As I was poking about the dusty corners of the interweb, I stumbled over an article over at The Art of Manliness that I had missed previously – “7 mistakes new wet shavers make”.
It’s noting earth shattering in the article, just mistakes we all have done at some point… but if you’re new to the art of traditional wetshaving it’s worth keeping them in mind. In short, the seven mistakes pointed out are:
Poor prep – which is quite literary the first mistake many do. No, just splashing some water on your face isn’t good enough… soap is needed to strip the oils and grease off.
Lousy lather – which I was guilty of when I started. Canned goo and aerosol cream is even worse in my opinion, but what your face needs is a nice, creamy lather whipped up with a decent brush.
Ignoring grain – hair grows in any which way on my face, and if you want to avoid shave bumps and rashes you need to with your hair.. or against it, for the ATG cut.
Too much pressure – a bad habit most picks up while using a cart. If you’re using any pressure at all when you’re using a DE or an SE razor, you’re probably using too much. Let the weight of the razor and the sharpness of the blade do the trick.
Incorrect blade angle – something that can be tricky to figure out even for experienced wetshavers when switching razors. A “proper” razor do not have a swiveling head – all the movement that changes the angle is in your wrist.
Shaving over unlubricatred skin – you got that luxurious lather on your brush for a reason. Use it, even for the second pass, and your face will thank you.
Repeating strokes – well… I’m not sure I agree with this as a mistake. I’ll always do at least two passes, and I do buff under my chin. In my opinion, repeating strokes is only a mistake if you use too much pressure or fail to prep or lather properly.
Everyone makes mistakes when we’re starting out – but if you learn from them the reward is well worth it.
Pre-shave: Warm water splash and rinse Lather: Proraso Eucalyptus & Menthol Cream Brush: Vie-Long #12705B natural white pure horse Razor: Merkur 25C Open Comb with a Green Astra blade Post-shave: Cool water rinse and alum Beard care: Big Red Beard Factory Balm and Big Red No7 Beard Comb
A quick, one pass shave before rushing out the door – still better than a cart for me though
Pre-shave: Dr Bronner’s Liquid Peppermint Soap Lather: Crabtree&Evelyn Sandalwood Brush: Semogue “The Shave Nook 2012 Limited Edition” mixed boar-badger brush Razor: Merkur 25C Open Comb with a fresh Green Astra blade Post-shave: Cool water rinse, alum, and Krampert’s Finest Bay Rum Aftershave Beard care: Big Red Beard Factory Oil and Big Red No7 Beard Comb
Pre-shave: Dr Bronner’s Liquid Peppermint Soap Lather: Mike’s Natural Soap, Peppermint & Rosemary Brush: Vie-Long #14033 mixed horse-badger brush Razor: Merkur 39C Slant with a Polsilver blade Post-shave: Cool water rinse, alum, and Krampert’s Finest Bay Rum Aftershave Beard care: Big Red Beard Factory Oil and Big Red No7 Beard Comb
When the canned goo was the hot new stuff, people realised that unlike brush and soap – which you could use with a scuttle – the hot new stuff soon got cold… and cold lather can make for a miserable shave.
However Mr Henry Allen Wilson came up with a cunning solution, built into the very can of goo that the multinationals were pushing, without the clumsy contraptions that previous patents had relied on
To overcome all such methods and means as set forth above or other means of adding moisture and heat to the lather as it is dispensed from a container for use, I propose by the means herein disclosed and described to produce in a confined area properly heated and moistened lather from the ordinary and usual aerosol can or bottle, adequate moisture laden lather without adding to the expense or complexity of the ordinary aerosol dispensing container or to the lather-producing liquid within the dispensing container.
Or, as I see it, he floated the cap in the sink one day and realised that if he could keep it from capsizing, any goo added to the cap would indeed be heated up. Since plastic is less dense than water, stability can be achieved by adding water ballast to the cup without sacrificing floatation. Squirt some goo on top and it will indeed be heated (and dampened, which may or may not be a good thing). Or as Mr Wilson states it:
By reference to the sectional view in FIG. 2 it will also be seen that the body of lather L rests on the surface of the hot water within the cup by which it is constantly moistened and heated during use. It will be obvious that the quantity of moisture may be varied as desired by merely adding the hot water from the cup as the shaver successively dips into the lather and water as he applies same to his beard in normal preshave fashion.
I suspect the downfall of the patent lays in the last cited sentence – most “modern” shavers will simply squirt goo in their hand or face and rub it around, not “dip into” the lather. And thus they’ll have to deal with cold lather year round… poor fellows.
Pre-shave: Dr Bronner’s Liquid Peppermint Soap Lather: Arko Cool Mint shaving cream Brush: Vie-Long #13051M unbleached pure horse Razor: Merkur 39C Slant with a fresh Polsilver blade Post-shave: Cool water rinse, alum, and Thayers Original Witch Hazel with aloe vera Beard care: Big Red Beard Factory Oil and Big Red No7 Beard Comb
Okay… I think this officially can ble classified as a “What Is This, I Don’t Even”. For us westerners, Japanese pop-culture is weird enough to begin with… but this takes things one step beyond what I’ve seen so far. Still, he ought to have gotten a brush and lathered up on the way down…
Pre-shave: Dr Bronner’s Liquid Peppermint Soap Lather: Mama Bear’s Awakening Brush: Turkish No7 Razor: Merkur 39C Slant with a fresh Polsilver blade Post-shave: Cool water rinse, alum, and Krampert’s Finest 80 Below Aftershave Beard care: Big Red Beard Factory Oil and Big Red No7 Beard Comb
Pre-shave: Dr Bronner’s Liquid Peppermint Soap Lather: Wet Shaving Products pre-production soap Brush: Omega #10048 Boar Bristle Razor: German (likely Merkur) Bakelite Slant with a Super-Max Stainless Post-shave: Cool water rinse, alum, and Krampert’s Finest Bay Rum Aftershave Beard care: Big Red Beard Factory Oil and Big Red No7 Beard Comb