Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The One-Pass-Shave Experiments: Conquering Shaving Obsessions

Today is the fourth day of my one-pass-shave trials. And for this one, I returned to the Merkur 33C Classic razor.
The disassembled razor used in today's shave: the top cap and baseplate are from a Merkur 33C Classic razor. The handle is a heavier, and slightly longer one taken from an inexpensive Chinese razor. (Click here to read the article about the heavier handle.

This sequence of one-pass-shave days has been something of a watershed time for me. It has caused me to re-think my opinions of butterfly-door razors, and, more significantly, it has caused me to lower my push for the perfect, baby-bottom-smooth daily shave. I have been able to put my double-edge-shaving hobby back into perspective and recall the economic and ecological reasons I turned to old-school blade and brush in the first place. I have been able to enjoy both the process and the outcome of a good-but-not-perfect shave, and have also enjoyed the beneficial impact on my skin of at least halving the number of razor-sharp scrapes against my sensitive skin.

It's interesting how I have gone through stages regarding shaving. For years, I didn't care about it a bit; it was just a daily chore before work. Then after rediscovering double-edge shaving, I became obsessed with not only the perfect shave, but also with acquiring the perfect razor and blade to accomplish the task.

The first obsession that I conquered was the acquisition disease -- although not soon enough to avoid having a stable of nine razors, most of which I will probably give away. I could have just stopped with the Merkur Classic that I first bought after getting the itch to ditch the multi-blade razors, or, even before that, I could have stopped after finding my dad's Gillette adjustable. But hindsight is 20-20 as the saying goes.

Now it seems that through my trials with one-pass shaves, I have vanquished the obsession with the perfect shave, and am now satisfied with a pleasurable good-enough daily shave. My skin is just too sensitive to make the perfect shave every day. [UPDATE 8 Oct 2014: Not really. By tuning shave prep, I have gotten better at achieving the near-perfect daily shave.] But I do have the skills and experience to get that [nearly]-all-over baby-bottom-smooth shave when really needed.

Today's shave was 1-1/2 passes after a few splashes and rub-in of cool water and a quick face lather with my shave soap formula 10A. The first pass was against grain from the jawline down, and cross grain above the jawline. Not quite satisfied with that, though adequate to the eye, I did some touch-up strokes around and under the chin and on my cheeks to get the desired feel.

I finished with a couple of cool-water rinses, and then cleaned up per my usual routine.

Tomorrow it's back to the Gillette adjustable to compare to today's shave. This will help me to narrow down which razors I want to keep on hand in the bathroom cabinet for daily shaves. After that, I may go back to the shoe box in the closet and give my other razors another try for fresh, new-perspective evaluations.

Happy shaving!

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