How to Shave Like Your Grandpa: An Instructional Film [VIDEO]

by Brett on April 26, 2013 · 82 Comments

in Dress & Grooming, Shaving, Visual Guides

Our very first and one of our most popular posts on AoM is “How to Shave Like Your Grandpa.” We figured it was about time we did a video on classic safety razor shaving, in the style of vintage instructional films. Enjoy!

Email subscribers, click here to watch the video.

{ 82 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Spencer April 26, 2013 at 6:11 pm

Very nice. I look forward to the straight razor edition.

2 jeff_williams April 26, 2013 at 6:44 pm

The original article was why I started shaving with a safety razor in the first place. Best shaving decision I’ve ever made.

3 Nicholas April 26, 2013 at 6:53 pm


4 Matt April 26, 2013 at 7:23 pm

This video was fantastic! I appreciate the post clip with the cake soap demo. Seriously, this video made my day.

5 Waykno April 26, 2013 at 7:38 pm

OK, I’m being picky but unless I looked away a sec, the directions said to use the brush counter-clockwise while making lather, the video showed it clockwise. I don’t think it would actually matter though. On another note, I’ve heard some “authorities” say don’t use a disposable, get a real razor. To me, the blade that shaves is metal just like the “real” razor, so it shouldn’t matter. Or should it?

6 mantic59 April 26, 2013 at 7:51 pm

Damn…I am seriously jealous of that video. Well done!

7 pat April 26, 2013 at 8:11 pm

I never had much luck with a classic safety razor. Granted I didn’t really spend enough time to completely learn. I have better results from a shavette or better yet a quality modern cartridge job (1 blade is all you need, the rest is marketing). The main upgrade is the hot lather. Razor choice made very little difference here says this guy!

8 Pappy April 26, 2013 at 10:40 pm

You will get a closer shave with less cuts if you use Noxema®, a similar cold cream, or lotion that includes stearic acid and mineral oil . The blade will last much longer too.

9 Jude1952 April 26, 2013 at 11:26 pm

It has been sites like this that got me to try DE shaving. I have used a brush for over 20 years. While shaving with a DE does take longer, I mastered the technique, thanks to sites like AOM, quickly. I believe I have only had 3 nicks in about 20 DE shaves. I use my DE on weekends, when I am not rushed. Gradually, I may use it more frequently. One nice benefit…my 16 year old son noticed my DE on my shave brush stand and inquired …he thought it looked “cool”. So I need to get him started with a DE of his own.

10 Andrew April 27, 2013 at 1:47 am

I would recommend this video to a friend who is starting to shave or is frustrated with the cheap disposable cartiage razors.

11 Steve April 27, 2013 at 5:26 am

Great video. I have been shaving with a double edge for the past 3 years and absolutely love. I even got my 20 year old son to start shaving with a double edge. It puts a little bit of “me” time into my day. keep up the incredible work Brett and Company!

12 Robyn April 27, 2013 at 5:59 am

Oh my, I just laughed all the way through. Seriously though, well done and I loved the vintage feel. The narrator had the right voice. How did you make that video?

13 Norbert April 27, 2013 at 6:02 am

A great video,thanks for share.

14 Data April 27, 2013 at 6:51 am

I enjoy the DE razor.

Too bad I’m growing a manly ass beard right now.

15 John April 27, 2013 at 7:29 am

This is great. For a long time, I’ve felt that my safety razor does actually shave better than any of the disposable razors I’ve ever used, and actually leaves me with smoother skin that isn’t chafed. However, this all required mastering some technique, which took time. Certainly the first time I used it, I got worse performance than from the disposable kind to which I had become accustomed.

I should mention that I began working with the safety razor because it was actually cheaper. About ten years ago, a package of ten safety razors went for about 1.00, but now they are found at Kroger stores at 4.00. Occasionally they go on deep sale and I’ll buy out the store.

One remaining question I have about my specific safety razor, which I inherited, is how to adjust it. Below the head of the razor is a sleeve marked from 1 to 10. Rotating this sleeve changes the clearance underneath the edge of the razor. I’m pretty sure these were not uncommon, so what’s the heuristic?

16 the tomcat April 27, 2013 at 7:45 am

“Id say go back to the nuthouse you old quack!” hahahaha havent even finished the video and i had to quote that.

17 RJ April 27, 2013 at 8:08 am

I have been using a safety razor for a couple of years now,( a suggestion from this web site), a great investment, it has paid for it self several times over and I get a great shave. My grandpa only shaved at home on Sunday morning, the rest of the week he would go to the local barber shop, where they would pull his cup and soap off of the shelf, and he would get a hot shave with a straight razor.

18 Jim Sokolowski April 27, 2013 at 8:15 am

Still loving the Tellason Denim, size 32, 16.5 oz trousers… And I know they love me too.

19 Simon April 27, 2013 at 9:05 am

Great vid, thanks!

20 Fernando Martinez April 27, 2013 at 9:19 am

Excellent video gentlemen, could not be more entertaining and educational.

21 Daniel April 27, 2013 at 9:22 am

Nice video!

I agree with Jeff (Comment #2): your article was the reason I started using a safety razor a few years ago. I’m glad I switched. Although I still have my old electric razor for the days I am running behind (which I ALWAYS regret using, due to irritation), I mainly use my Merkur Futur safety razor. My grandson will be getting this razor someday.

22 Lance April 27, 2013 at 10:07 am

Where’s the straight edge!?!? Now that’s grandpa. Cool vid!

23 Steve April 27, 2013 at 10:48 am

Thanks, narrator-man!

24 Arthur Hovey April 27, 2013 at 11:01 am

I’ve always used my permanent razor. My father would never have approved of a plastic, disposable razor. Thank-you Brett.

25 Charles April 27, 2013 at 11:13 am

Great video. I bookmarked the original article some months ago, because I wanted to give the straight razor shave a try… still, I haven’t done anything since. I’m clicking on the Amazon links now and getting my kit today. Thanks.

26 Rks1157 April 27, 2013 at 11:53 am

I am a head shaver with a full beard. I don’t know that I’m willing to try a safety razor on my scalp just yet!

But, I did make the switch to a shaving brush and mug a long time ago, I use cake soap but I don’t work up the lather in my mug. I use the mug only for loading the brush, I have a small bowl that I use to whip it into shape. The reason for this is simple, it saves soap and creates a luxurious lather. Work the brush like an agitator in a washing machine, back and forth and the lather grows quickly.

27 Tim April 27, 2013 at 2:46 pm

Brilliant! I took to shaving this way after reading your article on here some years back. This video is a delight.

28 JeffC April 27, 2013 at 4:07 pm

I was encouraged to try traditional wet shaving largely by reading the original article (though I was already frustrated with the cost and gimmickry of multiple-blade cartridge systems). I’ve now been single-blade shaving for over 6 mos., using a vintage double-edge razor and a vintage injector razor, and I’m never going back.

Gentlemen, you really owe it to yourselves to try this very manly personal hygiene ritual. There’s a bit of a learning curve, but there is plenty of available instruction in cyberspace, including blogs, forums and YouTube videos. Do some research, then step right in: you’ll love it.

@ John (post #15)— twisting the ring on an adjustable razor changes the blade’s exposure from the razor’s head, causing the razor to shave in a “mild” (low number/little exposure) manner, or a more “aggressive” (higher number/more blade exposure) manner. Experiment, and set it where it is the most comfortable and effective for your beard type and skin sensitivity. Also, be aware that two different brands of blades may work best on your face with the razor set at a different numbers.

Love these retro instructional videos!

29 Tom April 27, 2013 at 5:41 pm

Hey, I have that alarm clock!

30 Jeremy C. April 27, 2013 at 6:32 pm

I used to just dry shave with cartridge razor thinking that “this was the only way to get a really close shave”. But sometimes I use to get blotches on my neck (not little bumps like razor burn, but spots the size of a pimple). Turns out my skin was having a reaction to the residue left by the lubricating strip on the razor head. After solely shaving with an electric razor for a while, which never really shaves close enough, I found this site, and decided to give DE razor shaving a try. Picked up two razors and some packs of blades at a garage sale, got a mug, brush and some shaving soap at the drug store, and I’ve never looked better in my life. Haven’t had to go back to the dermatologist either.

Thanks Brett for the article, and thanks Jordan for the video!

31 Mike D April 27, 2013 at 9:52 pm

Great article and video! The narrator was spot-on.

But WHY oh why would he be using Murray’s?? I know I wasn’t the only one who spotted it… he would be much better served with some Imperial classic pomade or a similar product.

Keep up the great work!

32 Ted Larson April 27, 2013 at 10:58 pm

Great video. However when I am not rushed, I like using my straight razor but for down and dirty quick shaving (and that is a relevant term) my DE works great. The best part is that my DE once belonged to my father while he served in WWII. How cool is that?

33 Joshua April 28, 2013 at 12:19 am

Great video, guys! Actually, no, it’s SWELL!
I started wet shaving at 16 but quit after a year or so. Just started again a couple of years ago and will never go back to disposable safety razors. The little extra time is worth it.

I also wanted to say that too few people mention the incredible savings that wet shaving gets you. The razor itself will last the rest of your life if you take care of it, and a ten dollar package of blades lasts me several months (I have a pretty thin beard), whereas I used to spend ten dollars (or more) every month on disposable razors.

34 PK April 28, 2013 at 8:57 am

Nice video, it would be a bonus if he actually stretched the skin before chopping away. If I shave like the guy in the video with my DE or shavette….well…there would be blood!

35 Victor April 28, 2013 at 9:30 am

Solid effort lads! Perfect amount of fun and instruction.

36 Sean H April 28, 2013 at 10:41 am

Youtube users “mantic59″ and “geofatboy” have AMAZING tutorial videos on shaving with DE safety and straight razors… everything form introductions to advanced shaving methods. Their videos helped me a lot when I started wet shaving with my DE safety razor.

37 David Wainwright April 28, 2013 at 12:11 pm

Awesome!!! I’d be much obliged if you could do one for the straight razor as well!

38 Jordan Crowder April 28, 2013 at 3:55 pm

Thanks everyone for the feedback. Hoping this will help further the gospel of the wet shave! And thanks @mantic59, you’re videos were a great inspiration for this.

39 Kin K. Lam April 28, 2013 at 5:42 pm

Tellason Straight Leg 12.5 oz jeans look very cool.

40 Andrew April 28, 2013 at 6:27 pm

I was always curious about shaving this way. After this video, no way. I hate shaving because of the time involved. This looks like I would have to get up a half hour earlier ! I’ll stick with my mach-? and beard buster. Also I’m a contractor so the stubble look fits my uniform.

41 Jordan Crowder April 28, 2013 at 8:57 pm

@Andrew You can still use a safety razor with your beard buster, I’ve done it in a hurry before. You can do as little or as much as you want. There are many times when I don’t use a brush but just run the cream onto my face. You’ll still get a better cheaper shave with a safety razor. A pack of 100 DE blades is half the price of 4 cartridges for your Mach 3.

42 Steve April 28, 2013 at 9:19 pm

I’m not yet convinced on DE shaving, and here’s why…

I took an interest after seeing the previous AOM articles. I have very sensitive skin and was attracted by all the testimony that said it gives much less irritation. And… that it just looked cooler. And maybe that it saves money…

I got an Edwin Jagger DE89L and nice brush and cream. On my first shave, I tore my face apart. By 20 shaves, I was no longer ripping myself up, but it certainly left my face a LOT redder than my Gillette Fusion, took 3 times as long, and I was still unable to shave my chin and bottom lip – the skin always seems to nick. Oh, or under my nose – you know how hard it is to get that huge metal DE head under your nostrils?

Still, I thought it looked cool, and I figured after a few more weeks I would have improved my technique enough to tame some of the irritation.

Unfortunately, at that point my shaver broke. The screw that holds the head just snapped right off. Just from tapping on the side of the sink! I was only on my 2nd blade!!!

Looking around on the net, I found this actually isn’t all that uncommon. No matter how beautiful or “quality” you Merkhur or EJ may look, all modern DE shavers are made of “pot metal” which is a flimsy zinc alloy prone to cracking.

So, alongside not being as gentle as my cartridge Gillette, DE shavers can’t even claim they are high quality.

Everyone counts the cost savings of DE shaving – sure the initial outlay is more, but you save on the blades right? But if you have to splurge US$40 every couple of months (or even year, at best), those supposed savings are just a joke. Sure, my Fusion may look like a gimmicky plastic POS, but I’ve NEVER had a cartridge razor break in my decades of shaving.

My last reason for being doubtful is that I don’t really see the use of brush and cream being much better than canned foam. Granted, it is probably the coolest thing about DE shaving. But it takes forever to get a good lather, and to be honest, the feeling of the brush on my face is kinda prickly (yes, I bought a GOOD badger brush). “But canned foam is full of chemicals”? Whatever – so is soap. My canned foam makes a beautiful lather in zero time, and my face feels fine.

I’m now waiting on EJ to confirm if they will replace – they should as they have for many, many others who had the same problem, yet I’ve been waiting 2 weeks now…
I will go back to DE shaving when it arrives, but if the irritation continues, I’m not going to stick with it for longer than 2-3 months – or until the shaver breaks again, whichever comes first.

43 Oliver April 28, 2013 at 11:30 pm

Dear art of Manliness. I would like the ceramic speaker system. Regards Oliver
- by the way, your Weppage is awesome!

44 jay April 29, 2013 at 1:13 am

Great job on the video! I started DE shaving after reading an article on this site a few years back. Shaving this way does take a bit longer, but…

I actually look forward to getting up and shaving in the morning, instead of treating it like another pain in the butt at the start of another crappy workday. The few extra minutes it takes to prepare the razor and brush, along with the extra focus required to not slice off a chunk of my nose, wakes me up just a little bit more and is a calming morning ritual.

Throw on a little aftershave to get the blood flowing, and I’m feeling better about the rest of the day. Oh, and my wife always catcalls me out the door after a DE razor shave. She never does it with an electric or disposable. She can just tell, I guess.

45 Justin April 29, 2013 at 1:41 am


46 Chad G April 29, 2013 at 9:08 am

Great post. Just thought I’d add a little time and money saving tip. Instead of shaving soap I use straight mineral oil and shave right after a shower. Don’t need to spend 10 minutes making lather and works great.

47 Troy April 29, 2013 at 9:19 am

I’ve been wet shaving for years and using a DE for the last 6 years. For those starting out, realize that it could take over a year to really get it down. Be patient and experiment. Every man’s face is different and my set up may work best for me, but chew your face up.

To Steve: Hey, if a can of goo and a cartridge razor works best for you, then go for it. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. But be patient and work at it. I believe it will pay off down the road however long that may be. Like I said it took me over a year to get it down.

When I started using a DE I told myself and others that it would save me money in the long run. To be honest, I have no idea if I have saved any money over the years, however I will say I love the ritual and the quality of shave I have learned to give myself. I still experiment with different soaps and creams to mix it up a bit and I think that is why I enjoy it as much as I do. Keeps things fresh.

Great video Brett!

PS: I prefer to face lather….

48 Nick April 29, 2013 at 10:07 am

Great video.

I am a big fan of DE safety razors. I’ve been shaving with one for two years and will not go back. I bought a box of 200 blades when I started for $50, and two years later, I still have 100 blades. It definitely pays for itself. I am a fan for a few reasons:

1. Using a good shave soap and brush really cleanses the skin. I have not had a single pimple on my face since I started using this. Even if you do not switch to a safety razor, you should switch to shaving soap and a brush.

2. It is easier on the skin. After learning the proper technique, I can get a very smooth shave. Must better than I ever did with the modern razors.

3. The razor feels good in your hand. I bought a Merkur, and it is heavy and feels very good in your hand.

A couple things I would add:

1. A safety razor does take longer. I always use two doses of shave soap and two passes, and many times three. I compare it to an automatic v. manual transmission. However, it feels better.

2. Get a good shave soap. If found a lady that makes handmade shavesoaps and after shaves on etsy. You should check her out on etsy at TheManCave.

3. Change your blade weekly. I find one blade lasts me about a week. You may need to change more frequently depending on your whiskers. But a sharp blade is always important.

4. Experiment with shaving with/against the grain. My first pass, I usually go across the grain. My second pass, I go against the grain. If I do a third pass, it is always against the grain. You will have to play with this for best results.

5. Let the razor do the work. Do not press, just let the weight of the razor do the work. Pressing too hard will cause nick and cuts.

49 Jameel April 29, 2013 at 11:33 am

I agree with a lot of what has already been mentioned in the comments. Here are my personal observations:
1) Shaving with a brush and real shaving cream is probably the best change you can make. I’ve had a lot less irritation, and it feels a lot nicer. It takes a bit longer, but it’s worth it IMO.

2) I still use my Mach 3.

3) There have been many discussions on whether it’s better to build a hot lather vs. a cool one in terms of opening the pores on your skin. I just match my mood or the weather outside. A cool later feels great in the summer.

4) Spend a good chunk of time lathering your face. You want to get all around the hairs, and it also helps exfoliate the skin.

5) I usually make 3 passes – with the grain, across the grain, and against the grain. It usually makes a difference on your neck, where hair seems to grow in every direction.

Happy Shaving!

50 Jordan Crowder April 29, 2013 at 2:12 pm

@Steve, I won’t argue with you about your preference for shaving, I truly understand that each man has a different preference and skin sensitivities. I however have a different experience with the cost of wetshaving… I got my razor and brush for $40 as my first initial purchase. A $10 tube of Proraso lasts me a year, the $100 pack of blades I bought for $13 lasts me two years. Personally my razor or brush hasn’t had any problems in the past 3 years. That’s $16.50 a year for me for cream and razors. Even with disposables and dollar store creams that’s still an exponentially better deal. Now, if it becomes a hobby and you start collecting razors, soaps, brushes like many wetshavers do, that’s a whole different story. I personally haven’t fallen victim to that, haha.

51 Gary April 29, 2013 at 4:01 pm

Are the really short strokes or “pawing” showed on this video less irratating than a longer stroke? I don’t mean 1 stroke per side of face, but I usually take a bout 4 strokes per side on each pass. The video had about 20 small strokes per side of face in a constant pawing like motion. What’s the concensus?

52 Jeff Brady April 29, 2013 at 8:51 pm

I’m wondering the same thing as Gary (#51). I saw some of geofatboy’s clips and he did fewer, longer strokes rather than the multiple, quick ones.

Either way, SOOO good to see this video. The article is what got me to switch in the first place.

@Steve who had the many concerns with wet shaving. I have VERY sensitive skin, but Proraso’s line of sensitive skin products has been amazing for me. I use longer strokes than he showed in the video, but so long as I shave once every 4 days or so I don’t have to worry about neck burn or anything. Good luck.

53 Vin Pen April 30, 2013 at 1:07 am

I guess one should be old enough to start to shave with DE razor. Patience is needed to master the art of shaving, which I think young men lack these days.

54 Nic April 30, 2013 at 10:09 am

Over the last 6 years of marriage, my wife has used my Mach III countless times for her legs. After watching this video and reading the comments, I went online and purchased a Muhle R89 Grande. Maybe now I my face can have the shave it deserves. I doubt my wife will touch the DE!

55 Mike April 30, 2013 at 10:33 am

Great video, just bought a DE yesterday and shaved last night so I wouldn’t have to rush this morning. I love it! No more Mach 3 for me.

56 Jim April 30, 2013 at 7:42 pm

Parker 99R, same type I have! I’ve been using it for a year and I’ll never go back to that rusty butter knife kind of shaving! I also use that shaving soap, its cheap but highly effective! good lather and hydrates the face, it also smells great! Practically me, but my clubmasters are sunglasses.

57 Brandon April 30, 2013 at 11:30 pm

To be completely honest, my morning ritual lately has consisted of me swearing up a storm (something I reserve for only extreme irritation) and muttering that I’m going to punch Brett McKay square in the face. I love this website, I love the articles, and I love the message. And when I read the original article, I was sold on old school shaving. So I purchased a Merkur shaving kit for Christmas complete with badger brush and mug.

I have used every technique that I’ve seen described on this website (or at least I feel like I have). And still every time I shave, my neck turns into hamburger meat. As an image-conscious young man in college, this is getting ridiculous. I would love to be able to shave everyday, but (correct me if I’m wrong), it’s impossible with the vintage shave.

So what do y’all suggest? Should I continue shaving with it every single day in the hopes that I’ll develop some manly scar tissue and callous on my neck? Should I dump way more money than I was spending on normal shaving stuff and invest in pre-shave oil, and some crazy expensive after shave for sensitive skin? I really really really want the safety razor to work for me, because let’s be honest, it’s freakin awesome, but I’m struggling over here.

(oh and how many times can you use a safety razor before discarding? nobody ever mentions that)

58 Steve May 1, 2013 at 8:53 am

@ Troy and Jordan Crowder:
I can’t argue with the economics “in theory”. But if the reality is that your $50 razor is going to break after a few taps or a drop in the sink, and you need to buy a new one every 6 months (hell, even every 3 years) then it’s going to work out way cheaper to stick with your Gillette.

Yeah, maybe a year is needed to get really good at it. Hopefully I will get a chance to find out… But I would say to those with sensitive skin looking for a less irritating shave, I’m not sure you’re gonna find it in a DE shaver. At least not until after a LONG time of practice.

One point I will give is that I found my blade (Derby, already a soft one) actually became more forgiving after a few shaves. Maybe just that I got better, but I actually think a blade gets “worn in”.

59 T. Haas May 3, 2013 at 12:16 pm

Jordan cracks me up. Good stuff.

60 Sam statler May 10, 2013 at 11:25 pm

the video is spot on, using a safety razor and old fashioned shaving techniques takes the burden out of shaving and makes it a part of the morning ritual. I shave everyday due to my job and switching to this way of shaving has helped improve the quality of my morning. I went with a merkur razor and found a sampler of blades online. If you can find a “the art of shaving” store, those guys are very helpful for picking out the necessary accessories.

61 Geeza May 14, 2013 at 8:47 am

Was entertaining, but seriously, if he was intimidated at the prospect of daily shaving, how in the name of Zeus is he going to embrace the 10 step process required for DE shaving??? Honestly, the modern razor like Proglide has so many engineering marvels, it actually cuts hair so close, its below the skin (google hysteresis).

62 Mike Simons June 3, 2013 at 3:06 pm

Good Video I been doing ole school shaving for over 5 years now thanks to AOT.

63 Erik June 6, 2013 at 12:02 pm

I know this is a late post, but I wanted to share my experience, and answer some questions.

First off, I have been shaving with a DE, brush, and traditional lather for 4 years. My introduction to wet shaving was watching Mantic59′s (Mark) videos on YouTube. My best tip I can offer is if you are having trouble mastering the DE, or are interested in starting wet shaving, have a look at his videos;
He will teach you proper technique, and point out some of the bad habits or foibles that can hinder a man from getting a good shave. He keeps it light and entertaining while doing it too.

Some answers to the questions here;

It doesn’t matter which way you swirl your brush (think the video said clock wise, and counter clockwise). I build my lather in a mug with creams, and for the most part I rotate the brush clockwise. I also find giving the brush a few pumps while building the lather helps too.

“Why are the cheap disposable razors a problem when metal is just metal?” Because metal isn’t just metal. Different metallurgys, and blade coatings can be used. The company that sells you a package of 5 disposable razors for $3 at the drug store isn’t going to use the best metallurgy for the job. Not only that, but the blades in those cheapie disposables aren’t going to have the most precise edge, and variations in how the blade(s) are set in the plastic head can exist. I admit I have used cheap disposables in the past. Some of the handles in the pack gave me an OK shave that left little irritation. Others felt like they lit my face on fire. These were from the same package of disposables! Consistency is one of the keys for getting a comfortable shave every time.

For Brandon;
No need to develop a manly callous. Time to re-evaluate your prep, technique, and hardware since something isn’t jiving. May be best to check out Mantic’s videos as he does discuss the issues that may be contributing to a bad shave. One thing I will say is if you are using Merkur blades, most of the people on the shave forums think they give a horrible shave. The blades you buy in the drug store or grocery store usually aren’t much better. All blades are not created equal. Manufacturers make blades out of all different materials, with different tolerances, different grinds, and different coatings. There can even be different blade types made by one manufacturer, such as the Gillette 7 O’clock series of DE blades. While one type of blade may give one guy an excellent shave. That same blade may give another guy a pink shaving cream shave. YOU, and your razor can be a factor in to how well a blade works. You may want to get a sampler pack of different blades to see if you can nail down a brand/type of blade that works with you. eBay, and most of the traditional shaving merchants offer these samplers for minimal cost.

For Steve;
There is a difference between canned creams, and traditional lather building.
You’re using allot more water in making a traditional lather than what’s present in canned cream. Your face likes water, your body is for the mostly made of water. Water is your faces friend. Some of the crap they put in canned cream isn’t. Even if some of the stuff listed in the ingredients list for your average wet shaving soap sounds odd, it’s still allot better for your skin than some of the stuff found in canned cream. If canned cream does the trick for you, that’s great. If I carefully prep before using canned cream, I can get away with it. But nothing I’ve found in a can could compare to the slick glide, and manly smells that a good number of the wet shaving creams and soaps offer.

Also, if you are having a hard time lathering a cream, there’s a few things to consider. Do you have hard water? Hard water can pose difficulty with allot soaps and creams out there. If by chance you are trying to use William’s Mug soap, getting it to lather with hard water is both an art and a science. If you have hard water, and all else fails, you could always pick up a gallon of distilled water at the grocery store that should solve the issue. Another option is to use a latherless cream. There are many out there. Cremo is one you may be able to find at the drug store, and it works pretty good.

Speed of lathering also depends on your technique, water, cream, and brush. With a decent cream, and my badger or synthetic brush, I can whip up an excellent lather for a 3 or more pass shave in about a minute. With a cheap Van Der Hagen boar brush, and cheap soap, make it a minute and a half to two minutes. This is with fairly hard water too. It’s all about practice, and finding the right soap that works with your water and equipment.

As for using a brush. Brushes raise the hairs, exfoliate the skin, and get the cream into all the nooks and crannies. If you’re uncomfortable with your brush, get a different brush. There are literally hundreds of different brushes out there, and you won’t need to spend a fortune on a good one either. Looking around in the wet shaving forums such as Badger and Blade, or Shave my Face should yield reviews on a brush you may be interested in. You can also get rid of the brush you don’t like on the forums. Many of the guys have no problems with buying a used brush.

As far as breaking your razor. My suggestion is not to tap it on the sink. It’s a precision piece of equipment that you don’t chuck in the trash after 4-5 shaves like you do with a cartridge. Plus if the blade retainer/doors, or safety bar get’s bent, it can change how the razor holds the blades. That could all translate into either more passes per shave required if there’s less blade exposure, or lots of red if there’s too much blade exposure. I find that swishing the razor through a sink of water in between passes does an excellent job at removing the lather and stubble from the head. When your done shaving, open the razor a bit, and rinse the head under hot water to remove any accumulated lather. A dip in some alcohol works good too. After that, shake the razor out to dry it.

All my razors are vintage Gillette’s, most of which are from the 50′s. I don’t think they were made any better than your EJ, but they’ve lasted 50+ years, and still give a stellar shave.

Just my .02¢

64 jd June 9, 2013 at 11:05 am

This video almost makes me want to try this again. Your site did convince me to finally try the hot towel barber shave which I treat myself to with my haircut on alternate Saturdays. Best time ever. However, the last time I used a double edge was as a teenage camp counselor. I couldn’t take my electric razor to camp so I took my father’s double edge. My dad had passed years before so had no instruction and it was a disaster. I’m lucky not to have permanent scars. That was several decades ago and thanks to you guys-I just might have to man up and dig out Dad’s razor and give it another shot. Thanks for keeping the AoM alive!

65 Jeff June 10, 2013 at 8:03 am

More rubbish.

I have sensitive skin and a tough beard.

The modern 4 or 5 blade razors require me to go over any given area once, sometimes twice, –> no razzor burn

With the 2 blade ones I have to go over each area multiple times –> razor burn

66 Chris June 10, 2013 at 5:11 pm

This video got me wanting to shave the old fashion style. Heck, this site has me wanting to do a lot of things the more traditional way. I purchased the items in the video description and to my dismay, the Parker brush does not properly fit the Conk Stand.

67 Jamie June 13, 2013 at 1:31 pm

I would definitely check out The site is awesome and Lee, the owner, is super helpful. Plus, he has a ton of amazing products!

68 Gary R W July 9, 2013 at 10:36 pm

I’ve recently converted to the DE and will NEVER go back. I’ve relented to using the canned shaving cream before work during the week. No real issues to speak of yet. I DO use it to shave my head twice a week and as my co-workers and wife can tell you the learning curve was steep, but worth it. Amazon routinely sells 100 packs of blades for 10 bucks. If you shop via amazon throw one of these in your cart as you go to save on shipping seperately. Just my two cents.

69 Steve N August 9, 2013 at 9:21 am

This site is awesome, going to get my safety razor today. If Ron Swanson had a website, THIS would be it!

70 Oz August 12, 2013 at 9:30 pm

Lots of good comments here and not to beat a dead horse, I just had my first shave tonight with the Merkur 23C and I had to share my experience:

W-o-w. Never going back to disposables.


71 Carl D August 16, 2013 at 4:59 pm

I started shaving this way since the video came out. Love it.
I find it doesn’t really take any longer than my old shaving method (Barbasol and Mach 3). I just integrate it with my morning routine in a slightly different way. I’m in the Army and go to PT every morning so I don’t shower until later, but have to be shaven before. Softening my beard in the shower isn’t practical.

I Get up and start soaking the brush in my mug, take a pee, take the dog out to pee, get a cup of coffee, feed the dog, return to bathroom, wet my face for a minute, take a drink of coffee, wet my hair and comb it, wet my face again, take a drink of coffee, whip up a good lather and apply, admire my manly foamed up face, pass # one with the hair, rinse face, drink coffee, apply lather, pass # two with the hair again paying special attention to the tricky jaw line and under chin areas, rinse, coffee again (cup one is about gone at this point), check my face for any spots I may missed / don’t feel close enough, apply a little lather with just my finger and shave the missed spots against the hair, rinse cold water, splash on some Aqua Velva or Clubman (mood dependent), finish coffee and go to kitchen for cup two.
I started by getting up 15 minutes earlier than before, but found I don’t really need the extra time. I use the extra minutes to have for another cup of coffee and play with the dog in the backyard before heading out.

72 Adam Richards September 5, 2013 at 4:47 pm

Cheapo (and not so cheap) disposable multi blade jobs and electric razors just don’t work for me. I’ll stick with my 1959 Gillette flair tip Super Speed. Found it at a yard sale years ago for a couple bucks, cleaned it up and use it every day to every couple days. My current preference is Wilkinson Sword blades.

73 Christian September 11, 2013 at 8:40 pm

Yep, this about sums it up. Great video! I started wet shaving about two months ago and it has become an obsession. I look forward to it every day. It is a soothing, zenlike, amazing experience. I wish I hadn’t wasted so many years shaving with cartridges. :(

74 Gerhard Brits September 18, 2013 at 2:28 am

If you only do one thing before you die, it MUST be to get a shaving foam brush! I recently bought one, and I will never be without it again. Of course you will need shaving soap, and I have a great recipe. Grate 1 bar of your favourite soap (Finest Grating possible). Add 2 Table sp Baby Oil (or if your wife is not looking, 2 Table sp of her expensive Coconut Oil – it smells better). Now add 2 Table sp body or facial cream (Once again much better with nice smelling cream from the wife’s shelve…) Add 1 teaspoon Dettol/Savlon to prevent shaving rash. Mix well. Press flat in container – I use a small butter pot. Now you can wet the brush, stir up a nice foam and apply liberally. Afetr shaving, rinse well with cold water and apply aftershave. Try this, and you will never go back to canned shaving foam/gel again.

75 Austin Pohl September 23, 2013 at 11:11 am

Do you have to lather up more than once or do you just pass the razor a couple times?

76 TexLex September 27, 2013 at 12:59 pm

Very interesting video. I personally found that I get much smoother and less irritating shave with the Gilette tripple razor (Mach 3). Anyone out there have the same experience, or am I missing out on a smoother shave with DE for some error on my part? Cheers.

77 Jefferson October 17, 2013 at 9:45 am

This is a great video. Very informative and fun. It has all the ingredients.

78 JB December 17, 2013 at 10:35 pm

I use a Mach 3, Williams mug shaving soap, and Aqua Velva. I get much closer shaves coming out of the shower than if i just wet my face. I have to say, there is something about a classic aftershave that gives you confidence throughout the day.

79 Lina January 29, 2014 at 1:16 pm

Don’t know about shaving! But just love those browline glasses :)

P.S: Great video, wish i could do something similar myself, well… at least i feel motivated :)

80 G.Ledesma February 6, 2014 at 4:52 am

Is there anyway we can touch on differences in double edge blades?

81 Aman March 3, 2014 at 1:00 pm

does anyone know the song in the background or the type of music it is? Would really appreciate it.

82 Erin April 13, 2014 at 7:51 pm

This was so interesting. I was looking for how to shave your face because I was just reading how more and more women are shaving their facial hair by running a sharp blade over it. Apparently, legend has it that women long ago like Cleopatra use to shave their face.

It is now gaining popularity with women. It’s done with an eyebrow razor. It’s called dermaplaning. Since most women have peach fuzz on their face, it works well. I wonder if an old-fashioned safety razor used in this manner would also do the trick.

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