|Early on, I found that electrics were not for me.|
The problem for some of us is that no matter how good our shaving technique, our tools, our shaving soap, our lather, our pre-lather preparation, and our post-shave care, our skin is going to get irritated when shaved with multiple passes every day. I repeat: I'm not talking about everyone, but just some of us with more sensitive skin, potentially getting some face and neck irritation if we make multiple passes in every single daily shave.
So this begs the question: how close does one's daily shave have to be? If you want to merely look neat, this can often be accomplished in a single pass. With a single pass, you certainly won't be baby-bottom smooth, but that isn't necessary for the average day, whether at work or simply out in the world. Of course, if you're going to be rubbing your cheeks against that special someone, then it may be time for the closest shave. But if the issue is just looking neat for your coworkers, customers, and the person you pass on the street, then the eyeball test of your shave is completely sufficient.
Frankly though, it was hard for me to seriously consider not making multiple passes because of my addiction for the very close shave. But in the interest of science, I have had this hypothesis about the one-pass DE shave being good enough on many days, and I finally committed to doing the experiment.
Yesterday, I had a one-pass shave using my Merkur 37C slant-bar razor and a blade nearly a week old. Baby-bottom smooth? No. It was neither BBS nor even close feeling except when rubbed in the direction of my shaving strokes. Yet it looked fine, completely acceptable. In fact, it was as close and looked the same as the results that I accepted every day for years when shaving with the multi-blade cartridge systems. And merely using cold water for the entire shave and a good shave soap (my SS#10A) left my skin completely unphased: not the slightest sign or symptom of irritation. Not the least bit of additional pre-lather preparation or post-shave care was necessary. Even in the late afternoon, my shave still looked acceptable.
|The two razors used in this two-day test. Straight bar on the|
left, slant on the right. Tomorrow I may try a butterfly-door-
style razor under the same conditions.
Today I did a one-pass shave with my Merkur 33C Classic (with the heavier Chinese handle), which is a normal straight-bar razor, using a slightly-used Dorco ST-301 blade. For this single pass, to get as close as possible, I did the entire shave using oblique strokes, which in some ways (but not completely) simulates the effect of the slant-bar razor by increasing the stubble-munching capability of the razor and the effective sharpness of the blade.
I got another great-looking shave, which was smooth to the touch in the direction of my shave strokes. I used the same ritual as yesterday: cold-water splashes; creamy, flat, cold-water lather; single pass (but, as I said above, today with the straight-bar DE and oblique strokes); and a cold-water rinse. Today, just for fun and to smell good, I used an after-shave balm, but not to soothe my skin, since no soothing was necessary.
So unless you have the heaviest and densest of beards, the one-pass shave may be adequate for your daily shave; it certainly is for mine. What do you think?