Saturday, December 31, 2016

A New Slant on the Morning Shave

Consistent with my revitalized commitment to re-examine everything including my entire razor inventory, I once again pulled my Merkur 37C slant-bar razor out of moth balls and have included it in my active razor rotation.

The most intimidating view of the Merkur 37C slant-bar razor.

I used it this morning paired with a fourth-use SuperMax Titanium blade. The results were instructive.

After feeling some new-razor infatuation, I previously, finally (I thought) rejected the 37C for the following reasons:

  • Always seemed to get the after-the-shave burning-skin sensation more than with other razors
  • Always seemed to get nicks/weepers
  • Didn't seem to get a significantly closer shave -- at least not one that was worth the weepers and irritation
But after a very mediocre shave yesterday with the SuperMax T in my Merkur 15C open-comb razor, I had a hankering for a much-closer outcome. (I think the 15C and the SuperMax blade may just be too mild of a combination -- which tends to support my previous contention that if one is going to use a mild razor, he'd better use a blade on the sharper end of the spectrum.)

So this morning I took pretty much a one-pass, against-grain shave with the Merkur slant. The exception to the against-grain direction was on my upper lip, which got strokes that were both with grain and across grain. (I can get away with this approach combined with a one-lathering shave because I use anti-raking strokes, which tend to spread lather and moisture over just-shaved areas rather than raking the lubrication off the face. I also use longish buffing strokes, which basically means that the return, non-cutting stroke stays on the skin, thus pushing lather and moisture back onto the just-shaved area.)

What went right in this morning's shave:
  • Close shave on the planes of my cheeks, where it can be most rewarding
  • No weepers on my neck (especially my lower neck, which is very vulnerable and sensitive)
  • Very light pressure of razor against skin worked rather well (duh!)
What can be improved in future shaves:
  • I got a couple of weepers on my chin, which should probably not be shaved against grain using the slant. In the future I will probably approach that area as I do my upper lip: with grain, then across grain.
  • Under my jaw line was not particularly close though this is always a challenge. The differernce today was that I didn't really take many additional clean-up strokes; I just wanted to see the outcome of taking a rather minimal number of strokes in the upward direction, which is almost against the grain.
What may not improve in future shaves:
  • Though my skin looked good, there was still the post-shave-burning sensation, which was not calmed much by lotions. It's not a huge problem and is now almost gone as I write this (and is probably persisting more than necessary because I keep evaluating the closeness of the shave with my hand).
What I learned this morning in addition to the above:
  • Probably rather than just mindlessly day after day going through the rotation of my razors at hand in the bathroom, I may be more attentive to skipping or choosing certain razors based on the blade I'm currently using and the number of shaves on the blade.
The bottom line is that I've once again raised the 37C slant-bar razor from the dead, and it now resides once again at hand and available for use as appropriate.

A Brief Rant

I was reading some shaving information on line recently and saw persons who should know better referring to a straight-bar razor as a closed-comb razor

AAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH! This is just soooooooo wrong!

There is no such thing as a closed comb! A closed comb is just a bar or a strip. Can you imagine someone saying, "I combed my hair this morning with a closed comb."????  That would be stupid. It amounts to saying, "I combed my hair with a butter knife."

Don't let this happen to you! Don't sound like an idiot! Refer to non-open-comb razors by terms that actually make sense like straight-bar razor, safety-bar razor, slant-bar razor, or even simply as safety razor.

Thanks for letting me get that off my chest.

Happy shaving!

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