Sometime last year I made the switch from using a Philips electric razor to traditional wetshaving, and I wouldn’t look back; shaving in the morning has gone from a mundane task to a therapeutic ritual. I’ve shaved in the past with razors and shaving cream, but I always found the experience messy, unsatisfying, and left me with bad shaving irritation. In the past I stuck with an electric razor primarily because it was easier than using shaving cream, but as many will attest to, the quality of shave (and the overall experience) isn’t worth writing about. While wetshaving takes a little more time, care, and patience, the journey (and end result) are worth it.
A great place to learn about wetshaving is Mantic59’s shave blog, as well as the youtube videos he has made. For someone wanting a gentle introduction to wet-shaving, a great way to start is by incorporating a shaving brush into your morning ritual. The shaving brush serves several purposes. It lifts the hair up from the skin providing a closer cut, it exfoliates your skin preventing blemishes and irritation, and it creates a rich creamy lather that is great lubrication to protect your skin.
I picked my brush up from fendrihan.com. I have the classic silvertip shaving brush, and it is a great balance between softness (feels good and creates a thick creamy lather) and beard-lifting power. Alfred at Fendrihan is awesome, and will help you find a brush that meets your needs and is in your price range. Pick up some decent shaving cream or soap while you’re there (I’m a fan of Proraso – it’s less than $10 for a small tub).
So you’ve bought your shaving brush and cream/soap, and you’re ready to shave. The first thing to do it get the bristles wet with clean warm water. If you’ve bought a badger brush, you may want to rinse it a bit with vinegar or just warm water, as badger hair can have a bit of a funky smell when you first wet it. Lightly shake off any excess water. Now you have a choice:
- Put a bit of shaving cream into a mug (a large latte mug works great), and work your brush into it to create a lather. If you have soap rather than cream, rub the wet brush onto the soap to cake some into the bristles, then move to your mug. Apply the lather to your face in smooth circular motions.
- Put a little cream on your brush (or rub your soap to get some into the bristles) and apply directly to your face in smooth circular motions creating the lather directly on your face.
Now shave as usual. If you want to do a multi-pass shave, there should be plenty of lather left in the brush/mug. After you’re done rinse out the brush in warm water, shake out any excess water, and sit to dry. As a last comment, I should note that I’ve simplified things a bit, but you can find a ton more information on shaving brushes and wetshaving in general on Mantic59’s blog and The Wet Shaver’s Blog among others. Another great resource is the forums at badgerandblade.com and theshaveden.com.