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Keeping up with decent male hygiene is a hassle, and not a cheap one. The problem with shaving, hair cuts and keeping down body stank is that sinking more money does not necessarily result in better hygiene.
To this end, I’ve put a lot of thought into how to get a better result out of my shaving regimen over the years.
I started shaving with a Gillette Mach 3 back in high school.
Back in 2006 there was far less selection/competition in the shaving razor industry. Back in those days it was some 5-bladed monstrosity or a terrible, disposable blade which lasted about 0.1 shaves. Either way you were paying a fortune for a smooth face. I took the middle road by getting the 3-blade pseudo-monstrosity.
I was shaving with those and consequently hemorrhaging money for six long years. Then I read the How to Shave Like Your Grandpa post and got very interested in true wet shaving.
Wet Shaving: A Better Way
Wet shaving remained a curiosity for quite some time, but I never acted on the impulse.
I like to go to garage sales, even though I hardly have any space for anything. It’s more fun just to see what’s out there and be out in the nice weather. I found an old American Safety Razor single-edge safety razor for $ 1 at a garage sale in 2013, so I figured I’d give it a shot.
There is definitely a learning curve associated with switching from the shave cartridges. With cartridges you basically drag the thing across your face willy-nilly. You don’t really have to worry about angles, pressure and technique.
Conversely, wet shaving requires almost no applied pressure, so if you treat it like a Mach 3 your going to look like you got in a fight with a cat.
That being said, if you follow the advice in the link above, you can avoid all that.
Wait That Sounds Awful, I’ll Keep My Mach 3, Thanks
Woah there, Sparky. You didn’t let me finish. It’s a lot more than a more difficult procedure! If that were the case I wouldn’t be talking about it. The benefits of wet-shaving are 3-fold,
- Cheapest shave out there
- Best shave possible
- Makes you feel like a bad*ss!
The razors for wet-shaving using a shaver like the American Safety Razor one I show above are ~ 4 times cheaper than comparable Gillette razors (more on that later). This actually leads into point 2 from the list above. Because the blades are so cheap, you can replace them more frequently, so you’re using fresh blades for more shaves. This leads to much higher quality shaving, not to mention the fine-tuning you can make to pressure and angle, when you get good at it.
The final, probably biggest point for me, is that it actually feels cool to shave using this! It’s hard to explain, but shaving used to be something I wanted to end as soon as possible. It was a chore, nothing else. Now it’s something I take pride in doing right, methodically. When it’s done, it so much more satisfying and…different than it did using crappy razors.
Tools of the Trade
All that’s left then is to ditch your canned shaving cream and get a proper shaving brush with shaving soap. This is part of what makes it cheap and effective, because the shaving soap will last a LONG time when used properly. This saves you even more money! Plus, it just feels great to use a brush instead of the gelatinous, trying-too-hard-to-be-hyper-masculine canned shave creams.
I currently use this badger hair brush and this shaving soap, which I’ve been very happy with so far. If you can wait, I’d totally recommend getting the actual razor holder from Ebay or a garage sale or something, but you can totally get them on Amazon if you want. The used option will tend to be a lot cheaper though!
Final note, definitely go with stainless steel blades if you try this. While scraper blades from the hardware store look similar, they are not NEARLY as sharp as actual shaving blades, for one thing. Also, non-stainless blades will rust between uses and only get you half as many shaves per blade as a result. So basically stay away from CVS-brand safety razors. Instead, check out the Persona Gem safety razors. They end up costing about $0.50 each, and each lasts about 3-4 shaves. Compare that to the Mach 3, which costs about 4 times that.
Let me know if you give it a shot! Is there anything stopping you from making the plunge?