Friday, July 22, 2016

My Favorites: My Actual Preferred Shaving Process

I've written of many process variations: the standard shave (one pass, with grain), the three-pass shave, the anti-raking pattern, the one-pass against-grain shave, the regional shave, and the strip shave. My favorite process is just a slight variation derived from my past evolution of shaving processes.

I call my daily-shave process "the patch shave." It's really just an anti-raking regional shave and a strip shave, but in a smaller region, a shorter strip.

First the basics: it's a process ideal for a double-edged razor, but can be done with any safety razor. The stroke pattern consists of shaving without removing the razor from the skin while shaving a stroke sequence in a given patch of beard. To repeat: any single shaving stroke sequence is done with razor against the skin: the shaving stroke, obviously, and the on-skin return stroke as well, which simply spreads moisture and lather back over some of the area just shaved.

The cutting and return strokes are made vertically (and initially either up or down depending on beard grain) and about 1-1/2 inches in length. The shaved patch is determined by a sequence of three or four pairs of shave-and-return strokes. The sequence of strokes are done side by side in a zig-zag pattern, so the patch shaved in any given stroke sequence is about 1-1/2 inches high by about three inches wide. The patch is rather small to minimize evaporation of precious moisture between stroke sequences in different directions. This implies a basic fact: though the patch shave is a one-lathering shave, the actual shaving process itself shaves any given patch from at least two directions: more-or-less with grain, then more-or-less against grain.

So for a given patch of beard, the first zig-zag stroke sequence is done in the vertical direction most closely aligned with the grain of the beard: shave-return-shave-return-shave-return. Then without hesitating, the other side of the double-edge razor is used to shave, a bit more slowly, in the opposite direction: shave-return-shave-return-shave-return. Some areas of my beard (jaw line, upper neck) need clean up strokes within a given patch from a third direction -- usually directly against the grain. These are ad hoc strokes and need not be zig-zag or even made with the razor against skin for the return stroke.

Once a given patch is shaved to desired closeness, move on to the next. After about half my beard is shaved, the other half may sometimes benefit from some additional water rubbed into the lather to ensure adequate moisture for optimal shave quality.

Regions of my beard that require deviation from the up-and-down shaving directions include the point of my chin and my upper lip. Generally speaking, I shave those areas first with a downward stroke sequence (generally with grain), but then follow with an across-grain sequence, and with usually a third direction on my chin.

That's it. This process is quick, taking about ten minutes all tolled. The quality of shave is very good, resulting in little insult to my skin, and, generally, a pretty close shave.

Happy shaving!

No comments:

Post a Comment