Monday, September 7, 2015

The Standard-Shave Report #1

The Shave

I took the promised standard shave this morning. To recapitulate, it involved the following aspects:

To make an oblique stroke,
simply angle the razor head
off perpendicular to stroke
  • Most importantly, it was a single pass only.
  • It was with the grain of my beard, although a standard shave, in my opinion, doesn't have to be limited to with grain; it can be in whatever direction works best in a single pass.
  • I used my Gillette Slim Adjustable razor set to five of nine, which is a fairly aggressive setting for my skin.
  • I used oblique strokes in an anti-raking pattern.
  • I used a Personna red-label (Israeli-made) blade, with 21 previous shaves on it. (Today was the 22nd shave!!!!!!)


The outcome was fairly predictable as outlined in the following bullets:
  • When rubbed with the grain, the shave feels smooth to the hand.
  • When rubbed in other directions, the shave feels increasingly coarse as the direction gets closer to fully against grain.
  • The shave looks completely fine, but I predict that by mid to late afternoon, shadow or stubble will be visible.

Safety & Comfort

In terms of skin friendliness, the shave was irritation free except for two wounds:
  • I got a single, tiniest weeper on my neck.
  • A careless stroke on the most pointed aspect of my chin created a significant weeper/nick that got a touch of styptic pencil, and this wound was the only real disappointment in an otherwise adequate but less-than-stellar shaving experience.
  • Both wounds are invisible as I write this, but tomorrow I'll have to be careful as I shave that injured point on my chin so that I don't re-open the wound.

Initial Conclusions

In terms of both closeness and comfort, I don't think today's shave is much different than the shaves I got for years using a double-bladed, pivoting-head disposable razor.

Given the care that I should take when using a more aggressive razor (or razor setting, when using an adjustable razor), and when any wound treatment is necessary, I don't think a standard shave is significantly faster than a two-pass shave done with less aggressive instruments. In terms of closeness and shave satisfaction, a two-pass shave is definitely preferable.

I will continue the experiment tomorrow and increase the stakes by kicking up a notch the aggressiveness of the razor to a setting of six. This will be uncharted territory for me using this razor; but, of course, in the past I've always done multi-pass shaves. Just planning to shave with the grain with this setting causes me no pre-shave concern.

About the Blade Longevity

It's impressive to get 22 shaves on a DE blade with more waiting in the wings. However, it is the sustained smoothness of the shaves that is even more remarkable.  This is attributable to the lightly-oiled-palm stropping that I've been doing as part of my post-shave routine.

I've been so impressed by this blade-care process that I'm going to return to my previously-rejected remaining Derby Extra blades and strop even prior to the first shave. I'm betting that this will render the blades more enjoyable to use.

That's a wrap for today. Check back tomorrow for the shave-on-six report.

Happy shaving!

1 comment:

  1. When trying something new I'd go with a fresh blade. I bet that would take care of much of the coarseness against the grain. In my experience shaving against the grain on my first pass with an aggressive razor usually leads to some irritation.