Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Good Thing #31: Shaving with a Safety Razor

I wasn't lucky enough to have a male role model to teach me how to shave. I had to learn this from my mom and my sister, who assumed that what worked on women's legs would also work on a man's face. It doesn't. A man's face is more complicated and much more sensitive than a woman's leg, and that single-bladed, non-pivoting disposable razor cut my face to shreds, and caused razor burns over what was left of my flesh. Thankfully, through the wonder of advertising, I learned about the Gillette Atra, with 2 blades and a pivoting head that made shaving so much less painful than before. Then came the 3-bladed Mach 3, the 5 bladed Fusion. Each one seemed more comfortable than the one before.

The problem was the cost. Buying new blades for the many-bladed Gillettes cost so much that it often came down to a choice, "Do I buy new blades, or do I put up with the pain of dull blades for one more week?" Seriously, $40 for a 12-pack of Fusion blades is just outrageous! 

Fortunately, I discovered it was all just a gimmick. The ever-escalating number of blades really don't give you a better shave. They just compensate for lack of technique, lack of proper prep, lack of a decent shaving lather. 

All I really needed was an old-school safety razor, a shaving brush and some shaving soap. Shop around and you can find all these things for cheaper than a pack of Fusion blades. Do a search for "How to shave with a safety razor," and you can learn how to do it from the Internet. I'm using a single blade in a non-pivoting head, but the shaves are more gentle and more smooth than I ever got from the fanciest Fusion. Better still, for the cost of a 12-pack I can buy enough double-edged safety razor blades  to last for years. Plus, there's a real joy in shaving with hot lather made by soap with natural ingredients, vs. a cold chemical foam from a can. I'm getting better results, having a more enjoyable experience, and spending less money doing it, all while putting less garbage into the waste stream!

And yes, I do get a smug satisfaction knowing how much better I have it compared to all the suckers shaving with the many-bladed cartridge monstrosities. 


mantic59 said...

If you need help learning how to use traditional shaving products I have some videos on youtube:

Matt LeClair said...

It's true! In fact your videos are how I learned. Thank you for posting them. As I was watching them, I was thinking, "I should have learned this stuff from my dad." I wonder how many other men there are out there who you've been foster father to?

Hudson said...

This is really interesting. Please take a look at my own story of my journey, through shaving,which is ... from being a boy and becoming a man at the knee of my grandfather.