Shaving – An Intro

Merkur shaving stand

Shaving – An Intro

For many years I found shaving a real chore, no – I’d go as far to say I hated shaving. Waking up bleary eyed and still half asleep, knowing I had to go through the arduous task of shaving filled me with a sense of dread, often with good reason. After liberally smothering my bristles with a big hand full of cheap shaving foam and scratching my face to pieces with a disposable razor, I was often left  bloodied and bruised. Razor burn and corners of tissue paper stuck to my face to remind me of why I hated shaving!

Knowing I had to do this for the rest of my life just made things worse. Sometimes I would rebel! I wouldn’t shave over the weekend and pretend to myself I was growing a beard. That however, was always doomed to failure. I didn’t suit a beard, and I find beards uncomfortable, so eventually I had to return to my dreaded morning ritual.

A new era begins

My barber at the time was just a few minutes from my office, so I would often rush a haircut during my lunch break (at that time I had no idea that grooming is something to be savoured and appreciated – never rushed!). One rushed lunchtime, I decided I needed a trim and so I set off. When I arrived, the queue was far too long and although it is very true that most English people enjoy a good queue, I only had small window before I had to be back in the office. I had to look for an alternative. I recalled a back street barber shop I had passed one day when looking for a sandwich shop, it wasn’t far so I thought I would give it a try.

When I got there, it was tiny, very old and not at all like the plush, modern, trendy barbers I was used to. On entering I was greeted by a short thin man with a big moustache and a hearty smile. “Ah, you have come for a shave sir?” – I was shocked; I had never had a barber shop shave before. I thought I needed a haircut but this was a professional! I explained the situation about the queue and how I had happened to arrive at his establishment, but being an adventurous soul, I agreed to have my first proper wet shave.

Having a professional gentleman’s barber give you a shave with a straight razor is something every modern gent should experience. I learned more about shaving in one session than I had done in the previous 15 years of daily practice. It is truly remarkable the knowledge these craftsmen posses.

You need to see shaving as your time to pamper yourself. Investing in high quality products is essential, but also having the knowledge to use them properly. Shaving is not a chore; it is part of your preparation for the day. Your daily routine is what transforms you into the action hero you really are (or what ever your day job actually is). We are creatures of habit, if we start the day with a routine we find dull or un-enjoyable – it can have significant impact on your outlook for the day.  Change your perspective; make it your daily pampering ritual rather than something to set your day up properly.Merkur shaving stand

Make sure you do the following:

  • Find yourself a good traditional gentleman’s barber who will give you a wet shave.
  • Invest in a good quality butterfly (safety) razor and stand
  • Remember the blades only last one or two shaves before being disposed of
  • Invest in a good quality soap dish and brush
  • Find a good quality face scrub to use prior to shaving
  • Find a good quality post shave balm to protect your skin
  • Take your time and enjoy the experience!

I will cover the actual art of shaving in other posts, I am just thinking if I should provide a step by step guide, or produce a video? Let me know via comments. I say posts, because there is the need for every gentleman to not only understand the art of wet shaving, but also the next step, the art of using the straight (cutthroat) razor, just as my barber did many years ago. We will cover that soon.

The Mitchelli

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    1. Charles,

      I am currently producing a comprehensive multimedia guide to grooming which should answer any questions you might have. If you sign up to the mailing list, you will get early access.

  1. Im looking forward to hearing your thoughts on the subject of wet shaving. Theres nothing quite like a proper wet shave. I used to use disposables everyday when I was in the Army and was never impressed or happy with the results then my granddad gave me his old 3-piece just before he passed and I started to discover how to shave properly. I don’t use his razor now because some thieving pond-life stole it when I was working overseas. I use a Merkur razor now with feather blades when I’m away and I try to use a straight when I’m home (not always successfully lol). Top tip for double-edged blades is to run each edge through and old wine cork (or polystyrene) just once before using it it takes some of the roughness out the first time you use the blade. Taylors of Old Bond Street has some excellent aftershaves and shaving gear.

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