Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Recipe for My Blue-Ribbon Every-Day Shave

A delightful routine; perhaps an ideal compromise between comfort and closeness -- though, of course, tastes do vary.


  • 1 blade well matched to skin and beard -- my first choice is a Personna red label
  • 1 moderate-shave-character razor -- my choice today would be Gillette Slim on 5 of 9 
  • 1 mild-shaving finishing razor -- Weishi 9306-F or the Dorco one-piece razor, for example
  • Shave soap
  • Shaving brush
  • Astringent for after shave -- my favorite choice is a citrus-scented tea-tree lotion
  • After-shave balm -- my first choice is Neutrogena balm for sensitive skin
  • Cool tap water
  • One face towel

Simple Beard Prep

Wet beard by rubbing with cool water. Repeat.
Hold some cool tap water in your cupped hand and wet the outside of the shave brush (already containing dried lather from previous shave) by rolling it in your cupped hand.
Using the soap in your hand from wetting the outside of the brush, add a bit of water and massage that into the beard.
Rub shave soap stick or puck onto the wet, unshaven beard.
Add a small amount of cool tap water into the shave brush and begin building lather on face. Add water as necessary to the brush, and finish building lather ensuring that it is sufficiently wet and creamy.

First Pass

If not already done, insert the blade in the moderate-shaving razor. 
Wet the razor top-cap surface.
Make your first shaving pass, generally with grain, using careful, short, slow, oblique strokes, shaving in an anti-raking pattern; that is, from the lathered area into the perimeter or just-shaved area of the beard.
When the entire beard has been shaved with grain, rinse with cool tap water.

Second Pass

Apply lather to beard using the residual from the shave brush.
Transfer the blade from the moderate razor to the mild razor. 
Ensure the razor top cap surface is wet.
Make your second shaving pass, generally against grain, again using careful, short, slow, oblique strokes, shaving in an anti-raking pattern
When the entire beard has been shaved generally against grain, do not rinse face and do leave lather on the underside of the razor.

Final Touch Ups

Feel face and neck for areas not shaved sufficiently smooth. 
In those areas needing additional strokes, wet with cool tap water. If there is enough residual soap on the skin surface to be slippery, make careful touch-up strokes strictly against grain or in other directions as best indicated. If there isn't enough slick residual soap on the skin, use a finger to swipe some residual lather from the underside of the razor and apply over the wetted skin.

Post Shave

Rinse your face and neck with cool tap water.
Dry with towel.
Apply after-shave astringent. Allow to air dry as you prep blade and razors for daily storage.
Apply after-shave balm.


Happy shaving!


  1. I'm pretty sure I'm on the record (somewhere) as being generally opposed to "cookbooking" -- but since I have both of the razors, and am a fan of this particular chef, I'm going to give this recipe a try. I will have to substitute Rapira for Personna Red.

    1. Safety oriented progressive reduction. I like it, though I broke discipline and used fast, long strokes to finish. The thing that stood out for me, was the complete rinse between passes. I usually smear the lather remnants with a wet hand. Your way made a slicker foundation for the rest of the shave. (Arko is pretty thirsty stuff.) Just having to follow directions reduced my number of strokes, which I think was helpful.

      What little irritation I experienced is probably attributable to the angle restriction of the TTOs. I didn't feel like I had any choice of pitch angle, just the one capable of cutting. But only the tippiest tops of my irregular skin surface were sheared.

      I didn't get the closest shave, starting in the hole, I feel, on pass 1. But it's even and clean-looking, and doesn't feel incomplete when you rub it. Well balanced.

    2. When I overclocked my Slim (after seeing pictures of yours, with more gap than I was using) It was the first pass that inflicted the damage, catching some loose neck skin. But I didn't have to switch razors, just dial it down to "1"; and I ended up with less irritation. Strangely closer around my mouth. CCS overall.