Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Shaving book reviews

with 8 comments

Following are reader reviews posted for earlier editions of Leisureguy’s Guide to Gourmet Shaving:

The quintessential guide to everything wet shaving. 2 Sep 2008 (updated 4 Sep 2008)

by huntley.eric.a

Not only is this a great book on wet shaving, but it’s the ONLY book on wet shaving! This book is long overdue. It definitely needed to be written, and Michael Ham did a fabulous job writing it! He covers every aspect of shaving, and even has an appendix with a list of other references, forums, and vendors AND, he includes a link to a constantly updated version of the appendix online! I’ve been shaving for a long time, but until I got this book I didn’t realize there were a few very small, but very significant things I was doing horribly wrong in my preshave routine. Most older men can tell you horror stories about learning to shave with a “safety razor”. They’ll say “HAH! Safety Razor? There’s nothing SAFE About them!” and that is strictly because they didn’t have a reference like this when they were learning how to shave! You can get a great shave, have a great time doing it, you can spend as little as .10 cents on a razor blade, and this book will tell you how! Since reading this book my shaves have improved greatly. I was getting a pretty good shave before, but now I’m getting an excellent shave. I would highly recommend this book to any man that wants to enjoy his shaves a little more, or to any young man just starting to shave.

Great gift for any man! 30 Dec 2007

I bought this as a gift for my fiancé, along with a wet-shaving starting kit and a safety razor. He DEVOURED this book, and finds himself reading it again and again. He finally enjoys shaving. This book has helped him figure out so many things about wet shaving, and has recommended it to all of his friends and family.

Truly a great source of information for any man.

An Excellent Resource! 24 Jul 2007

I’ve done my share of searching, and there is no printed reference for wetshaving which comes close to Mr. Ham’s volume. This book covers every aspect of the shaving experience with insight, expertise and aplomb: he offers product reviews, theoretical background and detail-oriented tips for the wetshaver. Anyone who is interested in wetshaving should purchase this book ASAP. I have been wetshaving for five months, but the tips contained in this volume have greatly improved my shaving experience. I can’t recommend this strongly enough!

The perfect book 5 Jul 2007 (updated 24 Jul 2007)

So you find yourself burned out on your shaving routine using cartidge razors and canned goo, or your just sick of using your electric or wish there was a way to make shaving more enjoyable, than this guide is the perfect book.

Shaving used to be a drag with all the skin irritation, nicks, bad shaves and sheer unenjoyment, but since I switched to shaving with a double edge safety razor and started using real shaving cream and a brush I actually look forward to shaving everyday! I have to admit this guide is what got me started. I cannot thank Mr. Ham enough for putting together the perfect book.

Michael Ham wrote this book for you and me. Those looking for a better way, a more traditional way. This guide is the perfect book for those considering the world of wet shaving. This very enjoyable read is full of information about equipment, vendors, technique, and history. I keep it on my night stand and have read through it many times, it’s chock full of usefull bits!

Thanx Leisueguy

Great Source of Wetshaving Information 30 May 2007 (updated 30 May 2007)
by Chris Anderson

Since I work for, I don’t normally post reviews of content. It’s difficult for any of us here to do so without some sort of bias due to our love for this place and the amazing folks who publish their works through us. But, I wanted to post something here about this book since 1) I found it while searching the web for wetshaving information, not while browsing content on Lulu and 2) I have enjoyed it enough to believe my bias isn’t the only reason I feel positively towards it. Make sense?

I am a recent convert to wetshaving and am slowly but surely coming to absolutely love its benefits as well as the ritual. Shaving has never been enjoyable for me (been shaving for 19 years or so) and up until now has usually been a painful, bloody mess that left me with unsightly razor burn and nicks. I had reduced my frequency to about once a week with the cartridge razors and standard shaving cream. Sometime last year I did start using a brush and occasionally some shave oil which did improve things somewhat, but it was the addition of the safety razor and the time spent learning how to build a later, etc that brought the most benefit to date.

So in that vein, Mr. Ham’s book has been a great resource for me to continue my learning. It is a quick and easy read that is to the point and clear. I enjoy the fact that he is open-minded and just as much into learning as I am. He lays out a bunch of options and suggestions and sends readers off to try them all to find the exact combination that works for him.

Another great thing about this book is its Endnotes. Throughout the book, Mr. Ham references books, websites, shaving products, etc. and quite religiously annotates them with references to his Endnotes. While not as convenient as Footnotes, the Endnote format allows him to expound further as needed on each note without ruining the look, feel, and flow of his book. The first time through the book, I didn’t reference the notes at all, sticking to the context of the book as a whole. Now that I use the book as a reference, I will just put my finger on the Endnotes page so I can flip to it quickly when necessary.

Through these Endnotes and other information in the back of the book, Mr. Ham provides readers with a formidable launchpad for further learning. As a matter of fact, that pretty much sums up the book as a whole: A great foundational intro to wetshaving along with a nice push to many other sources to continue your journey.

Thanks for the book, Mr. Ham. And, while again not greatly affecting my opinion of the book, thanks for using Lulu!

A great source for a better shave! 14 May 2007
by Neal Teeman

Michael Ham has made the discovery, like many of us, that a man’s daily shave doesn’t have to be a gruesome task but can be a luxurious pleasure. Like Michael, I have been shaving using items like a DE razor, hot towels, creams and soaps from all over the world, and have learned how to change this daily chore into a daily pleasure.

Now, Michael has compiled all this information into this wonderful guide to help any man learn how to enjoy his daily shave. He gives all the info as well as his own personal input for any beginner to learn what he needs to start with, where he can find them and how to use it all. I only wish I had a guide like this when I began my quest for the ideal shave.

Good work, Michael, putting this all together in a book that is a pleasure to read.

An Excellent Resource 10 May 2007 (updated 10 May 2007)
by Christopher Moss

Having been a wetshaver since I was in my teens many years ago, I have watched Michael Ham learn and then teach others in an online shaving community. He gets it. Buy this book if you want to learn how to look forward to shaving and to feel proud of your skills.

I wish I’d had a copy of this book 16 years ago. 4 May 2007
by Josh Larios

If you’re like I was until recently, the idea that shaving could ever be enjoyable is so unlikely as to be laughable. But it’s true. After taking the advice in this book, I’m actually looking forward to shaving. I wouldn’t have thought it possible, but there it is. If only someone had given me this advice when I first started shaving, I could have saved myself years of irritation and unpleasantness.

If you don’t enjoy shaving, or if you’d like to make it more pleasant than it already is, you owe it to yourself to get this book.

Written by Leisureguy

29 July 2009 at 6:31 am

8 Responses

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  1. Great book, Just had my first wet shave today. A week ago this book arrived and I read it in two days. My razor arrived yesterday. Thank you Michael for writing this book.


    Shane Early

    2 January 2010 at 12:22 am

  2. Thank you for buying the book, Shane. Let me know if you have any questions or suggestions for information that should be added to the book. I’m also interested in any passages that are unclear.




    2 January 2010 at 9:27 am

  3. Likewise, I purchased the book and found it a treasure trove of information and tips. I made the transition from tinned gel to shaving cream 10 years ago. I made the move from cartridge razor blades to Double edged razor 12 months. Shaving is now part of my daily routine and I look forward to it, each and every morning. Buy the book if you are serious about traditional wet shaving. Alternatively, buy the book if you want a trip down memory lane to see how shaving used to be done in days gone by.


    Julian Hutchings

    2 November 2010 at 2:26 am

  4. Why buy a book when there are countless forums and shaving advice on the web? I should have bought this book first and then check all the forums etc. I still find details I didn’t know and enjoy reading it tremendously. Covers all the important details and everything else you never thought you needed o know about shaving and technique and equipment and products and websites that cover anything else. Fantastic job. Well written and it flows well, also. I’ll pass this on eventually to a friend, or my son (he’s got a little way to go yet) Thanks.


    D. Goellner

    31 August 2011 at 11:11 pm

  5. You might ask how the 4th edition can possibly improved upon? Well, the 5th edition is out. And, yes there is new and good information that will improve your shave. Leisureguy is providing a real service to all wet shavers that will improve your morning routine (or whenever you shave). There is more than one way to skin a cat and the same holds true for wet shaving. Exploring all the excellent products, smells and textures is part of the enjoyment and I think Michael Ham covers all that very well. Thanks for outdoing yourself!


    D. Goellner

    23 September 2011 at 11:19 pm

  6. I really enjoyed/enjoy this book.”Leisureguy” also comes across like a nice guy.By the way I have the Kindle version but would actually also consider buying a paper copy becauise it´s such a cool book.



    10 November 2011 at 10:50 am

  7. This was the book I bought AFTER I started shaving with a safety razor and like many I had almost packed it in and gone back to the dreaded cartridge razor. The book opened my eyes and showed me the way. After this, I never looked back and went from strength to strength. Shaving was at last enjoyable and something to look forward to every morning. I can now boast over 10 brushes and 18 different shaving creams and soaps. My face is clean, smooth and blemish free. In short, the book is compulsary reading for those taking up, or thinking about double edged shaving.


    Julian Hutchings

    11 January 2012 at 12:36 am

  8. Many thanks for the kind comments. If you wish to post a review on (or, if you live in the UK, at, that would be great—I suspect more potential converts would see it there. My goal is to enable as many men as possible to escape the cartridge razor trap and begin to find pleasure in the morning shave. In this thread at wicked_edge a guy who received a copy of the book as a gift mentions that he soon will ask who wants a copy and will pass it along. “lord_of_vader”, who sent him the book, who knows that I frequent wicked_edge, commented, “I hope it’s alright with the author that we are being generous with this book. I’d hate to have to undermine the work and potential income of the man.”

    In my response, I stated my view on this issue:

    The key is to help guys find out that they can actually enjoy the morning shave and get a better result with blades that cost a dime or two and last around a week. That’s what I want to happen. I’ve given away the book myself a fair amount, and I always offer two copies to prize-winners, so the guy can give one to a buddy. (I think the follow-through with two guys trying it is better than one trying alone: each will try to better his buddy in acquiring the new skill.)

    I also hang out here a lot and answer questions for the same reason: let’s help turn this daily tedious chore into a daily source of pleasure and renewal. I recall a comedy in which a Hollywood psychiatrist was talking about treating important producers and so on. “A lot of them fall asleep on the couch,” he said, “but they get better because taking a 50-minute nap every day really does help.” 🙂 Well, if the morning shave can be a brief interlude of peaceful meditation and focused attention, that makes the whole day better.

    That said, I am retired and the book income helps—at least it helps me buy more shaving stuff to test for the next edition of the book. It’s sort of iffy if I’m ahead at this point, but I’m having a good time and I think I’ve helped some guys (cue reader reviews).

    One great thing about WE is that I can at least mention the book—either by simply talking about it or quoting from it or commenting that I’ve learned something that will affect the next edition (most recently, I learned that I need to emphasize a little more the desirability of Creamy Lather over Frugal Lather, and that using up the shaving soap making lather from it is exactly the point, and using more soap to make better lather? Go for it). In terms of recommending that someone purchase it, I don’t do that. For raw beginners who show up with a post along the lines of “I’ve heard about this new way of shaving—so what’s up with that? What do I do?”, I do indeed point out the reader reviews, but I figure the novice, having read those, can decide for himself whether the book will help. As we constantly find ourselves repeating, it’s a YMMV activity. Some people can watch a video and learn all they need to know; some are text oriented and like explanations, reference lists, checklists, and the like: the book serves those. Most probably do a combination: book augmented by on-line video, which is why (as you recall) the book has multiple links to on-line videos as well as blanket recommendations for Mantic59’s channel (and in the next edition) betelgeux’s theshockwav channel—for things like this demo on lather. So anyone using the book is also directed to videos. Videos only? I don’t know… do guys who regularly watch professional golf matches on TV find that their game improves? I don’t know. I do know that I enjoy text, myself—I think the length of this answer proves that. 🙂

    The reason for the long answer is I don’t want people tiptoeing around me. I’m just a shaver with some experience and a fair amount of curiosity who enjoys writing: result book on shaving and continual exploration of new things in the DE shaving world, written particularly for the novice—because novices are the ones who will grow this interest.

    Feel free to ask questions. And apologies to lord_of_vader for seizing the platform, but I believe it’s best to address the issue head-on and completely.



    11 January 2012 at 6:01 am

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