For millions of men, the daily act of shaving… sucks. We tear our faces up with overpriced razors with blades that go dull quickly and foams that numb the face, deal with ingrown hairs and irritation, and more often than not have stubble within a few hours. That’s the reality that so many of us wake up to every day. It doesn’t have to work like that, though. Shaving doesn’t have to suck.
There are communities on the web that pride themselves on shaving the old-fashioned way, with a safety razor (or straightedge!), a brush, a high-quality cream or soap, and a combination of aftershaves selected with meticulous planning. The group eschews the multi-bladed monsters with their overpriced refills and the cans of foam and gels that mostly numb the face and don’t really help shaving that much… but…
The dirty secret in the “wet shaving community” is that the multi-blade systems work, and for many people work reasonably well. They can produce a clean and irritation-free shave. For many people, a quick shave and shower IS a part of life, and they’re good with that.
The problem is that it doesn’t work for everyone. The multi-bladed razors leave me irritated and with horrible ingrown hair issues due to my fairly sensitive skin and a very thick beard. That combination is disaster when combined with the drugstore razors. For me, wetshaving isn’t something I do because I enjoy it (I do enjoy it, but that’s secondary). Wetshaving is something I do because I HAVE to do it. I use a brush and a cream or soap because the exfoliation and beard softening effects help to prevent ingrown hairs. I use a good aftershave balm and witch hazel because they help to repair the damage done by scraping a sharp blade across my skin. I use a safety razor because it efficiently slices the hair in my beard off closely to the skin without going too far.
For many, that morning chore of shaving and just dealing with the pain of irritation and ingrowns is something they just don’t know how to avoid. For me, it was an accidental click on a blog that led me in the direction of wetshaving. One thing led to another, and over the couple of years I’ve been doing it I’ve now acquired creams, soaps, aftershaves, razors, blades, brushes… and it’s all been a good experience. Shaving went from something I dreaded to a way to kickstart my day in the right way. Rainy and cold outside? Sandalwood soap and aftershave. Hot and humid? It’s a Proraso shave, baby! Face irritated from a bad shave recently? Speick cures all.
The kicker, for me, has been that it doesn’t add that much time to my morning rituals around my shower. Instead of a 3 minute shave I might take up to 7 or 8 minutes. And it’s WORTH IT. I save money by not blowing through the 15 dollar cartridge refill packs every week or two, I save my face with good products, and I feel pretty good starting the day. If you haven’t tried wetshaving yet, there’s no time like the present.
Jeremy is a wet shaving expert and blogger. He runs popular wet shaving blog Punkrockshaving.blogspot.com.