It was around a year ago that I decided to switch to using Double Edge
Razors (take a look at http://millionwordman.blogspot.co.uk/2014/05/and-so-i-have-face-that-looks-like-ive.html)
and having had a year to get used to the idea, I thought to have a look back at
what I’ve learned from the whole experience.
First thing to pick up on is that I’m never going back to cartridge
shaving, not ever, and don’t get me wrong, I’ve had my fair share of nicks and
chunks over the year, far more than I’ve ever had using cartridge razors, but
it hasn’t deterred me at all, if anything it’s improved my outlook on a number
of things, and at the same time, I haven’t become a part of the cult of
shaving, which is perhaps the most curious thing about the whole year.
There’s a number of forums out there, facebook groups, google plus,
everywhere, you name it, it’s there, and if there’s one thing that I’ve found
across the board on these groups, it’s that they’re very welcoming. Most of the groups are very much of the
opinion that one more of us (and I count myself as part of that group) is one
less of them (the people still using the options of cartridge blades and
electric razors), and it’s not hard to get recommendations for what to start
with and what are the best creams and razors out there.
The other thing is that there’s been a resurgence in the number of
people going back to double edge shaving, whether that’s austerity kicking in,
or people just wanting to get back in touch with how things were when it all
first started, so there’s a lot of people starting out on this even now.
And that brings me to the cult of shaving...
If there’s one constant through most of the forums, it’s that most
people who shave regularly tend to try out a variety of things, different
blades, different creams, different razors, and this can become a bit of an
obsession for some. I saw this early on,
and I know that my impulse control is on the low level, so I made a point early
on of deciding not to deviate from things unless I found that it wasn’t working
With this in mind, the razor I started with was the Merkur 34c, good
beginners razor so I was told and indeed it is, managed to slice myself up on
the first few times, but I suspect that that was a lot down to the blade I
chose to use as well as the technique. I
say this because two days ago I decided to have a shave using the same things I
started out on, and curiously enough, in the manner of a Stephen King novel...
Everything went red...
Same razor, Merkur Blades, Taylors Lemon and Lime shaving foarm, Body
Shop shaving brush, same result, very close shave and enough blood to make the
neighbours wonder what I did for breakfast...
In truth, I either got lucky when I picked the first blades, creams,
and brush that I did, or I’m just not possessed of the same sense of adventure
as everyone else is, because as of now, this is my complete shaving collection,
and most of it has been picked up for me by other people for birthdays and such
The first item on the list has to be the razor itself, and while I’ve
experimented with a cutthroat, I found that the injury spike went through the
roof, and given that I tend to shave first thing in the morning rather than
last thing at night, some measure of safety required, so I’ve stayed with the
Merkur for the moment. I was gifted a
parker a short while back, and I need to retrieve it to give it a test out to
see if there’s a big difference, more on that when I manage it.
The second item on the list has to be the shaving foams, I started off
with the Taylors Lemon and Lime and found it to be very good at getting a
lather going and it was lighter and flowed smoother than most. The Taylors Wool Fat followed shortly
afterwards, doesn’t lather as well but once you’ve got it going, it’s smoother
than anything else. The Blackbeard
(Dreadnought in the states) is a very good shave cream, lathers really well and
has a nice fresh smell, but it’s not cheap...
And finally the Bodyshop shaving cream, not designed to be lathered, but
instead to be spread all over your face and then see what you can do
thereafter, Interesting theory and I suspect it might work with most of the
worlds shaving methods, but not with double edge, you end up cleaning the blade
out every few strokes, and as every man knows, something that only lasts a few strokes
isn’t much good at all...
The Brush would be the next step, and brushes come in so many different
shapes and sizes, bristle grades, handle types, that it would be impossible to
catalogue all of them, so I started with a Bodyshop brush which didn’t do too
bad, but I then got a Wilkinson sword brush, which doesn’t lather up as much as
soak up the soap, so once you’ve got it saturated, you can keep shaving
forever, but it takes a while to get the lather going, and a Blackbeards brush,
which lathers up really well, but loses a few hairs every time you use it, so
will need replacing at some point...
The shaving mug was the next step, Edwin Jagger all the way for this
one, lathers well and keeps the heat in when you’ve left it a bit long between
And finally, accessories are always fun, the oil for the preshave, the
alum block for the red apocalypse that follows (although that is the same block
I started with so I’m not doing bad), and the post shave cream (Egon, your
mucus...) for the finishing touches
As for the blades themselves, I tried out most of the different blades
through the year, found that some really didn’t work for me at all, I still
have the remainder of the single pack of Merkur that the razor came with, seem
to slice myself every time I use them, and it’s not the blade sharpness that
does it, because I’ve also got feather blades which are awesome in all ways
(except price of course), but my every day shave is with Wilkinson sword, and
the cost of 100 blades for the year...?
I don’t follow the forums that much because there’s so much shiny out there that could be
bought and experimented with, and I don’t want this to become another obsession
(got enough thanks), but I’ve found the things that work for me, I’m past the
costly part of getting all the things you need to start, and after a year of
shaving double edge, the conclusion I’ve reached...?
How did we ever get away from this?
Sure, it takes a little practise to get going with, and you have to put
up with a few nicks here and there till you get your technique down, but it’s
like everything else in life, you can take the easy run at it, the results won’t
be as good and it’ll cost you more in the long run, or you can take a little
time with it, the results will be better, and you’ll be happier that you’ve
taken the time to do things right.
Me? Haven’t had razor burn for
more than a year, shaving is a pleasure rather than a chore. If the blade gets dull, I just replace it
rather than trying to squeeze the last use out of a cartridge that was well
past where it should be but was so expensive that I didn’t want to buy another
But we’ll see this time next year if the collection is twice the size
or if I’ve managed to hold off on the temptation...