When most people think about wet shaving, they think about their grandfather, or their great-grandfather, pulling out the straight razor, giving it a good stropping, mixing up some shaving soap, putting a hot towel on his face for a good three minutes, and all of that. However, that is not exactly what wet shaving is. Although wet shaving has long been associated with the use of a blade (i.e. a straight razor or a safety razor) over a cartridge razor (i.e. Gillette Mach 3, Fusion, Track Two, etc.); what wet shaving really is all about is what medium you put on your face before you shave (I.e. canned "cream" or gel v.s. shaving soap or actual shaving cream).
For the purposes of this article, we will consider shaving cream to be that which comes from a tube and must be mixed with water by the use of an appropriate brush to form a lather that is then suitable for shaving with. Anything that comes out of a can will be referred to as shaving foam. Wet shaving, then can be applied with either cartridge shaving or when shaving with a blade.
Why should we wet shave?
I'll assume that you have already been told that aerosols are harmful to the environment and are probably sick of hearing ecologically-responsible things and cut right to the chase; it all comes down to money! When you buy your normal shaving foam, how long does that can last you? If you're like most men I know, the answer is likely a month or two, no more than that. Given the average cost of a can of shaving foam, that is likely to run you almost $100 per year! Would you be surprised if I told you that a regular (i.e. 2.5-4 oz.) bar of shaving soap would last you almost a year (with regular shaving) and only cost you about $4 for a very good brand? Of course you would!
The absolute best shaving soap I've yet tried comes from a small Texas based corporation known as Van Der Hagen Enterprises. They make several products for shaving, but the one I have fallen in love with is the Deluxe Shaving Soap. It is available in numerous National retail stores (i.e. Walgreen's, Wal-Mart, CVS) and comes in a little green box. It lathers up very quickly and it is absolutely a dream to put on your skin! It is so smooth and creamy that I assure you, you will never go back to shaving foam again!
Another important reason that you should adopt the luxurious ritual of wet shaving is that it is simply better for your skin than dry shaving (i.e. using shaving foam). Many shaving foams use ingredients that, at best, are not good for your skin and at worst are downright harmful. Shaving soaps, on the other hand, are always made from the richest, most moisturizing, best-for-your-skin ingredients you can find; this holds true from the lesser quality products (i.e. Col. Conk's) to the higher quality products (Classic Shaving Brand, Truefitt & Hill, Taylor of Old Bond Street, Vulfix). Why? Because wet shaving is all about moisturizing the hair, and, as a side effect, your skin, so that it is easier to shave.
When the hairs on your face are properly hydrated (through the hot towel method and proper application of shaving soap lather) it is almost nothing to achieve a very close, smooth, shave. Also, the process of applying shaving soap lather to one's face lifts the hair off of the face and works the moisturizing agents deep into the hair follicle and the skin; so not only will you achieve a closer shave, but you will also have a softer face that the woman in your life will certainly enjoy!
All you need is a simple coffee mug and a woman's powder brush (not your wife's!) bought from any store that sells makeup! As I said before, the shaving soap will run you about $4-$6 at CVS or Walgreens and then you are set to go! Enjoy the wonderful world of wet shaving, and look for future articles should you wish to make the (highly-recommended) transition from cartridge razors (and even safety razors) to the straight razor; what all true men shave with!
John R. Weaver is a avid writer, blogger, and wet/straight razor shaving enthusiast. His hobbies include music, fly-fishing, being active in his church, and reading. His website is http://johnrweaver.blogspot.com/ where additional links related to this article may be found.
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