Upgrading Your Shaving Tools and Techniques

Shaving, a traditional staple of masculinity passed from father to son has been a constant fixture in a man’s life dating back to our earliest of ancestors. Prior to the invention of the razor, early man utilized sharp objects such as stone and shell to trim and pull hairs to see their removal. As time progressed, the earliest forms of the traditional razor came to life around 3000 BC in the period in which copper tools were beginning to develop. Ever since, the razor and the shaving process have been associated with ideas of masculinity and maturity that all men alike can identify with. More recently, however, these associations have been discarded alongside the advent of electric trimmers and plastic disposable razors. Shaving, once considered as a fine art, has turned into a rushed, dreaded chore that men all over the world fail to appreciate. Not all is lost, however, for when equipped with the right tools, techniques, and perspective, this routine can be transformed into one of the most relaxing, enjoyable moments of the day.

Equipping oneself with the essential gear is the first step:

Safety Razor
First, toss aside your disposable cartridge razor or electric trimmer and arm yourself with a safety razor. The design, utilized prior to the invention of modern shaving equipment, is typically made from stainless steel and is fitted with a single, double-edged blade. The weight and sturdiness of a safety razor combined with its single blade design allow for greater control and precision while shaving.

Double-edged safety razor blades are typically purchased in packs of multiples for a fraction of the cost of disposable cartridge razor heads. Typically made of stainless steel, the blades deliver a smooth, consistent, and precise shave that leave you looking your best. Depending on the frequency of shaves and the thickness of your beard, the blades need to be changed only when they begin to feel dull.  
Shave Soap
As opposed to modern shaving cream found in a pressurized can, traditional shave soaps offer natural ingredients that provide the face with nourishment and hydration. In addition, these traditional soaps leave you feeling fresh and clean with brilliant scents reminiscent of classic barbershops and shaving parlors.
Shaving Brush
A shaving brush is used to hydrate and form shaving soap into a thick, rich shaving lather. Once a lather is built up, the brush is also used to apply the soap to your face and allows complete coverage under every whisker. Brushes, typically equipped with a wooden or ivory handle, are made of either boar or badger hair. Boar bristles, a more affordable option, hold less water and are more course in nature. In comparison, badger bristles offer soft bristles that massage the face as lather is applied. These bristles also hold more water than boar, allowing for a thicker, fuller lather.
Now armed with the correct tools, the next, most important step is your shaving technique. A great deal of information regarding technique can be found via various sources on the web. Below is a short tutorial provided by Mr. Porter featuring Charlie King, a barber at Pankhurst London, which provides an excellent summary of shaving technique utilizing the aforementioned tools. 

Armed with tools reminiscent of days of yore in addition to traditional shaving techniques, this grooming procedure can be transformed into a relaxing, meditative experience utilized to prepare for the excitement of the day ahead. In addition to providing an improved quality of shave, using these tools and techniques is extremely cost effective being that replacement blades and soaps are far cheaper than expensive disposable razor cartridges. In addition, the use of double-edged blades and natural soap cuts down upon environmentally-unfriendly waste from clunky cartridges, cans, and packaging.

Ultimately, the pleasure of knowing that you are practicing the same shaving techniques and using the same tools utilized by countless great men of the past is immeasurable. You too, can begin your day just as your grandfather, presidents, and other icons and heroes of the past did. Gone are the days of rushed shaves using inferior equipment and techniques… It pays off to embrace the classics. 

Damian M.

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