Later On

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New shaving forum

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I just learned of a new shaving forum, The Shave Den, which owes its existence to Mama Bear. Each shaving forum gradually develops its own character, so it will be interesting to see the direction of growth for this one.

I contributed a post the the “newbie” section, and the moderator has made it a “sticky”: my first one ever.

This post is to offer a little basic guidance, with some information from my comprehensive guide to gourmet shaving and my recommendations for a beginning shaving kit.

Problems with the shave usually have their cause in one of the essential steps:

Prep: beard must be fully wetted to soften—shave after showering, wash beard again at the sink, and apply a good lather to your wet beard. (Lather is always applied to a wet beard.)

Blade selection: crucial. Novices focus on the razor, but the razor is just a device for holding the blade and presenting the edge at the correct angle to the stubble. Different people require different blades. Get a sampler packet from LetterK so you can find the right blade for you.

Blade angle: absolutely critical. The blade should be ALMOST parallel to the skin being shaved, so that the edge strikes the stubble almost at a right angle. Where the skin has a lot of curves (e.g., jawline, neck, chin), you have to maneuver the razor a fair amount to keep the blade angle correct. Making short strokes will help you stay focused on blade angle. No matter how light the pressure, if the angle’s wrong, you’ll get a nick or cut.

Razor pressure: use very light pressure. Shaving with a cartridge either requires or encourages pressure, so this is a habit that must be unlearned. Often the weight of the razor by itself is enough to cut the stubble. Hold the blade to minimize pressure—e.g., by the balance point on the handle. When you rinse after the first pass, you’ll feel quite a bit of stubble. This does NOT mean you should use more pressure—in single blade shaving, you eliminate the stubble by progressively reducing it over 2, 3, or 4 passes.

Your beard’s grain (direction of growth): It’s vital that you know this, since the sequence of passes is first with the grain, then across the grain, and then (if stubble is sufficiently reduced) against the grain. (If too much stubble remains for a comfortable against-the-grain pass, shave across the grain the other way.) Generally, the beard on your face will grow downward—but not always. I have a couple of patches where it grows more or less sideways. The grain on the neck can be anything. To find the grain, wait 8-12 hours after you’ve shaved, then rub your face and neck. The direction that’s roughest is against the grain. You’ll find the “roughest” direction is different on different pars of your face and neck.

If you pay attention to these basic points, you’ll enjoy your shaves. There will be a learning curve, as you make the transition from cognitive understanding to practiced skill, but you will at least know what you’re trying for.

Happy shaves.

Written by Leisureguy

4 February 2007 at 12:19 pm

Posted in Shaving

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