How To Shave Like Your Grandpa

by Brett on January 4, 2008 · 346 comments

in Dress & Grooming, Shaving

shaving1.pngProper shaving has become a lost art. Today’s average male has no clue about the fine art of the traditional wet shave that their grandfathers and some of their fathers used to take part in. Instead, they’re only accustomed to the cheap and disposable shaving products that companies market. I’m not sure when or why it happened, but the tradition of passing down the secrets of a clean shave abruptly stopped. Thankfully, this glorious male ritual is making a comeback.

Benefits of the Classic Wet Shave

Reduce costs. An 8-pack of your typical 4-blade cartridge razors can set you back over $20. $20! That’s $2.50 per cartridge. The cost of a double-edged safety razor is no more than $.25. You can save some serious money switching over to a safety razor. Additionally, you can save money by using traditional shaving creams and soaps. A can of the chemically packed gel goop that most drug stores sell can cost you up to $5 a can and it doesn’t even last that long, and they don’t give you a quality shave. On the other hand, traditional shave creams and soaps are made out of natural materials. While their up-front cost may be a bit more than shaving gels, you require less product to get a proper lather. Thus, you end up saving more in the long run.

Reduce environmental impact. Traditional wet shaving with a double-edged safety razor uses less waste than shaving with cartridge razors. The only waste is a single metal razor blade and lather down the sink. Unlike today’s razor cartridges, a double-edged blade can easily be recycled. The tubes and bowls that most traditional shave creams and soaps are sold in produce less waste than those clunky non-biodegradable aerosol canisters that gels come in.

Better, more consistent shaves. Most men today walk around not knowing they have horrible shaves. Electric razors and the latest 5-blade contraptions irritate the skin more than needed, leaving razor burn, ingrown hairs, and redness. Shaving with a safety razor will eliminate the skin irritation and give your face a clean, healthy look because you’re just using one blade instead of several that chew up your face in order to cut your whiskers.

You’ll feel like a bad ass. It’s nice taking part in a ritual that great men like your grandfather, John F. Kennedy, and Teddy Roosevelt took part in.

The Tools

Safety Razor

gilletesafetyrazorvig.jpgSwitching from a cheap disposable razor to a double-edged safety razor is like upgrading from a Pinto to a Mercedes. A safety razor is a machine. It’s nice holding a piece of heavy, sturdy metal in your hand while you’re shaving as opposed to a piece of cheap-o plastic.

You can find safety razors in a variety of places. First, ask your grandpa if he still has his. Chances are he does. If gramps doesn’t have one, try checking antique stores. I found my 1966 Gillette Superspeed Safety Razor in an antique store in Vermont. I only paid $10 for it. If you don’t have any luck there, stop by eBay and do a search for safety razors. You’re bound to find a few there. Finally, if buying a used safety razor doesn’t fancy you, you can always buy a new one from the several companies that still make them. A highly recommended safety razor is from Merkur. They have several types to choose from at varying prices. Look to spend about $40 for a new safety razor.

Suggested Razors
Merkur Classic Safety Razor, Straight-#178- Made in Germany
Merkur Futur Adjustable Double Edge Safety Razor with Satin Finish- #700- Made in Germany
Merkur Classic Long Handled Safety Razor, Straight


You can choose from a variety of different blades. Each blade has a unique sharpness and cutting ability. Experiment with different kinds until you find the ones you like.

Suggested Razors
American Personna. You can find these in most drugstores. They’re usually marketed as generic brand blades. They’re pretty forgiving for the first-time user.
Merkur Double Edge Razor Blades- Pack of 10 Blades- Made in Germany

Shaving Brush

shave2.jpgIf you’ve never used a brush during shaving, you’re in for a treat. A brush helps hydrate the shaving cream in order to form a thick, rich shaving lather. Using a brush to lather up helps get the shaving cream up under each whisker which results in better, smoother shaves. Plus, it just feels nice on your face to lather up with a brush.

Brushes are made out of two types of animal hair: boar and badger. Boar bristles are stiffer than badger bristles and hold less water. Boar hair brushes are also cheaper. You can find a boar hair brush at Walmart for about $4. If you really want to have a nice shaving experience, splurge and buy a badger hair brush. Badger brushes create more lather and it feels a lot nicer on your face. You can pick up a nice badger brush at any Crabtree and Evelyn. If you don’t have a Crabtree in your area, try Amazon.

Suggested Brushes
Omega Creamy Curved Handle Pure Badger Shaving Brush – #13109
Porter’s Badger Shaving Brush
Omega Brownie Junior Badger Shaving Brush with Stand – #63184

Soaps and Creams

If you’re like the average guy, you’ve probably been getting your shaving cream from a can. This blue/green, chemically laced goop does nothing for your face and smells like a hospital. Traditional shave creams and soaps, on the other hand, are full of natural ingredients that nourish your face and leave you smelling absolutely manly. While these high-quality creams and soaps may cost more than the can stuff, just a dab will create enough lather for you to lather up twice.

Suggested Creams and Soaps

Proraso Eucalyptus & Menthol Shaving Cream 150 ml.
Kiss My Face Fragrance Free Moisture Shave, 11-Ounce Pumps (Pack of 4)
Taylor of Old Bond Street Sandalwood Shaving Cream Jar
Proraso Shave Cream Tube
Body Shop For Men Shave Cream

The Technique

Prep your beard. If you want a clean shave, you need to prep your beard adequately. The goal during beard prep is to soften your whiskers so shaving is easier and causes less irritation. The best way to soften your beard is to to shave right when you get out of the shower. The hot water from your shower should hydrate and soften your beard enough for shaving. If you haven’t showered, at least wet your beard with some hot water. A hot towel is a great way to soften the facial hair.

Lather up. Take a small dollop (about the size of nickel) of your shave cream and place it in a mug. Take your brush that you’ve pre-soaked with water and swirl the cream around until you get a nice thick lather. Apply the lather with your brush in swirling motions. When your face is nice and covered, take a few strokes to smooth everything out.

The shave. Unlike shaving with cartridge razors, shaving with a safety razor actually requires some skill and technique. Once mastered, though, you should be shaving effectively in no time. The four keys to a successful shave with a safety razor are: 1) use as little pressure as possible, 2) angle the blade as far away from your face as possible, 3) shave with the grain, and 4) go for beard reduction, not beard removal. This will take some getting used to if you have used cartridges your entire life.

You don’t need to use pressure because the weight of the safety razor is sufficient to cut your beard. If you press down, you’ll end up hacking up your face. To help counter the tendency to apply pressure, try holding the razor by the tip of the handle.

Angling your razor is probably the trickiest part. The proper angle is somewhere between 30 and 45 degrees. To get the proper razor angle, put the top of the razor head directly on your cheek, with the handle parallel with the floor. Now slowly lower the handle until the blade can cut your whisker. Practice on your arm if you’re not comfortable practicing on your face.

While shaving against the grain can get you that smooth feel, you risk slicing up your face and causing ingrown hairs. When you’re first starting out, shave with the grain of your beard. If you lather up and pass the razor more than once over your face, you’re guaranteed to get a smooth finish.

The goal with shaving should be gradual beard reduction, not beard removal in one deft swoop. Most men try to get rid of their beard in one pass of the razor. This hack-and-go technique is what causes the majority of skin irritations. If you want to avoid skin irritation, lather up and pass your razor over your face several times. Your face will thank you.

Post-shave. Rinse your face off with some cold water to close your pores. Treat your face to a nice aftershave. There are several to choose from, so pick the one you like best. Aftershave helps reduce any irritation that may have occurred and will leave your skin looking healthy.

Additional Resources

Several resources exist on the internet on traditional wet shaving. Check these sites out for more information.

Badger and Blade (This is an excellent resource. I learned most of what I know about the traditional wet shave from this forum.)
A Guide to the Gourmet Shaving Experiene

{ 332 comments… read them below or add one }

101 Tron June 1, 2008 at 3:14 am

i just use a regular, non disposable razor (as in one that you gotta buy new blades for now n then).
Never had a problem with it, I probably spend roughly $20 every 2 months for blades, so not like it’s forcing me to choose between rent and shaving.
Just a note for anyone who’s using any aftershave products, if you really care about your skin, look for something that contains minimal (or preferebly NO) alcohol as THAT will dry out your skin and kill newly forming skin cells. (which is exactly the reason you’re not supposed to use rubbing alcohol to clean new piercings/tattoos, it’ll just kill any healing tissue)
It’s pretty common knowledge to not use alochol based aftershaves but there’s always people who don’t know/think about it, so figured id just leave a post.

102 Erikson June 7, 2008 at 3:46 am

this article just makes me wish i could grow something on my face that needs shaving. i feel that there’s a whole ritual, a rite of passage even, that i’m missing out on. that said, being somewhat of a traditionalist when it comes to tools, i’d likely opt for the straight-razor myself.

103 wanngbing June 13, 2008 at 12:35 am

we can design and produce full range of cosmetic brushes, including Powder Brush, Brush Set, Powder Brush, Blusher Brush, Lip Brush, Eyebrow Brush and other kinds of animal hair brushes. Different animal hair materials available in varied colors and formula. Copper or aluminum ferrule with plastic or wooden handles at your option.

104 tomrollock June 18, 2008 at 2:54 am

All you so called “men” shaving with your straights and knives need to strap on a pair and sharpen up a hatchet – now that’s shaving…

105 JOKAH June 21, 2008 at 4:13 pm


106 Nofmeister August 28, 2008 at 9:45 am

Being able to shave “old school style” is a pretty nice skill to have as a bachelor. Whenever I spent a night at my girlfriends house, she would always be interested in standing in the bathroom doorway, watching me shave in the morning. This has happened with several women that I have dated, and I have to say, I’m in my 30′s and have been married for less than 2 years, so I would think this would apply pretty well to today as well as back then.

107 ninepoundhammer September 2, 2008 at 8:01 pm

I agree with Mr Alley in the first comment: shaving your face is the antithesis of manliness. Women’s faces are meant to be smooth. Wear a beard–and wear it proud!

108 Dan September 9, 2008 at 12:43 pm

i first came across this over the summer, and i’d been looking for products locally. about 2 months ago, i came across The Art of Shaving at Westfields Topanga in Woodland Hills CA. All I can say is that Gillette has lost a customer since i found this place. Now that i’ve started using a safety razor and new shave cream, i’m not breaking out below my jawline. that alone makes it worth the cost.

the store’s website is

109 Mike Picollelli September 22, 2008 at 2:09 pm

Sorry safety shavers, although you want to start your day off with a satisfying rewarding activity, the protected blade is simply like wearing a condom. Come out of the closet of your five o’clock shadow and become a straight man. Woman who like men prefer straight men. (Men too, I suppose) . The reason is simple, bigger is better. A straight razor is the biggest, both in length and girth. Next would be the safety razor, but it is almost three times smaller, and the cartridge, even with 5 blades its just teeny tiny, then there is the electric razor, with it’s itsy bitsy rotary blades, and ribbons of steel(ribbons? WTF, ribbons are not manly.)and that is the smallest of all. No matter how many blades, they are smaller and cannot match up to a big one.

I currently have a Wapienica straight razor. ($20)(new old stock carbon steel Soviet made in the 70′s) It was cheap and easy to sharpen, and the shave is just fantastic. Ebay has many razors. Look for shave ready, and check the forums. I use an e-shave badger brush($55), and switch between Poraso soap ($11)and The Art of Shaving Sandlewood cream.($22) I have purchased all of the drug store aftershaves. Old Spice(mostly because I dig that movie it made a cameo in, starring Linda Lovelace.), Brut, Clubman, Lime SEC, and Aqua Velva. I bought them all for under $30. I had to break a 6 year Cerutti Image habit. I took the money I saved and went to a biker bar and drank Tequila all night. the straight is actually a heck of a lot of fun, and has a very Zen-like quality.

110 Andrei October 4, 2008 at 7:41 am

My Grandpa had a DE safety razor, so I’ll be sure to look for that.

Safety razors aside, I’ve been looking for a good quality straight razor and strop, but I don’t know the difference between the different kinds in terms of quality, useful life, etc. I see hundreds of cheap straight razors and strops on e-bay made of stainless steel, carbon steel; and then the strops, which don’t have much else on the listing other than length (or maybe if it has leather and canvas).

I don’t want to spend a ton to get a super expensive straight razor, but I also don’t know if I can trust the ones that go for under $10. What would be the ‘specs’ and cost of a decent one? What about strops?

@Brett – Have you tried out the straight razor yet?

111 bstyles October 20, 2008 at 4:49 am

I’ve recently started shaving with a brush and soap, the other day was in a rush and jst grabbed the closest thing, a can of shaving foam. its terrible compared!! now i just gotta get me a safety razor :)

112 bstyles October 20, 2008 at 4:50 am

or a straight razor

113 Murdering Muses October 29, 2008 at 9:38 pm

I have to ask a question similar to those previously mentioned by many, that being simply, what are the pros and cons of a straight blade?

I’ve been looking into making a purchase and want to know what the differences are here, both between it and the safety razor, and also within the straight blade market.

Any helpful facts here?

114 PDole November 3, 2008 at 6:05 am

Originally Posted By A PTry dry-shaving with a bowie knife. That’s the definition of man right there.

That is awesome! I was just thinking of saying it when I came across this, I did it and made all of my less manly friends wince like girls, I use a safety razor and hot water. thats it. no foofy soaps or astringents or any other metrosexual type stuff.
I wish I could find a really sharp bear claw to use………..yeah thats the ticket!

115 a. S. h. November 13, 2008 at 12:19 pm

Well, I believe that electric razors may be the most benefitial way of the future, personally. This is not because of its ease, or even just because of its speed… but call me unmanly if you want to, but what is more many than getting the chicks. This is my reasoning.. even a crappy electric can shave down your beard and in 30 seconds you can get down to that stubble. In EVERY EVERY scientific study on how women perceive men, the clean shaven is not the considered the most handsome, but is perceived more handsome than a man with a beard, goat beard, or soul patch (as they score worst), the highest scorer, always in every test is a man with stubble. Not clean shaven, not bearded, but stubble. You can’t get that with any kind of razor, and while you can get a clean shave with an electric, if you just run the razor over your face it is a perfect stubble… Call me unmanly, but i dont care if men like me or how i look or do things.. i care about the wo-mans… I win–

116 sir_flexalot November 25, 2008 at 11:21 am

The history of shaving points to it being a characteristic of either a ruling class or otherwise relegated to the people who could afford the equipment, so it’s cool that there are so many affordable options to getting the ‘ruler of the world a thousand years ago’ look.

117 mark hand November 25, 2008 at 6:48 pm

i have three old razors or shavers i woud like to know value and possibly seel

118 ALLYN D. THOMPSON November 30, 2008 at 9:35 pm

During WW2 my father and all the gents of that era had it tough if they were dedicated shavers (aka: slick faces) because of the shortage of good steel which was used by the war effort and therefore unattainable for the faces of the slobs not in the service of the United States. Blades were kept sharp by many
means that were dream of by the few.
My dad was showing me how to sharpen a safety, 2 sided blade. He took a water glass that was smooth and with out distortion of design. Wetting the blade
and placing it on the inside of the glass with the axis of the blade aimed from top to bottom. He then placed his finger on the blade causing it to conform to the shape of the glass and pushing it around and around and up and down. The only abrasive used was the glass it’s self. With little effort the blade was sharp again and dad didn’t have those little cut marks all over his face. He had reformed the edge of the blade to get him through until the next time.
Thank goodness things have changed and I don’t shave until I am good and ready. Usually in about a week. However I must say that nothing feels as good on my face as the hands of a grandbaby or the hot lather applied by the badger brush.
By the way, I can remember a little girl watching me shave and wish she could see me now.

119 Vance December 9, 2008 at 10:51 am

I’ve been using a brush and safety razor for a few years now. My absolute best tip to share is this (and it took me a while to figure out): After a day or so of not shaving, look at your face VERY CLOSELY in the mirror. You want to see exactly how your hair grows, so that you can shave precisely WITH the grain.

My neck always broke out, even after I switched to the classic wet shave. It was only after carefully learning which direction the hair grew in which spot did I finally attain that “perfect” shave. the face was easy, but the neck took careful study to get right. Now, my neck never breaks out (unless I’m careless).

120 Alvaro Guevara December 9, 2008 at 3:23 pm

By far the best shave cream Ive ever used isnt for shaving at all, its Dr Bonners soaps,

Very creamee, so a very SMOOTHE shave
And they smell nice!
And are made by a good company!
And you can take a bath with these soaps and shave all at once.


I sure hope I win still. I miss my olden saftey razor.

121 camilo atehoruta December 11, 2008 at 10:17 am

if there is a secret to a good shave it has to be slow is smooth and smooth is fast its a little secret that i use to say when i had to shave really fast back in iraq

122 Jon Reiswig December 14, 2008 at 11:53 am

I’ve not purchased a safety razor yet and I just recently changed over to a cartridge razor from an electric Braun. I never had razor burn until now. Is razor burn normal with a cartridge razor because it’s drivin’ me nuts and looks terrible. Is this something to expect due to my recent change and therefore my skin is not used to it, or am I to expect this every time I shave? I’ve used an Anthony razor burn gel as well as tried an after shave balm from “Art of Shaving” (Lavender for sensitive skin) Neither one seems to help much.

123 JulioAlejandro December 16, 2008 at 1:02 pm

I think both facial hair and clean shaven may look well if they are neat. It’s all a matter of preference. I myself prefer to be clean cut with my side burns very short, ending right where my ear lobe starts.

I happen to have a problem with irritation on my neck, which through the years has severely gotten better. I found letting the weight of a razor shave you and taking your time works best, any stay hairs on my neck (they grow all sorts of messed up ways) I don’t insist upon with a razor. Where ever I feel I might get irritation I pluck a few hairs out and for some reason I don’t get the irritation. Yes some might find it effeminate but it works so I stick by it.

I can shave both ways, with a mach 3 or a straight razor. I prefer a straight razor mostly because when I shave I am ridiculously ritualistic about shaving. Close the doors, normally take off my shirt, take my sweet ass time and have a smoke during it. Normally will play Bach or Beethoven.

Don’t hate on stubble though on days off, I have found that most women are highly attracted to stubble.

And I’m sorry but I found women prefer groomed pubes, not shaven. Yes totally off to bring this up but well taken care pubes is better than a furry mess. I’m going what I’ve been told and experienced. Way I see it, they take care of themselves as should we.

124 Joe January 2, 2009 at 4:33 pm

Why would I shave? What’s manly about scraping a sharp object over my skin to remove what God and nature put there?

125 300baud January 7, 2009 at 10:13 am

Bald faces, bald legs and bald armpits are acquired tastes. Shaving sucks. Would never ask my wife to go through that every day or week.

126 Jeremy McBane January 9, 2009 at 1:19 pm

@ Jon Reiswig on December 14th, 2008 11:53 am

I’d like to offer some suggestions to help you combat that razor burn. I’m no skin expert but I’ve been more “into” shaving properly as of the past few months so I can offer some tips based on my research and personal experience.

1. Use a DE (double edge) safety razor instead of a standard cartridge style razor. With a DE you will be passing only one blade against your skin instead of multiple blades. Less blades rubbing up against your skin lessens the chance for irritation. I use a Merkur “Hefty Classic” and highly recommend it.

DE blades are pretty inexpensive too in comparison to most cartridges.

2. What kind of shaving cream or soap are you using? The irritation may be due to not enough lubrication. If the blade’s rubbing up against your skin and there’s friction, that could cause razor burn.

3. Are you prepping your beard well? I recommend soaking a medium sized towel in a sink full of hot (not warm) water, lifting it just out of the water and soaking and finally putting your face down into it, covering all of the areas – neck, jawline, cheeks and mouth. Leave it there for about a minute or until the water isn’t hot any more. Soak the towel again and repeat. Do this for at least a few minutes. THEN apply shaving cream/soap/gel/whatever you use. If you want to take it to the next level, you would wait about another minute for that to soak in and once more apply the hot towel, then later again before shaving. Might sound like a lot of work but it pays off in the end, resulting in a much easier shave since your whiskers are softer.

4. Use as few strokes as possible.

5. Keep the blades very wet. I shave a pretty small area, then wet the blade continuously.

Some of these are more general tips than specifically related to combating razor burn. I ended up rambling a little bit. Anyway let me know if any of these suggestions help you (or anyone else for that matter).

127 charles goodall January 10, 2009 at 4:31 pm

Hi. Love the website.
Hey where’s the printable version of this article? Would like to share it.


128 joe January 11, 2009 at 8:56 am

I think we all need to slow down and regain some roots every once in a while, this is a fantastic article! In this day and age we have all became used to doing everything way to fast, for example , electric razors, disposable razors, SHAVE GELL for crying out loud! Sure we DO live in a busy world, and yes, we can cut down on grooming time by using modern grooming devices, but PLEASE take some time to yourself and practice some of these techniques. For example I have a wife, and two crazy little boys, I shave with one of those crazy 3 or 4 bladed razors most days, but on Sunday morning I get out my WWII issued Gillette safety razor with that beautifull butterscotch bakelite handle, my shaving soap and brush, and I spend about 15 minutes shaving my face, and when I stroll out of that bathroom I can’t help but feel manly. So please, men, take some time to do this and don’t forget to teach it to your kids!!

129 Rob Van Brunt January 12, 2009 at 5:50 pm

Based on this entry, I went and ordered a safety razor and blades off of ebay. Worked great the first time out. I guess my “girly” beard ain’t as tough of some of you.

130 Robert Black January 16, 2009 at 1:01 pm

I just finished shaving with a safety razor. I will never go back to cartridges again.

131 Andrew March 4, 2009 at 10:35 am

All you straight razor guys are over-compensating for something else. I’ve used all kinds of razors and straights are a gigantic waste of time. Besides I doubt any of you pussies are as tough as the WWII Gi’s who were issued safety razors.

132 James at Virginia Tech March 12, 2009 at 7:38 pm

I read this article months ago, and I have come back to it today to re-read. I’m a college kid, for at least a few more months ‘fore they kick me out with a degree, but I’ve been wearing a beard on and off for the past three years, and I’m proud of it. My girlfriend loves the beard, and says I just look wrong without some hair on my face (shes seen me cleanshaven, and over the summer, with a goatee, because I thought I wouldnt beable to get a job with a beard….i was wrong, by the way,but thats not the point)

I trim it (the beard itself) with an electric beard trimmer/shaper, to keep it neat, and at a (mostly) even length. I am sad to say that I have been using the same electric trimmer to keep my neck bare.

Well, that ends today. Today, I found my grandfathers old gold plated Gillette Double Edged Safety Razor up in the attic of my grandparents house. It needs to be cleaned I think, but other then that, its in great condition. I plan to go get some blades, a brush, and some soap tomorrow. From here on out, I’ll shave my neck, and sharpen/shape the edges of my beard with my grandfathers old razor. Best of both worlds of manliness, if you ask me :)

133 Eric March 15, 2009 at 7:15 pm

While I agree with some of what this article said, the best shaving advice I’ve come across for the modern man comes from This site has very good advice on shaving techniques and the sell products that are top quality for getting a great shave. They are probably a bit more commercial and cost slightly more to use but the results are awesome.

Just wanted to let readers know to check out



134 patel tejas r . March 28, 2009 at 9:02 am

pls show me the photograpf of boys making their own shaving by them selves.

135 SAM April 23, 2009 at 8:48 am

When I was in high school, I always had issues with razor burn on my neck. I’d shave down for the chin, and up against the grain for the beard. This went on for some time. Jump 4 years ahead and I’ve purchased a Merkur HD razor and have a good twenty disposable blades. I also have a Mach 3, and *gasp* I am able to get a fantastic shave out of either. Too many guys in the wetshave community get a hard-on for DE razors, or condemn anyone using canned cream/cartridge blades, awfully stupid if you ask me. Hell, my aftershave is Corn Husker’s Lotion, a $3.50 bottle lasts me 6 months and soothes my face once I’m finished. I honestly can say that the ONE thing that makes or breaks a shave is prep work.

1.) Splash face/neck with abundance of hot water (hot as you can handle) for a good minute or so.
2.) Crank up the temp on the faucet, run a clean rag under it until it is hot, apply to chin/cheek area for 30 seconds.
3.) Place the rag back under the water until it is hot, apply to the neck area for 30 seconds.
4.) Splash face/neck with warm water.
5.) Use either brush/soap (I use william mug shaving soap & boar brush) or shaving gel (Edge) to work a thick lather across the face neck.
6.) Shave with the grain with razor of choice maintaining small short strokes.
7.) Splash face with warm water
8.) Examine face for any missed spots, lightly coat with lather, shave in direction of hair growth.
9.) Splash face/neck with cold water.
10.) Pat face dry with clean towel
11.) Apply aftershave.

I should also add that waiting 1-2 days between shaves helps immensely and makes for an easier shave.

136 Nick May 10, 2009 at 6:42 pm

i shaved yesterday with a DE razor and got horrible razor burn. not only on my neck, like what i get with my mach 3, but on my cheeks as well. any suggestions?

137 Joe G May 27, 2009 at 6:05 pm

I offer qaulity shaving creams such as Arko and Solo imported from Europe on my site. This kind of shaving cna save you a boat load of money over time and become some sort of a hobby once you learn there are better creams then Wal Mart sells. Check it out….it really is the one thing we as men need to take time doing besides hair for some. Why should’nt it be pleasant.

138 Jon Italia May 30, 2009 at 4:05 pm

Safety razors?
Straight razors?

Real men shave with samurai swords or “sharks with lasers on their heads”

139 JonelB June 8, 2009 at 5:41 pm

It lets people know we are men and “not women”
Women have bodily hair too, 1st commentator.
I love how it’s perfectly acceptable(and encouraged by the commentors) to not shave and/or remove hair for men.
but women DO GROW HAIR.
underarms, legs, and stomach, plus some women grow it on their necks and chins.
And I know if I decided that razors were cruel and unusual, same with the cremes that have given me chemical burns before, and the wax I’m forced to use on my eyebrows every two weeks, males would be the first(and were the first) to comment on the face that I’m not doing what I should be doing.
I actually only started shaving my legs, underarms, and tons of other areas because people comment on how unacceptable it is for me to not shave/pluck/wax/melt away hair on my body.
So I’m only about to do it as long as the guy I’m with does it. Why take care of myself if you’re going to let your nasty scraggly beard grow with abandon?

On a better note: I wish I could use a straight razor on my legs. It’s a little too dangerous for me to do so, but I’m guessing a straight razor might work if I’m careful…hrm….
I have volunteered to shave my boyfriend’s beard for him before if he got a straight/saftey razor, but no dice. Any tips on getting him to convert?

140 Gary June 12, 2009 at 5:11 pm

I spend about .08 a blade for my Derby Double Edges.

I bought a Merkur 5 years ago and have never looked back.

Wish I had discovered wet shaving day one…

141 Anton June 13, 2009 at 4:51 am

When I wanted to grow a beard in high school back in late 60s, my father (the WWII Marine Corps vet) said, “If God wanted men to have beards, He wouldn’t have given us razors.” Really. I could only shake my head in wonder.

Well, I’ve had a full beard since 1974. But I do shave my neck every morning with the same old Gillette double-edge razor Dad gave me in high school. I’ve got several more now that I picked up on eBay. I’ve also tried some of the fancy English shaving soap brands, but the one I’ve stuck with for awhile now is the “Tom’s of Maine” brand, an organic peppermint soap that comes in a tube, like toothpaste. It’s much cheaper than the fancy English soaps (manlier?). Just a dab or two in your palm rubs up into a decent lather, and the smell helps me wake up. And, I don’t know… Using soap simply called “Tom’s” is seems manly enough for me and it’s easy to remember – in middle age.


142 AJGoodfella June 23, 2009 at 1:54 am

I have just read your page and I have to say that I feel this is a great page on shaving. You like me enjoy a great shave every morning, have you tried the Goodfella Safety Razor?

143 Peter July 17, 2009 at 8:02 am

Let us bring back the old style of removing facial hair and introduce it to the young people of today. It is an art that must be passed on from generations to generations. It is a good thing to note also, that there are lots of companies, like Taylor of Bond Street , who are dedicated in creating products for wet shaving.

144 Sean July 17, 2009 at 2:13 pm

Good overview. I am a firm believer in the values of wet shaving. However, I have two suggestions.

1. Buy an alum block. Not a styptic pencil. You won’t need styptic after you get used to wet shaving, you’ll rarely cut yourself. However, alum blocks function similar to witch hazel. They are astringents, and also seem to me to help prevent razor burn. They’re also perfect when you’re starting out practicing wet shaving, as the degree of the burn that you’re feeling reflects how well or poorly you’ve shaved. A light sting usually is normal, but a full on “my face is on fire!!!” sensation means you didn’t give yourself a very good shave. I usually rinse in cold water, then apply the alum block (gentle rub over my face) and let it soak while I clean my bowl, brush, and razor. Then I rinse one more time, pat dry, and apply aftershave. You don’t need a bracing aftershave if you use an alum block, a balm will work fine, and will leave your face feeling particularly healthy.

2. I can’t suggest them enough. If you crave ungodly sharpness, feather brand razors are the way to go. I think I spend about a quarter per blade on them when I buy them in bulk, but my god they’re sharp. They have the same edge on them literally as a surgical blade in a hospital. I lose 1-2 shaves per blade with them, but a fresh blade will slice through the toughest, thickest beard you can imagine like it wasn’t there.

145 R. J. Vincent August 4, 2009 at 12:45 pm

Great article. Just got back to using a brush and shave cream. Still on a slight learning curve but it was nicer than using the crap from a can. I currently use a cartridge razor but I initially learned to shave as a teenager with a safety razor. I found it a bit clumsy and hard to handle even after several months. I switched to the Trac II that had come out not too long before (this is 1973) and found it a good compromise. It felt like switching from a dump truck to a sports car. Once I finish up my current supply of Gillette Fusions, I’ll look around and see what’s available. I doubt I’ll go to a straight razor (major fumbly fingers) but may try a DE again or if possible, go back to the Trac II if they’re still available. I will agree that there’s nothing like a classic barbershop shave. I’ve indulged in that particular pleasure a couple of times.

146 R. J. Vincent August 14, 2009 at 12:19 am

Well, I got the DE razor and the mug and soap (already had the brush). Guess what? I now look forward to shaving in the morning. Little or no razor burn and I’ve realized that once you learn to use a DE, it’s like riding a bicycle, you never really forget. I’ve got the angle just fine, but I need to refine my technique a bit. A few minor nicks here and there (who hasn’t gotten a few) but the overall shave is way better than with the Fusion. I do use the Fusion for my neck and for the hair in my ears (hey I’m at that age). They’re areas I don’t feel comfortable using the DE and razor burn isn’t an issue.

147 Dave August 16, 2009 at 6:34 pm

I cant even read the first posts from last year. Good god what a laugh. GRRRR Im a real man so I dont shave!! GRRRR!!! GRRR!!! I dont use ANY cream or soap!! GRRR!!! Im a real man. Yup,my manhood and manliness is based on how I shave. Its crap like this that causes men to follow that stupid Madison Ave crap. Rather than just do your own deal you have to PROVE your a real man.

Has some great razors of all types, the 3 and 5 blade cartridge types as well as safetys and straight razors. They also have lots of good creams and what not.

GRRR If you are a real man you will buy from them!!! GRR!!!

148 Brian August 25, 2009 at 11:45 am

Recently started shaving this way after reading this article. Best shave of my life. Great information and tutorial.

149 Steven September 2, 2009 at 4:04 pm

What a great article! I think I might link to this from my website

150 Rob September 25, 2009 at 3:07 am

An awesome place to pick up quality new and vintage products in this department would be, or — all should have exactly what you need to get that manly shave!

151 Fred September 29, 2009 at 11:57 pm

This may seem like a strange question, but I’m only accustomed to an electric razor (well jeez, I’m 16…). I have some moles on my face, and not all of them are the flat kind. They’re not like warts, but they’re slightly raised. Are these going to be cut in the shaving process? I’d like to begin using a REAL razor, but I’m not sure if those moles are in danger or not.

152 gmletzkojr October 4, 2009 at 9:23 pm

Has anyone tried the shaving products from Lehmans ( They offer safety razors, straight razors, etc. I’ve found other items from the company to be good quality.

153 Marton October 6, 2009 at 5:03 pm

To Fred
I have a mole on my face, and it never got cut while I was shaving. I’ve been using a Double Edge Safety Razor for about 6 months and used a straight razor for a few months before that. Even before, I always used cartridges and none of those blades cutted me (at least not my mole =P).
Just don’t begin with a very sharp razor, find one that’s better for beginners, and do it gently, slowly and, most importantly, without preassure. Hold your hand really steady, but don’t apply preassure. Then you should be fine.

154 Rob October 11, 2009 at 1:39 am

another way to practice is to blow up a balloon, lather it up and “shave” the lather off. If you can do that without popping the balloon you are ready for your face.

155 Rich October 15, 2009 at 12:38 pm

Really excellent article. I know this is usually not recommended under any circumstances, but I’ve found out recently that dry shaving with a safety razor works best for me. Common sense says that wet shaving is supposed to reduce irritation, but for me, I’ve found that I get absolutely no irritation or nicks/bumps from shaving totally dry. I’ve used electric razors, both wet and dry, as well as the normal wet safety razor technique and I’ve had terrible irritation with all of these methods, no matter how carefully I shave.
With my dry technique, it does take longer to get a super close shave, but avoiding the irritation is totally worth it. I begin shaving with the grain a few times, pulling the skin taught to get closer, then I go sideways, then against the grain. It may sound crazy, I know, but if nothing else works for you, it may be worth a try. Note: It will hurt a bit at first because the hair gets pulled a little bit, but that has never been an issue for me.

156 Carl October 20, 2009 at 6:03 am

Just a few comments from the other side of the pond. Here in the UK it isn’t always easy to find good shaving products as many small pharmacies no longer stock them. I suppose that the demand is relatively low and the big chain stores only sell the disposable razors and multi-blade cartridges. However I always end up with a good quality shave by getting good products when I can and using them appropriately.

Kent make a range of badger hair shaving brushes with wooden, ceramic, or plastic handles. It doesn’t matter what the handle is made from, so chose plastic for ease of cleaning. The quality is excellent and will probably last me the rest of my life.

Woods of Windsor produce an excellent shaving soap. It comes in a shaving mug and lasts me around 2 years. I shave at least once a day, so that’s not bad. It’s quite hard to come by the Woods of Windsor product, so I buy it when I can. Some supermarkets stock a shaving soap by Wilkinson Sword. It’s pretty dreadful stuff, but when needs must…

If you prefer a shaving cream, then Palmolive do a very good product and I use this when I’m away from home as it avoids me having to take a fragile ceramic mug in my suitcase.

It’s very hard to come by double edged razor blades and I really can’t tell the difference between my old double edged razor and a Gillette Mach 3 in terms of quality; though I can in cost. Used properly, I can get between 2 and 3 weeks worth of good shaves from a cartridge.

Here are my tips for a good shave using the above products.

Always shave when your skin has been wet for some time, i.e. after a shower. This softens the hairs and makes it much easier for the blade to cut them.

Never let your beard get too long. If you know that you won’t be able to shave until noon, have a shave on the previous evening to keep it short enough to be easy come the noon. Indeed, if you haven’t shaved since morning and are going out for a long evening, you’ll look and feel much better if you shave before going out.

Rinse your razor under really hot water before using it. It kills the bacteria. Wet your face with warm water before using shaving soap. Rinse your brush under really hot water and shake off the excess before applying the soap; this gives you a softer brush and warm soap which helps soften the beard. Brush the soap in very well using a circular motion and then leave it on your face for a couple of minutes before shaving. If using a double edged razor, shave with the grain of the beard. If using a multi blade cartridge, shave against the grain. Either way, you’ll need to finish off with a variety of shaving directions to get the last stubborn areas done.


157 Gaz October 30, 2009 at 12:55 pm

This past week I picked up a Merkur safety razor, after 20+ years of shaving frustration with various and sundry cartridge and electric razors. It took a bit longer than normal because I’d never done it before, I hadn’t shaved in a week or so, and my face was pretty dry. It went well, though – no nicks or cuts or any of that nonsense. My face was considerably less irritated than it has been in the past (even with the lack of prep and the long facial hair), and I had the closest and most comfortable shave in my life. Now that I’ve seen this article, I’ll apply these tips and see how much better it can be.

158 Red December 1, 2009 at 12:31 am

I have always suffered badly from razor burn and have spent 20+ years looking for the ‘perfect’ shave. I don’t suppose I will ever find it, but I have found that running an alum block over my skin after rinsing off the shaving soap has made a big difference.

For the fellow from UK, you can get plenty of good stuff online from here -

I have no connection with them, other than they hail from my home town :-)

159 Brian December 25, 2009 at 10:27 am

I just tried shaving this morning after getting a Merkur Futur. I took the process very slowly. The one thing I noticed is when I would lather the cream on my brush and put it on my face is that my skin would sting. I also didn’t get a very thick lather. I’m wondering if the brush could be the culprit? It says made in the United Kingdom and that it is Pure Badger, but there doesn’t seem to be a brand on it. Also, I was wondering if the cream itself could be reacting negatively with my skin? Or perhaps it was just my shaving technique, seeing as this was my first time?

Oh well, I’m going to keep at it and see how it goes.

160 Brian December 27, 2009 at 10:18 pm

Tried it again and had much more success. Now I’m actually getting excited to shave in the morning…

161 leo January 6, 2010 at 10:11 am

I think the most important thing is your razor sharpness, the sharper it is the better the result and the less pain or wound you get.
I only used a facial soap to foam my bread before shaving.
Here’s another point:
The shorter the bread the easier it is to shave, so shave them everyday is the best choice.

162 jamesy January 9, 2010 at 2:07 pm

my uncle makes some amazing hand crafted soap dishes and safety razor handles. please give his site a visit and let him know what you think.

i just had my first shave with one of his safety razors and i gotta say, i love it.

163 Samuel Murphy February 23, 2010 at 4:55 pm

Granted nothing beats lathering up with a badger brush and high quality English soap. And I like the results of a Merkur safety razor. But, really, is there any closer shave than that obtained with a Gillette Sensor? Gets better coverage on neck and reaches upper lip better. Plus, I find a smoother overall shave if I have not shaved in 2 or more days. I heard that Gillette is elminating the line. Interested to know what you think. S

164 Clay D February 28, 2010 at 10:45 am

Was interesting up to a point. You lost credibility with “environmental impact”. I had to stop reading fearful that you would exude a rant about man made global warming such that it would make the algore cult proud

165 Chase March 9, 2010 at 1:03 pm

Anybody know where you can get Taylor of Old Bond Street at, as far as department stores and such?

166 Nat March 14, 2010 at 11:13 pm

Schick injector and Col. Conk

167 Elias Rabieh Khalil El Ashkar March 28, 2010 at 8:33 am

Good Day,

If I may recommend a kit based on personal experience- I have an extremely rough and dense beard, and if I did not shave every day, I’d look like a yeti. I have been shaving since I was 13 and that was quite a few years ago- I have tried everything from disposable multi-blade razors to straight edge blades. Whilst the straight edge was the best shave I have had, it requires quite a bit of prep work and is more likely to cut up the face- I have my straight blade at home, with leather strops and all, but I cannot take this everywhere, as I travel a lot for work- while out and about, I opt for a safety razor, and this is the kit I use:

’47 Gillette SS Safety Razor
Omega 6215 Pure Badger Brush
Taylor of Old Bond Street Shaving Soap Bowl

I must say it gives a phenomenal shave, so long as you do not press up against the skin, or shave against the grain. Even for someone who used to find it necessary to shave against the grain to get a smooth feel, it surpasses anything else I have ever used, save the straight edge blade.

I hope this helps people who are looking for a good kit



168 vidalin April 17, 2010 at 12:11 am

I rarely shave, lack of hair :D

169 Matt April 18, 2010 at 12:11 pm

Has anyone here tried taking a safety razor onto a plane? I am a straight-razor shaver, but I resign myself to one of those plastic disposables when traveling. I figure a safety razor would be a far superior alternative, but I’m worried about confiscation.

The TSA guidelines say quite clearly that safety razors are okay for carry-on luggage, but I imagine they are still referring to plastic ones, not the ones that use actual razor blades. I’m sure it would be fine to take the holder and buy blades wherever I go, but that would be inconvenient.

So I ask again, has anyone, with or without success, traveled with a safety razor (blade and all) in their carry-on bag?


170 Harold Crews May 7, 2010 at 4:20 pm

I’ve been using a DE safety razor for about a year and can’t see myself ever going back to disposable. In fact just spent less $20 on Amazon for more Gillette 7 o’clock blades. Enough to last nearly two years. The shave is so much smoother and closer. I look forward to shaving every morning now. Don’t use the safety razor on my head though.

171 Colonel Mike May 19, 2010 at 5:34 pm

Amen brothers.
Advertisers have lied to men for years. After reading this article I went and purchased a Gillette Safety razor at an antique mall for $1.25. New blades are 1$ for 5. Closest damn most comfortable shave I’ve had in years. Not only that but because I have an Imperial (ie a mustache and patch) I don’t need to shave that often. But let me tell ya: when you’ve got more that a couple of days growth on your face then tryin’ to remove it with a multi blade is PAINFUL. Let me tell ya usin’ a safety razor makes all the difference. Try mowing a 6″ lawn with a push mower or a 54″ cut Garden Tractor and you will know what I mean.
Don’t get me wrong. I like the cute blond models on tv,, but for other things than telling me how to get a close shave

172 John June 1, 2010 at 4:44 pm

Well, I guess I may have to try it.

I have to say, I like my Gillette Fusion and all the expensive crap I buy. I shave twice a day because I’m a very hairy guy.

I’m not sure I really see a need to “shave like my GrandPa did”. I think I’ll give it a try though.

173 Chuck June 9, 2010 at 11:28 pm

I have been using a safety razor for about a year now. It has saved me tons of cash. When people come over and see it on the sink, it almost implies a sense of sophistication. I still am in the habit of shaving against the grain, but mainly because I don’t like to shave every day. Now seeing that the goal is GRADUAL beard reduction I will do it more often.

I would like to let the author know that I cannot find the brushes anymore at walmart. I remember they had a kit with mug soap and brush for like $10. I went back a week later and all the walmarts in our area took them off the shelves.

Anyone recommend where to get one

174 Captain June 12, 2010 at 12:35 am


The kits can be found here:

175 Ethan Wright June 18, 2010 at 8:43 pm

Well I feel ashamed,sure I never used one of those new razors,but I’ve considered them,it will be nice to now that my first shave will be like my Fathers and my GrandFathers.Thank you Kate and Brett McKay.

Ethan Wright Baltimore,MD

176 Edwin June 21, 2010 at 12:27 am

In 1977, I was working in a McDonald’s, and they had a promotion where they gave away a Gillette Good News disposable razor with a purchase. They had just been introduced to the market. So I got some of them and started trying them and have been using them ever since. They get my face nice and smooth and that is what matters. I don’t remember what I pay for a pack of 10 or so of them, but it is not enough to lose any sleep over. For shaving cream I have been using Barbisol for a while. You can get a can of it in Wal-Mart for about $1 or so. I usually wash my face with soap and water, get it nice and wet, and then put the shaving cream on it and start shaving. (Sometimes I have used just soap when no shaving cream was available, and as long as the water is reasonably hot, it works about as well.) This works for me and I don’t personally have any reason to get any more complicated or expensive than that. Although I have thought that I sometimes might like to try one of these shaves in a barber shop with a straight razor, etc.

177 Kevin Benko June 21, 2010 at 1:24 am

Back in 2005, I gave up on electric razors and those [bad word] disposable nightmares, and found a shaving shop in town (I was in Fargo, North Dakota at the time) and bought a mug/brush/soap/safety-razor.
I haven’t regretted it a bit, and cannot foresee myself ever going back to the “modern” razors.

What finally pushed me over the edge was that, one day, it was impossible for me to find any disposable razors with less than 4, yes FOUR, [bad word] blades in it. I realized that all those [bad word] blades was pure idiocy, and that anything more than a single blade was stupid. I was also forced to admit that the disposable razor thing was pretty foolish, too….

178 Rex June 21, 2010 at 9:42 am

I guess you guys must be younger than I. My grandfather shaved with a straight razor.

179 Mike Willis June 21, 2010 at 2:06 pm

I do believe your right Rex. I was taught the “Manly Art” of shaving by my great grand pa using an I*XL and a Rogers straight razor from the 1880s. After 65 years of daily use, I’ve worn out his I*XL but am still using the Rogers.

180 Mo June 26, 2010 at 3:48 pm

Real men don’t shave

181 Justice Pie June 27, 2010 at 1:18 pm

Just got a Merkur safety razor and I’m really looking forward to putting it to good use. Looking for a lathering bowl and I can’t wait to find a cream that’s right for me. Next step is to work on having a boy because I’m not sure my daughter will appreciate this when it’s time to pass on the skills learned.

182 Syed June 27, 2010 at 9:48 pm

Justice and anyone else considering safety razor shaving,

I’ve been shaving this way for two years so far, with a 1939 Gilette Tech razor. I use a variety of creams and soaps that I get from (Ingrams, Omega/Proraso, Erasmic, SPEICK) and I had initially tried to use a shaving bowl with my creams but found it wasn’t as efficient as lathering on my face.

Simply douse your badger hair brush (boars have never worked well for me) in hot water, then shake it in one direction only once to get an amount of water out.

Drop a dime/nickel sized amount of cream on your brush (Or rub it in your soap puck with moderate pressure about 4 revolutions).

Dip/add a little bit of hot water to the top of the edges.

Start rubbing it nicely into your face. Initially some water and wet foam will come off but that ends in about 5 seconds when you just keep on rubbing, lather will explode on your face and brush, and makes for a great shave without needing too much technique or spending money on a bowl/scuttle/ruining a mug.

If it feels dry, which you should just *know* at least after shaving a couple of times, just dip the TIPS in water. Never submerge, just dip tips after you’ve applied the cream/soap to the brush initially.

I’d also recommend any of the creams listed above, but if you want a GREAT bang for the buck, buy Kiss My Face’s Moisture Shave. It lasts forever, and is extremely cheap while providing GREAT performance. I just don’t use it anymore because I got tired of not smelling the scent after shaving (lime), and I wanted some true menthol now that its summer (Ingrams has stronger menthol than Omega/Proraso).

Also, pick up a “Crystal” deodorant stick from your pharmacy. After shaving, rub cold water on your face and then apply the stick to your cold wet face. You might feel some burn, but it is a natural astringent and has kept my face VERY clean and I haven’t had irritation in the few weeks that I started to do this technique. These are the SAME as alum blocks, but I can find them for $2.99 on sale and are in handy holders.

Please, stay away from “Art of Shaving” products. There are so many more worthwhile creams that people can purchase for the same/much less. Ultimately, do NOT purchase any ridiculous Mach III handles. They do nothing and weighting a razor like those has ZERO effect on the shave.

183 Bob F Ucker June 29, 2010 at 12:59 am

Clay D is a nutjob

184 shitzengiggles June 30, 2010 at 8:29 pm

First, we military men don’t have the luxury of growing beards “to look like nature intended” we shave every day and the investment is worth it. However, out in the field or on board a Navy ship that rocks and rolls, using a straight razor is not a good idea. Instead the Merkur safety razor with a badger brush and a quality shave soap is the next best option. These things can last an entire six month deployment easy and with little supplies at hand. Plus the double edge razors are cheap and last longer. I’ve made shaving a hobby and a ritual and i love mu Merkur and badger. I rotate between soaps, creams, oils and balms when the mood strikes, and i use different stoke techniques now and then. I love this hobby. I can tell you though to shop on line for quality products at low prices. Keep looking you’ll find them. Stay away from the fancy weighed down razor handles that take the mach 3 refills. Trust me there worthless junk, instead bite the bullet and invest into a double edge safety razor and a beginner level straight razor to learn with. I’ve used products by crabtree & evelyn, c o bigelow and the art of shaving who has lovely shop here in the Chicago area. They sell everything, incuding quality badger brushes various safety and straight razors (dont buy the fancy mach 3 crap but the will sell it to you) they are known for there pre-shave oils and alchol free aftershave balms, which work beautifully by the way but if look hard enough you can find great stuff at your local cs pharmacy. C O Bigelow products are great and can found at bath and body works. Yes bath and body works sells products for men, if you have the balls to walk in there that is.

185 Mikey July 1, 2010 at 6:29 pm

Thanks to this article I decided to try shaving the old way.

All my kit arrived this morning from (recommended if your looking for that sort of thing) and I had my first shave a few hours ago.

WOW! Needless to say, my disposable razors have all been… disposed of. My face has never been so smooth!

Thank you for introducing me to the world of wet shaving!!!!

186 Rev. E. A. Hernandez July 2, 2010 at 3:43 am

Hey, I’m not here to bite and chew–just to point out a few personal experiences.

1. My brothers and I find that the steaming of the face and keeping hot water around it during shaving does not really help us. Also, it promotes the original razor burn, the true definition: your razor’s in hot water and you burn your face with it. We just prep with warm water and massage that in, possibly washing the face first and leaving it wet, wet, wet.

2. Have you considered, like we have, men who don’t have steady hands? I have MS and one of my brothers struggled with the shakes from chemo for a while. We have to watch out that we don’t cut our own throats. Pop taught me to shave well with a straight or a safety. I wouldn’t touch one of those damned thing if you paid me. My hands shake too much. I like triple or quadruple “titanium” bladed razors. Best shave I ever had. Don’t go telling people plastic is crap. They are not shaving with plastic! On this point, finally: blades do not “chew up” your skin. YOU chew up your skin from shaving inexpertly.

3. Any foam, gel, even bar soap will work if you prep right. Hopefully you know how to do that.

4. Sorry, but I like my brothers have found there is not a SINGLE grain to the beard on every man’s face. We have cowlicks in our beards. To find your best shave, you have to risk shaving “against the grain” because I defy you to diagram for me what the hell the “grain” is! To each his own. I’ve never felt better than when I shave normally with the grains first, then against the grains as a follow-up.

5. Finally, there is something to be said about the massaging-in of oils or aftershave ritual, after a close shave. This helps in all ways, but be ready for a slight sting. I always advise to let the face dry totally before applying anything. I pat it with a towel thoroughly but then let it air dry for 10 minutes or so.

Happy shaving! And don’t spend too much money on it if you can avoid it!

187 Rich Robinson July 12, 2010 at 1:16 pm

For those who asked, I purchased all my tools from They have low prices, great products and free delivery if your in the UK.

I highly recommend them, and just for the record I have no connection with Badger & Hone other than we’re both in the same country!


188 medbuoy July 16, 2010 at 4:33 am

great..thanks for sharing

189 wet shaving July 26, 2010 at 1:15 pm

Thanks for sharing this great information

190 Randy McNary July 26, 2010 at 9:02 pm

At the risk of sounding like I’m giving a vendor a cheap plug, I suggest products from You might even be lucky enough (as I am to live near one of their shops). The products ARE expensive, but well worth it. A jar of shaving cream will cost about $22, but it lasts me 4-5 months and I experience no razor burn.

191 Michael July 29, 2010 at 4:09 pm

I just used a DE 1956 Gillette safety razor purchased on e-bay for the first time. What a shave!! I cut myself a few times (mostly on chin) but I have never felt a closer shave. I have been using a Mach 4 but I am going to throw that thing away. Thanks Brett for the article that turned me on to a new shave!

192 Dan July 30, 2010 at 11:31 am

Great article! Read this a while back and wanted to get into wet shaving (only 19, and so far been using an electric shaver like my Dad). Bought a cheap double edged razor off Amazon (currently can’t afford a Merkur though I want one when money allows); shaving cream, a low price badger brush and some post shaving balm. What a great shave! I really expected that I’d hack my face to pieces, but only one noticeable nick (on my chin) and otherwise a good shave considering it’s my first wet shave. Thanks for this article – can’t wait to get some more practice and get a better razor!

193 Geoff August 5, 2010 at 10:29 am

Man, I thought this was going to be a Straight-edge how-to… Sadly its not. Its for those old school men who are more manly than almost any man alive today, but were considered sissies in their day ;)

194 Nrevs August 7, 2010 at 1:20 pm

Just don’t shave at all thats what I do and I’m not only saving the environment but I look like a badass.

195 Straight Razor August 12, 2010 at 3:02 pm

Yeh it’s a great article about shaving. Not only are straight razors badass, they also deliver a really close shave. Grandpa would certainly be proud, and the old mantra is as true now as it ever was- if it aint broke, don’t fix it!

196 Rob September 23, 2012 at 6:23 pm

This article made shaving with a safety razor sound great. I’ve always had issues with skin irritation, so I had been using an electric razor. Bought a Merkur and all the extras from Amazon for right around $50, tried it today, and I am sold. Very little skin irritation. Pretty easy to shave as well, just be gentle and you’re set.

197 Chris October 2, 2012 at 7:15 am

So, this article (and the others like it on here) inspired me to ditch the disposable razor and go for the safety razor. So far it has been fantastic.

If you’re like me, you saw the initial investment and almost didn’t go for it as a result. Well, I managed to spend just around $27 for everything I needed. (Well, I still need a nice bit of aftershave, but that’s what? $3?)

Here’s how:
$7 Silver Tone DE Razor w Nonslip Metal Handle:

$10 Tweezerman Men’s Shaving Brush (Badger):

$5 Derby Extra DE Blades x25:

$5 Col. Conk Amber Shave Soap:

So, with all of that, all you need is a mug, which you most likely already have. It was cheap, and now I’m shaving like a man, man!

198 Esteban November 9, 2012 at 8:15 am

For aftershave I use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Now THAT you can feel working on those pores, sanitizing and closing them up after a shave. Works great and is extremely economical. It is a gel, not a liquid, which I find easier to apply thoroughly and evenly. And it has no fragrance once the alcohol evaporates within seconds. Follow up with the fragrance of your choice if you want.

199 AK in PA November 10, 2012 at 2:23 am

I am not a fan of the “disposable” society Western society is slowly but surely becoming. I am not a “tree-hugger”, but I certainly would never buy a house built over a landfill.

Ever since major Corporations started introducing “disposable” products more than 30 years ago the quality of everything has gone down the drain. And while they get growing profits we the consumers fill up landfills with waste like there’s no tomorrow.

Sure if it the things we throw away were made of biodegradable materials it would not be an issue, its the stuff with the periodic table of elements list of ingredients that has me worried.

Disposable razors or cartridges, and various shaving foams or gels are made of that stuff. Its one of the reasons I decided to give Double Edge Safety Razors a try. You can buy several years worth of blades for under $10 and many of the soaps come in simple packaging – reducing waste. Plus the blades are interchangeable, something the Mach 3 cartridges are not. You can use the blade that works for you, and you are not stuck with the overpriced package of a handful of cartridges. They frequently give away the handle/razor and make you buy “refills”. That’s how I got my original Mach 3 razor. They used to do that with Double Edge razors but those eventually became too cheap to make a profit. So they first invented disposable and later cartridge razors – they can charge more for the cost of production and materials used. Waste is irrelevant. So long as they artificially maintain demand for the products(through advertising and engineered dependence – patented cartridge designs).

200 Paul November 20, 2012 at 3:31 pm

Switching to a DE razor and shaving soap was an excellent investment for me. A total reduction in irritation and ingrown hairs. It’s the only way I will shave from now on.

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