Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Disposable-Travel-Razor Ideas and Techniques

In planning and preparing for some summer trips by air, I've continued to tweak my travel-shave process.

Of course, because airline travel prohibits packing double-edge (DE) blades in any carry-on luggage, which is all I bring, then my DE razors stay at home and I use plastic disposables.

Of the few designs that I've tried, my favorite disposable is a pivoting-head, two-track design from Gillette. I find this to be relatively inexpensive and high quality. With it I can get consistently high-quality shaves. I also have a couple of Bic-brand designs: the single-bladed yellow-and-white razor for sensitive skin, and the the triple-bladed fixed-head model. Of those, I prefer the single-bladed Bic. I also bought from a dollar store a small quantity of Personna-brand, two-track, fixed-head razors, which are serviceable, but not my favorite.

Because of carry-on size restrictions and the fact that I prefer to travel as light as possible, I will often saw off half the handle length of my disposable razors. This emulates the handle length of Gillette's classic Travel Tech razors. Maybe more important than saving weight and space, the short handle requires a finger-tip grip, which in my opinion is the best technique for a wet shave with a safety razor.

As I've mentioned before, I take a small lump of soft shave soap in a pill vial -- and my razor(s), of course -- but I leave other shaving gear at home: no brush, no alum products (including styptic), no balms or lotions.

When I shave, I wet my beard, rub the soap on the stubble, and "lather" with my bare hands and fingers. I do my typical one-lather, regional shave, and my primary shave strokes are against grain. However, on my lips and chin, my primary strokes are more cross grain, which is how I've come to do it at home with my usual DE razors.

Because hand-lathered soap makes a rather flat lather, neither fluffy nor thick, it tends to dry out fairly quickly. So during the shave I will add moisture with my non-razor hand to keep the shave smooth and comfortable. I tend to keep the razor against my face for most of the "return" strokes, so you might say that my usual stroking technique is a slow, buffing stroke. After my initial strokes in a region, I will make various clean-up strokes adding moisture as appropriate (and occasionally swiping used lather from the underside of the razor as needed) and stroking in whatever direction seems most appropriate.

When I'm done, I will rinse the razor (and sometimes soak for a minute if necessary before the final rinse under the tap) to ensure that all the soap and stubble are removed. I then shake the razor and blow on the blades to remove as much water as I can. Then I will strop the upper, exposed side of the razor blade(s) on my pant leg or the inner length of my forearm to dry it as much as possible.

I then store the razor without its plastic blade guard to help the blade(s) dry as thoroughly and quickly as possible to minimize edge-destroying micro oxidation.

This whole process works very well for me, and with it, I can get good shaves when away from home without much fuss.

Happy shaving!

1 comment:

  1. I found some Personna disposables that work well for me. Twin blade, non pivoting. I wish they made ones without the goo strip.