I'm beginning to explore the almost cult-like world of classic wet shaving. This is a shaving technique where shaving cream is applied with a badger hair brush and then a double edge safety razor is used to shave the beard. Classic! For years I’ve used the 2, 3 and 5-blade razors only to find that the more blades the razor had, the clumsier I seemed to be with it. Using the floppy 5-blade razors actually felt like I was slapping my face with the razor head and I had trouble getting to areas like around my nose and the sides of my lip. Gillette addressed this issue by adding a “precision trimmer for tricky spots” to their Fusion razor. OK, 5 blades plus a trimmer! How many blades do we really need? This was getting way too complicated and it began to feel more like a marketing gimmick rather than a good useful idea. And don’t get me started on the prices of these blades. I went back to using the 2-blade Sensor Excel and got a fairly decent shave but noticed that the blades were not always in stock and the blade life wasn’t very long.
My exploration of wet shaving began at the very hip yet classic New York Shaving Company located on Elizabeth Street on the lower east side of NYC. They have a good selection of razors, shaving creams and brushes. After doing some research, I decided on buying the Merkur Heavy Duty Safety Razor. Most of the shaving blogs that I’ve read suggest using this razor when starting out. It’s a very good basic razor with nice weight to it. I already owned a good quality badger brush so I only needed to pick up some shave cream. The world of classic shave creams is dominated by three manufacturers known as the 3 T’s – Truefitt and Hill, Geo F. Trumper and Taylor of Old Bond Street. These shave creams are glycerin based and all create a good lather for wet shaving. The cream I chose was Mr. Taylor's Shaving Cream, mainly because I liked the scent –clean and masculine – but the others smelled very good too. It was a tough choice. There is a definite skill involved with this technique and I will give a more detailed guide in a future posting. But for now, here are the basics: Make sure your beard is wet with warm water—after or during a shower is best. Guide the razor in the same direction that your beard grows, not against it. The heavy weight of the razor does all the work — no pressure is applied to the razor at all. I’ve been wet shaving for a couple of weeks now and have been getting a super close shave. I’m actually becoming pretty good at it.
I'll be posting more on my wet shaving experience in the future but for now the ritual of shaving has become something that I enjoy rather than dread.