I do. You might find something else that works better.

  1. Thoroughly wet face with hot water.
  2. Hold brush under faucet, letting it absorb as much hot water as possible.
  3. Swirl brush on top of soap, working up a nice lather.
  4. Gently dab brush onto face and neck, working bristles around stubble. Do this for a couple minutes, to work the moisturizes and water into skin.
  5. Perform one gentle pass with razor, going from top to bottom (with the grain). Do NOT push down. Let razor’s weight do the work.
  6. Re-apply soap with brush, preferably right after shaving each major area.
  7. Perform a second gentle pass with razor, going bottom to top (against the grain). Do NOT push down.
  8. Rinse face, thoroughly rinse brush, rinse razor.

Was that hard? I think not. In fact, it’s kind-of fun. Plus, it takes you back to the olden days. What better way to feel like a real man!

Did I mention that you’ll get the best shave of your life? Maybe not right away, but once you get the technique down, you’ll be impressed with what a single blade can do.

[tags]shave, classic shaving, old fashioned shaving, razor[/tags]

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8 Responses to “I Shave the Old Fashioned Way – Classic Shaving 101”

  1. Church of Integrity
    April 29th, 2007

    This was a great article. Personally I use disposable razors, I wonder if that comes anywhere close to the experience of the old fashioned shaving. Is there a bigger risk of cutting yourself with the old fashioned way?

  2. Andrew Flusche
    April 29th, 2007

    Hi there,

    You might get close, if you ditch the shaving cream in a can and go with a brush and shaving soap.

    But the old fashioned razors will give you a better shave – I guarantee it.

    I was worried about cutting myself at first, but I think I actually cut myself less now. The razor I linked to above is a “safety razor,” so the blade is fairly safe. You have to learn a slightly different stroke when shaving, and you don’t press down at all. If you use an old fashioned razor like your disposable, you’ll probably cut yourself a bit (nothing terrible). But there’s only one blade, so cuts aren’t multiplied like the triple blade kind.

    Good luck, and I’m happy to answer any other questions you might have.

  3. Pro Se Thoughts
    April 30th, 2007

    This was a funny article (for a woman to read) because it’s usaully the women who share beauty tips. Now I know how to get rid of my mustache or beard if I ever get one.

    I hope the female lawyers chime in and give their professional tips. I actually have a question like that in my forum..that is, to learn how to “look the part” It seems like woman lawyers (and men too) look sharp and inteligent inteligant intelligant smart, even if they are not physically beautiful people (in the standards of stereotyping). It has to be the way they dress.

  4. Andrew Flusche
    April 30th, 2007

    Pro Se,

    I’m glad you found the article funny. Guys can share beauty tips too. 🙂

  5. Ronald
    March 30th, 2008

    How long does a double edge blade last? How good of a shave will a blade give?
    As with a “cut-throat” razor it depends on the sharpness of the blade and the durability/hardness of the steel.
    Has anyone looked at the edge of various maker’s double edge blades under a 10 power magnifying glass, or, better yet, a microscope, to see if they can see a difference in the blade edges?
    I looked at a Schick and a Merkur under a 10X glass. The Merkur has a rough edge. The Schick has a much smoother edge.
    I checked this out after using one of each blade. The Schick gave me 25 good shaves before it started pulling,
    The Merkur blade gave me a worse (it pulled more) shave on the first shave than the Schick did after 25 shaves.
    I used to get 60 good shaves out of the Gillette Blue Blade. Now I am doing good to get 30 out of stainless steel, platinum, etc.
    Seems the blade makers are just not putting as good of an edge on their blades just so they will get duller faster.
    I have not tried the Feather Blades yet, but have ordered some, as they have a reputation for sharpness.
    A person should be able to tell just how long, comparatively, a blade will last just by looking at its edge under a microscope.
    The whole thing seems to be a “sting” operation though, as sharp blades could go out for weeks and then start sending out less sharp ones.

  6. Andrew Flusche
    March 30th, 2008

    Ronald – I typically use one double-edged blade for a week. I’m a bit picky with my blades, so other people might use one blade for longer. But I haven’t studied much about blades; it seems like you have!

  7. shaine
    December 15th, 2008

    When I shave, I shave the old fashioned way,wet shaving with soap and a razor

  8. Greg
    September 28th, 2009

    Hey Andrew,

    Thanks for the tips. I too have had it with buying disposable razors and all the marketing changes the companies make. I’ll probably by what you recommended with a lifetime supply of blades. Then if Merkur makes marketing changes I’ll be covered. Thanks again.

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