Saturday, April 19, 2014

The Recognizable Look of a Double-Edge Shave

A day or so ago on my HD TV, I caught part of an old Kristofferson-Hackman movie from 1972, entitled Cisco Pike, and which has become something of a current-day cult classic. The movie may not be remarkable, but I noticed something interesting about the faces of the two stars of this film. Clearly, they had shaved, or been shaved, with either a straight razor or a double-edge (DE) safety razor.
Kristofferson, with a look similar to that in Cisco Pike.

The look of a close DE shave is different from most multi-blade-system shaves. The DE shave is close, yes, but more characteristic is the shiny, ultra-exfoliated smoothness that seems to only come from a single blade against the skin.

In the year 1972, the Gillette Trac II, the first multi-blade cartridge shaving system, was about one year on the market. (That was the razor with which I learned to shave.) DE razors and blades were still common and readily available. Men's grooming fashions included long, shaggy hair (but older men still kept their hair more trimmed). Long, bushy sideburns were the norm and mustaches were often worn.

In Cisco Pike, Kristofferson was clean shaven and shaggy haired; Hackman had a mustache with a neatly-trimmed coiffure -- after all, he was playing a policeman. What was so obvious to me, today a regular DE shaver, was that characteristic shiny smoothness to their faces. In close up after close up, they had that baby-bottom-smooth look to the planes of their cheeks and chin. In fact, their shaves were so smooth that, once I noticed them, the movie lost a bit of credibility because nobody would typically maintain that close of a shave throughout the day -- especially Kristofferson's character, who probably wouldn't have shaved that often or that closely to begin with.

You too can have that remarkable, recognizable close shave, which your most intimate friends might appreciate for its kissably-close smoothness. The daily DE shave can also be both a fun and relaxing zen-like ritual.

Happy shaving!


  1. Close is close... not sure I buy that you can tell they shaved with a DE. From a few inches away, everyone's shave looks the same, unless they're cut or irritated.

  2. Ha ha. Yep, you're probably right. I don't know *exactly* what I was thinking on the day I wrote this article, but more than once I thought back to it and wished I had written it differently. However, in 1972, the Gillette Trac-II razor/cartridge had been on the market for about a year. If Kristofferson shaved with a Trac-II, after several hours he would likely have a shadow. So either he was recently shaved in the photo, or, maybe, he was captured several hours after a good, close shave with some single-bladed instrument. MAYBE that's what I was thinking. Bottom line, though, you're right: close is close.