How To Stop Shaving Like A Wee Girl And Be A Man
Michael Garrett | Jan 7, 2013 | 9:00AM |

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.

You’re welcome.

Recent Comments:
  • eddie says:

    this seems like way too much of a process. the appreciation for old school is cool and it does seem rather manly, but jesus cristo. i buzz the face with no guard on my trimmer. quick, easy, manly.

    p.s. “i buzz the face with no guard on my trimmer” was not a euphemism for anything

  • Michael says:

    Patrick – what’s absurd about it? I’ve convinced no less than 5 people it’s a better shave, they manned up and tried it, and not a one has gone back to the normal way. Not a one.

    But it’s your money and face amigo.

  • Amanda says:

    i like chronic five o’clock shadow.

    i feel another article coming on, but will you write it or will i? hmmm…

    • Laura says:

      I was kinda scared to look at the after prtcuies because I couldn’t imagine him without a beard. Glad to still he still has it though, and this is a very nice and somewhat fresher look! He looks like he’s really happy with it too. Congrats on the job as well:D

  • Amanda says:

    Michael and I were discussing this the other day, and that list, that really long list of fashion faux pas he wrote. Oh, if only everyone could be as fashionable as Michael. Sigh.

    I still stand by five o’clock shadow. Even when worn by balding guys who shave their heads to feel better about the fact that they are losing the hair on their head, at least they can still grow it on their face.

    • Jadd says:

      I’ve had two and both went very well. I had a totally asemowe specialist and she put me right at ease (after I told her of my fear of root canals and all the aweful things I’d heard about them). It really wasn’t painful they took care of that for sure. On my second visit this office had installed a hand waxing booth. You’d have your hands dipped and wrapped and then they did the root canal while you sat there with hands warm and hopefully you were relaxed. (I have to admit I was much more relaxed than normal for me). There were only two things that was difficult holding your mouth open for a long time makes your jaws sore for a few days and the cost of the procedure ouch!!! But to be free of pain is worth the cost hold on to that thought. It won’t be as bad as you may be thinking and you’ll feel SO much better once your pain is gone. I’ll be thinking of you and so glad you have a promised smoothie when it’s completed.

  • Libby says:

    best father’s day gift ever… thank you Michael.

  • Patrick says:

    This is absurd.

  • pedro says:

    I’m so glad I have a beard this shit looks hard.

  • Michael says:

    As soon as the goo reaches your skin you should feel an urge to put on a pair of pink boy shorts, a Girl Talk T 4 sizes too small, crawl on the shoulders of a Bear wearing leather chaps and a vest, and lead the Gay Pride parade twirling a baton.

    It says so on the can.

  • kim says:

    um, can we talk about the fact that michael used the euphemism “moanmaker”?


    oh and svet – the 5-blader on the legs, awesome. i have a 3-blader and it’s meh. time to upgrade because i am way too freaked out about leg hair to let it grow long enough to wax.

    and on that note, the next column should be about pube grooming. thank you.

  • svetlana Svetlana says:

    this has nothing (and everything) to do with man-face-shaving but I did upgrade to a five blade gillette a few months back and the legs do stay smoother.
    for longer.
    i promise.

  • eddie says:

    “i like chronic five o’clock shadow”

    why, thank you.

    actually i just spent some time looking at the old razors on ebay and then the accessory website. i really do think it will probably take too long every time, and i haven’t really shaved in about three years, but it is super tempting to try it out.

  • cale Cale says:

    I am willing to try. In all honesty, I use an electric ball trimmer to shave my face with cause it’s designed to be gentle and I’m a wussy man.

    Don’t tell anybody I shave my face with a ball shaver, ok?

  • alice says:

    those shaving mugs don’t look manly at. all. they’re like teacups! haha…

    but if i were a dude i’d do this whole bit. sexy!

  • chairman meow says:

    Barring being his special lady friend, its obvious Mike makes his own bed.

    And besides, how do you account for this retro ‘keepin it real’ bullshit unless, wait….his ironic PBR is in his soul?

  • Superfrk says:

    Liked the article. I too shave like a real man. The blades you suggest in your article though are over priced and suck. There are tons of options out there its a big internet world.

    The main difference in new razors and the old ones and wet shaving is that the new razors use what is called lift and cut. The first blade lifts the hair up (thugs it up) and the second one cuts it. What the other three blades do is nothing. Its like the arms race with razors.

    Wet shaving with a single blade the ideal is to use warm water and moisturizers so that the hair gets hydrated and swells. Then it gets cut off at the surface of the face. It also uses hair reduction. Each pass removes more hair till you are shaven. 2-3 passes are usually used.

    Wet shaving does not have to take a long time. I can do three passes in 5 mins. Though most times I prefer to enjoy the experience and do not watch the clock.

    There is no pain, the blade scares some people but I actually do get a better shave with less irritation than with the expensive carts with newer razors. You can get single razor blades for 0.20 cents that will last 4-5 shaves the new fusion carts are $3.00 a piece.

    You can also wet shave with the new razors and just that will be an improvement over canned goop.

    There are single blade razors made for ladies as well.

    As for pubic area shaving, as long as your skin is not over sensitive you can use magic shave (a product made for black men. That works like nair but is not as irritating. The first time with Magic shave it will leave a few hairs but as you use it regularly your balls or puss will be slick and ready for action.

  • Michael says:

    Alexei – shaving soap is different than soap. One should never use regular old soap. I have also recently become a fan of pre-shave oil from The Art of Shaving. You apply this to your face, then the splash of water, then the shaving soap using the brush. The only problem I’ve found is that it is an oil (absorbs into the skin nicely) but leaves your sink with a film you have to then wash out.

  • Alexei says:

    If I shave using the manly razor and a brush, but use fancy shaving cream from, say, Origins instead of soap, am I still a man? Or am I some freakish half-man, half pussy? Because I’ve used soap with my multi-bladed terminator razor and it leaves me feeling mightily chapped and cut up.

  • J says:

    Wholeheartedly agree. I’ve been shaving this way ever since I discovered my dad’s old safety razor from the ’70s way in the back of the pantry. Also, it’s really two blades (one on each side), which makes things go more quickly. And some say it’s really *four* blades, because you can flip it when it starts to get dull.

    Also, that Onion mock essay on Gillette’s five-blade razor is an all-time classic. I still reference that from time to time.

  • martha says:

    five o’clock shadow has its place, but there’s something about a freshly shaved face.

  • Derrick! says:

    Man up and use a bic single blade disposable with some barbasol menthol shaving cream, splash on some Brut aftershave, break some toilet paper squares for the cuts, and get on with your life.

    You should also listen to Pantera while doing this.

  • Amanda says:

    Michael, at the Cat on Saturday. It was brief and more about your list than this post.

  • Michael says:

    Amanda – we were?

  • Jason Bond says:

    How the hell am I just now seeing this. I’m so proud this was on BYT.

  • Michael says:

    And you, Jetton? I thought you were a man of distinction and style. I’m revoking your vintage bike creds.

    I find it high hilarity that people are dismissing the shave though no one’s tried it.

    Anyone try it and say it sucks? Thought so.

  • chairman meow says:

    Is it Pioneer Day at BYT? I’ve seen some bugfuck crazy Luddite stupidity in my day, but this takes the cake. Badger whiskers? Up next, a post on homemade candles, because we all know electricity is the work of the devil and totally gay.

  • that's right says:

    Amen Lily!

  • Michael says:

    Cale – it’s better for your sensitive baby skin – have you felt mine? It’s like a newborn’s ass – because, as I mentioned, it knicks the whiskers off at the skin, unlike those 3,4,5 bladed monstrosities that result with your whisker retreating beneath the skin to irritate it.

    And yes, using that thing means you hump men. Absolutely.

  • cale Cale says:

    also, am I a fag cause I use one of these:

    also, what about ball shaving?

  • cale Cale says:

    But Michael, what about those of us with sensitive baby skin?

  • tonysmallframe says:

    All forms of shaving are stupid – but this one is least so.

  • eddie says:

    chairman bark – “I’ve seen some bugfuck crazy Luddite stupidity in my day”
    are you talking about when you finish rinsing your face and you look in the mirror? please clarify.

    • Seiko says:

      Mum & Dad – You guys had such a wonderful day.The girls,the guys and the kids loeokd awesome.There are no words to describe how beautiful you were Leanne and Chris you were so handsome in your kilt.Your Dad and I had a great time and you could not have picked a better photographer.We can’t wait to see the photos. We wish you all the best for your new life to-gether.Love Always Mum ad Dad

    • Andrea says:

      Natalie – Hey Bassem,I must say that we have never met a photographer like you. You are one of a kind and i’m soooo glad we cresosd paths. Vic I were getting compliments all night by everyone on how great our photographer was. We can’t thank you enough for everything you did. You really know how to capture the moment. After seeing this I can’t wait to see the rest of them!!! Thanks again and keep snappin’ Nat Vic

    • Juan says:


  • Michael says:

    This isn’t really about being tough – it actually produces a much better shave than anything you can get with a disposable razor. Don’t believe me though, I’m just the guy who has done it, faced with criticism by people, uh, haven’t?

    Google the shit if you don’t believe me.

  • stumpy says:

    real men shave with a bowie knife while doing one handed pushups

  • Michael says:

    Chariman – let’s have a shave off then. Chicks pick the smoother shave. It can be a spectacle. In? or Out (I’m beginning to think out given this hard on you have for me). But once again, great job on talking about thinks you don’t know anything about. You get half a clap.

  • kingpinphoto says:

    I for one think it’s cute that Cale likes to pretend that he has to shave, even cuter that Michael is playing along. It reminds me of Theo on the Cosby show drawing in his ‘stache with a marker to impress the girls.

  • Brad says:

    Is this just a trick to drive up the price on your ebay auction?

  • Amanda says:

    chairman meow – michael is not a hipster. i’m surprised he didn’t tell you so, but he’s also not a georgetown douchebag.

    veet, and waxing all the way. though, shaving is nice for a quick fix (like when you realize you will be getting laid tonight, and damnit, you’ll just have to wait for that wax).

    girls: noxema razors, for those quick fixes? anyone? someone has to know what i’m talking about.

    • Jessica says:

      Leanne and Chris – We have to say Bassem you really know how to ctrpuae that special moment there is no other photgrapgher that can do what you do The pictures look great We cant wait to see the rest this is such a tease thank you so much for doing such a great job and we would and will highly recommend you to others All our guests loved you There were many laughs between you and a few others Your personality, humor and the right eye makes you perfect for this profession thanks so much

  • Jeff says:

    Dude, you’re a complete dick, but I think I might just take your advice on this one.

  • cale Cale says:

    I like when it squirts the goo all over my face though.

  • Guy Picciotto says:

    I saw you, Michael, earlier at the Black Cat, and you were wearing your trucker hat like a little hipster, and I thought, ‘That guy isn’t so tough! He’s wearing a trucker hat.’ I saw you drinking PBR, pal… You’re bad now, but I saw you… That’s the shit you can’t hide. You drink PBR and you wear a trucker hat; everybody knows it. Trucker hat-wearing motherfucker, that’s what you are.

  • Michael says:

    Pedro, I’m unsure of whether you’re indicating ‘this shit’ to mean your beard, as in your beard looks hard, as in your beard is akin to Clint Eastwood, or if you mean that this process looks hard. If the latter, I assure you it isn’t. I think I’ve cut my face 2 or three times in about 4 years of shaving this way.

    With the other blades I’d nick myself almost every shave. Does it require a different skill set? Sure. You now have a weighted blade you can’t handle like the plastic ultra thin razors, but after a shave or two I swear you won’t go back.

  • Michael says:

    Am still trying to figure out when this became about pain?

  • Jeff Jetton says:

    They have electric ball shavers? All this time I’ve been using my great grandpa’s Valet Auto Strop Razor with the Badger Hair Brush to shave my balls (just like Pappy did in the trenches of World War I)! This is fantastic. It’s like my balls just time warped a full century. And me with them.

  • Michael says:

    Svet – I’d beg to disagree. It’s so much easier than the other way. The other blades rip your whiskers out which is why most people who shave with new razors have bumps and shit all over their face. These blades glide over the skin.

    I don’t know why people are so afraid. One blade vs five and the one blade is more dangerous?

  • svetlana Svetlana says:

    Pain is often the price for beauty.
    Plus, seriously, if you’re not used to (using properly) those old school tools, pain is almost guaranteed. At least in the hands of the amateur shaving crowds. Which, lets face it, IS our readership.

  • Michael says:

    And again, this isn’t about pain, it’s about being a man and having style. The shave is amazing, feels amazing, and is better for your face.

    How many kids do you have, Lily?

  • Michael says:

    Ladies you do know I can delete messages, right?

  • Becca says:

    will someone please write a post on homemade candles?

  • chairman meow says:

    Puleeeze, my shits so smooth it’s pre-pubescent.

    And let’s not meet up, I rather like the hipster douche ideal of you I have in my mind.

  • svetlana Svetlana says:

    i am pretty sure I remember reading in my biology text book in middle school or something that the male treshold of pain is 7 times smaller than the female treshold.

    apparently, if men tried to give birth they would die of pain.
    same goes for plucking eyebrows.

  • Lily says:

    i waxed for 11 years, every month straight, EVERYWHERE, from freshman year of high school until i tried laser hair removal and that shit scarred me b/c i’m too dark for it

    when a man decides to wax his face, then let’s talk about manning up

    until then, you’re all little boys who can’t birth babies
    you don’t know what pain is 😉

  • Jian says:

    what of straight razors? those are super manly. also, a trip to the grooming lounge is worth the splurge. hot chicks shaving your face? yes please.

  • Shelbot says:

    I swear by a Merkur single blade razor with Merkur blades. I also enjoy my badger brush and shaving cream by Nancy Boy from San Francisco (NOT TESTED ON ANIMALS!). I prefer the Merkur classic but any Merkur will probably do… great quality and the best part is you can avoid gilette. One thing to remember with the multi-blade razors as that it really pulls your hair out of your face opposed to a clean cut. A well maintained single-blade will provide an extremely close and accurate shave.

    View Merkur gear here:

    I see single blade shaving much like the philosophy of pocket-watches… to paraphrase a recent quote i read.. “The simple act of winding his pocket watch forces a gentleman to pause, and consider the decisions and actions he is faced with.”

  • Ian MacKaye says:

    Get off Michael’s case Guy. We all know you’ve had an inferiority complex your entire life.

    And for the record, Cale, yes I DO use the Norelco on both my head and balls (as well as shaft and gooch).

    I am a patient boy.

  • Pyano says:

    What Michael is trying to say over the din of stupid commenters isn’t about manliness or “retro”-ness. It’s just about what provides the best shave. I for one have a father who tried out shaving this way a few years ago and hasn’t gone back since.