Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Seeking the Perfect Shave, Part 2

Acting on yesterday's thoughts, which were ideas to further reduce the temporary post-shave irritation that I too often get in some places, and which is not visible but rather felt for up to an hour, I simplified this morning's ritual.

Here's what I did (and didn't do):

  • A couple of splashes of cool water to wet my beard
  • (No warm water, no bath soap)
  • (No pre-shave oil)
  • Used my custom rich, slick, & creamy shave soap; made a thicker (as in not foamy) lather by not spending as much time whipping it with the brush
  • Used the Merkur 37C slant razor with a new Derby Extra blade; using the Derby brand for the first time
  • Did a two-pass shave (not three as is the common recommendation) -- pretty much with the grain, then against
  • Water rinses, then alum block after the second pass
  • (No witch hazel, no aloe juice)
  • Water rinse to remove alum so it doesn't continue to act as a dessicant on my skin
  • (No after-shave balm application; may use a moisturizer of some kind before I leave the house.)
  • Dried the razor and put the dried, palm-stropped Derby blade into the Merkur 33C for a second-use evaluation in that straight-bar razor
Results are that my shave was pretty smooth -- almost baby-bottom smooth, and quite adequate. My skin feels a bit dry, but there's no visible irritation and the transient minor-burning feeling in places is actually minimal; it's there, but minimal.

I just stopped writing and rubbed some Aveeno moisturizing lotion on my face, which now doesn't feel dry, but the lotion doesn't help to get rid of the minor burning. This usually just takes a bit of time -- up to an hour or less, usually.

In sum, it was a good, reasonably comfortable shave, and the ritual felt complete, though quicker than usual. The addition to the ritual's effectiveness by subtraction of steps seemed to work. Tomorrow will be pretty much the same process but using the above-mentioned Merkur 33C (stock, with its original, factory-supplied handle -- not the heavier Chinese handle that I had been using for a time) and largely oblique passes to maximize the efficiency of each stroke and pass.

Happy shaving!

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