Saturday, September 26, 2015

Only Partially Wrong Way: the Half 'n Half Single-Pass Shave

Once again deviating from the pre-shave plan, though today was to be a standard shave (that is, single pass with grain), I did it a little differently.

Using my Gillette Slim Adjustable with a new Personna Super (lab blue) blade, I did half my face shaving with grain and the razor set on five (of nine), and the other half shaved against grain and the razor set on three  -- sort of a half 'n half shave.

Building on my experience from yesterday, a careful first pass against grain -- even with a sharp, new blade -- can pull just a bit and perhaps leave minor weepers in sensitive areas such as one's lower neck or upper lip (though on my upper lip, I shaved cross grain and still got a pin-point weeper).

Both halves were shaved using an anti-raking stroke pattern.

The single-pass outcome wasn't terribly surprising. The good news is that the against-grain side was shaved a bit closer. The drawbacks were a few wounds and a bit of irritation. When I was done with the first pass, I actually took a second, against-grain pass on the half of my beard that originally received the with-grain pass. Interestingly and not necessarily surprisingly, the half that got the single-pass against-grain shave ended with more irritation than the side that got the two-pass treatment.

What I learned is that when I'm in a big hurry and can settle for good enough, a standard shave will do; that is, one pass, with grain. However, when I want more than enough, which is most daily shaves, an aggressive with-grain first pass followed by an against-grain pass with a face-friendly razor (or razor setting) does the trick for me -- maybe with a few extra touch-up strokes. This two-pass shave continues to be, for me, an optimal compromise between closeness and comfort. Three full passes on a daily basis is just too much for my skin.

Palm stropping a different kind of blade.
Remember to oil the palm before stropping.
I also learned that the Super-Max Titanium blade that I recycled yesterday probably had more good shaves in it, and likely was pulling and irritating a bit only because of the against-grain first pass. Remember, however, that I seem to be getting unusual durability from my blades due to my daily post-shave press drying of the blade followed by oiled-palm stropping.

Happy shaving!

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