Sunday, September 28, 2014

On the Baby-Smooth Shave

Ecological awareness and the potential for less waste got me interested in shaving soap instead of canned foam or gel, and double-edge razors instead of disposables.

It was the close shave that got me hooked.
The Gillette Slim Adjustable. A twist-to-open design that has an adjustable blade-bar gap. It gave me my first close shaves, but was not face friendly enough for this writer, however, no matter what the setting.

My father's 1963 Gillette Slim Adjustable gave me those first intriguing shaves. Prior to that I had been shaving irregularly as has become the custom for many men these days. When I did shave, it was with a disposable, pivoting, twin-blade razor. I typically shaved in the shower using bath soap to lubricate my single-pass shave.
For many years this was my go-to razor and shave soap.

My results were safe, with almost no blood, but were unspectacular, looking good enough but not even remotely close by the standard of hand on face.

Then when I stumbled upon the Gillette razor in a medicine cabinet in my mother's home, everything changed. Even with generic drug-store blades, I started to experience two new sensations:

  • Truly smooth-feeling cheeks
  • Razor burn
As I used my new DE gear, my face became increasing irritated, and this irritation soon became visible -- constantly. I was using the most inexpensive shave soap, and that paired with the twist-to-open (TTO) design of the Gillette as well as the uncoated blades from the drug store, my shaves were brutal on my sensitive skin.

Eventually I learned that coated blades are, generally speaking, what my skin likes best. Also, as I've written about many times, the unscrew-to-open (UTO) two- and three-piece razors are also generally more face friendly for me. And, of course, I've found shave soaps that protect my skin much better.

These days -- and last week was a good example -- I get comfortable shaves that are rewardingly close, but not quite baby smooth. Using the best combination of gear and products for my skin, to get completely baby smooth requires more than three passes, which I'm reluctant to do on a regular basis.

I have gotten a baby-smooth shave in two passes with my slant razor. Its awesome capacity offers that kind of closeness. But the price I had to pay due to my skin contours and sensitivity was two fold:
  • Weepers with entirely too much regularity
  • Razor burn too often as well
I can also get a baby-smooth shave with straight-bar razors that have a larger blade-bar gap or larger blade exposure than my preferred Merkur razors. But the cost to my skin is the same as with the slant razor. So I made a bargain with myself -- a compromise. 

I decided that a really close shave every day with little to no skin irritation is better than the ultimate baby-smooth shave with irritation and weepers. 

As an outcome of this learning process, these days I regularly get a very close shave -- usually with minimal irritation. But it isn't quite baby smooth when I run my hand in all directions. Those shaves are only for the rare special occasion.

Happy shaving!

No comments:

Post a Comment