Saturday, October 3, 2015

Goring the Sacred Cow

I must admit that I'm something of an iconoclast (that is, one who questions cherished beliefs). This morning I was thinking about the different shaving techniques and approaches that I've tried that run counter to common thinking. Below is a short list (probably incomplete) of those that I've challenged and for which I've found workable alternatives.

  • A standard shave might best be considered one pass, not three.
  • It isn't necessary to buy expensive new or vintage razors to get a great shave.
  • Extensive pre-shave beard preparation is not necessary; just rub some water into the beard two or three times prior to lathering, then lather well with well-wetted lather.
  • Hot water isn't necessary for a great shave -- and may contribute to rinsing away precious skin oils. I've been shaving for over a year with water directly out of the cold-water tap, with good results.
  • One doesn't have to soak a natural-bristled shaving brush prior to the shave. Just run some water into it -- perhaps into your cupped hand around the brush -- to wet it, then lather adding water from the tap as necessary to get the desired lather consistency.
  • Oblique strokes aren't an advanced shaving technique; simply angle the razor edge slightly off perpendicular to the direction of your shaving stroke. Easy-peasey!
  • You don't have to make shaving strokes like you are raking leaves off your face; the anti-raking pattern may be slightly better -- meaning shave away from the lather, that is, stroke from the unshaven portion of your beard toward the beard margin or the just-shaved areas.
  • Buffing strokes (with keeping the razor on the face for the non-cutting return stroke) can work well for a single pass (standard) shave.
  • One can make a first pass against grain if one shaves daily, uses slow, short, oblique strokes, and a moderate to mild razor.
  • Even easier against-grain shaving is to make a second pass against grain and skip the across-grain pass altogether.
  • One doesn't have to rinse the shaving brush after shaving; just put it to dry overnight (or longer, if you wish) full of lather.
  • Oiled-palm stropping can increase the life and smoothness of your blades.
  • Eating animal-based foods is selfish, short-sighted, and very bad for the future of the planet and, therefore, the human race as well. (Please, please watch the movie, Cowspiracy.) Animal-based foods may not be too good for your health, either.
Happy shaving, and, perhaps, parting with cherished beliefs!


  1. Your last statement puts everything else you wrote above it in question. This "documentary" is just biased propaganda. Even the UN backed away from that so called sustainability report and now states that the path to sustainable food production lies in sustainable local, small farms with livestock. This film ignores the fact that most fertilizers are derived from animal byproducts, mostly their blood and manure. Also it ignores the carbon footprint for artificial (oil based) fertilizers, and the fact that you burn a lot of fuel just hauling your soy or wheat all around the world. If you take a closer look, most of the figures used in the film are of a kind like "85% of statistics on the internets are made up". There are no actual references to how these numbers were acquired/produced/calculated and under what assumptions/averages.
    Do yourself a favor, and read this:

    I don't agree with everything he writes, but there are some very good arguments.

    It's like this article about stopping the nutella atrocity

    1. Please see my article of 4Oct 2015. :-)

  2. Anonymous asked me a question: "Speaking of sacred cows, what is your view on badger brushes i.e that they are best for lathering up your face. What about synthetic brushes?"

    I will answer this in an article on 6 Oct 2015. ;-) Happy shaving!