Wednesday, August 9, 2017

A Return to a Three-Pass Shave -- Better?

Evaluating a Three-Pass Shave

As regular readers may know, I don't usually do the oft-recommended (by others, not me)  three-pass shave. Normally I do a one-lathering shave that begins with strokes largely but not perfectly against the grain of my beard.

To make a one-lathering shave work, one must conserve lather on the face rather than scraping off; so, again, regular readers will know that I normally use two shaving techniques in combination. The first technique is reciprocating strokes in which the razor tends to stay in contact with the skin for both the hair-removing and return strokes. I also tend to shave in an anti-raking stroke pattern, which involves hair-removing razor strokes that move toward rather than away from the area just shaved.

Today I deviated from my normal routine and went to a three-pass shave. (Notice that I don't call it the standard three-pass shave because I remain convinced that among the world-wide population of traditional wet shavers -- that is, using water, lather, and a single-bladed razor, a one-pass shave is far more standard. I believe that shaving hobbyists/aficionados are the exception, not the rule.)

So I took a careful three-pass shave using my Parker Variant and an eleventh-shave Personna blue blade. After three careful passes (WTG, XTG and ATG), I wasn't quite close enough in a few regions. So I added water to those areas and using just the residual soap, made some against-grain clean-up strokes. The result was a pretty close and comfortable shave. No big surprise there, but I must note that it wasn't really an improvement over my normal daily one-lathering shave in which I make my first strokes against the grain.

Tracking Blade Usage

I mentioned above that my shave today was the eleventh shave on my current DE blade. I know this because I track usage in a very easy way.

When I open a new DE blade, I retain the paper wrapper and keep it near my razors. I also have at hand a pencil and a Sharpie in the same area. The pencil is for those blade wrappers that readily accept graphite, and the Sharpie is for those wrappers not so pencil friendly.

As I use a blade for each shave, I have rows -- one for each razor -- in which I record the number of each shave.  Below is an example of what a typical wrapper might have recorded on it (and the abbreviations represent the different razors -- MS=Ming Shi 2000S, V=Parker Variant, DOC=PAA double-open comb, and GS=Gillette Slim):

MS - 1, 4, 8, 11, 
V - 2, 5, 9, 
DOC - 3, 6, 10, 
GS - 7, 

I don't really do anything with this information beyond, over time, getting a general sense of blade longevity.

Also, as I've noted before, my somewhat uncommon blade durability is due to my daily care in which I carefully dry and gently palm strop my blades.

Happy shaving!

No comments:

Post a Comment