shavers anonymous

Posted on Thursday 27 April 2006

sense :: hearing // whining users

Yesterday I recounted how incredibly pleased I was with my recent purchase of a Gilette Fusion Power, and Pastilla pointed out that certain others were having shaving pains of their own. Well, I can’t let that fly since I may as well be some sort of shaving expert by this point in my life, so let me elaborate on the subject, for all of you who are looking for a better shave, or are just mindboggled at this thing that a lot of men have to do every single day. Complete gory details and something of a tutorial on shaving are all below the jump.

When I was young, as I recounted yesterday, I had horrible problems shaving. Razor bumps to high heaven, which any manner of creams and aftershave lotions never really helped; because I had such a hard time shaving without tearing up my face, I thought for a while that maybe the problem was that I was shaving too often, so I’d let my facial hair get a little long and straggly for a while before trying to shave it. That just made the shaving harder when I had to do it, and made my face look awful in the meantime. I can only imagine the kind of sight I must have been to my girlfriend of the time, showing up in front of her parents on a regular basis with a moustache and hair down the side of my face and under my chin, but with nothing really ON my chin; (that’s how my facial hair grows, yeah-it’s wierd)

I still shudder at hor horrible I must have looked back then, shuddering only more when I remember how painful it was to use the burning, stinging hair removal creams that I used to use in the place of a razor when I used to do that. That was a nightmare; I don’t even remember the cream I used-I think I blocked it out-but it hurt, a lot, and using it always burned to no end. You were supposed to smear it on, and leave it for about 5 minutes. Any shorter and you wouldn’t get the hair out, any longer and you’d chemically burn your skin. Yay.

More often than not I suffered a mild chemical burn, soothed when I whipped out the plastic “razor” that came with the cream, that you were supposed to slide under it and “shave” the cream (and the hair, not to mention the first couple of layers of skin) off of my face. I never loved aftershave so much as I did back then. That stuff was a nightmare to use-no wonder I let my facial hair get so long. Eventually I gave it up, went to disposable razors, which gave me the close shave I needed, but wound up cutting my face to high heaven in the process. I did that for a couple of years, I think, coming to the conclusion that bleeding heavily during shaving was a completely normal thing. Then one day, I think my parents suggested I try a Mach3 razor. My dad had used it, and thought it was great-I figured I’d pick one up (this was when the Mach3 was a new product) and since then I’ve never looked back. I’ve used the turbo, took advantage of the fact that Turbo blades fit on the regular Mach3 body, and used them interchangably. Then I tried the Fusion, and I’m still in love with the very sharp, multi-bladed, reusable (yet still disposable when they dull out) class of razor blades.

So. About the razor itself; the kind of razor that’s best for someone really depends on the kind of hair they have growing out of their face. If it’s long and straight and not likely to curl back over and slip back under the skin (leading to razor bumps and infected hair follicles, like I had) then an electric razor isn’t a big deal and very well may work well for you. Especially if you’re not looking for a horribly close shave, or don’t mind a little shadow or fuzz on your face. (Even though all the electric razor companies want you to think their electric will give you a shave like a blade will…it won’t.)

If you have curly or wavy hair, or have had razor burn at all, one good tip is to shave straight out of the shower. Not before the shower, and possibly in the shower, (I hear many people do this-I can’t imagine it, personally, I hear stories of fogless mirrors you can mount to your shower wall, but I can’t possibly see myself coordinated enough IN the actual shower to do that, plus, the extra hot water I’d use shaving in the shower would lead to a very cold someone who would have to shower after me, which is not a good idea) when your skin is soft and the hair on your face is still wet and away from your face. Putting a hot washcloth on your face helps too-the heat helps make for an easier shave.

Shaving Cream. I used to go bare-no shaving cream at all. When I was younger, I found that most shaving foams and creams only irritated my already sensitive skin and made it more likely I’d cut myself in the process of shaving. I’d use a shaving gel on special occassions when I needed a super close shave, and I’d just be careful not to cut myself. As I got a little older and my skin settled down (read: hormones settled down) I started using Barbasol, since after all, it’s the closest thing you’ll get to hand whipped shaving foam (the real stuff) on the market today. Personally, I’ve used the regular, but I love the kind with Aloe-the green can, about third one back on the front page. Good stuff. Still, experiment and find a shaving cream or gel that’s good to your skin-it’s really important for a good, non irritated, comfortable shave.

Also, if youv’e got curly or wavy hair or are prone to razor bumps like me, you need a really good razor. Disposables are sharp, but they don’t give to the contours of your face, for example. When I got a Mach 3 (and I suppose a Quattro would work too) I never looked back. The rubber sides around the disposable heads gave a bit to my face and made it easier to shave without cutting myself or pinching my skin, and the lubricating strip on the blade head helped smooth things over too. Definitely worth the extra money you’ll spend on replacement blades.

Finally, finish up with a good, solid deep cleaning astringent-I use Sea Breeze (it’s not just for girls!) on a paper towel (cotton balls leave fuzz on your face, which is teh ick) to wipe away any little flecks of hair and dirt that might still be clinging to my face. The deep cleaning alcohol-based Sea Breese does wonders to keep my face clean, which is also really really important-if you keep your face clean after shaving, I mean as clean as possible, and get all those cut hair specks and dirt off of your face, you won’t get infected pores and follicles, and your face will stay smoother longer. You can use just about any astringent, heck, I’ve even used rubbing alcohol when I can’t find sea breeze, but you need something that’s probably alcohol-based, and something that gets in there deep and stings. Fold a paper towel over a few times, drizzle it on until it’s saturated, and wipe away the grime.

The last step is a decent aftershave lotion. This is totally up to you, but something that moisturizes would be a good bet. After a really close shave and any kind of astringent, your skin will likely be pretty dry. Choose something that smells good and feels good too.

That’s it! A successful close and smooth shave. Try not to cut yourself in the process though-using real razors, not to mention a Mach 3 or a Quattro or a Fusion that has three, four, and five blades respectively, they’re really really sharp.

Well, there you go. Welcome to the club. We should totally get membership cards or something.

3 Comments for 'shavers anonymous'

    April 27, 2006 | 4:52 pm

    i kinda just discovered the “shave directly after the shower” thing about 8 months ago, and i will now only shave without taking a shower if absolutely fucking necessary. i needed to know this shower thing, like, when i was 15.

    and the hotter, the better.

    kuriimupan (via Pastilla)
    April 27, 2006 | 11:27 pm


    Also thanks for mentioning Megatokyo a while back. I really like it.

    March 12, 2008 | 2:27 pm

    Excellent article! I’ve alternated between electric and wet shaving over the years and tried all the “great new” razors. The fact is, IMO disposables are just as good for wet shaves and cheaper. I’m in an “electric” phase at the moment and prefer to use that after a shower. Also, use a scent free moisturiser after shaving then a nice smelly 🙂

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