Sunday, October 05, 2008

The Quest for the Perfect Shave

At some point when Emily was pregnant, I became convinced that the
baby would be a girl. I admit that this is an irrational thing
to believe without any evidence, especially since I figured it out in
a dream. However, the Chinese calendar method confirmed my belief, so I think it
was fine.

Anyway, once I “knew” I was going to have a little girl, I had some
changes to make. Up to that point, I’d been shaving in the shower, if
I shaved at all. I didn’t really like shaving, and I hated spending
ridiculous amounts of money on blade cartidges, so I’d keep using one
well past any reasonable amount of sharpness. Shaving in the shower
was the only way I could get through it.

How was my little girl going to watch Daddy shave, if Daddy always shaved hidden away in the shower?

And so began my quest. It’s a quest some men spend their entire lives
on, and other men abandon as a waste of time. For me, it’s been fun,
and saved money, and made Ellie not scream when she kisses me.

So, if you’re interested in starting the quest, your journey begins here:

I sat at the kitchen table and watched these, and a bunch of the guy’s
other videos. In fact, I just watched them all again in the background
while I wrote this post.

I decided that I was going to make the investment in a good safety
razor, because it would allow me to have ridiculously cheap blades.
(As an example, 30 Gillette Sensor Excel cartridges
on Amazon go for $38.99, while 30 Feather Hi-Stainless

go for $17.25. Feathers are some of the most expensive blades
available, and are still 40% of the cost of cartridges.)

After some research, I settled on the Merkur ‘Hefty

available for about $40. You’ll never have to replace it. You can
also find great razors on eBay, or in the old guy down the street’s
bathroom. Ask him, he may have a spare.

Next, I needed a brush. I was serious about this, so I spent a little
more than I needed to and got a nice badger hair brush. You can
certainly get by with the brush you’ll find at Walmart, but you may
want to splurge a little. I think I got my brush from Classic
at the same time as I bought my
razor, but I’m not positive.

I bought a latte mug at some discount store. It’s wide, so I can get
a rich lather, and it’s heavy, so it retains heat. For my birthday my
Mom got me a nicer mug with a pewter base, which is really nice, but
sometimes I still use my $1 mug. Don’t go nuts on this part.

Let’s see, razor, brush, mug … oh, I need soap. Traditional
wet-shaving enthusiasts don’t usually use shaving cream or gel from a
spray can, but instead use shave soap and make the lather in the mug.
I won’t go into too much detail on how I picked what I use, which is
Taylor of Old Bond Street, Lemon and Lime flavor. Flavor? Scent?
Whatever. I spent a remarkable amount of time picking the shave soap
I wanted, but I’ve been very happy with it.

Finally we come to sharp things. There are a lot of blades out
there. Some are good, some are bad, and only a handful are right for
you. I personally love the Feather Hi-Stainless blades made in Japan
by a company that used to make ninja swords, or so I hear. You may
find them too sharp. You may love the Personnas from Israel, and
they’ll scratch me up and leave me red and irritated. For that
reason, I recommend you get a sampler pack. I got one of
but I don’t remember
what size I got. I know it had Feathers, Dorcos, Treet Blues, so it
was probably the #3. Maybe he changes them out. I don’t know, I love
the Feathers. I started at the bottom, hated most of them, found a
few I could live with, and then got an amazing shave with the
Feathers. The Dorco from Korea works well for me, too. The point is,
you have to try, you have to be patient, and you have to be willing to
bleed some, and be red and irritated some. This takes work, but it is
highly rewarding.

Dorco blade


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