Sunday, March 8, 2009

Shave with the grain

A hazy day in southern California today, temperatures in the low 60's this morning. I reached for the Proraso shaving cream today as I need to get a few things done and the medicine-y menthol Prorasso helps to set the tone for that.

My shaves have been getting better over the past couple of weeks. I was busy with a few things last Sunday unfortunately so I wasn't able to get to blogging, and wasn't even able shave. Needless to say, it just wasn't a fun Sunday. In those two weeks though, I've learned that the right blade helps, and the right technique also helps, and this week I've found a few things that have helped even more.

The first thing I've found is that my normal routine of only shaving exclusively on Sunday's doesn't particularly lend itself well to shaving with a safety, or double-edged razor. The hair on my face just gets too long, and the single blade just doesn't hit it as well as the modern multiple blades. It will still work, it's just that it takes multiple shaves to get all of the beard taken off, and I've found that my face can actually take only about 2 shaves with the DE razor before my skin starts to get irritated.

So I've been making it more of a habit to shave on Wednesday mornings as well. I don't go through the whole Sunday morning relaxing shave thing, but just hit the beard with a quick shave in the morning to help to keep things manageable on Sunday. This works pretty well for me as it's a nice start to "hump day", and by the time Sunday rolls around, my beard is in decent shape for a shave. Very nice.

The second thing I've found is that learning the contours of my face, and especially understanding how the hairs lay on my face has helped tremendously. I never really cared before which direction my whiskers grew, but I have found that for the most part, the whiskers on my face point backwards, sort of as if I was facing into the wind, and the whiskers were being blown back.

Once I figured this out, and started shaving my face front to back instead of top to bottom (I.E. with the grain rather than across it), I started getting a much better shave. I start by shaving in that direction first for one shave, and then I re-lather for a second shave using my regular, start at the top, shave downward motion, that would effectively be a cross cut of the whiskers. Once I finish with the second shave, I feel out the face and finish off any parts I've missed with a little lather and scrape, and that's it, I'm all done.

Doing this shave twice thing is what's known as "Shave Reduction". Instead of cutting it all off at once, I reduce my beard with each shave. As long as I shave on Wednesday, I only need to go with two shaves on Sunday, and I don't get any skin irritation.

I must mention at this point, that most of this stuff I've learned from watching Mantic59's shaving tutorials over on you tube, so if anyone ever reads this looking for how to wet shave, do yourself a favor and go there to get the real scoop.

Anyway, that's all for this Sunday. I'm beginning the search for a new shaving brush as I'd like to upgrade. I'm seriously considering spending some real money and getting a silvertip badger hair brush and am doing some research on what I think will work for me. The Vulfix I'm currently using is doing the job, but I'm looking for something a bit better this time around.

See you next Sunday.

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