Sunday, April 27, 2014

Third Baby Step to Double-Edge Shaving: Do Second Pass with Your DE Razor

To return to my earlier series on easing in baby steps toward shaving like Grandad, let's recapitulate the two steps to this point. First, try out a shaving brush with some traditional shaving soaps or creams (for that blog article, click here). Second, if you are shaving with a modern 2-, 3-, 4-, or 5-bladed shaving system, instead of shaving in the common manner of lather, shave, and rinse, do a two pass shave, in which you lather, shave, rinse, and repeat. The idea being that the first shave will shave you fairly close, but will eliminate the unrealistic pressure of trying to get a really good shave in just one attempt. The second shave will allow you shave closer and address the problem areas of the first pass. (For the full 2nd-baby-step blog article, click here.)

Today we discuss the third baby step, which assumes you will or already have procured a double-edge (DE) safety razor. Some good choices include the following:

  • Merkur Classic (3-piece design), model 33C: a potential lifetime, heirloom razor
  • Merkur Heavy Classic (3-piece design), model 34C: a potential lifetime, heirloom razor
  • Merkur Long-Handled  (3-piece design), model 180: a potential lifetime, heirloom razor
  • Lord model LP1822L (formerly the model L6, a 3-piece design)
  • Weishi model 9306-f (twist-to-open design)
  • Wilkinson Classic (2-piece design)
The Merkur 33C, Lord, Weishi, and Wilkinson are mild shavers -- the Weishi and Wilkinson are especially so (and are most inexpensive), and are great for DE newbies. These latter two are very reluctant to bite, and are always great for a final-pass shave even for experienced DE users. The Merkur 34C and 180 are often praised, but I haven't used them so I can't comment on how they shave.

Once you've got your DE razor, and assuming you've started doing two-pass shaves with your multi-blade cartridge-system razor, now start doing your second pass with the DE. Remember that, unlike the multi blades, a single edge against skin works best with almost no pressure of razor against face. 

After the first pass, feel for areas of longer stubble. The first pass should be with the grain of your hair. The second pass should be, not against the grain, but rather across the grain. Use slow, short strokes and let the sharp blade do the work. Be very aware of the difference in pressure you must apply as you switch between the multi-blade and your DE razor. Again, the DE requires, what feels by contrast to the multi blade, like virtually no pressure at all. As you become more experienced, the light touch needed by the DE becomes second nature.

You will probably notice after a few shaves that your second pass with the DE razor gives a closer shave than the second pass with the multi blade. Do this for a few weeks or more. Then you'll likely be ready for the full monte by casting off the shackles of the disposable multi-bladed cartridge shaver and only using the classic DE like Grandad.

Happy shaving!

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