31 October 2011

Gettin' Bloody in the Morning

Given the fact that it is Halloween, I thought something a bit harsh with the potential for some gore might be in order. Recently, I've been shaving with this rig:
Years ago, I started using brush and soap from a mug instead of the modern aerosol shaving cream I'd been using. Truthfully, I did this because it was cool and old fashioned, but the benefits to my skin quickly became evident and I soon preferred it because it was simply better.

A few years on, I switched from a disposable cartridge razor to an old fashioned safety razor. I cut myself a bunch in the beginning, but once I developed a "hand" for this, I preferred it because it was simple better. Besides being, contrary to popular belief, easier on the skin and yielding a smoother, closer shave, the act of shaving itself became a cathartic ten minute ritual, a moment of time each  morning to slow down and focus on oneself, before a day of tending to the needs of others.

This past week, I started using a straight razor. The good folks at Heritage Shaving sent me one of their starter kits to try, which included a German made blade, stainless steel mug, badger brush, leather strop and a tube of Dr. Bronner's shave soap. It's a trip, and more than a little scary first time out. But if you can make it out of the bathroom alive that first time, it's a thing worth learning. And you will have to learn, because it requires a set of skills you don't have yet. I did a fair amount of research online before putting blade to skin for the first time, and I suggest you do the same. My best advice is don't be too scared. It's actually not as bad as you think, and confidence will make a big difference in whether and how badly you cut yourself. I made it to my fourth shave without a nick, but when I did draw blood, it was a bit of a doozy. Still, I can dig it.

As for the Dr. Bronner's soap, it's not so much my Jam. I still prefer the old fashioned cake of soap in the mug. Mrs.G likes it, though, so consider giving this to the lady if you don't prefer it.

As for straight blade shaving in general, I'm a fan, and if you've got the stuff, I suggest you give it a try. I won't say that this will be the only way I'll ever shave again. It's time consuming, and with two small kids in the house, I don't always have that time. But a combo of safety razor quickies, and straight razor "me time" is just the ticket.

With that, AAW welcomes Heritage Shaving as it's first sponsor. A small company run by a guy in the Midwest trying to defray the cost of grad school, the kind of company I'm happy to give my money to (even if they did send me stuff for free, but still...you get the idea). If you've ever thought it would be wise to put a surgically sharp blade to your throat first thing in the morning, I suggest you buy your supplies from them.

*a note on sponsorship: An Affordable Wardrobe is now accepting advertising. However, this does not mean I am now in the habit of "shilling" or running "advertorial" content. If you have a quality product to sell that is in keeping with the spirit of this blog, I am happy to run your ad for a nominal fee. In a real sense, buying an ad here buys an endorsement, because I won't sell you the ad if your product is junk. There's no time for that.  If I do write about a product, as I have done just now, it is because I wanted to and will continue to give my honest opinion. That ought to get the p.r. firms to beat down my door.


Young Fogey said...

Sell-out! Shill! Corporate toady!

There! Now that we've gotten the juvenile vituperation out of the way, please let me be the first (or, depending on timing, among the first) to congratulate you. You have obviously worked long and hard, and have turned your hobby into a successful home business. I admire your dedication and diligence, and I wish you continued success, both professionally and personally.

(Who knew that you could turn thriftiness into money? ;-)

Connor T Lawrence said...

Thank you for your kind words!

Heritage Shaving is a very proud to be the first sponsor of An Affordable Wardrobe. I am a long time reader and am happy that our advertising dollars are going to a worthy cause.

To AAW readers, feel free to contact me if you have any questions or comments about shaving. I love dialogue and I'm interested in helping people have great shaves than selling anything. We are on Facebook (www.Facebook.com/heritageshaving), twitter (twitter.com/heritageshaving), and my email as well as phone number are listed at heritageshaving.com/about-us.

Connor T. Lawrence
Proprietor, Heritage Shaving

Anonymous said...

Hmmm..I smell cash for comment.

Giuseppe said...

I guess you skipped the last paragraph.

Advertising is a slippery slope, to be sure. But this blog is a lot of work, something I've done for free for years. I see no harm in a small bit of compensation for my efforts.

The ad in the side bar was paid for. This post was written of my own choice because I actually like the product.

I thought I was pretty clear about that.

Anonymous said...

Don't worry. All that "compensation" will be eaten up by the tax man anyhow so you'll be back to square one. The only time it really makes sense to take ad dollars is when you have to pay for hosting.

Zach said...

I started shaving with soap/brush/old-fashioned safety razor (the kind that takes real razor blades) a while ago, and I find it the perfect compromise between a disposable razor and a straight razor.

I don't have the stones to shave with a straight razor (although I trust my barber with it) but I commend you for trying it.

Connor T Lawrence said...

Whoops, the link to our about us page is actually http://www.heritageshaving.com/pages/about-us

Young Fogey said...

As for shaving like a man, I started using a safety razor a couple of years ago, and prefer it when I have the time. Unfortunately, I don't always have the time, so often resort to the quintuple-bladed ultra-lubrified™ mega-razor (cost for one cartridge: 50 gazillion dollars) for the grunt work, then finish off with the safety razor (cost for one blade: 10 cents).

There is nothing like giving yourself 10-15 minutes to luxuriate in scrubbing your face, working up lather with a brush, and getting a nice, close shave with a real razor. Can't wait to teach my son how to do it.

maven said...

This reminds me or a quip I once heard.

Woman: "I'm glad that I am not a man, it is bad enough to face myself in the mirror in the morning without make-up, but with a straight razor in my hand...


Anonymous said...

It seems to me that the straight razor method is ecologically sound. No throw-away razor and no empty aerosol cans. Good for you.

And, you can always use the strop to keep the kids in line!

Anonymous said...

Let's face it, shaving with a safety razor does not give as close a shave as one of the Mach3 types blades. And a straight razor is pure folly. No less an authority than Aidan Gill, purveyor of the "shave at the end of the galaxy" in his New Orleans shop, says so.


NCJack said...

Hey, make a buck or two, your integrity has long been established.

Used a straight for a bit myself, nowhere near as dangerous as I'd thought. Now using a Rolls Razor, sometimes called a straight on a stick. Best part is that nice warm lather on a chilly morning

Anonymous said...

It's been cool to see you be able to make some cash with the blog- first with the shop, and now with some sponsors.
Your passion and work is paying off, and your readers will be all the better for it.

Giuseppe said...

Mach III and all that will wreck your skin. I haven't had razor bumps in years, and close doesn't even describe.

Aiden Gill may be an authority, bit I also speak from experience.

Connor T Lawrence said...

There is more to a great shave than closeness, in my opinion.

There's an interesting discussion about Mach III vs. straight razor going on here, I suggest you check it out.


Young Fogey said...

Anon 6:00,

I get a closer shave with my safety razor than I do with any multibladed contraption I have tried--and I have tried many. However, it takes more work to get a close shave with a safety razor than it does to get a good shave out of multiblade.

They say that the best shave comes from a straight razor, but they also say that it has the steepest, longest learning curve.

Incidentally, the switch from straight to safety razors came about around WWI. The Army issued both types of razors to the Doughboys, who overwhelmingly preferred the latter. They carried this preference home with them, and the straight razor fell out of favor.

Jho78 said...

Thanks for your input, Aiden "Anonymous" Gill.

Healthy Gopher said...

I used a safety razor for quite a while and one of the more stupendous scars on my legs is from one. I basically didn't ask if it was different than the cheapo Bic single blades & let the blade come unscrewed while shaving in a rush. Oops. The various multi-bladed-mutilators come in varying quality, though. I've never used a disposable that I liked.

All that said ... Have you ever heard of a woman trying the straight razor for her legs? Just curious. If it's that amazing, I suppose I might consider it.

Giuseppe said...

Healthy Gopher,

A woman shaving her legs with a straight razor?!?!

I bet there is a softcore porn site dedicated to just such a thing.

Connor T Lawrence said...

Healthy Gopher,

I've often heard of men using their straight razor to shave their significant other's legs, and there's an entire section on www.straightrazorplace.com (the top shaving forum on the net) just for the ladies. --> http://straightrazorplace.com/ladies-corner/


Your comment really cracked me up...I wouldn't be surprised!