As part of our 2013 self-improvement series (See also: our BYT-approved workout songs for 2013, BYT Guide to Internet Exercising and guide to being a better person in general) we figured it is as good of a time as any to revisit this shaving how-to classic. We know half of you are sporting winter beards right now but consider this:
Look I know we’re coming out of a stylish androgynous phase with the tight t-shirts and sexual ambiguity for dudes – Metrosexual was it? – of course we’re replacing it with hipster beards so maybe this article isn’t that timely, but for those of you who don’t cater to idiotic trends (seriously, who came up with truck hats and PBR?) and who are shaving your face every day, I am here to help you.
And trust me, shaving is about as manly a thing you can do other than cut down a forest or rebuild an old Chevy motor under a tree, and, seriously, chicks dig when dudes do manly stuff. Oh sure they’ll tell you your stink-pretty smells nice, and you look hot in a t-shirt meant for a 12 year old girl, but when it comes down to it chicks into dudes want a dude who is a man.
You’ve all been taught that Shick Quattro 10000 with 17 blades and some gel shit that squirts out of a can is the way to shave. Actually you haven’t been taught. We don’t teach our progeny anything anymore – it’s left up to schools or classrooms. I mean fuck we have parenting classes. Shouldn’t parenting classes be taught by, uh, what’s the word? Parents?
Ever calculated what all that plastic Chinese shaving nonsense costs in a year?
No, good hairy readers, the way to shave is with the safety razor:
That there is a good cross-section of your choices. From left to right you’ve got your shaving mug, your badger hair bristle brush (badger hair is the best, boars hair is next, everything else sucks and don’t waste your time). In the forefront is a Valet Auto Strop Razor with case (the blade opens with two little gears and you sharpen it on a stone), on the rack is a 1952 Gillete Safety Razor, a 1913 razor of unknown origin that my Great Uncle Dewey carried through the trenches in World War I, a 1935 and a 1922 razor of the same style, and on the far right is a Rolls Auto Strop Razor from 1922 (you strop and hone the irrreplacable blade on the stone and leather stop on either side of the case).
Yes they all work. Yes I have used all of them. The Badger Hair brush was my grandfathers, circa 1971, and hasn’t lost a bristle yet. The one I shave with normally is the Rolls Auto Strop, or the 1952 Gillette (also Grandfathers) using Merkur blades from Germany.
I pay about $5 a year in blades and shaving soap, and I’m much cooler than you.
And you will trust me on this one: They shave better than any plastic disposable piece of shit razor you can buy, no matter what some dumb marketing scheme tells you, nor matter how many blades they have. A wet shave is the best shave you can give yourself. Don’t trust the commercial where the dude has been professionally shaven 5 times, then some goo is put on his face then they put an empty razor against it and pretend he’s shaving. They’re lying to you.
And why do they have to add blades? It’s a fucking razor blade, it cuts things. 5 of them don’t cut more than one of them would because that’s what razors are made to do, cut things. Adding an extra blade and charging you more for it is the equivalent of being called a chump to your face.
But don’t fear. Because I can walk you through the steps to the best shave you’ve ever had (just don’t blame me if your gf perches on the side of the tub in panties to watch and decides to use your moanmaker to lubricate her throat and you cut yourself during the process).
Shaving is about the only ritual dudes have left to themselves. It’s not a process that can be hurried. Used to be that dudes had lots of rituals, sharpening axes, fixing things, piddling around in the garage, unhurried, but now everything is throw away and everything is rushed.
So start by deciding to take your time. In fact just decide to take your time (but be on time) with more things in life.
Take a shower. The hot water will soften your beard. Do whatever it is you do when in the shower, but if you have roommates, kindly make sure that shit goes down the drain.
Next get ready to shave as you normally would. I would suggest you find a nice safety razor with a twist opening to replace the blade. Order a set of Merkur blades, though the blades you can sometimes find in CVS work just fine.
Run some hot water. Get your mug and shaving soap (not gay gel, actual shaving soap). Wet the brush, swirl it around in the mug until you get a lather. Now this is very fucking important:
Wet your face with your hands. Wet your face. There’s a reason this is called a wet shave. Now use the brush to lather the soap onto yourself until it’s covered.
Now you take your work of art safety razor and you shave normally, though you don’t press down like you have to with those ridiculous things they sell in stores because the blade is weighted and it does the work for you. Shave as you normally would. Take your time. Admire yourself. Puff out your chest because you’re imagining you’re a man.
Just don’t press down. When you press down with your normal cheaply made plastic razor you are pushing the skin down to get the whiskers to stick out which are then whacked off, which then go beneath the skin and grow out and sometimes get infected. This is why you walk around with bumps all over your face.
A safety razor whacks the whisker off right at the skin, like it was meant to be done. No bumps.
If you are shaving and it starts to pull your whiskers, wash your face off, re-wet it, and reapply the shaving soap. Start where you left off. Again. Take your time. You’re a man and the world can wait for you.
Finish by splashing cold water on your face and you’re done. Ignore the perfumes, cologne and other shit that makes you smell like a french whore. You smell like a man. Pull your gf off her knees and take her to dinner or something.
If you’re feeling really rich you can order a set up here.
If you’re more into history and antiques, order one here.
(You replace the blade, dumbass, so it doesn’t matter who had it before you).
And here are your accessories.