With a name like Man Institute you know they’re qualified. Since Tim wrote pretty much the same thing I would have about shaving, I figured sharing was easier. Never mind he’s from Canada and spells favorite with a “u”, those Canuks grow beards that scare cats. Pay attention.
Since no men’s website is complete without an article on shaving, I decided that it’s high time the Man Institute gave you a lesson on razors and shaving.
There are several different ways of shaving from the classic straight razor to the new fancy Gillette Fusion. There are also different opinions on when to shave and how to do it. I like to shave in the morning before I shower. Brett from artofmaliness.com feels a shave after your morning shower is best (as stated in his shaving article linked further down). Adam from blokebuddy.com feels a man should shave the night before to save time in the morning (Link:http://blokebuddy.com/2009/grooming/shaving/). Each different method of shaving isn’t without its charm and there is a lot of personal preference involved, but you should remember that the manliest way of shaving is the one that adds the elelment of danger. Using a disposable in the morning at home isn’t nearly as manly as using a machete in a dark cave where a grizzly is sleeping. Just use your best judgement.
This is probably your current go-to razor. There are many variactions on this type of razor. You have your 2-blade versions, your 3 blade versions, 4 blade versions, 4 blade versions with a single blade on the back side, 4 blades with a trimmer at the other end, etc. Basically, you are being suckered into buying high-priced disposable blades for your razor that don’t really shave so well when they’re brand new.
There are several problems with the ol’ disposable. If you have ever used one, you know. The blades get all clogged up, it stays “sharp” for about 3 shaves and even fresh out of the package, it feels like shaving with a tuna can lid (Which would be much manlier anyways). The only real positive to this method is being able to quickly eject one blade and stick another one on.
With the disposable, the only wrong way to shave is to shave with it at all. If you do insist on using a disposable, though, try getting some nice warm water on your face to soften up the hair. Lather up with a good shaving cream/gel and have at ‘er.
This razor was invented after the straight razor in an effort to prevent potential injuries involved with using the Safety’s manlier brother (Straight Razor).
What makes the safety razor acceptable is the one blade design. There is no clogging since there is only one blade and the blades themselves are made of higher quality metal than that in a disposable.
Just use it the same way as you would a disposable.
There’s some great tips on using the safety razor here. They also recommend a few good brands of razors, shaving cream and aftershaves.
The Straight Razor:
Definitely one of the manlier ways of shaving, but also one of the most effective. This is probably how your great grandpa used to shave. What makes the straight razor so badass is the near-death experience every time you use it. As we all know the number one contributing factor to manliness is danger.
The straight razor will provide you with a superior shave to your disposable. This is due to a number of reasons. For starters: there is only one blade. Don’t fall for it every time Shick or Gillette adds one blade to make the newest, best razor. By having multiple blades it is possible for hair and shaving cream to clog in between the blades making an irritating uneven shave. Because the blade doesn’t clog, you won’t need to rinse it as often. The straight razor acts as a scoop, carrying shaving cream along for multiple strokes. A man who is skilled with the straight razor will shave much faster than a man who has only mastered the Mach 3. With such a large cutting surface, the straight razor can shave a much larger area.
As with the disposable razor (Or any other razor) getting some warm water on your face makes for a more comfortable shave. Either shave after a hot shower or wrap a hot, moist towel around your face for a few minutes. You could always just grow a pair and skip this step, though too.
Next get your favourite shaving cream and lather up.
Finally, take your razor and hold it at a 30 degree angle to the surface you’re about to shave. It’s important that you shave in stages if you want a really close shave. First shave with the grain. Next shave across the grain and finally shave against the grain. It may take a while to get it down, but it’s well worth it.
It would be easy to go on and on about the straight razor and how to hone and strop it, in fact that would make a really good future post. This one; however, is about various shaving methods and although the straight razor is fairly manly, it is far from the manliest method. For a great post on straight razors, check out The Ultimate Straight Razor Shaving Guide (artofmaliness.com).
These are the three most common ways of shaving. The straight razor is a pretty manly way of shaving, but not the manliest. Long before the straight razor, bones and sea shealls were used for shaving. Some hunters and campers have also been known to use their knives. You probably won’t get as close of a shave as with a proper razor, but you will look badass and nobody will even focus on whether or not you miss a spot.
Tim is curator and co founder of maninstitute.com. When he’s not shaving his face with a bowie knife he’s helping men be better at what they already are, men. Follow him on twitter for 140 character badassery.