Monday, August 31, 2015

Two Razors, Two Passes: Two-rriffic!

The experiment I proposed yesterday was, after today's first trial, a big success. Using the techniques that I describe below, I can get a triple-C shave: close, comfortable, and (rather) cquick.

Seeking the ideal compromise between closeness and comfort, I have previously found two passes -- generally with grain, then against grain -- to be the best starting point for knocking down my beard.

Another refinement I recommend is to make all razors strokes oblique; that is, stroking with the blade edge slightly off perpendicular to the stroke direction. As I've written many times, this slightly increases the functional, effective sharpness of the blade as well as the capacity of the razor.

Additional shaving-stroke refinements that I use and recommend include the following:
The final ingredient in an ideal two-pass shave is the choice of razors (yep, razors as in more than one).

This morning I used my vintage, heirloom 1963 Gillette Slim Adjustable (originally known in the U.K., I believe, as the "New Gillette Adjustable Razor, Mark II"; in the U.S. I've found evidence it was called the New Gillette Slim Adjustable). This razor has nine settings, which Gillette originally suggested using as follows:
  • Settings 1-3 are for those with sensitive skin or light beard
  • Settings 4-6 are for those with normal beard or skin
  • Setting 7-9 are for those with thick, heavy beards
Although I have a pretty normal, not-light beard, because of my notoriously easily-injured face and neck, I used a setting of three this morning. Using all the above-mentioned shaving techniques, I got a very good standard (one-pass) shave, and could have been completely satisfied stopping there.

But since this was a two-razor experiment (and I like a close shave), I transferred my 15th-use (fifteenth!!!) Personna red-label blade into my mild Weishi 9306-F razor, and took a second pass -- also using all the techniques I've elaborated above.


The outcome was outstanding: a close shave with not a nick, cut, weeper, or irritation. Clearly this process is on the right track and I will continue to use these tools and techniques for the remainder of the week.

After I rinsed off the lather with cool tap water, I finished the shave with a witch hazel rub over my wet face. I dried my hands and cleaned up my tools including drying them with a square of TP and palm stropping the blade on my oiled hand. Then I rubbed a dab of unscented moisturizing lotion into my clean-shaven face, and topped that with Aqua Velva Ice Blue after-shave lotion just to smell good and to knock down the sticky residue of the moisturizer.

All's well that ends well.

Happy shaving!


  1. Couldn't you use the same razor on the milder setting?

    1. Funny you should ask. See today's (1 Sept 2015) article. ;-)

    2. Thanks for the clarification, I tried your method today and had great results.