Saturday, August 29, 2015

Saturday Summary: Standard Shave, Stropping, and Blade Longevity

My Standard Shave This Morning

I capped the week off with a standard shave today:
  • one pass
  • with grain
It was a good standard shave:
  • quick
  • easy
  • good looking
  • skin friendly -- no irritation, no wounds
It met the minimum requirements for a shave:
  • a clean-shaven look -- that is, no visible stubble
  • smooth, when stroked in the direction of beard grain
I felt a standard shave would be adequate; after all, it's Saturday, I have an early-morning tennis match, no close contact foreseen with interesting female companions, and I'm practicing freedom from obsession this morning as well.

Stropping Subtleties

I have returned to blade stropping as part of my daily shave cleanup. Now after I give the blade and razor a quick pat dry with a square of TP, I take my small shave-oil container and simply rub the dispenser hole of the inverted bottle against the meaty part of my palm -- the part that is opposite the thumb. I then give each side of the blade edge a few palm-stropping strokes before I button up the blade back into the razor for the next shave.

I think using the oil as part of the stropping process enhances blade performance and longevity by accomplishing the following:
  • the oil reduces coating-removing friction, thus helping to preserve any metal or polymer coatings applied to the blade edge
  • the mechanics of the stropping process may help to undo shaving-induced microscopic damage to the cutting edge
  • the stropping process helps to ensure that the post-shave edge condition is free of moisture, soap residue, and other debris -- thus reducing the opportunity for microscopic oxidation of the blade edge between shaves
  • the residual oil layer on the blade tends to seal the exposed metal of the edge -- thus further reducing the opportunity for microscopic oxidation of the blade edge between shaves

Blade Longevity

Who cares about blade longevity?

Well, for one, I do. The reasons are basically two. Yes, though blades are inexpensive when compared to current, under-patent-protection cartridge razors, that doesn't mean a thoughtful person would be inclined to be wasteful.
  1. Using fewer blade per year saves me a few bucks. Not a big deal if being penny wise is only applied to razor blades. However, if one lives a mindful lifestyle and eliminates unnecessary expenditure and waste everywhere, then financial freedom -- or at least reduced financial burden -- becomes a reality.
  2. If only one person uses fewer blades each year, the environmental impact is negligible. Unfortunately, most people look at issues that way. However, if millions of shavers use fewer blades each year, the global environmental impact is significant both in terms of waste or recycling burden and in terms of resource (steel) usage.
The same thought process applies to many things that persons don't think about very much including electricity usage, driving unnecessarily large or powerful vehicles, idling one's vehicle unnecessarily, and so on.
My blade for the past 12 days has been a Personna red label. So far there's no end in sight; like the Energizer bunny, it keeps going and going. Of course, part of this longevity is my daily blade maintenance, but also my changed shaving routine that is typically two or two-and-a-half passes, with the occasional one-pass standard shave thrown in.

Happy shaving!

No comments:

Post a Comment