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Method Shaving Without The Cost, Mess, Or Drama?

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I got an email the other day from a new wet shaver who was curious about “Method Shaving.”  I’m not going to get into the relative merits of how Method Shaving is presented and sold–there is so much passion on both sides of the coin that it becomes a no-win argument.  But rather than diving head-first into Method shaving, let me suggest you try a simplified version using a couple of the key concepts.  Method shaving products are kind of like a “deconstructed” meal put together by a chef, so you may be able to accomplish something very similar with “regular” traditional wet shaving products.  This is not an “approved” variation (though it is similar to an earlier incarnation)–I may get into a bit of trouble from both sides of the debate for these suggestions!

Getting Ready

One of the key concepts is “brush priming” (a variation is sometimes called “superlather”)–saturating a brush with water and getting as much of it to stay in the brush as possible, without breaking down.  A large shaving brush works best for this so if you own several brushes you will want to use the largest one you have.

First, hold a wet a Marseilles soap in one hand and a very wet brush in the other hand, scrubbing the brush onto the soap to build a very “loose” lather.  It will be watery and foamy, not usable on its own.  The idea is to saturate the entire brush, particularly the inside, with soapy foam.  A regular shaving soap or even a good face soap (olive oil, or at least vegetable-based, is a good way to go) can be substituted.

Soaping up a brush like this can be quite messy so let me suggest a tidier alternative: set the wet soap in a large latte’ or soup mug (with high, wide sides) and let it dry overnight.  That way it will stick to the bottom of the bowl.  Fill the mug with water and begin to load your very wet brush.  After a few seconds tilt the mug over the sink so you are loading the brush upright instead of downward.  Soapy water will drain out of the mug and into the brush with the excess simply collecting in the sink.

Then add a small amount of shaving *cream* (maybe the size of a pea) and continue to lather the brush on the soap.  The addition of the cream will stabilize the saturated lather and you will soon have a super-creamy, super-hydrated lather.  Then go ahead and lather your face.


Another concept of Method shaving is the notion of grain-independent reduction passes.  For learning purposes this works best if you don’t have much stubble going on (a day or so at most).  The first pass is North-South.  If you have fairly thick stubble you may want to relather and repeat the N-S pass.  Then relather and shave ear-to-chin.  Relather and shave jaw-to-nose.

After your reduction passes you relather and shave as necessary to get the level of smoothness you desire.

Give that a try and let me know how it goes!


Shave tutor and co-founder of sharpologist. I have been advocating old-school shaving for over 20 years and have been featured in major media outlets including The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and Lifehacker. Also check out my content on Youtube, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest!View Author posts

1 thought on “Method Shaving Without The Cost, Mess, Or Drama?”

  1. “Some of what they say is new, and some of what they say is is true. That which is true is not new, and that which is new is not true” Malpighi

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