Tuesday, January 10, 2017

The Light Touch

I was reading a recent article within about (among other things) how straight-razor shaving can improve one's double-edge (DE) shaves. (This article can be read at -- I recommend it.)

The article makes some good points, and my main take-away point was to continue to focus on light shaving pressure. For some (like me) old habits die hard, and, despite my best intentions as well as the on-target advice from others, I've been using more pressure than appropriate for a long time.

By using a light touch, I've been able to get better shaves with more aggressive razors. For example, this morning I used my Merkur 37C slant DE and got an extremely close shave with minimal insult to skin (a few tiny dot weepers on my upper neck). The secret? Well, I took the advice of the afore-mentioned Sharpologist article by holding the razor handle in a finger-tip grip, nearer the end of the handle than the razor head, and using the lightest pressure of which I was capable at the time (one might always improve, right?).

I still did my customary one-lather, regional shave, and for most of it made my initial strokes generally (not perfectly) against the grain of my beard.

The light touch really can pay off, and is allowing me to forego my previous predilection for mild razors. Oh, I still use my Lord L6 razor head on occasion, with good results, but I'm now enjoying razors that I previously avoided including my 37C slant. I'm also going to push my performance envelop with my Gillette Slim, and will therefore once again be testing shaves set in the mid and upper ranges of its capabilities.

And the light touch doesn't just apply to shaving, does it? Compare the phrases a light touch versus heavy handed. Generally a  heavy handed approach suggests less than the best tactic -- often applied to bullies -- and smacks of private fears and insecurity. A light touch suggests calm experience, wisdom, and confidence.

Unfortunately, I've often been guilty of being a bit heavy handed both while shaving and in other situations as well. But we do the best we can, and I'm always moving forward trying to use a lighter touch in every arena.

Happy shaving!

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