Ordinarily I would never skew a post toward a particular gender here at MTA. However, the subject of wet shaving is so dear to me, and I've been so 'hot' to write about it and share my enthusiasm on this subject with you, that today I'll live dangerously and write 'one for the guys.'
To the ladies in my readership: you may still derive some useful information from this blog post, if for no other reason that wet shaving products make for great gift ideas for the men in your life. (Heck, I know that y'all have to shave, too—perhaps you may want to adopt some of these principles yourselves. I dunno...)
The traditional wet shave, gentlemen, involves throwing away that ridiculous can of Barbasol and that evil disposable razor and picking up the implements that our grandfathers and great-grandfathers used for their daily ritual: the straight razor, the safety razor, the shaving brush, non-aerosol shave cream or shave soap, and lots of water.
Ay-yi-yi, since I've discovered wet shaving I cannot believe I formerly 'contented' myself with Edge gel and Gillette cartridge-based safety razors (although the Mach3 is still a decent enough device, no doubt).
The bottom line: wet shaving feels wonderful. And my wife loves both the feel and smell of my face, too. (Yeah, too much information. Get over it.)
Please allow me to share with you the components of my own personal shaving rig:
- Merkur "Futur" Double-Edge Safety Razor
- Feather "High Stainless Platinum" Double-Edge Blades
- Vulfix #2235 Super Badger Shaving Brush
- ClassicShaving.com Gold-Plated Shaving Bowl
- Proraso "Green" Eucalyptus Shaving Cream
- Taylor of Old Bond Street Aftershave Balm
As you can see from the items and hyperlinks in the previous list, (a) I do not mess around when it comes to wet shaving; and (b) I purchased most of my supplies from ClassicShaving.com; I cannot recommend this Web site highly enough. They are fantastic.
With respect to the "hows and whys" of traditional wet shaving, I'll share a few excellent resources with you that have been instrumental in my own wet-shaving education:
More recently, however, some guy posted an amazing series of videos at YouTube that provide instruction on the art of wet shaving; check 'em out:
YouTube.com: Introduction To Single Blade Shaving
I do have one tip for any wet shaving newcomers who may be reading this essay. You are probably familiar with the following American proverb, attributed to the English essayist and poet Joseph Addison:
He who hesitates is lost.
Well, let me modify this wisdom quotation a bit to suit our circumstance:
He who hesitates with his razor strokes, or who presses his razor down while making said strokes, is cut. Bad. No, I mean really fucking bad.
Wet shaving takes some getting used to, that's true, but the Zen of it (with 'Zen' in our context being defined literally from the Japanese word meaning "meditation") far outweighs any 'fear factor.'
In closing I'll sum up, by using an unordered list, some of the Zen aspects of traditional wet shaving. These aspects are admittedly subjective, and they are entirely my own. That said, I'd be interested to know how many othen men who engage in this practice share one or more of them with me:
- I feel connected to my male ancestors, and to all men in general, when I shave using the traditional wet-shaving technique
- The use of hot, warm, cool, and cold water at once invigorates and relaxes me
- The admixture of delightful, non-chemical aromas that is involved in wet-shaving pleases both my wife's and my senses
- The ritual of setting up and breaking down the shave rig is a meditative experience, not to mention the contemplative nature of the shave itself
Postscript: To those who would label me 'metrosexual' for my intense interest in traditional wet shaving, I would remind these people that our grandfathers and great-grandfathers deserve this disparaging moniker as well. After all, traditional wet shaving with a straight razor or a safety razor is how our male ancestors 'got the job done,' as well. Until next time.