Friday, May 27, 2016

Quick and Clean: One Pass ATG Redux

I have returned to experimenting with against-the-grain shaving, and with such good results that this method, to be described below, is now the one I use on most mornings.

The basis of this shave has a few key aspects:
  1. Lather once. I prefer face lathering, but this is not material. What is fundamental is that I use my brush to lather my face once and only once. However, I do re-apply used lather from the underside of my razor and additional moisture (water) as necessary when making additional clean-up strokes.
  2. The strokes that I make in my solitary, main pass are largely against the grain of my beard, but not perfectly against grain. The grain of my beard in most areas is slightly skewed off vertical, though it is primarily vertical. That is, in my lower neck has grain that runs generally upward but not perfectly so. This means that if I make razor strokes directly downward, they would be for the most part against the grain, but not precisely so.

    My upper neck and under my jaw are pretty much the opposite; making perfectly upward strokes are for the most part against the grain, but not perfectly so.

    My upper lip has grain that is pretty much downward, but I rarely shave this area against the grain. I usually do this with cross-grain strokes.

    The rest of my beard has grain that is pretty much downward, meaning that against-grain strokes would be upward.

    I tend to make my main-pass strokes either directly upward or downward (as described above), rather than perfectly against grain, because the contours of my face and neck generally make these vertical strokes less likely to wound.
  3. Though I lather once and make a single against-grain pass (or equivalent), I do make touch up strokes from various directions including directly against grain.
  4. The most important aspect of this one-pass, against-grain shave is that the strokes -- specifically the first strokes in any beard region -- must be made SLOWLY, and WITH EXTREMELY LIGHT PRESSURE OF RAZOR AGAINST SKIN. To do otherwise is a formula for wounds.
  5. I pick blade-razor combinations that are optimal for my sensitive skin. This generally means pairing a razor to the day's blade that is my favorite compromise between safety and closeness. 
My outcomes with this process have been quick, close, and low insult. I recommend that you give it a try, but pay especially close attention to point 4, above. 

Happy shaving!

1 comment:

  1. Wow. Not for the newbie wet shaver, that's for sure. If you want to go for a lonely pass loading a more aggressive head is in order. And then you apply a WTG pass! This is what I do when I am in a hurry, actually (Mühle r41 head plus Bulldog handle)

    Ok ok, that's just my opinion ;-)

    Thanks for blogging about shaving, food for thought!

    As you say, happy shaving.