Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Today is 64 degrees and cloudy so out comes the sandalwood shaving soap. I'm really starting to feel limited in the choice of shaving options I have. Still, the nice sandalwood scent is really pretty good anyway, so I don't have much in the way of complaint.

I found a couple of things over this past week that has helped me out a bit with my shaving. First, it seems that at least with my Merkur 34C razor, the position of the blade within the head of the razor actually matters. I've been used to just using the cartridge razor that clicks right into the head and you're ready to go, but the DE razor I'm using requires a bit more attention. I've found that there is a minuscule gap between the holes in the safety razor blade, and the pegs that hold the blade steady within the head.

This gap means that there is room for the blade to "drift" away from exact center, especially when I tighten down the razor to secure the blade. I find that when I tighten it down, the blade will actually twist in the direction that I tighten it. The answer seems to be to hold the blade in place while I load it and tighten the screw, but as much as I try I don't seem to get it perfect, since I need to do a bit of finger contortioning to hold the blade in place while I tighten the screw, I don't think I ever will.

Is this a big deal? Not really, but it does make me cast an eye to other DE razors that I have seen. Some models seem to close down over the blade like 1950's underground hangar doors and I think that may help the issue a bit, but as I'm interested in some other shaving things already, a new razor is not at the top of the list for my next purchase.

The other thing that I tried this Sunday morning that seemed to help out my shave was to actually leave the shower running while I shaved. I live in an apartment, and the light switch in the bathroom is connected to the ceiling fan so that I can't turn the fan off unless I want to shave in the dark. Because of this and the dry Southern California air, it never really remains warm and steamy in the bathroom. As soon as I step out of the shower, I'm hit with a cool blast of air that is quite refreshing, but tends to defeat the purpose of keeping my face warm, and the pores of my skin open. I don't dry my face when I get out of the shower, but by the time I have the shaving cream ready to go, everything is all cooled down and the pores are all closed.

Keeping the shower on keeps producing steam and today my bathroom was a bit of a sauna. This certainly kept my face warm, and even helped to improve the lather of the shaving soap, presumably because there was more moisture in the air to combine with the soap. This all helped with a much more comfortable shave, though it did get a bit annoying having to keep wiping the steam off of the mirror to see what I was doing. One of those steam-free mirrors would probably do the trick to combat this.

I wouldn't actually recommend that everyone do this though. The whole time I was shaving I was thinking about how much money, water and energy I was wasting (energy required to heat the water) while I was trying to have a leisurely shave, so I probably won't do this again. It was a nice experiment though, and going forward I'll be trying to think of ways to keep that bathroom fan off or some other way of keeping that bathroom warm and steamy-like. Since I'm actually planning on moving out of my apartment into a house, I will be looking forward to being able to modify the bathroom so that I can turn off the fan so that I can get a great shave.

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