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Zero to Hero: One Man's Shaving Story

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If you are a starter, you can relate to the following situation:  you have decided to shave. After all, you have been watching your father for more than 10 years. You go to the local store, purchase the necessary tools to shave, and come back. You are excited for the next morning. And then—

You just can’t shave. Either your fear eats you up or you are absolutely confused. “Where do I start?”
Sound familiar? Do not worry. You are not alone.
Note: This post is being written from the beginner’s point of view. I have outlined the process I followed when I started to shave first. So, if you are planning to start your wet shaving career, you may find it useful. As an experienced shaving enthusiast, there is a possibility that you have already gone through this process. However, I still appreciate your encouragement. Thank you.
Let me stress this: I love beards. I absolutely do. But, they do not work all the time. You have a sudden corporate trip. You have the responsibility to represent your company. And you know what?
You gotta shave. “Sigh! I want to cry.”
Today, I want to share my story of shaving. From zero to hero.
But, first I want to thank Sharpologist for helping me. It’s the very first blog I read about shaving. I don’t know how I landed here, but it was during a hot summer when I wanted to practice shaving. Since then, I have been a loyal fan and sometimes I’m really clueless how a man became so knowledgeable on a particular subject within a short period of time. No wonder his passion has led to the stage where he is now!
Alright, let’s jump to my story again.
Before I go into the details, I want to share why beards are a breach of professional etiquette from the corporate CEO’s point of view:

  1. They are dirty. Well, kind of. Not true if you care for it properly. But, as busy as a railway station, corporate people often forget to take their lunch on time. How can you expect beards to be clean all day long?
  2. Smell. Although it is usually not that bad, sometimes, due to dust and other external factors, it can smell really bad. You want to avoid odor in order to close important deals with clients, right?

I have a few ideas to keep my beard. It can work well. Honestly, I have tried them and have succeeded with them as well. But not at a high level.

  1. Stubble beard. Stubble beards are one of the most attractive beard styles and are favored by most women. Why? Because they spark real attractiveness. If you are a beard fan like me and have trouble because of your boss, go and get a stubble look. These are also known as five oclock shadow.
  2. A dark stubble with some good oils. If you go slightly beyond stubble and use a well balanced, nice smelling facial hair oil, you should pass the test.
  3. Or the last option: shaving.

I will show how I pass the test in a second and I hope you can learn something from this story.

My Strategy To Become Better At Shaving

Please note, there are no magic rules of thumb or secrets here. These are common practices. I don’t know why people make it so complicated.

Decide on a razor: choosing the best safety razor as a beginner

Before doing anything, you need to choose your razor. There is plenty of information out there, but I like to go with a single blade safety razor.
Since you don’t have practice, you definitely don’t want an aggressive one. So my criteria are as follows:

  1. Pick something that is more forgiving. This means you can confidently use it without having a fear of cutting yourself.
  2. It should not have a short grip. I like to go with one where I have the confidence to hold the razor perfectly, so that it does not slip out of my hand.
  3. Choose a brand that brings trust and comfort together.

Mantic59 has already published a few guides, but I will tell you my favorite. You can do your own due diligence on where and how to pick your first safety razor, but when I first started, I went with a Parker 98R.
I know some of you guys may not like it or be familiar with it, but in my experience, the 98R is smooth and still gives an impeccable shave every time. It’s also heavy, which makes it glide over my face easily.
Moving on to the next topic:

Choose one: shaving soap or shaving cream

Do you even need one? Yes. For a smooth and comfortable shave, I genuinely recommend it.
Whether you use a soap or cream totally depends on your preference. But I like to use cream.
If you are on the fence, here are few pros and cons of each category:
The first advantage you get with a shaving soap is the additional moisture it provides when shaving. It also helps you to soften your whiskers provide a smooth shave. Also, the cost over the long run is cheap.
As for disadvantages, time is one of the main reasons I really don’t like to use a soap. You see, when you start to use soap, instead of pushing a button, you have to lather up the soap and without realizing it, you will add a few minutes to the process. Also, it takes up extra space compared to a cream. You have extra essentials, like a shaving mug and all that stuff.
Shaving creams, on the other hand, are more convenient and quick. Just release the required amount and apply to your face. And they don’t require any extra equipment.
However, creams are a bit more expensive in the long run. And the chemicals used in this type of cream are still questionable. If you are more into natural things or have really sensitive skin, you might face a problem. (If that’s you, we recommend you consult with a doctor before using any shaving cream or even soap.)
Now, how do you choose the best with hundreds of thousands products available? Just do what I did.
Did you know Sharpologist is actually a library of shaving? You can’t get a better recommendation than one from Mantic59. I took the advice in this amazing post, where he shares his favorite shaving creams.
Ideally, I set my criteria as follows:

  1. It should come from a trusted brand. In the word “trusted“ I include popularity and awareness of the product.
  2. It should be an easy going product. No matter the mineral content of your water, it should give you rock solid performance.
  3. The scent is something I like to cover as well. Personally, I love products that smell really good, and I am sure you do as well.
  4. It should not break the bank. No one is going to pay hundreds of dollars for just a shaving cream.

I went with Cremo Original Shave Cream and trust me, it does its job amazingly.

The process:

All right, you have your Swiss army knife. It’s time to shave. Before doing anything, I recommend you go and watch the following videos:
How To Shave Live Stream Of Consciousness: Keep in mind, in this video, he used a few different things, but the rules are the same. I like to keep my routine simple. I have been doing it and have no issue with it. But for a change, I am planning to do things differently. and that’s a post for another time.
That’s pretty much it. I followed the exact steps to start my shaving routine. Now you may be wondering, it’s pretty straightforward… right?
Well, it is.
”The most complicated skill is to be simple.
― Dejan Stojanovic
Here is the thing: most people overcomplicate stuff. Like I was doing. Once I got my hands on the proper knowledge, I found that there is no secret to a perfect shaving. Just a short checklist and you are done.
I have to admit though, I did not get the best shave at first. But it gave me the confidence to try again once more, with more care and awareness. At the end of two months, I was a hero in my own eyes. I could shave confidently and I would not have to worry about circumstances that come up all of a sudden. More importantly, I don’t have to run away from them.
So here is my checklist for you:

  • Read a few articles on shaving first.
  • Know the process.
  • Choose a razor. (Read some reviews.)
  • Choose cream or soap. (Again, read both pros and cons of each.)
  • Watch a few videos from someone who is really knowledgable (like Mantic59).
  • Cut your fear.
  • Start shaving.
  • Analyze the experience.
  • Make corrections.
  • Repeat.

Additional FAQs:

To bring you more value, I have added a few frequently asked questions that I used to have. I don’t want you to go the same route. So here they are:

  • Do you need an aggressive razor at the beginning?

Answer: No. I don’t recommend you use a heavy aggressive razor at first. You have no practice and are less aware of shaving rules. Going with a mild razor can protect your skin from cuts and irritation at this stage.

  • Should I shave against the grain?

Answer: It’s a popular idea that if you shave against the direction of hair growth, you will get a faster and closer shave. Yes. At a certain level, it’s true. But as a beginner, I recommend you avoid it at any cost.
Let me explain a little bit. Shaving against the grain is a sure way to invite common problems like razor burn, damaged hair follicles and ingrown hairs. It works like this: our hair grows in all directions. By the time you drag the razor against its natural direction, you pull the hair back on itself. To avoid accidentally going against the changing directions of growth, always use short, gentle strokes, letting the razor glide over your skin without applying too much pressure.
If you want a helpful guide, here is a resource on ways to get rid of razor bumps fast..

  • How do I make my razor last longer?

Answer: Interesting question. I often my find myself avoiding cleaning up my razor. If you want your razor to last for at least 5-10 years, you have to do some work. Most people tend to avoid it, but it’s important.
Every month, take 30 minutes of your time to clean all parts of the razor. A simple Google search can make your life easier and I really want you to do it. (I have started cleaning up my razor as well.)
Here is a simple checklist:

  1. Open all the parts of the razor.
  2. Get some warm water.
  3. Get some regular dish detergent.
  4. Get a toothbrush
  5. Get a towel.

Throw everything in the warm water along with the detergent. Use the toothbrush to clear the dust and use the towel to clean. This is just a quick recap. Don’t just rush through it. Read some articles and then proceed.
Shaving does not have to be hard. If I can do it, you can do it too. All it takes is a clear checklist and you are on your way from zero to hero.
Please note that this post keeps the beginner’s point of view in mind. If you are an experienced shaver, you will hardly find anything new. But still, I appreciate it if you have read this far. For any extra questions, Mantic59 is here for us. Let’s appreciate him for all of his hard work and for creating a better shaving community.
About Tim:
Tim is the man behind BeardMantra, a small men’s lifestyle and grooming blog. He is passionate about helping people become better men. If you have the same passion, hit him up with an email and he would love to hear more about you.
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2 thoughts on “Zero to Hero: One Man's Shaving Story”

  1. great article! I found Sharpologist (mantic) too the same way and remain loyal as I always will. Everywhere I go I refer men to the site. Mark’s videos and advice were and are invaluable. Now, 3 years later I love reading articles such as this and all the articles on this site.

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