I used to hate shaving. HATE IT. Sensitive skin always gave me irritation every time and as a result, I only shaved about every 4 days and just went scruffy. A lot of the guys I speak to feel the same way. In May, I got into traditional wet shaving. For those who don't know, this is the system of shaving from yesteryear. It involves either a single double edge safety razor, a shave bowel and brush, and a shaving soap or good shaving cream. I probably sound like an infomercial about now but I can assure you, I am writing this to people who may hate shaving as much as I did as this style of shaving has made my life much more comfortable.
First of all let me give the reasons to consider switching to this type of shaving:
1. Its wwwwaaaayyyy cheaper-When I was shaving with my Fusion Razor, I paid about $10 for the handle and first blade and from their anywhere from $10-$15 on packages of 4 cartridges when needed. I even saw a pack of 8 "on sale" yesterday for $30. That is about $2.50 to,in some cases, over $4.00 a cartridge. The double edge safety razor blades on average cost about .20-.50 per blade. I just got 100 blades for $10 off of Amazon. They are cheaper and sharper than cartridge blades. You can get a nice nice safety razor for around $25-$30 off of Amazon. I know $25-$30 versus about $10 seems steep, but keep in mind this is a razor made generally of chrome vs. plastic and they will last you the rest of your life. (I can and will someday give mine to my son). Even if you don't want to spend that much, you can always do what I did and hit up some antique stores. I bought my 1970 Gillette Super Speed for 6 buck from an antique store and after about 30 minutes of disinfecting and scrubbing it down with household stuff such as toothpaste, dishwashing liquid, and boiling water, it looks great and will still last me the rest of my life if I take care of it (which I plan on doing). The shaving soaps and creams (not chemical goop you shoot out of a can) can range anywhere from $2-$25 for the higher end stuff. Shoot for about $10 for a decent product. once again do not be scared of the price as this stuff should last you anywhere from 6-12 months and is much better for your face than the dispensed gels and foams.
2. It is better for the environment-You waste a lot of plastic with cartridge razors from the packaging of the razor itself to the blade holder to the packaging of the cartridges plus the cartridges themselves. Safety razors and blades all come in very minimal packing with little plastic. You toss a metal blade and small paper cover when the blade wears out (bout every 5-6 shaves for me).
3. One blade is better than 3, 4, and 5- Yep, its true. The reason most get irritation is because all of those blades cut way too deep into the skin. This is where razor rash and ingrown hairs come from. A single edge blade is made to go 3-4 passes without giving irritation as it takes off a little bit at a time so you can shave with the grain, across the grain and against the grain without shaving too deep. Most guys I know tear up their face after just going with and against the grain with a Fusion or Mach 3 because, once again, it is overkill for your skin. Plus the blades in a cartridge are set at a certain angel, while the safety razor gives you a bit more freedom in slightly adjusting the angle as needed.
Some things about traditional wet shaving you might not like:
1. The initial start up cost- some people won't want to pay to get started, however you can do it for pretty cheap. I paid $6 for my razor, $1.50 for ten blades at Walmart, and $8 dollars for a wet shaving starter kit at Walmart which came with a shave bowl, boar brush, and puck of shave soap which sells for $1.50 by itself and is hands down better than any of the expensive gels I used. That's $15.50 to get started. And you can (and probably will) upgrade brushes and soap once you get the technique and everything down, but you certainly don't have to.
2. It takes more time-There is no way around it, traditional wet shaving takes time. About 10-15 minutes more than what many are used to when you take into account mixing up your later and 3 passes with the razor. When this method of shaving was regularly used, shaving was thought of as a luxury, a way for guys to pamper themselves a bit. It was enjoyable and men looked forward to shaving. However businesses such as Gillette came up with the idea of cartridge razors to save time on a shave which rushed the whole process and lead to more and more blades which became overkill for mens skin quickly, but in turn made the companies a ton of money as the profits on the cartridge razors was obviously much higher than double edge blades. This style of shaving forces you to understand that a shave should be enjoyed, however if you absolutely don't want to spend anymore time shaving, then it probably will not work for you.
3. The fear factor-Some might be really put off by the idea of running a double edge razor on their face. I know I was. Safety razors have safety bars which will not allow the angle of the blade to go too extreme so, carelessness aside, it is very easy to avoid nicks and cuts using a safety razor. I get less nicks with this then I ever did with my Fusion.
4. Its a skill-When big companies began producing cartridge razors, they did not only make more money and cut down on the time it takes to shave (in many cases at the expense of a close comfortable shave) they also took away the skill of shaving. Most people can pick up a cartridge razor and drag it across their face no problem, however, with a safety razor you have to learn the right techique: how to hold the razor, how to apply little or no pressure and let the weight of the blade cut the whiskers, how to find the right angle, ect. This requires learning a new skill and can take anywhere from2-6 weeks to get down pat.
If you are using a cartridge razor and love it, keep using it. If you hate it and made the switch like me, you know what I am saying. If you hate it and are on the fence or have never heard of it before, check out some youtube videos that speak more about it and show beginners techniques for traditional wet shaving. Check out Amazon and compare the prices. If anyone has any questions, feel free to ask or PM. I think my grandfather was really on to something with this