Shaving: is it the least interesting thing men do every morning? It is certainly up there with brushing teeth, combing hair, and throwing away the old coffee grounds. And while there may be little beyond new mouthwash to invigorate the act of brushing your teeth, there is something to be done about your shaving routine. The “wet shave,” as it is called, is the traditional way of shaving one’s face and has been in practice for hundreds of years. It involves a straight or safety razor, and a shaving brush- both of which can be found at The Art of Shaving or your local shaving supply shop (yes, you have a local shaving supply shop). While the technique itself requires a little bit of patience, practice, and persistence, you will be rewarded by never having to buy disposable razors again, never having to worry about a half-smooth face, and never bumbling your way through another monotonous shaving routine
Up until around the mid-eighteenth century, the only real way to get a (decent) shave was to head to your local barber, who had all the necessary equipment. Straight-razors seemed unwieldy, and furthermore, this was a time when a “gentlemen” did not groom themselves. But by the time the nineteenth-century rolled around, more and more men were buying their own razors and brushes, and badger brushes in particular became a symbol of wealth, status, and autonomy. While some men will still occasionally go to the barber, for the past century and a half, shaving at home has been the method of choice.
The Wet Shave
But only recently has the “art” of shaving been lost. You might be surprised to find out, as you hold your cheap, plastic razor and throw another “seven-blade” disposable razor blade into the trash, that shaving was not once so boring. In fact, it was interesting, relaxing, and engaging. The “wet shave,” as your grandfather and great-grandfather probably knew it, involves using a straight or double-edged safety razor to make multiple passes over the face, using naturally derived lather applied with a badger brush. Because of the types of blades involved, it takes a little practice, patience, and attention to safety, but there is little danger when done properly. It is also advised to have a whole host of other facial applications such as pre-shave oils, exfoliating oils, moisturizing creams, and aftershave because the “wet shave” is more than about being hairless; it is about taking care of your face and skin.
How to Get Started
It may seem like a bit of a process, but honestly the hardest thing will be deciding which razor to use! You can find an assortment of different styles, types, and price-ranges at The Art of Shaving, or your local shave supply shop, and for someone excited about their new shaving routine, it will be like a candy store for men. It is important to remember that the upfront costs of a razor and brush, while a little off-putting, is more than made up over a few years by saving on disposable razor blades; and, of course, in the knowledge that you will never face another monotonous morning again.