Friday, January 22, 2016

Subtle Elements of a Good Shave

Piggy backing on my previous article, I will share that this morning I had a very good shave: close and comfortable, despite the following things:
  • No shave brush
  • Eighth shave with the blade
  • No warm water used
  • Fairly minimalist pre-shave prep
What I did do that made for a good foundation for the shave, were the following things:
  • Rapira Platinum Lux blade, which seems to be fairly compatible with my face -- especially after a handful of initial shaves and daily post-shave oiled-palm stropping
  • Vintage c.1948 Gillette Tech razor -- often a good option, in my opinion
  • Pre-shave cool-water face wash with sensitive-skin bath gel
Little things that made a difference, I think, include the following:
  • I used an ever-so-slightly smaller blade angle with the razor. Let me explain: every razor has a range of effective cutting angles, within which the blade can have a larger angle in relation to the skin surface, or smaller angle. Within that range for the Tech, I used it at the smaller end of that blade-angle range, making less of a scraping cut and more of a slicing cut. This effect is enhanced when one uses oblique strokes.
  • Even though I did not use a shaving brush to make lather and simply face lathered with my hands, the soap (my own proprietary formulation) was effective. This despite the flat, non-fluffy lather of a hand-lathered soap. Though a deep, fluffy lather does not provide the mythical cushion, its real benefit is that a deep, fluffy lather does help to slow the drying of the soap layer at the skin surface. So when a flat, non-fluffy lather is on the beard, its all-important moisture content will decline fairly quickly. To counter act this, one simply re-applies moisture with the free hand as one progresses through the shave addressing those areas that have been lathered for a longer time.
  • Rather than robotically making a given number of passes, instead I lathered only once and shaved my beard in regions, using the minimum number of strokes and directions needed in each region to get a close, safe shave. I have mentioned this technique a lot in the past month or so and you can read (click here) about this regional uni-shave.
  • I should also mention (as I have many times before) that I now routinely use an anti-raking stroke pattern, which you can read about (click here).
Really, my shave today was remarkable: nearly baby smooth, next to no irritation, no wounds -- incredibly rewarding to the hand, especially after applying both a balm and moisturizer that have no residual stickiness or greasiness. Hope your shave was as good as mine.

Happy shaving!

1 comment:

  1. Not so lucky here; I wish I had worked up my Williams better. Cushion isn't a myth, though. It can be felt as the absence of your fingerprint texture when rubbed, or a similar feeling rubbing the hands together.

    I think why it's good for shaving is that, while being slippery for the top cap, it doesn't hold the very apex of the edge away from the base of the hair. Like fishing a kid out of a ball pit, you can imagine how hard that would be if the balls were filled with oil, or were any other size than what they are.