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 Post subject: Your shave routine
PostPosted: Tue Aug 19, 2008 11:07 am 
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Shaving for me is something that, around the time I got married, turned from a purely functional act to something of an art. Up until then it was little more than spray some gel or foam into my hand, lather it up on my face, and make a pass or two with one of those Schick three-blade disasters. This was never pleasant, nor particularly effective, but it's what I knew, and it was easy.

But that all changed when, as a wedding gift, my wife gave me a shaving set consisting of a chrome-handled badger hair brush, bowl for lathering soap or cream, and a chrome-handled Mach 3, all put to use with the works from Art of Shaving: pre-shave oil, shaving soap, aftershave balm, and alum block.

Since then I have finished off the pre-shave oil (and found it to be mostly unnecessary), switched to a Merkur Long Classic razor with Derby blades, added a Crabtree & Evelyn brush, and now have a handful of different creams, soaps, and aftershaves in various scents that can fit nearly any season or mood. The alum block is still going strong; I don't anticipate the need to replace it for years from now, largely because I don't use it every time I shave.

Shaving is now something that I enjoy, because the process is just plain fun and, for lack of a better description (though perhaps this description is perfect), manly. A can of Edge gel and a razor with three or four or five (where will they stop?) blades is something that I now can't help but associate with boys. There's nothing inherently wrong with that set-up, mind you, just that in my opinion it isn't quite right. Not to mention, I get an infintely better shave with my new method than before. Ingrown hairs are few and far between, razor burn is at a minimum, and my skin looks and feels healthier.

This change is something that helped convince me of a mindset that says things are worth doing right. It takes longer than shaving with an electric in the shower, is more expensive (perhaps) than cans of Edge gel and whatever new razor is on the market, but in the end it's all worth it. Shaving is now, to me, a routine that is part of being male, something to be savored and enjoyed rather than endured.

So for those of you who have made this change, when did it begin, and how? Or have you always shaved this way? What reasons do you have for shaving this way? What sort of set-up do you use?

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 Post subject: Re:Your shave routine
PostPosted: Tue Aug 19, 2008 4:13 pm 
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I use a shaving set that I bought from Caswell Massey, made in Italy -- badger brush and razor and shaving dish all wood with chrome. It was moderately priced--as much as I care to pay for this sort of thing.

I use shaving soaps from time to time and find the Caswell Massey standard almond soap to do a perfectly fine job for very little money. Most of the time I use the Dr. Hunter Barber Shop shave cream because it's fast and I like the scent, which does indeed remind me of the barber shop. I only wish it were warm, like that out of a hot lather machine.


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 Post subject: Re:Your shave routine
PostPosted: Tue Aug 19, 2008 9:55 pm 
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Ah, Caswell Massey. I picked up a puck of their Lemon Verbena shave soap a couple of years ago at Marshall's. I'm glad I only paid $4 or so for it. The stuff smelled fantastic, but the lather was downright horrible. Evaporated on my face before I even had a chance to go over it with a razor. Try as I might, I just couldn't get it to work. Apparently a few of the folks over at Badger and Blade had the same problem, so it must not have just been a bad batch.

On a side note, I did pick up a three-bar set of Caswell Massey's sandalwood bath soap a few weeks ago at TJ Maxx (for $7, I think), and it's wonderful stuff. Hit or miss, I guess.

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 Post subject: Re:Your shave routine
PostPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2008 10:50 am 
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Shaving is a necessary evil and I give it as little thought as possible.

I typically rid myself of excess facial hair during my morning hike, a five-mile double-time venture with a weighted pack into the woods and hills behind my house. After the third or fourth mile I've worked up enough sweat on my face to establish suitable glide for the blade of my Mission Knives MPK-Ti (not as sharp as steel but a good bit lighter). There's usually a cool stream nearby for clean-up but if not a few leaves do the trick. No, I don't carry water.

When forced to "look my best", I shave with a Mach3 razor and Neutrogena Razor Defense gel. I have enough time-wasting hobbies; shaving will never be one of them.


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 Post subject: Re:Your shave routine
PostPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2008 6:10 pm 
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Great thread, wnh.

When I was in college I had a Burt's Bees brush and cup kit. I honestly cannot remember what happened to it but I remember enjoying it. I can totally understand why some men really get into shaving. There are so many high end goodies to collect.

What does a nice bowl and brush go for these days ans where can they be had? No need for a fancy razor -- I enjoy my yellow Bics.


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 Post subject: Re:Your shave routine
PostPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2008 11:05 pm 
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JordanW wrote:
What does a nice bowl and brush go for these days ans where can they be had? No need for a fancy razor -- I enjoy my yellow Bics.
I can't tell you what a bowl costs--the set I have is something my wife purchased from Amazon over three years ago, and includes a little metal bowl. I'm pretty sure they're still selling some similar sets, but I don't know that I've ever seen one of the bowls by itself. I know you can find scuttles that are specifically for shaving, but I'd imagine any run-of-the-mill ceramic bowl would work just as well for all intents and purposes. As for brushes, it can get quite expensive--$100 and up for big names--but the Crabtree & Evelyn brush I linked above is $35, and from what I've read is a fantastic bargain considering the quality. (Throw in a bottle of the sandalwood cologne--if they can keep it in stock--and I think you're up to the dollar amount for free shipping.)

I think there's something splendid about the simplicity of a yellow Bic, but I just can't do it. Multi-blade razors give me horrible razor burn on my chin.

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 Post subject: Re:Your shave routine
PostPosted: Thu Sep 04, 2008 5:57 pm 
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I have very sparse facial hair and shave with a Gillette 2 blade pivot head razor (I forget the name) and whatever my wife uses for shave gel. I shave in the shower and it takes 3 minutes. I usually don't even shave every day.

My sister-in-law is an Arbonne consultant (fancy, healthy cosmetics). My wife loves all that stuff. I get a men's set each year (shave cream, toner spray, moisturizer), and keep it in my travel kit and use it once or twice a year as a novelty.

I like the IDEA of an extensive shave routine, but it's not too practical for my face.

As an experiment, I actually let my facial hair grow this summer while on vacation for a week, but all I got was some random sprouts on the sides of my face, a moustache that made Larry Bird's look like Dan Haggerty's and a small goofy patch under my chin. It looked ridiculous.


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 Post subject: Re:Your shave routine
PostPosted: Fri Sep 05, 2008 10:39 am 
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I use a Gillette 3 blade and Black Jack shaving cream. I shave in the shower without mirror, put a dermologica shave balm on afterwards and hit the ground running.


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 Post subject: Re:Your shave routine
PostPosted: Fri Sep 05, 2008 1:03 pm 
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Campbell wrote:
Do you guys think that it's the shaving cream and after shave lotion that makes the difference? Shaving to me is totally "because I have to".
For me it was the razor. My foray into nice shaving stuff started with Art of Shaving soap and aftershave with a Mach3 razor. It was certainly better than my can of whatever was on sale with a similar razor, but the Mach3 still left me with multiple painful ingrown hairs under my chin. Switching over to a double-edged razor (just one blade instead of three) made all the difference. I'm sure that I could go back to my can of sale gel with my new razor and be just fine, but it (a) probably wouldn't be quite as effective, and (b) wouldn't be nearly as fun.

The multi-blade models use their little "lift-and-cut technology" that results in the hair being lifted up, cut, and then dropped down below the skin, which results in ingrown hairs for many men, though apparently that doesn't have the same effect on everybody (or everyone has just bought into the marketing and don't think twice about it).

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 Post subject: Re:Your shave routine
PostPosted: Sun Sep 07, 2008 5:06 pm 
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Duck wrote:
I use a Gillette 3 blade and Black Jack shaving cream. I shave in the shower without mirror, put a dermologica shave balm on afterwards and hit the ground running.
Similar to me - no muss no fuss
-Mach 3 razor (Turbo as Gillette seems to have intentionally cheapened the non turbo model).
-mirrorless shave by feel in the shower - first with then against the grain
-"Kiss My Face" brand (slightly embarrassingly) shave lotion (its the slipperiest stuff this side of goose scat)
-no aftershave
-check the 'burns at the mirror

I've looked at those fancy Mach 3 blade holders but they would make things a bit more dangerous as they dont have any grip on them


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 Post subject: Re:Your shave routine
PostPosted: Mon Sep 08, 2008 7:52 pm 
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Currently (I've tried a lot of different stuff):

Mach 3 razor
Badger brush (natural horn brush & razor handle from Art of Shaving...yes, I paid too much)
Proraso shaving cream (labeled as "C.O. Bigelow Premium Shave Cream" at Bath & Body Works)
Burt's Bees "Natural" aftershave balm

Always shave after shower. Make two passes (two separate "shaves," as it were), one with the grain, one against. No ingrown hairs...ever. Shave every day. Even weekends. Change blade weekly.

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 Post subject: Re:Your shave routine
PostPosted: Tue Sep 09, 2008 10:56 am 
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Campbell wrote:
Not to derail this thread too much, but does the Mach 3 really employ the lift-and-cut? I would think that with the extra blades that the pressure points would balance the load and then not do it. Or, is that what the strip at the top and bottom do?
My understanding was that the lift-and-cut thing was inherent in multi-blade razors, but I could very well be wrong. At any rate, they still gave me pretty bad ingrown hairs. I think the strips are just moisturizing strips.

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 Post subject: Re:Your shave routine
PostPosted: Tue Sep 09, 2008 2:07 pm 
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If you believe the advertising, the "lift-and-cut" phenomenon (where the first blade lifts the lair and the second cuts it) should apply to any multi-bladed razor.

However, since the hair is shorter after the second blade cuts it, I can't imagine that additional blades beyond two would make any real difference. Like the lubricating strip and other gizmos, I think 3+ bladed razors are more marketing hype than anything. If I could still find two-bladed razor blades anywhere, I'd probably use them, provided they were cheaper.

The ingrown hair problem results from the hair "snapping back" into the follicle after it's cut, and then growing beneath the skin. For people who are prone to this, you're better off using a single-blade safety razor, or even one of those disposable single-blade razors.

Technique can make a big difference in comfort, too, as excessive pressure results in razor burn, although not necessarily ingrown hairs.

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 Post subject: Re:Your shave routine
PostPosted: Tue Sep 09, 2008 3:16 pm 
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Campbell wrote:
Wow...replace a Mach 3 cartridge every week...that's gonna get expensive.
No kidding. That was a contributing factor to my decision to switch to a single-blade safety razor, albeit a lesser one since I don't go through blades that quickly. But put $30 into a good razor, and then the blades can easily be found for under $0.25 each. Using one blade a week that's $43 for the first year, and $13 for each year after that. A new Mach 3 cartridge is what, $3 or $4? So over $150 a year for those... ouch. That's a new pair of cordovan shoes every four years... incentive, anyone?

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 Post subject: Re:Your shave routine
PostPosted: Tue Sep 09, 2008 4:17 pm 
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Campbell wrote:
Wow...replace a Mach 3 cartridge every week...that's gonna get expensive.
It's getting pretty dull by the end of the week, too. Maybe my beard is just tough, or maybe it's because I basically shave twice every day (two passes). Anyway, if I push it much past a week, it's razor-burn city.

I've considered switching to a single-blade razor, and still might. I'm a sucker for nostalgia, after all. I'm just a little afraid I'd carve my face up like a jack-o-lantern.

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