The best way to begin this blog will be to narrate a conversation I had with my mother and sister some time back (both feminists of the first order). As usual, they were opining about the difficulties of being the opposite gender in the superficial activities of day-to-day life with all the time taken to make yourself look good, combing the significantly long hair, getting manicures and… well, it was a huge list. Finally, they asked me, “What about you guys?” To be honest, I had nothing to reply in retort. So I gave the simplest answer possible: We shave! :)
My feeling for this most mundane activity of my life wasn’t always so bad. I don’t remember when I had my first shave but I am sure that my beard was pretty much non-existent at the time. Still, the joy of those first few shaves where I felt the whiskers of hair being cut by my blade was great. It was one of those existential feelings in my life that reasserted the notion that I had finally joined the big boys; become a man, so to speak. During those periods, the only aim was also to make sure I shaved enough to get a beard going, for the same reasons as above. Somewhere along the way though, once I had a decent growth of facial hair, the joy started subsiding. Once I started working and had to shave two times a week out of necessity, it was entirely gone, replaced by a frustration each time I looked at my face and realized it was time to wield my Gillette.
In my daily blog-check a couple of months back, I came across these delightful pieces written by a friend over at Gamespot. Needless to say, I was intrigued. I am someone who finds the idea of any new experience exhilarating. This quality of mine when added with the thought of shaving actually becoming an interesting part of my life was enough to win me over. I went out to the local supermarket, which surprisingly had them in stock, and bought a Lord razor. It was nothing special; just a three piece with handle, blade and covering made inEgypt. I figured that would be enough for my foray into the world of single blade razor shaving.
My first experience in shaving with a single blade razor was nothing short of a fiasco. In a rush to get hands-on experience, I overlooked doing the necessary research on what constitutes good practice which is something I always do. I thought arming me with the razor was enough and went on to use the usual general-purpose Gillette shaving foam for the face. The resulting shave was harrowing. At the end of it, my face was covered with numerous razor burns, not to mention a few cuts here and there.
Because it was so disastrous compared to what I’d read, I realized I must’ve done something drastically wrong. I went back on the Internet to read up more about the ABCD of single blade razor shaving. Thanks to numerous websites on the subject, I understood the importance of having the necessary equipment before even venturing into single blade razor shaving. The fruits of the research are displayed in the below image for everyone to see. Besides the aforementioned Lord razor, on display are the Gillette shaving gel, Gillette entry level brush, and Fa after-shave lotion. Experienced single-blade users will know that these constitute the lowest tier of products for single-blade shaving; they’re all entry level items for beginners. The brush has since been replaced with another entry-level from Kent who are experts in this field and I’ve also updated to an Old-Spice after-shave. Since this is essentially supposed to be my gateway into the world of single blade shaving, I decided to use the blade that came with the Lord razor. It was decent enough; not too dangerous like a feather blade, not too below-par that the shave is underwhelming. As I grow more comfortable and perfect my technique, I am planning to try out the assortment of options as far as blades are concerned, since they are the core component of the shaving experience.
I’ve been shaving with the above equipment for the better part of two months and quite frankly it has been a great experience. No more do I need to press the entire weight of my hand on my readymade blade to make sure it catches every bit of the whiskers on my face. No more do I need to put up with a red face after each shave where it feels like my face is burning. No more do I need to actually think of shaving as a chore.
That last statement is quite ironic considering the fact that single-blade shaving does eat up more of my time when compared to shaving with a disposable blade. I usually have to wet my face with warm water and let the whiskers get smooth enough to be cut. I have to prep my brush in warm water for a couple of minutes and then use it to lather my face for a couple more before I can even wield my blade. Finally, the actual act of shaving is one of precision rather than the hack and slash it was before. The entire process feels like art to me.
This is something I would recommend to every one of my fellow men out there. In my case, I usually shave the previous night, so time is not a constraint for me. But even if it was, I would consider the extra five minutes worth the effort for the quality of shave that single blade shaving offers. Not only is the resulting shave the smoothest you could have without visiting the nearest barber shop, it is also devoid of razor burns, cheek redness, cuts and the assorted pains… once you’ve perfected the technique, of course. Take the plunge. It’s worth it!