Lets talk about something we all know and love! The art of wet shaving and all of its glory! To be more specific l want to talk about my experiences and what lead me into using a safety razor for Head Shaving.
In high school I had long hair and just about all of my friends did as well. If you would have asked me if I was ever going to get a hair cut my answer surely would have been no. After I graduated high school in 1994 my hair got even longer and eventually made it down to the middle of my back all one length. By 1996 I was getting a little tired of taking care of my long hair but didn’t have a good reason to cut it off. A short hair style just appeal to me, and then one day my best friend at the time dared me to cut it off and I took that bet. I just had the back and sides shaved down to practically nothing but left the top long so I could pull it back into a pony tail.
It didn’t take long and I was really tired of that hair style as well. I always liked the Bald Lifestyle even when I thought a hair cut was a bad idea. I liked the simplicity of the Bald lifestyle and thought to myself. Wouldn’t that be nice, a hair style that takes low maintenance and never having to worry about bad hair days ever again. So In 1996 I took the plunge and shaved my head Bald for the first time and I absolutely loved it and still love it today. Back in 1996 there was not a lot of online support for Bald men like there is today. There certainly was not a lot of products geared towards the Bald lifestyle like there is today and it wasn’t as accepted as what it is today either. If you were Bald by choice in 1996 you were kind of a pioneer. Looking back things have definitely changed for the better with the amount of products geared towards the Bald lifestyle and also the amount of support for Bald men either by natures own cruelty or Bald by Choice, either way the Bald lifestyle is accepted in today’s society and more men are opting out for the all natural look.
From ouch to AWWWW!!! is what experience has given me!
Like I previously said there was not a lot of products geared towards the Bald lifestyle. My first line up of products consisted of Barbesol and a disposable one blade cartridge razor. One word describes this experience OUCH!!!!! I didn’t know any better and I wanted to just get the job done with minimal money spent. I accumulated a lot of cuts and abrasions and always had razor burn. Yet, I still loved the Bald lifestyle and wanted to keep my Bald head. Fast forward several years past many cuts, gashes, bouts of razor burn and tons of I won’t do that again and my technique has improved greatly and so did my pick of shaving products. I started using a Mach 3 from Gillette and HeadBlade shaving cream that’s geared towards Bald men and the Bald lifestyle. My technique improved but I was still using a cartridge razor.
Through out the years I admired the art form of wet shaving. I loved to look at safety razors, brushes, bowls and what not. However, the thought of wet shaving my face scared me after hearing all of the so called horror stories of guys shaving of their lips and so forth. Which now I know that a lot of those stories probably started off as an ant hill and just became much bigger and bigger. The thought of wet shaving my head was just not gonna happen. I started doing more research online about the benefits of wet shaving and watched lots of you tube videos on proper form and technique with wet shaving. Fast forward several more years and I started TheBaldNation.com geared toward the Bald lifestyle and started off doing Bald related T-Shirt reviews and eventually started reviewing shaving products as well, and that’s when my shaving practices and routines changed again for the better.
Wet shaving for Head shaving has changed my whole way of thinking and what shaving should be!
My very first safety razor was gifted to me from the fine folks over at Colonel Conk shaving supplies. I was talking with them about a product review and I was told that along with the review products coming my way there would also be a safety razor included. My very first safety razor was a Colonel Conk #718. The #718 is a long handle well balanced safety razor that falls on the heftier side. A pack of Gillette Silver blue DE blades were also included as well. The Gillette Silver Blues are what I consider to be a mildly aggressive DE blade that gives a smooth and comfortable shave. I was excited and intimidated at the same time but figured I’d dive right in for my first DE safety razor head and face shave. It was the first and the best shave of my life. The Colonel Conk #718 changed the course of my shaving routine for the better.
Since the first shave with the Colonel Conk #718 I’ve had the privilege of trying many different safety razors all of different sizes in length and heft. There are literally thousands of safety razors available online to choose from. You could try a custom safety razor from Mark Gustafson at Gustafsonshaving.com Mark turns all of his own handles. Each safety razor he sells on his site has its own unique handle. I’ve had the honor of trying one of his razors and his work is truly a mark of true craftsmanship.
You could also try a true piece of history through a vintage safety razor from the Razoremporium.com I reviewed one of their 1940 early 1950’s Gillette Super Speed-Custom Satin Nickel finish. The Gillette Super Speed is what I consider to be more of an aggressive razor due to the size of the razors blade gap. With a bigger blade gap more of the skin is exposed to the DE blade inside of the razor. Shaving with a more aggressive razor takes more time and patience but once you get the hang of it is a perfect shave. When shaving with a more aggressive razor the choice of which DE blade to use should be more carefully chosen. The Gillette Super Speed from the Razoremporium.com has been restored to its superior form. If you’re looking for a great place to either buy a Vintage razor or have one of your own safety razors restored the Razoremporium.com is a great place to shop.
You could always try a double shot of heftier razors from Razorbladesandmore.com The Matador Toro Mastiff is an aggressive razor with a well balanced handle that provides a great shave from start to finish. I love using a more aggressive blade with this razor to get a close and comfortable shave. The Matador Elegante is also a safety razor that has a lot of heft but is more on the mildly aggressive side. Either way you go it’s a smooth and close shave every time. The heft and well balanced handle on these two razors means more fluid strokes and less skipping across your Dome and face.
Last but not least if you are looking for an all around great shave with safety razor that gets the job done you could also try The Griffin Series safety razor from Goshaveology.com this hefty razor has a widened well balanced handle with a great knurling for a no slip grip. The heft of the handle gives this razor a fluid movement that makes a smooth shave every time. These are just some examples of safety razors that would be an excellent choice to start off with.
It’s all about the angle!
Before I talk about making the switch from head shaving with a cartridge razor to head shaving with a DE razor lets talk about the difference between the two modes of shaving. A cartridge razor pulls the hair on your skin and a DE blade for a safety razor cuts the hair off at the level of your skin decreasing the risk of razor burn an other irritation. Making the switch from head shaving with a cartridge razor to a safety razor has been fun and yet challenging as well. There are several aspects to a successful DE head shave. The length and balance of the safety razor and the aggressiveness of the DE blade make a difference in how much pressure is applied during a DE head shave.
Half of the learning curve to a successful DE head shave is all in the angle. Not everyone will have the same angle when shaving each section of the head. I’m going to share with you the different angle and techniques that I have found to be successful for me. I always start at the top front of my head right at the hair line on the fore head. I start with an angle some were around thirty degrees. The angle depends on the heft and aggressiveness of the safety razor I’m using for the night. I shave from front to back with small even strokes. How much pressure I use depends on the heft of the razor. A lighter razor I use more pressure per stroke, a heftier razor I use less pressure and let the heft of the razor do more of the work.
After I complete the top of my dome I run my fingers over the freshly shaved area and feel for spots that I’ve missed. I then re-lather and shave the same area again for a close and smoother shave. I then move on to the sides of my head and the angle I use changes a little bit. The sides have been my biggest challenge. If you are not looking for the baby but smooth (BBS) feeling then you can start at the top of the side of your head above the curve and shave working your way down to the bottom and be done with it. I however am not ready to sacrifice the baby but smooth feeling so I’ve had to play a lot with the angle and direction of shaving on the sides of my head. So far this is what works best for me, I start from the back of my head and drag my razor instead of pull to the front in an upward position at a twenty-thirty degree angle. Just like on the top I shave in small strokes to decrease the risk of razor burn, cuts and nicks. How much and what kind of pressure you use while shaving the sides of your head is vital to how successful you are with achieving the Baby But Smooth feeling with out injuring your self.
After I get the sides shaved in that direction and angle I re-lather and shave starting at the bottom of the side of my head and work my way up in short smooth strokes. When I shave the sides of my head in this direction I turn my razor upside down at a thirty to forty degree angle and I always make sure I follow the contour of my head to decrease risk of injury. Dragging your razor instead of pulling it across your skin is always tricky because it can cause ingrown hairs and excessive razor burn, cuts and nicks. If done correctly it can be of great benefit in the overall smoothness of your scalp after a great DE head shave. I also then feel for rough patches, re-lather and shave again. Then I move on to the back of my head which is the biggest part to shave. It’s more real estate to cover and can be rather tricky since you can’t see the back of your head.
I always start from the top at a thirty to thirty five degree angle and work my way down in small even strokes until I get the back shaved. I then turn my razor upside down and start shaving from bottom to top in a thirty degree angle to achieve the Baby Butt Smooth feeling. The back takes me the longest. I have been shaving my head for many years now and I have perfected the art of standing with my back to the mirror and looking into a hand mirror to see what I’m doing. Some guys shave the back of their heads by feel and that works to if you feel more comfortable that way. Either way is fine as long as the end result of a smooth shiny head after a successful DE head shave is the same.
Just a couple of things I want to add. First off, DE head shaving is not a mode of shaving that you should hurry with. Wet shaving your head is something that takes time to learn. If you are looking for speed then wet shaving is not for you. Wet shaving your head is all about learning and what works best for you. It takes time and a lot of patience. Try shaving one section of your head every night and when you master that section move on to the next. Try different DE blades because they are all different. I personally like more of an aggressive blade, but in the beginning a more milder blade served me well. Respect your razor and the DE blade you are shaving with. Even if the blade is a milder blade it’s still very sharp and can cut you deep and wide. Lastly have fun! wet shaving your head is a lot of fun once you get the hang of it. A DE head shave feels amazing and once you get hooked you might just say good bye to your cartridge razor forever!
A great pre and post prep shave routine adds value to your DE head shave!
I said it once and I’ll say it again. A pre and post prep shave routine adds value to your shaving routine as well as your skin care regimen. Great pre and post prep shave products should not make up for any short comings your shave soap or cream may have. The right pre and post prep shave routine items that contains natural ingredients such as Coconut Oil, Avocado Oil, Witch Hazel and Eucalyptus Oil have many benefits for your skin especially when used on a daily basis. These natural ingredients are just a few out of many ingredients that protect and hydrate the skin.
These natural ingredients listed above protect the deep layer of water content found in the skin that help provide the skins suppleness and hydration. These natural ingredients also help protect the skin from insect stings, sunburn and skin rash. These natural ingredients do so much more as well as hydrate the skin keeping it smooth and soft. Think of a great pre and post prep shave routine as protection for your skin on an every day basis.
A couple of suggestions I have for a great after shave balm is the Elvado brand. Elvado is a bio-pure vegan product that nourishes, soothes and hydrates the skin after every shave. Elvado also makes a bio-pure shave soap that contains Shea Butter for a great post shave feel. The Coconut, Palm and Safflower oils create a creamy and slippery cushion of lather. The Vegetable Based Glycerin naturally hydrates and softens the skin.
The oil from shop.ybf-skincare.com uses a combination of all natural ingredients to create fantastic oils that you can use as a pre-shave oil or as a skin conditioner. I use the oils from YBF skin care often as a pre-shave oil and I have nothing but good things to say about the product.
In closing, shaving is many things to many people at many different times. Shaving is all about choices. The choice to shave how you want to shave. Some individuals want to spend lots of money of shaving products, some individuals don’t. Some find shaving just another chore to complete while some find shaving to be an art form that should be practiced to make perfect. What ever side of the shaving fence you’re on just have fun because after all it’s all about shaving and having fun with it! Love your products and you will love the results. Thank you and have a #Badtastic day.
I want to take a minute and thank my most gracious host, Mark. We all know and love him as Mantic59. Mark is well known and respected within the shaving community. He’s a fantastic human being and fellow wet shaver that shares his experiences online through social media as well as on the Sharpologist.com in hopes of helping other shavers by pointing them in the right direction.