Friday, September 25, 2015

Rubbing the Wrong Way with an Old Blade

Today was the 13th shave with my Super-Max Titanium blade. Maybe it was the lucky 13 that caused me to deviate from my normal shave routine, but in any case, this morning I decided to take a one-pass shave against the grain.

I also decided to use one of my gold-toned Gillette Tech razors (c.1948) for the shave.

The key to against-grain shaving on the first pass is slow, short strokes. I also make essentially all my strokes oblique, which, by the way, I no longer would consider an advanced technique. (Doing it the way Gillette showed in old, printed razor instructions is the hard way -- the famous Gillette slide. The easy way is how I have diagrammed it in previous articles: simply make your strokes in the normal directions but with the razor's edge canted slightly off perpendicular to stroke direction.)

Keep in mind that today's blade was pretty old, already having a dozen shaves on it. Still, my one-pass, against-grain shave wasn't that bad. There was some minor pulling, but I'd be inclined to chalk that up to the old blade in combination with the against-grain strokes. I also got a couple of weepers, but they could be partly residual from yesterday's shave.

I probably should have stopped after one pass but, as I commonly do, I changed my plan and went for a closer shave. So I took a second pass against grain just like the first. By the way, I didn't shave my upper lip against grain in either pass. There I went across grain.

I even took some touch-up strokes after the second pass.

My result was a very close shave with some irritation and weepers that took a touch of styptic. Unfortunately I can't really draw any meaningful conclusions because of the old blade. I topped the shave with some tea-tree after-shave lotion, then that Dollar-Tree 3-in-1 men's moisturizing lotion that Thad had recently recommended. This left me in good shape for the day.

Tomorrow's shave will be with a new Personna Super (lab blue) blade, but I probably won't repeat the against-grain first pass of today's shave because my skin needs a bit of recovery time. So the current plan is to set my 1963 Gillette Slim Adjustable to five, and take a one-pass, with-grain shave; that is, a standard shave. I am currently determined to stop with that; after all, tomorrow's Saturday, I have a morning tennis match, and I've no reason to shave especially closely except for my obsession with a good shave.

Happy shaving!

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