Wednesday, November 4, 2015

My Ideal Shave: Not Perfect, But....

If a perfect shave is one that is truly baby smooth with no skin wounds or irritation, then I'll never have a perfect shave. My skin is too damage prone, my topology is too angular and curvy,  and my beard is too grainy to achieve the perfect shave as defined in the preceding sentence.

Instead of obsessing about the ideal of the perfect shave, I've made peace with my shaving obsession by focusing on the concept of my ideal shave.

My ideal shave is nearly smooth in all directions, when I don't press too firmly -- especially against the grain of the beard. Also my ideal shave is wound free and with minimal irritation that quickly fades after the shave.

I had a nearly ideal shave this morning, marred by a single pin-point weeper, but which disappeared quickly with rinsing. I then applied my favorite after-shave lotion -- a citrusy-smelling tea-tree potion -- and some inexpensive (dollar store) fragrance-free moisturizer for men.

The way I achieve my ideal shave has been documented, but I'll run through it quickly one more time:

In a mild but not mildest razor, I put a blade compatible with my skin and beard. My favorite blade is the Personna Platinum Chrome (the Israeli-made red-label blade). However, this morning, I used a Bluebird blade with 18 shaves already on it (18!!!). This morning's razor was my c.1948 Gillette Tech, but other razors work as well. The list includes the Rimei RM2003 and the Merkur 15C open-comb razor.

Left: Merkur 15C open comb razor. Right: Rimei RM2003 razor

The Merkur open comb and the Rimei RM2003 both work well for me when I do with-grain or across-grain strokes. Both can open the occasional weeper if I'm not extremely careful when shaving against grain.

I always make the first pass largely with grain, which on my face and neck means strokes that are vertical -- that is, downward on most of my beard, and upward on my lower neck.

Then for my second pass, I transfer the blade to my one-piece Weishi 9306-F razor, which is the mildest shaver that I own and a terrific finishing razor. With this razor I make a second pass on my re-lathered face using strokes generally in the opposite direction from the first pass. Since this is largely against grain, I make the strokes rather slowly so as to not nip skin. Also, for the record, I make all my strokes oblique, and I also generally use an anti-raking stroke pattern.

Weishi 9306-F options from Amazon.

I will generally complete the shave without re-lathering, but will re-wet and shave as needed in my problem areas under my jaw, mid neck, point of chin, etc.

Happy shaving!

1 comment:

  1. It s funny, I hadn't yet opened the blogger dashboard and I was thinking that perfection is nearly within grasp -- of my face, not my shave. That subtle shift in the frame of reference means everything, in this game.

    I, too, have learned to go shallow with oblique strokes, tend to avoid anchor-style cutting heads, and recently got rid of my shims, even, so I can hardly hurt myself anymore. I substituted loosening the blade slightly on the reduction pass. That works well with my straight-like, low-angle, skin-tensioning shaving style, but is ultimately an analogue of your two-riffic approach, so thanks for the guidance.

    Through shaving, I've found natural exfoliating, keratolytic, and even tumor-killing agents to redress long-standing flaws in my skin. I just need a little topical Vitamin C, I think, to fill in some gouges, including what a Feather did to my bottom lip last month, and I'll be more beautiful than I have ever been, in middle age. Well, except for the hair. But, better late than never!