This article was updated on 08/08/20.
Make no mistake about it; manly grooming and shaving in particular is a huge business. And it's always something new! and improved! A veritable nest of blades on a handle. It pivots! It lubricates! And the cost of replacement blades will kill you. The good news is that it doesn't have to be that way. You can get a perfect shave every time for a fraction of the cost.
Like anything else, having the right equipment is half of the game. This is what's on my shelf:
- A safety razor. I use a stainless steel Merkur (German company) razor. This will set you back $30.00 or more but it is the last one you will ever have to buy. As a bonus, if you are of the green persuasion, just look at all the throw-away plastic you will not be heartlessly be disposing of. Yes, shaving can save the planet.
Merkur double edge razor blades. These are about $8.00 per package on Amazon. These are far superior to domestic blades and keep their edge longer.
- A puck (cake) of shaving soap. Many different scents and formulations are out there so shop around. You are about to discover how much more comfortable and effective real soap is compared to those cans of foaming goo. And yeah, those empty cans pollute as well. And are more expensive.
A shaving soap mug. Shaving mugs can be had in many different styles; the important thing is the proper size to fit the soap puck. Heck, you can use a coffee cup if it is the correct size. Some pucks come in plastic containers that can serve as a cup.
- A good quality shaving brush. Forget those cheepies found in the grocery store. They are too stiff and they don't hold the lather well. They are uncomfortable to use and will give you a poor shave. Avoid any brush that is made of "synthetic bristles." Instead go for one that uses pure badger bristles. Science has not been able to improve on nature when it comes to shaving brushes. And it will grow back on the badger so I suppose it's a renewable resource.
- After shave. This is a personal preference. I generally use Old Spice Classic. It is invigorating and remarkably low priced. Maybe I like it since it's what my old Grandpa used and I'm a sentimental slob.
- Professional barber hair cutting scissors. Using regular scissors to fine-tune your facial hair is like using a hacksaw to do surgery. Have the right tool for the job.
Steps for a Close, Clean Shave
- Step out of the shower or wash your face with soap and hot water. No need to rinse.
- Run the hot water in the sink, wet your shaving brush and whip up a lather in your cup with a circular motion. Add hot water as needed.
- Load your brush with soap; really swirl it around.
- Shave your face using downward strokes.
- Reapply lather.
- Shave your face using upward strokes.
- Wipe you face with a soft towel soaked with cold water.
- Slap on your preferred after shave.
If You Have Facial Hair
Approximately 30% of American men sport some kind of facial hair. Mustaches are the most popular while during recent times goatees have become very popular. Even full beards require trimming (hence the aforementioned barber's scissors) and a bit of shaving around the edges.
One accessory that every whiskered man should own is a mustache cup. This will keep your mustache from getting stained while you enjoy your favorite beverages, especially coffee.
Some Shaving Trivia
Because I'm sure you care.
- A marketing executive working for the Wilkinson Sword Company who made razor blades for men conceived of a campaign to convince women of North America that underarm hair was unhygienic and it was not feminine. Within two years razor blades sales doubled as granny and great granny conformed to this socially constructed gender stereotype. As you might expect, pit-hair on a woman has evolved into a fetish.
- Nearly 70% of American women prefer a clean-shaven man. The rest prefer lumberjacks.
- Fidel Castro originally grew out his beard is because his supply of Gillette Blades was cut off.
- Shaving cream didn’t always come in aerosol cans; the method wasn’t even introduced until 1950. And what a poor idea it was.
- Peter the Great of Russia imposed a tax on beards, which was collected at every town gate. And I thought Obama was bad on taxes!
Enjoy your shave. If we have to do it let's make it comfortable and close. After all, who wants to look like a Hollywood hipster?
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About the Author:
Kelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation, financial, and energy-trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at I Can Fix Up My Home Blog where he muses on many different topics.