003: 8 months with a straight razor

this is my 3rd post and it also happens to be the second post in which i link to a sean bonner piece on boingboing, i don’t *think* im a fanboy but it’s weird that we seem to be making similar life decisions in parallel.

last year for my birthday, my granddad (well, my mum – as he was in hospital at the time) got me a proper badger hair shaving brush. she had known i wanted to start shaving with a straight razor for ages, but i hadn’t actually made any steps to start. but she figured having a brush was the first step, unfortunately it just sat in the cupboard. then, just before christmas (for some reason that i now can’t remember) i won a £20 amazon voucher at work. so i decided to use my unexpected windfall to buy a razor.

i wasn’t sure i was ready to take the plunge and get a full mega expensive stainless steel straight razor. A – because they are expensive. Bim pretty sure i’m going to do this : so instead i punted for a Shavette – its basically a straight razor that takes traditional razor blades you can get almost anywhere and change when it gets blunt.

im not going to go through the ins and outs of how you shave with it as there are plenty of great resources online. however, i am going to give a shout out to the amazing @thechapblog for his invaluable youtube videos. it was super great to have them in front of me on the counter in the bathroom the first time i shaved. which brings me nicely onto what my first shave was like…

it was fucking terrifying.

BUT i emerged from the bathroom alive (just about) with only a few cuts to my face and very little razor burn.. it was about 6 / 7 shaves until i got the – Achievement Unlocked: ‘shave your neck without cutting yourself’ badge.

over the last few months, shaving has turned from a ‘chore’ to a pleasure.

it takes longer than just shaving with a mach 3 or regular cassette razor and you have to concentrate really hard, and be decisive. i wouldn’t go as far as saying that it’s some kind of 10 min meditation; but there IS something to taking a short chunk of time out of your day to focus on just one task.

in the process of that one task, i have learnt a lot about my face. i know it seems stupid as i wear it everyday. but with a straight razor you have to be aware of the subtle topography of your face and neck, and be aware of the direction of the hair grain. this detailed understanding of a small section of the surface area of my body has been amazing. if you want you can use a mapping tool like this to keep a record of it.

its still terrifying, every time. but i also find there is something exhilarating about holding a very sharp, naked blade to my own throat…

ANYWAY

.. i’m sure there are many things about this crazy futuristic world we live in that my great grandad if transported to the present now would find completely alien. but this is not one of them. for some reason when lathering up the soap with my brush, applying it to my face, and then using a straight razor to scrape the hairs from my face, there is something deeply familiar about it – i feel connected to a past.

and man is dirt cheap!

I got a pack of 5 wilkinson sword razor blades back in january for (2.99) and i’m still using them. a shavette uses half a blade and i shave around twice a week. i DO however make sure i sharpen the blade on my arm before and after i use it using this AMAZE technique.

how much have you spent this year so far? the soap i use is handmade and was basically free. plus the £2.99 i spent on blades and i still have ½ a blade left.

switching from a cassette razor has not only reduced the amount of money i spending on blades, it has also reduced the amount of useless packaging and associated transportation costs that come with it.

i don’t need a razor that needs a battery, vibrates and applies moisturizer. i just need one thats sharp.

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