I’ve written on this subject numerous times as general grooming articles, like the advantages of ditching the cartridge razor.However, I’ve never written to you, explicitly, about why you should shave correctly.
The word “correctly” is a loaded term. When I advise you to shave correctly, I mean you should use a brush, classic shaving cream (nothing out of an aerosol can, nothing made of a neon gel), and a double edge safety razor or straight edge. This process, while certainly more time-intensive than using a ten-blade-gel-strip-included-with-GPS-functionality razor, we don’t always do things in the interest of expedience.
When you first start shaving, I will certainly start you out on a cartridge razor, as these are perfect for beginners. They are almost foolproof, require no finesse, and are easily accessible. You need to learn the strokes and funny mouth shapes which pull your skin in various ways before you upgrade–learn to bunt before you learn to swing.
Once you have that down, come talk to me, and we’ll see about using one of my old razors. Congratulations, your first inheritance. I’ll teach you the ins and outs of using it, but for now, you should ask why, not only how (see what I did there? These letters are a seamless web). So, why? Why turn a 5 minute chore into a 20 minute process?
There’s a reason that men continue to wet shave correctly with traditional tools, and it isn’t all about posterity.
I guarantee you that in the hands of an expert barber (or experience self-shaver), you will get a better shave with one blade than your ten blade contraption. You’ll wind up with less irritation, a closer shave, and skin that isn’t dried out. Traditional wet shaving keeps your skin moisturized and lathered up in a more natural way, as opposed to using some strange gel that is made to only work with your electric razor. It also won’t wreck havoc because one blade across your skin is inherently gentler than a huge cartridge. Lastly, it feels so much better. Wouldn’t you rather use a warm lather over some warm water than some cold gel you squirt out and slap on your face?
There’s a reason men continue to wet shave in spite of the cartridge razor–it feels great.
Traditional wet shaving is much cheaper than the newfangled methods.
Alright, so you aren’t sold on the feeling? How about the cost? It’s demonstrated time and time again that despite the high upfront cost of buying a nice razor, the cost is eventually eclipsed by the long-term savings. I can get 200 razors for less than $10, but I can’t get 5 cartridges for less than $25 at the store. What is that about? Cartridge razors are for suckers–suckers who don’t shop around, and suckers who are slaves to convenience.
It will make your father proud.
I’m mostly joking on this one, but not entirely. I’ll admit, I got started in the traditional wet shaving scene fairly late (early 20s) because before that time I never really shaved. I’ve never had a full beard as a result of genes (sorry, you might be the same way unless your grandfather’s swarthy Italian genes kick in), so shaving was never really a “thing” that I did. I used to drag a razor over a few parts of my face and I was done with it. Well, as I got older, more facial hair came in despite puberty’s end many years ago, and I started to look for alternatives to the cartridge. Alas, here we are.
I’d love for you to skip all that and pick up with this advice where I left off. Start with a cartridge for half a year or so, then let’s step up to the big leagues. I promise you’ll feel more manly and confident with yourself in the critical teenage years–after all, do your friends drag a straight edge across their face at 7:30 in the morning? Yeah, didn’t think so.