Monday, August 25, 2014

Fresh Appreciation for the Slant with a Minimalist Shave

After yesterday's article about moderation and the virtues of my Frankenrazor, I returned to my slant razor, the Merkur 37C. These remain the only razors in my bathroom cabinet (the rest are in a shoe box in my closet). After yesterday declaring Frankenrazor as my favorite shaving instrument in my razor menagerie, today's shave with the slant has once again planted a small seed of doubt.
The impressive capability of the slant razor is primarily due to its slanted blade angle in relation to the handle, the large blade-bar gap, and the deep grooves in the safety bar.

Reasons against the slant for being my absolute favorite razor is its aggressive nature, which of course is a double-edged sword (pun intended). Its aggressiveness brings awesome capability for close shaves in fewer passes and on longer stubble, but also brings the risk of blood loss -- usually in the form of weepers, but also in the form of cuts for those who carelessly make oblique strokes. I have found that the risk can be offset to a large degree by modification of one's technique. Specifically, very short, almost buffing strokes seem to be the prescription for close, safe shaves with the slant. And, of course, the strokes must be direct, and not at all oblique -- and always with light pressure.

Oh, but the capability of this razor! Today I used a single-pass minimalist shave, a once-used Personna Blue blade (made in the USA), direct strokes that were short and almost buffing, and shaved primarily against the grain of my beard. After the sole complete pass, I made touch-up strokes in a few places where the direction of the hair growth varies in patches, and the result was baby smooth almost everywhere!

In terms of skin insult, there was a weeper on my chin that disappeared with cool-water rinsing. There was no other visible irritation, and the post-shave sensation of a slight burn was as minimal as my delicate skin experiences and was short lived.

The closeness of the shave, however, is sublime. Truly baby smooth on cheeks and neck. Under my jawline, which is always a smoothness and sensitivity challenge, there is just a hint of a man's beard. I know that I will  occasionally be running my hand over my face for several hours appreciating the quality of today's shave.

Though the slant razor may be more demanding in terms of technique, and though it may be more finicky in terms of compatible blades, it is a razor that I remain reluctant to banish from my bathroom cabinet.

Happy shaving!

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