I have been converted.
It started as a bit of a whim, a bit of a ‘hey, I might try that’ but it’s already blossomed into a wonderful ritual and, quite possibly, the beginning of a slightly fetishistic obsession.
I’ve started reading blogs about it, watching videos about it, and with each new piece of paraphernalia I discover I disappear down yet another rabbit hole of delight, a warren of wonder awaits.
For many years, every since I started doing it when I was barely into my teens, I’ve not really given it much thought. You learn one way of doing it and go with the flow don’t you. Sure there are trends and new ideas that come on the scene but, fundamentally, things don’t really change.
But I’ve finally seen the light and in the last couple of weeks, despite the odd mishap, I’ve been converted to a new way of thinking. There is something about the fact it takes a little longer, that it needs attention to detail and a slow, steady hand, that appeals. It’s not often in today’s hectic rush that we take the time to do something properly, although I think it’s a trend that is reappearing as we all start to rebel against the manic pace of modern life.
If I’m honest, I was a bit wary at first but it took only one go to convince me that I had found a wonderful thing. It’s a bit like discovering that there is coffee beyond Nescafe, fillet steak beyond McDonalds hamburgers.
I can still remember that slightly nervous feeling I had but the minute I was finished, and ran my hand over my face I was amazed!! Who knew switching to a double-edged safety razor would have such an effect!!
What prompted this? One article on the excellent Wirecutter website on the best safety razor (seriously, check it out, if you want the best of things this is the place to go).
If I’ve piqued your interest, then I’d suggest you do a quick bit of learning and as an inexpensive way to start, as you probably already have shaving gel, grab this Wilkinson Sword Blades Classic Double-Edged Razor +5 Blades for less than £7.
The handle is plastic, so it’s light and easy to use and after a couple of shaves you’ll have the basics down. You will notice an immediate difference to those safety bladed shaves you are used to, and yes there is an increased danger you’ll nick yourself so be careful.
If, like me, you like the better things in life, you’ll start to look around for something a bit classier and soon you’ll realise that there is a wealth of choice available. You’ll probably want to look into getting a good shaving brush, soap, and a heavier weighted shaving handle and the minute you start reading up on this stuff, well it could take you weeks.
If it helps, here is my current setup:
- Merkur Model 180 Long Handled Safety Razor
- Edwin Jagger Ivory-Coloured Plastic Handle Pure Badger Hair Shaving Brush
- Crabtree & Evelyn Nomad Shave Soap
- Universal Brush and Razor Stand
- 10 Derby & 10 Merkur & 10 Feather Double Edge Safety Razor Blades Sample Pack.
- Nix 5g Styptic Pencil
It’s not that cheap to get started and I’ve yet to get a shaving mug (used to generate a good thick lather) as I’m still learning the best way to handle the razor but it’s next on the list, but once you have the basics, the only things you need to replace over time is the shaving soap (or creme) and the blades themselves. The rest of the kit should last a lifetime.
A while ago, I had a shave with a cut throat razor. It was a gift, the full experience, hot towels, preparation balm, massage, before the shave itself. I can honestly say that I am getting a better shave with my current setup (although that’s likely down to the training of the woman that shaved me, and I’m not convinced her blade was sharpened properly either).
I urge you all to try it, even if you start with the cheap Wilkinson option, it will change your approach to shaving and become something you enjoy, rather than a chore.