Friday, May 6, 2016

The Combination to Unlocking a Great Shave

The Combination is Crucial

The combination of blade and razor is a crucial factor in getting a great shave.

Case in point: my Merkur 33C Classic razor gives me a top-drawer shave when combined with a Personna Platinum (red-label) blade -- comfortable, safe, and close; but when I put in a SuperMax Titanium blade, the shave is still safe and comfortable, but not nearly as close.

So with this morning's SuperMax blade, I have transferred it to my Merkur 15C open-comb razor for tomorrow. This razor seems to me to be just slightly more aggressive than its cousin, the 33C, so I'll see if that is enough to elevate the closeness of the shave without causing undue insult to my sensitive and vulnerable skin.

If not, then it will go in my vintage post-WWII Gillette Tech.

I'll report out on this in the near future.

Lather Too

In my opinion, there is much misinformation and misunderstanding about shave soap and the lather it can make.

Probably still available on the Internet are photos and verbal praises of thick lather -- so-called lather porn. Downright silly, in my humble opinion.

Frankly, one doesn't need thick lather to facilitate a great shave. I've proven this many times by face lathering with my fingers, not a brush. When I eschew the brush and make lather with my hands, the result is a thin, creamy lather that works just fine -- that is, as long as I use a high-quality shave soap or cream. The thin layer of finger-lathered soap does tend to allow moisture to evaporate if it sits too long, but the obvious solution to that is to simply add more water to the lather with one's fingers prior to shaving a low-moisture area.

It is my opinion that the best soaps and creams for shaving do make slick, creamy lather. A thin, frothy soap seems to lack the body to be protective, even if it is a slick product. I have found that slick, creamy soaps -- even when on the skin in extremely small amounts -- will facilitate a good shave as long as there is sufficient moisture present as well. It is this characteristic of which one takes advantage when making finishing and clean-up strokes near the end of a shave. By simply adding a bit of water to a visibly nearly-lather-free area, one can make touch-up strokes with impunity for that optimally-smooth outcome.

Happy shaving!

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