The Wet Shave

I hate shaving. Absolutely hate it. It is one of the reasons that I grew my facial hair for so long, and was reluctant to change it. It's such a chore to shave every single day. Also, every time that I shave I get horrible razor burn, develop a bunch of ingrown hairs, and seem to break out all over my face and look even more like a prepubescent child. What on earth can I do? I can either give up, or try to find a solution.

Enter double-edged blades. It's something I've been following for quite some time as my next 'lifehack'. I found a community on Reddit called Wicked Edge that I have been lurking in for the last quarter. Reading, trying to pick up tips, and to see if this would actually be a worthwhile experiment. This week, I made the plunge and decided to give it a shot.

On Amazon, I picked up the following. Total cost: $92 shipped. A little expensive for a start, but given that I spend $25 on a pack of four Mach 3 razor blades every 1.5 months, I figured that this would pay for itself this year easily.

New blades are really cheap - usually about $0.50 a piece. I got a small trial pack to see if I could find a type that I enjoy, as it turns out double-edged blades have different sharpnesses and manufacturing tolerances. I chose a Derby blade to begin with out of my trial set, as these are often good blades and 'safe' for beginners.

First shave today was very nerve-racking. After all of the resources that I read, I was quite concerned that I would cut the hell out of my face. In order to properly shave with a DE blade, you have to unlearn many of the habits that accompany traditional cartridge shavers. Namely, speed, stroke length, and angle of attack. In a disposable cartridge, the first blade in a set is actually designed to pull out the hair, and then the remaining blades hack away at it. The problem here is that this action often cuts below the hair line, and thus causes ingrown hairs. With a DE, the angle of the blade must remain at around 30° in order to remain effective. Also accompanying a traditional wet shave includes the badger brush and lather combination - something often kept to old-school barber shops nowadays.

I can't say that my face is any smoother yet - as my technique still needs some work. However, my face was not torn up as with cartridge shaving. My hope is that over the next few months, my face will start to clear up and also be smoother as a result.

If you're interested, here are some of the resources that I used to get started.

  1. http://www.youtube.com/user/mantic59
  2. http://www.reddit.com/r/wicked_edge