Some blokes hate it, some don’t do it at all, but at the end of the day most blokes feel obliged to do it regularly… I now love a good shave, but did go through a few years of never really doing it other than running some salon clippers over my stuble/beard from time to time. Then I decided a few years ago to learn how to give a cut throat shave as a service in the salon & I learnt the art of the shave. This was looking at shaving in a whole new light & I soon discovered the joy of the whole process, I naturally started shaving more at home & have really come to love the whole process. I usually shave twice a week & try to have the time to ritualise it a bit! Cleansing, lathering, shaving, rinsing & moisturising.. Questions like; should I use a multi or single blade; if single blade, what blade to use; shaving cream, soap or foam..! I’ve got a single blade Merkur DE Razor, a Mach 3 & I’ve been trying the different cheap as disposables from the supermarket to get a feel of the different blades available. I could go on at length about all of this but will leave it to later posts to look at these things closer, I’ll stick to the bigger picture for now.
The first thing for a great shave is heat, most guys shave in or straight after a shower which of course softens the bristles. This is where the fun begins, if I had one single bit of advice it would be to buy yourself a shaving brush… & use it! I think it makes an enormous difference to the quality of your shave. Plus theres nothing more luxurious that a warm/hot brush massaging your face with a decent lather of shaving cream or soap! The action is aimed at getting the bristles standing upright so the blade can easily slice them off. With a good brush it allows your whiskers at all angles on your face and particularly under the the jaw line, where most guys have growth patterns going in all directions, to be bought to attention as it were. The idea of a good cream or soap is they are thick enough to hold that bristle up right & provide a great lubricant to allow the blade to glide through the whiskers, making for a good clean cut. I always do a double pass & do a quick lather for that second shave, being careful to go across the grain & not directly against it, especially with the big bertha DE blade I have!
Watch this great scene by the masterful Charlie Chaplin with the best barershop/shaving service you can imagine..! (NO AUDIO & STILL ABSOLUTLEY HILARIOUS!!!)
The cut throat is a whole different ball game to use on yourself, with the biggest problem being getting the angles right. As far as providing a service in the salon, the biggest problem is assessing a fresh face each time someone comes in. We all have our individual subtleties & characteristics which can be difficult to pick up by a barber in a one off shave. Theres no doubt you learn those charateristics when a client comes back a few times & therefore have a better chance of giving the perfect shave. Thats enough for now, I’ll leave you with the most classic shaving scene I’ve seen in one of my favourite movies, The Untouchables… Enjoy!